Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

This is the first New Year's Eve since I've been a teenager that I'm not melancholy and wistful and regretful and fearful about the old year and the new.

Why has my life always revolved around have the perfect, ideal man - just having a man? I guess that's due to the fairy tales we girls are raised on. "Your Prince Charming is out there!"


I waited for Prince Charming and he turned out to be an ugly toad in disguise. And every New Year's Eve I wished and hoped the new year would magically turn him into a prince. But he only became more hideous.

And then *poof* he was gone. And I was sad. Because I thought he was the one and only frog. But once I realized it was a good thing he was gone, I thought instantly the REAL Prince Charming would come galloping up on his white steed.

But.....the real Prince Charming apparently had issues of his own and could not be found.

So, to make a long story short, this princess is FINALLY and happily content - truly content - to know her self-worth does not involve having a Prince Charming in her life to make her happy.

Now I celebrate the old with no regrets and look joyfully into the New Year and thankful for the road behind and the one that's ahead. No fear, no doubt, no sadness!

Praying you will have a regret-free and hopeful 2010 as well!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mourning my Coffee Pot

Is it wrong to mourn an inanimate object? Yesterday, Emily, in all her 14-year-old carelessness, flung my coffee pot away from the wall, trying to access the microwave. I heard a crash and gasped to see my little 6-cup decanter from Gevalia strewn across the kitchen floor in millions of pieces!

It's not that big of a deal. I can probably run up to Walgreen's and get a replacement. But that coffee pot has been around 15 years and has made me many a fine cup of coffee! Since the ex didn't drink coffee, it was the perfect size for me. I could get just about 2-1/2 mugs from it.

That coffee pot saw me through major changes in my relationship with God - through many good conversations with Him and some deep, revelatory Bible studies. That coffee pot has been around since the early moments when I saw my marriage fall apart and subsequent years where I tried valiantly and failed not-so-valiantly to save my marriage. That coffee pot has seen me through laughter, tears, hundreds of journal entries, hours on the phone, hours spent online, chatting with friends or emailing, comforting times in the sunroom, watching the rain, or the snow. That coffee pot has been around for all the holidays over the years and since my girls were very small!


Thank you for sharing this time of mourning with me. Thankfully I still have my big coffee pot to fall back on!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

An Orange in Your Stocking

I'm trying to be healthy amidst the holiday banquets, Christmas cookies, and extra decadent treats that appear this time of year. As I ate my egg substitute breakfast and peeled the orange to go with it, I reflected on Christmases of my early years. Mom used to always put an orange in our stocking, along with the standard pack of gum, pair of socks, and other trinkets.

I could never understand the point of the orange. Why is it a gift when I can walk into the kitchen and take one out of the fruit basket any time I please? Mom explained that when she was a child, an orange was a rare thing and considered to be a big treat when found in a stocking on Christmas morn.

Following tradition, I pack my own children's (and nieces' and nephew's) stockings with the standard package of gum, pair of socks, and other trinkets. It's not surprising to see my girls politely smile at the package of gum and wonder why it's there when they can have gum any time they choose. I explain to them that growing up in a household of five children and one income, a WHOLE package of gum to ourselves was indeed a treat to us!

It makes me wonder what items will be found in the Christmas stockings of my grandchildren someday. Will they look to their mothers and ask, "Why is this here?" and listen as their moms explain that when they were a child, it was a rare treat indeed.

Wishing you and yours a very blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My List

Back in January or February, I made the following ATS "after tax season" list of things I wanted to accomplish. I'm proud to say that over half of these are checked off! I have come to a place of forgiveness in my life and with that comes great blessing! I am seeing dreams coming true. Wow, God is so cool! :o)

WALK far and long.
Get in shape.
Get healthy.

CLIMB stairs at Creve Coeur Lake.
(prepare for my future)

Get in a routine.

Thoroughly clean one room per night for starters.

Yardwork/garden ---> *Stop being afraid and learn to enjoy it!
It's good for you and satisfying to the soul.*

Work out and implement a debt reduction plan.

Contact International Institute.
Meet Bhutanese/Nepalese.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's Time for Me to Fly!

*Free Chick!*

"I'm tired of holding onto a feeling I know is gone. I do believe that I've had enough....I believe it's time for me to fly." - (written by Kevin Cronin, REO Speedwagon)

Tomorrow, July 10, 2009, marks the one-year anniversary of my Emancipation....from the heartache, worry, stress, grief, pain, anguish, dashed hopes and dreams of a failed marriage that I tried so hard to make work on my own.

Whoa, before I get too melodramatic here, let me say this this has been a FANTASTIC year! I have been more than abundantly blessed by God. My Jehovah Jireh (my Provider). I have no cause for worry. This past year has been a relief.

I wish I could say that I'm completed healed from my 20-year-old marriage crashing down but I'm impatiently learning how things take time even when we want to rush them along.

So last year at this time, the future was so BRIGHT for me (even through the pain). I made a list of the new hopes and dreams I had. But I've learned in the past year, sometimes we think we are going from Point A to Point B but may end up at Point C, something totally unexpected. How cool is that!?

I'm renewing old friendships and making new ones and feel so blessed at all the people I have in my life. I just became president of my company's Toastmasters club (who me?!) Life is constantly changing.

Sometimes what we think is bad can sometimes turn out to be really good.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Excuses, Excuses!

Okay, a real post this time! ;o) Em dropped my camera right before tax season and I feel lost blogging without any "real" pictures! Then she dropped HER camera I bought her for Christmas. As soon as it's back from repair (thankfully I forked over the extra $25 for the warranty), I'm stealing it from her and getting back into the groove!

This is the second weekend after Tax Day and I feel like it's finally a "real" weekend. Last weekend I was still out of it from exhaustion. I find myself in the place where I question myself. Where do you draw the line between relaxing and just being plain lazy! ;o)

At the end of tax season, my mind is full of plans for afterwards: projects, organizing, painting, cleaning, learning to like yard work. Then, it never fails, a few weeks after tax season ends, I find myself drained and lacking motivation.

Next weekend I am traveling to the Ozarks (a 4-hour drive from here) with a group of friends for a MUCH NEEDED scrapbooking retreat! We are renting a huge house on the lake. I sooooooo need a getaway in order to get back into scrapbooking mode. Plus a BIG bonus!! Jenn, one of my AOL scrapbooking loopies (we've been together as a group over 10 years) will be driving up to scrap with us one day. This will be the first time I have ever met one of my loopies, so.................. I CAN'T WAIT!!

Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri

Okay, I'm getting my butt up from the computer and going to do something productive about here.

Stay tuned!!! (Oh, and thanks for reading, by the way!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Heartbeat, Its a Lovebeat- Defranco Family

Ah, my 6th grade love, Tony Defranco! (This is where my love of Italian men started! LOL)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Beauty in Unexpected Places

We have been having some beautiful spring weather here in Missouri lately. But our motto is, "If you don't like the weather in Missouri, stick around--it will change!" I should know better than to get excited about good weather so early in the season.

Sure enough, I awoke Saturday morning to rainy, damp, cold weather. I went out into the sunroom and was pleasantly surprised with this sight! I bought this plant last summer. It has survived all winter despite my neglect (I think I've only watered it three times all winter!) The pot had even turned over on its side.

This was a gentle reminder to me that life can take us by surprise. We can't always go by what we see on the outside. Outside it was rainy and cold, but inside, new life was blooming, even in a place where it was unexpected.

Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Moving Forward

For several years now, the phrase, "move forward" has come to mind often, especially when praying about various situations. Those words were vital to me when I was caught trudging through life in the months right before and after my marriage ended. My relationship with God is the only thing that propels me forward as I cannot do this alone.

Life seems to be flying at me double-speed these days (mainly good things, thankfully!) I see dreams coming true and am learning it's all in the attitude. Proverbs 23:7 says, " a man thinketh, so he is in his heart..." I have learned the truth in this! You ARE what you think! I see doors opening before me. In the past, I would hesitate and wonder what was on the other side? What if I made a mistake? What if I failed? It was safer to stay where I was. But staying in the same place makes one stagnant. I have to move forward. I have to take the chance.

When I face those mountains that loom ahead of me in life, I hold my head up and move forward. I'm not looking back. I'm not standing still. There's no place to go .... but forward.

It's funny how a simple conversation can point you in the right direction. Several years ago an old friend mentioned that he wanted to visit Mt. Everest. Interesting to me because, at the time, I had never given that part of the world any thought before. Soon after, I heard someone speak about Nepal (where Everest is located) and my heart was captured. I started to think this was not a coincidence. Actually traveling to that part of the world (albeit Bangladesh) confirmed what my heart was telling me. These were my people! That same friend mentioned he then wanted to go to Bhutan. "Where??" I thought (and was embarrassed to see that Bhutan was just located 2 hours north of where I had been in Dhaka).

Thanks to modern technology and my Facebook obsession, I now have a friend and future tour guide in Bhutan, my cool friend, Karma! Check out his website. It really is a small world after all.

Moving forward.....

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Get real.

That's what I want.

That's what I crave.

I've noticed that some people are afraid of authenticity. It's much easier and comfortable to stay where they are, in their own little, safe box labeled, "complacency."

I have found that some people get angry at me for wanting to be real. Some people run away. Some people cannot bear the thought of change.

But I can't stay there anymore. It's suffocating.

Life is too short.

I want what's real.

I want what's true.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day, My Friend!

Do you remember grade school? Valentine's Day was a BIG deal. We would spend weeks (it seemed) decorating shoe boxes with construction paper, paste, colored paper, hearts, doilies, candies, foil, and whatever other cool media we could find. Then we would sign scads of Valentine cards, carefully seal them in mini envelopes and address them to our classmates and friends. The party was so cool! Passing out the Valentines was fun but it was even more exciting to get home and open each one received.

But then....puberty arrives and suddenly a fun holiday has shifted from that of friends to that of feeling pressured to have a "sweetheart" at an age when I still thought most boys had cooties. Not to mention, if I did like a boy, I would rather DIE than let him know my true feelings!!

So since I have been about 13, I haven't liked this holiday very much. Even when I had a true love, I always felt sorry for all the single people out there who were meant to feel like losers for being on their own on this holiday of supposed love.

Even during the years of my marriage, I suppressed a bitterness because marriage was not what I had imagined or expected it to be. Sure I received the obligatory flowers and candy, but decided I would rather have nothing rather than a reminder of what was missing in my life.

So now, I'm past the divorce and experiencing such a relief and freedom in my life and I have declared that THIS Valentine's Day I am changing my attitude. I'm going back to grade school in my thinking...excited about sharing a fun holiday with my friends. No pressure. Love is fair and love is equal and love is cool.......for everyone, no matter if you have a sweetheart in your life or not.

I hope YOU have a wonderful Valentine's Day, no matter how you celebrate!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Journey - Girl Can't Help It

I've been obsessed with Journey lately. This song is constantly in my head!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Catch Up!

Hello! Wow, I miss my blogger world! Tax season has been in low gear so far this month, so I thought I would catch up before the storm hits in about two weeks.

Em dropped and broke my camera in December. Accidents happen so I bought her one for Christmas. And she dropped THAT one! So my pictures are very limited now *sniffle!* I will look into getting repaired ATS ("after tax season").

We're snowed in here in St. Louis (well, not literally snowed in, but the driving is dangerous and violin lessons have been canceled for tonight). Last night the three of us played a terrifically fun card came called Nertz.

Tonight we're snuggled in again. We're going to make brownies, put on some Delilah on the radio and play some more nertz! I love this time with my girls!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Long Time!

Hello everyone!

I've disappeared from the blogger world for awhile because of a) holiday busyness; and b) my obession with Facebook! I hope this finds everyone well. We had a nice, but busy Christmas. And from there, I head straight into tax season. The years seem to be flying by. January is been slow for us at work (thankfully), but the storm will hit about mid-February and you won't see me for awhile until mid-April! (Seems like I just posted about last year's tax season not too long ago!) I look forward to catching up on reading your wonderful blogs. I've missed you all! Take care and God bless! - MJ

A very tried three-of-us late on Christmas Eve, wearing our new Christmas jammies!

One of Katie's Megaglomper friends made this for her. How cool! (Does this make me Edward's mother-in-law?!)

Baby Aly is no more. Now she's Little Girl Aly! She was the highlight of Christmas morning, helping to pass gifts out to everyone (even though she had a look like, "Why am I handing out gifts?") Christmas Eve was dinner at Barb and Brad's. Christmas morning breakfast was at Chris and Jeneane's.

Christmas morning at our house.

Teenagers! (My, how fast they are growing!)

A few weeks before Christmas, Sister-in-Law Jeneane, organized a "pottery night" at the Painted Pot. I learned a new technique - glass cutting. I was taught how to break pieces of glass and glue them together to make an artful project. That's my penguin on the right. It was later put in the kiln and melded together. I hope to do more of this in the future!

Barb, Jeneane, and Melanie at the Painted Pot.

Concentrating on that glue!

On New Year's Eve, Barb hosted her tradition "Kids NYE" party. Every year they write out the highlights of the old year, predictions for the new year, and read previous years' predictions. It's fun to see what they have written in the past!

The "Rob Your Neighbor" game. It's lots of fun, but they look oh-so serious!

My church had a New Year's Eve dinner and service. My pastor had asked me the day before if I would speak 3 - 4 minutes on the past year and how God had taken me through some troubled times (my divorce). I'm so glad I'm in the Toastmaster's public speaking club at work. It made me a lot less nervous and I actually enjoyed the opportunity to speak!