I am glad you chose to visit! My blog is a compilation of the many hats I find myself wearing. On any given day I may be an encourager, an instructor, or just a lady who is venting. You, dear reader, will probably identify with my triumphs and my tribulations! These snapshots fit into my Life Scrapbook I have named A. McInnis Artworks. I hope you will find something worth your while.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Word of the Day: PERSEVERANCE

You may have seen my Facebook post about the recent building of a concrete stone wall for my garden and my frenzy to complete it without any help. You may have wondered "what the heck?" Let me explain.

Of all the character traits my parents modeled for my siblings and me, the number one trait was perseverance. You may not care for my family, but one thing you can never say is that we are quitters.

 About 40 years ago my parents lost all their worldly goods because of some difficult economic times and decisions. They lost their home, their furniture (except for a bedroom set and dining room set). They lost their cars, other possessions and a good size chunk of real estate in the form of a golf course and a subdivision. They separated and then divorced after 30 years of marriage. Both were down for the count...it's the closest I had ever seen them go to the precipice of despair. I was devastated to see them almost give in to the temptations that came with being totally void of hope.

My mother, who had never had a job beside being a wife and mother, landed a good job. Several jobs at one time, I might add. Then she got another better job, made her way alone and ended up touring Europe and living comfortably. My father was hit emotionally and financially even harder than my mother. But he got another job and after several years of struggling found his way back into the photography business and started over. They re-married and in the process of putting their lives together again suffered another business loss...but after that, their marriage was once again
strong and they left this world a better place for their final examples of fortitude and hanging onto their faith in God and each other.

My family is an athletic one...except for me. Funny that I should marry a coach. But even though I don't particularly like sports, I like the fact that the games teach grit and determination. If you don't succeed at first, you put your nose to the grindstone and dig deeper and try again. One of the principles our family lives by is this,
"The shame is not in falling. The shame is in not rising and fighting again."

When we prepared for our first grandchild's birth, we were delighted! We painted, decorated, planned, bought little clothes...everything with a heart full of expectation and excitement. The day of the birth we were presented with a beautiful baby boy who had suffered a stroke. How severe? What do we expect? We were given no hope...he may never walk, he may never talk. NICU became our home away from home...but we saw something in that tiny person. Every time we would touch him or talk to him his heart monitor would speed up and he'd turn his head toward us.

Something happened to me in that NICU...I decided NOT to take "No way" as an answer.
At four, he knew his states and capitals. Last night he started first base on his high school team's baseball team. Yes, he is paralyzed all the way down his right side. Yes, he has an unorthodox manner of throwing and running. But, darn it, he doesn't quit. He gets tired, he has to take medicine, peers have made fun of him, he gets down sometime, but he perseveres. When he was little I would tell him, " If I could have chosen any little boy from the Little Boy Store,
it would have been you!" That's still as true today as it was then.

God allows certain situations in our life to teach us, to mold us and to shape us for His glory. We aren't here to live the HGTV life. We are here to show the love of God to others and to direct them toward God...to help them persevere to the end.

That concrete stone edging on my flower garden was a symbol to me. Some physical problems have had me very down the past two years. My endurance began flagging...my attitude did, too. So I pictured what I wanted the edge of my garden to look like in my mind's eye. While I was digging that 20 foot trench and picking up those concrete stones, I kept my "eye on the prize"...I refused to stop until I completed the task.

 I hope to do that with the remainder of my life. I want my children to be able to say that I persevered to the end. More than that, I want my Savior to say, " Well done, good and faithful servant." That's what I want for you, too, dear reader. No matter what you have faced, don't give up. Persevere. With God's help and a little help from your friends and family, YOU CAN RISE FROM THE ASHES AND SOAR ONCE MORE!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Tale of Two Camellias

Even though I have a cold and am bone tired, someone very special to me gave us two camellias in memory of my mother in law and my daddy, and we really needed to get them planted. They appeared slightly in distress and today was the only day to do it or who knows what might happen to them.
                                     {Pretend you see a picture of two beautiful camellias here.}

So not only am I dealing with emotional turmoil, a new laptop with Windows 8, and a bad cold, here we are out on a cold Sunday afternoon trying to plant two huge camellia bushes! I took some really pretty pictures of the blooms, but I can't figure out how to transfer the pictures from my phone or camera to the new laptop...oh, double ugh!
                                     {This space should contain a picture of the bed before.}
We had originally planned to revamp a flower bed by the dining room window and it had been tilled and was essentially ready for planting. I wanted to use dry stacked stone for the border. But as time had gone by, I decided that landscape stones , aka concrete shaped stones, would be more cost effective and probably be a little neater. So started the stone search saga...
                                      {Here's the picture of the "stone" we wanted.}
"Let's just run to Home Depot," I implored, "and get it over with." Why certainly... except everything that's listed "in store" is NOT and there wasn't one person who could help us. Here we stood on a wet Sunday afternoon, nose running like a faucet, and not a person in HD could help us find the stone of our search. After 25 futile minutes, we elected to "run by" Walmart...the same stone was nearly a dollar per stone HIGHER! What?! So off we trekked to a more local store, Sutherland's. Need I say more? We came home with a shrimp skewer dinner from Captain D's.
                                         {Picture of Shrimp Skewer Dinner}
We decided to just "till" up the soil and add some stuff and plant the bushes...the border could be put in later...after another hour of labor, the bushes were in...the birdbath had been relocated in between and everything was ready for some extra planting and the elusive border. Just as I sat down to jot this post, out of the corner of my eye, guess who I saw trounce the pink camellia? Yep, our sweet Dottie. I think she may have run away from home after her scolding...

It's almost 6:30, may I go to bed now?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What I've Learned Lately....Very Lately

Wow! It seems forever since I blogged. So much has happened in the few months since I sat down and actually expressed my thoughts on here.

My mother in law and my father recently passed away within 16 days of each other. Both had been ill for the better part of a year and we found ourselves consumed with their care. We have been tethered to our home for the better part of five years because both my husband and I were always "uncomfortable"  going out of town for more than a day with both parents not being well.

It's amazing what you learn about people when the "chips are down". I discovered that a simple note on a card or Facebook or a reassuring phone call can make all the difference in one's feelings. A container of chicken noodle soup is truly good for the soul when presented with love and concern. Attending a funeral or visitation means more than I ever really knew. Why did I NOT understand this years ago? And how will those learned things change the way I act and view others and their problems?

God chose the perfect time to call our loved ones home. A long, cold winter has ended and spring is just around the corner. My husband's grandmother's 100 year old flower bulbs are in full bloom....a sign that spring still represents the renewed hope that life on this earth continues...at least until God gently opens His arms and calls us to our REAL home.

As I begin to put my thoughts down on "virtual paper" once again, it's with the hope that something you read here will help, encourage or boost your spirit to a better, kinder, gentler self.