Coffeegirl63's Blog

Where *HAVE* I been?? April 29, 2012

Filed under: Spending Time — coffeegirl63 @ 12:56 pm
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Recently, a friend told me that he had finally got around to reading my blogs (including my professional blogs). He said he really enjoyed them and had shared them with his mother, who also really enjoyed them. I had conflicting emotions—their accolades thrilled me, and I felt like a bum for not having written in so long. I actually had to go look it up. I haven’t posted anything here since November. Very Pollyanna of me to have kept waiting until I had time… you know, until things slowed down. It seems my seasons never really slow down. I thought they would, but I feel just as busy as ever.

To my new readers, Welcome! And Thank You to those of you who are still with me in spite of my long absence. I will take just a moment to apologize for not writing. I know that I enjoy regular posts from the writers I follow, and I don’t want to let you down.

In spite of my being as busy as ever, I was able to take some vacation time in April. I spent a week in Northern California visiting my sister and my daughter and relaxing a lot–ok, I worked some, but not very much. I was home for one day–long enough to unpack, run through an entire payroll process, and pack again. Then I spent five days in Florida where my son got married. His wife is adorable, and I’m really excited for them. I didn’t work at all (except emails and a couple phone calls at the airport on the way to FL). I was home for another day–long enough to unpack, catch up on work bills and accounting, and pack again. Then I spent six days in San Diego–I worked a little bit and checked emails for critical stuff, but that was all. In one week, I read three books (The Hunger Games series) and walked in two major bodies of water (the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean). It was a whirlwind, and I was pretty exhausted by the time I got home. I’ve been working hard to catch up. There were enough chores at home that I didn’t go to the office this weekend… even though there is enough work at the office to keep me working overtime for a couple weeks.

Work will always keep me busy, but I’ve started reading again. It’s been delightful. I used to read a classic a year, but I pretty much stopped reading regularly, for pleasure, a few years ago. In February, my girls and I discovered a used bookstore in Colorado Springs—The $4 Book Store (https://www.facebook.com/thefourdollarbookstore). We spent a good amount of time in there, and we walked away with large bags of books. One of the books I picked up was Dracula. I’d never read it, so it seemed a valid impetus to re-start my classic-a-year readings. It was a tough one to start. Bram assumed that I would know as much about late 19th-century Europe as he did. Once I got past that part in the first chapter, though, I just flew through the rest of the book. My review: two very enthusiastic thumbs up! I loved it, and it’s one I’ll read again. Bram Stoker wrote this book in the form of journal entries from different people (mainly, three diarists). I have read books that were written from the viewpoints of different people, but never one in which the author kept the personalities so distinct. Also, I was impressed with his use of the Kodak and the phonograph, both new inventions at the time of his writing. So I highly recommend Dracula by Bran Stoker. (Note: it’s not at all creepy, horrible, or scary.)

My other project these days is gardening. Last summer, I had my backyard landscaped. The landscaper (Transylvania Landscape) put in four raised garden beds. I’m pretty excited to get them filled with plants. My seedlings, started indoors, are quite happy. They will move outside in the next couple weeks. I need to plant some seeds this week, though, and I need to get my sprinkler system on today… which means I need to read the book that tells me how to do all that homeowner’s stuff of turning on water and setting up zones and times and such for my watering system. Any of you know how to do that? Anyone want to come help me? 😉

Note: my reading of the book Dracula and my mention of the name of my landscaper’s company are purely coincidentally connected—although Dracula and my landscaper (Valentine) are both from Romania.

I hope you’re having a fabulous Spring!

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Releasing and Embracing May 21, 2010

Filed under: Life Questions,Love,Times with My Family — coffeegirl63 @ 6:09 pm
Tags: , , ,

I apologize for the gap in posting. I’ve been busy at work, as well as in my off-work time, and I’ve been working on this post for several days wherever I have been able to grab time.

This is all about my kids, so there definitely will be some shameless bragging going on. I’ll tell some stories, but none that would make my kids change their names, shave their heads, and move to another country… they may move to another country, but that was inevitable anyway. I’m pretty sure they’ll keep their names and their hair, however.

Recently, my kids have been given opportunities to realize some of their very important and long-held dreams.

Jimmy and Jeanice have often talked about traveling for fun—just taking off and exploring the world. The first time I learned that God has His hands on my kids, that I could trust Him more than my own ability to protect them, was almost 22 years ago. In July, 1998, Jim and I took our one-year-old son, Jimmy, with us on a short-term missions trip to Guatemala. One day, we went to the garbage dump to work with the people who lived there. After we presented the drama, as I spoke to a group of women, one of them reached out and took Jimmy from me, and the other women surrounded her so that I lost sight of him. I had a split-second to make a decision. I could have pushed my way in, taken my baby back into my arms, … and lost an opportunity to speak into these women’s lives. And don’t think my mommy-instincts didn’t scream long and hard at me to charge in and protect my own. Instead, I worked my way through, put my hand on Jimmy, and talked to those women about the love of Jesus and how He wanted to be a part of their lives. As a result of this learned trust in God to protect my children better than I ever could, I have had peace as Jimmy and Jeanice have collectively been on 22 trips to 18 countries. This summer, they get to experience their first overseas adventure together since they were preschoolers. Jimmy is heading to Germany for a missions trip at the end of this month. On the last day of his trip, Jeanice will fly to Berlin to meet him and begin their adventures. They’ll spend a couple weeks “backpacking Europe.” Jimmy has been blogging about their preparations, and he’ll continue at least through the course of their trip.

Johnny has had a heart for Africa and for babies since he was very young. The first time I saw it was when Johnny was about two years old. I was reading to him the story of Hannah, Samuel’s mother. Hannah (for those of you who are unfamiliar with the story) desperately wanted a baby, but she couldn’t conceive. Every year, she would travel to the temple weeping and imploring God to give her a baby. As I read the story, Johnny himself began to cry. It just broke his heart that Hannah couldn’t have children. He couldn’t fathom pain that deep. A couple years later, Johnny was in the room as I was teaching early American history to Jimmy. (Free side-note tip for soon-to-be and young parents: kids are listening, no matter how unlikely it seems that they would be doing so.) When he heard slavery explained, he became very upset: “You can’t *own* a person! Why would they do that??” Later, we read a story about a missionary family in Africa. These and other events began to compile a world-view in Johnny’s developing little mind. When he was about 4 or 5, I heard him in his room and went to investigate (as any good mother would! 🙂 ). The only way to describe what I saw is to say that my little man was travailing. He was on his knees, rocking back and forth, crying, and praying, “God, please! You have to send someone to Africa. Mommy says I’m too young to go, and the people there will die before she’ll say I’m old enough to go. Please, God!!” Yes, deep beyond his years! Well, I’m thrilled to say that Johnny may have the opportunity to work in an orphanage there. I’m so excited for him. We don’t know what God will have Johnny do with his life, but we know that it won’t involve sitting still somewhere.

Many of you know that my kids have lived only with their dad for years. The two main reasons for this were: he was in a better financial position to house and feed them, and my mental health didn’t leave me room to care for anyone but myself for a while… and then I went through a very selfish period… and, well, anyway… Life has held some regrets over the years, but I’m moving on and making some good choices. Now, on to happier thoughts. J Julia and I are buying a house together! We are very excited. Julia has been living with her dad and her brothers for quite some time and is, as she puts it, “done with testosterone” for a while. I have been renting a room in somebody else’s house for the last seven years. We are each ready to have our own bathroom, to run a kitchen and keep a house as we like, and to just have mom-daughter time whenever we want to. I could (and even want to) write pages and pages about the house we’ve found, but instead I’ll be keeping you posted on that in updates. Ok, here’s one little sneak peek:

 In Him, Joni