A Budding Blog…

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Well, it is with a fair amount of fear and trepidation that I’d like to make an announcement.
Before your mind starts to wander too far, I am not pregnant. That would cause mind-boggling fear and trepidation, and would, in fact, be a miracle.
This is “Not That Big a Deal” which is also the name of my new blog. Yes, friends I have “bitten the bullet, jumped in with both feet, leaped into the breach” and it scares the crumbs out of me. But, I enjoy making people smile and laugh and forget, even if just for a little while, their troubles. I think it’s something we all need now and then. I really do believe that “a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” So, here I go…
My blog link will be posted on facebook and twitter tomorrow and, hopefully, every Friday after that. I hope it does its job. I hope it makes you smile. 

 

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Ya Gotta Have Friends…

…And I am very grateful to have quite a few! But, there is one friend that I’ve had for a very long time, 55 years kind of a long time. Her name is Cheryl and though I currently have three friends named Cheryl, she was the first and she was and continues to be my “Bestie”. I did originally think her name was Judy, but that’s another story.

We met when my family moved from Morris Plains to Grove Place in Whippany, New Jersey. We moved to number 12, Cheryl and her family lived at number 15, caddy-cornered and across the street. I was 5 when we met that August, Cheryl had just turned 7. She was riding her bike, a two-wheeler without training wheels. I was very impressed. It would not be the first time she impressed me.

After becoming friends, I remember days when I’d go to ask her to play and she would tell me she had to finish her chores. I, of course, seldom finished mine without escaping or making some excuse to not do them; but here was Cheryl, dusting, cleaning her brother’s room, and straightening her own room as I followed her around. She never complained she just did her chores as asked, even when I told her repeatedly that she shouldn’t have to clean up after her brothers.

When we were old enough to have jobs, Cheryl got hers first working at a Roy Rogers. She was always faithful to that job. Always willing to work, never complaining. I, too had a job. I worked at Burger King. I complained about the itchy polyester uniforms and the horrible colors (yellow and orange…not exactly redhead friendly). I’d rather hang out with my friends than go to work. I often thought of reasons not to go in. But, not Cheryl, she just went to work and did her job.

When we were in high school, we were in different classes and had different friends. We were still friends, but not as close and the fault was mainly mine. Being fairly outgoing, kind of crazy, and a little loud, I started making lots of friends. Cheryl has a quieter personality. She approached me a few times to say that she felt we weren’t as close as we used to be. I told her everything was fine, and continued doing what I was doing…ignoring her for my new “friends.”

Towards the end of our high school careers, the Lord reminded me of a ‘deal’ I’d made with Him in 8th grade. The deal? I wanted to be popular in school, have lots of boyfriends, and win a Senior Superlative; then I would become a Christian. Yes, I was pretty ballsy for an 8th grader. Wouldn’t you know it, He gave me all of those things and none of it was enough. It was eye opening for me and, as a High School Senior with everything I thought I wanted, I realized what I really wanted and I gave my life to the Lord. Soon after, I had my wisdom teeth, all four of them and the bottom two impacted, removed and Cheryl, my faithful friend came over to see me and make sure I was okay. I was able to talk, which is not really that amazing because, let’s face it, I can always talk. But the Lord gave me the privilege and the grace to share my experience with Cheryl and she, too, became a Christian.

We were each others maid/matron of honor at our weddings, we had children, we did birthday parties, and all that goes with all of that. We grew up. I moved away. And still, we were best friends. Now we text each other prayer requests and usually have monthly phone conversations, always picking up where we left off like we’d just talked yesterday.

During our last phone call I was giving Cheryl my laundry list of things I do and telling her how I need a “down” day at least once a week to recoup my energy. I said it and immediately regretted it. Why? Because the Lord absolutely hit me in the forehead with a brick. (I need that now and then.) In telling Cheryl all that I do, it occurred to me… Cheryl works one full time and one part time job; Cheryl drives about 2 hours one way every other weekend or so to help her Mom who is older and experiencing health issues; Cheryl cares for her husband who is currently on dialysis and waiting for a kidney; Cheryl has recently had to deal with her own somewhat frightening health issues AND with all of that she still finds time for her children and grandchildren. There are no “down” days for Cheryl, but does she complain? Nope. She just keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny.

We all have laundry lists of things we do, that’s just life. But, without even knowing it, Cheryl has taught me what’s most important. Our attitudes. We can do what we have to do begrudgingly and complaining, making ourselves and all around us miserable, or we can decide to enjoy the things we need to do as much as we enjoy the things we have to do. The choice really is ours. When I grow up I want to be like Cheryl. She is a very big deal.

Posted in Aging, America, Attitude, Best Friend, Challenges, Childhood, Childhood Home, Children, Christians, Cleaning, Dusting, Faith, Family, Friends, God, Growing Up, Health, High School, Home, Humor, Husbands, Life, Lord, Love, Talking, Uncategorized, Wisdom Teeth, Women | Leave a comment

Trying to Resist the Rise of the Resistance

The following is a Public Service Announcement:

The story of Ernie, part of which began last week, has been temporarily postponed. We will revisit Ernie’s Escapades at a later date. I apologize for any inconvenience, real or imagined, that this might incur. 😊

Last Friday, I and thousands of others were at Disney’s Hollywood Studios well before  sunrise. “Why, you may ask(?)” Why indeed. Why would thousands of people of all ages, shapes, and sizes, subject themselves to being corralled like cattle in a holding area on Hollywood Boulevard waiting with cell phones out, My Disney Experience app open, and fingers poised and ready to strike? I realize cows don’t have cell phones or fingers, but you get the point.  

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We were all there for one reason and only one reason, to ride The Rise of the Resistance, the new Star Wars ride. 

A genius within the Disney ranks has come up with the idea of a “virtual queue”. The thousands gathered with cell phones and fingers were waiting for the moment, 7:00 a.m. to be exact, when a bell would sound and the Boarding Groups would be distributed.  At that moment, 7:00 a.m., everyone was pushing their “Join Group” button. (Can you even imagine how powerful Disney’s wifi must be?) Cheers exploded from those who got early spots. Actually, cheers exploded from anyone who got a spot. To our left a man got Group 25, less than a second later a woman behind us was in Group 49, at essentially the same moment we got Group 65 and one second later our daughter got Group 82. It all happened in less time than it took you to  read that last sentence, no exaggeration. Our “Group” consisted of my husband, the initiator of this trip, his 89 year old father who wanted to come, and me the somewhat resistant rider of the Resistance. Our oldest daughter was also with us with her husband and their three children, Star Wars fans one and all. 

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So, we all had a Group, now what? What do you do at Disney at 7:01 a.m.? You go to Starbucks, what else? The line to Starbucks, with those thousands of people that had gotten up before the sun and were now in desperate need of their morning coffee, was out the door and around the corner and had no virtual queue. Everyone just stood there waiting and still staring at their cell phones, but not to join a Boarding Group. Now they were waiting to see how fast the Boarding Groups were moving. Unfortunately, they weren’t. 

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In fact, the Boarding Groups didn’t start moving until about 10:00 a.m.. But, that did not deter most of us, only me. I admit it, I can be a party-pooper. I was ready to go home thinking that we probably weren’t going to get on the ride until 5:00 p.m.; my ride, however, was in it for the long haul and so was his 89 year old father. Not to be outdone by an 89 year old and recognizing the very real possibility of an 11 hour day, I began scoping out nice shady benches to nap on.

With my nap bench possibilities catalogued, we began going on the open rides while we continued to watch for Boarding Group movement. Secretly, I prayed it wouldn’t come. I prayed that until I realized how much everyone with me really wanted to go on this ride and then I decided that my napping bench would have to do. 

Suddenly, it happened. The Groups started boarding and moving! Quickly, I might add! By 12:15 p.m. my cellphone alerted me that our Group was ready to board! We got in an interactive actual line.

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It was then that I realized, the Resistance needed our help. This was a secret mission. The First Order was determined to stop us, but we were the Resistance. Suddenly we were captured by thousands of stormtroopers led by Kylo Ren. We thought our mission was defeated until a covert team from the Resistance came to our rescue, and as one Disney writer put it, “giving us a chance to escape…and a chance for the Resistance to rise.”

Was it worth it? I would have to admit that it was like no ride I’ve ever been on before. Though I tend to get motion sickness and this was a trackless vehicle that often went backwards and had a small drop, I was fine! If you are willing to rise before the birds to join The Rise of the Resistance I doubt that you will be disappointed, and if you are, it’s really not that big a deal. 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Boarding Groups, Challenges, Coffee, Disney, Disney World, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Family, Florida, Humor, Husbands, Life, Motion Sickness, Rise of the Resistance, Star Wars, Starbucks, stormtroopers, Uncategorized, Virtual Queue | Leave a comment

A Business Hotel With Children or Things You Never Do…

In my 60 years on this planet (not that I’ve lived on any others), I have learned a few important rules. A few things that you never do…

  1. Never swallow your gum or you’ll have to have your appendix out. (I have and I did.)
  2. Never run with a stick in your hand because you could trip and put your eye out. (I have and I didn’t.) And, most importantly and my personal favorite…
  3. Always make sure you never leave the house with holes in your underwear just in case you’re in an accident and have to go to the hospital. (I always do.)

When I was 24 I had two children. Eric was a little over two and Rachel was 4 months old. It was then that I learned a new, very important rule. Never, NEVER, go for breakfast in a business hotel restaurant with children in the middle of a work week.

When we lived in New Jersey and my husband would go on occasional business trips that were within driving distance, we would sometimes pack up and go with him. The room was already paid for and it was an inexpensive way to take a mini vacation of sorts.

This particular trip was to Philadelphia. Only a couple of hours away and very doable especially if we left during nap time. And so, off we went. It would be a short trip but, I thought, a fun one. If nothing else, it was a change of scenery. We arrived and settled in for the evening. Cliff would be working the next morning, so I’d be on my own for breakfast, but that didn’t phase me. It should have, but it didn’t. Remember, I may have been the mother of two, but I was only 24 and though I’d started thinking a little more since becoming a mother; I still didn’t think much. The seat of my pants always had wings and that is how I flew.

Though it was only 7:00 a.m., the restaurant was full and the sound of people discussing their business strategies for the day was everywhere. As soon as I entered with my children in tow, the atmosphere changed. As we walked past each table there was silence. I felt their eyes on me, following me, and I knew I had committed the unpardonable sin. I was a mother with children and they were the business elite. I had infiltrated their ranks. It was right up there with leaving the house in holey underwear.

I sat down and realized mine were the only children in there. The people around us went back to their chatter and ignored us. Our waitress came. The first thing she told me was not her name. Oh no, she didn’t tell me that. The first thing she told me was that they did not have a children’s menu. I think she thought I would get the hint and possibly go somewhere else but, I didn’t. I happily ordered eggs and bacon, toast and tea. I ordered an extra orange juice for Eric and was happy to share the rest of my breakfast with him, asking for an extra plate. All was well until the waitress showed up with our meal and the orange juice in stemmed glasses. When I asked if the orange juice could be put in a small water glass for my two year old, I was curtly told they didn’t have any glasses like that and then our waitress walked away, never to be seen again.

I situated Rachel on my lap and made a small plate for Eric. All was well until Eric tried to drink his orange juice. Since this was not a kid friendly restaurant, I was told there was no highchair or booster seat available, which left Eric kneeling on his chair to reach the table. He picked up his stemmed glass by the stem and, not quite able to balance it, poured it down the front of him before I could help him. It missed his mouth and his shirt and soaked his pants, puddling in the top of his diaper. He didn’t cry. He just told me he was “ticky”. I told him it was okay, took off his pants, much to the disdain of all around me, soaked up as much of the orange juice from his diaper as I could, and let him finish his breakfast in his shirt and his diaper. After repeatedly being told he was still “ticky” and recognizing the signs of an oncoming full blown meltdown, I decided breakfast was over.  Since our waitress was still MIA, I stopped at the hostess desk to ask them to put our breakfast on our room bill. I ever-so-briefly let go of Eric’s hand to get a better hold on a wiggling Rachel and that’s when it happened. Eric, deciding he’d had enough of being “ticky”, removed the one thing standing between him and “untickiness”, his diaper.  I looked down and saw Eric in all of his little boy glory. He was half-naked, but he wasn’t “ticky” and so he was happy. I nonchalantly picked up the offending diaper, which was fortunately only full of orange juice; scooped up my half-naked son, and walked to the elevator with my head held high. Once in the elevator, I laughed. What else could I do?

The next morning we returned to the ranks of our own people. For breakfast we ate at McDonalds, kid friendly, plenty of high chairs, and, most importantly no stemmed orange juice glasses. Because in the grand scheme of things, when it comes down to it, it’s really not that big a deal!

P. S. ~With this New Year, I would like to say to all of you…Thank you for reading my blog! I appreciate each one of you and hope, if nothing else, it makes you smile and lightens your load even if just for a little while.

P.S.S. ~You may think this is the end of this amazing adventure. You would be wrong. Please tune in next week for the sequel, “Ernie, A Washed Up Life”.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Business Hotels, Challenges, Child care, Childhood, Children, Christian Parenting, Christians, Differences, Embarrassing moments, Family, Fathers and Mothers, Food, Hotels, Humor, Husbands, Life, Mini Vacations, Moms, New Jersey, Parenting Small Children, Uncategorized, Waitress, Women | Leave a comment

New Year, New Decade, New Faith!

Hello Everyone and Happy New Year!

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog for today. We’ve been on vacation and, well, you know. I was going to wish you all a Happy New Year, tell you that I am very grateful to each and every one of you for reading my blog, and then tell you why I didn’t blog and that I’d be back next week. But, the Lord had other plans.

I read this post on my Facebook page. It was written by the daughter of a dear friend of mine. Her name is Bethany Breckenridge Abrams. This young woman and her family are going through one of the hardest trials life can bring us. Her husband, Nate, has a very rare type of cancer. They are Believers. This was her post on January 2nd. It gives new meaning to the words faith and courage. I hope it gives you both as we all navigate this New Year together. May we always be aware that our Savior is just that, our Savior, and He is always “safe to trust”! Please keep Nate, Bethany, and their little family in your prayers.

This is Bethany’s post ~

” I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog
and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”
~ Psalm 40: 1-2

“I love this so very much! My Bible study this morning had me nearly giddy – both the following tidbit from Oswald Chambers, and the first three verses of Psalm 40. Psalm 40:1-2 is such a beautiful redemption story that reminds me of my own: not just salvation’s redemption, but also both redemption from my own prideful, selfish messes, and from the effects of living in a fallen, painful world of sickness, heartache, and irreparably broken lives and relationships. These smoldering piles of ash that somehow God turns into something beautiful and whole. I think specifically of some life decisions I have made, people I have hurt. I think of the ripple affect of addiction and choice, along with broken foster/adoption systems and painfully severed relationships, hurting children and parents alike. I think of sickness of the mind, emotions, or body. Like Cancer. And then I think of how God as Healer, Counselor, and Artist, erases the globally-permeating affects of the fall and creates something beautiful despite everything. The result? A new song on my lips, and others seeing, fearing, and trusting in my Lord, Jesus Christ!

All of those things are a reminder – sometimes in nuance and subtlety, sometimes in thunderous and breathtaking splendor – that God is safe to trust. That his faithfulness is great. That his mercies are new each morning. That the absolute best place I could possibly be is at the center of his will, pursuing him purposefully and wholly. Deciding to “go out” and follow him unquestioningly. I don’t need to question – I know his character. I have history to prove the wisdom of “going out“, both my own, my families, and others that have gone before me, both in recent and ancient times. It is because of this that I can go in boldness. Blind faith is not so blind. “Going out” not knowing a clear plan or what comes next makes perfect sense. Doing the thing that is absolutely counter-intuitive, that goes against all logic and worldly wisdom, even that of some believers; is perfectly reasonable. It is humbling, and exciting, and terrifying.

I know from history. I know from inexplicable peace. I know from deep and unfailing joy. And I know because his Word tells me so.

A difficult question to answer in Christian work is, “What do you expect to do?” Go out in dependence upon God, and your life will have a sacred charm about it.”

Will You Go Out Without Knowing?

By Oswald Chambers

Have you ever “gone out” in this way? If so, there is no logical answer possible when anyone asks you what you are doing. One of the most difficult questions to answer in Christian work is, “What do you expect to do?” You don’t know what you are going to do. The only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. Continually examine your attitude toward God to see if you are willing to “go out” in every area of your life, trusting in God entirely. It is this attitude that keeps you in constant wonder, because you don’t know what God is going to do next. Each morning as you wake, there is a new opportunity to “go out,” building your confidence in God. “…do not worry about your life…nor about the body…” (Luke 12:22). In other words, don’t worry about the things that concerned you before you did “go out.”

Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do— He reveals to you who He is. Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you “go out” in complete surrender to Him until you are not surprised one iota by anything He does?

Believe God is always the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him. Then think how unnecessary and disrespectful worry is! Let the attitude of your life be a continual willingness to “go out” in dependence upon God, and your life will have a sacred and inexpressible charm about it that is very satisfying to Jesus. You must learn to “go out” through your convictions, creeds, or experiences until you come to the point in your faith where there is nothing between yourself and God.

 

 

 

Posted in Attitude, Bible, Blessings, Blogging, Challenges, Christians, Courage, Eternity, Faith, Faithfulness, Family, Friends, God, Gratefulness, Home, Husbands, Life, Love, Marriage, New Beginnings, New Years, Prayer, The Human Spirit, Tragedy and Triumph, Trust, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s A Wonderful Life ~ Jimmy Stewart in WWII

Like a lot of people right around Christmas time, I love to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. 

Recently, I read this article and saw that movie in a whole new light. It’s a wonderful article. I hope you enjoy it!

Merry Christmas!

Jimmy Stewart Faced His PTSD While Acting In ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’

“There are more things in heaven and earth than in all of your philosophies, Horatio.”

This line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet came back to me when I ran across a story written by Ned Forney recently. Though there is a unique connection to my own history in part of this story, the history I encountered in Forney’s article was completely new to me. His article gave me a deeper appreciation of the man and Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart and the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” And for his son, Lt. Ronald McLean, USMC. More on that below.

Being a “baby-boomer,” I, of course, knew that Jimmy Stewart was a WWII veteran bomber pilot, but Forney’s article revealed much more about Stewart’s military history than I had ever known. Here is some of what I learned.

 

In 1941, at the age of 33, Stewart was awarded an Academy Award Oscar as best actor for his role in the movie, “The Philadelphia Story.” But WWII had begun and shortly after achieving this highest honor in his profession, Stewart enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was asked why he enlisted at the time, given the fact that he was already at the top of his craft in Hollywood.

“The country’s conscience is bigger than all the studios in Hollywood put together, and the time will come when we will have to fight,” he answered.

 

One of the things I had not known was that Stewart was already and accomplished civilian pilot. As a result, he was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942. Because of who he was at the time, he was assigned to making recruiting films, attending bond rallies, and to training younger pilots.

This did not sit well with Stewart, according to Forney’s article. He was frustrated. He wanted to get into the war, to fly combat missions. It wasn’t until 1944 that he was finally able to convince his superiors to let him be deployed to Europe. Their permission, as Forney explains, was reluctantly given.

 

Stewart was deployed to England with the 703rd Bomber Squadron. He piloted B-24 Liberator bombers over Germany for the next 18 months. Even there the higher ups wanted to keep him out of harm’s way, but Stewart would not have it. He volunteered himself for every mission he could. By the end of the war he was recognized as one of the most respected and decorated pilots in his unit.

Like so many who have survived the realities of combat, Stewart was not untouched by the experience of Post Traumatic Stress. According to Forney’s article, in the final months of the war, Stewart was “grounded for being ‘flak happy,’” a term that implied PTSD in that era. On one of the missions he participated in his unit alone lost 13 planes and 130 men to enemy fighters and anti-aircraft fire.

 

When Stewart came home he was clearly suffering the effects of PTSD. He had the classic symptoms: he had lost weight and looked sickly, was depressed, rarely slept and when he did he suffered terrible nightmares of planes getting hit and men screaming and falling from the sky. He lacked focus and would not talk about his experiences in the war with anyone.

Forney tells of how when Stewart got the part of George Bailey in the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, whenever he did the parts where George Bailey was breaking down in the movie, the film crew recognized that Stewart wasn’t acting. “His PTSD was captured on film for potentially millions to see.”

Stewart would remain in the Air Force Reserves for another 20 years and would retire at age 60 as a brigadier general. But this was not the end of the story, and this is where Jimmy Stewart’s story came close to mine.

I did not know that when he married Gloria McLean he had adopted her two sons. One of those sons, Ronald, was a Marine Corps Lieutenant in Vietnam. And here is where the connection to my own history came into the story. In 1969, Lt. McLean served with Alpha Co. 3rd Recon Bn., 3rd Marine Division out of the Marine base at Quang Tri, Vietnam. I served with Bravo Co. 3rd Recon, 3rd Mar. Div in Vietnam until February of 1969, leaving Vietnam shortly before he arrived for his tour with 3rd Recon.

While Lt. McLean and his team were on a typical recon, 6-man patrol in the I Corps area, they came under heavy attack from NVA forces. McLean is credited with having killed 8 enemy soldiers during the firefight, but was killed in action while attempting to save one of his wounded team members. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions that day.

Since we are in the Christmas season the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” is, once again, being shown regularly on TV. I am going to make a point of seeing it again this year, but I imagine that I will be seeing and feeling things this time that I have never seen and felt before.

Posted in America, Americans, Angels, Christmas, Courage, Faith, Faithfulness, Family, Freedom, Generations, History, Humor, It's A Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart, Life, Old Movies, The Human Spirit, Tragedy and Triumph, Tribute, Uncategorized, World War II | Leave a comment

Only For You, My Friend

It is safe to say that I have no problem with mixed race marriages. Of course, when I first got married I had to be told that I had a mixed race marriage, but I was a non-thinking 19 year old and that’s beside the point. My next statement is going to sound strange, but here goes.

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Posted in Anniversary, China, Chinese roots, Ethnicity, Humor, Husbands, Jewelry, Life, Marriage, Travel, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spit Update ~ Part 2

Have you noticed how quickly televisions are updated? New technology here, bigger screens there, make them thinner, make them crisper, as Mom would say, “They have everything, but birth control” and she’d pretty much be right. (If you think about it, the amount of time spent in front of the TV may cover the birth control part, too!) Every year you could buy a new television and it would be far superior to the one you just purchased the year before. That’s technology and, as they say, it’s here to stay.

I’ve recently discovered that our DNA can be updated almost as frequently as our TV’s and for some of the same reasons new technology, and additionally, more spit. It seems the more spit samples they have the more specific they can be as to regions and areas and all of that fun stuff. Just Recently all of our spit has gotten an upgrade.

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Posted in Change, China, Chinese roots, Differences, DNA, Ethnicity, Family, Fathers and Mothers, German roots, Humor, Irish Roots, Italian Roots, Italians, Life, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything. ~ Irish Proverb

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