Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Garden Update/Tomato Count: End of June Edition

Last week, we had 64 tomatoes. This week, we have a whopping 89!!!!

My psychocactus is coming along nicely. I should have full on flowers by the end of the week

Ella says hey :)

I've got plenty of pepper blooms and buds, which means I will eventually have plenty of peppers

My other plants are doing well. I forgot to photograph the dahlias again, but they are coming along.

That's all for now! We're painting some planters this week, which means I'll have to find some plants to put in them!!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

Good morning!

I'm sitting down, enjoying what may be my only silent time today. Oh, well, my life is blessed, and the quiet all the time would probably drive me insane.

On the breakfast plate:  a slice of vanilla pound cake. Before you judge, I literally cannot stomach breakfast food early in the morning. Ask my Daddy, who also would rather have a sandwich or something rather than scrambled eggs.

The weather in my neck of the woods: PERFECT. Highs in the low 70's, lows in the 50's. YES.

Things that make me happy: Quiet mornings. Plants. The aforementioned vanilla poundcake.

Menu for this week: Last week, it was so hot, I totally veered off the Meal Planning Track simply because I just couldn't deal with heating up a kitchen. Back to my regularly scheduled kitchen slavery this week ;)
Monday: Potato Soup (in the crockpot)
Tuesday: Hamburger Helper (Crunchy Taco, Ella's request)
Wednesday: Baked Chicken and veggies, couscous
Thursday: Ground turkey taco bake
Friday: Gabe's choice, Mama needs a day off!
Saturday: Fourth of July...so junk food, of course ;)
Sunday: Chicken Carbonara

What's on my TV today: I promised Ella we'd watch a movie tonight, after my work training call/the million others things I need to do, so that.

Looking around the house: I'm reminded of the fifty million things I need to accomplish today. Somehow, I will do it!

On my to-do list: EVERYTHING. Seriously.

New recipes I tried or want to try soon: Absolutely nothing. Last week, it was all I could do to microwave something. Even thinking about cooking made the temperature jump in here, lol!

In the craft basket: Headbands, still. And Ella and I are going to be painting planters for my ever growing plant collection sometime this week.

Looking forward to this week: Fireworks!

Tips and Tricks: Oh my goodness, I got nothing. Well, except this: set your alarm 15 minutes earlier and take some time for yourself.

My favorite blog post this week: THIS, on raising a child with disabilities.

Blog Hopping: Lisa's Blog . I ordered some rings from her this month, and I became totally captivated with her son David's story.

No words needed: 

Lesson Learned the last few days: People will always judge. They will always criticize. That's on them, not on me.

On my mind: Dad, my massive neverending to do list, this messed up world.

Devotionals, Scripture, Key Verses: 

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Seriously! Halfway through already!!!!!

26/52: I've had countless people tell me that Ella looks like a little doll. I can totally see it in this picture.

26/52, Sunday. Our gorgeous garage sale find :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Yet Another Garden Update and Tomato Count

You'll have to excuse these pictures. It's been so unbelievably HAWT that I didn't get out there until late.

I have peppers in bloom.

Psychocactus too.

We have some new additions (dahlias and angel trumpets, but they're just babies and I'll photograph them another time)

Our tomatoes are doing great! Our main plant finally has a (big!) tomato on it and is up past Ella's knee!

We also counted tomatoes and are up to 64!!!!

A Word on Joel Osteen and a Lesson in Job

Anyone who even has an inkling of an idea of who I am knows how mad Joel Osteen's view on grief makes me. It's simply wrong and there is ZERO Biblical basis for it.

Job, a righteous man, lost everything. Absolutely everything. He went from being very very rich to very very poor. Every.single.one of his children was killed in a tragic accident. His beloved wife, in the throes of her grief, told him to "curse God and die."

And Job grieved.

 Job also had some "friends" who were did not support him, gave him some very bad doctrine (God wouldn't punish you unless you had done something wrong), and with friends like those, who needs enemies?

Eventually, God spoke to Job. Here are two things God did not do:

God did not tell Job "why". It probably would have been very easy to give Job the background of what happened, how Satan tried to destroy Job's faith. A lot of people ask "well, why DIDN'T God tell him?" Well, I don't know. Who's to say Job would have understood? I have no idea.

But I'll give you a bit of background on my story. When I lost my firstborn, I had no idea why. And I felt like I needed to know "why". What happened? What did I do? Was it because I lifted that box? Should I have carried all of those groceries up four flights of stairs? Should I have moved that stupid fan? And on and on and on the questions went. Exactly a year later, I gave birth to Ella at 35 weeks and I found out "why." I have an incompetent cervix, which causes me to go into labor early. It's a miracle Ella stayed in as long as she did. There. I had my "why". And it didn't satisfy me. When I turned back to Christ, I realized another facet of the "why". Because God used this terrible event in my life to bring me back to Him. He uses me on a daily basis to provide comfort to those who need it. And I still don't fully understand the "why", but I know that I am not alone. And that's more important than the "why."

You know what else God did not do?

HE NEVER TOLD JOB TO GET OVER IT. Job went on to have more kids, but THEY DID NOT REPLACE THE CHILDREN OF HIS THAT DIED. God never said, "O.k. Job, I'm here. Now stop grieving and get over it." He never said, "Now that you have more kids, you can quit your grieving." You can check the Bible. That's not there.

Isaiah 53:4 says "Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows."

He knows grief. He is near to the brokenhearted. He doesn't drop us on our butts and say "You can't have a full life if you don't move on!" He HELPS us to heal. And healing can take a lifetime.

"Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, And how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power, who can understand?"

We don't understand God. Why not? Well, simply put, because He is God and we are not. His great plan is beyond our comprehension. I know that one day, everything will come to light and then we'll understand.

Until that day, God is always there. He never leaves us. He doesn't tell us to "quit our grieving", he helps us HEAL.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm late putting this up, but today has kind of been an odd day. Most weeks, I get the early morning hours of a Monday to myself. Clearly, this was not the case today. Taking a third job and going back to school has seriously shaken up my schedule, but I'm doing what's best for my family.

Here we go!!!!!

The weather in my neck of the woods: HAWT! Not just hot, but HAWT. holy moly.

Things and people that make me happy: My husband. Our daughters (both of them). My sisters. Grilled chicken, which I'm pretty sure I could eat all day. Getting pretty things in the mail. The view off my deck.

Menu for this week:  Despite this school/home/3 jobs insanity, I am committed to meal planning. Except today. Ingles deli is cooking for me today. The rest is as follows.
Tuesday: Angel Chicken, pasta.
Wednesday: Fajitas
Thursday: Chicken dippers, roasted potatoes
Friday: French Bread Veggie Pizzas
Saturday: Goulash
Sunday: Spaghetti

What's on my TV today: Movie day with Ella. I'm feeling massive Mom guilt over taking on so much. I know that ultimately it is for the best...but I'm feeling like I'll miss out on all my time with her...which is ridiculous, because I do homeschool and my jobs are very flexible, but gah! Hormones!

Looking around the house: I have a kitchen to scrub. Groaaaaan.

On my to do list: Scrubbing the kitchen
                              Pick up dinner
                              Haul off the trash

New Recipe I tried or am trying soon: I got nothing. Sorry!

In the craft basket: Oh my gosh, everything! Mainly, the final two headbands and a dress of Ella's I need to take in.

Looking forward to this week: School! I am so very excited to finally be pursuing my dream job!

Tips and Tricks:  From my friend Elizabeth, who needs a blog...epsom salts to rescue a houseplant. I'm using this tip to bring a peace lily back to life.

My favorite blog post this week: This post , from a sweet lady named Hannah, a fellow loss Mama. I love all of her writings, but this one really spoke to me.

Blog Hopping: Southern Plate , which I originally found on Pinterest, after looking up how to freeze tomatoes. There are some awesome looking recipes on there!!

No Words Needed: 

Lesson Learned the past few days: Sometimes, situations aren't worth discussing. People aren't worth your time sometimes. Hard work always pays off.

On my mind: Work. School. Sanity.

Devotionals, Scripture, Key Verse: 

Sunday, June 21, 2015


25/52: Sometimes, I think Ella is a very serious child. And then...

25/52, Sunday: Tom insisted on being in this picture. He wouldn't leave until I took it lol. These two....

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Garden Update and Tomato Count

Despite the insane weather we have (way too hot, then torrential downpours, etc), the tomatoes are doing very very well!

The plant reaches almost to Ella's knee now. Considering that those plants almost died before I had a chance to put them into the ground, I think that's awesome!

We currently have 57 tomatoes! Yup, 57!!!

The rest of my veggies are doing well, too....although I am worried about my Walmart reject pepper. (bell pepper) It didn't look all that great when I bought it, but that big green pepper on it is hanging in there.

My cubanelles are doing well. I didn't photograph anything but the psychocactus, herbs, and the bell peppers because we had a bout of high winds and I had to move everything inside AND help Ella with her Father's Day present for Gabe.

Never a dull moment here.

...until next time :)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Checking The List: General Chaos Update, June 2015

Do ya'll remember this post and the list that came with it? That post was written at one of the most stressful times in my life, when I was trying to keep a grasp on my sanity.

That stress has passed, Praise God, and I remain (mostly) sane. I wanted to update ya'll on my list :)

Here goes:

1) Working on my relationship with Christ: It's been rough. I've read a lot of things in the Bible that have challenged things I've believed (not God-wise, life-wise) for years. I'm realizing now that being in a church doesn't make you a Christian any more than being in a garage makes you a car.

2) Enjoying my family. CHECK! YES. I love it. I love spending time with my husband and daughter, and the various others that comprise my little family.

3) Basking in the major change my family is undergoing: CHECK! Yup! We moved! (side note: we are about to undergo more changes. Stay tuned....) We are currently living with this view....

4) Repairing a broken relationship that means more to me than I realized: That would be my Mom. Working on it! It's better than it was :)

5) Finishing up the homeschool year: CHECK! (and I didn't do last day of school photos because we moooooved)

6) Planning a trip: Ok, cat's out of the bag. Sometime in the late summer/early fall, Ella and I will be taking a trip to home, sweet home!

7) Taking aforementioned trip: Working on it :)

8) Not neglecting this blog: CHECK! I've actually written some worthwhile stuff :)

9) Learning to sew better: working on it! Have some projects that will be getting accomplished in the next few weeks

10) Taking measures to pursue my dream job: CHECK! I am back in school!

11) Trying new recipes: CHECK! I made braised ribs and cauliflower alfredo . Lately, it's been way too hot to cook, but as soon as it cools down enough so my kitchen doesn't feel like hellfire, I'll cook more new recipes.

12) Helping my husband expand his cooking horizons: CHECK! He made spaghetti and has been helping with cooking here and there. He feels more confident in the kitchen, I can tell that much.

13) Meeting new people: CHECK! I've met several sweet people I am proud to call friend.

14) Helping others the best that I can: CHECK! If I'm in a position to help someone, I've made it a point to do it.

As far as the general chaos update: It is what it is. And what it is is chaos :) I'm working, I'm in school, I'm keeping up the house. I'm trying to breathe and take time to myself (because I'll go insane if I don't). And currently, I'm waiting on the UPS man and trying to get work done at the computer. Ella is doing well, and Gabe is doing well, and we're all healthy and I thank God for it. Keep praying for my Daddy, as he is doing well, but could always use the prayers! Say a prayer for my Mom, she is a brave woman for going through having the rug pulled out from under her and Dad, during his cancer treatments. There are so many people out there who need prayers and God knows each of them by name. So, just send up a prayer for everyone who needs it. Life is too short and precious NOT to pray.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

It's not a cage, it's an open gate.

This is going to be an odd blog to write, mostly because I don't quite know how to string the words together, but if I don't write it down, I won't be able to sleep at night.

I've had several well meaning wonderful people make comments to me about grieving and while they meant well, their words hurt. And, what with hormones and all, they hurt and they made me angry and made my fellow loss Mamas angry and it was an ugly situation.

So, I'm going to explain something.

I entered my first pregnancy totally innocent and ignorant. I smiled easily and never thought that anything bad could happen. I was in an awesome relationship and I thought we were invincible.

May 17, 2005 was frightening and horrific and terrible and awful and every bad thing you can think of. I won't go into detail, but if you've ever suffered a pregnancy loss, or a loss of any kind, you will know what I mean when I say it messes you up.

The aftermath of that day was probably worse. I never spoke about her. EVER. I stopped sleeping well. I picked fights with my (then) boyfriend (now my husband) over stupid things. I couldn't look at the kitchen floor for too long without having a panic attack. Pregnant women made me angry.

And then I got pregnant. Anyone who says that a subsequent child makes everything better is WRONG. so very very wrong. My pregnancy was frightening. I refused to buy baby clothes because I just knew I would lose this girl too. If not for my Dad and for Gabe, Ella would have come home in her hospital onesie.

And then Ella was born. My rainbow. I remember hyperventilating when she was born because she wouldn't cry, and thinking "I knew it. I knew this would happen." And then she cried. And it was amazing, and I wouldn't take a million dollars for that sound. And then I realized the date. May 17, 2006. And I had a moment where a cold wind blew through me and I thought, "My God, how unfair. My biggest loss and my greatest joy. On the same day."

And then I locked up my loss in a dark dark corner and never thought one bit about the girl I lost. Until one horrible night in late November, where I screamed some terrible things to my husband and slammed a door. And so we lived, with that unspoken shadow over our little family, until the following Christmas.

And then I was asked to decorate some ornaments with names. And I picked a name. A name for the sweet girl who never took a breath. Riley Grace. While my Mom didn't see it fit to hang that ornament on her tree, I hung it on mine.
And the story came out. I spoke her name. And it lifted the weight from my heart. Others came to me and asked me to make an ornament for their lost child.

Once I talked about her, I couldn't stop. I met people from all over the world, and even people in my town. I've cried with friends, I've cried with total strangers at the grocery. I've spoken the names of so many babies. So many little souls.

I hugged a stranger at the cemetery once. I heard the story of a stillborn boy named Miguel from his aunt. I met a girl on a bus once, who had lost her son at 6 months gestation. I held the hand of an 80 year old woman whose daughter would be 60. I opened my door at midnight for a friend going through her own terrible loss. I sat on the steps at 3 a.m. crying for the daughter of another friend.

I miss my daughter. Oh, my God. How I miss her. Yes, she is in heaven. No, she doesn't know pain. But, God made us with souls and the ability to feel. God made us with emotions.

Yes, I may go on sometimes about how much I miss her and how much it hurts. But it doesn't ALWAYS hurt.

Losing her broke my heart into a million pieces, but it brought me something so much bigger than me. It's put people in my life that have changed me for the better. It's made me into a better person. It's given me the courage to be there for people. To comfort.

Grief is not my cage. It's my open gate.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Garden Update/Tomato Count

Our garden is doing pretty well, all things considered. Something is still trying to eat my cubanelle pepper plant, and now I'm looking at having to get a new spray bottle because Tom knocked my last one off the deck and broke the sprayer mechanism. The going theory is that he was going after a hummingbird. (I hung my feeder last week)

Hummingbirds: 1
Tom: 0, and he owes me a new spray bottle.

I've given away a bunch of basil and mint, but it keeps coming up!

My bell pepper is hanging tough....
...and it may soon have some company

We're up 21 tomatoes from 5 days ago. I'll update again in 5 days. I cannot wait to start harvesting!!!!!