Monday, July 18, 2016

Tommy's Sixth!

 We had a ball making Tommy's sixth birthday party lotsa fun with a Star Wars theme
 Julie found many  great ideas for funny food recipes and  labels, and  we wore character t-shirts.
 Tommy is an amazing kid, and he's turning six!   I get to spend much of my time with him,
as I am his granny-nanny! I've said before, this is the best job in the world,
and it keeps me young, smart and fit too!
 We had "Han Salsa" ,   "Pizza the Hutt",   "Padme Pasta Salad", and more goodies!
I  made lightsabers.  You melt colored chocolate pellets and paint pretzel sticks. Aren't they cute?

They are simple, tasty, and super fun.

 And  fruit kababs-- aka Obi Wan Kabob-ies!

 And some healthy snacks too

For party favors, Julie spray painted the ends of bubble wands and they were light-sabers









We made Yoda soda.  Mix equal parts limeade, lemon-lime soda and orange juice.



Cheese Balls became thermal detonators!

My daughter Amy was princess Leia.  She made this dress, using fabric adhesive, because she doesn't sew.



It was really good for me to celebrate a joyous ocassion with my family and friends.





 Boba and Jango  Fett,  aka Birthday Boy and Dad. 
100 degrees and he insisted on wearing a costume!  
Yoda is my favorite  Star Wars character! Who is yours?

  1. May the force be with you!  

A truism!  
One of my favorite quotes 
 May the Force be with you!

Of course you know the real force that is with me is Jesus! 
But we enjoy the fiction, and movies, and merriment!  

 Love, Linda

Friday, July 15, 2016

Making something out of "nothing".

   What can I make for dinner?  There's no food in the freezer, except my homemade bread crumbs.  There's just one egg left.

Ah, I know!  I got some canned goods from a friends kitchen I cleaned out!
 Hot diggity, there's a can of salmon and some vegetables.
 I ran out to the garden for some herbs.
 


I didn't drain the salmon, just mashed it. I like the "juice"  for moist patties.
I added some chopped onion,  fresh parsley and chopped chives.




 Mixed in my last egg., and a cup or so of bread crumbs.
  Preheated  the skillet, added some olive oil.
 Formed patties, browned for several minutes on each side.



While they were browning, I found some leftover peas and warmed them ,
Found a can  of tomatoes and stewed them.
 I  added a can of triple succotash,  1 Tablespoon  of  cornstarch, and a bit of sugar.

 I whipped up some instant mashed potatoes and added some  tangy ranch dressing
and chives to "doctor them up".


Turned into a pretty nice supper after all!
.  
 So,  always keep some canned goods on hand for lean times, 
and get creative with spices and herbs, sauces and condiments.

I learned I can always make something, even though I think there is "nothing."

The trick is to use what you have, instead of running out to the diner 
and spending money that's needed for bills. 
You can make thrifty, tasty meals in minutes
with a little  imagination and stuff from the cupboard.

 Tomorrow night, I have to see what I can dream up with no eggs,  and no canned goods.
  
Oh that's right, it's Tommy's birthday party and I will eat over my daughter's house!  

See, not to worry!  I will always have enough.
 Doesn't the Good Book say,  not to worry, 
He takes care of the little birdies, surely He will take care of me?. 





 Love, Linda 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Now What!

Loss. Another loss.
 It's just a building,  but it was my property.  It is a large old building full of items I've collected from clean-outs,  some good old stuff to sell seriously, and regular household items for rummage sales.   It was 6000 ft. of valuable storage for the antiques, vintage and repurpose junque.   I also kept my painting and cleaning supplies,  tools and equipment for my Selective Residential Services business there. It was also an office and a big workshop. I had big hopes of restoring the building, making a studio there, but I never made enough money to make the improvements.  I thought of converting it into an apartment, but didn't have the funds, nor did I feel safe there.
 I could barely hold onto the warehouse, as they kept increasing the taxes.
 Severe weather has been beating up the old turn-of-the century structure-  lots of water damage, wind damage, roof leaks. The pigeons tore off the soffits,  Drunks are sleeping on the property, and  there's drug activity.
 It's not safe to go there alone, so I couldn't go there to work unless I had someone with me.
I've been fighting vandalism and graffiti, vagrants, and even a few  burglaries in the past.
 So, I finally lost my warehouse.  I knew it was going to happen, but I couldn't stop it.
When the city raised my taxes, I was battling breast cancer, and  my earnings dropped, so I fell behind. Someone bought the tax lien, and he eventually ended up with my building.
 I  took my lawyer's advice and let it go.  The process took about a year and a half.
In fact, it's not quite over yet.
  I guess I have to look at it  like this:  I had this huge building for over 20 years,
 and  now it's time to move on.
 I am  getting too old to handle this problem building anymore.


     What else can happen to me?  I better not ask. I don't usually think like this,
 in such negative terms, but it seems like I have had a lot happen to me lately.
 I prayed for a way to save the building, but it didn't happen, and I am losing it,
but I must trust in God because He knows what is best for me.

Here's a great song, amazing singer, singing exactly what I needed to hear.
Lauren Daigle's Trust In You
  "Letting go of  every single dream.
 I lay each one down at your feet."
  "My hand's are weary,  I need your rest."
 I feel like I called out and my prayers weren't answered,
as Lauren's song says,  He didn't "move the mountains, I needed Him to move, He didn't part the waters I wish I could walk through" I felt really bad, as I was going through the horrendous process of moving my belongings, but I decided I will trust in Him!
 As I am saying goodbye to the historical building I could never restore.
 I had hoped to own and work out of it, for the rest of my life,  but I know that it will be okay.
 So I'm picking up the pieces starting over.  Again.
 I am recovering from the trauma, realizing that it didn't kill me.
"There's always someone who is worse off"
 "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger!"
 "Well, God has something better for you"
"When one door closes,.... another door opens"
and my favorite"You'll be better off  without it"
This is what people were saying.  It was little comfort,
 but I am finding my help in time of need, from the true Comforter, .
 I am not okay, but I found that I can trust in God and everything will be okay, I just can't go it alone.
Citizen Way
I can come to God, just as I am, hurt,  troubled,
 lost, tired, and defeated and He makes it all okay.
Listen to this song, by Citizen Way, 

I am counting on second chances, new beginnings.
 I am salvaging what I can, trying to pick out the best stuff.
 Tried to liquidate some stuff and raise some cash for the storage.
I have to rent a new place now. But my yard sales were disastrous,
 because it rained almost all month in May.
 "Pickers"  came in the warehouse, because it was raining,
 They threw my belongings all around and only wanted to pay
 me pennies on the dollar for the prices I asked.  What a mess!
Physically exhausting and emotionally draining.
  I did donate tons of clothing, and told  a couple friends
to come take whatever they could use.
  Then  for weeks, we were moving and jamming stuff into a space that's not big enough.
 Right now it's hard to find anything.
But I have to dig in,  stock my new antiques booth and find the good items,
clean them up, put price tags on each item, Then transport them
and set them up in a booth that's too small and very expensive,
 and pray to God that someone starts buying something!
a scene from my booth at Carnival of Collectables
368 Cross Keys Road
Sicklerville, N.J.  


 But I am finding peace in  the chaos.
  I am thankful that I have had extra time to get in my building, and salvage my belongings.
 I am grateful to my sister, who helped me tremendously sorting, packing, and moving.
I am so thankful  for  my friend Connie,  for lending me her truck and taking a few loads away.
I praise God for giving me strength.

Wonderful things happened too, that brought hope.

     A woman came to my windy yardsale and thrust some bills into my hand.  She said she was a high school friend of my daughter's, and she heard I was in trouble, and God told her to do this. She gave me $25.00, and wouldn't take anything in return.  My sister and I hugged her.  I will never forget this kind gesture.

    I got a phone call, in the middle of a yardsale.  A fellow asked if I could clean out his mother's house, as she was no longer there and they needed to put it up for sale.  I didn't say no, even though I didn't know where I was going to put the stuff from another house.  I smiled to myself, thinking "I am already back in business!"
    It turned into a nice job, for which I am being well paid, and getting some lovely vintage treasures for my shop!  (Door closes--- another door opens!)


    During this debacle, I unearthed many long-lost  things at the warehouse. One surprise was a nice enamel top table, which I took to the antiques booth and it sold quickly!  My first substantial sale!  Just in time to pay the  booth rent!

    I'll be able to stock my booth at the antiques mall more easily, now that my belongings are moved to a new location, just a couple miles from my home.

    I've been spending lots of time with the grandkids, enjoying special end of year school programs, a dance recital,  and playing outdoors with them. Taking care of the children is very healing for me.
 I am happy each day, despite the stressful, horrible feeling of losing my property, and the inconvenient, enormous job of relocating.
They make me smile!


 Life is still good, even when you face disappointments and hardships, God sends the right people, at the right time,  the little surprises, and everything that you need!  I will  trust in Him!


Love, Linda 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Happy Bereaved Mother's Day

    I am amazed that Mother's Day was so delightful.  My first Mother's day as a bereaved mother.  I was afraid I would be sad about my son today, but I was feeling perfectly serene and calm.  Today was my youngest daughter's birthday.  I focused on her  much of the time, and thinking about how we would celebrate her special day. Both events were simple but so meaningful. Being with family is just the best thing!
 
    I was also concerned about my Mother, who has recently had a heart attack and has been staying at a rehab center.  Watching my mother age is scaring me a bit.  I don't want to get disabled and be a burden to my kids, but  I don't think my mother is a burden.  I am blessed to still have her, many of my friends have lost their parents.   Please Lord, just help me to stay interesting and interested.  I pray I will have my hearing, my vision, and be mobile. I realize now how important it is to eat healthily, and get lots of exercise.  I hope I can keep reading, and doing art work, and live with purpose. I don't want to be a worrier, and fuss over trivial things, because that's what I've notice is most annoying about some older people.


     I was staying with my little grandchildren, all weekend, scurrying about with them, trying to figure out how to visit my mom with them in tow.  Then  my sister made it easy for everyone- she took Mom out  of the facility for a few hours and we all gathered around at her house, making homemade pizza.
 Everyone took turns working the dough , and piling on different toppings and  each family's pizza looked different!

     So, I was pretty busy, and had no time for moping around.    Still  I thought about my son, many times throughout the day, as  I always do.  But they were pleasant memories of  him as my first child, my baby boy. My grandchildren remind me of how I felt as a young mother.  My own grandmother used to call me Florence, by mistake- her little girl's name.  I am so glad I have these little children in my life.  I will always miss my son, but I have little people to love and care for, and a reason to keep on going!




So I am a bereaved mother, but also a happy mother with lots of happiness in my life! 


Love , Linda  



Saturday, April 23, 2016

Happy Birthday In Heaven,To My Son!

It's my son's first Birthday in Heaven !

I can only imagine what the afterlife is like. 
I want to  know how it is.
Can he see me?  Does anybody who goes to heaven
 get to come back and visit,
 as an angel, like in the movies? 
  Or as a spirit, or another person?  Or a cardinal?
Do they get to meet their loved ones who passed
 away before?  I want him to find his grandfather, 
and my grandmother, and his uncle.
Do they send signs to us  down here on earth? 
 I can't see any.
I only know I miss him. I am happy he no longer suffers, 
no longer hurts, and he is in perfect peace.
 God has made everything perfect for Gary now. 
 But I feel an ache, a deep hurt that comes over me sometimes.
  A lot of the time.
 It stops me, distracts me from my work, makes me sad, 
comes when I least expect it, never gets better.
 I have to learn to live with it.


I want to remember everything, and lots of the details
of my fondest memories have faded.


You close your eyes and try your damnedest to relive a special moment,
 but it won't come back clearly enough, and that makes you sad.
When your children are young you are struggling so hard
 to do everything, be everything for everybody.
 You're exhausted  and do not realize that these childhood
days are so fleeting, and one day you'll wish they were little again.
When they are grown, you wish you could go back in time.
 Wish you could do some things differently.
 Sorry for the ways you failed.  You know you did your best
but you wish you could have made everything perfect for your child.

I know that only God can do that, and now
he has made everything perfect.
 Now my son is gone, apart from me, but with God.
Gary is with the Lord, in paradise, made whole again.
So very grateful for the love that I  shared,
that I got to be his mother,
that I was blessed with 42 years with him.
I try and focus on precious memories
of the tender moments and the happy times.


Thinking of Gary, with all my love forever.

Love, Linda

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Is anybody out there?

Five years on this blog, and is anyone reading it?  Feels like I am writing a journal. Especially when I pour my guts out.  Well, that's actually good therapy I suppose.  Actually maybe it's good no one reads it.  My ex-husband wouldn't like me talking about my son, being frank about his difficult adolescence. He'd probably say I shouldn't tell people this personal stuff, it's embarrassing.  Do I really care what he thinks?
 Cancer, who wants to keep hearing about that?  " You're done treatment, why do you still have to keep talking about it."    Uh, yeah, actually I do need to talk about it.  It entirely changed my life, threatened to take it.  I need to get information, news, and  updates out to others, I need to thank people who support me,  I need to celebrate anniversaries of when treatment ended, stuff like that. I have a facebook page that was started by my daughter, then turned over to me, called  Love For Linda, now renamed Love To and From Linda. My sister Beverly said, "Yes, of course you must blog about it. It's the biggest story of your life!


 Vintage Business......Maybe I should just talk about vintage stuff I sell, and not real problems. 
I'm not even an expert on that, certainly not making a lot of money at it.  Should I talk about having a small business in a terrible economy, insufficient income.  Struggling to pay bills. Who would want to hear that?  That's why my vintage business might not be that interesting.  Maybe after I become successful, then the journey might show others how to make it.  Having your own business with only yourself to depend on is hard. Not selling, no matter how hard you work is even harder.
 But I press on, selling on Etsy, and I have been sharing a booth at a local antiques and art center. April 1, I am taking over the whole booth, as the other ladies are moving on.
Might be a big April Fools joke on me,  but I am going to give it my all.
  I lost my son in August, and am still grieving, so this is another life-changing event that has happened, and God has given me grace, and I've really learned to lean on Him. I've written his story on this blog, but I still will always want to talk about him, and probably will do a post later this month on his birthday.  I will honor him, and try to help other bereaved parents, by sharing my story.

 I am on an emotional roller coaster,  with my recovering from the most traumatic year ever.  Fighting breast cancer was a real interesting project. Facing your mortality, having a life-threatening disease, but believing you can beat it, because you must. Because you know that God is on your side,   and He has lots of work for you to do .  Little grandchildren need you, aging mother needs you, needy boyfriend needs you.
 "Don't give up, be strong, fight like a girl, act like a survivor and thrive! " These are the messages from friends and family and the things I tell myself.  I get tired, discouraged, but  I don't let myself stay down, I just talk to the Lord,  keep pushing, moving.
 So, I am not depressed, lonely, or desperate. I have strong faith and lots of love from family.
Still I have fears, sadness and worries.
But do people really want to hear about your feelings?  Maybe not. But I want to share them.
 Yes,  being startled with the possibility of not being alive in a few years is not pleasant topic, But very real and powerful experience.   I now know what it's like to face my mortality. And the loss of a child, the worst thing that ever happened to me. Does it help me heal to write about it?
.   Can sharing it help someone else?

  I am fighting to live, I have so much to live for, so much I still want to do. I am following all the doctor's instructions, taking all the recommended supplements, exercising, eating right, getting enough sleep, being kind, praying constantly, studying my Bible, listening to music, reading books, watching classic movies I missed,  paying attention to politics and doing all the "right" things.

   I suppose I could speak about life  in general, with some authority, simply by virtue of being a senior citizen, with lots of life experience!
 I've learned a little bit.  Done a few interesting things.
I think I am at the 5th stage ? 

  I plan on attending events to learn about how to thrive, I participate in a support group, and am learning about  living beyond cancer. I am researching heroin addiction, studying antiques and vintage. So I am not bored, I have plenty of projects, lots of work, and not a lot of time to myself, so why am I writing this blog?

Because........
  •  I want to share.
  •  I want to learn from others,
  •  It's a kind of  social outlet. I am not reclusive, and it connects me with others.
  •  It's a creative outlet, I like writing. 
  •  I care and want to make a difference.  
  •  It's free entertainment, I don't have money for cable TV, so reading and writing a blog is satisfying and stimulating.

Okay, I think I have enough reasons to continue. I will take a couple more blogging tutorials, keep at it, pray for guidance and keep doing interesting things to talk about!  I am not a quitter.
 So please comment if you can.  I need a little feedback.  Is anyone out there reading my blog?

 Love, Linda 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

He's been gone six months!


    Six months since I lost my son.  It is not any more believable or any less heartbreaking. I am not used to it, over it , nor am I done grieving.  It feels like he died last week.  I am able to go on, because God has given me peace and I have so much love and happiness in my life. I have daughters who look after me, my mother, my boyfriend, lovely sisters and nieces, and so many friends who care about me, spend time with me. I can live with my loss because I know my son is with Jesus. I trust in the Lord and I don't know how anyone who does not have that assurance can deal with this kind of loss.  I am lucky (blessed) to be strongly supported.   My son would be glad that I am okay, and able to continue living a happy life.  But still,  there is a deep sadness, that underlies every occasion, every day's events.  At the same time, I am happy I had him for 42 years and I will never forget the love we shared.

 He would be glad that I am experiencing one year anniversary of when I finished chemo. My doctors think I am doing great.  He would be so glad that I am feeling good, and there seem to be no signs of recurrence! 

My daughter, Amy, handpainted this T-shirt.

      And  I am glad Gary is free, in no more pain.  I am extremely concerned about the epidemic of heroin addiction in this country and even heard discussion about it in the presidential candidates's debates., constant reports in newspapers and online.
I feel for all the families that suffer from loss of their loved ones,  and those living in the devastating grip of addiction.. I wish my story would change someone's life, so they wouldn't have to lose their child. I do not know what to do about this problem.

   I am disappointed that I am progressing so slowly, in finding my way back to normal.  (With both the cancer recovery and the bereavement process.)   I don't know what I should be doing. I still feel a little lost and a little broken, but I have to tell myself it's not my fault, I couldn't have saved him.
 Someone told me, "Remember the Three C's 
                                       You didn't cause it.
                                        You can't cure it.
                                         You can't control it.  "
There is a beautiful post I read about Mothers not blaming themselves . I was comforted by this article. www.stillstandingmag.com/2013/06/why-you-didn't-fail-as-a-mother/. This blog has many posts about how a grieving mother really feels and how to cope. I keep going back there to read more.
There is a page on facebook with so much help and support.www.facebook.com/StillStandingMAG

   I am sometimes pushing myself to do things, not really feeling the desire or fire in me. I am extremely grateful for my cancer to be gone, no signs of recurrence! But I am changed, and living with the aftermath of chemo and suppressing fears of it coming back. I must go on, and believe all will be well. The loss of my son makes me feel like part of me has died, but I am very much alive, and will live for the both of us! 

I just put one foot in front of the other.

I just pray, "Lord help me, I am weak, give me strength". And He does. 


One day at a time,  And each day brings it's surprises.  Little things mean a lot.



  Love, Linda

Sunday, January 24, 2016

It's Mother's Birthday!

It's Mother's Birthday!
 Blizzard conditions and baby Emilie, my granddaughter,
 just got out of the hospital, so no party this weekend.
But we will celebrate!  Mother is 85, and looks great.
 She has been such a champion this year, praying for me
 and giving me so much support during and after my
 breast cancer battle. She's been a pillar of strength and
 given me comfort and continual reassurance since
 I lost my son,  and she lost her first grandchild. 
 We talk every day on the phone, and we sing a special
song together, " Does Jesus Care?"   (Click on the title)
 Listen to  the words this comforting song! 
 Mother loves the Gaithers, and all gospel music, hymns,
 patriotic, country and 40s-50s  music. 
 



Elizabeth , "Betty Boop",  Betty Crocker, but "Mother"  to me.


She's a little lady, but a big prayer warrior.
 She taught me to bake, clean and sew, but most importantly
she showed me how to trust Jesus and believe in God.
Thank you Mother for all you've given me, and all of us,
 for your fine example and your tender love throughout the years.


Here's Mother with my baby daughter Julie, February 7, 1978



 
37 years later, here's Mother with Julie and her daughter Emilie.
 




 
She gave me six little brothers and sisters to love,
 
Mom loves this photo of all her kids, about 12 years ago.
 And more recently,  here we are celebrating
my brother's  60th birthday 

September 2015, Bobby's 60!
My,  we are getting old! 

There is nothing that pleases my mother more than to have
all her children together! 

It's my 5th Blog anniversary! 
Thank you for following, for your prayers  
 and for your thoughtful comments,
 they mean so much to me!

Wishing Mother God's richest blessings,
and a healthy life full of love and joy,
with the family and friends she loves so dearly!
 
Love, Linda