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Half Way There

In January of this year, I decided to write one post a month that includes 10 things that I am thankful for during that month. I haven’t been checking in here as often and June just slipped away from me. While I did not post, I have so much to be thankful for each and every day of the year.

1) We recently took a short little overnight trip to get away. Our destination … mini golf. We love some mini golf! It was a cooler, sunny morning. The course was pretty empty. We had so much fun! I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to just get away from it all for a little bit!


2) I recently took my grandson to a doctor’s appointment in another town. Afterward, we went to a local park that had a free water area for kids. He had the best time! And nothing could replace the look of pure joy on his face as he experienced this for the very first time. Priceless!

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3) I am thankful for the little things in life … like this little butterfly that entertained me outside of the windows while sitting in a waiting room.


4) I am thankful for creative people that place cool things in their yard for us to see.


5) I am thankful that the flowers are really blooming from all of this wonderful rain!


6) I am thankful for summer cookouts and s’mores!

7) I am thankful for wheel barrels, rakes, weed eaters, lawn mowers & all of the convenient tools that help me keep my yard in control!

8) I am thankful for the nail polish that brightens my toes in a pair of flip flops on these warm summer days.

9) With now having a bigger dog in our house, I am so very thankful that I have a shop vac. That little baby is light weight and portable & helps to keep the dog hair to a minimum!

10) I am thankful for over the counter allergy meds to help me deal with these wonderful summer allergies.

We are already halfway through this year … what do you have to be thankful for so far this year?

Connecting the Dots

I currently have two seemingly unrelated thoughts swirling around in my head. Now to see if I can connect the dots. I beg encourage you to read until the end, no matter how much you want to run away … I want your opinions!

I just recently started going to a therapist. I decided that I deserve to be happy. Before my first session, I had many doubts. Doubts that she could make sense of my jumbled thoughts. Doubts that she could help me. But, I am just beginning to see the light. And, it feels good.

I have some depression and unresolved grief. That part is easy for me to understand the why’s of … even if I cannot exactly figure out how to help myself. (My therapist … let’s call her C, said we will get to that part later.) But, how I went from a competent, confident nurse to someone unable to hold a job of any kind due to anxiety is really beyond my comprehension. By breaking down my life into pieces, C has helped me to identify when it all started and how it all began to control me. A bunch of tears & a few panic attacks later, I learned that THAT was the simple part.

In the quest to find out my underlying issues, C has decided that due to some very negative influences in my life by some very judgmental (keep that word in mind because we will get back to that) people, followed by things that I see as “failures” in my life, I have begun to let their thoughts and actions sway my confidence, let their comments form my new negative self image and my supposed failures are all my anxiety needed to prove to me that these people are right. Wow!

So here is where I am at. (If you could care less where I am at and want to get on with the next part of this post, go to ** below) I have one central theme that begins controlling my thoughts. These thoughts are recurring but can change from day to day. As I obsess on these thoughts, my anxiety increases. In my home environment, my “safe” place, getting a handle on those thoughts turned out to be relatively quick. When my thought of the day began, I would acknowledge it and then write it all down. I call it giving the thought a voice. I would also write out my counter argument and then I give myself permission to let that thought go. For me, that has worked pretty well. One example from this past week, I had a best friend from the time that I was able to climb over the fence to her house. We were in the same grade and we were inseparable … until 6th grade. Out of the blue, she dumped me for a new best friend. It was tough for me. I guess I never really got over that hurt. I have often questioned what I did wrong. Was I not good enough? I still have dreams to this day of her talking to me and then in the middle she will just walk off and join a large group of people talking and laughing. I can feel the same childhood hurt all over again. So, for this scenario, I wrote down in detail the events surrounding the ending of our friendship. I wrote down how it made me feel. I wrote down the questions I would love to ask her ( but don’t really want to know the answers to). And then I wrote about all of the fun that we had and the joys that I had from being her friend. When I think of her now, I try to focus on the great parts of our friendship instead of the hurt. So far, so good.

The process involved in the environment outside of my home, more specifically job related, has not been so easy. Let’s say my mind is focused on a job as a cashier. My thoughts may cycle around “What if my drawer is short cash?” C’s answer is “So what?” When I tried my hand at working behind a seafood counter, I had a lot of problems hearing anyone due to the noise levels of all of the equipment. I felt like the other employees were watching my every move, judging me. C’s answer, “So what?” The answers to the question, “So what?” should not be so anxiety inducing when the stakes are not life or death. But, what about with nursing? What happens if I give the wrong medication? What happens if I treat the wrong patient? What happens if I make a mistake that I cannot fix? What if someone dies because of me? We are human, we make mistakes. But in all of those cases, “so what?” is a big deal! I know as a nurse, I am conscientious. I know that I do all of my double and triple checks. I know that I truly care about my patients. I know that I would never knowingly do something to hurt someone. But, “what if?’ has plagued my thoughts. It has shaken my confidence. It has made me question my purpose now that nursing seems like a lifetime ago.

** Now back to our word … judgmental. Before we go on, I feel a definition is in order. Miriam – Webster defines it as …

:tending to judge people too quickly and critically :of, relating to, or involving judgment

Recently in the news, there was a story about a Mom being photographed breastfeeding her baby in a restaurant. The poster of the picture made a comment about having to see this while eating his meal and with kids around. (I am not debating the issue of breastfeeding in public. I am also not debating the posting of a photo of a minor.) This Mom apparently was very adamant about receiving an apology for posting the photo and about the photo being removed. I cannot even begin to explain how I would have felt if this picture had been of me. But, how is this different from facebook friends posting photos of random people they see that are acting weird, dressed crazy or doing something extreme while they are out & about in their daily life? Or what about all of those People of Walmart posts? When did it become ok to judge people with or without all of the facts and then publicly call them out on it? Maybe people are dirty because they used their last dollar to buy their child food instead of a bar of soap. Maybe someone’s clothes are too small because their clothes burned in a fire and that is all that was donated to them. Maybe when you went out thinking you were dressed nicely someone else thought you looked hideous and posted your photo?

I will admit that I am guilty of occasionally forming negative opinions about those I come in contact with. But, before I speak or act on those thoughts, I try to determine if my thoughts need action or are they better off remaining just thoughts. I fail sometimes. But, I vow to never knowingly cause someone else undue anxiety or embarrassment for my own amusement.

If you made it this far, thank you! Now, for discussion … Most people form ideas or have opinions about other’s based on their dress or their speech or their actions. But what turns a seemingly harmless thought in your mind into a harsh judgment? When is it ok to speak whatever is on your mind without thought to the other person’s well being? Without thought to what is legally allowed, do you think it’s ok to post people’s photos without their knowledge on social media sites with your seemingly funny or negative comments? Would you be mad or think it was funny if you found a unflattering photo of yourself with a harsh comment on a facebook post?

A Day In The Life of a 3 Year Old Boy

On Wednesdays, my grandson and I spend the day together while his parents are at work. Usually, he takes a nap during the afternoon. But, yesterday, he just wasn’t sleepy. So, we headed outside. It was a beautiful day!

I did a bit of weeding in my garden while he got in his little swimming pool … just long enough to get wet. We have a sandy area in our yard that he just loves to play in. So, as he used “digger” and “boulder” (the names of his toy utility vehicles), he managed to get sand from the top of his head to the tips of his toes and every nook & cranny in between.

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When I snapped this evidence for future embarrassment photo, he said, “Did you just take my picture?”

He, of course, then needed to take my picture. This is what I agreed to …


A shadow portrait of us together. Not bad for 3.

As he wondered around the yard with my camera, he said he was taking a picture of everywhere he was going. And, he did.

Thank goodness for digital cameras. I could not afford the cost of film with this little guy around.

Lessons In Nature: Mama Blackbird

Recently, a little black mama bird took up residence in my backyard owl house. I have been watching her for a couple of weeks as she prepared her nest & then eventually fed her babies. Each day, I marveled at the sight … her leaving the nest, being away anywhere from mere seconds to a few minutes each time, arriving back to the house with an onslaught of frantic chirping, spending just moments inside delivering the food and off again she would go. It must have been hundreds of times a day. It was exhausting just watching her.

Watching her made me aware of the lessons I could learn from Mama Blackbird.

1) Despite God’s promises, I worry over things that I shouldn’t. I know that I lack faith.

Matthew 6:30 O ye of little faith?

But, just as these baby birds know that their Mama will be back to feed them, God promises us that he will care for us, also.

Matthew 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

2) Can a bird feel love? Maybe not. But, as her little birdies grow and thrive in the nest, Mama Blackbird is taking care of all of their basic needs. Love is not just about saying the words, it is shown in our daily actions & devotion to others.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

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I think Mama Blackbird is looking a little frazzled!

3) This Mama Blackbird could fly away from the nest and never come back. But instinct tells her that they will surely die without her. No other bird will come in and take over the process of sitting on her eggs or feeding them until they can find their own food. She doesn’t get a break. She gave them life and will care for them until they leave the nest. This is her daily duty. Our life is much more complicated than a bird’s, our responsibilities being much greater. Fortunately, unlike Mama Blackbird, most people have other’s to lean on. I am personally pledging to try to be more mindful of the needs of others (not just mothers) as they go about their daily duties.

4) Both Mama Blackbird and her babies exhibit patience. As Mama Blackbird flies away, the baby birds go quiet as they patiently await the return of their Mama. As Mama Blackbird approaches the nest, the baby’s cheeps reach a fever pitch. She delivers the food without wavering and then off she goes again.

Romans 8:24-25 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

This is one I need to remind myself of … “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them– every day begin the task anew.” ~ Francis de Sales

5) I recently saw a video on facebook of a bird (I believe a goose) taking flight off of a very high ledge. You can see the tiny bird waiver slightly before he takes off. As he descended, he did not fly. He eventually bounced off the sharp ledges, not just once. When he hit bottom, I just knew he did not survive. But, as the video continued, he was indeed alive as Mom and Dad came to greet him. A true miracle! And what bravery!

When this Mama Blackbird approaches the owl house, she knows when we are near. Sometimes, she will land in the neighbor’s yard and watch to see who is around the house before she approaches. Other times, she flies right on in and back out again. No matter what is going on in our yard, she will squack loudly and still go in to feed her young. She is so brave!

Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest.

6) Mama Blackbird has things that she must accomplish, some before she can even lay her eggs. She must find a perfect & safe spot, prepare a nest, sit to hatch the eggs, feed them, teach them to fly and then allow them to leave the nest.

Hebrews 12: 1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

This life we live is full of ups and downs, but we must persevere … keep our eyes on the prize!

7) As I continued to watch the birds each day, finally one appeared in the little opening. I was thrilled. Each day this little fluffy guy would appear and I would wonder if this would be the day that I would see them take flight. As you can guess, I missed it. I went out one day to find them gone. The true example of empty nest. Two of my children are still living in my home. They are not little and are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. Some days, in the calm and quiet, I think … What now?

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John 16:32 32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

My children are pretty good boys. I know that I am very blessed to be their Mom!

Proverbs 31:28Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

I know that I could have learned much more from Mama Blackbird and my quiet time with nature. But, how very fortunate we are to experience the wonder and the beauty around us! I need to remember sometimes to just be still and be thankful!

“I’m Not Perfect But I’m Thankful”

Starting in 2015, I made it a goal to list 10 things that I am thankful for every month. And, thankfully, I have made it until May! WooHoo!

1) This week, I am thankful for weekend walk in clinics. After a week which started with allergy type symptoms, progressed to what I thought was just a viral laryngitis but quickly became strep throat and bronchitis, I was so happy to have someplace to go that was quick in and quick out since I felt so poorly. It was an added bonus that the doctor was very caring and friendly. My recovery has been slow but I feel so much better than I did Saturday!

2) I am thankful for animal shelters and the work of volunteers.

I am not making the assumption that all animal shelters are for the good of the animal. I am not saying that all are run perfectly. But, after visiting a  local shelter with my son to adopt this beautiful, sweet girl, I am thankful for the good work that they do!


3) It seems like when Spring rolls around, we are already way ahead on our April showers and the sunshine is such a distant memory. Some days, it seems the rain will never end. But, then we hit the dry spell. It is amazing how quickly the sun dries everything out. We finally got a nice rain shower. It perked my garden right up. So very thankful for that!

4) I am also very thankful for the cool breezes and mild temperatures the rain sometimes brings. Nothing refreshes the soul like fresh air coming in the windows.

5) I am thankful for pillows. As I sit here in bed unable to sleep from the wonderful steroids, I am propped by a mound of soft pillows, making it easier for me to breathe.

6) After blaming the steroids for my insomnia, I am also going to thank them for helping me to breathe easier. Nothing feels more frightening to me than being short of breath!

7) As I sit here typing this on a tiny kindle screen, I am thankful for my dollar tree reading glasses. Boy, did I mention this screen is small? But, seriously, I have pairs of these in my car and all over my house.

8) Before I headed over here to type this post, I finished my to-do list for this week. I am thankful for pen and paper to help keep me straight.

9) I am not sure if I have said this one before, and quite frankly I am too lazy to go back and double check, so … I am thankful for Netflix. It has been quite a while since I have felt so ill that all I did was watch tv.

10) With an on-going theme of my being ill, I will part on this final thought. I am thankful for my health and healing from the ultimate healer, God!

Writing 101: Day Nineteen, Don’t Stop the Rockin’

I’ve been AWOL from writing 101 and from blogging in general. As far as writing goes, my inkwell has been empty. The prompt description for today says it perfectly. I’m not …

feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident.

But, as my thoughts run crazy through my brain, I have taken my frustrations out on my yard. The good thing about that is that it is starting to take shape.

Last year, I planted some veggies in buckets and had pretty good success. My latest project …


A raised bed vegetable garden that might keep the bunnies out of it and that could be either temporary or permanent. I didn’t want to love my garden and in a couple years the walls started to rot away. So, I used cinder blocks. It seemed like a good idea … until about 54ish blocks later. Back! Breaking! Work!

Why the crazy design you might ask? Because I found my MAJOR design flaw after I was at least 95% done with the wall build. Ugh! My two sides did not mesh up together correctly. I had too much room left over after I added my last block but not enough room to add a spacer block. So, I improvised & got a little creative … turning two blocks side ways left just enough room to use a paver as a spacer and hid the fact that my two sides didn’t line up.

I planted wave petunias in a few of the cinder block holes to liven up the blah look of the blocks… when they finally fill out. And, I planted herbs, marigolds and onions in the other holes. My grandson particularly loves the little paver seat that I added for another camouflage effect.

The cement pavers around the side were placed flush with the ground so that I do not have extra weed eating to do … we can mow right up to this baby! And as is blatantly obvious, I was short 2 pavers.

I admit, this was not the “frugal” way to make a raised bed garden. Although, I did cut my costs a little by starting my plants from seeds and using a bunch of compost I had been brewing and mulch from my yard.



My first raised bed garden. (I guess I should have swept before the photo)

Planted in the bed … lettuce, corn carrots, tomatoes & cucumbers.

Now to not so patiently wait for the veggies to grow!

Writing 101: Day Eleven, Size Matters (In Sentences)


My childhood home sat amongst rows of other houses. A ranch style house with a rock face, it consisted of 1100 square feet and a two car garage. I am sure it was nothing special to others. But, to me, it was perfect. Full of so much love!

Growing up with two brothers, I had to put up with their endless antics … like their games of “feet in the face” or chasing me with my Dad’s false teeth. But, as the odd girl out, I also got my own room. Now that memory brings a smile. The best way to describe my room at 12 years old was yellow and wall to wall girly! And, I always had a hamster. When one died, some well meaning friend would buy me another. To this day, I cannot even think about getting a hamster.

My Dad was Army. So, we lived near the military base. Growing up, we had to say goodbye to friends in school way too soon. But, on our street, we were lucky. We were stuck with each other in both good and bad until we graduated and moved on to new adventures.

Being 12 back in the day before the internet and cell phones, our typical day consisted of skateboard races, riding bikes, playing cowboys and Indians and whatever other adventures we could find to get into until dark. Our parent’s would often get together to have coffee and chat. Growing up in such a close neighborhood was great! But, it was not unheard of for any of us to have fist fights and get into scrapes. I was disciplined and patched up on many occasions by a friend’s Mom or Dad. I can even remember a time that I was carried home kicking and screaming by a neighboring Dad. It was not pretty.

Oh, to be 12 again!

In response to today’s Writing 101 assignment …

Today’s Prompt: Where did you live when you were 12 years old?

Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.

Chris Martin Writes

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