"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling."

This is a blog about widows,
mothers and daughters,
facing change and challenges
and receiving ordinary, everyday blessings that don't seem quite so ordinary anymore.
It chronicles the journey from grief into the restoration of what has been lost.

*** I am no longer actively posting to this site, so please come visit me at my new site ***

http://www.jrrmblog.com/ - "Starting Over ... Again"

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Memories Are Made Of This

This song reminds me so much for Robby today - it was one of his favorite songs!  I got out the Dean Martin CD this morning as I was baking cookies to listen to it; Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are my usual choices in the stereo when I bake.  :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Back Into Blogging Day 4 - Fave Fall Recipe

OK, this isn't one of my favorite recipes ... YET.  Only because I haven't made it yet.  But I am sure that it will soon become a fall staple around our house. 

Because you see ... we love cheesecake.  Yes, my daughters and I are in love with cheesecake.  I know it's certainly not the healthiest of treats, but there's just something about it that calls to us ... begs us to indulge.  So we do.  With great pleasure.


http://pinterest.com/jmerrell81/recipes-to-try/ - that's the link to my Pinterest board with all the recipes that I have been meaning to try.  You will find the recipe there.  Here's a picture too, BTW:

Doesn't that look yummy!
So what is YOUR favorite fall recipe or treat?
Leave a comment and/or link below.
Sharing is good.  :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday's "Fall Back Into Blogging" - Sweaters = Fall

One of the things that I look forward to most about fall is the chance to get my sweaters off the shelf in my closet and back into my apparel rotation.  I love the cozy feel of sweaters, and have since I was in elementary school.  There is something about their softness and warmth that reminds me of cool, crisp school mornings while waiting for the bus. 

School shopping for me coincided with my early August birthday, and my grandmother always insisted on taking me to lunch at the Tea Room in Meier & Frank (back before it was May Co.) - to her back then, it was the height of sophistication.  There I would invariably order a French Dip sandwich, and she would let me order a hot fudge sundae as a special birthday treat.  Then we would commence to shop for cute sweater sets, cable-knit knee socks and sturdy brown "school shoes."

I like scarfs now, too.  Never really thought much about them when I was younger, because they were always the heavy, cabled ones that your grandmother knitted (that would be my OTHER grandmother, because the one who took me school shopping didn't knit or sew or crochet), but as I get older a lightweight, pretty scarf appeals to me more and more each year.  So now it's time to bring out my sweaters and scarves in all their glorious colors and textures!  Yum!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday's "Fall Back Into Blogging" - What fall looks like around here

This a BEAUTIFUL photo of fall at Silver Falls State Park - about 5 miles from my house.  I cannot and will not take credit for this gorgeous photo - it is the work of Don Briggs, and here is his Photostream on Flickr; it is not to be missed!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday's "Fall Back Into Blogging" - School Memories

I am taking part in a week-long event through SITS Girls blogging network - and today is the day we write about school memories.  Think I can dredge up a few good memories from my long-ago past?  I hope so.

Although there are the usual gut-wrenching memories of awkward moments, and social faux pas littered about through my grade school and high school years some of my fondest memories are of the teachers that helped inspire and encourage me - and probably didn't even know it at the time.

There was Mr. Otter, who taught Jr. AP English.  During his course we were required to read several college-prep literary works, and then use them as writing assignments in our journal.  Often we took a book we had just read, chose a character from the story and wrote an essay to compare and contrast our life with their experiences.  Other times we made journal entries about more mundane matters.  I remember an entry of mine that talked about the trials and tribulations of auditioning for the lead in the winter musical, and then seeing the part go to someone who was so OBVIOUSLY less qualified than myself.  :)

Through all the teen angst that I am sure he had to wade through in our journals, Mr. Otter always found time to make encouraging comments.  At least I found his comments encouraging.  He told me (in red ink) that I had an engaging way of telling a story, and he felt sure that I should pursue writing as a career path.

I never really took his words to heart.  I was flattered and encouraged, and found as I progressed into college that his assessment of my skill was echoed by some of my professors.  But none of them every spurred me into writing as a career.  Maybe Mr. Otter would be happy to know, but maybe not surprised, that I have a blog (alright, honestly - who doesn't these days) where I dabble, composing my thoughts for others to read.  He has since passed away, but I would like to think that he would be proud me for putting myself out there with my reflections and musings.  And that he would be signed up as a follower of this blog.  :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Just saying "No" ...

Used to be so difficult for me.  I am a people-pleaser, by nature.  I have always had a hard time saying the word "no" ... OK, not to my kids (as I am sure they would tell you) but to others who would ask me to help with projects, take over lessons for them, fill in for them when they were too busy to do what they were supposed to, etc.

But I found out this week that my curse is being lifted.  I can now use the word NO and not feel sorry about saying it!

My mom called me on Tuesday night and told me that there was an important business meeting set up for the following morning in Salem at 8 a.m.  I work with my folks on the family farm, so it isn't unheard of for me to get calls like that.  I was expected to attend this meeting.  I didn't hesitate a moment - I told her that I could not make it at 8 a.m. but would be there by 8:30.  My daughter gets on the bus at 8 a.m. and Salem is 30 minutes away.  A few months ago, I would have told my mother I would be there  at 8 a.m. and then spent the next 1/2 hour worrying about how to make that happen, and then would have ended up calling my sister to see if she could put Youngest Daughter on the bus in the morning (thereby not only messing up our morning, but hers as well.)

I am so proud of myself!  And it didn't hurt a bit.

Another example - I am a member of the local fire department rehab team (we help out on the scene of large, multi-alarm fires by supplying food and water to the firefighters), and we have some training coming up over the next two months on Wednesday evenings.  I got an email this weekend from the director of our Sunday School program telling me that all the teachers (I am one of them) will have some special meetings about our new curriculum for the next 6 Wednesday evenings ... and some of those times will conflict with the rehab training for the fire department.  Without hesitation, I sent back an email explaining that I would be available for about half the trainings, but would not be available for at least three of them due to a prior commitment.  BOOM!  No guilt, no stressing over what I would do and how I would make time for both trainings.  Just explained the situation, and went on with my day.

This is so liberating!  I love being able to say NO with no guilt.  :)
Over the past two years ... well, almost two and a half years now ... I have been at the mercy of everyone else's needs and schedules.  Doctors appointments, radiation appointments, meetings with lawyers and bankers ... everyone it seems had a say in how I spent my day, my week, my month.  But now I am finding that its OK for me to say NO ... in a loud, clear voice ... and let it be.  Not feel guilty, and not stress about what will happen when I say NO.  I have dealt with enough ... I refuse to let others make me take on stress that is not mine in the first place.  That is my declaration for my life right now.  I will choose how my days will be spent, and how I will structure the hours in those days.

I feel stronger already!  :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Inspired by grief

I was checking out some other blogs by widows this morning.  I headed over to Network Blogs, where my blog is listed (see the link in the right hand column) and chose to follow some of the many blogs that deal with grief and loss. 

Morbid, you may think.  All of us wallowing in our personal grief, having a collective pity party.  No so!  I find that when I need encouragement and hope, the best place to go is my fellow widows.  We are a plucky bunch, tis true.

I came across a blog by someone who is definitely "Not Your Average Widow" - that's the name of her blog, BTW.  Our military connection (both our husbands served in the armed forces) was what drew me first to the blog, then the fact that she is 3 years into her journey - not as new to this journey as I am, but someone to whom I can definitely relate.

Her post entitle "Project: Unleashed" caught my attention.  And sparked something inside of me.  I have been feeling many of the same things she speaks of in her post.  So I am posting her link here:

Please feel free to check out this post, and her blog.  :)