Dearly Beloved

I wanted to share a bit of happiness today: Last Saturday, August 3rd, my nephew and now brand new niece got married. Hooray!!πŸ‘°πŸ€΅ The ceremony took place outside and everything was absolutely gorgeous. The event went well except for the fact that the minister got the times mixed up (they are so busy and rightly so) and was late so we sat there wondering what the hold up was. The viola and violin players did a great job continuing to play as if nothing was askew. I saw one muscian mouth to the other “again” and they just kept on playing. At last, much to our relief, the minister finally arrived and the wedding went on smoothly.

As we entered the ceremony there were fans with our program printed on them and bug repellant. So very smart and helpful as it was very humid! It was wonderful being able to attend and take part in the celebration.

My niece has Celiac Disease so the reception was catered by Zoe’s Kitchen which made almost all the food gluten free. I tried falafel for the first time……it was ok. 😁 (A bit of beans and a tad awful.) πŸ˜‚ The gluten free ravioli was delectable. (My oldest daughter and I are still talking about how good it tasted.)

We had family fly in from California our native state. My parents are originally from San Francisco and had my brother there before my dad decided to move to Philadelphia and attend Seminary.

Here I am with my handsome nephew and darling new niece! Love, love, love them!!

They had popsicles at the reception provided by a vendor because of the heat which was an excellent idea!! My kids and my hubby and I sat inside where it was a bit cooler.

Here I am with my big brother! Love him tons, obviously.😍

My precious niece eating the yummy gluten free carrot cake she and her mom made. Can you see the sweetness in her angelic face? πŸ€—πŸ˜

Here are my four all cleaned up and polished. My heart nearly breaks as I look at my oldest two (on the right) because they’ve had to make up for all the times I’ve been unwell by running the household together. God is good though because they can cook and clean doing everything I do yet, I think even better! Xoxo

On the far left is my beautiful and cherished Mama. My beautiful Californian aunt “Auntie Jo” is on the right.

All the desserts were gluten free. I was naughty and had a chocolate chip cookie and four bites of cake. (I don’t eat much sugar because of blood sugar issues.) It was well worth it and I have no regrets. 🍰πŸ₯‚

This picture turned out so well! I was so busy capturing it so I forgot to throw the flowers but isn’t this just great?!

I’m so very thankful we could be a part of the happy couple’s wonderful day! They are truly a blessing in my life and in many others lives too. Both are the sweetest, kindest, and most compassionate souls ever and I’m oh so thankful for my adorable family.πŸ€—πŸ˜„

Much love,

Viv πŸ˜ƒ

Fun and Frugal

What does a person with limited funds, and energy do to get both her and her family ready for her beloved nephew’s wedding?

I’ve been scratching my head as to how to get a dress for my daughter and myself along with pants and a dress shirt for my growing 13.75 year old man-child. My hubby and youngest two were all set but as the wedding gets closer, I have been stressing over what to wear.

I’ve gained a bit of weight since I can’t exercise anymore the way I used to (Turbo Jam videos) but, when I tried on the only suitable dress I had for a wedding, it made me look as a marshmallow…….toasted marshmallow since the dress is brown. 😭

So, my family and I set out to our local thrift store with so much HOPE to find what we need and fast.

My beautiful daughter found a gorgeous pink A line dress with flowers that suits her well while my son found black Jockers slacks (do people still say that?) and a nice white button down dress shirt with a vibrant blue tie.

Thankfully, after trying on a handful of dresses and feeling a bit discouraged, I found a dark indigo blue sleeveless dress with some shimmery bling on the front from Kohls with the tags still on. The tag read $50 but I got it for $5! Ta da!! God provided as always and now I can feel less panicked about the fast approaching wedding and good about the clothes we were able to find.

As for a much much needed hair cut, I watched a few YouTube videos and taught myself how to cut and layer my own hair. I have cut my hair in the past and cut my entire family’s hair out of necessity. It saves a ton. Sometimes we get poor results but I think we are managing and it’s one less task on my over-worked (and underpaid) hubby.

The wedding is August 3rd and thankfully only about half an hour from my house. We are really excited about it…..my niece-to-be is darling and I loved her the minute we met. She and I also share the same birthday which I’m so delighted about and makes her even more special to me.

I’m so thankful God gave me the energy to clothing shop with my kids! It was the first time shopping together in years and felt so wonderful to be able to handle and enjoy it.

I’m getting stronger friends!! Praise God for today and also praise Him for the bad days because without them, the good days wouldn’t be so marvelous!

Much love,

Viv πŸ₯‚πŸ’—

Welcoming Autumn

Hi friends! I wanted to share with you my daughter’s brand new blog, Mischief and Mjolnir! So let’s all give this cherished young lady a big huge welcome and follow. She’s an excellent writer and faithfully helps her poor brain injured mama edit her own blog each week. I can go on and on but I’m just going to let you see for yourself.

Welcome to WordPress dearest Autumn!!

Much love,

Viv (Mama)πŸ€—πŸ˜„πŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ

It’s Never Too Late….Go Call Your Dad!☎️

My father-in-law and husband had a huge blow up that went unresolved for over 2 years during which there was no interaction, no holidays, no visits, or phone calls.

See, they were so much alike, both quiet, strong, INFJs, who march to the beat of their own drums. Because of this, there were walls of awkward silence, barricading them from reaching out, picking up the phone and hashing it out. Instead, it was silence.

I had prayed hard for years that there could be restoration and removal of hurts, forgiveness, and opened love displayed. God heard my cries and after two years and seven months of silence my husband told his mom in June of 2017, we would like to come visit for Thanksgiving. When she told my father-in-law his joyful response was “Oh sure!” He was happy to know he would see his son and four grandchildren again.

But, in July, about three weeks later, he died suddenly of a massive heart attack.

The news hit hard.

We would never see him again. My husband would never see his dad, never hear his voice. Never make amends.

It was too late.

Life is hard. Things happen. People make mistakes. Blow up. Yell. Say things that are better left unsaid.

But, at the end of the day, God’s word holds true. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath. (Ephesians 4:26)

We are never guaranteed tomorrow.

We are only given today.

So, pick up the phone this father’s day. Better yet, go see your dad. Even a card in the mail can melt away hurt and slowly open the lines of communication. (We did this.)

I know these relationships can be tricky, stressful, messed up, and hard but honestly, don’t let the sun go down on your wrath. You may never get another chance to make things right. I’ve seen it and lived it with my own eyes and l hope this post I write encourages someone out there to try to make things right. All we can do is try and leave the rest up to God. He is Healer of hurts. He helps us forgive. He can bring about reconciliation.

Please, this Father’s Day, go call your dad!

Much love,

Viv πŸ€—

Purr Love

Whiskers twitching, sniffs the air

Cat smells something’s cooking there

Door cracks open, swift as light

In runs Katniss smells delight

Chicken roasting in the oven

Scents of poultry she’s been lovin’

Nows the chance she’s waiting for

Dropping gizzards on the floor

Gizzards, gizzards, lizards, yum

She does eat lizards just for fun

Spoiled rotten mama cat

We dote on her since losing Jack

Mama cat so brave and smart

Purring love into your heart

Treats, and treats, and treats galore

We’re cuddling Katniss more and more

Written by Vivian Joy, June 2019.

Home Is Where The Dog Is (And Cat)

I want share with you some cute pictures and stories of my very own cuddly fur babies!!

My six-year-old Maltepoo, Molly (Moo Moo), my grey tabby Momma cat, Katniss, and her son Jack.

These aren’t just ordinary pets, they’re therapy! Sadly my husband is allergic to cats (asthma) so they stay outside mostly but come into the kitchen for meals.

Moo Moo is hypoallergenic and stays inside mostly which is awesome. She made months of my being bedridden more bearable because not once did she leave my side.

Molly as a puppy with my oldest daughter

Don’t get me wrong, she’s not an angel (who is?) and she is a very clever stealer of food scraps left on the table. Sometimes when she wants attention she will cut loose on my bed dead center! That’s not fun to remedy as I just purchased the new bedspread I waited years for.

She has an extremely loud bark which scares the mailman and acts crazy when company comes with her high energy jumping, shaking, and yips.

But even so, I’m in love with this little fluff ball of super bad cuteness. She has such a huge heart of love for people. She has also taught me what unconditional love truly is. Dogs are God’s gift because they show us just how easy it is to only love conditionally, yet their unconditional love mirrors God’s love in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

Molly is a total mama’s girl since my husband doesn’t share as much enthusiasm for little yappy pooches. He just likes big old well-behaved labs with low energy that don’t piddle on his pillow (true story).

Fun dog fact: Most dogs have the maturity of a two year old toddler and can understand approximately 250 words and gestures.

Most recent of Molly, the black spots around her eyes have faded.

Katniss, (yes, I named her after the heroine of The Hunger Games) is our “MOMMA cat” she’s blessed us with two kitten litters in 2013/2014.

We ended up keeping a beautiful orange male from her first litter who was struck by a car a year later. That was devestating since he was my daughter’s very own chosen companion.

Jack came in the second litter. He was the runt and really kind of ugly, but there was something about him. Something I could relate to. He was so unporpotioned with huge ears, small head and body. We discovered later after taking the rest to find new homes and be adopted, that his mouth is deformed so he could not easily get enough milk from his mother therefore making him small and unhealthy looking. After he became the only nursing kitten, he plumped right up and is now a handsome, big, strong male cat.

Fun cat fact: The ridged pattern on a cat’s nose is as unique as a human fingerprint. However, cats can’t see directly below their noses. That’s why they miss food that’s right in front of them.

He’s a bit of a whiny mama’s boy and she’ll take a swat at his head quite regularly but both are great cats and gifted hunters.

I’ve seen evidences of the remains of captured or (mostly) eaten mice, moles, voles, rabbits (sniff), squirrels, birds, skinks, lizards, and large bugs. Since we live in the woods, I don’t see snakes slinking around as much as before because we have no mice on account of our cats.

Truly, a blessing but more than that. They are such pleasant relievers of stress. They love like house cats and Katniss will always jump on my lap when I go outside to read and pray. Their purrs are super loud too which I think emphasizes the amount of love given and received by us and them.

Katniss aka Momma Cat

I’m so greatly blessed by our family’s fur babies and thank God for His pleasant gifts of cozy comforts.

Jack our sweet boy

Do you own pets? I’d LOVE to hear about them. Is there one naughty quirky habit your pet does that makes you laugh or drives you nuts?

Percy (our cat killed by a car) my youngest son holding him 8 months prior.

They probably see a bird

Loads of love,

Viv😺

Keeping up

TBI has a way of making one feel like you’re driving an old back-firing moped while everyone else is whizzing by in their 2018 Harley Davidson with the shiny chrome banana pipes.

Do you ever feel like keeping up with life is just too much? I do. The feeling of being so extremely overwhelmed by keeping up; homeschooling four kids, being mom, tending the home, trying to heal, and just living life makes me feel like it’s an impossible obstacle. I’m trying so hard, but it’s like running on a hamster wheel, exerting energy but not feeling like I’m getting anywhere.

When I was young, my dad, brother and I would take long walks to places in Philadelphia because we didn’t have a car and sometimes walking was the preferred method to buses or subways. I could never keep up because my dad’s long Marine Corps strides were not easy for my little legs and my brother being 5 years older had longer legs too. They were always having to say “keep up.” I tried, believe me, I tried, but the long journeys we took were so frustrating to my 7, 8, 9 year old legs. I had to walk/ run the whole time because it was the only way to keep up.

I’m glad of it! Being the baby of the family could been very detrimental in coddling or babying me, but my parents never did. They never babied me and let me off easy, just because I was their youngest and a girl. They knew how tough life is and didn’t sugar coat my childhood with pillows of fluff, and candy coated ideals.

When I realised my job as a child of keeping up was twice as hard, I could go easy on myself, not chiding or berating myself because I couldn’t keep but, instead, I could feel like I accomplished something as my efforts to keep up payed off from trying twice as hard.

Today, I’m dealing with this. It feels impossible to keep up. The house stays a wreck, school work presses in, and most days I barely have a chance to brush my hair. But when I see other homeschool moms going here and there teaching Latin, Greek, music to their kids and I can barely do the math and language arts, it hurts. But I realise it’s ok. I have a TBI. Not an excuse but a huge obstacle to overcome while trying to keep up. My kids are all excellent readers, great at math, and learning. Maybe not able to do all the fun stuff and extras like soccer and scout troops as before, but they are four great kids and loved. It’s ok! I need to speak this often. It’s okay, because with TBI things are twice as hard for me but in reality, I can keep up……. just in my own way with God’s help.

Yes, my moped still runs, even if it’s slow and not very pretty but that doesn’t matter because I’m still getting there.

Viv