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This cutie is Vinney. We got him as a pup. He was a friend to each of our boys. We all loved him so much. I think every family has that one pet.
The hubs asked me to construct a timeline. Hmmmm timeline? I asked what he had in mind for this 'timeline'. He said he would like to have dates in our married history (41 years so far) that marked changes. Some of the changes are: births, deaths, moves, jobs, etc.
I have to say that the request seemed to be a dull project to me, but I've been taking it on. Wouldn't you know I would make it much more detailed than he expected. I added vacations taken, large purchases, you name it.
How did I begin? First, I have copies of my Christmas letters in a notebook. Doesn't everybody? The trouble is that the first Christmas letter I wrote was in 1990. That gave me 15 years to look up. Of course there were years I didn't write a Christmas letter.
I started with pencil and paper and realized that was a big mistake because more things would be added as they were discovered. I made a word doc out of what I had already found so that more discoveries could be inserted in the correct space.
I finished with the Christmas letters and then went to the photo albums and some of my diaries. My Mommy's diary had a lot of information. The baby books (Yes, I kept up with them for each of the boys' first 6 years.) were also very helpful. I'm in the midst of all of this. I hope I press through and finish because I'm known to get so detailed that I get overwhelmed and give up.
One thing I've learned during this (looking over our life like this) is that life is fleeting. Things I thought were so very important, really weren't. The highlights are the things we did together. I have to make myself stop having regrets in not being the wife and mother I wish I had been. I did almost the best I could with the information I had for the position. I say 'almost' because I knew I was making some mistakes while in the middle of it all.
All in all, I love the life I've had thus far. I even love the life I have right now. (Yep, pain and all...) I'm excited for the things we'll be adding to the timeline from this point on. With God's help, we'll make some wonderful memories.
I've always wanted to play the guitar. In fact, when I was a senior in high school, a friend and I took a few lessons. Scheduling was difficult and we only learned how to play in one key.
Because I was so excited about playing the guitar, I decided I could play for our youth group prayer and share times we had at one another's homes. Trouble was, I only played in one key and we sang everything in the same key. Those friends were really nice to me. I can only imagine what they thought of that.
Terry couldn't believe how excited I was to see the inventor of "The Chord Buddy" on Shark Tank. I love the system and call it my guitar training wheels. First chance I got, I purchased the whole shooting match, guitar, chord buddy, dvd, song book, case, and stand. You'd of thought I was 6 instead of 59 1/2. lol.
I practiced faithfully for a few weeks and then stuff began happening in my life and I put the guitar in the blue guest room. Yesterday, I decided that no matter how tired or badly I felt, I was going to tune it and do a lesson or two.
The guitar needed to be tuned. It was going well until I got to one of the strings. I just couldn't get it to change! When I looked things over, I realized I had been turning the wrong tightener thingy and loosening the string next to it. (I'm old. You aren't 'sposed to laugh at me.) After I discovered my mistake, everything went well.
You may ask why I'm determined to learn how to play the guitar. Well, I'm thinking it would be fun to write songs to go with the funny book I've written called "Three Teeth and a Toenail". If I can get that done, I MIGHT sing one of them when I do humorous speeches. Terry was a little worried about what I might sing about...oh well!
I like the Chord Buddy system and the way it is taught. I might keep the 'training wheels' on for a long time because my fingers aren't too limber. We'll see.
This idea came from Pinterest via 40 Impressive Repurpose Ideas for Your Homeby: Dilara Dogru January 5th, 2014 in DIY & Crafts
I was so inspired by this post that I had to have the camera night light. Now, I didn't have an old camera, so I went on amazon.com and did a search for old flash cameras. Wow! There were a bunch. The one I purchased was under $20.
This is a picture of the camera before the hubs did his electrical
magic on it. The little cardboard picture frame came from some of the stuff Mama had in her things. It was perfect to display with the camera.
The hubs took all the stuff out of the flash mechanism arm and drilled out some of it to make room for the light socket. The trunk behind it was Daddy's. The china hutch was Mama's. I like to use everything that has meaning to me. The trunk is full of things Mama and my Grandma crocheted. There are also two dresses I wore when I was three years old.
Geraldine's accordion and case still look good displayed on the old china cabinet. When I look at this I think of the words to the song: "This world is not my home. I'm just passing through." It keeps me focused on important things and not material things. I'm still very proud of the camera night light.
41 years is a long...long...long time. There are some who've been married longer than that, but it doesn't diminish the number of years this represents.
I purchased this little chalkboard that sits on our piano. I wanted to somehow have this message in a place I'd see it many times a day. The sunglasses were Mama's and typical of those worn in the 70s. I thought they carried a bit of whimsy with them.
The word, 'established', is interesting. One definition says: "set up on a firm or permanent basis" another says: "achieve permanent acceptance or recognition for". I believe that when the hubs and I stood before God,our pastor, family, and friends in 1975, we promised to establish our home together.
For sure, the process wasn't all that easy. We were really young, both the youngest of six children, and had set ideas of what a marriage should look like. We didn't go to pre-marital counseling because we were afraid the pastor would try to talk us out of being married. The trouble was that we didn't know what we didn't know.
Terry made good money on the oil rig and thought we'd have our brand new trailer house paid off in a matter of months. That hope fell through as the months flew by. I was scared to death of bills so as soon as one came in the mail, I paid it. (Not a bad idea, but I had no idea of how to set up a budget.) The pastor might have given us a window to this information, but we were stubborn and didn't ask.
We wanted to be grown-ups so we didn't ask our parents about budgeting. I had no idea how much to spend on groceries per month. One thing that was funny about us was that we loved our Spanish-style red shag carpeted trailer so much, we didn't eat out much. We didn't think there was a cafe in town that could match the decor or my cooking. (Don't laugh! I did well for a 19 year old.)
Terry had decided that the man was the boss and called all the shots. I had been advised to never allow myself to be pushed around by a man. (You see where this is going?) Let's just say, that little by little the walls came down and we both learned that we loved one another more than wanting our way.
The first chip in my armor came from a Women's Day at church. The speaker told us to put God first, our husband second, our children third, and the rest of the family after that. You may not believe this, but I had no idea. Somehow, I had put my parents second to God and Terry way down the list. That was the beginning of peace in our home.
Another big influence in our lives was Dr. James Dobson. I remember one illustration he gave on his Focus on the Family film. He said that the stuff you purchase requires upkeep. If you buy a swing-set, you'll need to tighten the bolts once in a while. Some people get tired of the up-keep and see a better swing-set in another yard. They move in there with another spouse and sooner or latter, the bolts have to be tightened there, too.
The point was that in every marriage, first, second, third..., you still have the same up-keep and issues. Why not stay with the first one and work it out. That little illustration made an impact on me. I was reminding Terry of that illustration and his answer surprised me. He hadn't forgotten it and it was some of the glue that kept us together.
We are empty-nesters now and don't have the hassles of scheduling life with 3 boys in school activities and needs. It is quiet in our home until Terry gets here. He is always full of fun and jokes. He has taught me to find humor in almost everything. I have learned that my husband of all these years has the best intentions for me and it makes me want to think the best of him.
Before, I was always looking for ulterior motives. There were none. He is the kind of fellow who says what he means and doesn't hide motives. He has a kindness in him that comes from the Lord. (His mother was like that.) I've learned to wait for about 2 seconds before I respond to him if I think he said something hurtful. In that 2 seconds I have time to look into his blue eyes and see the love. That has saved my hide. It has made us closer than ever before.
He has forgiven me every time I didn't pause for 2 seconds. I also learned how to forgive. Our marriage hasn't been perfect, but I'm glad we are established. It is only by the grace of God that each of us found our way.
This week I teased my nephew, Paul, about working too hard. I sang, "Working your fingers to the bone and what do you get?..." His sister was standing nearby and joined me, "Boney fingers!" We laughed and he asked it that was a real song. It is. I don't know why I was surprised that Deborah knew the words to that phrase of the song because her mother, Geraldine, always had a song for every situation. (I've been accused and guilty of that myself.)
We looked through boxes of storage in Bob and Geraldine's storage room. It was difficult to see all the things that were important to my sister all left behind. The truth is: she left everything behind. Deborah actually sorted things for her dad. The job is overwhelming and she did a good job helping him progress through things.
She brought me several boxes marked, "Velma Reeves". (Yep, that's where the 'Velma' in 'Velma Elaine' came from only Velma Reeves was Velma Bell.) I carried the old suitcase that had belonged to Daddy.
Over the years since they have passed away, each of us brothers and sisters have acquired mementos from the things left behind. There were pictures, negatives, and other things. My brother, Jim, was a missionary to the Native Americans in Pruitt, NM in the 70s. One of the members of his church made a beautiful turquoise ring. He also made one for our month old baby, Stephen. It was only right that Jim has the ring now. (Stephen's baby ring is lost.) Other things that we had purchased for our parents were returned to the purchaser(s).
In the boxes were a few Christmas decorations. Boy, those brought back memories. There were letters from cousins and others with special messages in them. Some were death notices. There was an abundance of negatives. I'll check out how much getting those developed costs and do what I can to get the pictures to those who want them. The rest of the boxes had every bill that had ever been paid since 1977.
Now, I'm not putting my mom and sis down or anything because I did the same thing. I almost laughed about it. It took me back. I saw a pair of Mama's special scissors. (The ones I wasn't supposed to run with.) There was a pair of sunglasses from the 70s or 80s. The keys to our 1972 Buick were tiny! I put them in a large mason jar with the scissors and wooden thread spools.
To me, the best 'find' was a few cards from our game of 'authors'. Mama and I played authors and old maid for hours at a time. (Poor Mama, she had to entertain her late arrival when she was probably tired.) I put those in an envelope in preparation for scrapbooking day. (if it ever comes) The last items were funeral books for them. I set them aside to put the newspaper clippings in permanently.
The old suitcase reminds me of Daddy and Mama. They had gone through a lot in their lives and were a little battered as time went by. Still, they were strong and held onto God to the end. In this I see a reflection of myself, battered and hanging on.
Are there any readers out there who know this song? Terry as well as my mom and dad always had to know which way North was when we went into unfamiliar areas. I wasn't all that interested because I knew they would find out and we wouldn't be lost. I could follow them and all would be well.
I always found it amusing when they'd ask and then argue with the host of the home as to what direction they believed North to be. I figured the people who lived there knew that for sure. However, the conversations would drone on and on until the host(s) finally convinced them that North was truly where they (the home owner) said it was. It was these conversations that caused me not to care.
Yep, there were times I thought I would put my brain out of mothballs and try to navigate, but after all the hoopla... I left it to the others who were with me.
I think a lot of people are taking this "leave it to the others" stance on some really important issues in all of our lives. I don't get into political conversations on social media or almost at any time except with people I know very well. I respect people who have made up their minds. However, I do worry about people who just follow the crowd and let other people tell them the way to "true North".
I'm not going to point down any direction. I've done my homework and prayed about my decision. My eyes are wide open. I will vote when the time comes. I've already voted in the primaries. I urge you to vote, but vote as someone who has not just listened to those around you. Vote as someone who has looked at the candidates websites, and prayed for guidance. Vote.
As for the picture, this is the new sticker thingy I ordered for our bathroom ceiling. I was going to paint a compass rose, but I saw this and Terry put it up. I love it.
The first shipment of "Cowboys and Crude Oil" arrived and I've been busy wrapping and addressing copies for those who have sent in orders. If you've already ordered, they will get to you soon. Readers in town or working with Terry, will have theirs as soon as we have a chance to see you. (Terry at work and me...going to town)
Thank you all for supporting this dream of ours. Writing these books helps me deal with pain and also gives me purpose beyond myself. It is my hope that you find them to be entertaining as well as having content to use as food for thought.
Some readers are surprised that there are many other books. Here is a list of the titles I have:
The Nan's Heritage Series-
1. Nan's Journey
2. Elk's Resolve
3. Luke's Legacy
4. The Eyes of a Stranger
5. Timothy's Home
Rescued...A Series of Hope-
1. Some Happy Day
2. Capture the Wandering Heart
3. Walk Slowly Through the Dark
4. The Restless Kansas Wind
5. Running to Her Future
The Nashville Series-
1. Six Miles from Nashville
2. Christmas in Nashville
4. Cowboys and Crude Oil
Whispers - devotional thoughts
Three Teeth and a Toenail - humorous tales of the Littaus
I have copies of all of them. If you're missing some, send me an order or go on amazon.com. Thank you!
Elaine & her Husband, Terry, raised their three sons in "Almostaranch" Texas where they now enjoy spoiling their grandchildren. Many enjoy listening to her humorous take on life. Even the simplest activity takes on a life of its own when Elaine is involved in the telling of it.