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I forgot because I was partying hard! 
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Wednesday 
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2015 began the journey toward loving myself. It's a long story and I am really sad that I did not blog about it!  However, putting this here because these are two more things I am focusing on for 2017! 

Friends sent both of these to me-The first is from Divina and the poem is from Ashley E.

If and when I die, I hope these speak to who I was.





She made a choice ~
Not an ordinary choice
But a choice within her deepest core
A decisive choice of beauty
Choosing to expand her awareness
Choosing to expand her joy
Choosing to find the beauty in every way
Choosing to love as many moments as she could
She chose to try things she had dismissed
She chose to see things with fresh eyes
She chose to try to like more
In so doing increasing what she loved in every single moment
She chose to think with optimism
She chose not to give in to negativity
Hers, others and the negativity that permeated society
She chose to increase her joy in every single moment
She chose to find solutions
She chose to find a way
She chose to laugh at those who said she couldn't, wouldn't, didn't have it in her
Increasing her joy in every single moment
She made a choice to learn more
To touch more, to feel more, to see more and to do more
She chose to expand her horizons and overcome her fears one step at a time
Increasing her zest for life in every single moment
She made a choice to love herself more
Her body, her thoughts and accept her place in the world
She chose not to listen to others who did not see the beauty she chose to see
And in every part of her being her joy increased
She made a choice not to judge as much
She chose to listen to others opinions but not to get attached
She chose to hear all that everyone said and to watch what they did
And then make the choice to see if it served her before accepting their truth
She made a choice to be of service
To value all that she was and could give and to ensure that she could give and receive
She chose to make sure that everything she did was fair and just and kind
In so doing increasing her joy and the joy of others in every single moment
She chose to observe more, see what could happen
She chose to look ahead and then reflect
She chose to find a better way - always
Choosing to take inspired action to ensure that the world would be better with every single moment of her in it
She made a choice
Not an ordinary choice
But a choice within her deepest core
A decisive choice of beauty.~

~ Alexandra Gold

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I know the pain is all too real.
The lies that tell you "death won't feel."
They beckon from another place, 
Subtle lies truth can replace.

You think death will be the answer.
The more it asks, it makes you question. 
Is the pain of now the place to stay?
Or would it be better to go away?

Absence is no answer to pain! 
Things won't stay, they grow and change!
The lies become whispers instead of shouts.
The living easier to love about! 

Loss is too great a burden to give.
You have a purpose you must live! 
The hope you find will be faith to share!
It'll turn on the light and banish gloom and despair! 

You can't see what tomorrow holds.
Or know the beauty that's still yet to show.
Hold on dear son as God makes a way
For you to live beauty in another day. 

I have battled the whisperer most of my life.
He has lied and teased and tried to take my life. 
But you, my dear children, my husband and friends...
I think of your lives after mine ends...

I want to show you it's possible to live,
With pain, heartache and brokenness to give.
A chance to show others it's possible to be,
Filled with hope, joy, love and not just misery.

The fight is worth it!
You're proof that's for sure. 
You wouldn't be you had I not been here
Imagine that son,
Imagine me gone,
Had I listened to the whisperer all along!

You have to recognize and give voice to the light,
Squelching the liar and tuning out the lies!
It's the hardest battle you'll ever fight;
But you'll know that it's worth it one sad night.

Because you'll see a soul that is battling like you,
And you'll know exactly what to do.
Because you've battled and fought and gotten strong,
You can show that sad soul a new way along.


There are so many beautiful moments I sit,
I pause and reflect and acknowledge I LIVE!




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I am seeing some seeds I planted sprout. Figuratively.

Now, what will happen with these spouts is too soon to say.

I am not sure if the birds will eat them up, they will whither from the sun or if thorns will push them out, or if they will grow bountifully. 

It's exciting to watch things grow.

I see so much hope in my son.  Grateful for growth.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+13


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Reflecting on my life and some of the outrageous things God has called me to...and THROUGH, I don't know why other things...I think are TOO outrageous and ridiculous. 

I went to Shine 2015 this past weekend. It was a weekend of hard.  Also a weekend of confronting the callings and knowing I will be moving into the seasons where obedience to them is going to be required.

I take a nap daily, yesterday... I was awoken to a song and knew it was for me- I felt God impress on me...this is your song.

Second Chance-Rend Collective





Now, I am not in a place where I feel like I need another chance, like walked away from God or anything dramatic like that...but this song so poetically speaks my heart!

I feel like it gives meaning to my name Beautiful Mess even though it was written years after the name existed for me---

My future hangs on this
You make preciousness from dust
Please don't stop creating me

Your blood offers the chance
To rewind to innocence
Reborn, perfect as a child

CHORUS:
Oh Your cross, it changes everything
There my world begins again with You
Oh Your cross, it's where my hope restarts
A second chance is Heaven's heart

When sin and ugliness
Collide with redemption's kiss
Beauty awakens by romance

Always inside this mess
I have found forgiveness
Mercy as infinite as You

(Chorus)

BRIDGE:
Countless second chances
We've been given at the cross
Countless second chances
We've been given at the cross

Fragments of brokenness
Salvaged by the art of grace
You craft life from our mistakes

Black skies of my regrets
Outshone by this kindness
New life dawns over my soul

(Chorus)
(Chorus)
(Bridge)
 
 
So here I sit, not knowing how, or how long it's going to take to walk out the vision.  But I have acknowledged that I have been ignoring, speaking impossibility, setting aside the call.  Now, I still absolutely believe what I HAVE been walking out is absolutely 100% part of the bigger plan.  My journey toward health, wellness, yoga, acro yoga, foster care, grandparent care, self care, self love, mental wellness, alternative medicine, natural alternatives, juicing, and loving people right where they are ISSSSSSS exactly what this endeavor will all be about.  Acknowledging that God works in all things, through all things, in His timing is so critical.

So, I am just writing it here to make it plain on tablets (Habakkuk 2:2 of sorts)

Lord, I have been so guilty in the past of trying to perform for You...thinking of the faith walk, like a faith game... I do this and You will do that....THANK YOU that you have freed me from that mindset...let me not walk in old ways of trying to gain others or Your acceptance by performance.  Let me stay in this place of being ME--100% wholly Beautiful Mess that I am, ME! Lord I know what you are calling me to and please help me have the faith in myself to accomplish it in Your time. Give me balance in this insane season of life.  Give me shield to those that don't understand and let me not look for their approval.  Protect the seedling and help me prune, water, fertilize and grow this vision. 

I love you Lord. I look forward to all you have to accomplish through me.  May I look like love when people look into my eyes.

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Today I will attend the funeral of a woman I loved and respected.  She was a young 51. Her weight caused many health problems.  She was more than her weight; however her weight was ultimately her murderer. 

I am the only child of a morbidly obese woman who died at 48.  My children have not had their Momo in their lives, I have not had a mother for 18 years.  I am still grieved.  Honestly in this moment of loss, a little angry. 

As I bent over her bedside, praying scripture over her dying body, I wept.  Not for her, she was being healed...but for those still struggling.  Those who think it's too hard to lose weight, those who don't care, those who are in denial of the damage the fat is causing.

See the weight is causing loss...loved ones are now losing. I am heartbroken today. 

If your weight is a little problem do something before it's a big problem.  If your weight is a big problem, do something before your loved ones have a big problem.

Please remember the family today who is losing one too soon.  There is so much hurt in this family and I am asking for prayers for peace for the service.  That it would be honoring to the beloved Sandy Hammett. 
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He comes into the kitchen with lip sticking out and tears welling in the bottom of his eyes about to spill out into a flood.

I was caught off guard.

"Why are you crying?"

"I want my mooommyyyyyy" and the tears began to flow.

He sank his face into my thighs and I grabbed him.  Oh if the grip of love could stop the pain!

At first, if I am honest, I was sad for me.  Here I am day in and day out and she comes into town for the weekend and she gets all the glory. 

I stop myself.  This is sad. This is loss. This is grief. This is NOT about me.

We had a beautiful visit.  I am so proud of the strides his mother has made in her recovery. Thursday will be ONE YEAR drug and alcohol free! What she has gone through has not been easy.

What my foster grandson has gone through and will continue to go through won't be easy either.

We went to his room and he cried on and off for about 15-20 minutes.  We cuddled.  We talked.

I tried to explain in the simplest ways that his mommy loved him enough to make sure he was taken good care of while she was not stable.   

While I want to do everything in my power for him NOT to be sad, I know sadness is a part of life.  Grief is a part of life. 

Being raised by another person has got to be confusing for him.  This has been a situation that arises each time he leaves his mother. 

I encouraged him if he ever has questions to please ask.  He didn't really have questions, just sadness.  When I was small no one ever talked about anything, I don't want him to feel the way I felt.

This is balancing the fragile parts of life.  Being honest, while protecting his love for his parents.

I have always tried to honor them and give D high esteem for his parent's.  I never want him to look down on them for the tough sacrifices they have made. 

Each of them is in recovery.  Each of them is in a good place now.  Each of them has endless opportunities in the future but still a hard road ahead.

I don't know what the future holds. 

I do know that there will be grief, and sadness, and despair..this morning it was over the fact that his superheros weren't in the right place.
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So, what have I done with this special day?

  • I had coffee with a neighbor/best friend and tried to catch up in 30 minutes.
  • I Facetimed some of my grands.
  • I chatted with my mother-in-law and God bless her for listening to me regale her with how awful things are at the moment.
  • I read too many articles on Facebook.
  • I took a bath so I could shave my legs while wearing my glasses and see those pesky places I miss in the shower.
  • I brushed my teeth for over 1 minute.
  • I slathered moisturizer over every inch of my skin.
  • I took my time getting dressed with no urgency of where I needed to be. 

These may not sound like glamorous things, however in the life of a Caregiver, some of these things  have gone undone for weeks, months...Lord I have no idea.  Especially the teeth.

Tonight I have plans for dinner with my family.  I really wanted my grandpa there, but he is not in a good place right now.  I never knew it would be like this.

I am reflecting on my responsibilities and am slightly overwhelmed.  I am dissapointed in myself for how I am handling, resenting, and complaining this present season.

Truthfully, I just want some time for me.  I just need time to process everything that there is to process. I feel as if I hardly have time to even know what I need to do. I want to blog my emotions, I want to write to help others that are dealing with similar circumstances so they can avoid the pitfalls we've faced, I want to just blog about regular old life. 

I need to catch up on paperwork, laundry, cleaning and grocery shop. However, not on this day. This is my day.

Claiming it for me. I do little to nothing for me, I am being selfish! I am caring for me today.





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My boy wanted a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Birthday Party. Now, if you know me, you know I am not a fan of big birthday parties :) I like to keep things simple. Partly because I am not crafty and second because I am cheap.

I started by perusing Pinterest for ideas. After about 10 minutes I thought "I need a ghetto Pinterest" like a Pinterest for moms who don't really want to go all out.  Moms who don't have time to make glitter lame costumes for 9, already too spoiled, kids.  LOL

But seriously, I thought that.

So here is my "low ball" of a party which was perfectly over the top for me.  It was a hit.  It was easy. I was able to plan it in less than 2 weeks all with a little help from my friends. 

Decorations:

Plates for the kids only, and covered a box of straws with wrapping paper

Most expensive decoration was a poster from Target.

I also had this pack of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Swirl decorations. Which IMO was a great purchase because they were cheap, and added punch! Did I mention they were cheap? I somehow didn't get a good pic but here you go
The hangy swirly things



Here is where I went all out...lol but really it was super easy for me.  You may have time to do this yourself...I didn't so I bought them from Etsy :) Don't tell. 
 
I bought the water resistant labels at Office Max (on sale 2 for $20) but you could totally print them on paper and cover with packing tape to protect them.  I went for easy and not cheap on this one.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/175369497/tmnt-water-bottle-label-for-ninja?ref=listing-1

I was impressed with the quality of the work.  However communications broke down at the end when I was trying to change the size to match the labels--but that is my fault for doing it last minute!!! I was doing it on the weekend and I am sure they weren't working. 

iVentureParty also did the cupcake decorations to match the water bottle labels.  (they can do just about any kind of party just fyi)  I just needed cardstock to print them on. Skewers and tape to affix them. Then stuck them in premade cupcakes from Sam's Club.  I didn't even special order-but these were perfect!

I kept the food simple

PIZZA party is a duh for a Ninja Turtle Party
stolen pic downloaded from the internet

Sewer Lids lol
Alternative and possible for my dairy free granddaughter to have a treat

Fruit

Salad for Weight Watchers like me


Games and activities:



Tattoos-so easy and cheap

I wanted to create a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Training Activity where the children were transformed into ninja turtles! I got the idea here: Life is About Using the Whole Box of Crayons
However, I really did my own thing.

I had them roll through "mutagen ooze" (roll on green table cloth) and get sprayed with "mutagen slime" (silly string)
Then sling "sewer lids" (pie pans 3 for $1 at Dollar Tree) int the NYC man hole ($1 oil pan from The Dollar Tree)

Stolen pic from the internet glued to pie pan

Here is where the Pizza Man go there and I forgot to ask someone else to take pics and MISSED EVERYTHING

They had to Sword Fight (used my adult volunteers {technically they were voluntolds} to help train the ninjas)

Then battle with nun-chucks (managed a pic)




 Then they got their mask and shell
There were more kids than this invited but a few were freaked out
by the activities and one family was late 

The masks were my big splurge! I wouldn't normally spend a lot but I looked at this as my gift. 

The person that made then was AWESOME to me!  I am grateful for how quickly she got them to me!

HIGHLY RECOMMEND

Here is the link to the MASKS I purchased.

Some of you crafty folks with time and creativity could make something easily I am sure.

All my supplies
see the baby turtle shells :)
The shells:
to do 9 large shells and 5 baby shells it took
The pans (all from the Dollar Tree)
2 cans of green spray paint
Burlap ribbon (from Hobby Lobby) about 1.5 yard per big kid 1 yard per babe

Thank God I started on the shells early--I spray painted one day. It took several coats with dry time in between.  So give yourself a day on this alone.

Then I took an knife (exacto) and cut a slit (very easy to do) for the ribbon to slide through

I have been dealing with a lot making the party planning difficult.  So thank God for freinds and family that came to help. Cutting cupcake things, sticking labels, finishing the shells.  They were LIFESAVERS!


OVERALL it was a HUGE success!
Nonni & Declan
I bought Declan a TMNT shirt from Wal-Mart. I also bought me a plain green T-shirt from Target to go with the theme.

Happy 5th Birthday Declan! We love you! 
For years I had this verse on my microwave...only taken down because it was worn out, corners curling, finger prints with food from where I just had to touch it, soak it in, wrinkled from much love...
This could be me speaking...it's not...but if you were to talk to me--this is what I'd say:

Interview with Sarah Bessey: In which these are the unforced rhythms of grace

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”   Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

On second thought: Though I'd probably say something silly or sarcastic at the end... she is and INFJ and I am an ENFJ...if you don't know what that means...it really doesn't matter.
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Is this Jenni?

"This is grandpa. Patricia isn't doing well; she is in the hospital and I am not sure how much longer I am going to be here?"

This is one way to start your morning that I would NOT recommend. 

I am so conflicted. 

Now this isn't the first call like this...so it's hard to know the true gravity of the situation.  He sounded bad though. 

He wants me to come get the things he wants left to me and my family. 

One positive is that his wife, my step-grandmother,  won't be there. I know, that's horrible to say.  However, I can be nothing but honest when I say "that is a difficult relationship."  I love her. I really do. I have learned a lot about grace and mercy and forgiveness in our relationship...but that doesn't mean I want to hang out with her.

How do you do that? How do you go and take things from the living knowing they are dying.

Are there things I want? Sure. More than any thing I want a RIGHT relationship with my grandfather. I want to hear stories again...I want to sit in the shade and listen to military stories...stories of my grandmother, and his youth, and his life, joys struggles, and pain. 

April 2013
His granddaughter with her granddaughter.
I truly feel like the worst granddaughter in the world.  How has it been over a year since he has seen his greatgrandaughter?

I am sad. Conflicted.
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"Do I have a mother like what's in that song what we singed at school?"

"What's a mother?"

They were questions out of nowhere, questions I wasn't exactly sure how to answer.  I bumbled out something like "mother is another name for your mommy, mother is also something people do that love you...like Nonni (me) mother's you. Takes care of..nurture...love, like how your mommy loves you too."

I had to know about this song...what in the world was in the song? So, I called his school.

"Tell me about the song about mothers, Declan has some questions and I don't know what he's talking about"

The director of the school sang the song for me and I began to cry...it was emotional to know that the questions were starting already. I knew it would happen, I just wasn't ready for this this soon.

Here are a few lines "What's the nicest thing about your mother?  She cooks and she sews and she washes all my clothes...She bakes cookies just for me and she helps me climb a tree..."

No wonder he was confused, I don't bake, sew or help him climb trees ;) LOL

Then the end said "what's the nicest thing, the very nicest thing... is that she's always there!"  (tears)

I wept with the director on the phone. I asked that she ask the teacher to help the class to know that some people have other people, like grandparents, or other family member that take care of them.  I don't want him to feel like his "family" is wrong.

Declan has a mother. He also has someone that mothers him. He also has grandmothers, neighbors, teachers, and friends who will mother him.      

I feel one of the greatest sacrifices a mother can make is to allow someone else to raise their child.  His mother loves him so much, sacrificially in fact.

Mother's Day has got to be tough for her.  Pray for her, please.

Mother's Day is tough on a lot of people.

Pray for all the moms that made the sacrifice of adoption...and those trying to earn their place back through the foster care system and those that have lost that right.

Pray for those mothering the ones without mothers, step moms, foster moms, aunts, grandmoms and single dads.

Teach your children that there are all sort of families, and there isn't anything "wrong" with someone who is being mothered by someone else.  Teach them to extend mercy not judgement in situations they don't understand.

Pray for those who have lost their mother. Death, illness, separation.

And lastly I think about those who desire to be mothers...and for whatever reason...aren't. Pray for them. That is a very painful situation that makes this holiday extra tough.

Declan and his mother Jan 2014
*picture chosen to protect privacy

Declan & me (Nonni) Feb 2014

This was a card my daughter gave me when she was about 18...I loved the sentiment! It sums up how I feel about Mothers!



I had all kinds of MOTHERS... the beauty of their lives, drives me to live my life beautifully! click the link to go to a blog about them.

I pray that as Declan grows, he will see the beauty in the lives of ALL the different women who love him; appreciate all the different ways he's been mothered and know he is a better man because of it!


***BONUS*** Here he is singing the song!