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A year ago today ....

.... I woke up through puffy eyes and picked my head up off my tear stained pillow and wrestled with the thought "this is my new reality". 

-- I didn't have my "own" home, but had a home, the best I could ask for in this season.
-- It was Sunday and the church I had come to love was 80+ miles away.
-- I was physically exhausted from days of packing my apartment and fitting my life in a 12x12 storage unit.
-- My mind was still so confused over a boy who lied to me.
-- My heart was sad over my grandfather's ailing health.
-- I had a vague idea of a plan of what to do. 

But, a year later ... I couldn't imagine I would be where I am, and couldn't have planned it better for myself if I tried. 

I know that a man will not lie to me.  He will be intentional in pursuit of me, be truthful and not leave my mind questioning.  One of the most important lesson in relationships of any kind is to let your yes be yes and your no be no.  There are times when "gray" doesn't work, and in those times, no matter how hard, there needs to be difinitive converstion and intention.  It applies to friendships, families and male/female relationships. 

My grandfather passed from this life to eternity with Jesus and I lost the last grandparent  I had.  I was so lucky to have known my grandparents, to have known my great-grandparents and to have memories with them.  The greatest lesson he taught me was to be satisfied with your life so at the end of your life you are content, there is nothing to fight, reconcile or complete. 

So many times the world bases your worth on "what you do".  Answering that questions in seasons when I was laid off was one of the hardest things.  I have learned it is not the lead off question in conversation because at the end of the day what you do doesn't matter to me.  I wish for you that you are happy, content and enjoy what you do.  I want to hear about your profession and understand what you do, but not because it makes or breaks your worth to me.  What you do is such a small part of who you are.

The thing that amazes me most is the people who tell me they are "jealous" of me or "wish" they could do what I am doing.  I usually just smile, but sometimes I want to reply "Really, I don't have a home of my own, I live out of a suitcase, I am single, I miss my friends, I don't know what tomorrow holds."; but instead I smile.  This life is a crazy adventure, that I have learned more than ever to take day by day.  I don't know what tomorrow holds.  Neither do you.  None of us are guaranteed.  I do know I have hope for tomorrow and faith that will sustain me always through every season of this life that I am blessed to live!  

Be well and carry on friends.  One day at a time. "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:33-34

After my first solo cross country road trip!



Dashboard Diaries ~ Day 3

time is ticking by and I am about to hit the road again, better finish this journey up!!

... last day departing Bowling Green, Kentucky for Day 3 on the road and the destination of Columbus, Ohio!!

7:30 am ~ was up early, packed, snuck B out for a walk, loaded up and pulled out of the hotel for a fuel stop ... diesel and Dr. Pepper and we're off!  5 hours to go! 

8:15 am ~ all the sudden was 9:15 am when I crossed the EST timezone line.  Will be glad to regain that hour when we come back across

10:15 ~ through Louisville, er Lou'vul, and 90 miles to Cincinnati

10:20 ~ saw the first sign for a Starbucks!  Pulled off for a treat -- Salted Caramel Mocha and Bacon & Gouda Artisan Breakfast Sandwich.  If you've never had either ... I recommend both!! YUM!!  Back on the road

Kentucky was pretty - starting to see some changing leaves and some spots of "falling rock" warnings ...

12:15 ~ went through Cincinnati - first downtown I went straight through, so glad to hit it in a non-traffic time!   Less than 100 miles to go!

12:45 - talked to my Dad finally!  He had a good night, isn't feeling the chest pains, ate a decent meal and ready to go home!  So, things are looking up with him.  Again, so thankful and for the prayers of my friends while I was on the road and away!

Finally seeing the signs for Columbus!! Getting close!!!

B is pretty excited we are finally into Ohio ...

Who knew Ohio had so much flat farmland?  Cool old farmhouses?!

1:55 ~ pulled into the All American Quarter Horse Congress!  Finally arrived!!!!!  1313 miles; 49 hours and 45 minutes later since leaving the 4G!

Here's the girls I'm working with and our booth at The Congress!
L to R ...
-- Traci with EtchOSketch -- cool lasering on glass, leather, hide, phones, etc -- amazing personalization/custom gifts and awards!  So fun to get to work with her! 
-- Makala -- our OSU (that's Ohio State Univ) local and long time friend of Jon Ann
-- JonAnn -- The owner of Terra Leather who I'm working for
-- CJ -- another friend of JonAnn's working for her
-- Barney ... just wondering where in the heck he is and what's coming next!?  :) 

A journey indeed in so many ways!  A trip I'll never forget, memories for a lifetime and thankful for the journey! 



Dashboard Diaries ~ Day 2

... so, up and at em kind of early ... Barney barked a couple of times in the night, he could hear any car pulling up outside, horn honking, people walking by, etc.  But, amazingly I didn't feel over tired.  Thankfully b/c this was going to be the long day of driving to make Day 3 a short day!  One thing was for sure, I wasn't loading up my stuff without loading up the little B!

8:15 am ~ ALL the big trucks were gone and my exit out of that oversize parking lot was as easy as the hotel clerk made getting into it sound! I pulled out of the hotel and a gas station was close by. I was waiting to turn in and looking to see where the diesel pump was to ensure I wasn't going to have to do any trailer tricks first thing. I must have paused just a second too long as a guy came out waving me in right to where I needed to go. Had somewhat of the same feeling I do walking into Home Depot or Lowe's Single Girl through the doors and the idiot light goes off immediately. Got fueled up and headed on my way to Texarkana - 100 miles away. 

9:00 am ~ called the Boss and told her I was fueled up and on the road.  Call the 4G to catch my Dad, no answer, so hung up and called my Mom's cell phone.  She asked me about my night, if I was on the road yet, and what was going on.  Asked her how she was to which she replied "well, we've had a change in plans, I'm in Conroe" <inner thought process ... I talked to her at almost 10pm Monday night and she was in Burnett, Texas with her sisters, several hours away from Conroe> "with Dad, he's in the hospital".  Ummmm ... what?!!?!?  Exactly my fear.  I have a truck and trailer, am also several hours from home,  what do I do??   My Dad had driven himself to HMH where they confirmed a "heart event" and knew he needed a heart cath which they didn't do.  So, away he went by ambulance to Conroe at 3am.  He called my Mom before he left HMH and told her where he was and she and my Aunts loaded up to hit the road home.  She was to the car he left at HMH and she was in Conroe by 8am.  I happened to call just a few minutes after they had seen the Dr and had an idea of what was to come.  They were just awaiting an opening in the schedule for the heart cath and best case would put in a stent, worst case ... TBD.  Immediately sent out a series of texts to my friends and asked that they be praying ...

... crossed into Arkansas and made a quick stop at the Welcome Center Rest Area.  My head was spinning, but overall I was amazingly calm.  Here's a shot of command central in the truck ... satellite radio, ipod, iphone, GPS, Dr Pepper, Tervis cup fill of water and of course my cowboy boots!  :) Don't tell my Insurance Agent (aka my Dad) about these photos I took while driving 65/70 mph down the road. 

... Barney was pretty excited again today on the road, hard to stay awake in that sunshine

12:30 pm ~ was into Little Rock and to the East side, headed for Memphis.  Stopped again to fuel up and happened to hit a Pilot/Subway/Pizza Hut.  Instead of opting for the healthy 6" sub I went for the cheese pizza!  Completely justified since I just had peanut butter crackers for dinner the night before.  Chatted with Mom again while stopped and walking B, Dad was scheduled for Heart Cath at 12, but he hadn't been taken back yet. 

1:00 pm ~ My Dad went in for his heart cath, and they determined a stent would be the solution  which was put in immediately and he was headed to recovery by 2ish. 

2:45 pm ~ approaching Memphis

 and immediately crossed the Tennessee State line on this bridge.  As I was crossing through Memphis "East Bound and Down" came up on the radio.  Turned it up and sang along!

3:45 ~ B was getting in a good nap ... I definitely could have used one about now too.  Or a massage.  My back was feeling the hours in the car/stress/nerves/tense of all the days events!

Tennessee was a beautiful afternoon drive.  You can't really tell from my dashboard photos but the rolling hills were beautiful and the leaves are starting to change colors!  And the sky was blue like this all day!!

6:00 pm ~ crossed through Nashville and headed onto Bowling Green, Kentucky, my stop for night 2.  If you know me at all you know I usually run my car until the gas light comes on, but I was a little more careful on this trip not to do that.  However at 50 miles to Empty the low fuel light comes on!  I did stop just east of Nashville to fill up with fuel.  I must be getting fairly quick at navigating gas stations.  No one else has come out to wave, (guide?) me in. 

7:30 pm ~  found hotel, easy over sized parking, but no pets allowed and I'm on the 2nd floor of the hotel with interior doors, not exterior.  So, unloaded all my luggage, went out the side door and back in with Barney.  Shhh ... I won't bark if you don't tell ...

... until Day 3 ...


Dashboard Diaries ~ Day 1

10/8 ~ 11:15 am ... put the last of my luggage in my Tahoe, grabbed my Tervis cup and topped it off with water and loaded up with Barney to hit the road to Weatherford!  I was a little anxious taking off ... my Mom was gone on a trip with her sisters, so it was just my Dad and I at home when I left.   This was a long trip, a long ways from home and I will be gone for a long time.  I prayed that I wouldn't be fearful of "something happening" while I was on the road - moreso with my family than anything with drive/travel; I had to go forward in faith ...

3:00 pm ~ arrived in Weatherford at Terra Leather warehouse, transferred luggage and dropped my car off for safe keeping until week of Thanksgiving.  This is the rig I'm driving ~ 4 door Dually Ford with a big Ranch Hand bumper and a 24' cargo trailer packed pretty full of cowhides and other merch for the booth from our weeks at Antiques Week.

4:15 pm ~ pulled out of the warehouse in the truck with the trailer in tow ... we are off!  B is pretty excited. 

6:00 pm ~ arrived in Fate, Texas (Nothing like crossing DFW on I-20 to 6:35 N to I-130 right at 5pm traffic) to pick up saddle stands and a few extras inventory items for the booth; back on the road by 7:00 pm

8:50 pm ~ arrived to Mt. Pleasant Quality Inn ... home for the night.  Unloaded my luggage right by my room and was headed to park the trailer and walk Barney! 

Trailer parking episode # 1.  I called the hotel on my way in to ensure they had oversize parking that I would be able to access which the lady quickly answered with a confident yes!  She didn't however mention that it would take 2 sharp turns to reach the parking!   In the photo below, I came down the entrance/driveway on the left side of the picture, and was about halfway into the turn when I realized I was close to taking a bite out of the front of that shiny red Ford 4-door pickup.  Every vehicle in the parking lot was a work truck or 4-door pickup which took up all the parking space!! Had to back the trailer up to get out of the turn, which after a few minutes a kind hotel guest realized I was by myself and helped to guide me -- nevermind that I was blocking the driveway and he couldn't get to his room. :)  By the time I was straightened out another guy was outside and he helped on the front end so I could pull as far forward as possible and I made the turn!  Immediately past the red truck on the bottom right of this photo was the right turn into the parking  lot.  Only took about 15 minutes, most frustrating thing was the vehicle back up alert letting me know I was close to something, which was in fact the trailer hooked on the back of the truck.  Once I figured out how to silence that thing I was pretty calm and just figured take my time and it will work out.  Photo below is taken after I got parked, the lot was up on a hill behind where I'm standing to take the picture. 

9:30 ~ back outside with Barney, never could get that little dog to TT!   Did some work on the computer, final prep for Speakers Committee Rookie Showcase meeting I was missing, shower and read for a bit.

Midnight ~ finally fell asleep ...

to be continued .... 


What is a Sponsor?

1. a person who vouches or is responsible for a person or thing.
2. a person who makes a pledge or promise on behalf of another.
Source:  dictionary.com
Have you ever thought about the value of simply being a sponsor?  What seems to you like a small donation or bit of your time, what does that really mean in the long term?
Throughout my life I have participated in events that I have done fundraising for, always with the end goal to make a difference.   It started with Jump Rope for Heart, then Band, followed by Youth Group, and other charitable/medical causes.  Each of the people who donated to my cause has made a difference, both in my life and in the lives of countless others.  When I stood at the end of completing 3 days and 60 miles by foot for Breast Cancer and heard our walk had collectively raised over $11 million dollars, I couldn't even fathom the change that money would affect on a disease. 
Here in the United States the resources are endless for us to contribute and the lives which can be changed countless.  But, it's not just in the US. 
It is around the world.
That's when I knew this sponsorship was different. 
I had the chance to link up with a Child, for his or her life ... for education, for medical treatment, for clothing, for food, for opportunity.  Ultimately for Jesus' love to be shown to them, simply through my small gift each month. 
I don't just send money and never know where it goes.  I send money and letters and birthday gifts and Christmas gifts.  I get letters in return.  My sweet child, telling me about her life, her school, the competitions she participates in, her family and friends.  She has no idea what I give each month, but what she gives FAR outweighs my small gift.  It really is amazing what $38/month can do.  A life literally change and hope given where there wasn't much. 
You might not be ready to sponsor a child.  You might have already sponsored one, leave a comment, I would love to hear about it.  You might not know about Compassion and the opportunity they provide to children all around the world.  But, now you do. 
Won't you consider one of these darling faces?  
You won't regret the pledge and promise on behalf of that child. 


Compassion Blogger

I can't remember when it was I first heard about Compassion, but I remember first reading about bloggers taking a trip with Compassion and meeting children who are sponsored into the program.  That particular blogger was somewhere in South America, and submitted a call to action for child sponsorship.   The call that got me was over three years ago. 

When I began to search out for "my child" to sponsor, I knew I wanted to pick a little girl from India.  I wanted her to be young, so I could watch her grow throughout the  program and for many years.  Several years ago I worked with a consultant who was from India and he was in the process of choosing his wife.  We spent a lot of hours at the office on a project and he was very open in discussing this process, including showing me pictures of candidates and details of how a wife is chosen.  I remember feeling so conflicted about the process; the demands based on social class, wealth, education and the difficulties ahead if the qualifications were not the right "match".  I wanted to choose a girl who would be taught that her wealth, her value and her future was solely in Jesus and not at the hand of a family "plan".  I know that she might still submit to arranged marriage, but she would be taught the truth of Christ through programs with Compassion. 

I settled on my girl, Karunya, and was off to the races in great anticipation of receiving my first letters from her program.  My story to my Compassion child had what I considered a bump in the road.  Just a few months after I received my child sponsor packet, Karunya was withdrawn from the program and Muthulakshmi was auto-assigned to me.  I was disappointed, for Karunya to not have the opportunity with Compassion and be taught the love of Jesus. 

But, God had bigger plans.   It is amazing to me how a child on the other side of the world who was randomly assigned to me could fit so perfectly.  I have had tears in my eyes on numerous occasions reading her letters.  I knew she was "mine" when I read her thank you from Christmas ... she had used her money to purchase a cake, a new dress and a book.  Three of my favorite things ... cake, dresses and books!  How in the world?!  I couldn't have picked her out better myself.  I knew she was the girl for me.  She excels in her school work, she loves her activities, she participates in so many contests and events through Compassion program, she helps her family.  I imagine she twirls in her new dress and wears it with pride, she smiles when she shared cake with her family and she curls up with a new book loving to learn. 

Thank you Jesus and thank you Compassion for giving me a glimpse into heaven!  For one day I know I will get to see Muthulakshmi and hear her stories, both of us twirling in dresses on streets of gold!


If you are interested in sponsoring a child through Compassion, please visit www.compassion.org and for more information on Compassion Bloggers, visit
http://compassionbloggers.com/.  September is Blog Month at Compassion, so watch for more to come from my story with Compassion!


Summer at the Ballpark

I have so many memories of summers at the ballpark.  Mostly Friday night church league softball watching my Dad play while hanging out with my friends or watching kids I babysat at the fields followed by Mazzio's pizza with our refill cups.  I did play a bit of t-ball and my brother did as well, so it's fun to relive those nights at the ballpark watching my nephew play! He's really getting the hang of it this year and had a great game last night!
Little pre-game chat with the ladies of his team ...
The cheering section ~  Papa, Meme, Lily and Gracie ...
 Hanging out in the dugout ...
A high-five to Dad at 2nd base ...
 Recounting that hit ....
 Sisters hanging out in the stands ...
 2nd time at bat ... a hit that went out of the infield!
 Heading for 3rd base ...
And, that's a big smile after crossing home plate ...
 Working the infield ...
Good game everybody ...
My sweet nephew!  T-ball superstar to me! 

Hope you all have some fun memories of summer nights with your families!



Creative Dreams

Crafting and creating have always been an outlet for me.  I learned to sew as an Elementary student participating in my local 4-H Sewing Club and have picked up other crafting hobbies along the way.  I love jewelry and multi-strand bead necklaces, etc., so why not make it myself!  This summer I've had a lot of creative dreams for things I want to make ...

... continuing my canvas paintings ... getting a sewing machine ... designing and making dresses ... getting back to making jewelry ... painting signs ... re-purposing furniture ... antique chairs from my Grandparents house to be recovered ... home design ideas ...

Having recently found a bead shop, I got a couple of tools from the barn, scissors from my Great Grandmothers sewing kit I just got and spread out my new beads and got to work!  Two necklaces that I really love are the result!  Looks like they will be going to a new home soon, and that means an excuse for me to continue creating! 

Let me know if you're in need of a necklace that's a specific color or style! I'd love to make one for you!



Is Mike really magic?

It seems Magic Mike is the hit movie of the summer for girls day or night out and the rave of women everywhere.  One of those "everyone is seeing it" movies.  One of those that I couldn't quite define why I didn't want to see it, but never did want to see it.  I realize, it's based on a true story and Channing allegedly has great moves and he seems to downplay his former life in press for this movie.  So, what is it that just doesn't sit well with me? 

IMDB's description of Magic Mike is "A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money". 

Everything about that is what doesn't sit well with me. 

I don't go to strip clubs.
I don't want a boyfriend, fiance' or husband who goes to strip clubs.

Therefore:  I won't go watch a movie which is based in a strip club and includes scenes as if I was in the club. 

I know, I would just be watching it on a screen, I'm not paying to go into a the club, and it's "harmless".  It's not.  I am paying to see a movie and ultimately promoting the pornography/adult entertainment industry.  

As of July 8th, Magic Mike has grossed $72,829,107.  Essentially equates to $72 million dollars paid to the pornography/Adult Entertainment industry.

I have seen the question posed several times, "what if the story was reversed and it was all about women and Gentleman's Clubs, would you want your boyfriend, fiance' or husband to go see that movie?"


Without a doubt. I want him to respect me enough not to be in a strip club ... a real one, one shown in a movie, one shown on TV or any other medium. 

In the movie Mike quotes "That's what I do—it's not who I am." I disagree.  We all know actions speak louder than words, so who I am is reflected in what I do.

For me, I often say "whatever" and justify actions to myself as OK, harmless or insignificant.  In fact, I even thought "whatever" about seeing Magic Mike when the movie was first being promoted.  I love signs, sayings and quotes and collect them for my home.  I recently saw a sign that referenced "whatever" based Philippians 4:8 instead of as an excuse or justification.  If who I am is reflected in what I do ... I need to watch how I use "whatever".
Finally, brothers (sisters), whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:8
While I don't have a husband right now, I do hope one day I will. Even though his identity is unknown to me, I still respect him and our future enough to not see or go to strip clubs, even if it's just a movie and even if "everybody is doing it".

Ultimately, is no magic to Magic Mike.  

Learning as I go,