A Berry Picking Birthday

Berry Picking Truck Dee Picking Berries Nell and Dee Selfie Nell and Dee Sitting Nell Picking Berries Pickings and feet Nell SillyNell walking to camera

Well, I just turned 39.  I was told to enjoy this last year because your 40’s are the hardest decade.  Typically, you’re taking care of children and aging parents at the same time.  Most likely you make good money but not yet the best of your career and you’re strapped to put kids through college.  I don’t know if this is exactly true.  I am raising children and will be putting one in college and one in private school (God willing) this fall.  My parents are young; late 50’s but with my mom’s recent car accident and struggle to get well, maybe that qualifies.  They way I look at it, I hit the “hard decade” early.  That’s probably because I started young; married at 20 and first baby at 21.

All in all, I’m still going to enjoy this “last year”.  My birthday weekend was the first time I set aside time to just play and enjoy myself since my mom’s accident two months ago.  I ache when I can’t be there with her but I absolutely love spending time with my family.  This birthday was spent thrift clothes shopping and berry picking with my favorite girl and grilling out my favorite foods with my family at home.  It was amazing.  I have to remember to set aside time for myself and simply enjoy life.  40 will be here before I know it.  ;)

*the berries were used to can jam – stay tuned for a future post.

A Much Needed Beach Day

Two Palms Two Surfers Catching Wave Umbrella View Water Slashing on RocksSteve under UmbrellaNell at the RocksLifeguard StandFather Son SurfersNell Head Shot GlowingNell Walking up from RocksSteve under UmbrellaSurfer on Big Wave

Steve had a wonderful idea to take the Friday off before my birthday/Valentine’s Day weekend to simply hang out together without people or distractions.  This day off was the first fun thing I’ve done since my mom’s accident two months ago.  We slept in, got coffee, ate a cafe breakfast, bought a hat I’ve had my eye on for months, went to the beach (oh how I’ve missed that) and then to dinner.  It was a day to refresh, recharge and reconnect;i t was absolutely perfect.  I don’t think the day could have been any better. He knew exactly what I needed. (love you babe! ;) )

Crochet Sunflower DIY

Sunflower 2 Sunflower
With my mom now being in ICU for over a month, I really wanted to find a way to get something cheerful into her room especially now that she is starting to wake up a bit.  Unfortunately, there is a no flower and no plant rule in the ICU due to the possibility of spreading germs and aggravating allergies. (side note: apparently some hospitals are moving to this rule for all rooms)  I kept trying to come up with possibilities, then it hit me like a ton of bricks one day while trying to focus on something else – story of my life.  If she could not have a live flower, then I could make her a flower that would never die; perfect!

I’m thinking of making up a few of these and maybe bringing them to a nursing home that my church is involved with.  I was pretty happy with the way it turned out.  You cannot see if from these pics, but the “dirt” inside the flower pot is a crocheted circle as well.  Below are basic instructions to make one yourself.

Materials:
Brown and Yellow Yarn
Size “G” Crochet Hook
Green Pipe Cleaner
Small Flower Pot
Hot Glue Gun and Glue
Pillow Stuffing

Instructions (all stitches are single crochet):

  1. Using the brown yarn, crochet a circle the same as you would to start a hat.  Make as large or small as you’d like.
  2. On the last row around use the yellow yarn.
  3. Once you’ve made a complete row around with the yellow yarn, start making the petals with decreasing sets for each petal. Once you’ve crocheted to the tip of the petal, single crochet down the side to get back to the base to begin the next petal.
  4. Crochet another circle using the brown yarn large enough to glue into the flower pot.
  5. Fill the flower pot 3/4 full of pillow stuffing.
  6. Glue the “dirt” circle into the pot.
  7. Twist three green pipe cleaners together and affix and glue to the flower and then feed through the middle hole in the “dirt” circle and feed the pipe cleaner out through the bottom hole in the flower pot and glue onto the bottom of the pot.

Quote of the Day

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

This verse is amazing, comforting and encouraging, but definitely not easy to adhere to especially in those dark and unknown times.  But, God knows best.  He always knows best and His plan is far better and immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.  So, here we are.  We wait and pray.  And while we wait and pray we put all our eggs in His basket.  He will certainly deliver something perfect and glorious and far better than anything our small meager minds are currently imagining.

Soaring Bird

A New Doo

New Hair Green Dress

One foot of hair chopped off!  I knew it was the right decision when the hairdresser chopped off that long pony tail and my first reaction was, “thank God!”.  It was time; time to lighten the load.  Time to get rid of the extra weight.  Time to unload the burden. It just feels great!

Impact

“Often people who are not in the limelight in the church feel they are not as important as those up front.  Some even feel they are second class.  The truth is we are all number one, because God has no favorites.  The Bible tells us that God is impartial.  There are no little people, because we are all special to Him.  We all have a congregation and a sermon to live.  The Bible says, ‘Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16).  In our pulpit, the work place, God has people who will never attend a church and He is depending on us to be a living sermon to them” -Power of the Pew Warmer by Charles Pearce

Unfortunately, many times we don’t really see someone’s true value or their true impact on others until they are not around.  This is the point in which you really feel and see their void.  At least, this is what I had always heard, but never really experienced.

My mom has been in ICU for 26 days and I can honestly say that I truly understand this now.  My mom’s reach and impact on others has been deeper and wider than I had ever realized.  She truly lived out the caption above to the fullest degree.  She was out there being a doer of the Word each and everyday.  Being a light to her family, friends and everyone around her.  She was bringing the love of Christ to others.  Quilting for the homeless, crafting for the needy, volunteering for the animals, donating time, donating money, supporting and caring for her children and grandchildren; and this was all above and beyond her regular duties of managing a rental business, caring for her home, renovating a retirement home and caring for her husband.

How often do we get so wrapped up in our busy day-to-day lives and miss out on all the important things?  I know that I do.  I fall into this trap over and over again.  I’m too tired, I’ve had a long day, I don’t feel like stopping, I don’t want to take time to talk to that person; wah, wah, wah….me, me, me.  Not my mom.  She always found the time to do all the important things. To do those things that really matter; the things that have big impacts on individual lives.  The things that change lives.  She invested of herself.  This has been abundantly evident by the outpouring of love, support and prayers that we have received.

A tragic event such as this will put life into perspective.  You realize very quickly the things that matter most; people.  My mom is an inspiration.  She is my inspiration.

Three Generations American Heart Association Walk dogs Hair Donation Christmas Wreath Christmas Angel

Retrospect

There is something about a tragic life event that will make you look in retrospect.  In doing so, I went back to a photo album that my mom had made for me years back that included nothing but old photos from when I was a little girl.  I picked out some of my favorites to share with you.  There were a few things that came to mind when looking at these photos.

  1. My mom is a breathtakingly beautiful woman.
  2. She is incredibly stylish.  I would love to have those clothes today.
  3. My dad looked even more Spanish in his younger years.  (He’s not Spanish at all)
  4. My parents knew how to vacation well.
  5. The 70’s was an awesome era.

* My mom is slowly progressing and healing from her terrible accident.  We had the first glimpse of hope yesterday; she responded to us by shaking her head “yes”.  She continues to be a miracle from God everyday and for that we are incredibly thankful.  Please keep the prayers coming. This will be a very long journey. (Daily updates found HERE)

Mom and Me Tree 800 Mom dad and me cypress gardens 800 Mom and me in chairs 800 Davis and Ehrets 800 Dad and me 800

In an instant…

everything can change.  In an instant your entire world can be turned upside down.  This happened to me and my family 18 days ago (and counting).  I’m not ready to talk about the full story here but the gist of it is that my mom was in a horrible car accident and has been fighting for her life.  The good news is that we see God working miracles everyday.

Let the ones you love know just how deeply you love them.  Don’t delay in getting together with family.  Don’t let your “busy” life get in the way of calling someone you love.  I guarantee you that in the grand scheme of things, that stuff that made you so “busy” won’t matter at all.

I ask you from the bottom of my heart, please pray for my mom, Brenda.  She is still in ICU in critical condition.  Please pray specifically for complete brain healing and function as well as prayer for no infection or illness as she heals.  If you’re interested in keeping up with her story, you can follow it daily on her CaringBridge website HERE. Much love and thanks!

Mom and Nell in front of water
Mom in HImom nad dadmom and nell snorkelingmom and dad luauMom nell earl in cavemom and nell selfie

Quote for the Day

“That’s your solution? Have a cookie?’ Astrid asked. ‘No, my solution is to run down to the beach and hide out until this is all over,’ Sam said. ‘But a cookie never hurts.” -Michael Grant (Author of Gone)

Clear Water Pier ViewLooking up Needle Fish Shadow in the Water Beach Birds Beach Selfie Bird Crooked Beach Feet in the Water

Anthropologie Refashion DIY

Anthropologie Shirt Front Anthropologie Shirt Side View Anthropologie Shirt Back

Do you have an old tee (or seven) in the bottom of the drawer that you don’t wear anymore?  I certainly do.  I saw this cute Anthropologie tee the other day (that is no longer for sale) and realized it would be pretty easy to make since it is simply a refashion or upcycle of an old t-shirt.  The shirt only took about 30 minutest to make and I was able to make it with items I already had at home.  Here are step-by-step instructions. Enjoy!

Materials:
Old t-shirt (not too fitted)
1/4 of a yard of chiffon (or similar) material in a pattern of your choice
Straight pins
Sewing machine

Instructions:

  1. Cut back of t-shirt including the side seams and up to where the armpits begin.
  2. Lay out your chiffon material with the piece you cut from the tee.
  3. Cut your chiffon about 1 1/2 times wider than the piece of cut t-shirt and about one inch longer.
  4. Pin the chiffon to the tee all the way around making a gathered stitch in the top middle portion on the chiffon material.
  5. Sew along all sides.
  6. Hem the bottom into either a straight edge or curved edge.