Monday, July 21, 2014

Information Overload!



Sometimes in life we get overwhelmed and anxious...it is then that we need to take a step back and look at what we are occupying our time and our mind with and what changes can be made so that we are more relaxed and content.




One of the things I needed to do was to cut back on my "information overload" as Roy called it.  I have unfollowed several facebook sites and people who were providing me with lots of information, but at the same time causing me stress.  When you are in the middle of the forest, it is hard to see the trees, but when you take a step back they become clearer.  This was a good step for me....what is clouding your mind today that you could eliminate?  It is very liberating to take back control!  




Every day is a gift...enjoy this one and free yourself of a little mind clutter if you can.  Look around at the beauty around you and relax your mind.


(Pictures taken from Pinterest posts)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blessings in Disguise

You know how awful it feels to lose a job or have some other life changing event happen?  It feels like the world has come to an end.  I have lost jobs, been divorced, had no money, wrecked my car, lost loved ones, and more.  Many times I can look back on these events and see that something good happened as a result of this event that would not have ever happened otherwise.  Looking back....we can see...but in the present, while it is happening, it just feels awful, like the whole world is spinning without us, no one cares, everyone has a purpose but us.

I've learned this in life, because of my life experiences, to look for the silver lining and anticipate good things.

In 2012, my little 16 month old granddaughter Sadie Caroline was diagnosed with a terrible cancer that took her little life in a short six weeks.  This is one of the most tragic things I can imagine...the life of a child taken away.  While it was happening, I was strong, but no one could have convinced me that I could look back and see the blessings.  It seems almost crazy to think about the blessings, but you see, that is what gets me through each day.  Everything about her...every moment, good and bad, was a blessing in my life because it was Sadie...and she was our perfect blessing.

Three things stand out for me as blessings that many of you might fail to see as blessings if it happened to you, but I see these in my mind's eye every single day that I go forward.

The first was the phone call...that terrible phone call that told me something bad was wrong with Sadie.  They thought maybe meningitis, but were running all kinds of tests, including a bone marrow test to eliminate cancer.  I sat down at the piano and just played the sweetest music I could while these tests were going on, and I prayed.  After traveling to be with her, amazingly she was better!  They determined that she was OK and ruled out cancer.  Now here is the blessing...we had the best few days together anyone could hope for.  We played and hugged and sang and read books and played hide and seek.  It was wonderful!  But then we soon discovered that the cancer was hiding and after about a week she was back in the hospital and the diagnosis was not good.  We could have been bitter that they didn't find it the first time, thus delaying her treatment, but instead I have thanked God a thousand times for that time together, because you see, it was her last time at home, and I got to spend it with her and make it the most special weekend possible.

The second was at the hospital.....she was attached by wires and tubes to all kinds of medicine and monitors....so attached that she could hardly play or move and it was so difficult to hold her and love on her.  A different doctor came in the room and ordered all that stuff detached from her.  For that one evening, she was able to walk down the hallway, play and move around and live the life of a little baby girl what turned out to be her last time of freedom.  Her Daddy, Tim, in fact spent a lot of this time with her and talked about it at her funeral as his lifetime of memories with his little girl occurring in that one night.  As it turned out, this was her very last night of freedom to have fun.  We could have been bitter that this happened and felt that her treatment was delayed a little, but instead we were oh so grateful for our time with her...but more than that....her time to have some fun because it would be her last.

The third was when Amber called me and someone had gotten us tickets to go to Amy Grant and Vince Gill's Christmas Concert at the old Ryman Auditorium.  It was close to the hospital and we were so tired and stressed, it seemed like a good thing to just go.  At that time Sadie was in intensive care - she was paralyzed, nearly blind, had holes drilled in her head to relieve pressure - everything was just awful and not looking good at all.  Tim was going to stay at the hospital with her while we relaxed just a little while.  Amber figured it out that she could come get me and we would stop by the hospital  on the way to see Sadie.  It was a miracle because the hospital let us all go in the room at once - this had been the only time the family had all been together at one time since the diagnosis.  We all went in the room, we smiled and played with her as best we could, then she started to fuss and was in pain.  Everyone left the room for a brief time and I held her little hand and sang a lullabye and also a silly little song I always sang to her, and was able to sing that sweet baby to sleep one last time.  You see, that was Tuesday night, and by Friday we had lost her.  I will forever remember singing to her that last time as she was not very responsive after that evening.  I treasure that moment, even though it was in intensive care and the most awful thing I could imagine.  I will always treasure those moments and remember them as special as they were.

Sometimes in life we are dealt with all kinds of problems and times when we can't even think about facing tomorrow, but I can tell you from experience...there is always tomorrow and it can still have joy.  I don't have the kind of joy I would have had with Sadie in my life and watching her grow, but I still have joy every day.  I have these three blessings in disguise and many, many more from my life to remember in my minds eye - and many more to come.  Sometimes we don't know they are blessings until the time has passed, so we must always be aware and looking for them because they are always there.  God is always with us, and for sure, He knows what He is doing in our lives.  It's up to us to look and see and count our blessings, even the ones in disguise.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Serenity Found



In November, 2012, my life changed forever.  God gave me the most precious little girl grandbaby and she was named Sadie Caroline.  She has the most beautiful eyes, double dimples, big smile, and blonde hair and gave us so much joy.  In an instant our joy turned to worry and distress - she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer - Acute Myeloid Leukemia which presented itself in her central nervous system.  Sadie was 16 months old.

We prayed and loved on her and were courageous by her bedside for six weeks, and then the cancer took her away from us.  As you can imagine, we have struggled so as to how this could have happened to her and to us.  She was perfect and we loved her so.

During my whole life I have found peace in the Serenity Prayer because I know it is just a losing battle to fight against the inevitable or to try to change something that is not possible to change, and I should not spend my energy on such things.  When I was called and told that Sadie was sick, I searched for something to hold onto, something that might make me strong as I was called to do things and face things I had never done or faced before.  I had a necklace in my shop with a charm on it with a cross and the words "God Grant Me Serenity".  I have worn it every single day since that day.  I guess I may never put it away, because I can reach up and touch it when I am troubled, and it reminds me that God is with me and will help me.


I have had many conversations with friends and acquaintances since our loss of our sweet Sadie, and many chances to explain how I could still be standing and moving forward with many, many things and smiling and finding joy in my days.  It is hard to explain, except for the fact that God has given me the strength, insight and wisdom to make healthy choices and to seek and find serenity through Him.

In talking with a friend the other day who also is going through a tough time of her own as she has found out that her daughter and also her little toddler grandaughter have been diagnosed with Lyme disease, I heard myself say, "I wouldn't change anything!".  I do that - when I am talking about Sadie many times - I hear myself say something that doesn't compute when I think about it later and I have to think about it and determine why or how I could say that.  Especially, this one - because I would give my own life if we could just have Sadie back.

In reflecting on the fact that I said, and I heard it come out of my mouth, "I wouldn't change anything", I have determined that God has given me those words and thoughts and has allowed me to heal to a point where I do realize that IF I cannot change the fact that I have lost Sadie in this world, that I will focus on those things I can change.  He gave me wisdom and a way to move forward.  I still have my wonderful daughter, Amber, and her husband, Tim, and my precious grandson, Eli (who is the sunshine in all of our lives), my mother, and a wonderful husband.  I have my faith, my church family, my shop, my charity work in memory of Sadie, many friends, my health, this beautiful environment where I live and work, and on and on.  I have so many blessings - so, I know I can't change what happened to Sadie, but I can change how I live the rest of my days.

I will live facing the Sunshine every day and share joy with others.  I will not dwell on the past - I will look toward the future and expect it to be bright and beautiful.  And I will give thanks to God for being with me every day, holding me up when I want to fall down, giving me strength to say and do what I can to help others, sending me people in my life who love me, sending me people in my life who need me, and just helping me be joyful.

People say they don't know how I do it - I have had a lot of help!  And each person that God sends me keeps me on this positive journey I call my life. A special thanks to all of those people and those to come for helping me understand how I can and must keep on this positive journey.

If you have an interest in helping with making crochet hats and prayer shawls for the Crochet for Cancer chapter I have established in memory of Sadie, please "like" our facebook page and get all the details:  www.facebook.com/sadiesunshinechapter

Also, my daughter has established a foundation in Sadie's name to help spread her smiles to those who need them.  It can be found at www.shineonsadie.com  There are many opportunities to serve in Sadie's memory that will benefit many - her smiles continue to live on in the lives of others through these charities.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Crochet for Stress and Anxiety Relief


I know that many of you, like me, live a life that encounters stressful situations!  We are constantly searching for peace and tranquility in a world full of turmoil, misunderstandings, illnesses and stress.

Many years ago I suffered from migraine headaches, and they are the worst.  They ruled my life!  I couldn't relax and enjoy anything, anticipating the next attack.  I constantly carried pain relievers in my purse to try to head off the next attack, and the pain relievers didn't help that much and they in turn caused stomach problems.  It was a vicious cycle.  Almost nothing would relieve the pain except to fall sound asleep, which was very difficult to do when in pain.

As time went along I also discovered that if I could find something that would completely distract me to the point of forgetting I had the headache, I would soon find that it was just gone!  At that time I did a lot of tole painting, and that became my passion and escape from stress.  I could get lost in my world of  creating of something beautiful with my brush.

A couple of years ago I began to crochet again after many years.  I had heard about the local prayer shawl ministry and got interested in creating beautiful shawls to give away to my friends in need.  As many of you know, once you begin crocheting or knitting, it is limitless what you can create!  I just cannot put down the crochet hook - there are so many beautiful things I want to make.

During this past two years, my life has taken a dramatic turn.  I was blessed with two beautiful grandchildren which gave me such joy, but in November of 2012, it was discovered that my little precious 17 month old Sadie Caroline had cancer.  She fought a very brave fight, and we all fought it with her to the very end six weeks later.  Such stress and sadness and broken heartedness resulted as a result her loss.  We would never see her become the beautiful woman she was meant to be.  She would not get to live her life and do the good in this world we had dreamed of.

I am thankful I have had my crochet, as it has helped me through this terrible time and continues to help me every single day.  I didn't really pick up the hook and say, ok, this will make me feel better - I just did it!  One day I got to thinking about it and realized that it was relieving my stress and giving me something to do besides think of sad and terrible things.  It was the one thing I had control over, as I definitely had no control over everything else going on.

As time has gone along, I have been able to turn my anxieties over to God, and let him lead my life.  I had to realize that I could not fix this and I definitely could not deal with it all on my own.  Crocheting has helped me in so many ways - I can wile away the hours doing something I enjoy - I can then share my talents with others by giving prayer shawls and chemo hats away to others who are suffering - I can create something of beauty - I can learn new things and share my knowledge with others.  This is a door that God opened for me that I didn't realize I had walked through until later, and I thank Him for leading me to this place of peace.

I have several friends that have various reasons in their lives to be stressed and I have encouraged them to take up their knitting and crocheting and let their mind rest on something creative rather than on trying to solve problems.  They are now smiling with reduced stress, and time has taken care of many of the things that caused them to be unhappy.  If we focus ourselves on the positives in our lives, and give thanks for them - and couple that with reaching out to others who may be suffering - crochet or knit a few beautiful things - God will take care of working things out in His own timing.

God bless you - and if you have a skill like crocheting, knitting, painting, writing, or some other form of self expression - pick it up and do it - let your mind rest - and you will find peace!

If you crochet or knit and would like to become involved in something beautiful, please join me in the ministry I started in memory of my sweet Sadie Caroline - the Sadie Sunshine Chapter of Crochet for Cancer!  We are in the business of helping others and spreading Sadie smiles every day!  Check out our facebook page and "like" it to keep up with what we are doing!  www.facebook.com/sadiesunshinechapter

Sunday, February 23, 2014

And I heard myself say, "Oh, It's Easy"

A little history for some who have not been following my blog before....in November of 2012, my little beautiful 16 month old grandaughter, Sadie Caroline, was diagnosed with cancer.  After many prayer-filled days and nights and the agony of seeing her health deteriorate quickly, we lost this precious child on December 21, 2012.  This has been the most devastating thing I can imagine going through and watching her go through and watching my daughter and her husband and my little grandson go through.  The last year and a half has been the very most difficult time I could imagine.

All the while Sadie was sick and after out loss I have chosen to share the journey through my facebook pages and through this blog.  This loss has brought about change in my life that I could have never anticipated.

Along the way I discovered that sharing the ups and downs of this journey has been healing for me.  I find it comforting to speak of Sadie and our journey and express my feelings.  I have many people who tell me that I have been an inspiration to them.  I don't really know how I have found the strength, but that I have asked for the strength and peace that only God can provide, every step of the way.

I operate an antique and gift shop and also a yarn shop.  Each day I meet and visit with many different people.  Some know my story, and others learn my story as they visit.  Many tears have been shed and hugs and words of comfort shared in my shop and also online on my facebook pages. 

This weekend I celebrated 10 years in my shop with an open house.  I had very dear friends and customers stopping in all day long giving me words of congratulations and love and support and encouragement.  

I have two special friends - he is pastor of the Church of Christ, and she is his wife.  He happened to be in my store the day I got the call from my daughter that we had lost Sadie.  He prayed with me right then, and it meant the world to me that he was there.  His wife is a wonderful friend who has helped me in the shop some and has always been there as a friend.  They visited me yesterday and as they were leaving, she told me how proud they were of me and how I was glorifying God in the work that I do and the inspiration I am passing on to others.  And that's when I heard myself say "Oh, it's easy!"

As soon as I said that, I surprised myself and wondered how I could say that and feel that way?  In light of the fact that this has been the most difficult time of my life, how could I say it is easy?

After some thought, I realized it is "easy" because of Sadie and God's love.  I am remembering Sadie and trying to share her goodness in this world.  She can't be here to do it, and I am her grandmother, and I want others to know her and what a blessing she was and is in my life.  I prayed for God to guide me, and He has been by my side every step of the way.    So what has been the deepest valley of my life has also allowed me to stand on the mountain and sing praises and glorify God.  I'm not exactly sure how that happened because it has been a long and difficult uphill climb, but I know I could have never done it on my own.

Each day God sends people into my life that give me strength and encouragement to travel this road, and so it has become easier with each step I take.  What a blessing it has been to be able to grow out of such tragedy, and to feel sweet Sadie's presence in my life every day.  She can't be here physically, but nothing can take her out of my heart.

If you are going through a trial in your life, instead of trying to handle it all on your own, pray for God to give you strength, peace and courage.  You, too, can find yourself on the mountain top again singing praises and glorifying Him.  

A new friend brought me a gift yesterday which was a writing she had done called "The Stairway of Faith".  It speaks of God helping us up the stairway of our life with his outstretched hand there to help us and guide us up the next step saying to us "Come on up!  You can do this!".  If I can do this, so can you with God's help.

Please go to my web page in memory of Sadie and consider getting involved in our chapter of Crochet for Cancer.  www.facebook.com/sadiesunshinechapter www.facebook.com/sadiesunshinechapter

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Do Over's and the Yellow Brick Road





This morning I was crocheting along so happily and Roy said "You finished up that ball of yarn already?" As I held up my work for him to see, there it was - a missed stitch on the edge about half way back! Don't know how that happened, but I had to rip out about an hour's work! This is just the way life is sometimes - we just have to drop back, rewind, and try again. 

This reminded me of my little grandson, Eli.  He loves do over's.  Sometimes when he is asked to do something and he throws a big fit and makes a mess of things, he suddenly realizes how much better things would have been if he had just done what was asked at the time.  Then he wants to go back and start again and do it over the right way so everyone will be happy.  God bless him!

We don't always get do overs in life.  It is a good thing that God forgives and allows us to start fresh each day and try to get it right and follow his laws.   They were made for us so that things would just go well for us.  If we break the rules, it might be OK for a while, but then before you know it we are wishing we could go back and just do that part of our life over again.  Every day we have decisions to make in the things that we choose to do and say and the way that we act and react.  Wouldn't life be great if we were always on the yellow brick road and never strayed?  It's just not that easy.

You can bet as I begin to crochet on this shawl again, I will pay close attention to the pattern and what my hands and fingers are doing to make it perfect.  If we stop and think and remember the rules as we go through life, we will have far less do overs than if we just run merrily along doing and saying whatever we feel at the moment.  

Take care today, pay attention to your actions and words so that you don't have to rewind. Taking back words, once said, is not as easy as ripping out crocheting. Every day is a gift - speak sweet words today.  Here's hoping you won't wish you could have a do over today.  


Monday, January 27, 2014

Flying With Broken Wings


Yes, we were flying high, soaring among the clouds, free and happy!  Then a health crisis began - one minute everything was beautiful and fine - the next minute, frightening, security of our loved one threatened, life changed in an instant.  Our precious, perfect 16 month old baby, Sadie Caroline, was sick.  Nothing else mattered - everything that was so important yesterday vanished.  All of our attention, prayers, concerns, love were focused on our baby girl.

That is how fast we can get everything put into perspective and determine what is important and what is not.  Until something like this comes along, we are so shallow in our faith and our lives, always living on the surface looking for happiness and personal satisfaction, thinking that we understand the plight of others with problems, but not really understanding at all.

We lost our baby to cancer within a very short 40 days and had to find a way to live our lives without her.  This past year has been a blur - almost like someone just scrambled up everything - and left us to try to put ourselves back together without all the pieces.  We were like birds who were flying along all happy, singing our song, and blap! - ran into a window and broke a wing.  After that we couldn't fly along carefree any more, plus we had to learn to fly with a broken wing.  Life is just not the same since our loss.

After a year I still have people tell me they don't see how I do it - how I can work and smile and live life with such pain in my heart.  This is what I have concluded.

 I can say for me this has been the saddest most heartbreaking thing I can imagine. But the thing that got me through is my faith that God is watching over us and that tomorrow will come. Life will not always be as we want it, but fighting it just never gains anything. Accepting the changes and finding our way again in the midst of change is the only way to survive. I have learned to pray for God's will to be done and for God to give me strength. I have learned that listening to others and reaching out to others is the best way to heal myself. This is how I can put one foot in front of the other - just get out there, stay busy, encourage others, have faith and pray for strength each and every day. My smiles are real - I love life even through the pain and sadness this has brought - I look forward to every day and it's opportunities and the people who will come my way that hopefully I can influence in a positive way.

 Life is a mystery to us, but God has a plan. Sadie is safe and happy in heaven now, and we all have to remember her sweetness and live our lives to the fullest without her physical presence, but hold her memory close in our hearts. Please, if you love someone, let them know today - tell them, give them a hug and a smile.

Click this link to see what many are helping me do in Sadie's memory - to keep her memory alive and share her sunshine smiles with others in need.  www.facebook.com/sadiesunshinechapter