Sunday, May 9, 2010

My very special Mother's Day

I know I haven't been on much at all. Work, family, business all seem to keep me busy. Usually by the time I get home from work, I don't want to be on the computer. And my days off, well, they are so packed full, I don't want to waste time on the computer. So, I don't blog much these days. Hopefully, I will get back to it soon, I do miss it.

Ok, so this Mother's Day was a bit different for me. For one, we all are in church together. What a wonderful treat just to be in church as a family! But it was also different for me, because I was asked to portray one of the top ten Mother's in the Bible.

My friend, Kristie, called last week and asked if I would be a mother from the Bible. I have a hard time saying no, and I am so glad I didn't say no. I had a choice of 3 to pick from, I chose Rachel.

I had to come up with 3 to 4 lines about who Rachel was. Turns out, it was 3 to 4 minutes, but not difficult for me to come through. And then to say how faithful God has been to us. That was the hard part.

First was Eve, mother of all creation. Mistakes are learned from, life goes on. Adam came from dust, Eve came from Adam. She came from a living being to give life to others.

Sarah was next, a woman who wanted a child so badly, to hold that baby in her life, to raise a child to fear God. But in her old age, she knew that she wasn't going to be that mother. Until God spoke, and at at 90, she became a mother.

I was Rachel, sister to Leah, Jacob's first wife. I was his favorite wife. And out of his 4 wives, we started a nation. 12 sons, 12 tribes. Rachel competed for Jacob's love and in the end she gave birth to his favorite son, Joseph, and his youngest son, Benjamin. She died giving birth. What a tragic ending to a story of a woman that was loved so much by a man that he would work his life just to receive her.

I had the choice of doing Rahab, and I declined because I didn't know all that much about her. I am so glad I didn't choose her, for Rhonda did an excellent job portraying Rahab. Rahab was a prostitute, she wasn't of Jewish belief. She left her profession and became the great great grandmother to King David.

Naomi was blessed with 2 sons, but life turned bad for her, famine, loss of job, looking for a job, moving, and eventually, losing her beloved husband. But little did she know the worst was yet to happen, her sons chose pagan wives. Heartbroken, no husband, no sons, no grandchildren.

Ruth was Naomi's daughter-in-law, and like Naomi, she was widowed too. Ruth has an amazing story, and an entire book dedicated to her in the Bible. Ruth married Boaz, son of Rahab, mother to Obed.

Hannah has an amazing story, she was barren, no chance to have children. But she told God that if He gives her a son, she would give him back to God. And that is exactly what happened. Samuel was given to Hannah and she did exactly what she said, she gave Samuel back to God. She left him at the temple to be raised by priests, visiting him once a year. Samuel grew up to be one of the greatest prophets in the Bible.

Mary was the first mother from the New Testament. The mother of Jesus. And I can't even describe the emotions that went through all of us when she got up there to speak. To a mother, and to be the mother of Jesus. Any mother knows what it is like to feel their children's pain. To want to take their place when they are hurt. But for her to suffer when her Son suffered, but to rejoice when He rose from the dead.

Number 9 is a mother that has no name. She is the mother of every son that was 2 and under, living in Bethlehem, that Herod had killed. He wanted to be the only king and he killed all the boys that were under the age of 2. To watch her son be killed, a piece of her was torn out, and she could do nothing about it.

Lastly, was a mother that we seem to forget is there. Mrs. Zebedee. Her behavior and actions were critized. She went to Jesus and asked for him to put her 2 sons the top spots in heaven, on His right and on His left. What does this say about her? She wanted her sons to be that close to Jesus. Just like we want our children to be that close to Jesus.

So, you see, my Mother's Day was very different. I was honored to represent a mother in the Bible, but it was more of an honor for me to be up there with 9 other women, representing Mothers as a whole.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 in review

When 2009 started, little did I know what was coming down the road for me. Just like everyone else. We don't expect the deaths, the losses, the surgeries, the pain. We don't expect the wonderful things either. So many want things to stay the same, and you know that never happens.

I have had a year of WOW! How else am I supposed to put it???? I really have no other way to put it. God has been mightly moving in our lives and home. My God is able and He cares for you and for us!

Chuck had enough of the stress with RGM at Pizza Hut. Demanding time that would be more away from home, and then when he was home, walking on egg shells. He would be tired and not want to have anything to do with the family. He realized that is not the way to live and had just about enough to say goodbye to Pizza Hut. And enough to say, "Let's start a business" OK, not gonna complain about that.

So, the end of January came a goodbye to corporate work force and a step of faith. Little did we know that this was going to be a true step of faith. And so Clear View Cleaning was created. Business license and insured too. We started out cleaning windows, grabbed a few jobs, but knew that wasn't enough to make it through.

Lawns quickly picked up the side business. Let me tell you right now, I don't like mowing yards. It isn't the work, the heat or the sweat. It is the fact that pushing a mower is not what I want to do! I did get a very nice tan though.

February brought us Eric's 14th birthday, so yes, in a few months I will have one driving with a permit. I have grey hair now, just wait! February also having us tell goodbye to our sports cars. UGH! We traded the hot little MB and Jetta for a white Ford F150. I, to this day, still can't get in the truck gracefully. It also gave us a new trailer for the mowers. See, I didn't see this business with me on a mower..... LOL

March came forth with 2 birthdays. PJ hit the milestone of 10, no more single digits, those days are gone. And mine, well, 42 isn't so bad. I have had a great life so far, and age is just a mind over matter... And it doesn't matter to me!

May provided a scare for me. The Pizza Hut that I worked for at the time was robbed at gun point. I wasn't there, typical me, I was taking my time on a pretty Friday morning making my runs. I was in no rush. Stopped to talk to a friend, talked to a customer, got back to the store about 3 minutes after it all happened. I failed as a mother, I didn't call the school to let Eric know that I was ok. They locked down school and announced that Pizza Hut was robbed at gun point. Eric wondered all through the day if I was ok. To be in that position had to be very difficult. It was then that I decided to quit Pizza Hut and work with Chuck over the summer.

Chuck and I also celebrated our 19th anniversary. I cleaned windows that day, he pressure washed my dad's house. And then a dinner for just the 2 of us topped off the evening.

May also brought us an honor award for Eric. Yes, an honor award for the boy that struggled everyday in elementary school. The boy that was failing 6th grade received an honor award. I so wanted to cry, but I fought back the tears.

June we stayed pretty much very busy. Lawns, pressure washing, windows. Eric helped all summer mow lawns, thank goodness! But we looked at weeks that we were covered up, didn't think there was an end in sight. But we survived the month and came out on top.

It was July and August that it died off. More than we expected. But we took the time to be a family. Fishing on July 4th, I caught a fish! Camping, yes that was an experience for all of us. I lost the boys down the river, what mother does something that stupid? I roasted my first marshmallow over an open campfire, sleeping under the stars, looking at the stars at 3AM, wondering what time do the bugs finally go to sleep, waking to a fire that keeps us warm on cool summer mornings. Exploring the area that we didn't know was around us. Being close enough to home to spend another night and get supplies for another day camping.

August started another school year and time for me to find a part time job. I started working at Duracell, or as I preferred to call it Durahell. I hated that place, but I stayed 6 weeks longer than I thought I would!

The boys started a new school year. Eric in 8th, PJ in 5th. Yes, next August I am putting one in High School and the other in Middle School. Check in on me that day, I don't know how well I will handle all of this.

September was a turning point in all of our lives. Chuck rededicated his life to Christ. 20 years running the other way, he was hit between the eyes with that Christ is the only way. And when he turned around, he turned around big time. On fire for Christ, willing to give up everything to spread the Word to the lost and the hurting. Mission work has been put on his heart. God will move him and use him in the way that He sees fit for all of us.

I got a new Bible, Chuck wanted so badly to buy one for me, but money was tight and he couldn't get the one that I wanted. So, he called my dad and they went out and on the 42nd anniversary of the death of my mother, I received something for my new life in Christ. A beautiful Thompson Chain Reference Bible, with my name on it.

Chuck's life turning around has affected the entire house. Getting up early to read and to pray. Prayer at the table, the boys reading their Bibles, the music in the house. We are living fo Christ and it shows in all that we do in our lives.

October brought more changes to our home. I started to work as a server for Pizza Hut, the one that Chuck ran for 2 years, the one that he left at the end of January. I did that for a reason, so that way I could help with the business and that I can still be home if needed.

October also brought a surprise to all of us. PJ's salvation! My first Wednesday night working, PJ got saved!

November left me wanting more. I went to an amazing Ladies Retreat. The church paid my way, I didn't want them to, but they did. I loved it. I think the blessing that I received most was that the church gave so much for me to go.

Eric had the chance to go to the youth trip. Someone backed out after paying the full price, and Eric was available to go. Wow! We have been so blessed to be in a church that blesses others, no matter who you are.

We also became members of Clingan Ridge Baptist Church, and with that was the baptism of Chuck and the boys. An amazing night, unexpected night too. The words that Chuck had to share touched so many lives. Not his words, but HIS words!

December is here and nearly done. I barely got Christmas going, but I made it. A little bit less than what we usually have. But I have more than money can have given to me. I could care less if there was one package for me. I received more this year than I really deserved. A Christian home, a life that Christ has given me, the salvation of my baby, their baptism. So what if someone gets a new phone, an iPod, gift cards. I have life in Christ and I know that I will be in glory one day with all of them.

On December 12th, Chuck and I celebrated the date of our first date, 20 years ago. WOW! Thanks for forgetting the donut Sweetie!

That is it in a nutshell.

2010 brings us things that we know will be here. For me, Eric turns 15, PJ turns 11. Out 20th anniversary. Chuck's mission trip to Jamaica, the first of many we hope. Hopefully another full year with our parents. Time to draw closer to God, as He draws nigh to us. A time to read through the Bible and to share Christ with the lost.

I will be 43 next year, and for all those years behind me, I am grateful for where I have been. But I am not looking back any longer. Forward I will go.

May your 2010 be more than what you expect it to be. Remember to keep God right there in the center of your life.

Hugs from me to you!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Our business

Clearview Cleaning and Lawns has been in business for 6 months now and we have seen our share of things.

Like I mentioned earlier, we slowed down big time, but as soon as we both went back to work, the phone hasn't stopped ringing.

We have a nice customer base and we keep getting referrals from our customers. Word of mouth is the cheapest form of advertisement.

I think we have really seen all that we possibly can see. When we first got the magnets for the truck, a lady pulled beside us and asked for a card. We hadn't heard anything from her for months and then all of the sudden, I am there every Saturday helping her clean her house. Lovely lady, but she is a hoarder and there is a lot to clean. She pays well and is a blessing to be around. So, I can't complain.

We have picked up a few house keeping jobs too. I prefer the house cleaning jobs. And if we get 10 more cleaning jobs, I can quit Duracell! So, anyone locally, if you know of anyone at all, let them know about us. We start at $65 - $75 for cleaning houses, we do it all, wipe the top of the doors to the top of the showers, change sheets and make beds too. Clean windows and stoves if need be. Vacuum, mop and dust everything too.

There was one week that we were double booked several days. Chuck would be one place and I would have to be at another. Not bad, a little hard, but it pays off in the long run.

So, while I have been at work with Duracell, Chuck has been taking over the business part of it. He had to hire someone 2 days last week because it was work that he couldn't do alone. That is fine with me, he needed the help and I couldn't be there. However, when it came to Scott's Furniture store windows, he had to do that alone. And that is a huge job, 48 windows, 84x63, inside and out!

We are hoping that next year we grow more. We reached a goal this year that we didn't expect to reach.

Finding work

Finding a job has been very hard on me. Considering that I have applied to about 100 places, and no one wants me makes it even harder. I was getting very depressed for a period there, life was getting to me.

Our business slowed down considerably during the summer. We didn't take into consideration the vacation time. So, that is when we came to a halt! But it has picked up and picked up nicely. And, of course, when Chuck went back to Pizza Hut part time in Dalton, and I found a job, the phone hasn't stopped ringing.

I have found a job, I started at Duracell, through a Staffing Agency, last week. In a nutshell, I hate it. I hate factory work, I hate the work, I hate the job. What else can I say? I don't see the glamour in the job. People look at me and tell me how lucky I am that I got on at Duracell. I don't see it. I was hired through an agency and I don't get the starting pay that Duracell offers for the entry level position, not even close. But it is a job and it will help with the bills.

I have found that if I make a list of prayer requests and needs, I stand there in front of the conveyor belt and I pray. On my break, I go over my list, I see who I have already prayed for and who is left. It makes my day go by faster and it makes it a little more tolerable. Not much, but some.

I had an interview with Jones Mgmt last week. I will find something out Tuesday if I have this job or not. Pay is a bit better, but they bonus every month, that is nice. It is an internet lending job. Basically it is a pay day advance over the computer.

Chuck put it nicely today, Jones Mgmt job take advantage of people in bad circumstances, CFA staffing, the people that put me with Duracell, takes advantage of people in bad circumstances.

The Jones Mgmt job has crummy hours, 11-8 and every other Saturday 10-2. I don't like the hours, I would miss my family, but it gives me the chance to get into interviews in the morning and not after 4pm.

The Duracell hours are 7 -3:30, I can't complain, I am up anyways. But by the time I get home, my body hurts. I get up every morning thanking God for a job to go to, for something that He has provided for the time being. But it is something that I just am not cut out for.

School Starting

School started Aug 12th for the boys. WOW! Summer flew by and before I knew it, I was buying school clothes and supplies again.

Taking Eric to 8th grade orientation was just a shock to my old system. Where has the time gone to? What happened to my sweet little boy that would grab the step stool to help make brownies? Well, he is now taller than me, and it seems that I am the one that needs the step stool more than he does.

PJ walked to his last first day of elementary school with his best friend, Leo. So, I missed out on that too. Once again, time flew by. It seems like just yesterday that I was putting him in Kindergarten. But after 9 years of elementary school, we are ready for the next step. Check with me next year, when I am putting one in high school and the other in middle school.

So far, so good with school. Eric still remains on medicine to help with his ADD/ADHD. Thank goodness for a Dr that knew what to do and for a medicine to help him succeed in school.

Eric is very much interested in Forensics and is looking forward to the Crimnal Justice classes at the high school. He is leaning more and more towards UT in Knoxville to work at that Body Farm. You look it up!

PJ is doing better in school. Of course all of that comes after a very long and very nice talk with his teacher about PJ's talking and lack of effort. And then the teacher had to have his gall bladder removed and has been out for 2 1/2 weeks. School just started! HA HA HA !

Our day starts when Eric's alarm goes off at 5:45 and ends somewhere around 11. It makes for a very long day, but such is life.

I am so behind

Gosh, I don't even know where to start. I have to blog because I have left you all out of the loop on life itself. Plus, I have been without my computer for weeks and I forgot my password!

So, bit by bit I will catch you all up on life and how it has been going. So, hold on, I will blog today.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 4 - Our Trip Home

We slept later than the other mornings. It was a cold morning, but this time we had all the clothes to keep us all warm. Nearly everyone had cleared out Sunday, so we pretty much had most of the place to ourselves. So, I was in no rush to leave anytime soon.

Now, if you remember I mentioned that there were only 3 showers stalls. The past 2 mornings I got stuck with the one that had an opening for air, it was cold. The water was luckwarm at best. And in these places the water turns off by itself. This morning I was going to get the good shower and I was not leaving until I did. I got to the bathrooms and I got the good shower, little did I know that this shower actually had HOT water! Woo Hoo!

We ate breakfast and started loading up the truck. Taking everything down may be easier than setting everything up, but getting everything back into a box or bag, that doesn't work well. We swept up our mess, made sure the fire was completely out, loaded the rest up and headed out. Stopped for a quick cup of coffee and we were on the road home.

Eric wanted to stop at Benton Shooters Supply, we aren't out this way much, so why not take a pit stop and look around. I could care less about guns and hunting, but they are boys and they wanted to look. And of course, I had to show them that their old mom still knows how to handle a rifle. Shocked them, but I think it shocked me more!

There was one spot that I wanted to see before going home. Nancy Ward's grave ( I have been in Cleveland for the most of of 20 years, and I have never been there. Nothing special, but her story is interesting. It is a part of the Cherokee history, so stopping to see it and read about it is a good thing for the boys to learn.

This cemetery also hold her son, Cheif Five Killer and his uncle.

And finding that information out was a challenge when I got home.

I wasn't ready to go home just yet. I was really hoping that Chuck would take a right and not a left to go home. And he did just that. I love the Ocoee area and I wanted to check out the Parksville Camping area while we were out that way.

And we did just that. The river road is one of my most favorite spots to explore and to just go for a ride. And going to the dam where the boats take off from is cool. So today we got to see just that.

There were a bunch of rafts getting ready to take off to go down the rapids. They go through the steps that need to be followed, show them how to row and show them all they need to do while on the rapids

While we were waiting for the boats to walk down the ramp, we enjoyed the view of the rafters taking off from the dock

While we were waiting, I turned around in time to see a kayaker come down the falls. I didn't have time to get a picture, but it was cool to see what I saw. That must be one hell of a ride!

And there they go!

This first rapid is called Grumpy's Rapid. I guess I would want to tackle it first than at the end when I am too tired. It is the most dangerous rapid that the rafters face. But it is beautiful.

One day I am going down this river! We owe Eric a gift anyways. When he turned 12 he could have gone rafting, but that year was so dry that the rapids weren't worth taking. The following year, Chuck worked all the time, and this year, we are saving what we can with the new business.

We took a ride a little further down the river and then realized that what we were looking for was in the other direction. We went as far down to the welcome center for the Ocoee river and turned around. But we didn't exactly head home.

We turned to check out Parksville Campsite. We were not impressed with the upkeep of the site or the condition of the site, so that is one that we will not be frequenting. I am thinking more on the lines of Harrison Bay State Park. You can set up camp by the river, not have to worry about the river rising and camp there. That is more my speed. A state campground that has glass on the sites, I am not paying for that.

Instead of heading back down the river road to come home, we took Hwy 30 around the mountain. I knew where it was going to come out at, so I wasn't worried about getting lost. This area in Reliance, gives new meaning to "Paddle faster, I hear banjoes." Parts of Deliverance were filmed in this area. If I had to stop and ask for direction, they would look at me and say "You ain't from around here, are ya?" And even though I may be Jersey in some ways, I do not speak like a Yankee anymore. This neck of the woods is extremely backwards, but they are very happy too. This just goes to show that just 25 miles outside of Cleveland, you can find a totally different world.

We passed an amazing old house or church located right before Hiwassee Outfitters. I looked up just in time to see this

I had to make Chuck turn around so that way I could get pictures of it.

But before I could stop and get any pictures, we had to eat due to the fact that it was alreay 1 and we were hungry. So we pulled into Hiwassee Outfitters, a locally owned campground, got the stuff out of the back and take a bathroom break.

I don't usually describe a bathroom, but in this instance, it is a must. I threw the trash out, and opened the door only to see a large pot with a lid, no handle, so therefore no flushing. Basically don't drop anything down there because there is no retrieving it. So, no water, no flush, just a big hole in the ground where everything went to. Interesting experience! Our own campground bathrooms were way more sophisticated than that! No sink to wash hands either, so glad I carry sanitizer with me.

We stopped to get pictures of this amazing house.
I just love black and white of old houses.

Go up to the front door and so badly wanted to get closer, but I knew that with Chuck with me, that was out of the question. Oh well, I do things like that when he isn't with me.

I am thinking this was more of a church or something else, the top doesn't seem to fit in with a house.

We turned around at this Texaco station. So, on our way back, Eric asked for a picture of the old sign.

Now don't you know that the people looked at me and wonder where did I step out of to take a picture of a sign or they were wondering why was I taking pictures of a sign. But it is a part of our trips out, I take the pictures of the things that seem interesting to me. At the end of Hwy 30, we were right at the spot where we had started our day. Time to head home.

This was our vacation this year. This time was only 4 days, but we are looking forward to camping again this year, maybe more than one time.

I loved camping. I had some experiences I never want to have again, but had experiencs that I am so looking forward to having again.

I am 42, never roasted a marshmallow over a campfire, never ever went swimming in cold, clear mountain spring water, never laid on a bed and looked up at the stars at whatever time of the night.

In my papers that I picked up from the Ranger's Station, there was a map of things to do in this area. It may be a drive, but it will be a good thing to do one day. A drive of a few hours is nice to be able to have time with the family. The boys and I love to explore, so why not make the most of a History Exploration. Growing up and going to school in NJ you only learn about the things in the area, I never learned about anything down here until I moved here. It is about time that I take some time and learn about the area that I now call home.