Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mr C's Birthday

Today is Mr C's birthday.
The Individuals and I have been at a loss for what to get him. So, we made a last gasp desperate effort at shopping today.  I got him a new long sleeved T shirt, and added that to the lounge pants we had already found. Sam helped me choose two six packs- an IPA and a mixed six of Sam Adams that has two different IPAs and some other variety in it. Dan found him some device that holds a firearm steady so that it can be accurately sighted in. Sam had previously got him a pound of coffee, and my Mom got him two huge bags of coffee beans. I put an almond pound cake in to bake. We are doing a veggie tray and chicken wings.
Oh, and I re-organised the bedroom... thats a good present, right?
He is our last birthday for the year.  Next week we have Granny, and later in January there is Connor, and Tom's brother Bob. (And I should mention My Mom and Ralph's anniversary... it is Jan 2nd, if anyone wants to send them a card!)
Not much new going on.
Tomorrow Bryan comes for a last day with us. He is such a cutie. His Dad literally had to drag him to the car and force him into his car seat... he wants to stay HERE!
Not one WORD on the house. The owner has been spending a lot of time out of town.
That's it from all us in Arkansas.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

So tired....

What a year. Must have been the two (or was it more) world is endings that took it out of me.
Bryan's Dad asked me to keep him a couple more days- Monday and Friday. Today and yesterday, Alana has been his Velcro partner. He LOVES her.
I haven't felt very well the past couple of days. I felt pukish yesterday, but went to get the boys at work- rather than forcing Mr C to go. They quoted a Monk saying to me on the way home. "You are going to get much sicker... much sicker. First vomiting, then death ." "Can't we skip the vomiting and go straight to death?"
That is pretty much me. I sometimes think I would feel so much better, If I only vomited. However, "I" and "vomit" should never occupy the same state, much less the same sentence. Hearing my kids throw up, heck- hearing ANYONE throw up, is enough to set my stomach heaving, even if I were not sick before. The sound... the SMELL... augh... the writing of this that makes me think of that...
 Be right back.

Anyway, Friday is my late night, going to get the boys. I'm usually in bed by 11:30 or midnight. Then Saturday has been my earliest awakening day. Bryan here by 7:15 at the latest. So My Saturday energy runs low. Thursday I was up too late, then up early Friday. The grandkids here... I am worn out.

Nights haven't been well. For the last several nights, I have had dreams that I needed to clean the house. But my house looked like I should be on Hoarders. Even sleeping, I have not rested... just cleaned. Cleaning must have a psychological significance.

I did lose it once today, and told the grands they were on my  very last nerve, and not to make another noise. So, I hope I sleep well tonite. I've been an ogre to everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Some updates...

I went and had my head eyes examined today. I will pick up my new glasses by the end of next week- if not sooner. They found no signs of eye disease, no cataracts, glaucoma, nor macular degeneration. I got single vision lenses again, as I read perfectly well without my glasses on. But I am REALLY near sighted! I am corrected to 20/15 vision. (Not bad for someone my age!)

After I dropped Daniel off at work, I stopped by O'Reillys. I have been babysitting the little boy of one of my former co-workers there. The little guys Gramma ends her temporary job this week, so as of  Saturday, I would once again be unemployed. The former co-worker mentioned to my former boss that I was going to be looking for a job. So, I can now drop all the 'former' stuff. I walked in, and two co-workers stood either side of the boss, their hands held as if in prayer. I start again in January, after Mr C's vacation. Not sure whether we are 'planning' to go to Ohio, or to Texas.

Did I mention we put an offer in on a mobile over in Colcord- some 20 miles west of here... in Oklahoma? We are waiting for word on some of our stipulations before making the offer formal... it is still in the verbal phase. I don't know whether it will happen, or not. Guess we will know in the next few weeks.

I teased Sam today about going for a multi-cultural experience, as he stood in the kitchen wearing a kilt. He was drinking Columbian coffee made in a French press, out of a Chinese teacup.

Connor and Alana are here for the next few days. They are playing video games on the TV at the moment, but if they don't stop arguing over it and getting violent with one another, they may not be playing it much longer.

Hope you have a blessed day. Thanks for reading. Hug someone you love today!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Misty moisty morning

Some things are going on here.... looks like we are in the midst of another time of changes. Maybe big, maybe just small.

One thing: Tom and I put in an offer on a mobile home. Same one we made an offer on back in '09. The ensuing years have NOT been kind to this place, so it needs some work. And while we have made an offer, it is not a done deal. There are questions that need to be answered by the current owner, and she hasn't been altogether forthcoming. It is back across the state line in Oklahoma. The tax rates are far, far less than Benton County.

I have been keeping a young child named Bryan. He isn't quite two yet... but he is a sweetheart. It was begun as a temporary gig- my last day is supposed to be this coming Saturday.

I go for my long postponed eye exam Wednesday. From there, I go pick up Connor and Alana. They will be visiting until the 25th. I have a small craft project for them while they are here. I still need to find ways of entertaining them. Four days with boring old CowGranny probably seems like an eternity to them.

Here is my latest art project. It is a canvas collage of photos of Tom, myself, our kids and grandkids. The spouses and parents and grandparents and such will have to wait for my next canvas!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Whoot! I'm at home! (Not the library)

And Blogger seems to be functional!
I have been sticking fairly close to home lately, being about halfway through my three week stint as babysitter to an almost two year old. While he is a very sweet, quiet  boy- he is NOT "little". He weighs 40 lbs., and won't be 2 until the 25th. Being sweet and quiet does not diminish his energy factor.
Daniel and Sam have missed a couple of weeks of volunteering... since I had no desire to take the little guy to the library with me for an hour+ ... and the two days I do not have him, the boys are working.

I am working on an art project... a photo collage on canvas, for myself. So far, I am still in the supply gathering/ prep stage. Some people are over-represented in my photos, others, I have to really scrounge to find good, sharp pictures where they are not making faces.

Me and Mr C

Case in point!
 Mostly I have been digging through old envelopes of pictures, and through some online albums. I've done a lot of crying when I come across some pictures.
Well, that is all for now. I can start blogging more often if I can do it from home!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I'm still around. I still have to blog from the library, because of our outdated browser not being supported by Blogspot. Yes, I could probably update the browser to Google Chrome. But I was told NOT to... and since I no longer have any tech-support children to guide me through the process, I haven't even tried to update the browser.

This week I started keeping one of my former co-worker's little boy. It is supposed to be a temporary job. He is a quiet, cute little guy. Very non-verbal. He growls for "no", and squeals for "yes". (Or unhappy/ happy?) He did manage to say "cracker" for me. My new "days off" are Wednesday and Thursdays.

Dan and Sam have asked if we can switch library to Mondays, so they can concentrate more on schoolwork the rest of the week. Dan may give up working Thursdays as dishwasher, to Sam. This would have them both working two days a week, rather than Dan three and Sam one. When the boys talked to me about it, they said it is as much for Dan's schoolwork as it is for Sam's finances.

I had a nice surprise for Thanksgiving! Tommy came up to see us, from Texas. This is only the second time he has been back to Arkansas since he moved away more than five (?) years ago. Our Thanksgiving dinner was later in the day, as Mr. C had had to work his regular shift. We had a nice meal... and I had to supplement the leftovers Friday to make my turkey pot pie. (The Individuals and I agreed we need to cook another turkey soon, so there is one thawing in the fridge right now!)

I am trying to work my way through some issues deeply imbedded in my brain. Mr. C says I am overly sensitive, and perceive things as snubs, when no malice is intended. I am extemely bothered by such things as being asked along on an outing... and then excluded when the outing occurs. I know much of that is left over from childhood. My step-sister's Aunt had said I could go shopping with my step-sister and her cousins... then never showed up to get me. I was later told they didn't really want me along in the first place. On a couple of occasions, my grandparents were going on a trip and had said I could come along... then 'forgot' to stop by and pick me up.

I was the child with no social skills. I was ALWAYS the last person deeded to whichever team got to 'choose' last. Not once was I ever chosen. So I grew up with some serious self-doubt issues. I think I have overcome this for the most part, but then I run face first into it. I take it 'too personally' when people appear (to me) to go out of their way to avoid me.  If a person has told me I am to be included in something, I do still get upset when I find out that my inclusion was forced upon them- I am again not 'chosen'. Or just plain 'forgotten' when the even took place.

Hey, I'm working on it!
Be sure and hug someone you love today! Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Almost Thanksgiving!

Let me start today's post with a big Happy Birthday to grandbaby Dakota Rose, who turned one year old on Sunday! Today is daughter-in-law Glynna's birthday- a happy birthday to her as well!

This year, I have seen so many people posting daily things that they are thankful for, on facebook and in other places. I still managed to let Thanksgiving sneak up on me... It is slightly more than a week away. I still haven't gotten a turkey, which is on my agenda for today. I really don't need too big of one, as it is only Tom and I and the twins Individuals. It isn't that we haven't been asked anywhere- we have been. But Tom works Thursday, so our meal will be late... or else on his lunch break. The elder kids all have plans of their own. With Mr C working, we cannot go anywhere... and no, he cannot get off, as others already have that day off.
With just the few of us, it is going to be pretty low key... just our traditional foods- most of which we keep onhand anyway. Other than the turkey, I need whipped topping and some turkey broth. (If anyone would care to join us, let me know! I assure you we will have plenty, even if you are last minute.)

Becky called me last night, asking if I had seen any of the petitions going around the Internet regarding various States desiring to leave the union of the United States of America.  Until she brought it to my attention, I had not. Now, I am hearing rumblings everywhere. The petitions actually have enough signatures to be credible- and Texas reserved the right to peacefully secede back when it joined the United States. However, I cannot see that the powers that be in the United States, would allow such a large portion of taxpayers to escape. Civil war would ensue...
I wish there were an easier way to depose a tyrannical government, but history proves there is not.

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November 2012

Here we are at the tail end of 2012.  Hard to believe, isn't it?
Yesterday, my BIL Bob's first grandbaby was born. Since the baby is from his son, that makes little Leigha Mae Coder the very first Coder grandbaby as well. (Tom's sisters children/ grandchildren don't bear the Coder name. So far, Tom and I have Jones and Johnson grandchildren... no Coder grandbabies!)  Leigha Mae was born 11/5/12, at 4:59 pm, weighing 6 lbs. 3 oz. She is 19 inches tall.
Welcome to the family, Leigha Mae.
Connor and Alana spent the weekend with us. They were great! Connor picked up Daniel and Sam's juggling blocks, and was given a few pointers on juggling. By the time they left, he was getting so he could do it. To save Jennifer's house and Connor's feet from him trying to juggle canned goods as he learns, I made him a small set of juggling circles. I can't quite do "balls"... but made small round cloth sacks, filled with rice.
My beautiful niece Laura Rose got married Saturday to her fiance, Chris Boles. Laura was joking with me that she is now Laura Rose Boles... like the New Year's football game! I didn't get to attend the wedding, but from the pictures I have seen, and descriptions, she was a beautiful bride! She is a beautiful girl by any account, any day. The glow of happiness was apparent on Saturday.
Congratulations, Laura and Chris! May you have many wonderful years together.
Today is election day. We didn't drive by the polling place where I will be going to vote, but the places we did drive past had lines clear out the doors and around the buildings.
I'm glad I am wearing a sweater... I went back inside to get mine as we were leaving the house. Though it is warm enough indoors and in the car, I dislike leaving the house without proper weather gear. Probably a lesson learned from the times growing up when we broke down along the road.
That's about all for today. Have a blessed week!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

End of the Month

I have slogged through the year. Now it is like the toilet paper at the center of the roll... winding off so fast I won't believe it is gone.
Tom and the twins individuals and I went out to Hobbs State Park yesterday to go hiking. We were on the trail that makes a 4.1 mile loop. My knees were screaming at me before we even hit the trail proper. I didn't mention it to the guys, because I don't want to hold them back. We walked as far as Beaver Lake... where the guys decided we would turn back. I had picked up a 'hiking stick' along the trail, and relied heavily on it as I gimped back to the car. I guess it is a start at getting back into shape. (Even though I keep telling Tom, Round IS a shape!)
Little Dakota Rose has a birthday coming up really fast. She will be a year old on November 11th. I haven't found her a gift yet. I best get with the program with that, as it takes time for gifts to ship.
Connor and Alana are supposed to come visit us this upcoming weekend. I need to find some fun things for them to do while they are here. Fun and inexpensive. (I am supposed to be job hunting but haven't applied at many places.)
We had our first hard freeze this past week. The boys went out and picked all the peppers left in the garden. I did seven pints of peppers with carrots and onions. I also did fourteen more jars of jalapeno jelly. (They are the little half-pint jars.)
I am starting to think about Thanksgiving. Mr C has to work that day, so we can't go anywhere. It looks like it will be just the four of us... :-( (Sad Face).
With the weather turning cooler, I have started doing some baking. Sam wanted some fresh cranberries to make one of his brewed sodas. It didn't take the entire bag. Yesterday I used some of the cranberries, and one of my apples that was getting a bit too soft for anyone to enjoy, and made some cranberry apple bread. It was really good. I have to admit... I have never cut open a cranberry before. I had NO IDEA they are white inside! Any time in the past I have used them, I left them whole. The bread turned out really well. We had it instead of supper last night!
Well, that's about all I can think of for today. I hope you have a blessed week. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Birthday! Mine was Saturday. I pretty much wallowed in doing nothing all day. When supper time rolled around and people started wondering what was for supper... I said I don't know!, it's my birthday and I'M NOT COOKING.
So Mr C and one of the boys went out and got fried chicken. He asked what I wanted, and my only input was that it be something I didn't have to cook.
Of course, if he had started into the kitchen to make some of his endless goulash, I might of been forced to decide on something. His goulash is good... though usually entirely too spicy for me. And he is even worse than I am on judging the amount of elbow macaroni to put in. He usually puts the entire pound... for four of us. By the start of the third day, I am getting the stink eye from everyone as I drag out the goulash yet again in my efforts to get it eaten up. I think it regenerates itself in the refigerator... some reaction between the plastic wrap and the macaroni and jalepenos.
Mr. C and Sam also brought me home two presents.... a new slow cooker (because he saw me eying them last week) and a new set of Corelle dishes (but not my pattern.)
I was eying the crock pots because I use mine several times a week, and was thinking of getting a smaller one to supplement the big one. My household is diminishing in size... so unless I get a smaller crockpot, I will have to stop using one. Mr C got me a really nice one... the same size I already have.
We took my gifts back yesterday. I eyed the smaller slow cookers again... and wondered just where I would store one more appliance. I opted to wait on getting a smaller slow cooker for now. I really didn't need dishes.  Mr C had reasoned we needed more bowls. I had purchased a stack at the thrift store a few weeks back... he thought I would like my dishes to match. It really doesn't matter to me whether they match or not. I am the person who bought nine luncheon plates in different patterns just so they would NOT match.
If I am doing a nice occasion and want my dishes to match... I have a beautiful real china set with service for TWELVE.
His thinking was sweet. He didn't seem to mind that I changed my presents for cash.
I know me... I will nickle and dime my cash out and not have any grand thing to show for "what I got for my birthday". But I will enjoy every LITTLE thing I do use the cash for.
In fact, when I leave the library today, I am headed to Hobby Lobby to get a couple of picture frames to embellish, and maybe a canvas to try out a Pinterest idea.
Have a blessed day, and Thank you for reading.
Please remember the Knight family in your prayers in the loss of their child, and the Wilhelm family in the loss of their wife/mother.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Still here... despite the Zombies

The family reunion was nice. I had a good time. Tyrel and Kimber had fun with random cousins that I couldn't even begin to figure out just HOW they are cousins...
Afterwards we went to my Dad's house in East Texas.
I was given a beautiful wall hanging for my birthday. I'm sure most of you have seen it on Facebook. (My birthday will be this coming Saturday.)
This week, I finally went two days in a row without crying over Bill.
I have been trying to stay away from the grocery stores, and cooking as much as possible from stock on hand. I believe I did pretty well. The cupboards were getting bare (for me), so yesterday Mr C and I went out and stocked up. We went to Sleepy Hollow, a local Seventh Day Adventist run gas station/ health food store. (Quite a combination, right?) We stocked up on things like oatmeal, barley, honey, apples, sweet potatoes, and several spices. From there, it was Aldi's- where we got quite a bit of canned goods. We finished out the trip with a stop at WalMart to get the rest of the items on our list. Except for fresh vegetables, milk, eggs, and meat, we are set for awhile. (The items we use up most quickly.)

I don't know exactly what it is in my makeup... but I "need" to have food in my cupboards and freezer. My in-laws looked at me strangely when I was living in Ohio last year... wondering why I bought more than just a few days worth of food at a time. If I happened to get snowed or iced in... I was ready! It bothered me that both my BIL and my MIL couldn't just go to their pantries and choose something to cook for a meal. Maybe my years of worry over what I was going to feed my children warped my brain! (When my eldest two were toddlers, I had to feed us on about $7 a week. Even in the early 80's, that was hard to stretch.)
At any rate... my pantry is well stocked at the moment.
I am thinking that my change of routine yesterday affected my dreams last night. In recent weeks, I have been having a cup of herbal tea before bed. Last night, it was "Sleepytime". I also ate a small slice of jalapeno cheese and a few cornbread crackers. A short while after getting into bed, a fit of coughing hit, and I just didn't feel great, so I got up and took a dose of Nyquil (generic, in Original Green Death flavor). I fell into a sound sleep.
I started out dreaming I met Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) and was with her as an episode of her TV show was being filmed. We went to the grocery store.... camera crew in our wake. I don't know whatever happened to Ree and the camera crew once the Zombies attacked. I have to tell my boys that planned to hole up in WalMart during the Zombie Apocalypse.... It didn't work. I did discover Zombies can't work round door knobs well, and are really slowed down by locks. At once point... I realized I was dreaming and that really helped a lot.... though I did wake up in a cold sweat. I remember thinking in my dream, that the boys were really going to laugh at me... dreaming I was being pursued by Zombies.
That's all for this week. Be blessed and tell somone you love them!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Here it is, the tenth month already.
In a couple of days, my Mom will have her birthday. A few days after that is Benjamin's birthday. Happy birthday, Mom and Ben!
Before the month is over, my birthday.
This has been a difficult year for me. This time last year, I was living in Ohio, waiting for Tom and the boys to move up. I had started a new job. By the first of this year, I was back in Arkansas. There were no big plans on my horizon.
I made a whirlwind trip through Texas and Oklahoma and saw all of my kids. I began job hunting. Then came my Dad's 75th birthday, and we planned a party for him. It was like a family reunion. I got to see six of my kids and four of the grandkids. It was to be the last time I saw Bill.
We just never know how long we have with our family members and those we love.
Job hunting was not happening.
Just over two weeks ago, I was online instant messaging with my friend Laurie. This past Friday, she was laid to rest.
Good things have happened this year as well.
 Benjamin got married, so I gained the first Mrs. Coder daughter-in-law.
I  made the rounds again and saw all of my kids in August.
(I suppose for the rest of my life, there will be that "someone is missing" weight in my heart.)
I saw my sister Lalani for the first time in seven years.
I got a picture of my grandson Gavin a few weeks ago.
This weekend, I am getting to go to my mom's family reunion.
Tom and I went out to eat with Becky and Stephen and the kids on Friday night. We ate at the Wooden Spoon, where the twins are working.
The children's menu offered a choice of chicken, catfish, or macaroni and cheese. Tyrel decided he wanted the mac and cheese. At first, Kimber had decided on the chicken. But just before the waitress came for our order, Kimber said she had changed her mind. She says, "Actually... I think I will have the cat food." We were cracking up. (She did get the catfish, and she ate it all!)

The boys came home from work recently with the news that The Wooden Spoon is on a short list of restaurants in our area being considered to be featured on The Travel Channel.

Have a blessed day. Tell your family how much you love them!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Today, I believe I have something important to say, so feel free to direct others here... repost... whatever.
I'd like to remind people about an old fashioned idea called etiquette.
Etiquette, according to an online dictionary, is:  a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group.
In today's society, we have almost instant access to information. When we have news that we feel others ought to know, we can tell dozens, hundreds, multitudes of people at a time. Technology that allows us near instant access to information, and equally fast disbursement of information seems almost exempt from any form or rules of etiquette.
Many people don't fact check before passing along information. If the source we got our information from is reliable, we assume that their news is reliable. Sometimes it is, other times the news just seemed so important to share, facts were not verified.
Take a moment to verify your news before you pass it on.
I'd like to address more than just fact verification.
Yes, you have the facts. Straight from the source.
"Oh, I just heard Susie Que is having a baby! Isn't that exciting? Congratulations, Susie!"
That seems harmless enough, doesn't it?
Susie Que told you, her best friend, before she told her mother. And you told the world on your favorite social network. Your own mom sees your post, and calls Susie's Mom to congratulate her.
This leaves Susie in a bad spot with her family. The news wasn't yours to share.

There are some things that need to be shared with many people in a short amount of time. Social media is a great way to accomplish this. Yet there are still few rules you should observe.
Immediate family should be notified of deaths, and funeral arrangements before it is posted in a public forum. I know first hand the pain of learning funeral arrangements of a close family member from a public media forum rather than from the family.
Yes, it is easier to let everyone know at one time. However, it is poor etiquette not to prepare close family members for the onslaught of phone calls they will receive once the news is announced.

Instant social media can start a wildfire of misinformation and pain when seemingly 'verified facts'  are posted. A friend of mine has been in a coma in the hospital. I got a telephone call that she had passed away. I checked her social media site, and saw that one of her family members had posted of her loss. There were dozens of condolences posted. Her daughter's site also was swamped in condolences. Tears flowed for hours as my family grieved.
Then we get news... our friend is alive!
We rejoiced in the miracle... only to learn that our grief was founded on an unsubstantiated rumor.

Please, before you post congratulations, condolences, the missing child report... check your facts. Don't post news that isn't yours to share. Don't assume all you read on your social media source is true. Be kind, be thoughtful, be caring as well as careful.
Be blessed. And please be prayerful, always.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Learn something new....

I really don't understand some of the rules that govern Arkansas. Yesterday, Daniel and Sam went to take their driver's test. Despite passing the test... the newly minted driver must STILL have an adult over 21 in the front seat with him... until he has hit the six month mark of  passing his written exam.
WHY let them take the test before the six months is up, if they cannot drive solo?
I understand that the reasoning of getting six months supervised driving is quite desirable. However, I don't understand allowing the new driver to take (Pass or fail) the test before the six months is up... if they cannot, in fact, drive solo upon passing the physical driving test.

So, After the test yesterday, we went to the Revenue office. This is a separate place from where one takes the driving test. They had a sign on the door... No photo ID's or Driver's licenses will be done today. ARGH. Home we went. We went to a different Revenue Office today (as our town errands took us in the opposite direction of the Revenue office we were at yesterday.) We learned in our almost two hour ordeal... the Revenue Office changed computer systems yesterday. The folks there are on a learning curve. The lady who did Daniel's license handed him a receipt.. which I read.  He was listed as Daniel Joseph. Which was wrong. It took the lady and her supervisor almost 45 minutes to figure out how to correct his name.

Library time ran late today.
In other news, I got a new picture of Grandson Gavin! Taken on his sixth birthday. I can hardly believe how much he has grown. Many thanks to his Mommy for sending it.

The whole driver's license ordeal has put a crinkle in our plans for Ohio in October. Looks like Becky and the kids will be going with Mr C. I will be staying in Arkansas, to ride with the boys to and from work. They don't even want to ask for time off, as they had taken a week off in July, and another in August.
I'm sure Mr C will enjoy having daddy/ Daughter as well as Umpaw time.
Here is a vidoe Becky made with the kids. COOKIES 
Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Today is September 11. What a day in history...
For our family, September 11 has two birthdays. My brother Robbie is 49 today. And my grandson Gavin is SIX! Happy Birthday to you both!
I haven't seen Gavin since he was two years old. And his Mom hasn't sent me pictures, nor posted any online that I am allowed to see, in over a year. I sent him a birthday gift, regardless, to the last address I had for them.
So I am down by two grandchildren... Gavin, and Nickole.
Yesterday was six months Bill has been gone. It was hard for me. I really am TRYING to 'move on' and not cry every day. Right now, I don't know when the tears will stop. It isn't like I spend every moment wracked with sobs, as I did the first week. I just can't seem to get through a day without the tears breaking out at some point. I'm adjusting. But it is taking awhile. I am up to twelve days of not crying... still shooting for the two in a row.
The boys have really been working a lot recently. Between working with the neighbor on his projects, and working at the Wooden Spoon, they have things to do almost every day. Sam got called in to work at the Wooden Spoon this morning. Dan went ahead and came to the library with me. He will work at Anthony's (The neighbor) this afternoon, and Sam will join him once he gets off. Tomorrow Dan starts his latest position at The Wooden spoon. He is promoted to Salad Chef. The Wooden Spoon has a LOT of salads, so this is a big deal. Fully one side of the menu is salads.
They are still squeezing in school work as well... actually asking if perhaps we can do Library on Mondays rather than Tuesdays, so that they can have Tuesdays as an uninterrupted school day.
There are pictures of TREK up at MooCrew3.
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


The night before the boys and I headed back to Arkansas, we went to Mason, Texas, to see the bats. The bat cave is a Nature Conservancy operation. The Bat Cave has millions and millions of bats.
Becky and Stephen and the kids went, as well as Tommy, Daniel, Sam, and I. When they learned that we were a group of home schoolers... they refunded our entry fee! We told them we were not there officially as a home school group, but the docent insisted! Cool!

The cave is down seven+ miles of dirt/caliche/ stone road. The road crosses several cattle guards, and a couple of (dry while we were there) creek beds, and finally, the James River. You have to drive across the river. In the water. As in... there is not a bridge. We couldn't judge the depth of the water, and I was afraid my little Toyota would flood out or wash away. So I parked on the side of the road, and rode over in Becky and Stephen's truck.
As it turned out, the water is not deep, and there is a solid rock bed where the road crosses. A smaller car than my own made it across without problems.
We saw the bats exiting the cave like a constant stream of smoke, swirling up, up, and up. They just kept coming. A red fox put in an appearance, as well as a hawk. Tommy got a great picture of the hawk, which we are hoping may win a contest for photography. He was using Becky's nice camera.

The next morning, the twins and I headed back to Arkansas as Ben and Paula and Tommy headed off to their jobs. I was going to show pictures of the trip to my Mom... but I couldn't find my camera.
After me fretting all week, Tommy found my camera yesterday! It was in the front floorboard of Becky's truck, where it had apparently fallen from my purse when I left my car by the riverside.
The past week has been fairly quiet. Daniel and Sam are working a LOT between their job at the Wooden Spoon and our neighbor Anthony preparing his tractors for the Tired Iron of the Ozarks Tractor show coming this weekend.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wow and Awe

I don't get to post my blog nearly as often as I might like. Two weekends back, the twins and I drove to West Texas, where all four of the Coder boys joined up with some Zesches and a few others, and left for the wilds of New Mexico. Daniel and Sam have looked forward to Trek for a number of years now. They had a great time in the Pecos Wilderness.
Meanwhile, I awaited their return, staying nights with Paula and days with Becky. This past Friday, however, I boldly set out on an adventure of my own.
I drove down to see my sister Lalani.... just 35 miles from Corpus Christi. While I had really hoped to get to go on down to the gulf, that just didn't happen.
I haven't seen Lalani since 2005. I went to see her shortly after her husband Gene passed away. So it has been just almost 7 years since we have spent any time together. Lalani is doing well, and has remarried, This was my first time to meet her husband Henry. The three of us had a nice dinner at a Chinese buffet. Upon returning to their home, Henry went into the bedroom to watch TV, leaving Lalani and I to visit and catch up. We laughed and cried together until almost 3 in the morning. We only finally said our goodnights then because I had to get some sleep, as I was leaving by 7 the next morning to go see Chris.
The visit with Chris was good. He has adjusted to his circumstances, and made his peace with God. We found so much to laugh at... and laugh we did. Tears rolling down our cheeks laughter. The visit was over too soon, and I headed back to Ballinger.
At some point between Kerrville and Junction, my cell does not get service. The service doesn't pick up at all until I am nearly to Ballinger... which is well over 100 miles. After having driven six hours on Friday, got two and a half to three hours of sleep, and started the long drive where there were no distractions to be had... I was getting tired. I stopped for some lunch and an iced tea. I had just specified "Iced tea"... one would assume that you got unsweetened tea and would add ones own sugar. Not so! It was syrup sweet. I don't really like sweet tea, but needed something to keep me awake.... and I wasn't going to go back down the freeway and ask them to change it.
As I traveled north up Hiway 83, under sunny skies, I could see dark storm clouds in the distance.
I was very glad to see the town of Eden approaching. Eden is the nearest town south of Becky... and while I wasn't going to Becky's house, it made my destination seem so much near its end! Just as I rounded the curve with Eden coming into sight, I saw what I at first thought was smoke. It took little time to discern it was not smoke... but a tornado far in the distance. I was pretty hyped about it. I saw it for less than a minute. By the time I was through Eden, it was gone. I wanted to call or text and tell Becky and Paula and even the boys (who were by this time headed back from New Mexico.) But... no service.
So I'm still driving north... wide awake and hyped! I come down a little hill, and there, standing at the corner of a dirt county road that joined the hiway... I saw the most magnificent elk I have EVER seen. It was looking as if it were about to step over the decrepit  bob war (barbed wire) fence. I have seen a LOT of elk. We used to live just outside the entrance to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, and right across the hiway from Ft Sill. But this one was beautiful... the largest rack I've ever seen!
How could I see an elk in West central Texas? There are no elk in this part of the country! I mentally decided that maybe it was one of the animatronic decoys that game wardens use to trap people who try to shoot game from roadways. Or maybe it was a statue/sculpture to indicate the entrance to some rich ranch.
I go along still marvelling that I have seen a tornado... and an ELK where no elk should be. I get past the turn-off to Becky's (I am headed to Paula's!) still traveling under blue skies, with thunderstorms far ahead. I come over a rise (I would of said I came over a hill, but that would be misleading) and see there is a car ahead of me, and a semi ahead of the car. They are a good mile or more in the distance. (In this part of the country, you can see a whole lot of nothing for a very long way.) Suddenly, before my eyes... the semi disappears. Just vanishes. Moments later, so does the car. I am travelling along at the 70 MPH speed limit... thinking of the two amazing things I've seen in the last 20 minutes... and now this. Beam me up, Scotty! Or am I sure I'm not dreaming?
At 70 MPH, it was quickly apparent what happened. Rain! A deluge that quickly caused me to drop my speed down to about 15 MPH. It was so hard and heavy, you couldn't see three car-lengths ahead.
The wind was blowing, and the rain was COMING DOWN. I came into the very small town of Paint Rock... the nearest town to the north of Becky. Water was running 2-3 inches deep across the hiway. If you were outside and looked at the sky, you'd have a good chance of drowning.
Paint Rock is a "blink and you miss it" town. It was pouring as I entered town... yet as I drove out the north end of town, I was back under sunny skies. The bridge marking the north end of town was where I pulled over and rolled down my window to try and get a picture of a TRIPLE rainbow! Still no phone service... I was really wanting to call Becky and Paula and tell them to LOOK east at the rainbow!
In another four miles, I finally came back into phone service. I called Becky... and she warned me to be careful passing through Paint Rock... there was a super-cell on radar! (You think?) I asked her about the elk... and learned there is a hunting ranch in that area that imported elk... but it should of been behind a big game fence, not a falling down barbed wire one. I called Paula and sent her out to see the rainbow... but it was long gone.  Neither Becky nor Paula had gotten any of the rain... it passed right between them. (They live about 25 miles apart).
Next morning, as we headed to the Zesch home, I had just turned up the road to Lowake... and came across huge (for mesquite) limbs laying along the roadside, as well as crumpled metal against a fence line. Evidence I DID see a tornado.
It was a pretty amazing afternoon.
I have pictures on my camera and more stories to tell... but I'm out of library time... and my camera didn't make it home with me. Be praying it turns up soon!
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Good morning (Would be accompanied by a Happy Dance, but the boys frown on my Dancing)

In public especially.
And why am I so happy this morning?
The AC on my car is fixed! Back up to the point of needing a sweater even on short trips to town.
The AC/heater blower has been making an awful noise since June. It was bad on the trip to Ohio in July, and we almost roasted on the drive. It has whined and moaned so loudly,  we try not to run it unless we have to. And going anywhere in a sealed metal and glass box in triple digit heat, pretty much REQUIRES it.
I was figuring I would have to take Mr C's vehicle down to Texas next week to get the boys to the Wilderness Trek departure. It is generally hotter in West Texas than in Arkansas. Yesterday, I asked Mr C to have a look at the blower, to see if it would be difficult to replace.
He found it located directly behind the glove box, which pops right out. I asked him to pull the cabin air filter as long as he had the glove box out. I had replaced it a couple of years ago, and figured the filter at least needed vacuuming.
 Mr C pulled the filter.
It was destroyed.
 It was collapsed and had been sucked into the blower blades. Mr C turned on the AC with the filter removed... and NO NOISE! The AC blows cold enough to freeze me out! It was less than $20 to replace the cabin air filter... and would of been closer to $200 for a new blower.
Happy Dance!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tomorrow is AUGUST? Already?

Goodness. We have been hunkered down inside against the heat. The last few weeks have been more like West Texas than NW Arkansas. Yesterday we were 107*... at least! We have been keeping the windows dark with comforters over the blinds, and using three gallon containers of ice set in front of fans to help out the AC. The inside of the house has stayed around 85*, which is about as good as we can expect.
The boys have been working for a neighbor many afternoons. On Thursdays, Dan works at the Wooden Spoon. Sam joins Dan on Fridays. Other than our normal routine of errands and work, the boys haven't been getting in a whole lot of driving time.
Today, the errand routine is taking us on a brief jaunt down a hiway where the posted speed is 70 m.p.h. . Joy. We have to go to Academy Sports so the boys can get the few items they still lack for Trek. That is over in Lowell, a town just south of Bentonville/ Rogers.
With the heat and red-flag burn ban, we haven't been able to use the grill as much as we normally do. We are year round grillers, but in the summer, it saves getting the house so hot the AC can't overcome. When we don't grill, we usually use the slow cooker. I have made a LOT of slow cooker meals lately!
When I bought groceries a few weeks back, I had expected to be able to grill. The food I bought reflected that expectation. So  have had a 10 lb. bag of chicken leg quarters in the freezer. Yesterday, I went ahead and thawed and cooked them. We had slow cooker BBQ chicken. (Toss the quarters in the slow cooker, cook awhile, pour off liquid. Add sauce, continue cooking.) I boiled the majority in my biggest pot. After slipping the skins when they were loose enough, I added onions, bay leaves, and sage to the liquid and cooked until the meat was falling off the bones. I then removed the bones and divided the meat. Tonight, the broth and half the meat will become chicken and dumplings. The remainder was frozen, to become either chicken enchiladas or whatever I decide at the time.

Mr C and I have our 28th anniversary coming up this Friday. Perhaps we will go have dinner at The Wooden Spoon! You have a blessed week, and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

'Lazy American Dream'

WATCH: Country star's latest hit an ode to Democrats: 'Lazy American Dream' | Campaign 2012: “Anything worth having we should have it all for free. In the land of the ‘What about me?’

Quiet week

It has been a thankfully quiet week! Hot as southwestern Oklahoma, complete with blast furnace winds, grasshoppers, and 100+ temperatures. No rain in weeks. The grasshoppers have eaten almost all of the garden. We are still getting a few peppers and a few tomatoes. the neighbor sent us over several big bags of tomatoes a few days ago. After making a huge bowl of fresh salsa, I made spaghetti sauce from scratch. Also made use of the accumulating peppers to do another batch of pepper jelly. Tom had said, "You should put a ghost chile in it!". (Naga Bhut Jolokia, the ghost chile, is among the hottest peppers in the world.) So I added ONE to the mix of peppers I had. Dan wore gloves and deseeded it for me. The jalapeno peppers are already VERY hot, having cross pollinated with the ghost chiles. Tom comes back into the kitchen, where my jelly is already starting to cook, and asks, "You didn't really add a ghost chile did you? I was kidding!"
Oops! Now we have some extra spicy pepper jelly!

The power went off at the house this morning. I let the boys sleep in until the last minute, before awakening them to get ready for their library duty. The power was restored just as we were leaving the house.
Dan and Sam are preparing for "Trek", an annual/semi annual trip that the church group the older kids attend in West Texas, sponsors. this will be their first time to get to go. The group hikes into the wilderness and spends time together, with God. The twins have wanted to go with the group for several years, but this is the first time means and opportunity have presented themselves together.

It is less than 2 weeks until Tom and I have our 28th anniversary. I am sure we will celebrate in the usual manner... by doing nothing. Unless we get significant rain between now and then, we can't even cook out on the grill.
The red-flag burn ban in effect has forced me to stop grilling, which is mostly how we survive meals in the summer. Instead, I have been relying on the slow cooker. I don't think the crock-pot has seen in inside of the cabinet for two weeks now!

That's about all from us here. Have a blessed week and Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back from Ohio

We got home last night from a vacation in Ohio. It was just a regular vacation... visiting my in-laws. We did a lot of sitting on the deck, and some driving with the twins. A little bit less hiking than usual, as Tom twisted his ankle and was laid up a day or two. (He is better.)
Dan and Sam are gearing up for Trek, doing walking and hiking as much as they can. We will be driving down to texas and back in August for that.
Today is a busy one... starting here at the library with their regularly scheduled weekly volunteering. We have already been to the post office. Still ahead are the grocery store, the bank, and the insurance agency.
Along with unpacking the stuff from the trip, laundry, dealing with the abundance of garden produce generated while we were gone.
Oh, the grasshoppers.
The grasshoppers. They are HORRIBLE. The bushes have been stripped to skeletal branches. The corn was devoured. My rosebushes have been chewed on, despite them being fed with a systematic poison/feed that is supposed to prevent insects from munching them.
Maybe I will remember to take pictures when I get back from errands this evening.
Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beginning of a new phase...

My "babies" turned 16 a couple of weeks ago. Today we went down for them to take their written exams for their learner's permits. (Yes, I know they could of had a license by now... but this is as far as we have gotten.)
We jumped through legal loops, and they are duly permitted to drive now. (With a licensed driver over the age of 21 in the front seat.)
In as little as 30 days, they COULD have their licenses. However, it will likely be quite a few months down the road. We like to be sure they have plenty of supervised driving before turning them loose on their own.
For the past week+, I have been making myself do at least one 'icky" job per day, in addition to regular chores. Both fridges have been thoroughly cleaned. (How did I end up with 3 bottles of horseradish? And a bottle of tartar sauce that expired in 2008?) Under the sink is cleared out and scrubbed. (Found four bottles of bleach cleaner, and didn't know I had ANY). I'm trying to get on top of stuff and stay that way. (My mom inspired me with her shiny house!)
I so dislike coming home to a messy house... and we are fixing to take a trip to Ohio to visit Tom's family. So, a bad chore every day... and before I know it, it will be clean clear down to the sock drawers....

Coming this month... Grandson Tyrel turns FIVE! Hardly seems like it could be five years ago he was born.

I had so many things in mind to put in my blog this week... but here I am, and the thoughts have once again fled away.
I am gradually improving emotionally. I now have had EIGHT days without crying. One day earlier this week, I was crying, and went outside to hang up clothes on the line. The wind was blowing hard... and almost at once, along came a "Bill" butterfly. The black and blue type I associated with him "sending" me. This butterfly was struggling against the wind. Such a fragile thing fighting so hard against the wind. It stopped and "rested" right there beside me on the clothesline. As I moved down the line, it would fly just a few feet farther, and rest again. I noticed it had a very tattered wing, the bottom quarter all but gone on one side. It stayed right there with me. It was like, I don't know? A word to keep trying even though things are so hard. I could tell this would probably be this butterfly's last season, as battered and ragged as it was. But it pressed on. I felt better soon, and it fluttered on its way.

My time at the library is about up. I hope you have a blessed day. thank you for your thoughts and prayers for me and my family.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Almond Herding

Since I am lactose intolerant, I discovered Almond milk. Very tasty stuff. Daniel and Sam and I got to musing on just how one would go about milking an almond. Their udders must be VERY tiny. This is why almond milk is rather expensive.
But as long as you are running a herd of almonds for their milk, you must consider other ways to make your herd pay. After all, not all almonds are milk producers!
You have your protein almonds... the favorite cuts being slivered or sliced. (Some uncouth people DO prefer chops!) Almonds served blanched, or roasted and salted. My favorite is the smoked almond... though smoking them tends to tear up your rolling papers.
Your almond ranch need not be vast to accomodate the almond needs of the average family. However, the climate has to be right... and I don't think Arkansas is going to be a great state for running a herd of almonds.
Ok... yes, we do have a tendancy to be silly.
If you don't already know, we have pictures of the recent trip to Texas up at
Be blessed and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Even the boys can't believe the year is half over. In less than a week, they will be 16.

This past week marked three calendar months since Bill left us. In some ways, it isn't any easier at all. But I seem to have regained somewhat of the ability to think again. The latest book I read on grief dealt specifically with losing a child. Even a grown child.
And I seem to be on track... no worse or better than many who have walked this path before. I seem to be instinctively doing the things the books recommend. I have been keeping a journal... and wrote in it something God had put into my heart: Grief is not a contest. It isn't about who is hurting more, or who lost the most. It is a pain that each person walks through on their own... with only God to lean on. It wasn't a week after I wrote this in the journal, that I received a book from my SIL. Just over halfway through the book, the author said almost the exact same thing.

Yesterday, Tom and the boys and I went down to Devil's Den and went hiking. We did a three mile trail to Yellow Rock, then had a picnic lunch. We then went to the river/creek and did a creek hike... probably 3/4 to a mile. Back in the parking area, we watched FAT sassy squirrels frolic. Then decided to find out what the hike-in camp sites looked like. So we can add another 3/4 to 1 mile to the walking.
I haven't been doing much of anything exercise wise... so this was a major excursion. I really want to take back off the weight I had regained since Bill's death.

This weekend, the twins and I are headed to Texas. We will see my Dad and Kathie, and then head to my mom's, where we will meet Becky and get Alana. Dan works Thursday morning, so we have to be back Wednesday night. We MIGHT go to the zoo while we are there. I still have to ask Jennifer when she wants Alana back.
Well, as I am at the library, I best get this blog spellchecked and published before my time is up. Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday at The Library

After almost a week of being "internet deprived", we are once again back online at home. We unplugged our modem router last week when thunderstorms blew through, and it promptly went out once it was plugged back in afterwards. Took the internet provider almost a week to get us a new router. I think Mr C found out he had a tougher time without the 'net than I do!

The boys refinished my big old rocker. It has lived out on the covered porch since we moved from our home in Marlow nine years ago... and I had had it a year or more before we moved. The finish was wearing off and the wood beginning to crack. It was sanded down... (May I point out that the use of power tools adds an entirely new level of enthusiasm to tasks being done by those of the masculine persuasion?)... restained, and now has had a layer of polyurethane added. I got another can of poly, so that it can have a second coat, but we haven't gotten that far yet. If I had thought to bring my camera to the library, I could of added pictures!

My boys are fixing to turn SIXTEEN! In less than 2 weeks. Things that interest them now include: Dirigibles, "old" things, which they term collectively 'steampunk'. (Though they do not embrace the modern steampunk styles that show a lot of cleavage and skin.) They like rocks, metal, and chemistry. Lately they have been experimenting with home brewing of sodas. Both still enjoy blacksmithing, chain maille making, and cooking. Yes, even Sam the Reluctant chef, has begun to experiment with food. Sam wants to learn to play the cello. Daniel is still into hiking, and would still like to tackle the Appalachian Trail. In case I failed to mention it here, both boys are now employed at a local Mennonite restaurant. Dan washes dishes on Thursdays, and is their fish fryer on Fridays. Sam took over Dan's Friday dishwashing. Sam says working for the Mennonites is great, they set such a great example of modesty.

I have gained back all the weight I lost in the last year and a half. My stamina and strength has gone away. Yesterday I began walking again, with just a mile. Using the small hand weights to get some arm strength back. One night last week, the boys were out cartwheeling, flipping and leaping about the yard. They didn't believe I knew how to do a cartwheel. So I showed them. My last cartwheel, ever. I seriously thought I had cracked the bone in my arm, but after the first 48 hours, it felt much better. I could just imagine me going in to the Doctor, trying to explain why I attempted a cartwheel at 51+ years old.

Well, that's about all I can think of for now. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

High Centered

We are still chugging along here, days running into days. It is hard to believe that we are almost into June... The twins are going to be 16 in a few short weeks. (May I recommend gift certificates to either Amazon  or Think Geek to those who might be wondering what to get these fine young men?)
I am not certain I mentioned that Daniel got a job a couple of months ago. He began working for a local family owned restaurant called The Wooden Spoon, in Gentry. He started as a dishwasher. He loves the job and the owners speak very highly of him. This past week, he was promoted to their Friday night fish fryer. Needing a new dishwasher on Friday's to replace Dan... they asked if Samuel was interested. Sam took the job! So both boys are now employed on a very part time basis.
 We have yet to decide on when we may be going to Ohio for vacation this year. Mr C has already used two weeks of his vacation up! (Having been with American eagle for more than 20 years, he does still have some vacation time left!)
I am supposed to go to Texas and retrieve Alana from her Uncle Becky's house later in June. I was hoping to get to go to a school reunion with my brothers, with other people who went to Peaster. Not so certain I will get to do that. Not even really sure I WANT to, at the moment.
It just seems like nothing much matters any more. I don't care whether we move or not. I don't care if we get our own home. Here, there, wherever. I am thinking it is probably a spot in the grieving process. Mr. C is being really sweet and patient with me.
This past week (yesterday in fact!, May 28th) saw Ben and Paula's one month anniversary, Becky and Stephen's 7th anniversary, and my next younger brother Ricky (Eric)'s 50th birthday. Best wishes for all of them, and many more to come!
Signing off from the library; Have a blessed week and thank you for reading!
Your continued prayers are appreciated.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Another week gone by

This past week held its own brand of crazy.
My DIL is in need of prayers. She has told me that I was a lousy mother to Bill, and why would she think I could be a good grandmother to her daughter? And I will not be able to have any further contact to her daughter.
This is resulting from what she is terming "all my crap", as she is publically calling it on the new facebook page she created in Bill's name.
 My "crap" is:
 1) Requesting that Facebook memorialize Bill's facebook page.
 2) using a word she perceived as offensive. The word was "disconcerting". ( She might also be counting my emailing a friend of hers to inquire as to why I was publically attacked for use of the offensive word, as among my "crap".)

God had showed me that I needed to be praying for my DIL even before she decided that I am an unworthy grandparent. So I have continued to pray for her.

I probably am not the world's best Granny. I'm strict. I tend not to spoil the grandkids or give in to their whining. I do like to make my time with the grandkids fun, but I don't hestitate to send them to bed for fighting. I don't try to occupy every minute of the time we have together... kids need some down time, and need to figure out how to entertain themselves. Telling me, "I'm Booooored" will probably get you a chore to do. Fit throwing, refusing to eat the meal set in front of you will get you sent to bed. (And I will save yiour food for you for when you get hungry enough to eat it.)

Please take a moment to pray for God to help my DIL deal with her grief. I pray that my granddaughter be sheilded and protected, and for God to do what is in the best interest of this little girl.

Have a blessed day. Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day

I hope that all the mothers I know had a blessed Mother's Day. I am grateful to God that I still have my Mom, as well as a great step-Mom. Both are blessings to me, as is my MIL.
I had talked to all five of the kids who were able to speak with me, by 9:00 am. I had gotten a card from Chris. Wow... hearing from six kids before my first cup of tea!
Still, there is that empty place in my heart. It felt like someone was missing... which there was, but my brain and heart are having trouble reconciling the idea that this is the new reality. No more Bill. So many times in the last couple of months, I have had something to tell him, or ask him, and start to reach for the phone. In shopping, I see something I know he would like... and once had even started to put it in my basket, as his birthday gift, before I remembered.
I think I AM getting 'better'. It will undoubtedly be quite awhile before other people see much improvement.
A book on grief caught my eye at the library last week, so I checked it out and read it. It dealt mainly with losing ones spouse. For grief in general, though, I seem to be taking the right steps to get through it. The book's cover labeled it as 'controversial'... I saw not a thing in it that could POSSIBLY be controversial, unless it was the book urging people to give their grief to God, and its strongly pro-Christian stance.
("Stunned by Grief" by Judy Brizendine)
The book talks about 'journaling'... and even before I saw the book, I had bought a small journal. It still sits in the drawer, waiting for me to get started. There is a lot of writing I have done since Bill's death that could be called 'journaling', but I don't know that I will recopy any of it into the book. Maybe make a printout of it all and put them into the manila envelope I put the cards, memorials, and other mementos of Bill's service into.
Once again, as I worked outside on Mother's day, a black and blue butterfly came and was 'in my face'. I said "Hi!" and Tom asked who I was talking to. I said, "Bill's butterfly". He wanted to know why I called it that, so I told him, "It's black and blue". He laughed.

Well, it's halfway through May already. Time has not been so much flying as tumbling end over end down the hill. I had planned on doing a few things while we were in town today, after this library visit. In getting out of the car, I realized I had left my purse at home... so we won't be doing anything except heading back to the house! Carefully.
Be blessed and thank you for visiting.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Yesterday was two months since Bill has passed on. So far, I am up to four non-consecutive days that I haven't broken down and cried. Some of the silliest stuff sets me off. Daniel brought me in a thistle. I remembered Bill, age three, seeing a thistle and he just had to pick it for me... so I let him.
Mean mommy!
Earlier this week, I learned my step-grand daughter Jade was missing. All the info I had was from facebook, and the consensus said she was a runaway. No Amber alerts issued, no face on the local news. The numbers that friends had for her mother were no longer good phone numbers. So we did all we could do, which was to pray.
Last night, Jade returned safely. She had been gone for four and a half days. Prayers answered. We have no more word on why, where, or who she was with than we did while she was missing. Just praise God that she is safe.
Hug someone you love.

Friday, May 4, 2012


We are several days back from our trip to Texas, but this is my first opportunity to get to the library and blog. Benjamin and Paula are now married, and starting life together. I welcome the newest Mrs. Coder to the family.
We left Arkansas on the 20th... and my dress had still not arrived. I spoke with my mail carrier, and he was able to forward the dress to me when it did arrive the very next day. Friday night we stayed at my Dad and step-mom Kathie's house. We were about 25 miles from their home when realization hit me... this was the last place I ever saw Bill Joe. I cried the rest of the trip in... trying to get a grip on my emotions.  I had certainly talked to Bill several times since I last saw him, pretty much every day!
Kathie took in my "back-up" dress to fit me, since at this point my ordered dress hadn't showed up in Decatur, and who knew if it would even fit me once it did arrive?
We got a fairly early start on down the road to Beeville. That was still a  very, very long drive. We found a motel, unloaded the vehicle, and then headed south to the beach. Dan and Sam had never seen the ocean before.
The boys were soon out hopping the waves, playing and having a great time. Fear was on me... what if the rip tide catches them, what if they get swimmers cramps... what if what if what if! I had to stuff it down. Why not let them have fun? They are almost 16 years old and need to... MUST ... spread their wings! We only stayed a couple of hours, thinking we might come back the next night.
We got up and went to see Chris the next morning. He was doing well. It was a good visit. Too soon, we had to leave, due to the motel check-out times. We decided against going back to the beach, but instead hit the road for Ballinger. It was April 22nd, Tommy's 22nd birthday. So Becky had planned a birthday party for him in the park, set to start at 4:22 pm! (Get it? 4:22 on 4/22!)
We were late in arriving. The party was to have a scavenger hunt/ challenge, and the teams had been selected by the time we got there. One of the twins went to each team. Tom and I opted to stay at the park and let Tyrel and Kimber play. Each team had come up with a list of things to find or do, for the other team.
It so happened, several items on the two lists were very similar. One list had "swim the river and bring back a souvenir from the opposite shore." Tommy dived in, swam across, and found a nasty old beer bottle. The swim tired him so much, he came back across the dam on foot. He threw up in the dumpster, then laid dripping on a picnic table in utter exhaustion. Once he had a bit of strength back, his crew went out of the park for their next challenge (Get kicked out of Dollar General for being obnoxious).
The second team arrived back at the park, and a few walked towards the river. As it turned out, they also had a challenge to "swim the river... and back". Unknown to me, Daniel was the one who decided to make the swim. Benjamin watched Dan make a strong swim across the river, making it safely to the opposite bank. Then Ben had to go find the facilities at the park. Dan rested briefly before setting back across the river. At about the halfway point, Dan ran out of steam. He panicked and went under, flailing. One of the team mates was encouraging him, "SWIM, Swim! Don't panic!" Dan panicked anyway. This young man, Jake Huston, dove into the river to save Daniel. In his panic, Dan was close to drowning Jake, pulling him under and fighting him. Jake, as it turns out, can barely swim himself. He shoved Daniel towards shore, telling him SWIM!
He did this several times, until they were in water shallow enough for Jake to get a footing, then he dragged Dan ashore. Meanwhile, Jake's little brother had ran back to the park where Tom and I were, screaming for help, that "they are both drowning, oh please help us!" . Tom ran to help while I was trying to get a phone to work to call 911. By the time Tom got there, Jake had already rescued Daniel, so I didn't make that call. I still, at that point, didn't know who had been drowning. I didn't know Jake's little brother, didn't associate him with the group of kids mine were with, that had gone in that direction.
When I saw them leading Dan up from the river, I really lost it. I was as upset as he was, I think. Tom took Dan and I "home" to Ben and Tommy's house, where we both had to lie down for awhile.
The wedding, the following weekend, was beautiful. I don't have time to write about it right now, but we do have a few pictures up at . There are at least two sets, one from my camera, and one from Kathie's. Becky was the official photographer, and will have her pictures to add soon!
(My dress did arrive and was a perfect fit)
Well, I am thinking that I had better get off here for now. Be blessed. Hug those you love.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hello from the Library....

I'm sure looking forward to Ben and Paula's wedding.
We are going to spend a few days beforehand with the kids.
It's going to be hard, with the bunch of us being "all there are" for awhile.
Appreciate your prayers.
You know how to reach me if you don't see me 'around' facebook!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I'm still here. Well, actually, I'm at the library because I can't post from home, unless it is remote posting of pictures from Shutterfly and such.
The first month is behind us now.
I thought yesterday, the one month mark, would be hard. It was, but not as hard as the day before.
The day before, that was one month since Bill was alive, since I talked to him. Laughed, joked. With Bill, we always had something to laugh about.
Yesterday was one month gone.
I suppose the 'anniversaries' will start spreading out. One week, two. One month, six months, a year... on into the rest of our lives. And I am told that time makes it easier.
Right now, the ordinary things get me.
I was talking to Tom, about taking each of the kids a cookie jar from my collection... and it hits. I have six kids now, not seven.
I saw Al Roker on the weather channel showing a clip of some guy's new alarm clock. Perfect for Bill, I think.
I worry that I am not mentally 'present' enough for the people in my life. Do they think Bill was the favorite?
I know losing any of them would do this to me.
See me? This is me without YOU. Don't do this to me.
I am trying to regain joy, and some equilibrium.
Ben and Paula are getting married in just a few weeks now.
I had an old friend ask me if I believe Bill is in hell.
No, I do not. It seemed such an odd question. I have been looking for the joy that little children have when a loved one passes... "Oh, Bill went to be with Jesus? that is GOOD! Why do you cry?"
I need to find my way to that same awestruck wonder.
Be blessed, thanks for reading.
Remember we have lots of pictures up:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What Can I Do....

When someone you know loses a loved one, you just feel so helpless. You want to heal their hurt, but that isn't something within your power.
So many times in the past week, I have encountered the small kindnesses that really do help.
I am not only listing things that were done for us, but things that you might be able to do to ease the way for someone whose life has just been immobilized by grief.

  • Field phone calls. Try to make sure that people who need to be made aware of the death get the news .
  • Make sure the family members have something to wear to the funeral. Perhaps take  the kids who have outgrown their Sunday Best shopping. Be sure they have the necessary shoes, undergarments and such clean.
  • Polishing shoes and running a load or two of clothes may seem like so little, but it is yet another chore removed from the family.
  • If the family has to travel to reach a funeral, you might wash their car. Fill it with gas. Bring a gift of travel snacks.
  • Mow the lawn if it needs it.
  • Water houseplants.
  • Be sure the pets are being fed and watered.
  • Bring in the mail. A simple box or basket near the door can hold cards and such from sympathisers.
  • Clean the bathroom. Make sure there is enough bathroom tissue, soap, and facial tissue in the house.
  • Wash dishes, run the dishwasher, vaccuum the floors.
  • Babysit, or take the children out for a few hours. A romp in the park can really help the little ones.
  • A hug, an ear to listen.

I am thinking of all the things that were done for us. I am going to save this list, and if you can think of anything to add, leave it in a comment.

My heart is working on a post about Bill, and all that has swirled around me this last week. The more my brain "writes" this post, the longer it gets. Maybe it will be my first book.

Thank you, everyone, for all your notes, thoughts, prayers. As I have said so many times in my blog posts... give a loved one a hug today. tell them that you love them. It may be the last chance you get.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

From the Library

At least here, I am able to get on to the Blogger site. At home, Blogger says that my browser is not compatible with the Blogger format. Perhaps I will have to change web hosts to keep up the blog.

A quick reminder to all... The big Birthday party for my Dad, Robert W. Beard will be this Sunday at his home in East Texas. As I am headed that way before the mail runs on Saturday, I need your cards in the mail either Tuesday or Wednesday to assure their delivery to me by Friday!

We will have markers (streamers) at the turns... one on Hwy 155, another on Weeping Willow, and you will be going STRAIGHT AHEAD onto the dirt road when Weeping Willow makes a 45* right turn. You will continue past the brick house on the left, through the gate, and start down the hill. The driveway is nearly hidden on the left hand side. we will have a marker there as well. Just keep going up the driveway, you will see the house about the time you decide that you are lost forever.

I can hardly wait to see all the family there.

 Be blessed!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Today, the boys and I made a batch of laundry detergent. I also tried home-made dishwasher detergent from a recipe I got from Pinterest. We have run one load of dishes, and I am really impressed. The recipe was certainly easy, and I haven't seen the inside of the dishwasher ever sparkle quite this much.
 I mixed together in a quart canning jar: 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda, and 1/2 cup coarse salt. Add 2 packets of unsweetened lemonade flavor KoolAide (It is full of citric acid.)
Shake this together. Add 1 tablespoon of this mixture to the dishwasher detergent dispenser, along with JUST 3 (three!) drops of  Dawn dish soap. Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher, and it is ready to run.
The boys did the math on our laundry detergent and on our dishwasher detergent. The total cost of both items was less than $7 to make. An equivalent amount of store bought detergents would be at least $51.

My unpacking has fallen behind. I am way off the goal of unpacking at least one box per day. Saturday's box did finally uncover the food processor! Hooray!
Mr. C was impressed the birthday gifts I came up with for my Dad. It is difficult to get gifts for a person who really doesn't NEED anything.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I hope you are doing well today! I am still kicking. We had a relaxed long weekend, which seemed even longer because the internet was unavailable. The repairman arrived Monday and got us running again.

The boys and I are at the library, where they resumed their volunteering a few weeks ago. I am just sitting at the computer, surfing the Internet.
Preparations for Dad's 75th birthday seem to be going well. So far, I have counted somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 people attending, though several of those in the count are small children. I think it would be awesome to get a family portrait of Dad with as many Grands and great grands as we can muster for the event. To my knowledge, my Dad is already the longest lived male our family has ever had on his side.

If you haven't let me know that you plan to attend, please do so as soon as you can, so I can get a good count for how much I need to set up by way of refreshments. We aren't planning on providing soda pop, but should have plenty od coffee, tea, and lemonade. (If you need soda, feel free to bring your own!) We will have small sandwiches and cake.

Ok, that is all I can think of for now. have a blessed day and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

To do, to DONE!

On my to do list:
Find out what Grand daughter Alana wants/ needs for her birthday.
Put together buying list(s) for Dad's party
Finish dad's gift(s)
Figure out what to do for Tommy's birthday
Figure out what to do for Bill's birthday
Continue unpacking stuff from the aborted move to Ohio
Order prints from Shutterfly
Find a dress for Ben and Paula's wedding
Lose weight

On my to DONE! list:
Mail Nickole's birthday gift
Get started on Ben and Paula's wedding gift
Get started on Dad's birthday gift(s)
Remind everyone (yet again) to please send me cards for dad's party
Decide what to make for supper tonite (beef fajitas)
Update blog

Have a blessed day. Feel free to add ideas in the comments on any of the things I need to do!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Another day!

I got my cheesy box of little kids valentines this week, and spent the morning sending them to my grandkids. Some years I send candy or Little Debbie treats... but this year, just the little cards.
Just a reminder to them that they are thought about even when they don't realize it. Some years I send them to all my kids, and my parents... but I didn't have enough stamps this year.

Really, we never make a big deal over any holiday other than Thanksgiving.

So Winter has finally decided to make a pit-stop here. It is supposed to be 18 degrees tonight... this is after rain today. The high for tomorrow is 32* BRRR. But it is the first bit of winter to come by since I got back from Ohio.
I haven't decided what to make for supper yet. Maybe this is a good day to do the roast that is in the freezer. Or thaw the chili we made a couple of weeks ago. I can't seem to make a SMALL batch of chili... and with just the four of us left here, we had so much leftover that part of it had to be frozen. But it seems no matter how large of a roast I cook, there is seldom enough left to even make soup on another day.

I missed unpacking a box yesterday. I have been trying to unpack at least one box a day until I have all the stuff unpacked from the last "packing to move to Ohio" drill. Things have been boxed up since July. Yeah. Tired of having to dig to find stuff. Still, I am eliminating more as I unpack. Maybe today will be the time to unpack the china and return it to the hutch. (No china will be eliminated!)

OK, I finally told Ben and Paula about the Shutterfly site I set up for them. Still waiting on more pictures of Paula... but please go visit the site, leave blessings for them in the comments area. There are tabs across the top of their page to get around on the site. . There is a link to their wish list... links to local accomodations... and pictures!

Have a blessed day, and thanks for reading!
 PS... reminder of my Dad's SURPRISE PARTY. Get me the cards and pictures ASAP!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Good Morning! Here I am. Seems like I am on the blog so seldom these days.... Anyways .... Hi!

Last week I got a text from my daughter, Becky. She asked if I had been rehired by O'reilly's. (Remember my 99.9% chance of being rehired? Boy am I lucky! I hit that .1%, at least for now. The store I was working at is in a slump and cannot hire anyone until at least March. I remain unemployed.) The point is, since I am not working at the moment, as I fully expected to be, would I attend a Mother's Retreat with Becky? Becky even paid my way, since I had used all my available income on the trip to Texas in January.
I was very blessed. I got to meet so many sweet women. I got to encourage several younger women, both in home schooling and in home birth. (Both areas I already have experience, and these women were just starting out. It seems strange to say I have over 25 years experience in anything!)
Dakota Rose went along with us, as she is still a nursing baby. I got to hold her... a lot. For someone not even three months old, she really has her own opinions. She wants to be held... facing outward... with the person holding her standing up. She smiles a lot. And even began to laugh outright at times. I think I'm attached.
My email account has my signature "built in", and invites people to read my blog. Right now, you may be reading this from the email I sent regarding my Dad's 75th birthday party.
So far, no one has jumped right in and sent pictures, except Bill Joe's MIL- who sent me some of my grand-daughter Nickole for this project. Thank you, Lynn!
I would like to encourage the rest of you to be choosing cards and pictures, even if you cannot come to the party. Get them sent to me as soon as possible, so they can arrive before I have to head to Dad's. As quickly as this month has gone, the USPS mail cut-off date will probably be the 28th, to allow time for delivery. That is less than 3 weeks!
If you were thinking of a gift for my Dad.... he loves to read. A gift card in any denomination to someplace like Barnes and Noble would be great. Just saying.
If you don't want to send photo prints, remember it is fairly simple to go to any photography kiosk and scan your photos to disk, then email them to me.... or mail me the disk! (Leave me a comment if you need my address. If you put your email address in the comments, I will be able to see them and respond to you and won't publish the comment, so no one else reading the blog will access your information.)
Hmmmm. At this moment, I can't think of anything else. Please have a blessed day. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Year is Gathering Speed...

When 2012 first dawned... I had absolutely no plans of any kind for the entire year. There were no babies due on my watch, no weddings, no vacations, parties, or plans of any kind.

I decided that before I began work again at O'Reilly's, I would make a quick trip to Texas to see the family. I saw Dad, Mom, Granny, Ben and Tommy, Becky, and Chris. On the way back to Arkansas, I went through Oklahoma and saw Bill Joe. I did 1,900 miles in one week.

And while I was in Texas, Benjamin got engaged! So I added a wedding to my plans for the year. Then, just a few days ago, I realized that this year marks a big birthday for my Dad... his 75th.  Party plans for him commenced. (It is a SURPRISE, so don't go calling him and saying anything!) You can send me cards and video greetings, as well as pictures of yourself and your family, and I will give him all these things at the party.
If you choose to send him a gift, may I suggest a gift card to Barnes and Noble? He loves to read! Or perhaps a little hand held game that one might use to entertain ones self on a car trip (Or while "taking care of business" in the throne room!) You may email me at for further details.
I plan to have a photo album of friends and family compiled, so please send pictures in plenty of time. If you email pictures, I will have them printed out.

Next thing that has cropped up on my year schedule: The Heart of Motherhood Women's Retreat this weekend. Becky has paid my way, since I am not working. (The O'Reilly job didn't happen. The store was unable to hire ANYONE until later this spring.)
Mr. C suggested we tighten our financial belts and try to make ends meet without me finding an immediate job. This will allow me some time to help with planning the party for Dad, the rehearsal dinner for Ben's wedding, focus more on school lessons for Daniel and Sam.
So I appreciate the opportunity to get to attend this retreat. I know I will be blessed.
I fly to 'Snanjelo' on Thursday morning, where Becky or someone will pick me 'ump'.

I am thinking that maybe I can sew some dresses for the granddaughters... perhaps co-ordinating outfits for the wedding? Start with the littlest girls and work my way up... improve my sewing "skills" (or lack thereof) before tackling the more discriminating girls' dresses.
I need to lose at least ten lbs. to fit into my existing dress of choice for the wedding. Tom says I can get a new dress. I just happen to love this particular dress. (The dress I wore to my Granny's 90th birthday party.) I will keep looking for a dress I like in my current size, while trying to lose the weight!

I mustn't lose track of Tommy and Bill both having birthdays the week of the wedding.

Sure looks like 2012 is getting busier by the week!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


My kitty Fiona got hit by a car, sometime early this morning. Sam found her when he went out to check the mail. So we are down to just Jaffa, (and Jimmy Raynar the goldfish) for a pet.
Benjamin's wedding plans seem to be moving right along. As soon as I hear a bit more about the OFFICIAL details of the wedding, I can shop for my Mother-of-the-Groom dress. From what I have heard about the wedding so far, it bears little to no resemblence to the affair Ben and Paula were discussing while I was there.
The dress I liked would be entirely inappropriate.

I will find out for sure if I am rehired by O'Reilly Auto by the end of this week.

Congratulations to my niece and namesake Tammy, and her husband Chris, on the birth of baby Luke this past Friday.
Friday was also the birthdate of the kid who made me a Grandmoo... Connor turned 11 years old!
Yesterday was my brother-in-law Bob's birthday. (He is now officially as old as I am.)
Tyrel has made several cute remarks... Yesterday while being assisted by a store associate, Becky says Tyrel asked the woman, "Have you seen your hair? It's all tangly!" (She had very curly hair.)
Reminded me of Christopher (aged 4) informing the retired newcomer to our church.... "Mr., Did you know you have a GREAT BIG NOSE?"
Four year olds... great at observation, still not so keen in the tact department.
That's about it for now.
Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Photo Book for 2011

Click here to view this photo book larger

Create your own personalized photo books at

High Hopes

I had such high hopes for today. I called yesterday my "trip recovery day", and basically accomplished very little. I DID go speak to my former boss at O'Reilly's... and he spoke to HIS boss. They agree that I have a 99.9% chance of being rehired.... but not until after the annual budget meeting. The budget meeting is next Thursday.
So I have at least another week off work!
Now it is almost 2:00 pm. So far I have had a cup of hot tea, and a hamburger patty (naked and unadorned) .(The hamburger patty, not me. I was fully clothed at the time.... sheesh!)
I got one load of clothes on to wash. Oops... I just realized I left them soaking. OK.
 NOW I have gotten a load of clothes on to wash.
But that is about it. I was distracted by a coupon from Shutterfly. I got $20 off of any one order. So I made myself a photo book. I considered giving the book to someone else... but then selfishly decided to keep it for ME. (Sorry Mom/ Dad/ Becky/ Kathie/ Chris/ Ben and Paula).
Dad has a birthday coming up. If I had had more time, as well as pictures of Paula growing up, I would of put together a book for them. But since today was the last day my coupon was good... I made the book for myself. So there!
I intended to unpack some boxes today. I even brought one in and dug out a birthday card for my BIL Bob, whose birthday is Monday. I filled out the card... then missed the postman. So I can't even list mailing cards out as an accomplishment for today.
Tomorrow, the guy is supposed to FINALLY come and fix our oven. Hooray for being able to bake things!
I suppose if I just got up from in front of the computer and got started, I could get something accomplished today.
May your day be blessed with both large and small accomplishments, as well as a full measure of joy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I got back from my whirlwind Tour of Texas last night....

I did just over 1900 miles in just under a week.. I saw all seven of my kids during this time, and just over half of my grandkids.
One of my boys got engaged while I was in Texas. (Gosh, "engaged" sure looks weird when I spell it out....)
So, for those of you who have not yet heard....
 We are pleased to announce the engagement of Benjamin Paul Coder to Paula Jo Schroeder. They plan to wed on April 28th, 2012.
Yes, YIKES... that is just over 12 weeks from now.
Oh, you say Shrader... not ShrOHder... so she won't be Paula Shroder Coder. Just saying.
Anyways... they will have a busy few weeks deciding things and Getting Stuff Done. Save the date, if you want to come. Also... send me your address if you would like an invitation.
They are considering outfits for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. If they go with a theme wedding as we briefly discussed... I LOVE this dress.
I would certainly consider it, as mom O' the groom.
I wore a westerny tiered skirt to Becky's wedding. but the same shade of royal blue to both Chris' (first) wedding, as well as Bill and Glynna's.

I have a whole slew of trip pictures up at .