Still Finding the Thread

Believe it or not, I’m still here…got a little sidetracked, but I’m still here!

I’m not going to bore you with a year-in-review update. How about just a few pictures to capture some of my favorite moments?

Happy day! Got to see my big little brother for the first time in 22 years!

aaron and me

…and met my niece and nephew in person!


One of the few lovely things about my new job…the lunch-break sanctuary.


Another happy day…got to celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary while attending the marriage of a lovely young couple from church.  I do believe this is the best ever picture of me and my dearest!

photo (3)edit

So much fun! A group of folks from our sister church in Ontario came down to help us out with a week-long summer kids program. Met some pretty amazing folks!

photo (4)edit

Summer lobster feed is a great time for an updated family photo…for once, we were ALL there!

photo (5)edit

Dearest daughter with her young man.

photo (6)edit

And a moment from our day in Boston with Junior to celebrate his birthday…farmers market, Faneuil Hall, Boston Aquarium, Mike’s Pastry, and a LONG walk to Barnes and Nobel…great day!

photo (7)edit
There’s so much more, of course, but these are the best moments…the ones I like to dwell on.  It’s been a long year, a bumpy ride, and a great adventure, all rolled up in one….and I still haven’t found that darn thread, but that’s all part of the journey, I guess, so we’ll keep on keepin’ on.

Until next time (and I’m hoping “next time” is sooner than next year), be blessed!


Around the Bend

I know I’ve been negligent with my musings…I’m sorry.  Life’s just been a little bit up-heaved recently…a good kind of upheaval, but upheaval none the less.

August pretty much flew by without me even getting a chance to notice, but it ended with a SUPER successful craft fair day with my dear friend, Shanna Tice.  God blessed our socks off, that’s for sure!

And September started with a bang…

Labor Day weekend we had a huge family lobster feed (btw…I LOVE LOBSTER!).  Three days later we delivered our son and youngest child to his first ever college dorm room, and three days after that…I GOT A JOB!

I’d been on the job hunt for two months at that point, getting more and more discouraged as every application, resume, and follow-up call was met with either silence or denial.  I’d even applied at two different temp agencies to no avail, until, finally…

Eight o’clock in the morning, already showered, fed, and ready to start the day, I was standing over the sink, working on breakfast dishes when I get the call.

“I’ve got a potential assignment for you.  The client wants to know if you can come today to do a 3 hour job shadow.”

I was ready and out the door in less than an hour.

I ended up staying the entire day and have been back  every weekday since.

It’s a pretty intense  job, with lots of details, new skills and vocabulary to learn, but I’m getting there.  And the girls, rrr, ladies that I’m working with are super sweet, patient, and eager to help me get up to speed.  I’m pretty sure I’m gonna like it there.

And, while I’m not exactly sure what’s up ahead around the bend, I’m looking forward to seeing where this part of the road of life leads. Going from stay-at-home mom to a full-time job has led to some pretty drastic changes to our home routine, but everyone has been stepping up to the plate and doing their part to keep home a happy place.

All summer long I’ve felt like God has been saying to me, “Do you trust Me?  Then wait.”

I feel like the waiting is over now.

This next phase is going to bring new life lessons.  Right now it feels like I’m going to have lots of practice with this little gem of a scripture:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Here’s to the journey…this is gonna be great!

Counting My Blessings

If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been away on a mission trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands (if you’re interested, I blogged all about it while we were there).  We got back late Sunday evening, and I have to say, as beautiful as the island was, and wonderful as the people were, it’s good to be home!

I went outside Monday morning to see how the garden had fared while we were away.  Plenty of weeds, to be expected, and TONS of green beans, ready to be picked.  The bowlful in the picture above is from only one of the four rows we have planted!  Then I headed to the chicken coop to say hello to my feathered friends and collect the lovely treasures they leave for me each day.

As I came inside and washed the bounty that I had just gathered from my own backyard, I couldn’t help but think of my friends back on the island.  Providenciales, the island we stayed on, is pretty small.  They have no natural resources, there is no manufacturing, no farmland, no way to raise livestock…everything has to be shipped in.  And everything is expensive.  That bowl full of beans and handful of eggs fresh from my own yard is truly a gift.

Let me tell you, I looked at my dinner plate with a whole new appreciation that night!

The Next Stage

Change is not fun.

Even if it’s good change, it still leaves a little hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach.

That’s how I’ve been feeling this week.  Not unhappy or even nervous, just a little off.

Why, you ask?  What’s going on?

Hubby and I had a “state-of-the-union” discussion and decided that it was time for me to seek employment outside of the home.

It’s been twelve years since I wrote a resume…it needed a lot of updating.

With one kid heading out-of-state to go to college, and the other working and socializing so much that she’s gone more than she’s home, our family’s needs are changing.  And with a 21-year-old house that needs re-roofing and siding, it’s time for Stay-at-Home-Mom to make way for Working-Mom.

Don’t get me wrong…my first and primary job will always be Wife and Homemaker.  Trouble is, those jobs don’t pay very well…at least not in the type of currency we need to fix the house, pay for dental work, replace the stove, repair or replace the van…

You catch my drift.

I have to admit, after completing my resume, even I was a little impressed with the wide range of skills and abilities I have to offer.  I’m not bragging or anything, it’s just that, when you’ve been at home with your kids for the last 8 years, you start to forget that you can do anything else.  When you’re not getting quarterly reviews, cost of living wage increases, promotions, or bonuses, it’s easy to lose sight of how valuable your job really is, and how skilled, intelligent, and  capable you really are.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, all you stay-at-home moms out there, you home-schooling moms, those of you who have been blessed to be able to stay home to nurture and grow your budding family…you have one of the most important jobs on Earth.  Don’t ever let anyone convince you otherwise.  The experience you gain in being chief cook and bottle washer, household manager, superintendent of schools, head teacher,  buying specialist, product analyst, child welfare officer, assistant CEO,  dog catcher, public relations director, head nurse,  chauffeur, life coach, morale officer, executive assistant, activities director, sanitation officer, diplomat…that  experience is beyond compare and invaluable.

“Stay-at-home” does not equal “unskilled.”  Never forget it, hang in there when it gets hard…it’s SO worth it!

O.K., so this post was supposed to be about the changes this family is making, but it turned out to be a motivational pep-talk instead…I’m glad it did.  And I don’t think I’m going to go back and edit it to be a more cohesive piece of writing…this blog is about the real me talking to the real you about real stuff.  So here it is, un-edited.

Blind Intersection

We were driving home from church the other day and Hubby saw this sign, only about a half mile from our house.

“When did that get put there?”  he asked.

It’s been there for a while now; it’s just that we drive past it so often that we don’t even notice it, and now, with the summer foliage, it’s partially blocked from view.

I’m not really sure why we noticed that sign the other day when usually we don’t, but I couldn’t help thinking about it this morning as I was contemplating some decisions we’ve made recently.

The truth is, life is full of blind intersections.

Intersections aren’t necessarily bad things…like the intersection that turns off toward the ice cream place, or the one that goes to the beach, or to a friend’s house.  But it’s a little disorienting when you come upon them unexpectedly, like when your exit on the highway comes up faster than you realized and you either have to slam on the brakes, praying to avoid a collision, in order to make your turn, or pass it to drive another 10 miles before you can legally turn around and head back to it.

Or when you’re driving along and you know your turn is coming up but you’re not exactly sure where, so you drive as slowly as the vehicle behind you will tolerate, craning your neck and straining your eyes to catch a glimpse of your turn-off before you pass it.

Yah, life can be like that sometimes.

Then again, if I push over to the passenger seat and let the Lord drive, we’re sure to get exactly where we’re meant to go exactly when we’re meant to get there.

This could be fun!  I LOVE road trips!

The Best Thing about Summer…

…is hearing the ice cream truck coming down the road,

I’ve always loved bomb pops, ever since I can remember.  I don’t know if it’s the cool, juicy, tri-flavored fruitiness, or the whole Captain America patriotism that the red-white-and-blue elicits.

Whatever it is, I love them, and when I hear the ice cream truck, I book it down the driveway like the kid-at-heart that I am and eagerly wait my turn, handing over the pile of coins I just dumped out of the coin jar in haste, ripping open the packaging before I even cross the street.  I’m 40 years old, and the neighbor had to caution me to watch for cars as I crossed because I obviously was paying way more attention to my lovely popsicle than I was to the on-coming traffic.

And so, a perfect ending to a beautiful summer day.

It’s the little things…know what I mean?

Lobster and Raccoon…Must Be Maine!

So, I’ve got some pretty exciting news…

HMDDesigns can now be found in Freeport, Maine, right across the street from L.L. Bean!

Through a friend of mine, I connected with a couple who are opening a new artisan gift shop….seriously, right across from the front steps of L.L. Bean (talk about location!).  They loved my bright, cheerful items and kids bags, and made a large, initial purchase with potential for repeat orders….assuming my things sell…which they will, right?  Maybe?  Hopefully?

Anyway, the shop is called The Salty Lobster, and will be opening next Friday.  The really cool thing is that they also have a marine touch tank where they will be displaying unique lobsters found by local lobstermen, so the kids can check out the cool crustaceans while mom and dad shop.  Neat, huh!?  The shop is actually named for a famous blue lobster named Salty.

Wanna know what else is cool?  I get to design a Salty Lobster appliqué to put on some of my kids book bags and totes!  Here’s a picture I took of their poster so I could design the appliqué:

I’ll be sure to show you pictures of the bags once they’re made.

But I promised you raccoon, too, didn’t I?

Hubby woke up last night to find a little guy stuck in our trash can.  Not sure what we wanted to do with him, hubby secured him in the can until the morning.  When we got up, we decided to just let him go, but not before we got some pictures, of course!

I guess Rascal was after the Little Caesar’s Pizza we had for dinner last night…too bad we ate it all!  He was looking rather timid when we first opened the lid.

Isn’t he cute!?  I know, I know, wild animals may look cute, but should be treated with cautious wisdom…we were careful, I promise.  We didn’t even try to pet him or anything.  But he IS cute.

He wouldn’t come out while we were still watching him; he decided to sit back and wait us out, instead.  We gave him a little boost by tipping the can up a bit so that he slid out.  Then he took off under one of the cars and disappeared from there.  Guess we’ll have to start strapping down our trash can lid.