Friday, October 21, 2016

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

   Every month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month for me.
So, I put on my pink bracelets,  wear my pink hats, and clothes.
I feel like I want to go to a conference and get revved up, meet some other women, who've been through breast cancer.  Now that I'm done treatment, my hair's grown back, side effects are improved  and my life is "back to normal", (sort of),   Although I frequent the doctor's offices, and there are no signs of recurrence  I'm feeling very emotional, sensitive and a little lost, off center. I know that these feelings are typical. It's been a pretty traumatic couple of years.
 I am learning to go on, move on.  I will not live in fear, but look for joy instead.

   Got out my pumpkins, and fall wreaths, Put up decorations outside, pulled out some spent plants, put away some spring and summer ornaments and decor, getting ready for fall.  Enjoying the cooler temps, this was a long hot summer. I'm pushing myself, to embrace the changing seasons, life goes on, the cycle of life is constant,  and changes are not always bad.

    Had a great end of summer  Lead East, a huge 50's event, lots of fun.
 Loved the music, fifties outfits, beautiful and rare,unusual cars.
 I saw lots of old friends and made some new ones.
They don't know how much it meant to me, to make those connections and memories.

50's Amphicar, very reare
Me and my sweet friend Flo
 A darling lady who grew up in the fifties, 
and dresses in charming vintage outfits for the event.
Ron and Sally, best dancers at Lead East!  They wear gorgeous matching vintage outfts!
Fabulous old cars! 


Accapella Groups are all over the place and there is Karaoke too.


Me and  Kathy, a fellow vendor at Lead East 2016

My boys!   The Whiptones, a young acapella group from Whippany, NJ
I've been following these boys since they debuted at Lead East a few years ago. 
They were still in high school then, but now are attending college,
 scattered around the country.  Evenso, they all traveled back home for Lead East!  
They just made a new CD, and they sound better than ever!  

The Past Prom Queens, from Lead East
Ladies from 18-88, all dressed up in fifties gowns!  
 Ah, we were lost in the 50's and then back to reality- crazy times we're in now!
But we had one last summer fling at Wildwood, and it was the first time I got to the shore this season.
My big family had some bridal showers, and a wedding, now another one coming up. It's so nice to see the young people getting married. Two of my nephews got married, so now I have two more lovely new nieces to love.   My little granddaughter was flower girl.  I also have a new baby nephew.
 Life is good, family is everything, and I think I appreciate it all more than ever now.
Isn't Miss Emilie  adorable? 
 That's my  beautiful sister, Beverly,  in the yellow dress, Mother of the Groom


 Hoping my antiques booth will start to pick up.
 I sell vintage, and I have a few antiques and modern collectibles too.
 Summer shoppers were few,  probably because the building had no air conditioning.
 Fall weather is more inviting!  Now we're geting excited for the holidays!
My shop is crammed with a little something for everyone!  It changes constantly.
My booth, B20, at Carnival of Collectables, in my hometown, Sicklerville, N.J. 
 The Antiques and Art Mall is only about 2 years old, and the have  over 100 vendors.  

 I have nice collection of  Little Golden Books and collectible toys and games

  Next, I look  forward to  baking pumpkin pies, pumpkin muffins, and apple delights!
 Then before we know it, we'll be baking Christmas cookies.

Happy Fall Y'all!    
Get your mammograms. 
 And please get out there and vote!  

Love, Linda

















Friday, August 5, 2016

A year already?

I just can't believe it's been one year since we said goodbye. 
A year since I lost my son Gary. His ashes sit in a beautiful urn on my daughter's mantle. 
Now, every family occasion, every holiday, every special day, and every ordinary day is tinged 
with a little sadness, and sorrow, that  he is missed, he is missing, and he will not ever be with 
us again,  That will never change. Until we see him again one day in Glory.  



  Yesterday,on the  first anniversary of his death,  I filled this locket with some of his ashes
for his grandmother.
We didn't give her one after the funeral, because she was very against cremation.  
 But she saw me and both my daughters wearing these lovely lockets, and said she would like
 to have one.  So Amy got one for her. Both daughters were working, but wanted to present it
on the very anniversary of the day he died.
 My daughter asked me to scoop out some of his ashes and fill the vial.
 I didn't know what I would feel doing this, it sounded difficult, sacrosanct.
Of course I shed tears, it was an unusual and emotional experience.
  But with love, somehow I did it.



 Here is just one of the a family's  favorite snapshots of my kids, 
at Grandma's house, seated at the piano.



 Dear God,
     Thank you for giving me the strength and desire  to keep going and living without my boy.
Thank you for giving me such peace, and always being there for me. For turning my heartbreak
into more love and  deeper understanding. Oh, I've learned so much about what really matters.
      I am so grateful that my daughters, my mother, his other grandmother, and all his aunts and
cousins, and many other family members and friends who let me know that they loved him too,
and they remember him. A mother wants to know that her child is not forgotten.
      I thank you,  Lord Jesus, for loving Gary too, for saving him, for taking him home,
for healing him, and for the assurance that I will be with him again one day, forever.
     Thank you for my sweet memories and the wonderful years I had with my child.
     I was blessed, and I know it.
     Help me to continue to grow in faith and learn ways to help other parents who have lost their children.
        In Jesus name, Amen
 


       I often pray this prayer, especially nowadays.




And I cling to this image of Jesus holding my son.



I think I'll upgrade his memorial site, on the funeral home's obituary page, so I can upload more photos.  I'll post the URL, when I accomplish that.

Gary and his son, Gary III, about 2000-01



Love, Linda 

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.


                                                                  Wookie Cookies




 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.

A-ha, 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.
 
So, 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