Thursday, July 31, 2008

Interlude on Account of Rain

This post has been popping back in my head lately. I wrote it over a year ago before my blog was published publicly, so I thought I would republish it today. I hope you enjoy. Take time to soak it in...

Today my plans were changed on account of rain. No complaints here! In fact I find the current downpour to be a wondrous blessing. I just love thunderstorms, and have been relishing in the quiet within while laying back and just listening. The sweet solitude of a summer storm does two things for my spirit. This morning I discovered a large part of my joy in a boisterous storm is the connection it creates for me with God. Living here in the Midwest it's pretty much the only time I can actually hear God at work. I love the thunder, the flash of light across the sky and the sound of raindrops dancing on rooftops. The other reason I find such enjoyment in rain especially is that it just seems to water my Irish roots. The older I get the more connected I feel to my heritage. I think rain must reside in my blood.

I have been extremely busy with the grandkids, and it seems to be leaching away my time with the kids. I am desperately trying to establish a balance in my life, but there is just so much to weigh. Fortunately, I had a two day break, today and yesterday. Yesterday I made it a priority to complete my errands, chores and personal demands. Today was to be the day spent with the kids. We were going to do the Pepsi and Mentos experiment at the park. We were also going to plant some flowers that were given to us by a neighbor. Not this today. Instead we are going to bake peanut butter cookies and watch movies we rented from Family Video. That is once everyone is up and ready. It is now almost noon, and everyone is still moving slowly about, those of us that are moving anyway.

I don't know many people that enjoy the weather even remotely similar to the same way that I do. I find weather activity absolutely fascinating and beautiful. Falling rain nurtures and stimulates the life of nature. Today I will soak it in with the full knowledge of it's intent and purpose to nurture and stimulate my soul. Today I will be refreshed. Today I will be renewed. Today my spirit will drink in God...all on account of rain.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Times, They are a Changin'

Well, as I mentioned previously, I am caring for our oldest grandchild, Harmony, this week as her sitter is on vacation. It is quite an experience. I have been noticing how things are different for those growing up right now, and being with Harmony has really shined a light on that subject for me.

Where I seem to notice it most is the consumerism. Remember? She is only three years old. It catches me a little off guard when she asks to go to the store to buy something. I don't recall any of my children doing that at that age, and I know darned well I didn't do that at that age. She thought her little play earrings were broken, but I managed to fix them. Before that, though, she said, "Oh well. We go to the store and buy new ones." What?

The real big one that caught my attention was yesterday. She loves McDonald's. Well, this Nana does not go to McDonald's, ever. It is a moral choice that I will not get into here. I am not quite up for controversial subjects of that nature at this time; maybe at a later date. Anyway, she wanted to go there, and I reminded her that Nana doesn't go to McDonald's. Of course she was upset. I told her that I would make her something to eat. She said, "My don't want to eat here. My want to go out." Again, I say, "WHAT?" What three year old in times past ever even considered that going out to eat was an option?

We are such a fast paced society. Everything is on the fly. Our kids, and ourselves for that matter, have SO MANY options. It's no wonder we are all in debt. It's no wonder our children start out in debt. In light of this concept becoming more and more evident to me, I discovered a very interesting book. It is titled, Generation Debt: Why Now is a Terrible Time to be Young and is written by Anya Kamenetz. I am not finished with the book yet, but it is very well written. I would definitely recommend you read it. Anyone from 17 years old on could benefit, in my humble opinion.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Harmony's Chili Hot Soup

It's been a while since I last posted due to the "sometimes too busy" nature of my life. Harmony, my oldest grandchild, just turned three. We hosted her party at our house since her mom lives in an apartment. This way the kids got to play outside and have a BBQ. It was a lot of fun.

Currently, Harmony's babysitter is on vacation. She has been coming to my house in the meantime. So, we spent last Friday together, and she is here again today to spend the night. Harmony just loves soup. Of course, that is what she wanted for lunch. Today she made up her own recipe, and it was really good! So, I thought I would share it here:

Harmony's Chili Hot Soup

1 - 32 ounce box roasted red pepper and tomato soup

1 - 15 ounce can chili-hot beans

1 cup oyster crackers

Mix box soup and beans together in large sauce pan.

Heat through.

Serve with oyster crackers.


Monday, July 21, 2008


How do you handle stress? Lately, I have been feeling a bit anxious. It seems my husband and I have been at a bit of an impasse, and it is causing me some unrest. We just haven't been clicking. Do you know what I am talking about?

We have been together for 11 years, and we are headed for our third wedding anniversary. Seems odd, I know. There's a bit of history there that I may share at a later date. Irregardless, we have seven children and four grandchildren with another in the "oven".

Being a combined family adds it's own spin on things. Then you factor in stresses like another daughter pregnant, a kid stranded in Georgia, a dad in the hospital, an unstable economic situation, business uncertainty, unwarranted debt, unexpected college costs, being home educators, and personal baggage. All things considered it's a wonder we're not in matching padded cells at the local loony bin. I would say relational woes would really be expected in such a life.

The thing of it is my current inability to process and react effectively. Yes, I am still praying constantly. If I didn't do that I'd surely at least have my own padded cell. I can't imagine functioning without a personal relationship with God. In my mind that would be certain death. Life is challenging enough with Him. I don't even want to try it on my own. Yes, I am still working through Healing is a Choice. I know it's beneficial, but putting one foot in front of the other is more and more difficult. It feels like walking through wet cement.

I keep trying to stay calm and not react flippantly to my husband when he lashes out verbally. I understand that he is under a tremendous amount of pressure. I know that all everyone really wants is love and respect. It is my goal to be loving and respectful in the face of confrontation. Could there be anything more challenging?

I use my husband as an example because it seems to be most challenging to engage in these practices with those we are supposed to be closest to, although I find this almost as challenging with my children. It does seem to be a little easier with them. The relationship dynamics are different, and kids seem to be more forgiving. However, my goal is to maintain emotional stability in the face of whatever is presented before me.

Do any of you have insight to share on this topic? I would love to hear how you deal with stress and maintaining a kind and loving attitude even when someone lashes out at you unexpectedly. It's like trying to stand upright after being punched in the gut. How do you do it?

Wonderful Opportunity to Volunteer

For those of you that know me, you know that volunteering is an important part of my life. As home schoolers we have even grown to coordinate a local group of teens that plan and participate in volunteer activities in and around our community. Volunteering gives you a sense of pride and purpose that can be achieved through no other means.

What about you? Have you thought about volunteering your time for a worthy cause? Are you looking for an opportunity to make a difference? Has someone you know and love been touched by Alzheimer's? I just learned about this opportunity to make a difference. Why not learn more about how you can participate in the Alzheimer's Memory Walk that is being held this fall?

Every 71 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I was shocked to learn that it is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. By joining Memory Walk and more than 200,000 individuals you can contribute to making the dream of creating a world without Alzheimer's disease a reality.

What better opportunity to model the importance of community involvement and the value of our elderly society members. We are all connected, and taking the time to think of others is a great example for our youth. With today's individual mindset it is beneficial to everyone for us to step outside ourselves and put the needs of others at the center of our attention.

There are so many ways to get involved. You need not actually participate in the walk to contribute to this worth while organization. Please visit the link above to learn how you can join in the effort, contribute your time and talent, and make a difference in the lives of those afflicted by Alzheimer's disease, their families, and even yours. Who knows, you may create a valued family tradition of service and community involvement. Don't be shy! Visit the above link to get started today.

Sponsored by Alzheimer's Walk

Grandma at 37?

Well, I don't go by "Grandma". Our grandkids know us by "Nana" and "Papa". We wanted something a little different given the fact that we were young grandparents.

What image does the word Grandma invoke for you? Do you think something along the lines of the wonderful lady pictured here? I think that's what most people think of when they think of Grandmas.

I have news for you people! Are you ready? NEWS FLASH: NOT ALL GRANDMAS HAVE GREY HAIR AND WRINKLES! What a shocker, eh?

When I was at the grocery store the other day I heard two moms talking. They very obviously had not seen each other in a while. One was commenting to the other, "You are 37 years old, and you are a grandma?!" Seriously folks, I laughed out loud. I couldn't help myself.

I became a "Nana" at the ripe "old" age of 34! Now, at the age of 37 I have four grandchildren with another on the way. Do the math. This means at the age of 38 I will have FIVE grandchildren. Yes, it seems impossible, but it does happen.

I am not even done raising children. I commented to my husband the other day that it is seeming more and more possible that we will have more grandchildren than children before we are even done raising them. It is frightening. How does one balance the time and give enough attention to every one? Well, that's another subject for another post...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What Your Music Taste Says About You

Hmmm...this is curious. Very curious...

Your musical tastes are intense and rebellious.

You are intelligent... but in a very unconventional way.

You are curious about the world. You love doing something new.

In fact, you enjoy taking risks and doing things most people would shy away from.

You are very physical. It's likely that you're athletic, but not into team sports.

You have the soul of an artist. Beauty and harmony are important to you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Discounted Travel

I don't know about you, but sometimes we do have to rent a vehicle when we travel with the kids. It's just easier that way sometimes it seems. With money being tight for almost everyone and the price of everything increasing, maybe a discount on travel could be just what you need to make that family vacation happen this summer.

If you are anything like me, I start planning our summer vacation in January. Well this year it didn't work out that way. We had kids going everywhere for the first half of the summer, and we needed to wait until those commitments were firmed up. Then, gas prices kept rising, the cost of living day to day kept going up, and I started putting off planning our family vacation. Honestly, it will not happen in traditional form this year.

If we had Advantage Rent a Car here in Michigan, I am certain we would be taking advantage of their special offer this summer. With their summer special car rental just got a lot more affordable, and fun! Advantage Rent a Car is currently offering up to 50% off the rental of convertible and luxury cars. That means at least part of your travel expense could be literally cut in half if you were already planning to rent a convertible or luxury car, or maybe you could afford to upgrade from an economy class and add a little luxury to your excursion.

Imagine traveling the beautiful landscape of your choice in style with the top down and the music kicking. Renting a car through Advantage Rent a Car with the up to 50% discount on convertible or luxury cars will give you peace of mind knowing that you have 24-hour roadside service at your fingertips. You'll have no worries about flat tires or the car overheating. It's all on the Advantage Rent a Car service team.

You know I'm all about small business, family owned, and entrepreneurship. Advantage Rent a Car embodies all of these, and I encourage you to visit their site. They have a wonderful history growing from a small family business to a world wide corporation that has managed to keep it's entrepreneurial spirit. Don't forget to take advantage of their summer special of up to 50% off of convertible and luxury car rentals!

Feeling Better

I am happy to be back working at my computer this morning. I still have a cold, but my functioning level has increased. AMEN! I was a bit concerned about how I was going to do everything needed of me today.

There are only three weeks left until our VBS starts, and I am the coordinator. Tonight is our second staff meeting, and I really need to be there. We will be preparing all of the crafts for the kids. It is our plan to have everything cut and ready to go that way we will spend less time preparing the craft and more time working with it and having fun together.

It is amazing how many things go undone and how much more work gets created when mom is not up to snuff for just a few days. I am behind on my Internet duties. I've put off updating the bills. That was honestly a little over due before I got sick. Oh least they are getting paid on time, right? The laundry is calling, and surfaces could use a little attention. Not to mention the garden! We haven't had rain for two days, and I haven't even gotten out there to tend it. Now, it is supposed to rain again tomorrow, so it will likely wait a little longer.

I am excited to see what my garden produces this year. We are only growing a few things with space being so limited. We are in the city with a very small yard. I interpserce the vegetables with the flowers. The perennials are doing so well that there really isn't any room for vegetables anymore. We have lettuce, which doesn't seem to be happy with all the rain. We have tomatoes, which I hope to can for the first time with my youngest son. We have bell peppers and one cucumber plant that seems to have made it.

Next year will be a new approach. I think we will grow our vegetables in containers as opposed to planting them with the flowers. I would really like to grow more, and that seems to be a workable solution. Has anyone had any luck with this approach? I'd love to hear your experiences.

'80's Retro?


Yes, it's true! The 1980's are no longer just the 1980's. The '80's are retro! It has officially been over 28 years since the 1980's began. Wow! It really wasn't just yesterday that I graduated from high school. For those of us that grew up in the '80's this does come as a bit of a shock.

Have any of you found yourself just coming to this realization lately like myself? I started realizing that the '80's were a bit longer ago than I cared to admit when I noticed businesses advertising that they'd been in business since 1984, or some other year in the '80's. I'd think to myself, "Big deal!" Then I'd do the math. I guess 24 years of business is a big deal, isn't it? That means that we are one year shy of my 20-year high school graduation anniversary. How on earth did that happen?

Well, time flies when you're having fun! What were you doing to have fun in high school? Do you remember the popular movies of the time? Movies like "Sixteen Candles", "The Breakfast Club", "Pretty in Pink", "Weird Science", "The Outsiders", "Porky's", "Back to the Future", "Risky Business", "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "Big", "The Empire Strikes Back", "9 to 5", and "Airplane" are certainly part of your memories. TV was a pretty big deal then. Some of us hadn't even graduated to color yet. I know our family didn't get a color television until I was in high school. So, that would have been the mid '80's. Gee, what will our kids be saying about the 2000's when 2020 is here?

Personally, I loved the movie, "The Outsiders". I read the book when I was a young teen and was not disappointed by the movie like sometimes happens. The movie was adapted from the S.E. Hinton book by the same name. There was just something about that group of kids that I could relate to; kids being in charge of themselves and each other; not being to count on the adults in their lives; hanging out until all hours; learning and growing together. I could relate to it all. I felt a connection with them, and it was so cool to watch the "Brat Pack" go on to become established stars. I still enjoy watching them today.

Guess what? For all you "30-somethings" something cool is being done to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the movie WarGames in theaters nationwide on July 24th. There will be a one-night showing that will include never-before-seen interviews with the film's creators and cast, including Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy, and the crew. At this one-night-only event you will also get a sneak peek at the making of the sequel, "War Games: The Dead Code".

Personally, I am really looking forward to this. As the mother of two teenage boys that love technology and movies this will be a great opportunity to take them down memory lane with me. It will be fun to watch both movies with them!

Sponsored by NCM Fathom

Under the Weather

Being sick is no fun. I can surely attest to that fact! Adrian has had a cold since last week. I caught it on Saturday. By Sunday I was on the couch. Last night was filled with sweating and blowing my nose. The bedding is currently being laundered. There was no way around that one!

Whatever this cold is that's going around. It packs a punch. Typically, I use Cold Reduce, and it works great. Today, I stopped at CVS, and they had them on sale for $2.50, both Cold Reduce and Flu Reduce. I had a $1 coupon, so I stocked up. I got two Flu Reduce and one Cold Reduce, and it only cost me $6.50 for what would normally cost me $30! I was so happy.

Hopefully, I will be back on target here soon. I have been slacking on Entrecard, Social Spark and Pay Per Post. I just don't feel up to sitting here. Pretty pitiful, eh? I can't even sit at the computer in my own home. Time to blow my nose again!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pat's Dad

Well, tough times are here. Pat's dad is in the hospital, and it's worse than we thought. About two months ago they found cancer the size of an egg in one of his lungs. Pat's dad is a smoker big time. As soon as he found out he quit smoking to prepare for surgery. They needed to increase his lung capacity in order for him to be strong enough to withstand the operation.

Quitting smoking wasn't enough, so they did physical therapy. That didn't work either. Surgery was put off. This past week they decided to take a biopsy of the lump and went in to get it. Like I said, his lung capacity is down and it collapsed. It was terrifying. From then on it has been artificially filled. They tried to plug it the other day and let it keep itself inflated, and it collapsed again.

We don't know how much more his body can stand. He is not doing well at all. His memory is shot, and you can tell he's scared. It seems to bother him most that he cannot remember things as opposed to the health issues that he is having.

Please keep Pat's dad, Ervin, and his family in your prayers. This is a real tough time for everyone. Pat and his siblings have been taking turns staying the night with his mom to get her back and forth to the hospital and make sure she is alright. I know this is tough on everyone. Your prayers are appreciated very much.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Feeling Blah

Do you ever have those moments, days, weeks, months; you know the ones where you just feel blah? I don't know that there is any better way to describe the feeling. Blah just about fits it perfect. Any idea what I am talking about?

I have been working through Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn. I told you all about this book before. It's great, and I just love studying with a group. My husband and I are actually doing it simultaneously and attending the group studies together. I am so thankful! If it were not for learning about the process of healing I am most certain I would feel insane. Lord knows I have felt that way in the past. Isn't growing and learning the greatest thing?

I'll have to make it a point to visit some of your blogs that discuss marriage issues. I know that is what has me down. My husband and I have been together for over 11 years now, and we still have no idea how to communicate. I am most certain that life could have been much more pleasant if we only knew how to talk to each other. It has become my priority to learn how to maintain stability even when someone treats me in a way that I may deem not so nice. It is much more difficult than it might sound to stay centered even when you are feeling attacked.

I am so thankful for my best gal pal. If it were not for this one person that knows me totally and completely, accepts me for who I am, and listens to me even when I sound like a broken record I have no clue how I would survive. Thank you, God, for best friends! It has crossed my mind on more than one occassion how a good friend is such a gift from God and how lonely it must be not having at least one friend that you can tell absolutely anything at all.

So, even though I am feeling a little alone, I know I am not. I have God. I have my gift from God; my best friend. I have my family. I have my dog, Gypsy. I have a circle of friends. I have my church family. I may feel sad and alone, but I know that I am surrounded by supportive, friendly people.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Four Things

Mary at Mary's Madness gave this to me through Social Spark, and I thought it sounded like fun. So here goes:

Four jobs I've had
- Telemarketer
- Photography Studio Assistant
- Marine Recruiting Office Secretary
- Executive Assistant

Four movies I can watch over and over
- Shakespeare in Love
- Everafter
- Dead Poet's Society
- Cider House Rules

Four places I've lived
- Hollywood, FL
- Port Huron, MI
- Mt. Clemens, MI
- Roseville, MI

Four TV shows I love
- Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
- The Hour
- Saving Grace
- Law and Order

Four places I've vacationed
- The entire Maine coast
- Hocking Hills, OH
- Dania, FL
- The entire Upper Penninsula of MI

Four of my favorite dishes
- Potato Soup
- Grilled Portobella Mushroom "Burgers"
- Tomato Sandwich
- Portabella Ravioli

Four sites I visit daily

- Social Spark

- Pay Per Post

- Entrecard

- Yahoo! Groups

Four places I would rather be right now

- At my best friend, Dina's, house.
- Hiking around Ireland.
- In a cabin in the Maine woods.
- Soaking in a bubble bath with a good book.

People I tag

- The Mom with Brownies

- Our High School Homeschool

- Mom's Crazy Life

- Artconstellation

- My Funny Dad, Harry

- Patsy's Words of Wisdom

- My Absent Mind

- Dorkage

- A Grateful Heart

If you do this meme, send me an email or leave a comment, I'll add your blog link to my post! Please link to me in your post as well! Think of it as free blogertisement.

How Much Would You Pay for These Glasses?

After spending hundreds of dollars on glasses - Isn't that the way it always goes? - I discovered an affordable resource Online. offers prescription eyeglasses direct to the consumer, cutting out the middleman, and thereby keeping prices extremely affordable.

How much would you pay for these glasses?

Hopefully, not any more than the $8.00 you would pay at!

To think that I just paid about $300 a little over a month ago for four pair of glasses; two for my son, and two for myself. I put it off as long as I could. I sure wish I would have put it off a little longer. I can tell you for certain that we will be using when my husband is finally ready for his and for every subsequent eyeglass purchase here on out. Being the great husband and dad that he is, of course he waited for us to get ours first. What a guy! even gives you flat rate shipping only charging $4.95 per order no matter how many pairs of glasses you are ordering. Not to mention anti-scratch coating, UV protection, and lens edge polishing and beveling are FREE. Do you know what is paid for these added features at regular eyeglass retailers? I can tell you from experience that they most certainly are not free.

You can see Zenni on Fox for more information on this company and how it works.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Strawbale Studios

Yesterday was a TON OF FUN! I did forget my camera, though. You'll just have to wait until next time for me to post photos from our group.

Deanne is wonderful! What a kind and generous spirit. We managed to make a little progress on the children's cabin. We shaved wood, drilled holes, installed bolts, raised rafters, and took a walk.

Deanne had a cool discovery to show us. First she passed around a paper bag filled with something for us to see if we could guess what it contained. A few of us were right. It was a giant mushroom of sorts. A chicken mushroom to be exact. It was so cool! We viewed a short video on her computer in regard to the chicken mushroom, then we headed to the woods.

On our journey we learned about St. John's Wort as we passed it on the trail. It has small yellow flowers that turn your skin red when you rub them between your fingers. St. John's Wort has many uses such as fighting depression, eliminating varicose veins, steeping for tea, and so on.

A a certain spot she asked us to stop and see if we could spot the chicken mushroom. It grows on trees. So we looked, and were we amazed! It was huge, and I was SO regretting not bringing my camera. What a wonderful photo op!

We harvested two grocery bags full of the chicken mushroom by cutting it off the tree with a knife. While some cut the mushroom off the tree, others of us enjoyed picking and eating black raspberries from the surrounding area. YUMMY!

After we returned, Adrian gave me a tour of the Strawbale Studio. It is SO gorgeous, and I could easily call such a place home. It reminded me of a hobbit house or something from medieval times. It was so earthy.

We did a little more building, and actually went over a little so that we could get one of the supports on the top of the children's cabin. Progress at last!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Natural Building

Adrian is my environmentally minded child. He has been participating in a natural building project based out of Oxford, Michigan. Today is my day to be the parental presence. I am so excited!

The kids have been working hard on projects for about a year. This will be the first time I have visited the property and seen what they have done. One project I am looking forward to seeing is the straw bale house.

I will be sure to give a detailed update on what I learn. Maybe I'll even be able to share some pictures. I think I'll lug the camera with me.

Right now, I am off and running. I still need to pack a lunch for the day and run an errand before we hit the highway.

Dirt Devil Goes Green

I don't know how you feel about housework, but I have grown to avoid working hard at it. As a mother of seven children, grandparent to almost five, and residing in a home with two dogs and three cats housework is inevitable. But who says it has to be labor intensive or costly?

I say keep it "simple-stupid".


With the new Dirt Devil AccuCharge your life just got more simple. Not to mention since the AccuCharge is the first Energy Star approved vacuum ever you will save energy thereby keeping the world green as well as keeping some green in your wallet. Your back will also thank you since the Dirt Devil AccuCharge is compact and lightweight.

Even though we are down to three kids at home, and they are now older, "kid-simple" is still a must. We all contribute to the house cleaning. Things have a way of getting done a little better when it is easy to do. Since the Dirt Devil AccuCharge has a convenient and efficient docking station every family member will always know where to find it. With the convenience of being cordless it will be easy to move from room to room and floor to floor. Location and surface becomes a non-issue since you can control the rotating brush turning it off for flat surfaces like tile or wood. This is easy enough that younger children will be able to easily help mom or Nana while they still think cleaning is fun!

With an environmentally conscious teen and a family working more and more toward being green, the Dirt Devil AccuCharge fits right in. Recycle, compost, turn off switches, unplug things not being used, vacuum with a Dirt Devil AccuCharge. Who doesn't want to use 70% less energy? Now if they could only make it that simple and efficient when it comes to powering our vehicles!

Sponsored by Dirt Devil AccuCharge

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

All Present and Accounted For

Just a quick note to say that Amie arrived safely home last night. We are very tired but very glad we have her back home safe and sound. Maybe we can all get a good night's sleep tonight.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Stressing Out

Well, our five days of freedom may as well have been a lifetime ago for the way we are feeling now. Due to unforeseen insanity, my husband and I are sleep deprived, hungry, irritable, and just plain frustrated. I am thankful that I have a relationship with God and good girlfriends, or I would surely be one miserable lass.

Despite my prayer life, I just feel drained. You wouldn't believe what has happened over the course of less than 24 hours. First, our youngest daughter, Amie, who is a very young 18 years old, got stuck almost helpless in Georgia. Okay folks. Remember, we live in Michigan. This was her first trip on an airplane. This was her graduation gift. This was a trip to visit her favorite person in the world, her cousin. This was a nightmare.

The original ticket was purchased roundtrip through Orbitz on Northwest Airlines for about $249 with her returning on Thursday, July 10th in the afternoon. We hadn't heard from her in a while. Since she had broken her cell phone almost right after she got there, and I assumed she was having fun, I didn't worry too much about not getting an email in a while.

The first alarm was a phone call from her boyfriend at 8:00 in the morning. Do you know any 17 year olds that are up at that hour? That was alarming enough in itself. Then, he proceeded to tell me how he was worried about Amie and hadn't talked to her in four days. Okay, now she didn't contact the boyfriend either. Something is not good. There's more. Her cousin's new husband was deliberately trying to scare her, was blatantly mean to her, was forbidding her to use the phone or computer, was telling viscous lies about her, and on and on. We were alarmed.

We did manage to speak with Amie that morning. They answered the phone for me, but had been ignoring the boyfriend's calls without Amie's knowledge. I talked to Amie about what was going on, and some of it was news to her, but she was very sad and frustrated and just plain out having a very miserable time due to the cousin's husband. (Who is a serviceman in the Army by the way. Protect and Serve, buddy!)

It became the husband's objective to cut Amie off from all contact and put her on the street. Nice guy, eh? Well, we spent five hours on the phone ironing out this mess last night. It took me three hours on the phone with Orbitz to get her a new ticket, not to mention the loss of the previous ticket that would have cost over $800 to change and the purchase of a new ticket on some airline that I've never heard of, Airtran, at the cost of $300. They called the cops and had her taken out of the house and to a hotel via taxi, which they paid for. Great family, eh? Remember folks, she is very much 18 and on her own with $20 in her pocket, no transportation, and in an unfamiliar area. Just a little plug, the Hinesville PD was wonderful. They were very kind and helpful.

Currently, Amie is sitting in an airport in Savannah where she has been all day waiting for her plane to depart at 6:40PM. She has to switch planes in Atlanta, and then she will arrive in Detroit around 10:30PM. Talk about a few long days. I feel so sad for her. What a terrible experience this has been for us. I cannot imagine being in her shoes. She lost her best friend ever. She was treated like dirt, and tossed to the curb in a land that she is unfamiliar with. (Amie can get lost in her own neighborhood, folks!) Poor kid! What a great memory...

$250 on plane ticket to visit sister like cousin in Georgia

$200 spending money in your pocket

Free trip to the ocean

Being treated like dirt by your sister like cousin in Georgia and her new husband

$300 return one way ticket home to loving family

$1000 uncomfortable life experience

Arriving safe at DTW, priceless...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

One Down; Two to Go

Well, the kids have started trickling back home. We got back this afternoon from picking Andrew up at Fort Custer in Battle Creek. He actually graduated from two trainings, POLA and Hazardous Materials. There was some type of mix-up that made it a bonus for him; two trainings in one with no extra fees. You have to love that! Now he will be able to advance more quickly. He just has to get his course work completed. He'll see E4 in no time.

Adrian is slated to arrive home sometime tomorrow afternoon. What a blessing it is to have a ride just "drop out of the air" for him. We have been saved from two early mornings and long travel days in a row. I think Pat and I will likely hit the pavement on two wheels in the morning. The weather is supposed to stay beautiful, so it should be perfect.

Do any of you women out there ride? I went down to Secretary of State and got my permit to get my cycle endorsement last year. I didn't ride enough and never got my license. Now, Pat is really bugging me to do it this summer. In all honesty, I really do want my endorsement. He just stresses me out about it, and we live in a VERY urban area with TONS of traffic. Talk about being thrown in with the sharks! Last year I just tooled around the neighborhood practicing stopping, going, and shifting. I just want to be proficient and confident before swimming with the big beasts. You know what I mean?

Anyway, back on track here. Thursday is our day that we pick up Amie from the airport. I am sure she will have plenty to share with us upon her return. Once we get her home, everyone that lives here will be present and accounted for.

Meanwhile, our one twin, Tammi, that lives in Indiana is coming home for a few days to visit with the little one in tow, Rocco. We don't see him often, and it takes him a little while to warm up to us since we are stranger to him than most. :-) We also got BIG news. When Pat talked to Tammi last she informed us that she is pregnant with number two child. That means that we will have seven children and five grandchildren, and we aren't even done raising kids yet! What in the world? People already look at me like I have three heads when I tell them our current family statistics. Initially, it is shocking enough to them that I am a Nana. Then, I get to tell them I have FOUR grandkids. Now I get to make that FIVE! Absolute insanity!!! BTW ~ I am a mere 37 years young!

Friday, July 04, 2008

L.A. Police Gear

L.A. Police Gear; not just for police officers.

Originally founded by L.A. police officers, L.A. Police Gear has grown to serve the general public, military personnel, and security professionals as well as police officers. As a mom to a Sea Cadet and future Navy Officer this site is definitely getting bookmarked, shared and revisited.

I am sure both of my boys will enjoy exploring the products available at L.A. Police Gear. One example of the unique products available there is 5.11 Tactical Pants. These durable pants are available in four colors; coyote brown, sage, tundra, and walnut. Helping you be prepared for any situation, these are not just pants. They are a piece of equipment that has been used by federal, state, and local law enforcement for more than 15 years.

L.A. Police Gear offers a secure website with immediate encryption upon the entry of your credit card number. Never in the history of L.A. Police Gear has there been a breach in their security system. So you can feel safe placing your order knowing that you are doing business with a security minded company.

The site is easy to navigate. You will easily and quickly find the products you are looking for. Adding to your shopping convenience is an order tracking service. This allows you to follow up on the processing of your order once you have placed it any time day or night.

A few other great services offered by L.A. Police Gear are quotes for large orders with competitive pricing, GSA pricing, shipping to active duty personnel, fax or mail orders, and purchase orders for government agencies on orders of $500 or more.

Another great thing about L.A. Police Gear is that they are a small business that is woman owned. I am all for supporting both!

Visit L.A. Police Gear to receive coupons and special offers via text message on your cell phone or via email.

Blood Bought Liberty

Happy 4th of July! Thank you to our soldiers past, present, and future!!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Big Pharmacy

I found this while dropping cards through Entrecard on the DorkChow blog. I actually do have a subscription through Dr. Mercola's website. As mentioned on DorkChow this is a promotion for a new book, but the information is real and true. What do you do to take control of your health care?

Our family has been without health insurance for years, and I am actually grateful. Sure this has cost us some serious cash flow now and again, but in my thinking it is totally worth it. No one dictates to us what doctors we can and cannot see, what type of care we have to have, or what type of treatment we are allowed to seek.

The amount of trust that is bestowed upon the medical industry always baffles me. We are afraid to speak to a stranger Online, leave our children in the care of a sitter, fly on an airplane, you name it, but we will let a complete stranger cut open our bodies and change the parts around like a mechanic on an automobile. What?

I am sure this short video will cause you to pause and think long after it's viewing:

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Lost and Found

Well, as you know if you've read much here, our family is big. Over half of our seven children are off and on their own. In January we had an influx of kids hanging their hats here, so to speak. We had the uncomfortable task of assisting them in transitioning from one place to another on their life journey.

Anyway, in all the accommodating and moving around of things we experienced a few side effects that are just beginning to heal themselves. We keep finding remnants of those that transitioned here. I have three bags sitting in the office of said remnants waiting to be returned to their rightful owners.

The largest side-effect was the consumption of our garage by items that just seem to have planted themselves there. My big project for this summer is to go through the garage, return what is wanted by non-residents, sort and price the remaining items, and have a garage sale. Of course, we are all about simple living, therefor all remaining items will be donated to charity.

By far the most frustrating and puzzling side-effect suffered was the misplacing of my pictures from the living room. See our first set of transitioning individuals found their way to our home New Year's Eve. This means that Christmas decorations were still up, which in turn means that normal wall hangings and such were put away to allow for seasonal decorating.

You do realize that it is now almost SEVEN MONTHS since decorations came down, right? I could remember where they were before we changed everything around to accommodate unexpected residents, but where they landed after that has been a real mystery. I have searched high and low for these personal treasures.

I just love hidden blessings! We had to pull everything out of the office closet today to allow access to the space under our house for and unexpected meter reading for the city. See, here we have a water meter outside, and we have a water meter inside. Ours just happens to be located under the house in the old Michigan Basement accessed via the crawl space through the bottom of the closet. What at first seemed like a minor inconvenience became an unexpected brightener of my day.

Guess what I found? The missing pictures!!! I was SO happy. Remember, I said this was a personal treasure, right? My husband came home for lunch, as he always does, and he didn't even notice, despite that the living room finally looks all put back together! :-)


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