Conflicted

Well, they are on their way to stay with their dad for a month. The Recruiter, Peanut and Twix left this afternoon to make the trek to Nashville for the hand off for the second leg of their trip to Alabama.

And I’m oddly conflicted.

On one hand, with all that’s happened since February, Entrepreneur and I need a break from the endless energy and incessant “whys” of a three year old. And, having both of them since mid-May when the after-school sitter left college for summer break has been both a joy and a challenge. AND, add the fur baby that arrived the beginning of June and…..well…are you tired yet? We are. We really do need this time to regroup and Entrepreneur needs this time to rest due to chemo fatigue. So, we’re down two children….but training a fur baby.

But, on the other hand, each time they leave, the relief is replaced with worry and concern. Call it parental paranoia or whatever. I’m counting the days until their return. When they hit the door again in mid-July, there won’t be much summer left before those back-to-school and after-school activities begin again. In the meantime, my house will be void of munchkin-size clothing lying around, half-drank beverages in the frig, books, crayons, pencils and toys on every surface in every room. Gone will be the bath toys in my soaker tub, and luvies within arms reach of every bed.

I feel guilty about looking forward to the break…knowing the time we have with them is a gift not afforded to every grandparent. Am I ungrateful for that gift if I’m relieved to be relieved of those child care responsibilities? What if something happens to them while they are gone? I would be devastated knowing I was looking forward to time in the empty nest…even if it was only temporarily.

Such is the life of long-distance visitation.

So we try to pack as much as we can into the few weeks of summer before they have to leave. We did picnics and playgrounds; pool time and popsicles; Peanut and I visited a museum and took in a movie; went to our church’s version of VBS (on steroids); and scheduled horseback riding lessons. Plus, we made sure there were times for just hanging out with nothing organized so the mind could wander uninterrupted.

Please enjoy a few early summer childhood captures of our grandbabykins.


A nosefull of posies.


Yes, she is that high. Zoom lens required.


Picnic pupper and his pal.


The University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archeology; artifacts and art ranging from circa 1550 BCE to the 20th century.


Pool time with Papa.


Sittin’ pretty in the saddle.


He loves me……..


An uninterrupted afternoon.


Mermaids do exist!


She was a little uncontrollable at the sprayground!


The epitome of summer relaxation.


Litter mates.

I think I got a little carried away with my pics. But, I’m sure you’ll forgive me. ūüôā I hope everyone’s summer is off to a wonderful start.

xoxo

Musings from an Outlander Addict

You know what a cult show is, don’t you? No? Well, let me clue you in.¬†A cult show is one that sucks you in so completely that you become obsessed with it. It’s the show that causes¬†you rearrange your schedule just so you don’t miss any episodes even though you have a DVR.¬†My first experience with a cult show was LOST. There have been a few since then, but none as powerful as the one¬†I fell completely head over heals for last year….Outlander.

outlander-dvd

I blame The Recruiter. It’s her fault for watching the show in my family room when she, Peanut and Twix lived with us. It only took one time and¬†I was hopelessly hooked. So hooked that I refused to let Entrepreneur get rid of Starz when he downsized our satellite TV package. So hooked that I talked The Recruiter into going¬†to Starz on Demand¬†and¬†downloading the first two seasons for me. Last summer I binge watched Seasons One and Two¬†while Entrepreneur watched¬†sports.

So, if you are not familiar with the storyline, here it is in a nutshell.

Claire Randall, a former British Army nurse, is enjoying a second honeymoon in Scotland with husband Frank Randall after WW II. Frank is a former English military officer and has taken a position as an Oxford historian. Unexplainably, through an ancient stone ruin, Claire is transported back in time to 1743, into a world completely different from her own. Because of her medical background, she is perceived as a healer. To survive, literally, she agrees to an arranged marriage to Jamie Fraser, a strapping Scottish Highlander and becomes caught up in the Jacobite rebellion against the English. After a tumultuous beginning, a passionate relationship develops between Claire and Jamie and her feelings become torn between two vastly different men across two centuries. Outlander is adapted from the best-selling book series by Diana Gabaldon.

Now that my binge watching is complete, I’m¬†in the middle of what is referred to as “Droughtlander” before the next season begins later this fall, I believe the show has more to offer than a complicated, layered storyline, breathtaking scenery, hauntingly beautiful intro music, and Highlander eye candy (aka: Jamie Fraser). It’s the perfect mix of passion and romance paired with war, torture and rugged testosterone. Here are my observations and life parallels:

Love takes turns being the hero.
Both Jamie and Claire take turns rescuing each other from certain death at the hands of the British…more specifically, a British officer named Jonathan Wolverton (Black Jack) Randall, who has personal vendettas against¬†both of them. They risk their lives for each other because¬†their love trumps the possibility of living without the other. In successful relationships, the depth of¬†commitment operates selflessly and without regard for personal safety, physically and emotionally. The well-being of the other person is of utmost importance and each will move heaven and earth to make that happen. The respect, devotion, gentleness and passion Claire and Jamie¬†have for¬†each other is enviable. It’s the platinum¬†standard in relationships…real or otherwise.

Not everyone is capable of redemption.
Speaking of Black Jack Randall, he’s one of Frank’s (Claire’s 1940s husband) distant relatives. And where Frank is a kind and loving gentleman, Jack is diametrically the polar opposite. And to make the dynamic¬†more complicated, they look exactly alike. The author and the actor succeeds magnificently in creating visceral contempt for this character. Just when you think there is a glimmer of hope in his moral character, he chooses to act in the most heinous way imaginable…and admittedly, without remorse. While my faith teaches no one¬†is¬†beyond redemption, a person like Black Jack Randall could make me¬†believe some people¬†may be¬†irreversibly¬†evil. The tricky question is, who gets to judge whether that is actually the case? The person I write off as hopeless may simply be a lost soul who hasn’t yet encountered the experience needed to change. Maybe I’m to be that¬†experience? One thing’s for sure….I would not want to encounter a Black Jack Randall and be faced with that moral dilemma.

Feminism with femininity.
Claire is a progressive women of the 1940s. She is a veteran Army nurse and doesn’t put up with crap from anyone. She is opinionated and vocal. She takes that mentality with her to the 1700s, but¬†quickly discovers this type of “strong woman” is not going to get her anywhere and could, quite possibly, get her killed. What results is a woman who becomes intellectually savvy and gives the appearance of restraint (for the most part).¬†However docile she appears,¬†underneath there’s a strong, cunning, resourceful woman who understands how to use her femininity (not sex) to her best advantage. Victoria’s Secret can parade those¬†angels all they want;¬†they’ve got nuthin’ on Claire Frasier.

Situations are not always as they seem.
Claire and Jamie would¬†like nothing more than to see Black Jack Randall leave this earth….however, Jack¬†is Frank’s ancestor and to eliminate him too soon could cause Frank to never be born. Enter, Mary Hawkins; a wisp of a girl who, according to Frank’s genealogy search, is supposed to become Black Jack’s wife and continue his lineage. The problem is, Mary loves Black Jack’s younger brother, Alex. Claire knows the genealogy of Frank and how Mary and Black Jack¬†fit into it. She logically reasons Mary cannot marry Alex¬†or Frank will never be born. So, she intervenes and talks¬†Alex¬†into leaving Mary. Months later, to her horror, she finds they’ve reunited, but Alex is very ill. Claire is begged to heal him, but she recognizes he suffers from¬†tuberculosis and congenital heart failure. There is no known cure in this era. And, Mary is pregnant. Faced with his fianc√©’s uncertain future with no husband’s wealth to provide for her, Alex’s¬†dying with is for his decorated, military brother, Jonathan, to marry her. As abhorrent as this idea is to everyone, including Black Jack, Claire knows (according to genealogy and history) Jack¬†going¬†to die in the next day’s battle…so, it’s all good. Mary will not have to suffer at the hands of this depraved man. Claire¬†breathes a sigh of relief knowing Frank’s future is secure.

My point? My point is sometimes situations just are not as they seem. There was a reason Mary and Alex were together….but no one knew what it was until Alex was on his deathbed. All of Claire’s efforts to discourage Alex and Mary’s relationship were misguided…and based on her assumption of what would/would not happen if she didn’t intervene. Sometimes, we jump to conclusions about situations before we know the circumstances. Sometimes our actions to steer events the way we think they should go are misguided and shouldn’t be pursued.

Things happen for a reason.
Dovetailing with the above observation is this one. The driving story behind Seasons One¬†and Two¬†is Claire and Jaime’s desire to change history and avoid the Jacobite rebellion. Believing Jamie will die in the Battle of Culloden, Claire’s focus is on how to¬†alter the events leading¬†up to that fateful battle. Jaime is on board and the two of them work towards disrupting Bonnie Prince Charles’ plans to overthrow the current king of England…. all the while appearing to be a supporter of the rebellion. But, despite their scheming and manipulative efforts, they are unsuccessful and the battle happens as planned.

As much as we’d love to go back and change some things about our past, events and experiences happened for a reason. For those of us who believe there is a plan for our lives and a path we must travel, it’s easier to accept this. Events are tied together for a reason; change one and you unravel everything because nothing exists in a vacuum.

I’m now (im)patiently waiting for the debut of Season Three to be announced. I admit, I’ve cheated a bit and gone online to read summaries of what we can expect to see based on the next book. And, I’m following Outlander sites on Twitter and Facebook.

Yep, definitely a cult show.

Playing along with those over at Life Through the Lens.

 

 

 

November reflections

november-leaf-quotographyNovember’s sky is chill and drear,
November’s leaf is red and sear.
~Sir Walter Scott

November is only half over, but a lot has happened, hasn’t it? The election fallout is still falling out and I’m both surprised and saddened by the behavior of some people from both sides. This quote may sum up November in¬†more ways than one.

It’s strange to me how those¬†whose presidential candidate lost have completely¬†abandoned all semblance of common sense and decency. In 2008 and 2012, I don’t recall riots and hysteria when Obama¬†won the election….and I knew¬†plenty of people who detested the outcome. This election has shown the worst side of some people….or sadly, maybe it’s shown them for who¬†they really are.

Bad men cannot make good citizens. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience are incompatible with freedom. ~Patrick Henry

In my opinion, there is absolutely no excuse for anyone demonstrating violence against another person¬†because their¬†candidate lost…or won. It makes me sad to hear of assaults by Trump supporters that spew hatred and “white supremacy.” There is no place for that in America, and those people should be prosecuted.

People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’m equally appalled at some Democrat¬†supporters who are rioting in the streets and causing mayhem because Trump won. In Portland, a mob attacked a pregnant woman. She was trying to get to the hospital for a medical emergency. Someone hit her windshield with a bat and then attacked her outside her car. And, what’s with the person taking the video…and posted it on social media? Are these people so heartless and¬†self-absorbed that they have no common decency?

The vitriol on Facebook, Twitter and other forms of communication from Democrat supporters towards anyone who voted for their opponent is so caustic that I believe they’ve turned into the very personification of character traits¬†they rallied against during the election.

The viciousness of words in the populace on both sides are driving wedges between friends, neighbors and families. It’s ridiculous. No amount of justification will¬†excuse being mean-spirited and hateful because you disagree with or want to gloat about the outcome.

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. ~1 Peter 3:8-9

In light of all these protests, let’s have a little history lesson.

  • Abraham Lincoln received only 40% of the¬†popular vote in 1860 and narrowly received enough electoral votes to win. No riots resulted from the opposition’s supporters, and he went on to become one of the most beloved presidents in history.
  • In¬†1876, Rutherford B. Hayes won the election over Samuel Tilden by one electoral vote, but lost the popular vote by more than 250,000 votes. No violent assaults¬†erupted.
  • Benjamin Harrison received 233 electoral votes to Grover Cleveland‚Äôs 168 in 1888. But, Harrison lost the popular vote by more than 90,000 votes. Again, no hysterical protests or calls for abandoning the Electoral College.
  • America is a Republic with a Federalist government. That means power is divided between the states and three branches of government so to avoid disproportionate mob rule.

If a simple majority was to rule the land, candidates would never bother with most of the states except those along each coast. Their focus would only be on states with the largest populations.

And, here’s a few event in history that¬†would not have happened¬†if the majority had had their way:

  • The Declaration of Independence would not have been adopted because most¬†colonists were afraid of the consequences.
  • Slavery would not have been abolished.
  • Women would not have the right to vote.
  • Civil rights legislation¬†would not have been passed.

Wow, those Founding Fathers were pretty darn smart setting up our country to NOT have majority rule.

Up until quite recently, America was one of a few nations where a peaceful transition of power could happen. Apparently, not anymore. The protests that have resulted are anything but peaceful and should come nowhere near being considered a First Amendment Right. How have we become a nation where we have forgotten the tenants of why America was formed; to escape tyranny.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. ~John Adams

Sharing with Quotography and Life Through the Lens.

Dear Younger Me

If I knew then what I know now…….how often have we said that? Or, I’d go back if I could take the brain I have now with me.

Do you ever wonder how different life would be if your younger, more stupid self had been sent a letter by your older, much wiser self?

We’d be able to see what younger self was about to do and warn¬†them, Hey dumb-@$$, don’t do what you’re thinking about doing¬†or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. How awesome would that be? We could avoid a lot of pain, suffering and hardship.

And yet, all those stupid mistakes my younger self made…and the lessons learned….has molded¬†me into who I am today. Okay, maybe I could do without some of those aspects but, on the whole, I know all those experiences happened for a reason. They all were part of a bigger plan and served to skool me in much more than academics.

lisa1976And yet…..if I could warn my younger self¬†about life, here’s what I would say:

Dear Younger Me,

Love yourself. Regardless of what that tag on your clothing says, love the person inside those jeans. If, in your opinion, the packaging needs work, then take measures to become a  healthier me. And remember, you are more than a number on a pair of pants.

Stop being afraid to take a risk. But what if¬†it’s a mistake? Then, it’s a mistake. The awesome thing about life is there’s always the opportunity for¬†a do-over when the sun rises. Don’t look back when you’re 60, 70 or 100 and say, I wish I would have done…….

Life….your career, your marriage, your children….will be a roller coaster ride most¬†of the time. Sometimes it will all feel like you’re fighting an¬†uphill battle, and other times it will feel like¬†an out-of-control, downhill race to the finish line. And there will be those loopy-loops in the middle that make your stomach lurch. But the good and the bad serve a purpose, even if that purpose is above your pay grade at this time. So, don’t be afraid to live, laugh and love….a lot.

Don’t obsess over the¬†small stuff….or small people. Everything from traffic lights to idiot drivers to that five cent error in the checkbook. Life is much too short to be angry or worried over these things. And, likewise about small-minded people whose mission in life is to make you feel inferior and inadequate. These are part of those¬†character-building experiences your parents told you about.

Don’t wish away the pain. Emotional, physical, psychological. You’re going to feel all of it more than you’d like. It sounds trite, but the pain is there to teach and, if you let it, mold you into the best version of yourself. Rarely are lessons learned from the easy, good times in life. Life lessons are mainly learned through pain, heartache, struggles, challenges, devastation and loss. You may not like it, but that’s the way it is. So, embrace the pain¬†and discover what you are supposed to learn from the experience and then move forward…not backwards.

Your faith will wax and wane like the moon. Life experiences will bring you to mountain-top epiphanies, but will also lay you flat with doubts. Through¬†all of this, do whatever it takes to understand these are challenges designed to¬†refine your faith and strengthen it. But even if you walk away and do unspeakable things, remember it’s never too late to turn around and come back. You are never too far gone for forgiveness and grace if you truly desire to have it. God may have just let you wander around feeling lost for a reason.

Some day it will all make sense. But, perhaps¬†not in this life. And that’s okay. You don’t need to figure it all out. Trust that things happen for a reason and God has a specific mountain valley abyss path you need to take. Pray for guidance, and use your head and heart to make the best decisions possible. It will all get sorted out in the end.

With love,
Your Older, Much Wiser Me

And then I’d leave Younger Me¬†with this music video.

Sharing with Life Through the Lens

LTTL & Quotography: Red

red-quotography-72
Red is the ultimate cure for sadness.
~Bill Blass

and hummingbirds….definitely hummingbirds.

I’m finally playing along again with Kelley and¬†Quotography, and Lisa at Life Thru the Lens! Twix went down for a nap and I made the executive decision to grab the camera and go outside…specifically looking for Red.

The calendar says the first day of Autumn is later this week, but the thermometer still says it’s summer here in middle Missouri. Temps are in the upper 80sF with the heat index in the upper 90sF. Not very conducive to Autumn thinking.

The hummers were impressive this year. They buzzed around the feeders all summer and are still going strong. I figure they are beginning to migrate south and are catching a quick bite along the way. So, the feeders will stay up for a while.

I decided to take time the next couple of months for¬†a Women’s Bible Study class on C.S. Lewis. We’re specifically talking about Mere Christianity and The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe.¬†He’s such a favorite of mine, and his story of how he walked away from Christianity and became an atheist…only to be drawn back to faith through logic and reason. Much of his writings make my brain hurt. Did you know “Jack”¬†(as he wanted to be called) was the¬†first Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at the University of Cambridge? That means he must have been an extremely¬†well-read person. Good and bad, fiction or fact…he read them and gained insight, discernment and a respect for differing points of view. I may write more on Jack as the study gets further into the details of his life and writing.

But for now, I’ll just leave you with one of my hummers….just to make you smile.

Playing along with Kelley and Quotography, and sharing with Lisa at Life Thru the Lens

Walk with me?

So, what is this thing called blogging and how does it work? Once again, I’ve been MIA for far too long. Life events the past few months feels like¬†we’ve been drinking from a fire hose and I gotta tell you, we’re T.I.R.E.D. I’m slowly trying to get back into the swing of things here in the blogosphere.

But today, I’d like to stroll with you around the grounds and chat a while. Along with the stress the past few months, I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with world events. How about you? The election is looming and our choices are a narcissistic opportunist or a criminal so slick she seems to get¬†a pass for very questionable activities. It’s really sad this is the best the two main parties can come up with for¬†candidates. Where are all the “statesmen”? I’m extremely worried about the future of our country regardless of which one wins. The debates and non objective follow-up analysis from¬†the media should be entertaining frustrating nauseating interesting.

morning glory

This? This is a Morning Glory. I saved some seeds from last year and threw them in a pot last spring. They took their own sweet time coming up but are going strong here at the end of summer. The cool blue color is refreshing against the 90+F temps.

Going back to politics for a moment…..I don’t understand why anyone would want to run for office in this day and age. It seems like as soon as someone announces their candidacy, the skeletons simply cannot fall out of the closet fast enough. And that’s all the media want to focus on. Let’s just¬†ignore anything of substance….let’s focus on¬†how much dirt can be uncovered, ¬†how much mud can be slung, and what new, catchy, derogatory names can be adopted. And have you noticed, when a candidate has absolutely no plan, their focus becomes primarily on character assassination of their opponent?

bee

The Rose of Sharons are completely out of control. For 15 years, one Rose of Sharon bush lived peacefully in a flower bed off the driveway with a cedar tree, perennial geraniums and day lilies. However, in the last few years, Sharon has started proliferating like a bunny. That bed is now almost completely covered with volunteer Rose of Sharon bushes, which would be okay except they are starting to grow into the cedar tree, and are crowding out the perennial geranium ground cover. But the bees and hummingbirds love them. This carpenter bee was so laden down with pollen, it was flying in slow motion.

A new semester has begun and I’m, once again, an instructor for Strategic Campaigns. This is the capstone course for students graduating in the strategic communications department. I have 17 students this semester who really have no idea how much work awaits¬†them. And I can already see managing client expectations is going to be a problem.

rose of sharon

Twix is two and a half and continues to keep us on our toes with such phrases as, I can do it!;¬†Let me do it!; Don’t help me! Her newly-found independent abilities is entertaining….and frustrating at the same time. Her problem-solving abilities are mind boggling. Every time I turn around, she’s carrying a chair somewhere in order to get to something that has been put (what we thought was) out of reach. And the complete sentences¬†that come out of her mouth will make your head spin. She began a sentence the other day with, Actually…….

mantis

This little guy hitched a ride on Entrepreneur’s car¬†and ended up relocating to our yard. I’m sure he found a smorgasbord to whet his appetite. I also have a toad that lives in ¬†a couple of aloe vera plant pots. Mental note: check the pot before brining it inside for the winter.

pantry

So you might wonder what I’ve been doing that’s kept me away from you all for so long? Well, here’s part of the reason. The garden yielded 17 quarts of canned green beans, a mixture of quarts and pints of pickled beets, pickled okra and dilly beans. The corn, once we got it tied up after the rains, rewarded our effort with 10 quart jars of golden deliciousness in the freezer, plus we had more than enough for corn on the cob dinners. But, no bell peppers….which made me sad. On the other end of the spectrum, the okra is still going gangbusters and I swear one could stand and literally watch it grow. I’ve started giving it away as I have about¬†ten, gallon bags frozen in the deep freeze already and two more gallon bags in the frig. I’m looking forward to putting that little plot of ground¬†to rest for the year.

Are you looking forward to Autumn? I think I might be ready for it soon. I seem to be hearing the call of cute boots and cuddly sweaters from my closet.

lantana and chair

So, The Recruiter, Peanut and Twix are now officially moved into their newly-renovated home. Peanut started a new school and¬†is less than thrilled about the situation. But, I’m hoping she will adapt, in time. Twix comes to our house during the weekdays while mom is at work and, mercifully, still takes naps. ūüôā

So, that’s where I’ve been for many, many weeks. I’ve tried to stay active on Facebook, but that’s more like “hit and run” postings. Perhaps once it gets colder I’ll have more time to contemplate deep thoughts and put into words. I have a lot of those thoughts¬†floating around in my head. But, for the foreseeable future, I think I’ll be living hand-to-mouth and trying to keep my head above the time commitment waters.

How was your summer?

 

 

 

 

The month in photos: June

June 2016

How did it get so late so soon? 
Its night before its afternoon. 
December is here before its June. 
My goodness how the time has flewn. 
How did it get so late so soon?
~Dr. Seuss 

So, add June to the list of months that sped by without slowing down. I’m getting a little tired of looking backwards at the calendar, wondering where the time went.

June began easy enough with pool time and popsicles with the grandbabykins. The Recruiter finalized the purchase of a house and interior demo began the day after signing. As with any older home, a few¬†unexpected surprises¬†have surfaced that was not anticipated. Welcome to home ownership! But, she is excited to finally be out of our lower level and can unpack all her “stuff.”

We anticipated¬†a visit from The Golfer who flew in¬†for our godson’s (her cousin’s) wedding…which provided a rare photo of all of us together. Peanut and Twix were super excited to see her and KW. Unfortunately, their visit¬†lasted¬†only four days.

We celebrated Dad’s Day with Entrepreneur’s family a week early since we were scheduled to take the grandbabykins to Alabama for their summer visit with their dad. Peanut’s visitation is supposed to last 6 weeks, but since Twix was only to stay two weeks, we drove on to¬†Florida to see The Golfer again. Coincidentally, our stay coincided with some outdoor projects that needed to be done, and help with a junior golf camp. I ate entirely too much food during those two weeks and am now paying for it. Florida has some excellent restaurants!

So we’re back from traveling, sans one Peanut, and back into house reno mode again.

I did find time to get re-acquainted with my camera…now I just need time to do something with them.

I hope June was a good month for everyone. Can you believe the year is already half finished?! I should probably start thinking about Christmas shopping. ūüėČ

Participating with others over at Mona’s Picturesque and her¬†Month in Photos.