Saturday, May 3, 2014

A year has flown by

So, I thought I would blog again (at least this once) and see if anyone notices.  :-)  It's been almost a year since my last post and that's just a really long time.  I really don't know if I've had anything worth saying, so you probably didn't miss out of anything.  During the past year I moved to another (smaller and cheaper) house.  And one of the fun things about buying a new house is watching the flowers bloom in the spring and discovery what kinds of stuff the previous owners planted.  I've got some really pretty yellow roses by my front porch.  That's fun.  While I love the roses, I would never personally plant a rose bush because 1) they are hard to maintain with their sharp pointy thorns and 2) they bloom for such a short time out of the year and the rest of the year look stupid.

But for now, I like them.

And other than that, our year has consisted of me working a ton and the kids going to school, Sarah working at a restaurant and Libby started working there a couple months ago, too.  And Jacob plays hockey year round- the travel season ended in March, but the clinics and 3-on-3 continues.  And Libby still takes her art classes.  And loves to shop at Hobby Lobby and make us cute things.  And Sarah is involved in all kinds of school activities and getting ready to graduate from high school in a couple weeks and then off to college in the Fall.  I do not know where the time has gone.  We are going to miss her terribly, but I'm very excited for her to embark on this new phase of her life.

Rufus had to spend two months outside in my friend's kennel while we were in between houses and it was pretty cold outside, so he is just grateful to be living indoors again.

And that about sums things up.

Maybe I will make this a regular occurrence again.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Weird Things

It's been fun getting to know Spike this week- every week day he has come to volunteer at the store.  I drove him to and from church and home from M's graduation Thursday.  He has a cute and likeable personality. All week he has been weighing his options , talking to his parents and trying to figure out where to go next.  Today he came and told me, with a big smile on his face, that he will start at The Way on Monday!  I'm glad he will be around a while so I can keep an eye on him.

Then later today, my dear friend Tammy came by the store to say hello and when Spike walked by, I said, "Spike, come meet my friend Tammy".  And guess what?  They already knew each other!  When he lived here last year for a couple months, she cut his hair.  How strange, these twists and turns of fate!

MmmHmm.... God is working in Spike's life.  No question about it.

And I LOVE when God uses me, even in a small way, in someone's story.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Just A Kid

I had an interesting experience a couple days ago and it makes me wonder about this "new normal" in my life where the homeless and downtrodden :-)  are concerned. 

To be as succinct as possible, through my friend M, I met a kid named Spike. (Not his real name! :-))  A mere 18 years old, he showed up in town after being kicked out of the recovery program he was in and he had nowhere to go.  As is his habit, M sent him to me to keep him busy (and off the streets) at the store.  (Honesty:  This sometimes bothers me).

He worked for a while at the store and then got ahold of his dad (in a different state), who was apparently practicing tough love and refused to pay for a hotel- instead telling the kid to go to a local homeless shelter.  I was going out for lunch and offered to drive him and on the way, we chatted and I got him some lunch.... and he had good manners and a likeable disposition.  He could be one of Sarah's friends, I thought.

I had never been to this particular homeless shelter and when we pulled up, there was barbed wire and strange people lurking around and he said, "Oh no.  This doesn't look good".  (No, it didn't).  He then assured me he could defend himself, if necessary, but he looked ready to cry.  My maternal instincts went crazy (even though I had known him for all of two hours at this point) and when he left the car walking toward the building with his nice clothes and suitcase, I couldn't hold back the tears.  It reminded me of the day I dropped Jacob off for his first day of preschool and watched him carry his big backpack and lunch box like a big boy into the church and the tears surprised me. 

I wanted to grab him and put him back in the car. 

So I called M for reassurance.  He told me "paternal" things like, "Spike made his bed and he has to lie in it.  Sometimes people have to hit rock bottom.  He is just facing the consequences of his choices.  He has to put on his big boy pants and suck it up".  Also, I figured if his family was practicing tough love, there was probably a reason.  I did feel somewhat better, but it nagged at me all afternoon.

Three hours later, Spike called the store and told me that his dad had agreed to pay for a hotel for a week and was there any way someone could come get him and take him to the hotel.  I told him I would be right there.  We both laughed when he got back in the car.  I said I was relieved he would be in a hotel instead of the homeless shelter.  He said he was, as well.

And I told him to call M when he got settled and we would pick him up for church Sunday and make sure he has food, which M has done.

He is on the waiting list to get into the program I work for.... I will be glad for the day when they get the new building built and can house more residents.  It is such a pressing need- I have seen that with my own eyes.

As for my own introspection, I am wondering how it is that I came to be someone who offers random homeless people rides to the homeless shelter?  I told M that it hit me that I don't know this kid from Adam and he could have done any number of harmful things to me.  And I'm not stupid- I just didn't feel any real threat.  I didn't give him any cash or my personal phone number.  But, sometimes you just know when God wants you to act, I guess.

If I had picked my own ministry for this season of my life, I would have chosen to help babies or puppies or the elderly.  Homeless and drug-addicted men would not have been my choice.  But I guess sometimes God chooses for you. 

Please pray for Spike.  He is a confused kid who has made some bad choices, but I have a good feeling about him.

Monday, April 29, 2013

My other two children

These two beautiful kiddos also had birthdays in 2013.  Libby was 15 on January 13 and Jacob turned 12 on March 20.  I love these two just as much as I love Sarah.  I am just as proud of them as I am of Sarah.  I suppose on their birthdays, I was just a little busy WORKING, BEING A MOTHER, BEING A FRIEND, BAKING COOKIES FOR THE HOMELESS, DOING LAUNDRY, COOKING DINNER, or some other such activity.  I probably should have made time for some birthday posts about these two.  Libby's birthday was mentioned in a post a month or so after her birthday, but it wasn't just as post about her only.  Jacob's birthday wasn't mentioned at all.  Apparently this has bothered their grandmother.  I don't want to make an old woman upset, so here is the birthday post about JACOB AND LIBBY.
Libby as a baby.  She was the most pleasant baby ever.
Libby about three years old on roller skates.  Cute little blonde bob hair cut.  :-)

Libby is a straight-A student, very artistically inclined, always working on some craft or home decorating project, has her wedding planned already (we're just waiting on a groom now), has a very tender heart, is very thoughtful, and by that I mean, she THINKS a lot.  She thinks about things on a level that most people don't ever reach.  She thinks so much, she often has a troubled soul when it comes to injustice, pain, suffering, etc.  She likes to be at home and she likes to read.  She takes an art class and gets better all the time.  She is involved in the church youth group, loves Jesus, and, based on the number of boys that pursue her, very pretty.  She got her drivers permit in January.
Mommy with little infant Jacob.

Jacob, my handsome little baby.
Jacob passes his classes.  That is about what I can say about his grades.  He is smart as can be, but just not yet very interested in academics.  His passion is Hockey and Xbox.  And, more recently, girls.  He plays on the travel hockey team and is just a good sport and awesome team member, in my opinion.  He has always stood up for the "under dog" and been a good friend to people who others shy away from.  He is a mama's boy and still likes to put his head in my lap in church, but let me tell you- he generally won't pick a fight, but if someone else picks one, he won't back down from it.   He is my baby and having two big sisters, has generally been spoiled too much.

Happy Belated Birthday to my second and third children.  I am now done with birthday posts for my kids until January of 2014.  Praise God my mother is now appeased.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Happy 17th Birthday!

Baby Sarah getting a bath in grandma's sink.
Grown-up Sarah too old for pictures of herself in the bathtub!
It's this girl's 17th birthday today!  :-)  She has grown into such a beautiful young woman.  She is a straight A student, has a part-time job as a hostess at a restaurant, plays soccer, is involved in her church youth group, various clubs at school, National Honor Society, plays the piano and guitar, lives life to the fullest, has a great sense of humor, is a little uppity and spoiled at times, is in the process of visiting colleges and I sit here and wonder where on earth has the time gone and how can I have a 17 year old child?   I love you Sarah!

How My Garden Grows

I planted my little garden about a week ago.  Only green beans, sugar snap peas, cucumbers and green peppers in the raised bed this year.

And with some sunshine and plenty of water this past week... perhaps the most exciting part of gardening.... the seedlings have started to appear!

I also have a tomato plant and some sweet potatoes in containers.  The tomatoes should be fine, but this is my first attempt at sweet potatoes.  I read somewhere that potatoes are good things to plant in containers because you can just dump them out when you are ready to harvest.  Thing is... I have no idea when I will know it's time to "harvest" since they grow underground.  I will need to look that up.

When I did my couponing yesterday and I said that I irritated the ladies behind me with all my coupons... they actually made a rude comment that they thought I couldn't hear.  One said, "Well, sure, if I had the time I might cut out all those coupons......"  As if I must just have all sorts of time on my hands because I have nothing else to do.

It took a lot of self-control for me to not turn around and say, "I'm a single mama with limited resources and three kiddos in all sorts of activities and I work more than full-time and up until three months ago, I was also going to school part-time.  If anyone can talk about not having time, it would be me....." I spent two hours clipping coupons and making my plans yesterday.  In return, I saved $150 on my grocery bill. 

So I was reading a book yesterday about raised-bed gardening and the author made the point that if everyone with even a small yard would plant a small vegetable garden and grow some of their own veggies, that would leave that much more food to go to the hungry.  I'm not sure the logic plays out, because who is going to pay the farmers?  But, he also said that growing some vegetables for your family is a lot cheaper and better for you than buying them at the store.  And it really doesn't take a lot of time to do it, if you keep it small.  And I agree with him on that.

Also, there is just something strangely psychologically rewarding about it.  Just seeing my little seedlings the last couple days makes my heart happy.  :-)

So, that is probably more than you wanted to know about my garden.  But... I'm excited about it.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Extreme Couponing

I used to use coupons a lot back when I was primarily a mommy and wife, and I probably did save some money over the years, but I was never all that great at it.  And then I went a few years (primarily as a SINGLE mommy) just using them sporadically or thinking about how I should probably be using them, or actually buying a paper to get the coupons, but never actually clipping them.

Recently my friend Misty got me re-interested in them AND watching sales at stores, etc.  Neither of us really knows all the ins and outs... but she joined a little coupon club she knew of and each week, she gives me several of the coupon inserts from the paper.  She also told me about a website called Southern Savers where you (if you live in the Southeast) can match up your coupons to the sale items at your favorite stores.   Also, now in this age of technology, you can load coupons electronically at some stores, like Kroger and Publix.

Here's my bed covered in my coupons as I attempt to organize and clip them.  Rufus is a big help.

Here's my little coupon box that fills up quickly these days due to the sheer number of coupons I am stuffing in.

 And today I achieved my biggest couponing feat of my life time (to date)!  41 FREE toothbrushes!  :-)  Generally, I don't have 41 of ANY one coupon.... that was something that happened because we got some newspapers at the store I work at for wrapping breakables and most of them were old papers, but 36 of them contained a coupon insert that had not expired, yet!!!  The toothbrushes were on sale for $1.00 and my coupon was for 50 cents off... which gets doubled at Kroger!  :-)  Go me!!!!  (And Misty.... because I am sharing them with her!)