Prayers for a Friend

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I am having a hard time blogging lately. A sweet friend is transitioning into her last days, perhaps hours, and my usual nonsense seems unimportant. We are surrounded by the effects of sin in our fallen world and no one gets by unscathed. Death is something that falls on the righteous and unrighteous equally.

All loss of life is difficult, but some losses are much harder to personally deal with. This is one of those.

Certain stages of life bring friends together quickly and motherhood is one of those stages. I met Michelle at a previous church when our daughters were in the nursery together. We changed churches and reconnected again when we ended up living in the same neighborhood and our kids went to the same elementary school. What really brought our hearts together were the years we spent praying for our children in our Moms in Touch group. Praying together knits hearts.

I have seen Michelle live her faith for many, many years now. She and her wonderful husband Mark have raised their children in the way that they should go, and those kids are all on their way, loving and serving the Lord as they have been shown.

I have seen her be the hands and feet, and the eyes and ears of Jesus to many souls in need, myself included. She excelled at knowing exactly what to do, just stepping in and meeting a need. From watching your kids, to lending a willing hand, to organizing meals or anything else one might need, to support at the hospital, to prayer, to feeding one of 4 premature babies when tired parents needed a helping hand,  to opening her home to moms and groups and kids and even taking in a friend’s family for a time when their house burned down. Other things, too numerous to count.

She was a Creative Memories consultant for many years, blending her love of family and preserving and archiving memories. It was one of her great joys. I now see the Lord’s hand of mercy and favor here, He used something she loved to do so it could be handed down as a treasure and legacy to her family. That is so her, and that is so God.

One of the phrases that I have heard Michelle use so many times in prayer time and in life was “buckle down and get it done”. I have associated that phrase with her ever since and I am reminded of it now. After 3 months of excruciating pain she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Lungs, bones, mass on her liver, and possibly more, they just stopped looking. Her first diagnosis said 6 months to a year. After a little further testing they changed it to 3 to 6 months, she is now at the end of 3 months. Those words would have stopped many right where they were, but not Michelle. She had things she still wanted to complete. When hearing the words of limited time, she did not just stop her life and wait, she got busy and buckled down and got some things done.

She did devotionals with her husband, they told Honey and I it had been some of their richest times of devotion together as a couple, reading through Streams in the Desert by Charles Cowman. She continued meeting with her ladies small group, studying The Armor of God. I’m so thankful for that, she more than likely used some of those words to ward off the enemy in this difficult time. She came to church each week, laying in the back of the room on a special lounge chair with a memory foam pillow on top for comfort from her continuing pain. She made special presents for her grandchildren, five at the moment, one on the way, more to surely follow. She kept a file box of all the verses friends and family had sent her for comfort., She wrote letters to each of her 4 beloved children.

She and her husband slow danced their last dance at a family friend’s wedding. They travelled to her wonderful parents cottage Up North, one of her favorite Happy Places. She saw many old and dear friends and family at a gathering her children put on, graciously giving everyone a chance to see her and love on her and them as well. They did some things together with family, Mackinac, the park, the fall festival, a slow ride on a wave runner, took their grandsons to their first movie. There is never enough time to spend with those you love.

When I saw her last Sunday at church, we told each other Happy Birthday. One of the many things we have thought funny and coincidental over the years. I did not know it would be the last time I saw her. She told me this is hard, it hurts and she is so concerned for her family. We hugged and cried. The next day she took a turn for the worse.

We are all just waiting now. Her time is very short, her family has been there constantly all week. I’m sure it has been grueling and they are so weary. God can use all things, even the waiting.

She is finishing strong and well, which is every Christian’s heart desire. She is confident of who she belongs to and where she is going. We are praying for a smooth transition to her heavenly home and peace and comfort for her family. We know they do not grieve as those who have no hope, but grief is a heavy load to bear and the Lord promises to help us in our heartache.

John 14

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

You know the way dear Friend, praise God, you know the way. We will meet again.

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He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

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The Weekly Sy, a List and Some Thoughts

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Hi Guys. Why do weeks keep passing so quickly? Every time I turn around another week has flown by and I barely got in here to blob! In my defense, I did write my ENTIRE Wednesday Hodgepodge post, complete with Way Back When-sday portion, AND IT DISAPPEARED when the computer did a bit of untimely maintenance!!!!! Poof, completely gone. This is not the first time this has happened either. I am going to have to save to draft each and every time I walk away from the computer or I may have to go to prison for doing something unseemly.

BSF started last week!!! It is always so doggone good to see the leaders and the class members! We are studying John this year. It is my third time in this study and I was not particularly looking forward to it for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, third time doing the John study, so there’s that.

Secondly, we were doing John the very first time I went to BSF in 1995. I didn’t get very far because I had a bad car accident in October and had to drop out. I don’t even count that time. We were also in John the year my Mom died. Two very difficult years.

I have repeated the classes enough to know that God finds you in a different place each time you do a study, so I know I can learn something new, and I should have a different perspective after studying Revelation last year.

In the Ladies Bible Study at our church we are studying the life of Peter. That should be interesting, haven’t done that before.

I mentioned earlier in the summer that our church offered a Priscilla Shirer study called Armor of God.

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I went with Jip the Farm Dog and a couple of other gals from BSF and MAN, did we all LOVE it!!! Here was one questions from the lost Hodgepodge:

3. Besides The Bible, what’s a book that has positively changed your life, relationships, career, or perspective? How so? 

I’m going to say that book was pretty life changing. I talked about it and kept telling Honey he needed to read it so much that I convinced him that we should do it for our small group this fall! I think EVERYONE can benefit from this study. It has changed the way I look at and deal with trouble. I might need to read it over and remind myself again every single year, but it was that good and helpful! The enemy is real Friends and he is going down and is looking to distract, divide and destroy as much as he can. He specializes in chaos and LIES. Read the book!!

I haven’t done a Weekly Sy in a while, not sure why because The Ab-Cat sends me lots of adorable Snapchats every week! He may be many unpleasant things, but he remains adorable. And sweet. Sometimes. As always, he is most attractive when asleep and not causing trouble with the elder felines.

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We love his paws. Cat paws are everything.

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Abby sent me this sparkling beauty of us watching tv. He loves his grandma, I have the makings of a comfy bed.

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However I did notice this on closer inspection. What the heck is that on my neck? A goiter? I have never seen that on my neck before!!!

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Let’s zero in on this, MUCH cuter!!!!

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Here was the Way Back When-sday part of last weeks post. Little Mousey sporting her armor of God. She was rocking that shield of faith, and the Batman cowl, along with the log weapon. As you do.

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Have a good Monday!

South Carolina Y’All!

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Hi Guys, long time, no blog! Honey and I took a quick trip down to South Carolina to have a little look-see. Just checking out potential areas in case we decide to relocate after retirement. We really don’t know what we will do, but it’s fun to look around!

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We flew into Greenville but drove over an hour to Westminster on Lake Hartwell. There are a lot of beautiful trees down there!

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We limited our search to three lakes; Greenwood, Hartwell and Keowee. We saw many beautiful homes! I think the biggest surprise was how rural it was in between all those small towns. We still need to do more praying about what our retirement will look like, where we will live and serve, and how we can best be used by the Lord, no matter where we land.

We really liked several of the houses but I am going to show you my very favorite! We actually stayed right near it and we both LOVED it. It was move in ready and I can’t think of a thing I would change! I would LOVE to plunk it down where ever we decide to land!

Sorry, the sun was being a pain..

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Loved the stonework and our realtor was such a sweetheart.

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Purty windows as you walked in. Looking out onto a great covered porch and Lake Hartwell beyond.

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My favorite kitchen BY FAR!

The kitchen is very important to us. We spend a lot of time there and it’s where our people congregate. When looking through listings, I found that I liked many of the homes, but the kitchens, not so much. I asked Honey what he would be willing to change and he was not willing to completely redo the kitchen. It made it easier to discard a listing based on that information. I would keep it if it only required new countertops to make it work.

This island was my favorite! Large and all one level, I even liked the granite! I also liked the wood floors in this home. The color was a nice change from the honey oak we have throughout our current home.

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The kitchen was open to the eating area and a covered patio on the left. I could picture our table and china cabinet in there!

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Pretty view out that window of a canal on Lake Hartwell.

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Back to my Precious. Lots of cabinet and counter space. Did I mention that I LOVE the island? Cause I can certainly say it again. The cupboards were not white, sort of a greige color? I even liked the paint color on the walls.

Speaking of paint color, I have been thinking of painting our current house, what do you think of something like this Capri Patt?

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The powder room off the kitchen. Not one problem with anything there.

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Loved the laundry.

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This was one of my favorite spots. Tucked back by the door to the garage, near the laundry room, I would claim this as my own space! Honey uses our den, the only thing I use in there is the computer. I could move it in here, along with our bills and other necessities that help a home to function. Cupboards and drawers for my junk!  My own blogging/office, I.Would.LOVE.That!!!!!!! Deep, sincere, want.

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Standing in the kitchen looking onto the great room and den, front door would be on the left of the hallway by the light. That is also the stairway to the basement.

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Great room with built ins. That has become my interest lately, built ins. I adore functionality. And storage. And hiding all the junk. I never thought I would like the television over the fireplace but I find I do here. Plus, there is no other logical place for the tv in this space. This is causing me to rethink the space over our fireplace. Our layout is with the fireplace in one corner, and the tv in the other. Naturally, this affects the layout of our furniture, as we are dual focused. Having them both in one corner would allow for one focal point. Something to ponder.

To the right of the great room was a lovely covered porch, again, the sun was not allowing a picture that you could actually see.

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I took no pictures in the daylight basement but it was great as well. Two large bedrooms on the left with a small kitchen and family room in the middle, with a HUGE bedroom with 3 sets of bunk beds and other furniture! There was also an exercise room and a large storage area. We should have just called this house The Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way!!!! You might be wondering if we need all of those rooms. All I can say is you never know. Better to have them than to need them is one way to look at it. They might come in handy when we have company or future grandchildren🙂

Y’All, it was a little warm down there.

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I did something that I have never done before, I met a blog friend!!!!! I knew that Joyce, who blogs at From This Side Of The Pond and our fearless leader from the Wednesday Hodgepodge, was living in Greenville while building a home on Lake Keowee. I emailed her and mentioned that we were going to be in her neck of the woods and was she available for lunch? She was!

We had originally planned to meet in Greenville, but when she found out where we were staying she offered to meet us out our way, which was closer to where they were building. I said that option offered the possibility of us getting a tour of her new home!!!! She graciously met us at her home build and gave us a tour of the beautiful new home they are hoping to move into next month.

We then had lunch at a place near there, The Lighthouse, where we talked for many hours and didn’t even realize that the place was empty! It’s surprising how much you learn about others when you have read their blog for a long time. Also surprising was Joyce had a southern accent! This was unexpected because I knew she was from New Jersey! She said she had moved to Tennessee for college and it just never left her.

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I have been a part of her Wednesday Hodgepodge since February 16, 2011! I am thankful that Joyce makes the time to host that weekly get together, it’s a day when when a whole bunch of us answer the same questions and you are welcome to join in!! It was such fun to actually “meet”!

Speaking of meeting, Honey and I ate dinner one evening in Seneca, one of the little towns down there. When we were almost finished I mentioned to Honey that the gal at the table across the way looked like a friend who used to attend BSF, and also lives in the subdivision connected to ours. As I watched her I was struck that even her mannerisms reminded me of that gal. I told Honey I was going to walk past her on my way to the restroom so I could get a closer look. IT WAS HER!!!!! It turns out she was down there with her husband having a look-see too! We had a nice chat, introduced the guys and marveled at our small world!

We are home now and getting back into the swing of things here. Honey and Ab-Cat went out for their weekly Monday night dinner then started BSF this evening. Our class starts this week as well. The pool guy is coming tomorrow to close the pool. It has been blessedly cooler the last couple days and I am ready to welcome the fall.

Have a good week.

Potent Quotable

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Yeah, when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I’ll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah, when I get where I’m going
Don’t cry for me down here

Brad Paisley

Remembering My Mother

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September 10th will always be a day to remember my Mother. She has been in heaven for 6 years, but today would have been her 80th birthday.

She travelled far and wide in her time here. From her birth in Tennessee, to her childhood in Detroit. From a stint as an Army wife in Germany, to a new life in California. She returned to her old, well loved life back in The Mitten, where she spent her later years travelling between her homes in Pinckney and Lakeland, Florida.

There was a lot of living in all those places. Ups and downs, great successes and crushing losses, heartache and great delight.

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Through it all, she remained faithful, steady and determined. She trusted in the Lord, she worked hard and she succeeded.

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This is one of my favorite pictures of her, taken at her surprise 50th birthday party. Can it really be 30 years ago?

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She was a faithful daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, friend and child of God.

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I will miss her smile, laugh and wisdom for the rest of my life here. Until we meet again Mom.

In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

Way Back When-sday Hodgepodge

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Hi guys, can you believe this is the last Hodgepodge of August? My thanks to Joyce, for hosting our weekly get together. If you would like to link up, click on the button below to head over to her place.

1.  Are there any men or women in blue on your family tree?

As a matter of fact my Father was a police officer.

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The current climate against the police particularly hard to see. The vast majority of officers are good men, doing a difficult and dangerous job.
2. Are you someone who suffers from the Sunday night blues? What helps you get over it?

I’m not. I have not been a ‘working for the weekend’ kind of girl in a long, long time. Also, Honey does not have a typical work week that involves weekends off.

3. I read the color blue is an appetite suppressant since there are very few naturally blue foods out there. How do you feel about blue cheese? Love it or blech? If you’re a fan, what’s something you like that’s made with blue cheese?

I know there are many people who love, love, love blue cheese but I am not one of them. It is potentially in the top 10 of my worst flavors, possibly tied with gorgonzola. The aftertaste reminds me of …..being sick. Sorry for the awful thought I have just placed in your mind.
4. We can’t head in to the Labor Day weekend without a related question, can we? Complete this thought: I work best when____________________.

I have the right equipment. I can’t do my job without the tools of my trade!
5. ‘Everything yields to diligence.’ Antiphanes Your thoughts? (on this particular quote or on diligence in general)

For the most part, I agree. Things usually respond to an onslaught of dedicated attention. Diligence is a noble attribute and I am a fan.

But there can always be circumstances where no amount of careful and persistent work or effort can achieve the desired result. Unfortunately, that is just how life can be. I have experienced this on several occasions, so I guess what gives me pause is the “everything” part. Sometimes no amount of perseverance, tenacity or trying can fix something that has been irreparably broken, whether it be a lost opportunity, the poor choice of another, a destroyed family, or a broken body. Life can rise from the ashes, and that is where diligence does come into play. It can’t always prevent, but it always, always hopes for improvement, even if it cannot restore.

6. The National Park Service turned 100 years old on August 25th. Have you been to many of America’s National Parks? If so share with us a favorite or two. Which National Park would you most like to visit before the next birthday rolls around?

 I looked through the whole list and I have only been to 2, the Great Smokey Mountains and the Shenandoah National Park. I might have been to the Hawaii Volcanoes, but I can’t be 100% sure. Honey has me beat by a couple, The Grand Canyon and Denali.

It is unlikely that I will get to any before my birthday next month, but I do have hopes of seeing one in Washington state in the future. Our son and his wife moved out there this summer, so it could be a possibility! They look to be surrounded by three, Olympic, Rainier and North Cascades.
7.  Bid farewell to August in seven words or less.

Done with humidity, bring on the fall!
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Here is the Way Back When-sday part. I don’t have a picture of my Father in his police uniform, but here he is in his Army uniform. Probably around 1953, 54 or 55. Such a young son of a gun. Son of a gun is so him! I think he used that expression all my life!

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Thanks for stopping by!

Mousey Turns 22!

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We had a celebration this weekend, Baby Girl turned 22!

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Oh yes she did!

Our little Muggins Q. Mouse is all growed up.

She is more Katniss now than little girl who loved Po from Teletubbies and feeding Cheeto’s to chipmunks. Well, she would totally still like to feed Cheeto’s to chipmunks!

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Her requested birthday dinner consisted of Flat Chicken, roasted potatoes, Feta Fatoosh and garlic mushrooms in wine with a cherry chip cake. Honey and I obliged.

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She had already received her birthday present earlier in the summer, some sort of car stereo with a thingy for her iPhone and iPod. Anyway, she liked it!

We did give her a little gift. Mousey parks her car in the driveway by the back door. Because she had no back door key, she had to open the garage door with the key pad each and every time she came into the house. Honey and I tried to get copies of his back door key made one time, but things got joofered up and we made copies of the front door key. Since getting copies of the correct key required me to remember to get the correct key off Honey’s key chain, well, you can just imagine how many times I forgot to do that. The real question might be why did we only have 1 back door key???

I finally remembered and they even had one with a nifty light to help you find the key hole in the dark!!!! Happy Birthday Mouselina!

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I think she was pleased with her evening.

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She starts her last semester of college this morning!!!!! You Go GIRL!!!!

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