Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Day

Christmas is officially over for our family. Oh, remember the casserole I told you about? It was-- H O R R I B L E! It was inedible. I didn't start preparing for the holiday until Christmas Eve, and my kitchen is torn apart, so to cut corners I bought a frozen casserole from GFS. It was bad. Very bad!

I enjoyed watching my kids & my husband open their gifts.

We skyped my oldest daughter who was enjoying her Christmas with her hubster at Princeton.

After the gift opening, and throwing our uneaten paper plates full of yuck, we realized I forgot they had stockings. I forget every year! So do my kids! The tradition is always the same. After gifts, after eating, people retire to relaxing activities. Then someone says, Hey! What's in this room! Stockings?! yay. Funny that no matter how old you are, a stocking filled with razors, socks, chewing gum can bring so much cheer.

We took the party over to my mother's condo later in the day to celebrate with my brother and his wife. Usually there are cousins to play with. This year, only one of his kids was home for Christmas. She brought her boyfriend so the more was merrier. I got my niece crazy felt elves I found at a silent auction. I knew she'd love them and she did. She even named them. For my mom I found a pillow in the colors of her guest room, which says "My Cat Walks All Over Me" Her kitty, Oscar, does walk all over her! He runs her household and is somewhat bossy.

The next day both my kids had to work, yet my husband had the day off. So he and I drove 2 1/2 hours north to see his 90-year-old mother, and the BOL. I felt so sad that she didn't see any of her grandchildren for Christmas. At least her daughter and son in law had come to her home on Christmas Day. She is such an understanding lady and she was thrilled with the gift my husband got her. He got her a Learn to Speak German course using cassette tapes and a little book. At 90 years of age she said she was wanting something to do during the harsh winter besides read books! She opened up the package and started her first lesson while we were there.

The drive home was a little somber. I pondered the fact that I'll be a true empty nester next year. Adult children and adult nieces and nephews are all moving to states far away. Our lives are changing and constantly change.

Tuesday it was back to work for Olin and I. The cabinets & sink are at a complete STOP. Olin needs to work 14 hour days every day until Jan. 1st to finish out the fiscal year. Add his driving time in, and he has no time to finish the project. I still need to pick out counter tops and a sink anyway. So hopefully I can get to Home Depot to pick out some counters and a sink tomorrow.

To Da Lou

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Recap




Christmas Eve was spent at Walmart, locked away in my room wrapping gifts, and Olin tearing apart the kitchen. His frustration and confidence was at an all time high and low, as step one of putting in the remaining kitchen cabinet was not going well. A pipe wouldn't solder. Thankfully we have the internet with it's trusty advise. He stuck some balled up Wonder bread inside the pipe and it worked. By then it was evening, so all the other steps in the construction process came to a halt. Which means I can't use the kitchen sink until well after Christmas holidays.

Late in the day I emerged from my Santa elf workroom to a magical moment. The tree sparkled and glowed with lights, tinsel, shiny ornaments! It had been transformed by Becca. The entire undecorated room suddenly became enchanted. This is probably the most beautiful tree I've even gotten. ( I think I say that every year).

It was just the four of us for a small Christmas Eve dinner around the tiny cafe table in my torn apart kitchen. Now to clean it up without a kitchen sink. It's like camping, only inside the house.
Near midnight, I forced the sleepy family into the car for a drive down town to see a 50 year-old nativity display that I enjoy at State Auto Ins. It's a beautiful life-sized nativity. We weren't the only ones there either. It was freezing! We tried not to rush through the display and jumped up and down to stay warm. In one photo you will see Becca reinacting the role of the angel, and Sam is acting the role of Mary as depicted in the display.

Driving home we passed several churches as the multitudes left their sanctuaries for midnight candlelit services. We drove through a quaint older neighborhood on a hillside that overlooks the skyline. Luminaries lined the sidewalks. After a Christmas cookie I fell into bed.

The sun is up, a breakfast casserole is in the oven. We all await the dad to finish wrapping his gifts (a Christmas tradition-last minute gift preparation by the dad).

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas. I pray that JOY, PEACE, HOPE, FAITH, and LOVE will fill your hearts, minds, and homes today!

Blessings!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tellin' on Myself

I was sitting at my desk in my little house in the middle of the afternoon yesterday. The doorbell rang? Huh? I wasn't expecting anyone? The UPS guy? Oh, I hope so! I peeped through my peep hole and it was a neighbor. A neighbor I have never spoken to. For the past 16 years I've seen him every day walk his dog, and we wave. That's all. I opened the door to this stranger-neighbor and he asks me with a very serious tone, "Will that rubbish be picked up tomorrow morning?" I looked out to the street where three of my old cabinets sat in the rain. I hadn't made arrangements for the old cabinets to be hauled away yet. I wasn't sure if bulk pick up would take them or not. I figured I'd just put them out front there until I could arrange for a dumpster. I was a little nervous my neighbors were hating me right now with those ugly things sitting by the street.

"Oh, those old cabinets," I asked. Yes, he answered. Since I was afraid the cabinets bothered him I just smiled & replied, "Yes, tomorrow they'll be gone." I thought to myself I'll just move them to the back yard in the evening and so they'll be gone tomorrow morning.

Instead, the neighbor perked up and said, "oh good! I'm going to put out an old tv with your stuff so they can pick it up" He saw the look on my face and said "trust me, they'll pick it up with your cabinets. I just didn't want to stick it out there if they were going to sit out there for a week."

Ok, I thought. I didn't want to tell him, "hey, I just lied to you cuz I thought you were offended by them. Instead I just smiled and shut the door.

My 17 year old son came into the room and as he was putting on his shoes, he says, "who the heck is outside our house?" I asked, "does he have a TV." He said, "yes, he's putting a huge TV by our sidewalk." I proceeded to tell on myself to my son about my predicament about lying to the neighbor. My son shook his head at me in disbelief. Then he went outside to investigate the TV.

So, we now have a tv in the basement. And, there remain my cabinets in the still down pouring rain. I guess I should get working on a bulk pick up or ordering a dumpster.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pray for Business Owners

If you're the praying type I have a Christmas prayer request for you. As you drive or walk past a small business, pray for the owner. If you have a friend with a small business whether it's a store, service business, even the person who cuts your hair is a small business owner, please pray for them! Why? You have no idea, unless you've been there, what they're going through emotionally.

It isn't the money that was put out for the business, or the borrowed money from friends and family or investors, or borrowed from the bank or credit cards that was put out into the universe on faith alone. It isn't the loss of that money. It isn't even the feeling of being "underwater" or "failing." The emotional pain comes from the sacrifice of time, sacrifice of family time, sacrifice of vacations, the hard hard work 6 - 7 days a week.

You may think, oh they have business coming in, but looks can be decieving. It would almost be easier if the loss of income coincided with "unemployment." It's one thing to be unemployed and and have no money coming in. It's another to be out of bed by 7 am and running, spending money, schmoozing, keeping positive attutudes for others, putting your best foot forward. Putting out fires. Dealing with other people's anger and entitlement attitudes. Not getting home until well after dark. Eating fast food and doing without daily needs met because you are scrambling to satisfy multiple people's needs, and people are counting on you to make it happen.

And all for . . . nothing. The small revenue coming in goes to . . . past business debts. . . while personal daily living expenses continue to go unmet. Work, for, nothing.

Small Business Owner's need your prayers! Pray first for their hearts and minds to be rooted and grounded in love. To trust that all their needs will be met. To rest. To believe. To have faith. To have joy. To have peace that passes understanding. Then prayer for prosperity of their community, for their business to be "found" by those with money and needs.

Pray that their income would increase to pay off their debts, plus meet their payroll and accounts payable, and for daily needs that are needed just to live on this planet! For extra tips, for appreciation from customers! For a jobs well done! And, money left over to help fulfill those dreams and hopes that were completely lost. The dreams they had when they started the business to make a difference in their community and to help their family, friends, and those in need. Dreams restored. Faith renewed. Prosperity is not a dirty word!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Top Cabinets Up

I left the camera at my office, or I'd give you a peek. Instead I would love some advice. Advice on Junk

The new upper cabinets are up. They are beautiful. It's very exciting to see the transformation in progress.

Now for the hard part. 16 years of "stuff" have been crammed and stored in those old cabinets. I don't want this ugly stuff to go back into my new beautiful cabinets. I get a chance to organize everything and make it all look so pretty.

Yet my brain is keeping me from moving forward. Junk is all over the kitchen floor as I try to sort through what I've kept over the years. What on earth do I do with this kind of stuff:

Example: Vintage glasses from 1971 The Ohio State University Buckeyes commemorating our beloved coach Woody Hayes. I think my mom gave them to me 15 years ago. My husband is certain his sister gave them to us back in 1989. We don't know who's right. Thousands of Buckeye fans had these glasses back in 1971. We don't drink out of them. We never will. Only three are left of the set of 6. I don't entertain. I probably never will. But throwing them away is like throwing away a part of my teenage years. I'd be throwing away the memories of my parents' football Saturday parties with all their friends in our home shouting at the TV and eating fabulous food. Those are such good memories. Memories I thought I'd make with my new family, but it never, ever happened. And, never will. I won't drink out of them as they're delicate and break easily. They're super cool to look at. Yet, ugly. They're a super, big nostalgic blast to hold in your hand. Yet, they're just ugly and useless.

What to do? Pitch them? Give them away? Store them in the basement? And if I store them, why? & if I give them away, why? Honestly, the paint on them is probably leaded and dangerous to drink from. Oh, my dear Buckeyes, I will still love you even if I toss the evidence of your multiple championships in the 60's and 70's--I will still love you, won't I?

Any advise out there?

Friday, December 9, 2011

I'm playing along at 5Q Friday

I've only played along with a "linky" blog once, so I hope I'm doing this right. i can't get the "button to work on my blog, but I got this 5 Question Friday over at: Five Crooked Halos

1. W
hat is your favorite Christmas cookie?
The Ginger Snap is my favorite Christmas cookie. I have a recipe for these and I love to eat them with a fresh cup o' joe whenever I'm feeling gloomy. They perk me right up into happy mode.
2. What's your favorite holiday movie & why?
My new favorite holiday movie is "The Holiday" with Cameron Diaz because it's my daughters all time favorite go-to movie to cheer her up. I've seen it so many times now I can quote some of the dialogue. "'Why do I always fall for the bad girls?'-- 'You didn't know she was bad.' -- 'I knew she wasn't good!'"

3. Is there a gift that you bought for your kids that you wish you hadn't after they opened it?
yes, there is. It's the xbox 360 that I bought for my son. I didn't know he would become addicted to gaming and not want to go outside and play. It's one of the biggest regrets of my life.
4. What is the messiest room in your house right at this moment?
My entire house floor to ceiling. Except for my daughters room is very together and peaceful. You can see my previous posts as to why it's chaos in my house.
5. What is the furthest you've driven for the holidays?
If we count Thanksgiving, we've driven over 1000 miles to visit our daughters in college in Florida for Thanksgiving. For Christmas, it has only been about 150 miles to Elyria, Ohio for the MIL.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Why Christmas Will Be Late-Or Did it Come Early?



See why I'm not getting ready for Christmas? The whole little house is like this.

In our "spare time" we're putting these cabinets up and we don't even know what we're doing. There's hardly any room to walk, and all the dishes and junk in the cupboards are in boxes on the floor too.
No worries. I'm thankful I'm getting new cabinets.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Darn It's Christmas Time

It's not that I'm disappointed. In fact, for the first time, I don't feel like a humbug. I'm actually excited about the lights, decorations, music. I do like Christmas. The problem is I am once again not ready with preparations in any way. I like celebrating. I like preparing. It just didn't happen (again). Each year I say I'll start in July. I don't. Each year I say I'm going to decorate starting Thanksgiving Day. It's never happened.

Now, my perpetually messy house is really torn apart because we finally bought some cabinets and are installing them in our "free time." I feel like laughing hysterically at that statement: "our free time."

Last night, Becca and I spent the evening an hour north of here at a special worship service where we also received personal ministry. We didn't get home until 12:30 am. I hadn't been in church for a month because of either pain or my travels. So, I felt very happy to be in the "house" again even if it was with such a diverse bunch of crazies. I love these crazy people so I say that with a warmth in my heart.

We arrived home at 12:30 am to my messy house and I found that my husband had taken down two cupboards, cleaned the cat pan, did two loads of laundry, and emptied out the last upper cupboard to be torn down.

Today while I was working real estate for six hours, he took the rest of the upper cabinets down, brought the rest of the new cabinets into the house from the harsh weather. He did more laundry. Plus, amazingly, he made our son pick out his Senior Portrait clothes.

Wow. I argued with a stubborn son for two weeks about senior portraits. You will wear a suit, no I won't, yes you will, no I wont, yes you will.... sigh. who cares if you wear a suit. Thanks to a stubborn father there will be a photo shoot with a suit jacket. (no pants though) -- nice compromise. The photo shoot is tomorrow morning and it is absolutely the last possible day to have his photo taken and still get in the yearbook. Fingers crossed they turn out ok, because there is no time to get them redone.

Back to Christmas. I don't know how I'm going to celebrate the holiday actually. I always have these expectations that Christmas will be special, very "holy", very intentional in my celebrating. Yet, this has only happened maybe twice my entire life.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Real Mermaid Thanksgiving





I got off the plane from Cali at 1am. At 7am I hit the pavement running for real estate and got as much done as I could before 10pm. That's because at 3 am we were piled in the car for a 17-hour drive to Florida. Our destination was Weeki Wachee to visit my 98 year old grandma.

We met up with my brother's family (all 8 of them), my sister's family (only 4 of them came) & my mom. We all stayed in the same condo complex on Hudson Beach.

I love birds and there were birds outside my grandma's nursing home, birds in the lagoon outside our condo, birds everywhere. I am so blessed I got to see pink spoonbills, bald eagles, osprey, snowy egrets, peacocks, and some weird birds I don't even know what they are (yet).

We got local seafood and cooked it up in our condo kitchens and had a feast of crab, red snapper, bay scallops, shrimp, clams, complimented with southern hush puppies. Omg. so good.

We went kayaking. We talked religion. We talked economics. We told stories. We laughed.

We visited the grandma and heard wonderful stories from the 1930's.

The cousins took lots of photos together. We sat in the sun, we went out to dinner, we woke up late. We drank fresh coffee on the balcony and watched out for manatees and dolphins playing in the lagoon.

Games were played. People napped. We watched fish and shark swim around. We admired gorgeous Florida flowers and palms.

For Thanksgiving everyone was in the party house at the same time for a huge traditional turkey meal. I cooked turkey breast & stuffing, and brought pumpkin pies. We got in one huge circle, held hands, and my brother prayed over the meal. (miss you Dad)

Becca's boyfriend drove over from FSU and spent the night. He brought his explosive energy to our game-playing and stepped the competition up a notch or two or three.
Our last day it was so hard to please everyone, but everyone came along to see the the Mermaids of Weeki Wachee. So glad we did. It was really fun and Florida institution. (and that's where I saw the peacocks and eagles) We really missed Rachael and her husband. That would have made the huge week long Florida party perfect.








Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Tennessee Weekend





We went to a wedding in Tennessee.
It was in a charming white country church with steeple, among the yellow-leafed ash trees.

We posed for a lot of cameras.

The next day we just "hung out" sharing You Tube finds.

While some of us played thinking games involving shouting out answers, others watched college football, or did homework, or talked and talked and talked. And, of course we ate lots of fattening foods like homemade hot fudge sauce on vanilla ice cream.

The bride and groom stopped in from time to time.

In our hotel room there were enormous guffaws and hilarity and belly laughing. I tried to sleep through all the cousin-sister-brother silliness.

Life moves too quickly.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pain Pain Go Away

I once wrote that I didn't want to start another blog post with the words, "I am pain free.'" I don't want my life to center around whether I'm in pain or not. Yet, here it is again, and I guess I can't escape the fact that my life does center around pain. I'm coming off several days of being completely disabled due to pain. I was pushing through the pain and symptoms through the week and on Friday I couldn't ignore it anymore. Yet, I had a closing 30 minutes away from my home on Friday. I remained unshowered in the same clothes I slept in while I worked diligently toward closing. The whole transaction was tangled up in a title company, bank, private mortgage company fiasco. So the whole day was spent making phone calls, then texting the buyer, then emailing the agent, then calling, then emailing, then texting. This went on for the entire day with me trying to solve problems and relay messages and forcing the title company to do their job. Besides, the buyer had to vacate her residence the next day and had the moving van coming and all movers. We were going to close this thing as long as it was up to me. Sick or not sick.

So I finally showered, put a suit on and some make up & drove up to the title company for closing, not knowing if the deal was going to happen or not. The pain was so severe I had to pull over twice to rest, and sob, and regain my strength. At one point I panicked and thought I just cant make there. How I am going to make it back? I called Olin and cried saying I was stuck on the side of the road in no man's land and what was I going to do? He prayed for me over the phone and told me if I could make it there, he'd come pick me up and leave the car there to retrieve later. That calmed me down enough to journey onward. Thank goodness for cell phones.

When I arrived I met the buyer for the first time. She is young, very pretty, and obviously smart-as-a-whip. Her agent had told me she's a Christian, and her last name is the same as a church friend I had over 25 years ago. I asked her if she was related to my church friend, and sure enough she is her daughter. It's funny how in the midst of the excitement of meeting a kindred spirit all pain dissipates. We shared stories about Jesus while we waited for the title company to get their package together. It's such a small world. I told this buyer, I'm pretty sure you were at my wedding because your mom was pregnant when she sang at our ceremony. Yep, that was her in there.

This sweet gal is buying her first home to be near the church plant she is helping to start. She is in charge of the children's church. Listening to her stories of her community of faith made me sooooooo nostalgic for a community of believers. I told her, "these are the best years of your life, so I hope you really enjoy them!" She had such a joy talking about the excitement of planting a church I know she's enjoying it. Though I know all the sacrifices she's making too.

She signed all her papers, I signed, then we shook hands parted our ways. I was in such a fog of pain I left my purse there. At least I hope that's where it's at!

Then Saturday was gorgeous but I just moved from my bed to the couch to my bed to the couch. Becca went to breakfast and church with a college friend that was in town. Olin and I stayed home because I was suffering. I layed on the couch and watched "meet the candidates" and had intense philosophical and political discussions with my husband instead. He prayed me for four or five times.

Tomorrow is the Monday agents tour of homes that I don't like to miss. So I'll have to see how my head is tomorrow. For future reference, I'm going to try and write shorter blog posts and happier ones too. So just to give you a preview of coming attractions: Two weeks.... Palm Springs, California here I come.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Leggings & Leg Warmers

I was reading another blogger's post that they bought their first pair of leggings and I had to laugh out loud at the memory of my first pair of legwarmers. They also happened to be my last pair of legwarmers too. It was winter of 1981. I was a college student and I was working for a law firm in downtown Cincinnati. The movie Flashdance was a big hit about a dancer in NY and she was always wearing these legwarmers. They are these bulky sweaters that you pull on over your shoes up to your knees. They are like socks on steroids and they slouch and sag as part of the look.

So I bought these dark, navy blue leggings and legwarmers. I pulled the leg warmers over my ankle high boots with their little western heal. I had a giant-sized sweater on over top of this get up, that looked like a tunic and it was intentionally too big, so it would fall off one shoulder. It was the 80's. My blonde hair was super wavy back then and in the humid damp air I had some big-hair going on with big ear rings. I thought I was so fashion up-to-date as I walked into the law office for work.

The 40-something year old secretaries all looked up from their typewriters (that's right-typewriters!) at me as I stepped off the elevator. And I saw it. They all stifled a laugh when they caught a look at me. It confirmed to me my suspicions were correct. I looked silly. The next day it was back to my skinny jeans, hiking boots and leather blazer.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Remember Dad

My father made his living selling insurance. One day he went to the local Christian bookstore. At the time this was a very large Christian book retailer with multiple locations, and they advertised heavily on Christian radio. As he entered the building, he had a cheerful heart being among fellow brethren and the atmosphere of the store. He approached the owner, held out his business card and said, "I'd like the opportunity to speak to you about your insurance needs." The owner took the card, looked at it, and then shoved it back at my dad and bluntly stated, "I only do business with Christians." My dad stood there and looked at his business card. His company logo was on it, a sales award seal, and about 3 degrees after his name. No bible verse was added. No little "fishy" symbol or "cross" symbol. Instead of defending himself, or explaining that he was indeed a Servant of his Lord, my dad just put his card away. Said, thank you for your time. Have a nice day. Then left.

I asked my dad why he didn't speak up and at least "meet the objection" as they say in sales lingo. My dad answered, he didn't have Peace.


Philippians 4:7 The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Trip to 1804 West Virginia (For Nerds Only)

On Saturday Olin and I drove to Wild, Wonderful West Virginia for a trip back in time. The drive through Ohio was beautiful. We crossed the Ohio River and ate dinner at an 1850's hotel. The patio garden was a nice place for an early meal together.

Then we headed to the shore of the Ohio River to await the sunset and to board a stern wheeler. The paddle boat took us to an island in the river in the pitch dark of night. No artificial light. All was lit up with candles and little torches were everywhere for a reenactment of a party in 1804 in the Blennerhasset mansion.

Olin's camera wasn't set up right to
take photos in the dark, but I wanted to capture the idea of all the burning candles on the island. When I walked off the boat we were greeted by people dressed up and in character from 1804.

The experience felt like we were inside of a play, not sitting in theatre seats but walking around the stage and watching and interacting with the actors.

It was really... really... well,

weird.

When we first arrived, we climbed aboard a horse-drawn wagon that gave us a tour around the island in the dark, trotting down a path lined by burning torches. We heard a little history of the island.

Then we got in the line to go through the mansion. We met Mr and Mrs Blennerhassett at the door and we went inside to have a look see. The party included dancing on the second floor with live music, music in the downstairs parlor. In fact there was music everywhere on the island.

Like I said, it was really... really...

weird.

The evening was perfect with an almost full moon and the West Virginian autumn air was cool with no wind. Perfect.

We ended up at bonfire and I heard some whippersnappers playing banjo, bass, and guitar and singing some fantastic blue-grass with a mountain twang and everything. I felt the young singer could be a star he was that good. As is fitting for October while we warmed ourselves by a bonfire a vivacious older colonial gentleman told us some true ghost stories about the mansion and grounds.

By 10:30 pm we had to walk back through a path of candles and climb aboard the last paddle boat back to Ohio. Olin drove home, while I slept soundly. At 1:30 AM my own bed felt fabulous. When I woke up, it felt like I had had a really weird dream. The end.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Wall of Hights

This spot in my house is between the kitchen and the family room, a very open area. I was silly to start measuring the people in our house, friends, visitors, and pets on this wall. Kids took over the practice at various ages. See where Sam wrote "wall of hights" when he was 7? Yes, we know an "e" is missing.

A foot off the ground written in faded blue marker is"Princess 10/2002" where someone measured our Corgi. Way up higher are other precious names & dates, and someone even measured how high they could lift their foot. In reflection, it's disappointing that some of the measurements have faded and worn off over 16 years. In fact I painted over the wall once prior to 2000 because I was going to sell the house. So there's 5 years of measurements missing. Yet, it's right in the open where everyone can see all its pencil smudges and magic marker markings. My advice to young folk setting up your home: Don't do this. Scroll below and you can see where to buy off etsy an attractive measuring vinyl hanging that can be taken down and put away, and you won't lose those precious measurements of life. I can't bring myself to paint over this wall. So here it remains all out in the open.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Waiting on Myself

First of all, I realize I need to change the sub heading of this here blog. I'm not middle-aged anymore. If I were (was?) that would mean I'd live to 100 years old. I suppose it's possible. It's just not likely since I spent a lot of time in the sun.

So I need to change that. I've been directionless over the past year, too, and I'd like to change that.

I started up the "success group" with some other agents again. We had our first meeting Tuesday. I'm waiting around right now on their conference call. We are going to conference in, say, "Ready, Set, Go" and then make phone calls to anyone we know who is alive and breathing. Just a little chat to ask for a referral.. Then an hour later, we'll conference in to see if anyone got an appointment. Since our last group met, one gal changed brokers. She invited a new gal from an entirely different broker. Plus, we got a new gal from my broker. So the group is different now with agents joining. The big change, of course: my close friend isn't there anymore because she passed away in March.

I had tried the success group in May after my friend passed away, but I couldn't get into it. I was grieving. My grief-driven thoughts back in May went like this:

My friend who passed away had a goal with our group. She wanted to sell own home which had been on the market for awhile. Though gorgeous it overlooked a noisy freeway. My friend wanted to sell that big house and buy a beautiful, brand new luxury condo. She attributed to me her success in reaching her goal. She took my advice and put a huge photo of the new condo on her car key chain. Eevery time she started her car she looked at a photo of the luxury condo. This caused her to "focus" on that goal. She successfully sold the house (which was like a miracle) and moved into her new condo. I remember her hugging herself, saying, "Oh, I love it! I love my new condo!"

Then, a month after she moved in she got sick, had surgery, and passed away.

Because of these series of events, I had a hard time setting any goals. My grief over losing someone I really liked and enjoyed professionally and spiritually clouded my thoughts about success and goals. I just could not move into success thinking. I kept pondering how vain it is to have goals. Life is vain. Why try? I kept thinking how she only got to enjoy her beautiful success for only one month. You need to know that my friend was not greedy or materialistic. She loved Jesus with all her heart and was incredibly generous and loving toward others.

I know a lot of my aversion to goal setting and getting into success mode was influenced by the grief. Intellectually I knew this, so I tried to participate in the success group for mutual motivation and support back in May. Yet, I couldn't push through. I did reach out to my sphere of influence and the result was in deed new business, but not at the volume I need in order to make a living. I kept sabotaging myself and spinning my wheels. Being busy without accomplishing anything. Trapped in deals that led no where, and burdened by business expenses. Ads I purchased, mailings, fees for internet sites, all for nada. zip. zero.

I started to speak the Word of God out loud, "forgetting the past I press onward toward the mark." Or, "I can do all things through Christ" Or, "I am a victorious over comer by the word of my testimony." Or, "I'm blessed beyond the curse" and "goodness and mercy follows me" This practice is somewhat amazing. It is much different than silent prayer, and listening prayer. Standing tall, speaking out loud the truth of my situation even though I don't "feel" it shook some life back into me. The truth is I'm a winner. The truth is I'm the head and not the tail. The truth is I have dominion on this earth. Even though I do not feel it, that is the spiritual truth. My whole outlook began to change from self-pity to forward movement. There is something in saying it out loud.

Next came a big boost. I found out if I sold another house by a particular builder, I will get a bonus from the builder. He'll give me a paid trip for 2 to Palm Springs, CA and a good amount of spending money. I printed off an 8x10 photo of the resort in Palm Springs, and the dessert. They have horseback riding, too!! I wrote on the photo, "Sell 1 by September 30th" and placed it on my steering wheel. I really wanted the trip. I prayed about this every day. I'm happy to say I am in deed now in contract on a little condo with the builder. So, as long as the loan is approved by the bank, I'm headed to Palm Springs! I've never been west of Wyoming! I'm excited.

There really is nothing like a little success to foster an attitude of success. The group reminded me Tuesday that our friend got to enjoy her luxurious home and was thrilled with achieving her goal. She wasn't sitting around waiting for her illness to take her. She was living her life and experiencing joy. Even more good news, that condo didn't sit on the market forever when her daughters had to sell it after her death. It sold in two days. God was there blessing the whole thing. Yet, in grief, it doesn't feel like God is on my side. Feelings and reality are two different things.

As I sit here waiting for the conference call I like to imagine my friend in heaven. She is probably checking out the progress on all our mansions as they are being prepared. She is probably thrilled with the real estate in heaven. I imagine her meeting her loved ones with clipboard in hand, and saying, "wait until I show you the selection of mansions we have here in heaven! You're going to love this neighborhood."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cookies

Today I had a surprise at my office. A package of cookies, chocolate pretzels, and brownies. This was from the "sweetest" client, the new owner of darling little house.
I love my job.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

No Darkness At All

This is the message we heard from Jesus and we're telling it to you now:
God is LIGHT, and in HIM there is no darkness... at all! 1 John 1:5


so any dark thoughts, dark attitudes, don't even exist in God at all. So any twinge of bitterness, resentments, aren't existing in God. My heavenly father has only thoughts of LIGHT toward me. Is he ignoring me? Is he withholding from me? These things don't exist in Him ... at all.

This is what I'm meditating on today.

I pray my business today and the work that I do to serve others will be for the glory of God and for His name.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Vacation & Juvenile Court




I've been busy or else staring off into space. I went on a quick trip to Princeton, New Jersey to see Rachael. We stayed in her married-student-housing apartment with her & the son-in-law. Now most people who go on trips want to see special places and do special things. In this instance, I told Rachael that I'd be happy just sticking around the apartment, eating dinner together and watching movies together. Just time together.

So no trip to the bustling city was made, and no scurrying here there and everywhere. Rachael cooked us up some good grub, like enchiladas and lasagna and homemade chicken salad. We went to a farm and picked raspberries! That was fun. We looked at the pony and the goats and the chickens. We sampled some awesome nectarine salsa and bought some to take home.
After our little farm visit, we made a raspberry tart for our desert that evening. It was very yummy. We also went canoeing on an old abandoned canal, which took us under old train tracks and bridges. I also got to see the famous garden that Rachael started in the Spring in the married-student-housing-community-garden. That's her up there with a giant-sized Basil plant. She'll probably make me take this photo down cuz she's in muck boots & no makeup. She is so vain. Seriously.

We ate lunch at a brewery in downtown Princeton, too. And, of course, we walked past Princeton Theological Seminary where Rachael is studying and past Princeton University. Both are wonderfully old, gothic beauties with stained glass windows everywhere. We also drove past Einstein's house and I took a photo of it. (it's a private residence today) We drove past two of Woodrow Wilson's homes and Olin took photos of them. And, we walked around an old, old grave yard and saw some dead people's graves. I was impressed with the grave of the great revivalist John Edwards, who preached in the 1700's a famous sermon called, "Sinners in the Hands of Angry God."
I really enjoyed seeing the church where Rachael will be interning with the youth. It's a really, really old congregation dating back to 1772! I enjoyed their contemporary service, and the sermon was something you'd hear in a Vineyard. Meaning I liked it: it was on the Love of God. You honestly cannot hear enough about the Love of God. God is not mean. He's real. A good sermon brings you back to center. So I was a happy mommy getting to see where Rachael and Kevin will be worshiping and ministering over the next several months.

I had many favorite moments on our trip. One of which was my son, Sam, and Rachael singing a few songs together while Rachael played piano. Music makes life worth living doesn't it?
And Clancy. He makes smile so much.

This morning Sam and Olin and I went down to Juvenile Court as Sam got a ticket going 92 mph in 65 mph. This was a very interesting experience. I wish I could have sat in on all the sessions to see if we got special treatment because we are white, and Sam wore a dress shirt and tie, and we were clean looking. That would be very interesting to see how everyone else was treated as everyone else waiting for their turn with the judge had on jeans, or football jerseys, or girl's wearing clothing too small for their bodies and showing parts that I would not let my child show, especially to appear in court. The judge's decision is somewhat subjective. There isn't a menu of offenses and a corresponding punishment. So, basically he could have had a suspension, (I mean 92 mph people!) along with $150 in court costs, plus 4 whole points on his license. Think of the insurance costs on that! Instead court costs were waived, he was ordered to take traffic school, and thus the 4 points get knocked down to 2 points! No suspension. All I can say is, I think Jesus might have had something to do with the mercy received today. Or was it just, well, .... prejudice?

Justice is supposed to be blind. I hope it is.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Definition of Love-josh garrels

So my fav musician/lyricist right now (josh garrels) has a new video/interview out on the definition of love.
I think you'll like. Watch it now. :)
Link
Josh Garrels Love


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Grass Cutting

I have nothing interesting to say or think about. I'm about to the cut the grass. Back in the day I could ponder such things as grass cutting and get this analogy to life and a sprititual lesson. Like "our daily bread" type of essay.

Today grass cutting is grass cutting. I will put on some old boots and walk bath and forth across my quarter acre of land.

That is all.

The end.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Night the Air Condition Broke

Our air conditioner unit died. The air conditioner technician said he never saw a unit last as long as ours. He said it was original to the house, 1979. I had a feeling this summer it would go out this year. Once, way back 23 years ago, I prayed over my appliances and asked God to make them last a long time. He made the Jews clothes and shoes last 40 years, so I figured he could make my appliances last a long time.

Now since this has been a hard financial year for me, I will not be getting that A/C unit replaced. We put some fans throughout the house. Still, I am so sweaty. No wonder Amish people stink so badly. I could take 3 showers today and I would still feel all sticky and gross.

It's actually cooler outside than inside, but I can't sit out on the front porch all night.

I've come to the conclusion that people don't care about HIV patients. I know, I know, I am making a generalized statement. But, still. It seems that way.

How long will I keep thinking about my young neighbor, who died so young, because of HIV. I'm having a hard time getting over this. No one wants to hear about it, though. I do mean no one.

I need to find something to do for HIV patients. But, what? I keep thinking how horribly lonely they must feel.

This post is a drag isn't it?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday and H.I.V.

Today I have much real estate work to do. On that subject, it can be tiring to work hard, and not get paid. But overall in general I am satisfied in the work I do.

Before I begin all the research, contract writing, and emails, I want to put down on my little blog my thoughts. Since I didn't get a day rest yesterday, Sunday, I feel I can 20 minutes and write a blog, and put some of this urgent work aside for 20 minutes.

At the funeral home I learned that my friend died of pnemonia because his body couldn't fight the HIV and the other infections he would get. This I heard from his father. My first thought is one of thankfulness that the father spoke matter of factly about his son's illness. To me it was a comfort in some way that his family accepted as he was and loved him and didn't run and hide from shame. I think the devil wants to blast people with shame and fear. Did their son live a clean life? No. But, he was still a beautiful soul and someone to be loved and cherished.

My other thoughts kept me up all night. When this young man start hair dressing school my husband would notice him driving past our house with his "friends" and the lifestyle that this young man was living grieved my husband greatly. Thinking back to those years, which only a few years, I am angry at the hair industry. I am angry at Hollywood. I am angry at the corruption that Hollywood and the fashion industry wants to force upon the creative people who pursue a career in art, whether it's fashion, acting, etc.

If you'll remember a blog post I wrote back in October 2009 about a horrible hair cut got from a young man who is the son of Pentecostal preacher and gay. The young man told me that when men entire the Paul Mitchell Hair School they are harrassed by the teachers and students if they claim they are straight. That made me angry when I heard him tell me this.

After seeing my friend's lifeless body, at such an incredibly young age, I am angered again.

This is truly a culture of death that we live in. If you watch tv, go to movies, listen the radio, interact with people, we are in a culture of death. Every thing is pushing and influencing to people to accept unhealthy living as acceptable and not just acceptable but tempting them to pursue unclean lifestyles.

I am feeling grief over this stolen, creative life. This is guy that would say, "hey! how are you?" and give you a hug and act like he was happy to see you.

I really, really hate the devil right now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday and a Funeral Home

Well, I am very happy that for the first time in a long time I don't have to do an Open House.
I might be showing houses, and then, I might not. Who knows? We'll see.

It's Sunday so begins the question of where to worship as you all know I am church homeless. Do I just go back to where I came from, do I go somewhere I've visited, do I try yet again another church. I do like going to church, so I don't go because I HAVE to. I like it. As long as it's not super boring. My last pastor said once, "it's a sin for church to be boring," at least that was his opinion. I honestly agree. If you read about the temple and everything going on in there, it was not boring. Incense, birds in cages, skillful musicians and singers, lots of gold and ornamentation.

I'm off the subject.

I'm going to a funeral home today at 4:00. A boy (boy in my mind) died. He wasa neighbor for most of his childhood life. His parents moved away after he graduated from high school. He died, I guess, of pneumonia. He's 25 years old. He would ride his bike around and come up on my porch and then tell me all kinds of neighborhood gossip. I enjoyed listening to the stories about people and he would have this delightful grin on his face and a twinkle in his eyes while telling on people.

He played the drums in the drum line, and then he quit because it was too demanding. I really thought the drum teacher was a psycho workaholic so I don't blame him for quitting.

He became a hairdresser and I didn't see him anymore. Isn't it interesting how much he enjoyed gossiping as a teenager and then he became a hairdresser in a salon and that's what hair stylists do all day, is gossip.

So it's sad. I don't want to go. But, I want to show his sister and mother some support and let them know that he had people who liked him.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dreamt of My Life

As I slept in the dreamland this morning I was aware of my body being half awake yet half asleep in my oh, so comfy bed. The morning light was about to slip into the room. and my life began too play before my mind's eyes. I saw certain moments in time in my past. Each event and scene was illuminated and framed by a bright, warm almost golden, yet silvery glow. It was an unusual light that was not like sunlight, moonlight, but similar. As I peered into each scene a joy filled my consciousness and a pure delight filled my heart. I exclaimed to myself in my mind, "Look! I had an amazing life!" Gratitude and joy unspeakable consoled me as I lie there and watch scene after scene. I was surprised by each scene and amazed at the fortune I had in each circumstance. I could not have planned such wonderful happenstances if I tried. Treasurer hunters go in search of gold or diamonds. I just went moved aimlessly through my life and stumbled upon treasures that currencies could never buy.

I felt like I was floating bodiless through a dark expanse of time along the line of my life and peering into it. Sort of like Charles Dickens' character Scrooge was escorted through his life, I too had a companion. I had no ghost escorting me, instead the expanse that surrounded me was enveloping me and was with me as a constant companion and a caring, nurturing source of comfort.

I saw myself take my very first horseback riding lesson at the Smiley "R" Ranch on Smiley Road. The feeling that 10 year old me had looking out the car window as we approached the small red barn with silver metal roof and the white horse fencing was recalled. How could I have had such amazing luck as finding the Smiley R Ranch? Just recalling that moment now brings incredible tears of joy to me. I'm actually wiping away large tear drops as I write this.

Another scene was me on the hardwood floors of my charming first home in front of the marble fireplace playing with my toddler. Each little ringlet of curled hair and dark eyelash was a treasure to behold. Wow. Was all I could say. What a wonderful life I have had!

I could see the sidewalk that led out the door of my charming little house that led to adventure: a park, a carryout, and a delightful neighbor across the street. How could I possibly have been so incredibly fortunate to meet Blanche and her cheerfulness and readiness for inclusion, friendship and the outings we would embark on. I pondered this glorious gift. Was it an accident that I stumbled across the street to be greeted by such happy comraderie to enjoy for my whole life?

The dream continued and I arose to a fully awakened state of joy at the realization that my life wasn't "hidden," "wasted," "worthless," "unnoticed," "meaningless," "vain." My life actually astounded me. This is a Supernatural joy. A Supernatural communication from the One who formed me, the one who watches over me, the One who abides in and with me forever.

If you've wondered why I subtitled this blog calling myself a mystic, it's because I have known and experienced this Supernatural Love of God through the power of the Holy Spirit and work of Christ.

Those sound like gobbledy goop words, or some religious expression doesn't it? Let me try to put in simple terms what I have experienced. God heard my prayers and my heart cries yesterday and He gave me an answer in my sleep. Why did He answer me in my sleep? Because I am stubborn in my conscious thinking and not open to the possibilities of what He wants to show me in my awakened state. He chose to speak to me while I was vulnerable and not able to rise up and say, "no, that's not true!" Why do I resist this Great Love so much? Why do I doubt the Love of God? I do not know the answer. Only to say that this flesh I'm in, wants to party and carouse while it's living this short time on this planet. Yet, I'm more than this flesh I'm in. I'm not just on this planet. I'm in a different kingdom at the same time, though often so unaware of the unseen Hand of God.
My spirit that is me feels so tiny, so small, and my flesh, with it's bitterness and heartbreak, so big and loud.

Yesterday, my attitude was so bad. Why does everything have to be so incredibily hard? Why should I try at this thing called life when I'm just gonna die anyway and be forgotten? I didn't get an answer yesterday. Instead I doubted the whole purpose of the Life thing. By sheer determination alone I put one foot in front of the other and pushed on with the duties I had bound myself to that day.
Though I tried to get very quiet and listen for a "still small voice" I was too caught up in the cares of this world and let those cares choke off any joyful truth.

Yet there in my oh so comfy bed, passed out and quiet I was taken on a little journey and caressed with tender mercies. I hope you can know this joy too.

Epilogue: my teenage son asked me how my sleep was last night. I told him amazing, why? He answered, I prayed over the house before I went to sleep and rebuked all evil.
Again! How did I get so lucky? A son who prays and commands the darkness away from my home. Amazing. I'd say God answered his prayer, too.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

First I Killed Him


Then I ate him. And my husband ate her.

My neighbor drove for three house to pick up these little lobsters from a guy who drove to Maine to get them off a lobster boat.

I cooked them perfectly. Perfectly timed. They were so good. The Youtube clip below cracked me up. This is sort of what I did when I put my lobsters in the pot.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trulia Are You Evil?

I'm just a little spooked here this morning for the second time. Our internet world is getting weirder and scarier to me by the day. I'm not sure I like how connected the whole internet world is and how the websites have programs that guess what sort of things you like to buy and are interested in by your IP address.

So this morning it happened again. I'm on blogger just moseying about while I sip my fresh brewed bold cup of coffee. Then all of a sudden a Trulia banner appears, WITH MY PHOTO in it telling me I can upgrade my Trulia account and get all my listings sold faster!

How did Trulia do that? It didn't happen on just Blogger either. Last night I was on some random website looking for inspiration and it happened there too!

It feels sort of Big Brother-ish from the book 1984.

Some times I think the Amish are completely right with their philosophies about technology.

Well, good morning. If you're on the internet, my face is probably popping up in a banner on your page somewhere inviting you to search for homes in Ohio!

To Da Lou

Monday, July 25, 2011

Easy Thai Chicken Recipe

I made this yesterday and it was pretty easy and pretty good, too.

Thai Chicken

1/4 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp natural creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp red curry paste (I threw in another Tbsp of yellow curry powder)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 lbs bonless chicken thighs, cut into 1 in pieces
2 red bell peppers, sliced 3/4 in thick
1 large onion, sliced (I used a vadalia)
1 lb rice noodles
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges at serving

In a 5-6 qt slow cooker, combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, curry paste and ginger, mix in the chicken, peppers and onion.

Cook covered on low for 5-6 hours (high for 3-4)

Twenty minutes prior to serving, cook the noodles. Stir the peas into the chicken mixture and cook, covered, until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Spoon the chicken, vegetables and sauces over the noodles and sprinkle with the cilantro; serve with the lime wedges.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Little Bit of July Goings On

It's 100 degrees outside and humid. So I"m now inside with hot tea, LOL.
We rode our bikes downtown on July 4th to watch the fireworks. Next year I want to take a Kayak downtown like these people did. Jealous. (in a good way)
Before the fireworks began we walked the riverfront for carnival food & people watching.














Then one weekend in July we went to the Zoo.
Boy, is it hot in Ohio. Wish I had a Coca Cola, said the polar bear.















Don't even bother me, it's hotter than Africa here said mama Lion.














If anyone wants to rub my belly, that's fine with me, said Ochocinco.