Even during my struggles I am blessed!

We all dread the moving process. You know that your moving 6 months in advance and you make your to-do list 🙂 . You got this, right? You say to yourself, “I am not going to get stuck packing at the last minute, no way, not this time!” You have moved more times than you can remember. But, you do remember what a headache it was, well, you should remember, right? So this is what is happening right now…..

I knew almost a year ago that I was going to be moving at the end of May. So, like any smart person, I made a to-do list. Oh, I am so smart! So about 5 months ago, I went over my to-do list, tweaked it a little, and packed 2 boxes. I got this, yep! I decided if I packed two boxes a day, 5 days a week, I would be completely done before my move-out date. Well, after the first week of doing this, I thought to myself, “Self, you don’t have to do it all at once, you have plenty of time! Go ahead and take the next week off, you deserve it.” Hahahahaha, like packing 2 boxes a day was a really hard thing.

Fast forward 2 months (That would be around February). Wow, well that was most definitely longer then a week off! But, hey I still have 3 months to get this done, no biggy, I can do this. So, I go back to my routine of packing 2 boxes a day, on the second day I step it up a little and pack 3 boxes! My feelings by the end of the 3rd day “Ugh, I hate packing, this can wait a little longer. It isn’t even that hard. I could probably get it done in a month’s time, it really is not that much.”

Okay, now skip to April. I start cleaning a little, sending some things to Salvation Army and Goodwill. Then BAM!!! I get depressed, I don’t want to move, not at all! Now I go into complete denial. But, every once in a while (once a week…lol) I would pack a box.I also washed a lot of clothes and put them in a big plastic tote. I threw a bunch of stuff that needed to go to the thrift store on top of the container. No, the container did not end up at a thrift store. .. whew!
Jump ahead, to today, You ladies know what it is like to lose your favorite pieces of clothing (especially that super comfortable bra). I know, you are probably thinking “How could she not see the big tote in her room?” If you know me, you would totally understand. (Well, I just found it today, so I was ecstatic!)
Now, back to the middle of April (I wish I could do this in real time, I would rewind back to the beginning of March.) Anyways, my sons 21st birthday was coming up real fast and my birthday was right after his, so I had to prepare for that. Also, planning a birthday is much more fun than packing, celebrating is too. So, I had a great excuse not to pack from the 15th to ummmm…. Hmmm? Well, anyways you understand, right?

Wow, it’s May already??? Really? Where did all the time go? Grrrrr, why don’t I have more stuff packed. Well, I better get busy, back to my to-do list. May 2nd – 9th pack bedroom, May 10th – 17th pack living room, May 18th – 25th pack bathroom & Kitchen. Yep that is most definitely doable! I walk into my room and take everything off my wall, then say to myself “The rest will be simple, I will just put it in boxes, no worries. I will do it later, I want to go and take pictures”

I am sure you are seeing a pattern now. Guess when I finally decided to really get busy and pack? Today, May 25th! I have 7 days to have all of my house & garage packed up and ready to go to storage. What on earth happened to my plan?

Oh, look there is a Mama Robin out back feeding her baby as he follows behind her, I have to get my camera! I missed it. Well, where was I? Oh yea, where did the time go? This is a good lesson, but, will I learn from it? Probably not….lol…I am hoping that when I finally get my new place, I will not have to move again for a very long time.

Then to make it even more fun I had a streak of bad luck. The beginning of May I was told that I had an apartment, I was so excited because I had no idea if I was going to have a place by June 1st or not (I have already experienced being homeless and did not want to go through it again.) So, when I went in to sign all the paper work I was so happy I was crying. I was also nervous, because I thought something was going to happen that I would not get the place. The landlord assured me that it was mine. I signed the lease, got the apartment number, and all I had to do was move in on June 1st.

Well, about 2 days later I got a call from the landlord, telling me that the people had paid for the apartment for another month, and she had no idea how long they would be staying. So now, I was crying because I was very sad, and a little worried.
Then about 2 weeks later, my tooth cracks, I call the dentist office in Manistee, and they say, “If you can get here before 2pm, we can help you.” I get there at 10:00 am. Sit there for 2 1/2 hours for them to x-ray my tooth and tell me that they can’t do anything that day.

Well, that was okay, I guess, because I had a doctor’s appointment back in Ludington at 3:45 pm,  because I have this painful rash on my leg and back. I go to the doctor, he looks at the rash, and says, “You have shingles”. I ask him, “Is there anything you can do for it?” He says “No, you have had it for over 5 days, so it’s to late to treat it, you have to let it run it’s course.” Oh, yay!

Then I go back to the dentist the next day, he tells me that I could get a root canal. “How much?” I ask. He says, “$2,000” “Okay, what are my other options?” He tells me my other options are to get it pulled or get a filling that is not guaranteed to last. I decide to get it pulled.
Next in my line-up of bad luck. I am telling someone about all of this and I say “I am not going to say, well things can’t get any worse then they already are, because about the time I say that things will get worse.” About, 5 minutes later I am sitting in my car while it is idling, talking to someone and I hear a loud POP or BANG and then a rumbling sound. At first I thought it was something outside, then I realize that it was MY CAR! The tailpipe broke off from the muffler, while I was just sitting there! Yea!

So, I call my brother and he says bring it out here I can fix it for you. I go to his house wait for him for 2 hours, he gets there, looks at it, and says “I can’t do anything with that, it has to be welded back on.” Okay, okay! alright… breathe Jackie… I take my VERY LOUD car back home (20 miles) and go to Northern Classic the next day to get it taken care of. … THE END of my streak of bad luck! Things are turning around now.
So you see, things have to turn-a-round for me, I just have to get an apartment, trailer, or house. My son, Dallas, has agreed to let me stay with him and his family and my cat can come with me, which is great!

Now all of this sounds like I am complaining, but I am not! I am so blessed! I have a wonderful supportive family that is willing to help me when I am down. I have 2 wonderful sons that God has blessed me with. So, I am not complaining, I am rejoicing for everything that I have.

I shared this story because I thought it may encourage someone else, also I want to look back on this one day, and see what the Lord did with this whole situation.

Love one another! Not judge one another!


Sometimes it’s so much easier, to look at another persons faults, and judge them, then it is to look at our own faults. Even right now as you read this, you’re probably thinking of someone else that needs to realize this, instead of looking at yourself and realizing it.
When looking or thinking of someone else, and the first thing on your mind is something negative or critical, you should stop and ask yourself if you struggle with the same thing. More times than not, you do. That is why it is so easy for you to see it in other people’s lives.
So the next time you get ready to judge someone, STOP, take a deep look within yourself, and see if there are some area’s that really need correcting.
Because, at the end of the day, the person you are judging is really none of your business. Also, you really have NO idea what that person may be going through. So stop and think, before you judge. I know I have to start doing this as well. Because, we are all guilty of it at some point in our life. Let’s love one another! Not judge one another!

NOTE: I added the photo of my grandson, because this is how we should be, happy & carefree.


Breaking Through

Winter has to be one of the most difficult seasons for me. In the past I have become so depressed that I would just shut everyone out. This winter, I have done quite a bit better, but occasionally I will feel depression trying to creep in. This is also the time I find myself picking up my bible or other books that draw me nearer to God. So instead of being hard on myself about this, I choose to take this time to heal and restore!

Then, I thought about the scripture, Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, that says, “To everything there is a season.”

1 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

I need to realize that winter is my season to heal, to restore that which has been lost, and to allow some of my traits to die, so that there will be room for the ones that are  more  loving, accepting, and forgiving, to be born. When I harbor bitterness, anger, and hatred in my heart, there is no room for what is good and what is good is not really seen because people see the ugliness and are blinded by that.

I was not created to be mean, judgmental, or self-righteous. I was created in His image. I was created to love.

This brings another verse to mind: 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs.

6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

So today I will focus on why I was created and how I was created. I will not worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34 – therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.) I will put my faith in God and pray that I will be a new creation in Him, not just today, but every day. I hope to live everyday as if I was just introduced to life, but, without forgetting what God has shown me, and I pray that the good will outweigh the bad.

How I became an amateur photographer

Pentax - My first SLR
Pentax – My first SLR

I purchased my first camera when I was about 13 and it was a 110 film camera. I took a lot of pictures of family, friends, and pets.  When I was about 15 I got a Polaroid camera as a gift, I guess you would say that was the digital camera of the 80’s. Do you remember them? It was fun watching and waiting for the picture to develop. I would wave it back and forth in the air hoping to make it develop faster. Then the picture would not be as expected, so I would take another picture and another…lol.. I have no idea where they all are now.

My first SLR was a pentax. It was exciting to see my first set of pictures from my SLR. Those shots are what made me want to start scrap-booking. The crispness of the photos were so amazing to me. They were so clean and vivid, I was not use to seeing shots like that. However, it did not take me long to get use to it. I would by rolls of film when they went on sale and take advantage of the companies that would offer discounts on developing. I ended up with a lot of pictures, because I was just so excited to see how they were going to look when I got them back.

Then digital cameras came out! I was pretty excited when I bought my first one, it was a Sony, and it was huge….lol…it used floppy disk. I still have a stack of them in a container somewhere. The upside to that is, if my computer crashed, and I had not backed up my photos, I had copies saved on the disk, so it was not a total loss (Yep, that happened to me, after I switched to a camera that took sd’s, my computer would crash and I would lose all my pictures.) I had this camera for a few years, until egg drop soup was spilled on it, so it gave me an excuse to get that camera with more mega pixels.

So I found a Fuji that was a good price (at this time, I had no idea that I should have been researching what I was buying, ummm, that time still has not arrived. Will I ever learn? LOL) it turned out to be an okay camera for the price. I kept the Fuji for several years, and have some very nice pictures from it. Then I got an itch for a DSLR, my hearts desire was a Canon or Nikon.

I have a bad habit of not doing my research, and I am also easily swayed in to purchasing a big priced item, when I am not sure what I am looking for, darn sales people…hahahaha… because…….

I ended up with an Olympus Pen E-Pm1. It’s ok, but it is not a DSLR, it is a Micro 4/3 camera. I have had a couple of problems with it and I’ve only had it for 2 years. I had to replace the kit lens in the 9th month and then the body had to be sent in because of a factory defect. My son loaned me his camera, while I waited for mine to return back home. That was a blessing for me, because I am lost without a camera at my side.

Hindsight – wish I would have waited and did some research. But, it is what it is and I get some pretty awesome shots with my Olympus for an amateur.

 I experiment, read a lot of photography blogs and tips. Then I go out and have a great time taking pictures and playing with the settings on my camera. Sometimes I cheat and use the pre-sets, like; portrait, landscape, sports, etc. etc. But, I am trying to get in the habit of using my manual settings. That was the purpose of me buying a camera with separate lenses.

I kind of miss using a film camera, because I would have to get the pictures developed to see how they turned out. Some pictures I put in photo albums, other’s I just filed away. Now, I just keep everything on my computer. I have developed some of my photos, but not nearly as many as I would like. I feel that is a goal I really need to set for myself.

It would be interesting to be a professional photographer, but, I really enjoy being an amateur, I believe it gives me more freedom and it is not as demanding (in my opinion of course). So, now that you have seen a little on how I began, I hope you will enjoy the photos that I plan to share in the near future.