Monday, May 9, 2016

When Life Gets Messy

Hi Friends!!

 I don't often get too personal on my blog, but today I am feeling a holy nudge to share from my heart.  When God nudges like this, I do my best to act on it!

Hope you'll stick with me.  This kind of
sharing isn't easy.

This is probably the longest post I have ever
written, so feel free to read it in sections
and come back to read the rest!

*****NOTE:  I will be referring to a family member as an
addict instead of using their name.  Please know that I
have great compassion for those who become addicted. It is not
anything anyone would desire for themselves, and it does not make
them any less of a person than you or I.  We all have our battles. 
Some battles are just more apparent than others. 
I have equal compassion for those whose lives are 
impacted by the addiction of a loved one or friend. 

As some of you already know, my MIL has dementia.  My amazing mother also had dementia and went to be with Jesus in 2004.  We knew the signs, and saw it start to happen
with my MIL 3-4 years ago.

My MIL was a very accomplished, independent woman, with a thriving career as an RN.  She was an excellent ballroom dancer, and she gifted my life with the most wonderful man I could ask for!  Sadly, she and my FIL split many years ago, and she has remained

Her life began falling apart when one of her adult children became addicted
to cocaine.  She had done a good job of preparing for her retirement years with a beautiful home she updated, life insurance,
and a nice savings account to provide for her care when she could no longer work.

Over a period of about 8-10 years, her life being stripped daily by the demands of an addict, his need for money, constant arrests, treatments, etc...she was worn down and all that remained was a frazzled, depressed woman-a woman who was now beginning her journey with dementia.  Her beautiful home had been taken over by drug dealers and users while she did live-in care for a much older woman. Since she hadn't made a mortgage payment in years, she lost the now battered, unkempt, home to foreclosure.  
Her savings and assets of over 500k were gone, and she wasn't even able to follow through with her bankruptcy payments.  It was at this point, with her memory beginning to fail, and her oft times struggle to speak intelligibly, that she sought our help. All the stress had taken it's toll.

We had done everything we could for years to avert this tragedy, to no avail.  Some of you are very familiar with the plague of addiction and codependency, and the havoc it can wreak.  
I am praying for all who read this who might be in a similar place with a friend
or family member.

Her codependency with the addict overshadowed every facet of her daily life, and ours too.  She didn't bond with her grandchildren or great grandchildren, and had basically nothing to do with her other adult children.  The addict was the constant focus of all her attention, and could do no wrong. We were being lied to continually in their efforts to get money from us since she had no more. 

This was a big, kind of bitter tasting pill to swallow, friends.

But God...

The addict had taken everything from her,not because he was bad, but because addicts live only for the next fix, and will do whatever they have to do to get it. A mess was left  behind. And it was a HUGE mess.

I took over handling her finances, dealing with the accountant,the IRS,the bankruptcy
attorney,the bank,and driving her to medical evaluations and Dr. appointments. The pace
was dizzying for quite awhile, and really wore me down. I always turned to God for what I needed.  Even though He strengthened me, I still felt sometimes like I was just barely hanging onto my own sanity.

She lost her job as a live-in caregiver,and was no longer able to handle nursing responsibilities because her short term memory was failing. She moved in with us until we could make other arrangements. She was very unhappy at that point,and the addict was serving a term in prison. We found a place for her to live, moved her in and she was really upset with us. She wanted to wait til he was out of prison, and live with him. 

The addict got out of prison soon after, and life got really difficult again. He wanted her out of the retirement community and wanted to live with her--something we could not allow.  He fed her unhappiness,and her desire to leave the community, but we stood our ground.

BUT, the only thing that mattered to her was making sure he transitioned back into a normal, clean, life.  So with a lot of prayer... I mean a lot of prayer, we pulled ourselves up by the bootstraps and dove into helping him in every way we could.  The help was contingent on him staying clean-which he was desperately committed to because he vowed he wouldn't go back to prison.

We helped with living expenses until he could get his driver's license again, providing him with a place to live, a phone, and food money.  I took him shopping and to his parole officer appointments, and helped him look for employment, not very easy for a felon. Since my MIL could no longer drive, when he was able to get his license, we gave him her car.  We let him know as we had all along that we love him, and just want him to be healthy and happy, but that he had to make it on his own, and not rely on us or his mother any more.

My MIL eventually began to see that the retirement community we had chosen for her was a good place.  We knew we had done the best thing for her, but it took her over a year to begin to see it.


the recovering addict has been clean for over 2.5 years, has been gainfully employed and supporting himself for over 1 year!!  We couldn't be more pleased, and neither could my MIL.  

We are so blessed that even though this path was very difficult, she was able to see him resume a normal life, and know that ALL of her children are doing well and are happy!  ONLY BY THE GRACE OF GOD!!  And isn't that what all of us mothers want for each our children?

We had my MIL over for Mother's Day yesterday.  She loved her gift, and my sweet hubby made a wonderful brunch for us to enjoy.  When I was taking her home she was reflecting on her life with my FIL, and said "I'm glad he is happy.  I am happy, too."  Those words swelled in my heart and I was so beyond thankful to hear them!  I honestly wasn't sure I ever would.  For so long all I heard was how unhappy she was and how we messed up her life.  I teared up, and thanked God, from whom all blessings flow.

It's been a long road, friends, and it isn't over yet. In some ways, I feel that I am grieving the losses we incurred during that period of time in our personal lives, with our children and grandchildren, friendships, and losing momentum with my shop that I have invested so much time and energy in. I would love it if you would pray for this for me.  Each day is better, but I know I still have a little way to go. Thank you so much!


{all flower images via and}

You know, we never know what side roads await us in this life.  But we can know, if we have trusted our lives to Christ, that He is always with us, and is busy making our paths straight, giving us strength to carry on, and bestowing grace upon grace on us... even when we don't "feel" like He is.  

He is my sanctuary, my safe place, my Lord, and my Father.  My hope is that through my life and my days, people will see Him at work in me.  I am definitely a work in progress!! I am His child and His work, and He loves me even when I don't get it right. Amazing GRACE!

So, when life gets messy, 
don't throw in the towel! Trust God minute by minute to see you through. It will probably still be a battle, but you will feel strengthened right when you need it most!

We would have bungled things for sure without Him because of the wide range of emotions we had all through it.  It was not very pretty at times, that's for certain. We know there are still more battles ahead, and that each one we survive helps us trust more, and handle the next one a little better.  Thank You, Lord!!

Here's to life...
the good, the messy, the losses and the victories!!

Y'all are sweet life blessings to me!
May your week be filled with simple joys and smiles!

I hope this has encouraged you in some small way!


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Gratitude and Wedding Fun!

Happy Wednesday!

How are you?

Things here are good!  There is always a lot going on, but I'm sure 
there is at your place, too!!

Sooo...what have you been up to?  

I have been watching grandies, making and listing stuff in my shop, cooking, cleaning, sorting, digging, purging...all the ordinary stuff!

Stunning flowers via West Elm

Just remember though, God inhabits the ordinary, too.

All of it!  

He is working on my heart attitude
so I can get to where I do all those ordinary things with great joy!  It's all about perspective!

Thank You Lord, I have a home to clean.  So many aren't as fortunate.  Thank You Lord, that I have water to clean dishes with....

See how that changes
things up?

Cultivating a grateful heart is one of the ways we can find Him
and experience joy and fulfillment in the
mundane tasks of life.

{although creating and grandies are a blast!!}

The photo above is from West Elm's blog and they are giving advice on wedding flowers. Check it out!  Their blog is gorgeous and no, I am not getting paid to say that!  

I have the joy of participating in weddings each year through my creations, and I just love it!

Here are a couple things customers are using so far this year!

The soon to be bride these lavender sachets  are for is going to give them to her sister as a way to ask her to be her maid of honor!

She will wrap them separately and give her
the large one last.  Too much fun!!!

These little coastal pumpkins have been
very popular over the last few years.
They will be used as part of the coastal centerpieces at a wedding reception.

If I can help with your special celebration,
just let me know!  Birthdays, teacher gifts, anniversaries, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving...I have covered it all!

It would be my honor to create something wonderful for you!

Have a blessed day!
And go annoy that dirty ol' devil today!!


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