Christmas is almost here!

One week until Christmas!

Does that sentence send you into a frenzy? Is panic setting in? 

Maybe you’re the person who had cards addressed and mailed the day after Thanksgiving? Your gifts were bought and wrapped before St. Nick’s?

I’ve been both of those personalities in the past.

There comes a time when your children grow up, move out and Christmas slows down. That’s where we are now. Sort of.

We’ve cut down on how much we spend on gifts after doing Dave Ramsey’s course and surprise everyone is okay with that. Which means I have much less to shop for and wrap. 

Because we have a two-year-old grandson we stuck to our tiny tree which means less decorating and more safety. Again, no one seemed to notice the lack of nutcrackers, stairs wrapped with garland or the table full of snowmen. 

Christmas Merry Christmas

What have I learned? 

I’m doing the same thing next year. There is no need to make myself insane with decorating, though I wish I could buy more for my kids. I most likely will always wish to shower them with presents. 

So from me to you, I wish you a Blessed Christmas, lots of family time and focus on Christ the newborn.  I’ll be back to writing posts in the New Year.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Carol

Diana

Easter Meaning

The Easter celebration is a reminder that we no longer have to fear eternal damnation as long as we believe that Jesus died on the cross to save us.

Deep down I know this but I find at times my fingers grasping  chainlink staring at the cross, wondering. Did He really die for me? Why?

There’s nothing special about me, not really-sure I have some talents, I love my family and friends–even the cats who annoy me several times a day.

What makes me special enough to save?

cross behind fence

In Jeremiah 1-46 NIV We’re told before we were even formed in the womb God knew us! He knew what He was creating and all the faults we would have and the struggles we’d encounter to do what we are called to do. He knew if we choose to accept Him as Our Savior then we will come home to Him.

I’m letting go of the cold chain link and walking to towards the cross embracing what Jesus did for me. I will step aside from the insecure feelings that I’m not good enough. I am His. That’s the Easter Message I need to remember.

Downton Abbey and Blended Families

 

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched the season finale of Downton Abbey stop reading now.

Really, if you haven’t seen it stop reading or don’t blame me for telling you part of what happened.

Downton Abbey and Blended Families Wooden door in stone building England www.dianabrandmeyer.comCopyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

In the last episode of Downton Abbey, Isobel Crawley tells Lord Merton she can’t marry him. She refuses to live the last years of her life with children who do not like her and say they never will.

Never mind these are not small children they are Lord Merton’s adult children. Isobel Crawley gives up love, a position in society and amazing gardens because of bratty adults.

Did she do the right thing?

As a blended family mom I’m conflicted. True, the widowed Crawley has already had a child, seen him married, buried and has a grandson. She’s experienced a lot of living in her many years, has good friends and no serious need of someone to support her. That does make it easier to send someone away.

But…

She let love slip away.

She wasn’t willing to see if God had an amazing plan for her.

She wasn’t willing to see if those adult children would come around and find a way to at least like her.

I find it sad she wasn’t willing trust that love can work miracles. While I watched the last show, I understood her reasoning and for a second considered she was making an admirable choice by not bringing discord to Lord Merton’s home. After all, would he continue to feel a deep love for her if his sons refused to accept her? Perhaps even refused to come home for holidays?

Blended families didn’t have the help that’s available now. Maybe that’s one of the reasons she didn’t marry Lord Merton. Would she have made a different decision if she’d had someone to discuss this with? Another couple whom married despite objections and found a new world of love?

Something to think about.

For me, I’m so glad I was willing to remarry and blend a family. It was hard at times but so worth it. I don’t mind telling others-wrote a book about it so others considering blending would be aware of issues and find a way to work through them.

It isn’t always fun, but hey do you know a family where every day is like a trip to Six Flags?

Check out the book. We’re Not Blended We’re Pureed a Survivor’s Guide to Blended Families.

Please share this post with your friends.

 

Grandparenting Changes Lives

Grandparenting is Life Changing

 

Today ends the first year of being a first time grandmother. It’s my grandson’s first birthday so I wanted to share ways he has changed my life.

 

I’ve to learned how to diaper with cloth diapers that snap! (Velcro is much easier!)

I thought my house was kid friendly but forgot how little ones stand up and hit their heads on desks.

Discovering that normal things like magazines and glass doors are giggle-worthy.

Baby food doesn’t always come in glass jars, sometimes it comes in squeeze packets. I had to ask for help on how to open these!

Happy Baby Baby Food

Putting a child in a car seat is a major time investment and you pray you have it right and the baby still has arms when you’re done.

The joy  I feel when he smiles at me—well there are no words!

Holding a little one again reminds me of how precious life is and how blessed I am to have this one in my arms.

Open mouthed, slobber kisses are better than anything I can purchase.

Watching a one year old has the advantage of a high calorie workout.

Pulling out toys that belonged to his father makes storing them worth it when you watch the excitement on his face. It seems even at a young age a new pair of wheels is the best.

 baby playing with truck

One of the biggest blessings I’ve experienced this past year is watching my husband with our grandson. We didn’t have babies together. I didn’t get to see how he gives himself completely, that look of pure love that washes over his face when he’s holding him and the silly but loveable way that he plays with a baby.

Grandfather and baby

 

Another blessing is watching my son be a dad. Wow. It takes my breath away to see the man caring for his son. Add to that the closeness I have with my daughter-in-law and I can’t imagine life being any better.

 

Happy Family

 

 

Happy Birthday Big Guy!

Birthday Boy

When Lightning Strikes

Lightning Strikes We Can’t See

Walking through Babler State Park my husband and I discovered this tree.

lightning rips a tree

 

I’ve never been this close to a tree hit by lightning. I have heard it hit but not seen the fresh results. 

The lightning sends its razor hot light onto the tree and causes the water inside to steam, sizzle and pop open the bark. You can see the bark resting on the bed of leaves.

Will this tree recover? Probably. It’s young and new bark will cover the scar. Or it might not be strong enough to withstand the trauma  of the strike.

lightning strikes tree www.dianabrandmeyer.com

In life we are often hit with lightning bolts of a different kind. Your husband has heart issues, a baby is lost, your child no longer calls home, there isn’t enough money to pay the bills. It feels like a strip of ourselves is laid bare for everyone to see.

Except it’s not. The man at the store who pushes his cart in front of you can’t see the pain, a friend has no idea until you mention what  has happened, or we might say “I’m fine” to anyone who asks..

Keeping our scars fresh and hidden can cause them to fester and not heal. Remember when you were a kid and scraped your knees? How you hid the injury under a bandage and tried not to bump it? Then you fell again and the bandage didn’t protect you anymore? Once again you were in pain because the old scrape hadn’t healed.

It’s better to tell someone what has happened. They can  protect you from re-injury before you’ve healed enough to handle another bolt of pain. Even better, take it to God because He understands. He sees your hurts, brokenness and scrapes.

Revelation  21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 

Exciting Times

a2z= “X”

I’m selecting the “X” in exciting for my post.

Why? Because of this:

grandmother excitement

There are no words to explain holding your first grandchild when he is an hour old.

There are no words to explain the excitement, awe and wonder that God had provide.

There are no words to explain the joy of hearing from your son and daughter-in-law that his name is a joining of a deceased father and a stepfather.

Blending families at it’s best. Welcome to the world Luke.

This is a blog hop!



Pass it on: The Love of Reading

Pass it on!

a2z: The letter “P”

When I was a teenager I so hoped I wouldn’t be like my mother. Anyone else have that thought? Maybe it was your father you didn’t want to be like?

Now I realize how valuable my mom is, and what she has passed on to me is mostly good.

Not so good? I find that I have a need to be right about everything, and my medical history seems to be a copying hers.

I look at the keyboard while I’m typing, and I see her hands. I’ve heard her words coming out of my mouth and I think, “I am my mother!”

She’s passed on some great things to me. The love of Jesus, strength when life is really hard–unbearable even. I’ve watched her stand strong when many would have fallen. I’m not quite there yet but I can see some of her strength in me.

I learned how to compete and be a good loser by playing hands of canasta and a marble game called agrevation. Mom also passed on the love of words to me. She taught me to read by the age of 4 using Rebus readers. But then she modeled reading. Mom showed me the joy in the adventure and escape from everyday life by opening a book and turning the pages. She also read me books that made me cry, like The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. I discovered it was okay to be sad and to grieve–even the fictional characters.

I discovered this gem of a photo of mom reading. Look at all those books on the shelf! Not only did the love of reading come from my mom but my grandparents.

Woman reading a book

My advise? Pass on the love of reading to the little ones in your life. Or volunteer to help others learn to read. You’ll be giving them the world.



Jukebox

a2z: J is for Jukebox

It’s “J” week on the a2z meme. I didn’t know what to write about so I asked my husband, Mr. Quiet, “Any ideas?”

Mr. Quiet, “Jingle, juggle, joy.”

Love the man, but while he can remember the oddest things he has trouble recalling what I’ve written about on this blog. While I’m mulling over the best wife responses to his suggestions, he comes up with another word.

“Jukebox.”

“What can I possibly write about a jukebox?”

“All those times you hung out with friends in college listening to music instead of going class? Dropping hard-earned money in the slot to play your favorite songs?”

Again, Mr. Quiet has forgotten a few things I told him about my college experience. It was nothing like his. I never went anywhere except to class, the cafeteria and the library. Oh wait, there was the year I discovered the foosball table. I might have missed a few math classes because I was winning.

“Do they even have those things anymore?”

Mr. Quiet, “Don’t know, maybe they’ve been replaced by the cloud.”

“Maybe. How sad.” In my hometown at the Frost Top restaurant there was a jukebox. My family went there sometimes for burgers. My favorite song was, “I Shot the Sheriff.” My dad seemed to run out of money after I played that one…wonder if it was because he was a policeman?

Just in case you are too young to know what a jukebox is let me define it for you. It a beast of a record machine, you put in your money and picked a song from the menu. There would have been a button next to the song with an A or a B and a number, and it looked like this:

Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_14412112_retro-jukebox-isolated-on-white.html'>jvdwolf / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Jukebox! Pin me I’m history!

Imagine carrying that around with you instead of an iPod.


Corned Beef Hash Metaphor for life?

Corned Beef Hash as a metaphor?

When I was a kid Friday was the worse day of the week.

Yes, I said Friday. That was the day mom served corn beef hash, with cheese and macaroni. The kind in the blue box that wasn’t gluten free. Back then I could eat that.

Corned beef hash was the first thing I thought about in the morning and all through the day. That ugly pile of meat would be waiting on my plate for dinner. It would be there congealing long past dessert time. Me and the hash staring each other down until I ate those required three bites. The cheese and mac would be nothing but a memory two seconds after it hit my plate. I would beg for more but no, unless I ate the corned beef there would be no more mac and cheese.

corn beef hash in skillet

As time went by my mind shifted, if I wanted the good stuff (mac and cheese) I had to do something I didn’t like (eat the corned beef hash!) One day I rushed through the front door and said, “I’m ready. I’ll eat it.” It was a mindset that changed.

As I look through my life those corned beef hash moments appear over and over.

I love to paint, but I don’t like cleaning up.

I enjoy making new recipes, but I don’t like cleaning up.

Sewing is fun, mistakes are not so I don’t like to rip out stitches.

I love my cats, but I don’t like cleaning the litter box.

A clean house feels so good, but cleaning it? No thanks, I’d rather not.

I love writing books, but I don’t enjoy marketing them. Buy my book, please. That’s more than I’m comfortable doing.

So, it looks like all the good things in life come with a downside that you must do, if you want to do the thing you love. So yes, Corned Beef Hash is my life metaphor.

So tell me what’s your Corned Beef Hash metaphor?

And oh yes, please do check out my books on the my books tab at the top of the page. There, that’s done now I can go back to writing.

Blessings,

Diana

a2z–Bonding and Bonding Families

My “B” is for Bonding and Blending

I missed last week’s a2z meme due to a hiccup in my site. I thought I’d catch up today.

 

Once long ago blending families to me meant joining two different families and making them into one happy and cohesive unit. Yeah, I know it’s much harder than it sounds. I wrote a book about that– We’re Not Blended We’re Pureed a Survivor’s Guide.

 

What I didn’t realize as we were in the process of blending and bonding that someday our boys would meet girls they wanted to marry. Seriously, I thought they would never grow up! And yes, now I would like to make them small again for just a day or two.

 

They did grow though and taller than me, two of them found delightful women to marry-the other, who knows? maybe soon.  We had to learn how to blend our family with daughter-in-laws and figure out who gets to see who on the holidays.

But now we are about to do a different kind of blending and bonding.

Boy blending baby

 

Yes, it’s true. We are getting our first grandchild and it’s a boy. This boy is going to be loved beyond imagination as he’ll have 3 sets of grandparents. Whew talk about learning to blend, this is going to be an excercise of patience, acceptance and graciousness between all of us as we find a comfortable way to share him.