Friday, August 28, 2009

highs & lows & back to school

I have been teaching at Holden Christian Academy   for going on 16 years. It is a wonderful school with a family atmosphere where I have the pleasure of working with a fantastic group of people who love the Lord and make the hard work a joy. For the last few days I’ve been getting my room ready, but today was our first mandatory staff meeting. To start things off, the Principal, who happens to be one of my best friends in the world, (How many people can say that about their “boss?”) asked us to share one high and one low of the summer.

That was easy.

My Dad had a cystoscopy and a procedure called a “TURBT” to remove a tumor in his bladder at the very end of the school year in June. After the biopsy, the testing revealed that he had transitional cell carcinoma, that is, stage 2 grade 3 bladder cancer. You would never know to look at him that he is battling such a grave disease.
He looks like the picture of health. But looks can be deceiving. I have been accompanying him on his doctor visits as he seeks advice from the experts between St. Vincent’s in Worcester and Dana Farber in Boston to determine the best course of action for treating this type of cancer.

My Mom is fighting her own ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease. {With Parkinson’s, the loss of dopamine production in the brain primarily causes tremor, slowness of movement, rigidity, and difficulty with balance and depression.} It is a cruel disease. She is so worried about my Dad and doesn’t know how she could manage without him. They’ve been married for 55 years!

I have been forced to come to grips with the fact that my parents will not always be right next door. It’s hard. I never want to be an orphan.  (I don’t care how old I am!) I just love my mom and dad so much. And my kids just love their grandparents… And my grandkids just love GG and Dad-Dad…

Nevertheless, God is good…All the time! He will give my M & D the strength to bear whatever comes their way and He will do the same for me and mine!

So…as I blink away the tears, you may be surprised (or not) to know that the highlight was actually starting this blog! It is satisfying and cathartic to put words on paper (even if it’s virtual paper!) and reflect on moments of life, big and small.

I know this post is rather long, but even with tears in my eyes it feels good to write these things down. Thanks, Sue (“Suuusan”) for giving us the opportunity to reflect (even if it was for only thirty seconds!)

To those who read, and listen, and comment…

It means so much.

Thanks, Teresa, for calling to say you were checking in! Your timing was perfect!
I’m hoping I’ll have enough time to post when I’m back to school and things are in full swing!

Until next time…


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lights, Camera, Action!

My family  had a very special, memorable year last year with my youngest daughter's wedding, the birth of my middle daughter's daughter, and all the showers and celebrations that go with them.  Along with with the fun and happy memories, however, came a substantial amount of debt which I had determined to pay off ASAP.  Well, I'm happy to say that we were able to refinance this summer and, with a lowered interest rate, our mortgage payments won't change, the credit card debt is absorbed and there was even a little bit left on the loan to invest in a new camera which has been a dream of mine for some time!  I was able to apply reward points I'd accumulated on the credit card to lower the cost of the camera, so, all in all, it was pretty affordable.  I love my little point and shoot except when I'm trying to capture my grandkids in action. The shutter release was too slow and I oftened missed the shot! Hopefully, when I've learned to use this sweet baby, I'll be capturing ALL the action! :)
I've got a lot to learn, but I'm SO excited!
I have grand hopes that when I learn to use this camera
it will make my blog more appealing too.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Counting my Summer Blessings

~Sleeping in…zzzzz
~Lingering in my pjs
~Open windows
~Warm breezes
~The feel of sunshine on my face
~The smell of fresh cut grass
~Going barefoot
~Lightning bugs in a jar
~Eating al fresco
~Corn on the cob
~D’s baby talk
~Garden blooms and butterflies
~Kiddos in the pool
~Lots of outdoor pics
~Ice cream cones
~O’s piggy toes
~Goldfinches at the feeder
~Summer rain and rainbows
~Just-picked tomatoes
~Green and orange popsicles
~Front porch storm watching
~Coppertone tans
~Contemplating God’s pleasure
~Comments on my blog :)

The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:18

Have you stopped to count your blessings today?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Let's Celebrate!

I was grateful for a few uninterrupted hours this morning so I could make a couple of cakes and cupcakes and a taco salad for my daughter and nephew's family birthday party. They were born 12 days apart and have always been friends, but have grown even closer in recent years. M. was my son-in-law's best man and is my grandson's godfather. We have a large family and have always celebrated together at least until their 21st b-day. Special thanks to my SIL who volunteered to host the gathering for M. and J. at her house since it's been pretty busy around here lately.

I took a few pics before I left and then forgot my camera at home, so this is an older pic of M. Cute, huh? Good kid, too. Happy Birthday, M.!

A very special SHOUT OUT to MB whose family and friends are celebrating her college graduation tonight. We're very proud of you, and grateful you're part of our family too. Congratulations! May all your future dreams come true!

Next time you're over I'm taking your picture (without the cowgirls!):)

Friday, August 21, 2009

And the winner is...

...BRENDA! Congratulations! Please email your address and I'll send out my little giveaway ASAP! It's wrapped and ready to go! Special thanks to those who left comments. It means a lot! Again, Congrats, Brenda!

Here's a little glimpse of what's inside the package. Brenda, turn away if you want to be surprised! I love a theme, so I went with the captions of our mini photo shoot minus the Cheerios. (I looked but couldn't find a snack-size box!) Then I added a few random things just for FUN!

Since I blogged about sweet girl last, I thought I'd give my little worker boy equal time and share a few pics ...

He loves helping Grampie and I love it because they're cleaning my car! :)

Taking a little break before going on to help his mama wash her car. Need lots of water in this hot, sunny weather!

He takes his work very seriously!

These pics are from yesterday. Right now we're having a tornado watch and severe thunderstorm warnings...ahhh, the weather in New England!

PS Tigger never did show up...I'll be cleaning that room 'til next summer! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Oh bother."

WHY? Why did I decide to wait until we're having a heat wave to clean out the upstairs spare bedroom that has become a storage room? WHY? I'm feeling a little bit like Pooh's friend Eeyore. I need a friend like Tigger to come bouncing in with renewed enthusiasm and energy!

Well, on a positive note I did find the air conditioner underneath a box of Christmas ornaments! Now if I can get my husband to help me install it in the bedroom, at least when I've finished this crappy project I'll sleep well tonight!

If you're reading this, please tell your friends that I've got a little giveaway going on. Read my last post and comment a caption to be eligible for a random drawing on Friday.

I'll let you know if Tigger shows up! ;)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sweet Girl

I have been CRAZY BUSY trying to accomplish some of the things on my Summer TO DO List before it becomes my Autumn TO DO List!
I let some things pile up, literally, and I've been trying to tackle the heap! I've still got plenty more to deal with, but I took time out for a mini photo shoot of Sweet Girl in her froufrou petticoat.

Hey, This is my good side!

I feel like Cinderella!

A fist full of Cheerios is always a welcome snack for a working girl.

I wish I'd had my nails done!

This pic just begs for a better caption than I can think of. Post a comment with an idea for a caption and I'll enter you in a little giveaway to be randomly drawn next Friday. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bon Appetit!

Julie and Julia (Watch the trailer) was FAB! I love movies based on a true story, and this one is based on two true stories! My friend and I laughed, and cried, ate popcorn (of course), and loved this movie! Meryl Streep and Amy Adams were brilliant and Stanley Tucci was endearing as Julia's supportive husband. Next time I'm at the thrift shop I'll be looking for Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking! Even though I'm more like the "marshmallow fluff person" in the movie, I left the theater craving butter and Beef Bourguignon! I googled the recipe and also found a picture of Julia Child with her husband, Paul. So, for the curious beyond the movie types, this pic is for you. My son in law LOVES beef, so while their here I'm hoping to give this recipe a try. I'll let you know how it turns out. Until then. Bon Appetit! ;)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

lovely flowers and pretty packages

I have a Bluebird Hydrangea that did quite well this summer.
My Endless Summer Hydrangea, on the other hand, had one bloom, and I think my husband ran over that one with the lawn mower! I've heard that some people feel they haven't lived up to the hype. I guess I'd have to say I'm one of them. I thought I'd have lovely bouquets of hydrangeas all summer long and extras to dry for wreaths in the fall...not happenin' this year!
Heather Bullard's recent post got me thinking about hydrangeas. Hers reminded me of the arrangements that were at the bridal shower I attended a couple of weeks ago.

The mother of the bride made one for each table. They held 2 small green apples, 1 large hydrangea blossom, a couple of pink roses on picks, and that cool, stringy stuff she picked up from a florist. Does anyone know what that's called? She bought the glassware at TJ Maxx or Marshall's. Aren't they beautiful?

I helped my friend, the mother of the groom, to wrap two stunning packages for her son and future DIL.

It took us about 5 hours to cut, fold and glue, but they were pretty impressive when they were done. Don't you agree?

Monday, August 10, 2009

relief from the humidity

We've had many days of cool, drizzly weather this summer, but for the past couple of days, we've been feeling the heat and humidity. We seem to slow down without trying and air conditioning beckons… a good time to spend a sizeable portion of the day at the local thrift shop just perusing the wares. :) Here are a few of my favorite finds for today. I discovered the sweetest smelling soaps from Sweden, fun "jewels" and a teapot embellished with pink roses...

Tomorrow my friend and I have plans to see Julie and Julia…I think it sounds like the perfect flick for a new blogger and her caterer friend, and the theater is air conditioned. Perfect.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

happy birthday, baby girl!

I think my daughter was happy to be home for her birthday. Her dad always left a rose and a blueberry muffin on the kitchen counter for the girls’ birthdays. So, since she was home, he got up early and continued the tradition. We invited Grammie and Granddad (who live next door) to join us for brunch. I layered plate size pancakes instead of a cake and we sang “Happy Birthday.”

D…, her son, and I spent some time yesterday working on her presents. You can see by the look on his face he worked very hard painting her a picture. I do think he really would have had as much fun with just water and no paint.

He said “oh, oh,” and “Oh, man,” a few times while he was spilling water painting. But his mom truly appreciated his efforts. She loved the collage too. I didn’t realize it, but she remembered I had made one for her sisters on their 21st b-days, too.
Now she's out to dinner with her husband, sister, and several friends and her dad and I are watching the grandkids. All in all, it’s been a pretty good day.:)happy birthday, baby girl. love you.

Friday, August 7, 2009

big kids and little kids

My youngest daughter will turn 21 on Sunday...I've been working on a collage of words and pictures cut from magazines that make me think of her. It was supposed to be a surprise, but she came in while I was making it and now she knows I'm up to something. Oh well, she'll have to wait until Sunday for the big reveal. :)

She and her husband moved in last week-end. They'll be staying here while they work on their new old house. It needed some serious renovating, but it's going to be beautiful. They're so excited! My husband's and my first house was the epitomy of a fixer-upper! I do remember how fun it was to make it our own.

They also brought with them everything they own! It has taken up residence in our garage for the duration. But it's OK because they also brought him! He'll be 2 in September. I just can't believe I've been blessed with the cutest little darlin' of a grandson in the world! :) Yeah, nothin' like gramma love.
I have a grandaughter too. {9 months, Daughter #2's daughter}Complete that little sweetie...can you tell she's teething? :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

His eye is on the sparrow wren…

See the sweet birds in the banner above? Earlier today I went to check up on the little ones. I carefully opened the birdhouse expecting to see little birdie beaks poised for feeding. Instead, one of the “wee littles” jumped, seriously, leaped! right out of the nest! Of course I chased it and just as I was about to grab hold it jumped again, into the tall grass, never to be seen again! I searched for that little bird for half an hour while momma and daddy chirped and chattered the whole time! And I've got the mosquito bites to prove it! Suffice to say that looking for a tiny brown bird in three foot tall grass is like looking for a needle in a haystack! Man, did I feel terrible! Even though I wasn’t too happy the wrens had moved into my bluebird box (I have had bluebirds nesting there for several years.) I had grown to love them. I learned to recognize their call, and one morning they were literally outside my bedroom window singing and calling as if to say “Get up it’s a beautiful day!” That's better than any alarm clock! The only consolation is to think that perhaps they were just getting ready to leave the nest, fly the coop, and venture into the great unknown! Be safe little bird, godspeed!
I'm wondering, can anyone tell me how to blur the edges of a photo?

One more thing~ debi@lifeinmystudio is having a giveaway to celebrate her first blog anniversary. Stop by and peruse her lovely blog and you could be a winner! If it's not me, I hope it's YOU!


PS Yes, Bethany, the pitcher is from Pier One. I resisted the temptation to buy it last summer and I got it on sale for half price a few weeks ago! There was only one matching glass left, but I was able to find the same color glasses at the thrift shop for .49 ea.! Even better!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

blogging for bliss

Today is the Book Release Party of Tara Frey's book Blogging for Bliss, and it is so fun to be able to join in the celebration! Besides being beautiful, it was helpful to have handy when I had questions as I was posting for the first time.

So, thank you Tara, and continued success in all you do (a sequel, maybe?).

Thank you ArtsyMama for the cupcake and invitation to the party,

and a VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU to those who stopped by my brand new blog...

Truly, my friends, Sweet Bliss is checking in and finding your very first comments from encouraging new friends! I can't tell you how much it means to me...but then, you know...I'm so glad I decided to join this happy blogworld!

Monday, August 3, 2009

blogstalker no more!

The days of feeling like a blogstalker are over! No longer am I lurking in the shadows...I joined the club! I was introduced to Heather Bullard by Tracey Connolly (vintagebejoyful) who was introduced by Tracey Buxton (Notes from a Cottage Industry). I've never met these women but I can say I have been inspired by each one of them and have enjoyed peeking into their lives. The picture, left, is my humble interpretation of Heather's Repurposed desk found here. I've got to remember to take before pics from now on. I'm still looking for the right frame to make a chalkboard. Ah the hunt...gotta love it!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

just getting started

When I write I am really out of my element. I'm more of a "can't I just tell you what I'm thinking?" kind of person. This is part of the reason I decided it would be good for me to start a blog. Push myself. Keep this "work in progress" moving forward. So, here I am. I'm not sure what this will look like when it's posted, but I'm going to risk my perfectionist pride and just go for it!

Where's the "help" button? ;)