Saturday, August 30, 2008

GOODBYE SUMMER...HELLO FALL!!!




This is it! It's Labor Day weekend! In the interest of the holiday and also given I, too, am trying to enjoy my long weekend, I thought I would take the 'lazy' approach on these last few lazy days of summer and share with you something I wrote in honor of Labor Day some time ago. Please enjoy!


When we think about the upcoming holiday in the sense of what the holiday represents, Labor Day most definitely was created to honor workers. Whether the holiday itself is truly celebrated in that sense is debatable depending on who ask.

This is a recognized holiday in America. However, there are lots of businesses who will not observe Labor Day and treat it as a normal working day. It is somewhat of an oxy-moron to have a holiday in place that celebrates working Americans and yet there are American employers who refuse to acknowledge their workers by allowing them a day off with pay.
I recently was speaking to a client of mine outlining my company's upcoming schedule for the Labor Day holiday. I was completely surprised when she shared that she would be working on Labor Day. The irony of this is the company she works for has the word "America" as part of its business name. It is so easy to assume that with the Labor Day holiday, the vast majority of working America outside of the service industry...police, fire, etc, would have the day off. So in speaking to my client, the very idea that she would be working on this day in particular, seemed appalling to me. What employer refuses to honor their workers on a day set aside just for this purpose? After all, without workers, where would the employer be?


In essence Labor Day has evolved as a holiday with a two-fold purpose. It is a holiday that celebrates the American worker and a holiday filled with nostalgic reflection of the summer season that has so quickly passed. It marks the end of one season while rolling flawlessly into the beginning of the next. As American workers, we celebrate the end of the summer, but we are never quick to forget how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to work and be free to enjoy all of life's celebrations.


I'm taking the next few days off, so enjoy your weekend and I'll see you back here real soon!

Now, get out there & go make it a good one!!


Happy Labor Day & Happy Stitching!! :)


Doesn't the picture below just make you yearn for cooler temps, & seeing the leaves changing colors?

I have this sudden urge to go out and buy a pumpkin!!!

Can't wait for Fall!! I'm so ready for it!!! :)



THE TIES THAT BIND KEEP US JOINED TOGETHER FOREVER!!


The raw emotion of the past several days was finally given peace this morning as I attended the funeral for my former father-in-law. What had been so difficult to deal with the day before, suddenly all fell into place as my 'other family' and friends joined together to say goodbye.

It wasn't until after the service that I realized that everyone who my former father-in-law considered part of my 'other family' at one point or another were all there in the end. The scenes played out in real life as if I were watching a movie on the big screen. One of my former husband's stepsisters embraced her 16 yr old son who had moved to LA from NC several months ago to live with his dad. He arrived with his dad (her former husband) with just ten minutes to spare, having driven all night to get there. What made this reunion so special is she had been told he would not be coming to his grandfather's funeral, in an effort to surprise his mother on this most difficult day for her.

Then there were the moments following the service where my own children found comfort in their father's arms and then in mine. Never once did any of our children rely on their stepmom to pull them through. I couldn't help but feel for a brief few moments that for the first time in as many years we were as close to being a real family again as we had been since my former husband & I split all those years before.

Together a former sister-in-law who once was married to my former husband's oldest brother and I stood and embraced; allowing the tears to flow. She & I both were feeling the ache of what these past few days have held. The many memories that we both shared in, the laughs, the good times and the bad. There was no need for words for we fully understood the depth of things. The hug was sufficient.

As I drove away from the cemetery, I thought about how in the end, my former father-in-law was without a doubt smiling down upon us all beaming with pride to see family, both past and present come together to bid farewell. Of all the things he did or did not accomplish in his time here on Earth, his greatest accomplishment rose in his death. His passing made us as a whole forget about past differences and for a short while today we were able to bridge the gaps as we gathered one last time.

I would be remiss if I didn't say that as with everything, my former father-in-law's passing, happened for a reason. It goes without saying that his health issues ultimately took him from us, but God had a plan today. God took people who all live different lives, and some who have gone their separate ways and brought us together with one common goal in mind which mirrors His master plan for our lives in eternity where we will not only see my former father-in-law again one day, but live forevermore with our Maker.

For all the anguish and heartache I've felt over these last days, I now find myself smiling as I write this. No matter where life takes us or what happens to us, we are all intertwined as one. Our paths cross and we continue to move forward in different directions where eventually one day we will meet up once again. Life is just like that. We experience life in all its splendor. We take the good with the bad and in the end everything works out okay.

I have a sneaking suspicion knowing my former father-in-law the way I do, that he got busy right away working to pull off this ultimate feat of today. This is one life experience that has definitely changed me for the better and one that I will never forget. It has opened my eyes more than ever to what is important and what isn't. Going forward from here, I will do things differently. I'll visit friends and family more often (this includes my 'other family' too!) and touch base with those who I might not have occasion to see on a regular basis. Its too important and life is too short to live with the regrets of yesterday. Never again, will I feel the inner prompting that tells me to go visit a loved one who's time is limited and then believe I have all the time in the world. We have to live for the moment we're in rather than thinking we can always do it at a later time. For that is truly the only way to embrace life and gain all that we can from it while allowing ourselves at the same time to give back to it and live without having to face the 'what ifs'.

So I close this by feeling grateful for the ups and downs of my own life. They have helped to mold and shape me into the person I am today & because of everything I've experienced in my life, I am better for it.


(This post is dedicated to James Elmo "Jimmy" Farrell who will be greatly missed. And I live with the reassurance that one day I will see him again and can visit for as long as I wish without any worry that our time is limited.)


May God Bless his life & May God Bless us all!


Friday, August 29, 2008

REFLECTIONS OF A LIFE GONE BY....


Today I had the unusual yet wonderful opportunity to visit my 'other family' due to a death in their family. My former father-in-law passed away on Wednesday.
When my former husband and I split over 8 yrs ago, it was amicable. Ours was a rare parting of ways. Although the circumstances were all too common, our life after the fact of love and marriage transitioned into one of a positive experience not only for us but our three children. We had our differences that drove us to end our marriage, but the one thing we had going for us is that we were always on the same page with respect to our children. That single element of our marriage was carried forth & paved the way for us being able to parent successfully as a divorced couple and avoid the pitfalls and mud-slinging that becomes an all too often occurrence when there are children involved.

With the end of our marriage, many other things came to an end. Our lives as we knew it with our respective families ended as well. Gone were the holiday celebrations and other special family times not just with us and our children, but with our extended families. All too often when divorce occurs, it creates a tremendous crack in the old familiar routines of life. You go your separates ways and life takes you down paths and twists and turns you could never anticipate even if you tried to imagine. And as a result time slips away and before you know it, you have gotten far away from staying in touch with each other's families.

For the first time in as many years, I went to see my former in-laws today. My mom, God love her, was sweet enough to offer to go with me for support. Even though when my former husband & I parted ways and there was no animosity between our respective families and either of us, I felt really nervous and awkward going to my former mother-in-laws house to visit with her during this difficult time. I don't know if it was the fact that I hadn't seen her and my former father-in-law in such a long while or if it was a twinge of guilt in knowing that my former FIL had been sick for quite sometime and I kept telling myself that I needed to go see him over and over and time ran out on me before I ever took the notion to.

When I arrived inside and greeted my former MIL, the tension I felt within immediately disappated. I was at peace and at ease. It wasn't so much about the fact that she made me feel welcome after all this time as did the rest of the family, but for a brief period of time, things felt 'normal' to me again for the first time in many years. Seeing everyone and having the opportunity to visit with them and get caught up, took me back to days of old & remembering all the chats we all had in that very same setting, in that very same room, and with the same group of people who were there back then too.

Later this evening, I went to the funeral home with my dad and stepmom to pay my respects, and came away with yet more reflections as I saw even more people who were part of that era of life as I knew it back then. In being taken back, I couldn't help but feel a sense of regret that my former husband and I didn't work harder to save our marriage instead of letting it fall apart. Back then we weren't thinking about years down the road when we would be older, as would our kids, as would our relatives and their children, and that as a whole we would all be getting older and life would become more precious and short. We weren't thinking about loss (outside of the marriage itself) of loved ones and how that would come to affect us all.

Throughout the course of the day the memories came flooding back. I think the hardest thing for me to deal with today is the realization that we never really fully heal from certain chapters in our lives that reach their end. Sure, we go along and live our lives, keep moving forward and never really stop to think about it. We push the past down and as far back in our minds to stay locked up forever...until life sneaks up on you and reminds you of what was.
My 'other' family made me feel welcome today just like they always did even when my former husband and I were married. The irony of it all is the things his family had to say to me and my parents was incredibly loving. My ex has been remarried for 4 years and while that is another story for another post for another day, I couldn't get over the fact of how his family embraced me as if we were still married, even despite the fact I had not seen them except here and there through the years.

What made today even more incredible is how I couldn't decide if I would have rather they embraced me or shunned me. While it felt good to know they still consider me family, in some strange way it would have almost been easier to face this day had they not been so nice to me. I think I could have handled it much easier. It further didn't help matters knowing inside that his family has always made a point to embrace and accept me far exceedingly over the 2nd Mrs. O'Neal. I don't say this with malice nor to come across in a negative way but to simply explain that they don't do it intentionally. You see, there's an old saying that goes "you get what you give" and well it goes without saying that the 2nd Mrs. O'Neal has never strived to make the necessary investment into 'my other family' for the sake of building those relationships. Most 1st wives would be thrilled about this, but I'm one of the few that just feels sad on the inside because she's failed to do this not only for herself but for the sake of my former husband and most importantly for our children, who have been a witness to this from day one of her being in the picture.

Today was indeed a time of true reflection. The woulda, coulda, shoulda thoughts of the past I had long since put behind me ran through my mind and of course, I wouldn't be human if I didn't wonder if they had entered my former husband's thoughts too as he watched things unfold between his family and I. Thoughts can be ignored, but it is truly difficult to deny or feign off actions as they happen.

That part of my life is over and done with and the memories of that era with my 'other' family will stay with me for the rest of my life. The likelihood that my former husband and I would ever reconcile is slim to none given he's married and the fact I've not spent a great deal of time over these last 8 yrs putting a lot of thought into it. But today was filled with melancholy moments for me. I was forced to look backward at life as I once knew it and ask myself a few critical questions that I would've never embarked on back then. While stranger things have happened and we never know what the future holds, we can never go back to the way things used to be and we should never look back, but sometimes its necessary in order to keep moving forward.



NEWSFLASH!!! BARACK OBAMA IS AN ENABLER!!!!



Like most folks out there, I find that I am also one of the undecideds. Or at least that appeared to be the case until Thursday's nights acceptance speech! I was impressed and motivated; so much so, that I'm now on board and I have Barrack Obama to thank for it!

NO...I'm not talking about becoming a Obama supporter all of a sudden or even the fact that his monumental speech will most likely go down as one of the best in history. What I'm referring to is Barrack Obama is an enabler. While he stood in front of 80000+ people in Denver and millions of viewers across the Nation on Thursday night, he had no idea that he was aiding and abetting me to partake in a little stitching! OMG...you say!!!

YES....it's true! While BO spoke, I sat and stitched! He inspired me to do great things! He inspired me to enact change! He inspired me keep moving forward! He told me "now is not the time for small plans". He said "Eight is Enough"! (Okay...so it couldn't be all motivational talk...he needed to remind me that its been eight years since the last time I picked up my daughter's Christmas stocking prior to just a few weeks ago. The truth hurts, but it helps build good character!!) But the thing that spoke to me the most was when he told me that "together our dreams could be one". I tell you, I am completely pumped up & stoked! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that as long as I have Barrack Obama spurring me on I can get alot of my WIP's & UFO's done! I just have to keep repeating the mantra from last night in my head.

I've never been much on politics and make no mistake this election year is perhaps one of the most critical and pivotal in our country's history. But just knowing that Barrack Obama is a cross-stitch enabler has certainly made all the difference to me!

Oh my! Time is of the essence & its time to get back to my stitching that I interrupted to share this great news with you! So, just remember, Barrack Obama now has our backs as the Honorary Spokesman & avid fan of the cross-stitch community! Maybe now that we have a public figure speaking out on our behalf, cross-stitching will finally receive the true recognition it deserves!!




HAPPY FRIDAY & HAPPY STITCHING!! :)

IS IT FRIDAY YET?????



Yay! Today is FRIDAY!!! Yippee!! (Okay...so that's a little over the top! Forgive me...I've had my morning dose of Starbucks and I'm FULLY awake now!!)


Let's face it... if there was one day during the week that the vast majority of folks look forward to, it would have to be Friday, hands down. Now for me, of late, I've traded having Friday's off for working longer hours during the rest of the week in order to try & save a few dollars at the pump. So for the past month or so, Thursdays have become my Fridays.




So if there is anyone who has no reason to say "Boy, am I glad its Friday" it would have to be me. But I AM glad it's Friday, but not in the spoiled brat kind of way that you would expect. You see, this week has been full of ups and downs. It has been one of those weeks that one is glad to have behind them. lt has been a tough week of sorts.






The week started with a bad hair day...(okay...that's sounding spoiled!!); let me back up! The week started with my kids beginning a new school year. This included my oldest daughter, Megan, who started college classes. That was an UP! Then on to Tuesday. It rained and the hair rebelled! My ex-husband shared that his step-father was in the hospital on life support and that per his stepfather's wishes, the family would be taking him off of life support that evening at 8pm. That was a DOWN!

Then there was Wednesday! In the South we sometimes refer to Wednesday as "Hump Day" because its the middle of the week and all downhill to Friday. But on Wednesday of this week, it almost felt like a Monday; Mondays being considered by some the worst day of the week (okay...most ALL consider Mondays to be the worst day of the week!!) But it was a less than stellar day because Tropical Storm Fay decided to make a very grand, and not so welcome entrance into North Carolina bringing rain, high winds, tornados and flooding. It was a day that had me on pins and needles as Megan spent her afternoon gathered with her dormmates in a stairwell at UNC-G anticipating the arrival of a tornado. On the very same day, I learned my ex-father in law, had passed away about the same time my daughter was holed up in the stairwell. BIG DOWN OF A DAY!!!




Then on to Thursday. Well, the rain had ceased and the sun shone brightly for the better part of the day. It was the last day of the work week for me. My mom & I were able to have dinner together (if you follow my blog you know just a little over a week ago, my mom was hospitalized for a staph infection). I watched Barrack Obama make history and give a speech that will undoubtedly go down as one of the finest ever heard by our Nation! And the day for the most part was uneventful! It was an UP!




And now on we come to Friday! So far today I've taken my kids to school and traveled fifteen minutes to Starbucks to pick up my favorite coffee concoction...a Grande Peppermint Mocha. (Somehow when I go to Starbucks I abandon all sense of reality, mentally block out the thought of high gas prices, and conveniently forget that this particular stop is completely out of the way, and in no way can be justified as a necessary errand that needs to be run!!) But after the week its been, I deserve my Grande Peppermint Mocha! From the very first sip, I can feel all the sorrows and dilemmas of my week being erased and inside I am being returned to that happy place of balance! AHHHH!!!



So far...so good today! As I'm writing this I look out my window and see the sun emerging from behind the clouds and shining brightly causing a smile to stir within my heart. I'm reminded in this moment, that no matter how dark the skies become or how clouded, that the sun always finds a way to break through and shine again. Hmmmm...guess I've just been given a sign that its okay to look forward to Fridays & things are definitely now looking up! I suddenly find myself at ease! Now I think I'll go enjoy the rest of my day and look forward to the long holiday weekend!


Until next time...Happy Stitching! :)
(This post is dedicated to my ex-father in law, Jimmy Farrell. May he rest in peace & God bless his soul!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

THERE'S NOTHING LIKE A GOOD DRENCHING RAIN TO WASH IT ALL AWAY!!!



Well...today was another not so good day for the hair! I'm convinced the hair must be suffering from HHD (Humid Hair Disorder). If you are not familiar with this, please allow me to explain. It seems that the hair is most affected during the summer months and especially when there is tropical like weather taking place. There are no symptoms and can flare up on a whim. It doesn't even have to be raining outside. All it takes is the right combination of warm temps, muggy air and wind to bring on an episode.

But today I refused to allow the hair to get the best of me unlike yesterday! Today I had other things on my mind that proved to be a little more concerning; like the fact that the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay came barreling through the state of North Carolina very fast and furious beginning early this morning, continuing non-stop on through the late afternoon. Just when we thought we were out of the woods, we were merely being shown what the calm before the storm feels like...literally!!! Unlike yesterday when she only brought light, steady rain and a slight tropical breeze, today she sparred numerous tornados & flash flooding all throughout the state. In several of my neighborning counties, school systems emptied their classrooms into the halls where kids found themselves participating in a real life tornado drill versus the make-believe practice kind that they are normally accustomed to.

My daughter, Megan, was caught in the throes of the storms today as well. Inside her dorm, the announcement was made to take cover in the stairwell. While it seemed that the tornado that was spotted in the next town over from where she was at was moving her way, thankfully, it never touched down there.

One local mobile home community was flooded and its occupants had to evacuate. One couple lost everything inside their basement. Another family lost their dog during a tornado that later showed up shaken but unharmed.

During the monsoon like rains, my yard quickly became a small pond. Never in my life have I ever seen or experienced flooding like I did today. Being located in central North Carolina, flooding is not a common occurence and only resigned to watching on tv. Fortunately my home was fine and once the rain slacked off, the flooding receded rather abruptly. It was a scary feeling none the less. Weather is definitely one of the few things in life we have no control over. I marvel at how natural disasters have a life of their own and more importantly I am amazed at how something like that can cause so much damage all by itself. It's times like today when I really do question God's work. My mom always told me to never question the work of the Lord. But it falls right up there with all the other questions I hope to ask Him someday like why does He allow bad things to happen to good people. Or why does He allow children to become missing or harmed? So many questions and yet no way of understanding the things that happen in our world.

I guess the one thing that we can all be assured of is that there's a reason for everything just like there was a reason why NC was impacted so hard with the leftover remains of Fay today. Good things always seem to come out of bad things most of the time. The good thing about today's rains is that now our state has cut its drought deficit in half. Even when we can't always see the rainbow after every rainstorm, one thing is for certain, the sun always shines again! Tomorrow should be an absolutely gorgeous day!



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

THE HAIR IS HAVING A BAD DAY!!



This morning when I awoke, I heard an old familiar sound outside. It was raining!!! For the first time in as many weeks, it decided it was going to rain. Oh, I'm not complaining because we certainly needed it. And besides there was no way to avoid it. The radar showed rain that stretched from NC to 3 states over. I guess Tropical Storm Fay wasn't ready to totally dissapate just yet.
How do I know it was Tropical Storm Fay????? Well...let's see...when I walked out my door to get in my car, the air hit me square in the face. There it was, that thick, hot, muggy air that can only be found during falling precipitation in late summer in North Carolina OR when the remnants of a tropical storm are crossing your state. It was breezy and for a moment I began to wonder if I was at the beach. Had it not been for trying to dodge the raindrops to my car, I would have closed my eyes and pretended to be.
And then without any warning, my hair decides to turn on me!!! The hair was not having it...no sirree!!! The hair decided that it did not like Mr. Humidity one bit!!! So instead of behaving and minding its manners, it decided to throw a fit for all the world to see. Far be it for me to try and get it under control. The hair wouldn't hear of it!! No...the hair decided it was going to have a mind of its own. All my early morning efforts of shampooing, conditioning, drying and straightening were washed away with the rain. Down the drain and the hair just stood by and laughed in all its glory. The hair didn't care how it made me look...this morning was all about it and only it!!! The hair went from super straight and styled to wavy and frizzy. I attempted to run my hands through it to calm it down, but to no avail. The hair just continued its tiraid on me; leaving me helpless and waving the white flag of surrender.
By the end of the day, the hair had whipped me in my face, created little waves all over my head, and had its complete way with me until it finally had its fill of fun and games at my expense. The hair was no longer angry & aggravated because those emotions had been transferred onto me.
I decided it was time to enact my revenge. I arrived home from work and without hesitation I not so politely pulled my hair up into a bun (using a huge, orange scrunchie as my ally) and showed it who was boss. This immediately quieted the hair. There was no mistaken who was in charge of this head of hair. And what a peaceful evening it has been. The hair is settled down upon my head and I am once again feeling in total control!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

EXCUSE ME....COULD I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE??



It has just been announced that Dawn O'Neal, famed writer of the blog post, The Stitchin' Nook, is officially re-entering the world of cross-stitching effective immediately! It was speculated that over the summer months due to all the busy activity that summer brings that this writer found herself stretched and pulled in many different directions unable to fulfill her desire to stitch.

It has been rumored that the start of a new school year and sudden loss of occupying the time of her kids will result in more time to devote to her favorite past time.

Over the summer this writer had several WIP's going that came to a standstill. One being a MSAL that she has now completed 6 of the 15 parts and currently working her way through the 7th part as this is being written. Our sources tell us that she also is hard at work on a Christmas stocking that she hopes to complete just in time for the upcoming holiday season!




THIS JUST IN!!
We have just received word that Ms. O'Neal will begin a new project this fall called Monopoly SAL! This is a replica of the famed Monopoly game board by Parker Brothers that will be stitched to full scale size on...wait for it....18 ct White Aida! This is exciting news as this is a project not for the faint of heart or those who have a closet full of UFO's currently! From what we understand, she has purchased all her materials and is ready to get started any day now.
We have requested an interview with Ms. O'Neal, but she's declined due to her very busy upcoming stitching schedule. She did agree to release photos of her work so that we may continue reporting on her progress.
Please keep it right here on the American Stitching Network for all the latest developments as they unfold!

READY...SET...GO...IT'S BACK TO SCHOOL TIME!!


Today is the last day of summer vacation for my youngest two children. (If you can count weekends as days of summer vacation.) And of course, my kids have mixed feelings about returning to school. Who could blame them? The summer came and went like a whirlwind blur.


(Oh my...it's the last day of summer!!!)

I thought since I have highlighted and showcased my daughter, Megan's, trip to college, that it would only be fair to introduce you to my younger two.

This year my younger two will be at the top of their grade levels in their respective schools.

Meet Cameron!



From the looks of the picture above you would never guess he's going into 8th grade! (Actually, big sister, Megan was having a little fun with him during her graduation party...and as you can see Cameron was practically begging me to shut the camera off.) I couldn't resist...after all...these are the kind of pictures that are worth a thousand words!


A little about Cameron...through the summer he's grown. He now stands taller than me...(but then, I think half the world does too!!!)...he's now almost the same height as his big sister (although you can't really tell from the pic above)...a whopping 5'4" to my 5' 1.5". He is a 1st Class Boy Scout and working towards his Eagle Scout achievement. His passions are playing video games and anything having to do with soccer. He currently is playing on a Fall rec soccer team with all of his peers and hopes to make his school soccer team again in the Spring. He is an A/B Honor Roll student.

Presenting Hannah!

I'm sure you've guessed from the picture above that she either likes to dance or enjoys dressing up in costumes!! (Actually...this was taken from her dance recital last Spring. She took Jazz and really enjoyed it!)

So what can I tell you about my "Hannie". She's an absolute ray of sunshine. She's the last of my 3 and my heartstrings are already being pulled this year because this will be her last year of elementary school. She is going into 5th grade and is probably the most excited of my 3 to be starting school on Monday. She loves animals and babies. She vows and declares one day that she is going to have lots of children running around and lots of animals to boot. Of my 3, she will be the best parent because she has such a loving, nurturing nature about her. She has a wonderful sense of humor and keeps me and her brother in stitches most of the time. (Actually if they both get to going...watch out...you won't be able to breathe!!!) She's decided she's not taking dance this year. She wants to work hard and make straight A's. She also is an A/B Honor roll student which has always been great, but I guess she wants to leave elementary school on a high note! (I'll take it!)

Of my 3, I believe time has gone by the fastest with Hannah. It seems like yesterday Megan was starting 5th grade (the same year Cameron started Kindergarten). One day recently Hannah said to me, "Mom, you know Cameron & I will be at the top of our schools next year and Megan will be starting at the bottom of college.") Oh...from the mouth of babes truth always emits forth!




So...here we go again! Another school year is upon me! I just love this time of year. Back in the day, the first and last day of school were the most exciting for me. The anticipation of heading back to school after a long summer (summers WERE a lot longer back then) and getting to see all my friends. There was no Facebook or Myspace back then to stay in touch through the summer. Most summers you didn't see your friends until school cranked back up. Even once the 'newness' of a new school year wore off and I became settled in my school routine, it was still fun and exciting. I loved school! I'm probably one of the few who would openly admit that if I could have found a way to make a career out of going to school I would have done it in a heartbeat! Times have definitely changed and my kids don't seem to share in that same excitement, although try as I might to get them to!




This time of year doesn't just bring on school, but Fall soon follows with all sorts of activities. There are Fall festivals....stitching....hayrides....stitching....bonfires....stitching...the changing leaves....stitching...raking leaves....stitching...cooler temps...stitching....wearing sweaters and sweatshirts & jeans...stitching...high school football games that span into early November or December if your favorite team makes it to the State Championship...stitching...the State Fair...stitching...soon to be followed by Halloween and then Thanksgiving and Christmas! It is such a time of celebration. For most parents, they rejoice for a different reason when school starts! But not me....I enjoy my kids and love their company!! They are at a wonderful age and when we share in experiences together this time of year, it always proves to be very special and memorable!


So...I'd better get busy....it will be here before you know it. Don't want to miss yet another year of partaking in some of my favorite things with my kids!




...decorating for Fall





....visiting the pumpkin patch

...drinking hot apple cider


In the hustle, bustle of this week, if you find your kids are starting school too, stop and take a moment amidst it all and just enjoy it! It's a great time of year for many reasons!! I hope by pointing out some of the best things about this time of year that you are now just as excited as I am and I invite you to join me in making the very most of it all!


Until next time....Happy Stitching! :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

OOH....I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!!!


Friday night kicked off the start of my favorite time of year. For the last several years the start of school getting cranked back up is marked by the area high schools playing their first game of the season prior to the first day of school. Woo Hoo!
This year was no exception. In our school district the big game of the week (which also was the home opener of my oldest daughter's now Alma Mater (boy, is it strange to say that...my daughter is now an alumnus!!!) was between cross county rivals the:
Eastern Alamance Eagles & the Western Alamance Warriors
Western Alamance came into the game as defending champs of last year's State 3-A Championship with the cards stacked against them; having lost their starting offensive and defensive lines to graduating Seniors. Eastern Alamance on the other hand didn't fare too badly last year given Western was the dominate team in the conference & had nothing to lose in this latest match up. It was speculated that Eastern might beat Western due to the dilemma Western Alamance faced coming into this season. And the critics were right.....Eastern Alamance beat Western Alamance 26-15!!!
On the other hand, my Alma Mater that I graduated from 20+ years ago, didn't have as good of luck. They lost 29-14!
So...there you have it...Friday Football Fever is in full swing and before you know it another summer will soon be behind us in just a few short weeks. So I say bring on the cooler temps, the trees changing colors, and the fast approaching holiday season for that's what makes this time of year so exciting and special!
See you at the football stadium! Until next time...Happy Stitching! :)

I THINK I'M IN LOVE!!!!



Just when I think I have cooled down from Michael Phelps superhuman feat in the Beijing Olymics, and returned to life as I knew it, now I learn that this is a guy after my own heart...(and it has nothing to with swimming!!!). MICHAEL PHELPS IS WRITING A BOOK!!!!

Please forgive me for posting yet AGAIN about our American Top Male Model, but you see, I can't help but notice that MP is not only athletic, talented, but now SMART as a whip too! He wants to be a writer. I think about this....I want to be a writer too!! I'm already preparing to purchase his book as I am putting the finishing touches on mine!! While his will be a tale about his experiences of winning 8 Gold medals and a fundamentals book about swimming, mine is a romance novel. His is based on facts...mine on fiction. Let's face it we're a match made in heaven!!

On a serious note, I find this to be incredible given he has publicly announced that he has suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder most of his life (which I believe he will also address in his book). I know from firsthand experience that it takes a great amount of concentration to be able to sit down and write for long periods of time. Fortunately for me, I write when I get the urge so I have never really dealt with struggling to find the words to put on paper. For someone with this disorder, it makes concentrating on even the most mundane of tasks difficult. I'm amazed that in spite of it, MP didn't let it affect his ability to achieve greatness in the sport of swimming. He has shown that even with having that to deal with, if you put your mind to something you can do anything!

So...I'm anxious and ready for MP's book to come out. I hope it includes that section in the middle of black and white photos of him! I may have to buy two copies...one for keeping on my bedside table for reading at night and the other so I can rip out the middle section and make a collage out of them to hang on my bedroom wall so I can look at him when I'm not reading his book!! LOL

Kudos go out to Michael Phelps...Greatest American & World Olympian of all time and soon to be published author! Hmmmm...I hear a plot brewing in my head for my next book about an Olympic swimmer.......

Until next time...Happy Stitching! :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

AND THE DAUGHTER CRIED....MAMMA MIA!!!!


Who would have thought that on this first college weekend I'd be getting a call from my newfound college bound daughter asking if I wanted to 'hang out'. Yes...it's true! It happened. (Okay...so she was bored...no I think she told me that all her friends from high school who are attending the same college as she had decided to come home for the night to attend their high school football game home opener against a major rival, or no...on second thought, it could have been the fact that her 'roomie' ...(that's what they call roommates these days) would be out spending the evening with her boyfriend). So what if I was last resort? I was stoked! My daughter actually WANTED to spend the evening with her mom!! How cool is that???

So I drove the thirty minutes to the college town where she now resides and picked up my daughter. We set out on our evening of hanging out and of course after eating three days worth of 'caf' food (cafeteria) as Megan put it, it was a must we grab a bite to eat. After a couple of missed turns (you would think I would know how to navigate my way around one of the busiest thoroughfares ever...maybe it was all the excitement of getting to spend this quality time together), we (she) finally decided on O'Charleys.
Then it was off to the movies and after scanning the list of not so great ones out there right now to choose from, we chose "Mamma Mia"...one of the great summer movies...that I failed to go see when it came out. I've never been much of a movie buff and could probably be one of those considered to be "Big Screen challenged. But I have to say that this movie is a MUST SEE!!!! It is definitely a chick flick. So gals don't take your guys to this one...unless they are into chick flicks or like the musical group ABBA! For those of you who have not seen the movie then I won't spoil it for you. However, I will tell you, that as I watched the movie with my daughter I couldn't help but notice the many parallels between the movie and real life of my daughter and I.




There was a scene in particular that I completely lost it on. It was a sweet scene in which Meryl Streep helps her daughter, Sophie, get ready for her wedding. The song that played during this exchange was the ABBA hit "Slipping Through My Fingers". As I listened to the words I couldn't help but totally identify with them especially given this is the very week that my daughter left home for college.



Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile
I watch her go with a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while
The feeling that I'm losing her forever
And without really entering her world
I'm glad whenever I can share her laughter
That funny little girl

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake, I let precious time go by
Then when she's gone there's that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I can't deny
What happened to the wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go (Slipping through my fingers all the time)
Well, some of that we did but most we didn't
And why I just don't know

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing

Slipping through my fingers all the time
Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Schoolbag in hand she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile
The movie came to a close and I drove my daughter back to her dorm and dropped her off. As she walked away I thought about that song and its words. My, the years certainly have gone by, oh so fast! My daughter is practically a woman now...finally off to college and embarking on a brand new chapter in her life. This evening was a stark reminder of just how we are always right where we are supposed to be in every given moment. What were the odds that my daughter would call me and we would go see a movie about a mother and a daughter that contained a song that truly spoke the words of my heart, in the very week that my daughter headed off to college and I had to learn to let my 'little girl' go. Life is indeed full of pleasant surprises and those are the ones that are the most bittersweet!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

HERE WE GO AGAIN...TALES FROM THE WORLD OF DATING!!



(This blog post is dedicated to all those women out there who have their own dating horror story to tell. This also goes out to Meari
who I can totally relate to!!)


It was the year 2000, and I found myself back on the dating scene for the first time in over 13 years. Boy, how things had changed. I was no longer eligible for the high school crowd and having a status of separated with children made dating very interesting not to mention challenging. Little did I know how much dating had changed in 13 short years.

I decided to embark on internet dating. I didn't go to clubs and didn't believe in finding or meeting "The One" in that environment. So I searched the web and perused a few different dating sites and decided on one in particular. I posted a profile, a pic and was ready to go! Before I knew it I was meeting guys left and right who would check out my profile and email me. This was fun...or so I thought until I met Cecil. Cecil was a looker to say the least. He and I hit it off. Cecil was a smooth talker and before I could get really comfortable in the relationship, Cecil was buying me jewelry, nice gifts, flowers, etc. (Okay...so I was suddenly separated and the gifts and attention flattered me. ) What I didn't realize is Cecil was a con artist and he was seeking his next permanent mate.

Cecil lived about 1.5 hours from me and he didn't seem to have any trouble driving the distance. This was incredible I thought. Ever heard if its too good to be true, it probably is? This was all well and good until one Sunday afternoon Cecil decided to visit unannounced with his 5 year old son in tow. I was put in an incredible position because I didn't want to be rude, my kids were at home and after all he had his son with him. But it infuriated me.!!! How dare he intrude on my Sunday afternoon and time with my kids unannounced as if he owned me and the situation at hand. RED FLAG #1 & the first new rule of dating in a world after 13 years of marriage. DON'T SHOW UP AT SOMEONE'S HOME YOU HAVEN'T BEEN DATING LONG UNANNOUNCED!


Okay...so he came to visit unannounced. I overlooked the mishap and decided he must really like me to drive all that way AND bring his son. We continued to see one another and during the time of getting to know one another Cecil had discussed his ex-wife and marital situation which was no biggie as I had been through similar circumstances so I could relate. What I didn't know or realize is that Cecil left out a lot of details about his past.


I took Cecil to visit my dad and stepmom. This was the first time my parents had met Cecil. I never knew until after the fact, that my dad got a bad vibe from him in that initial meeting, so much so, that he took the time to have Cecil checked out. My brother had also met Cecil and one day in talking to my brother he said in passing that even though Cecil seemed like a nice guy, maybe it might be a good idea to check him out. Mind you I still didn't know at that time that my dad had already checked him out and he had done so by having my brother who was in law enforcement look into Cecil's background.

I took my brother's advice to heart and checked out ole Cecil. Well....remember what I said about if something is too good to be true then it probably is? Well...it seems that Cecil had been married not once but twice. That was a minor detail he left out...still no biggie. However, both ex-wives had filed domestic violence charges against Cecil..a BIG detail he forgot to mention. The real shocker was learning that Cecil's dad had pulled time in prison for MURDER. He must have had a complete memory lapse on that one. Wonder where he got the violent streak from? Needless to say, I never saw a violent moment in all the time that I dated Cecil and would not have guessed that Cecil was a violent person whatsoever. My guess is he was saving it for the honeymoon.

I'm very thankful to this day that my dad has the sense of perception when it comes to people that he does. He and my brother saved me from making a terrible mistake. And as far as Cecil goes...I kicked him to the curb shortly after I learned the truth. I also said goodbye to internet dating.

UNDER EVERY CLOUD...LIES A SILVER LINING!!



The past several days have lent themselves to several black clouds showing up unannounced and uninvited in my life.


As mentioned in an earlier post, on Friday of last week my mom was hospitalized for an infection that had gotten completely out of control. Over the course of her hospital stay she was given a scare that she might have a blood clot that was not related to the infection. As it turns out she did not have a blood clot, is doing much better in response to some powerful antibiotics, and was released from the hospital earlier today.


During all of this, I found myself preparing for my daughter's departure to college and some personal growing pains of my own as this new chapter in mine and my daughter's life will be written. Sure I know she'll do fine. She was an Honors student all through high school and I expect no less than Dean's list status from her in college. She's always had this uncanny ability to make friends; some of which will one day be considered life long friends despite the miles and space between them now that college has taken them in different directions. But the sudden realization she won't be around as much during the school year as before is quite a wake up call. (Okay...so maybe her Senior year of high school should have been preparation enough between her studies, working a part-time job and having a boyfriend didn't lend much time to seeing her then either.) It just feels different now. I know she's only thirty minutes away from home but for her first year she won't have a car on campus and won't be coming home on a whim like she did when she still lived at home. Oh the trials of life transitions. The upside is that in less than 24 hours after her move in on Tuesday she's already called me to say her 1st "THANK YOU". She thanked me for organizing her lingere drawer as we unpacked yesterday. I thought she was kidding. She said, "No, mom I really like the way you put everything in its place." Guess that's a testament to the fact at how she's been keeping her own lingerie drawer at home organized over these last few years. Now with mom's 'special' touch, let's see if she can keep it that way!!




And then today despite the emotional roller coaster I have been on the past few days between taking care of my mom and seeing my daughter off to college, I get notified by not 1 but 2 different 'blogger friends' that I have been nominated for an award!!! I was so excited especially because I have only been blogging a little over a month now & really enjoying it. But more importantly, since I've found cross-stitching again, I've already begun to make some wonderful friends through a few Yahoo cross-stitch groups I belong to!




A special THANK YOU goes out to SHARI & MEARI for thinking enough of me & my blog to nominate me for the "I Love Your Blog" award. ! I feel so honored! :)

Here are the rules I received with the award:

1. The winner can put the logo on her blog.

2. Link the person you received your award from.

3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.

4. Put links of those blogs on yours.

5. Leave a message on the blogs of those you’ve nominated.

In return I'm recognizing a few of my favorite bloggers below:


Laurel's Stitching...All Things Christmas

Spinster Stitcher

The Stitching Teacher

Jenn-X Stitch

Just Another Stitching Blog

Carolina Dreams

Pip Stitch

Here's to all my blogging friends & stitching friends too!!! Cheers & Kudos to you all!!

So...all in all the past few days, while trying on the ole nerves, patience, and emotional stability, I've been reminded that no matter how dismal things may seem, in no time we can rest assured that good things will come to those who wait if we will just stay the course and not give up!!! Hey...isn't that like cross-stitching????

Until next time....Happy Stitching!!! :)












Sunday, August 17, 2008

WHEW!!...NOW I CAN PICK UP WHERE I LEFT OFF!!!





Have you ever had this huge wave of relief come over you??? That is exactly what happened upon Michael Phelps & Team USA taking the GOLD on Saturday night at the 2008 Olympics!!




I was relieved because Michael clinched his 8th GOLD medal at the Olympics; relieved (and yet, a little saddened) that this was his last race of this Olympics, (guess if I want to see that perfectly shaped physique now I'll have to resort to the million or so pics posted on the internet) and relieved because there would be no more nailbiter moments to come in anticipation of MP breaking the most important world record in Olympic history.

But what I found to be the most pivotal moment for me during this last week, is NOW I can FINALLY resume partaking in my favorite passion...CROSS-STITCHING & get back on track!!! Sure, I strived very hard to stitch while I watched this week, but I found that especially when MP & Company were competing, I would sit gripped firmly to my needle and floss until my knuckles turned blue (or wait, was that my face turning blue from holding my breath)...in agonizing suspense of whether or not MP would win his next GOLD in line. NO matter how hard I tried to work while he was on, nothing I did worked. It would be one thing if MP wasn't so darn easy on the eyes. Had he been anything less than absolutely GORGEOUS, I could have stitched away to my heart's content...(and most assuredly had that Christmas stocking for my daughter all finished by now & possibly a few other WIP's as well). But it was not to be.



So...now with MP & friends having won the GREAT 8 & the Olympics are slowly winding down over these next several days, I can now rest easy knowing I can pick up where I left off before the fact. Oh no...new sudden wave of emotion has just come over me...This time it is not relief...but rather one of PANIC!! What will I do now that there will be no more MP on tv to watch...no more swims...no more races for the GOLD...no more abrupt disruptions in my stitching efforts????


Guess I'll just quietly resort back to my old ways....to the days before this week took place in my life...before Michael Phelps...and just deal with it!!! (Hey, if anyone out there has already created the 1st Michael Phelps pattern to stitch, I'm first in line to cast dibs on it!!) BEWARE! If that happens the rest of my WIP's will be in trouble quick & headed for UFO status!!