fairy tales --

along with 2 million other people apparently -- i got up to watch the royal wedding.  it was beautiful - just right.  it touched on the fairy tale princess fantasy that most little girls dream of without going gaudy and over the top.

princess katherine's dress was beautiful, traditional and modern.  i loved that she kept her hair down and looked like we are "used" to seeing her.

i couldn't help but think about what she must be thinking.  a "commoner" (i dislike that term) when she woke up this morning - now a princess, a dutchess.

and william -- he has some changes coming his way too - he is now considered a "senior royal"  and has a new function.  not to mention his new name - have you seen or heard this? 

here are william and kate's  new "names" (courtesy of yahoo news):

Prince Williams of Wales got another set of titles in time for the wedding, according to an announcement on the official royal wedding website. His full name is now His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Early of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Master of Arts. (According to the official website of the British Monarchy, those who have the title of HRH Prince or Princess do not need to use a last name, though theirs is Mountbatten-Windsor.) As his wife, the former Miss Catherine Elizabeth Middleton is now Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, but most people will probably call her Princess Catherine or Princess Kate .

wow. to read more interesting facts about today's event - click here.

so-- what is the american fascination with the british royal family?  good question.  i can't answer for all of america, but i can for myself.  i wouldn't say i'm fascinated -- in fact, i was starting to get tired of hearing all about it every 5 minutes these past couple of weeks - and debated on wheater i would get up early to watch, or catch a re-run, or news clips.

i guess i feel some sort of connection with this generation of royals.  i remember sitting with my mom at the age of 8 and watching charles and diana's wedding.  i remember where i was when we heard the new of diana's death, and watched the funeral.  i would imagine one day i may see prince william take the throne.  i ilke them.  they seem "real", humble.  i love that william is comfortable at kate's family home, and he would rather serve a meal then be served.

i think we as americans - or even as a world needed this day.  fairy tales really do come true - for a few hours we forgot about all the bad stuff happening, and watched the fairy tale play out before our eyes.

i love the prayer that the couple wrote together for the service today - read by the bishop of london:

"God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage. In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy. Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen."
i wish them much happiness, some privacy and respect, and a long happy life.

here's to fairy tales coming true!


rain, rain, go away

we have had such a rainy spring.  it rained most of easter weekend, it's raining this morning, it's supposed to rain all week long.

i get it -- many have said "atleast it's not snow".  true.  "we need the rain"  true. "april showers bring may flowers". true.

all of those are true - but does it have to rain every day?  wouldn't a little sun help the flowers grow and the trees bud?

i'm soggy.  rain makes me want to crawl into bed with a book, or a good movie.  doing this once in awhile is a treat, but the rate it has been raining nothing will get done.

so -- i guess i'll make the most of it.  settle in with a cup of tea, make some homemade soup for dinner - and listen for the call for the ark  ;)


hard days --

april has stirred up alot of things for me.  all having to do with mom.  it was last year in april that the crazy roller coaster began.  last year easter fell on april 4th.  the weekend before mom and i went on the spiritual life retreat - the last one of the wyoming conference umw, and our last "event".  i was the leader of the retreat - "finding our joy".  mom really went back and forth about whether to go or not.  she was on oxygen for 12 hours a day, and the oxygen condenser was big, cumbersome, and loud.  she had so many meds to take at different times -- she had one excuse after the other as to why she should stay home.  she didn't want me to have to keep track of her and "her stuff" and run  and present a retreat too.  as you can imagine, i wouldn't take that excuse - packed her and her stuff up in the car and off we went.  besides -- there were plenty of people there that i knew would help if asked, and a friend was coming with us.

i'm so glad she went -- she was too.  it was later in that week after getting home that she developed what we thought was pneumonia. we were all getting together on saturday - the day before easter for dinner because paul had to work easter day.  she really wasn't feeling great and didn't know if she should come down.  my sister and i convinced her to come.  sigh.  poor thing, she was so sick and miserable - couldn't breath very well, but she came and we had dinner.  that night, around 1 or 2 AM dad called me and said that she had had enough and wanted to go to the ER.  paul and i took her -- dad hates hospitals.  and so the roller coaster began.

she was admitted to the hospital on easter sunday, and by that evening she was put on a ventilator because they found her unresponsive.  she was on that vent for 11 days.  her stay in the hospital lasted 2 months - in and out of ICU unresponsive 3 times - on the vent twice and "bagged" once.  the 6 months that followed took us back and forth to the hospital, good days, bad days.  and finally hospice care.

today marks 6 months since her death.  is it any wonder that april has been an emotional month.

just the other day i was going through my email inbox and came across the almost daily emails i wrote to family updating them on her condition throughout those 6 months.  i found myself reading through them - reliving the emotions.  i did not erase them - i tucked them all neatly in a folder.

yesterday in church we sang one of mom's favorite hymns, and one we sang at her funeral.  it was a tough thing to get through, but at the same time i felt close to her too.

i've stopped myself countless times from picking up the phone to ask her a question.  i've thought countless times about buying something i've seen in a store.  daily glitches --

grieving is such a strange process.  everyone does it differently, and who is to say that someone does it correctly.  we all do it the best we can.  this has been the hardest thing i've had to deal with.  some days are better then others.  some days i feel so lost, others my emotions are more in check.  don't get me wrong - i'm not sitting around miserable by any means - but i probably am stuffing and not dealing with some of it too.  but -- it's a process.  and it's still "new".

there will be more tough days -- mother's day is coming, her birthday, etc. but i'll get through them - however i do, and it's ok.  time will dry some tears, but not erase.

the picture above was taken in september of 2009.  i love it -- she was feeling good at this point.  happy and playing with our brand new puppy - charlie.  none of us knowing what a year would mean.

i love you mom!  i miss you like crazy -- but i feel your hand on my shoulder.


a blog is born

i launched a new blog the other day --  serenity lane designs .  it's where i will post cards and other projects i'm working on.  it's very exciting!

i'm working on some other things -- letting my creativity out of the box i guess you could say.  i'm working on getting a shop opened on - under the same name - serenity lane designs.  i've also found a couple of paper craft and rubber stamping magazines looking for submissions.  this is exciting to me - i love to create, and i love to write, so why not.  i have to look into the writer's guidelines and editorial calendar and then get creative.

so -- be watching watching to see what i'm up to next!  stop by and visit my new blog -- the link is above, or in the sidebar to the right.  :)

til next time ---


extreme couponing --

those of you who are friends with me on facebook probably saw my status the other day about the show i watched on extreme couponing. 

well, it's still bothering me. :)

a little background for those of you just joining the conversation -- there is a new reality tv show on TLC called Extreme Couponing.  the premise is that people spend time cutting coupons, shopping sales, etc to get great deals.

don't get me wrong -- i love the concept of this show, i don't watch every episode, but i've seen a few.  a show i caught the other day showed a couple, the wife spent 6 hours researching online, cutting coupons, calling stores, browsing flyers for 1 of 4 weekly shopping trips.

the woman headed off to the store, loaded up her carts, and headed to the check out.  she bought $2000 worth of groceries - after coupons the total was $103.  AWESOME!

i use coupons -- ok, when i remember to pick them up from the counter when i leave, but i use them.  i'd love to be able to do this on a much smaller scale.

what bothers me is it all seems like such a waste.  this same woman bought 67 bottles of mustard.  her husband doesn't use it and the kids aren't crazy about it.  so, why 67 jars?  her reasoning was that she got them for about 30 cents each, and there is no expiration date on mustard.   ummm, ok.

same woman - lets the cameras into her house - it's like a grocery store.  rooms taken over by shelving units - stocked with "stuff". under their children's beds packages of toilet paper, paper towels.  the extra shower turned into a closet for toilet paper - the garage doesn't house a car.

ok -- i love a good deal as much as the next lady, but really?  i understand it's the "thrill" of the chase - but seriously, can you really use 300 sticks of deodorant before they expire?

now -- imagine one of these couponers pulling up a truck at the local food pantry, or homeless shelter and dropping off bag upon bag of this stuff - how rewarding for all involved.  this morning on the today show there was a story about how in one town -- i think in SC people are packing things - food,  to hand out to the kids to take home for the weekend so they have something to eat - alot of the kids in thier community are only eating when they go to school.  (you can watch the video here.)

the couponers could still have the thrill of the chase - feed thier family, and probably half of the town.

like i said before - i don't watch the show every week, or catch every episode.  maybe there are families who do this - shop for what they need and donate the rest, and if they do, good for them - please let me know,  and i'll send you my extra coupons. :)


update - 4/17

ok -- i just watched another episode of extreme couponing -- i know what your thinking, why do you torture yourself?  anyway ----- there was a guy on tonight who shopped (for alot of stuff!!!) with coupons -- but he also used his skills to shop and get tons of stuff to send to the troops overseas.  woohoo --- now, that's more like it!


new experiences -

this weekend was full of old, but new experiences for me.

it was the first time since the oral surgery and new dentures that i had real "public engagements".

on saturday i presented a short bible study to a wonderful group of women.  many of these ladies i haven't seen since the surgery.  compliments came rolling in.  the presentation went well - although there are still some sounds and letters that are tricky for me.  i was a little apprehensive - but this time not for how i looked, but for how i sounded, and if they would be able to understand me.  but it all went well - and i know with more practice, time and continued healing my speech will be back to normal.

on sunday we had a huge birthday party for my father-in-law's 80th birthday.  before this i would have done almost anything to avoid  the camera.  i found myself a little more comfortable when it came time for  family pictures.  still have some mental and emotional work - but it is definitely a start!

here are some pictures from yesterday's celebration.

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