Just a glimpse of me...

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Do you ever feel STUCK? In 2000, I began looking for answers to some tough questions in my life. I'd searched high & low and finally conceded to search the promises found in the Bible. Those promises have sustained & guided me through the loss of a parent, the struggle with anxiety & depression, the loss of a valued relationship and so much more! I've found joy amid the pain. And, I want to share it with you!

15 November 2017

Transitions

Tonight, I sat on the floor beside an 8-month old pet chicken that I'd raised from when she was 2 days old... and I saw her take her final breaths. She was a gift for our 4 year old granddaughter last Easter. BUT, I had done the hard work to get that chicken to a healthy 8-month old pullet. She'd recently begun laying tiny little white eggs. She was our only "girl" to lay white ones. 

Last spring, I held one of our hens in my arms as she took some of her final breaths. It was late at night. I fed her water from a medicine dropper. I put soft food by her beak while she licked it. She didn't make it through the night. She'd been my little buddy - who would always come to check in with me every hour or so while they were out free-ranging. I sobbed when she was gone.

A little over 15 years ago, I sat beside my father, kissed him on the forehead and whispered some words of comfort and promise. I held his hand as I listened to him exhale that last breath of air. In that moment, I was absolutely broken yet, at the same time absolutely certain that he was in a better place. I had watched his body be ravaged by cancer for the past 7+ months. I had accompanied him & my mother on multiple medical visits. I'd sat by him in a critical care room one night when we were certain the end was moments away.

How can I possibly write about the death of two pets and my own father in the same post? It seems ridiculous... disrespectful... bizarre.

But, tonight as I watched the life ebb away from my pullet, "Maggie", I thought of the peace that prevailed as my own father left this earthly life. And, I thought about how precious life is -- even for animals.

When my father passed, I could do nothing to prevent what happened. I went into those last moments believing & knowing in my heart of hearts that God could have healed & restored his body in the blink of an eye. I knew that either his healing here on earth or his healing by passing into heaven would be quite a transition from where he was in those final moments. All I wanted to do was bring peace to the moment... the moment of transition.


And, tonight I was reminded once again that life is full of transitions. We transition from being young to being old. We transition from being child to parent. We transition from able-bodied to broken. We transition from being children to being adults. Some transition from being rich to being poor (and vice versa). Some transition from being single to be being married... to being single. My mother transitioned from being a secure, nurtured wife to being an unsure & somewhat scared widow -- as my father breathed his last breath.

Life is anything but stationary. It's full of transitions. Some seem happy. Others seem sad. May we walk with those around us... and help to make some of those transitions more peaceful.




25 May 2017

The Simple Joys - May in Indiana

The SIMPLE JOYS surround us... no matter where we are. Savor the simple joys: like blooming trees in Indiana or lush mountain greenery in the Kentucky mountains or... those things that surround YOU wherever YOU are!!

We changed the cover photo on the When You're StuckInIndiana Facebook page today to this shot taken while looking east from our backyard in the "land of stuckinindiana"...
Blooms on one of our ornamental trees -
a crabapple tree :)
Cameo by our NEIGHBOR, Eddy,
over by the white barn.

The old saying says, "April showers bring May flowers." It would seem that we got our fair share of showers in April and, we're getting an extra dose in May. In addition to a lot of rain, we've gotten some pretty strong winds. The wind the other day broke down and/or destroyed the blooms on all of our irises and many of our other flowers. It also continued to beat up on our fence out back:





I am choosing to "embrace the beauty in the broken" - ha ha! The hole in the fence makes a great frame for our wonderful open country view. It also makes this coming holiday weekend's fence tear-down and rebuild activity much easier :/

There's a lesson to be learned there :)

... and now to go outside in the rain to clean those clogged gutters...

08 March 2017

Beware of ONLINE FRIENDS...

I met someone online a few years back. 

Isn't that a great beginning to a horror story!!!

This person is a woman - like me. And, we conversed pretty regularly for the next two and a half years. Through our conversations:

18 December 2016

2016 August 1 of 3 ONE THOUSAND GIFTS

Three Gifts A Day: AUGUST 2016
Based on the book, One Thousand Gifts, (by Ann Voskamp) #1000Gifts #JoyDare
I took the 1,000 Gifts Dare for the year of 2012... continued in 2013... and 2014... and 2015. Going to hit 5,000 in 2016!!! GOD IS FULL OF BLESSINGS...


Mon 8-1
4906 playing house - aka - making the new apt seem more like home

4907 meeting new people at UPike
4908 deer sightings at the new apartment

Tues 8-2
4909 getting familiar with new places

4910 buying myself a happy ("glam gloves") for the new apartment
4911 liking my spouse - you know a lot of people don't :O

Wed 8-3
4912 shopping in jammies - well, covered up with a long sundress
4913 reminders of the Little
PBS kids on TV
4914 sneaking up onto the apartment roof for a quick the view

Thurs 8-4
4915 early morning deer outside the window

4916 lunch with new girlfriends
4917 cool color blends for the apartment
Fri 8-5
4918 mountain air in the morning
4919 historical registry places

4920 pretty scenery along the road of life

Sat 8-6
4921 a happy helper for the household chores

4922 picking up the slack
4923 feeding green tomato-plant-eating demon-caterpillars to the hens

Sun 8-7
4924 the color of blue - sky, pool, etc.
4925 pool time with the Little

4926 summer free-style dinners

Mon 8-8 - school day off for the Little
4927 running errands with the Little
4928 visiting Great Grandma and Great Grandpa

4929 visiting a Great Uncle and Great Aunt
Tues 8-9
4930 a few hours of quietness
4931 some things never chang
e (cat on the fireplace mantle!)
4932 evening cuddles
Wed 8-10
4933 a new vacuum cleaner that doesn't weigh 2 tons
(there's something to be said for inexpensive K-Mart appliances - ha ha!)
4934 gorgeous sunsets played out on the eastern sky at our stuckinindiana home
4935 the blessing of having a view and a cement pond here in stuckinindiana

2016 AUGUST 1of3 ONE THOUSAND GIFTS

There are more blessings to come! GOD IS FULL OF THEM! Search for other daily blessings from us by searching for the blog labels of: #1000Gifts #JoyDare #1KGiftsJoyDare

16 December 2016

Just One of Those Days

Yesterday was... one of those days! It was a day I'd love to forget. It was a day that I never want to forget. And hence... this post.

The day began with a wonderful wiggly wake-up from the Little around 6am. That is one of the best ways to start out any day. The joy of young children is contagious! We had a bit of fun when we got the day mixed up & sent her to school in her jammies for Pajama Day -- which is actually today!! Thankfully the school provided her with a long top to go over her tights and the pajamas were sent home. The Little's Mommy made it to work safely - which is always a blessing. My loved ones driving in snowy, cold conditions isn't my favorite scenario.

The sky was clear & blue as the sun rose over the barren field adjacent to our yard. It was a beautiful sunrise. But, the temps were horrendous. At 8am the air temp was 3 degrees and the windchill was -15! Our seven chickens refused to leave their coop area in the corner of the barn. It was a toasty 14 degrees in there.

The chickens gobbled up the warm oatmeal mix I served them and then made a big chicken pile - cooing, fluffing their feathers and grooming one another. Three warm eggs were waiting for me in the laying boxes. Our new girls are less than a year old & laying every day so far. The older 4 each take about every other day off. 

When I returned inside from the barn, the madness began... as I rushed around getting things in order to head out for the 5+ hour drive to our Kentucky home for the LOML's Christmas party with the Prez and First Lady of the university. One of the projects that had to be completed before leaving turned into a huge challenge - involving a technology glitch and me possibly telling the LOML that I hated him. (Note to self: Even if there's a fine line between love and hate, some things should just STAY in your head!!!) I made it out the door over an hour behind schedule.

The first 4 hours of the drive went well with me singing along to SiriusXM The Message and the Carpenter's Christmas Album. The temps were low but, the roads were clear and dry. On a side note... people heading east from Lexington on the Mountain Parkway drive REALLY fast!!


An hour down the road, the car traveling in front of me hit a pothole that I wasn't able to avoid. I hit hard - jarring my teeth. And, Mini Coopers with racing, run-flat tires don't handle potholes and bumps well. Immediately the alarms went off that the front right tire needed to be checked. I rounded a corner and pulled into a crowded gas station. Gas stations are few and far between on the Parkway. (Thanks God for the placement of that pothole.) I maneuvered my little car between all the trucks pulling giant horse trailers and was greeted by a sea of men in uniforms -- Carhartts for some & police uniforms for others. They checked my tire & put air in it & I was on my way. Their posse was transporting elk from Kentucky to West Virginia to introduce them to a new habitat. AND, the caravan of trucks, trailers & cars were about ready to head out. They said they would look out for me as they traveled east -- in case I had any issues with the flat run-flat tire.

I was grateful to get back on the road until about 15 miles down the road when a semi decided to disregard his red light causing me to careen over to the opposite side of the 4-lane road toward oncoming traffic. I swerved back to my side of the road right in time to just miss colliding with a concrete barrier just beyond the intersection that separated the 4 lanes. 

I arrived to the holiday party well over an hour late and visibly shaken. The home was decorated beautifully & the conversation and laughter were genuine and healing. My mind & mood were quickly won over by the love & friendship of my new Kentucky family. What a blessing to have great people to share the journey of life. 

I've been thinking about how close I came to not being there that night or possibly ever again. But, I am so grateful that God protected me and provided for me from the moment I awoke until the moment I rested my head on the pillow. Some days are just too full to believe. And, this was a day that gave me a run for my money (as my mom says). 

My day was FULL of reminders to cherish the moments we have here on earth. And I thought a lot about how glad I am that I know where I'm going when this life is over! Because in the blink of an eye... everything can change!

29 November 2016

Abigail - Wise and Determined

She was beautiful & intelligent... She was wise and determined to take action... She prevented disaster from happening to good people... She set a great example for those around her... She was ABIGAIL, wife of Nabal.

As some of you know, we became "backyard chicken" owners in the spring of 2015. We got 5 pullets (female chickens under the age of 1) when they were about 14 weeks old. Over the past 18+ months our 3.5 acre yard has become their home. I'd been advised by a friend who had grown up with chickens that I would be surprised by how much individual personality they exhibited. And... I was surprised.

I'd decided early on that I wanted to name the girls based upon their personalities & actions. So, I began observing them. While others tried to name them things like "Big Booty Judy", my mind was set upon using women's names from the Bible. I thought this could be a great lesson in the years to come for our then 2 year old "Little" one. A few names came to mind - as I was more familiar with their stories in the Bible. I consulted with my favorite female scholar & sister friend, Aunt Kimmy, for confirmation of my thoughts & additional name recommendations. I took notes of our conversation that day as we sat beside the cement pond. I still have those notes.

As the weeks went by, the first one to be named was Abigail. She was the first to allow the Little to pick her up. She was the first to jump on top of their "Spa". She was the first to investigate the perches I'd made inside their chicken run. She was the first to lead them back to the run and into the chicken coop at dusk. She was the first of many things. She was beautiful -- with 3 dominant white feathers at the base of each wing. The others seemed to put her in a place of leadership. She would often call out for them when a hawk was heard screeching in the distance.

We lost our Abigail to a predator the day before Thanksgiving. I was a bit surprised at how emotional I was over it. It was pretty traumatic seeing what that animal did to her. However, my sadness went deeper than that. I, an educated and most-of-the-time rational adult, had begun to see those chickens as more than mere wild animals.

I returned to the Bible to read the story of Abigail in the 25th chapter of 1 Samuel. And, I consulted a post from Bible Study Tools as I reflected upon the name I'd chosen for her in those early days. If you're able, take a few minutes to read the story in 1 Samuel 25. Also, here are a few excerpts from the Bible Study Tools post:
Abigail ("whose father is joy") definitely belongs in the study of great women of the Bible. She is the one (in our study) whom most people are less likely to know. Scripture presents her as a beautiful, intelligent woman whose lot in life is one of being married to a rich fool. Abigail reveals how wisdom and determined action need to partner in order to save good people from disaster. Being wise in itself may not be sufficient in some situations. Without taking immediate action, it is possible to simply stand by and watch destruction that could be avoided. Abigail was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance. She was both beautiful and intelligent. Except for her intervention, the obliteration of her husband and his household would surely have been the result. She stood in the gap protecting both parties. Her decisive action allowed life to continue. She seized the information given, understood what needed to be done, and then did it.
It appears that our Abigail lost her life in protecting the other 4 hens - who hid up in the branches of a thicket until I came calling for them. Although the outcome of our Abigail and the Abigail in the Old Testament are different, I see so many similarities between them. I am thankful that I felt led to name her ABIGAIL!
11-23-16
RIP ABIGAIL
 05-30-15
1st to perch
each night early on
6-4-16
baby Abigail pic
5 days after arriving
at our home

6-6-15
first to check out
the "Spa" roof

6-7-15
hanging out with the Little

6-13-16
first to eat from
my hand

6-13-15
first to eat from
the Little's hand

6-14-15
first to let
the Little hold her

11-13-16
Abigail & Rachel
helping "rake" leaves

PS In case you are wondering, the names chosen over those early months for the other 4 hens were:
  • Esther 
  • Elizabeth 
  • Rachel 
  • Lydia

11 November 2016

Veterans Day THANK YOU!

On this day... on every day... WE THANK YOU for your service!

There are many great things about our country. There are many things that we need to continue to work on in our country. YET, we cannot forget or fail to honor the men & women who are no longer in active duty and those who currently serve in the Armed Forces. I appreciate the men & women who made sacrifices for, not only a better country, but for a better world. In addition, a debt of gratitude is owed to the parents, spouses, siblings, children & loved ones who have sacrificed so that their loved one could serve.

Veterans Day is specifically set aside to honor those who are no longer in active service. Many gave their lives. Many have gone unnoticed. Our veterans modeled a love and a life that has influenced future generations to step forward and take the mantle upon their shoulders.

For those who served and for those who serve now and for those who will serve in the years to come...

WE SAY THANK YOU!

09 November 2016

When In Doubt... Do or Don't?

Just a quick "morning after" share in the wake of our Presidential Election of 2016...

A personal friend shared some great words of advice this morning...


"Watch what you say and post today, friends.
There are a LOT of emotions flowing.
Happy about it or upset about it,
it's better to not say something than wish you hadn't."
~ A. S. Fletcher #quote

It's great advice for every day really. If we could just hold our tongues until our heads & hearts got to weigh in and pair up with our words, how much smoother would life go?

As a little girl my mom said this over & over & over again to me:
"If you can't say something good, don't say anything at all."  

(Apparently I was very vocal with my views, with my disappointments, with my expectations, with my disapproval's, etc.  Hopefully I have gotten a little better with that!!)

A great reminder was given to me again this morning through the words of a friend! Those words resonated with the very core of my being. And... when I see or hear words that resonate with me in a strong way, I share them... that's just what I do!

31 October 2016

Us The Duo - Take Me Home / Finding God In The Ruins

Trina won her heavenly reward today - cancer lost its battle against her body. 

This is a GREAT video for anyone who is hurting, who needs encouragement or wants to provide encouragement, etc.  Make sure to read the script that goes along with the video.

Home is where the heart is... God will take you home to His arms.

RIP Trina! Prayers covering your loved one who are grieving your presence in this earthly world.


Why Am I Doing This? #write31days 10-31-16

I don't know how many times this month (October 2016) I have asked myself,
"WHY AM I DOING THIS!?!?!?!"

This has been my 5th year of participating in the #write31days challenge that was extended several years back by Myquillyn Smith of The Nesting Place. I decided to "free-write" the posts this month which is a good mental exercise for me. However, I began the month with the first 8 days on the high seas with limited internet connection, then 12 days of the month in Kentucky, and one day in Virginia. That left me with only 7 days in my "regular home". And, I must admit there've been a few days which turned out quite differently than what I'd hoped. Either way, I've enjoyed the challenge. 

Thanks Myquillin for the challenge. Love the byline on the Nesting Place's page:
"It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." 

And, wow... my writing is certainly NOT perfect... but, perhaps it can be beautiful to someone. What a great motto for each of us to embrace in so many areas of our lives. I lived many years when I strived for perfection and refused to see beauty elsewhere. Those years are over - with just a few bumps in the road from time to time. Life has become beautiful despite the messes, mistakes, challenges & losses.

So... why AM I doing this? This blogging... this Facebook page... this Pinterest page... this Twitter account... this Instagram account...???? Why am I doing it all?? 

An affirmation came this week in the form of a notification from the Facebook page I started and manage (which is affectionately called the stuckinindiana page). I get notice most of the time when someone has liked or shared a post that I shared initially. When I got notice of someone liking & sharing a picture (aka a stuckinindiana pairing) that I'd posted way back on December 9, 2015, I was reminded why I do this. The 2015 pairing liked and shared a few days ago was:
"If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman,
I shall feel that I have worked with God."
~ G. K. Chesterton  #quote

Each of us has the opportunity to put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman... and thus work with God. That is my hope & my dream... and why I am doing this.

This is MY LAST POST for the 2016 October #write31days challenge. And, over the month, I've come up with ideas for probably another 20-25 posts. Who knows when the next one will happen :)

5 Minute Free-For-All - Why Am I Doing This? #write31days 10-31-16

Here's the page for direct links to all 31 of the posts: 5 Minute Free-for-All