Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Momma Don't You Worry

Momma Don't You Worry by Louie Lawent, is a cute, quick e-book for young children (ages 5-7).  It's a catchy poem with some cute illustrations that I think kids and parents will both like!

In Momma Don't You Worry, a young boy, who feels he is all grown up at the ripe, old age of 6, doesn't understand why he must stay by his mom. So he tells his mother not to worry about him so very much. Of course, as children are prone to do, he wanders away to look at something else and ends up lost.

As a mother of three, I remember this phase very well. Oh, who am I kidding. I still have a 9 year old who doesn't always stay by me even when he should. But it's hard to explain to kids why they are still little kids when they feel so grown up inside.

It's a quick read, and one I think a child could memorize easily and be able to "read" along with as well. (Side note: memorizing books and reading along with them is actually a great step towards reading, which many kids at the 5/6 mark are working on, so this book serves a double bonus!)

I would have loved to have read this book to my kids at that age, and still read it to my 9 year old now so that maybe (ahem, in parking lots) he'll still hold my hand even though he thinks he much too grown up to do so! ;-)

Note: Mr. Lawent approached me and asked me if I would be interested in doing a review for him. I said yes and was given an electronic copy of the book to look over, but as always, all opinions and thoughts are my own!

Friday, April 17, 2015

P.S. I'm okay

I realize the blog has been pretty heavy lately, a bit sad.

And it's true, I'm feeling a bit sad.

But, I also want to tell you that I'm happy. I do smile. I laugh with my family. I get up each day and get things done (even if it's not as much as I want to get done).

The blog tends to be on the heavy side because I come here to, in a sense, vent and get it out. Releasing it all here then allows me to get on with my day and I actually feel better after sharing here.

Blogging, for me, is therapeutic. It's like talking to myself to help myself feel better. Except I don't have to actually talk out loud to myself. (Okay, okay, I do sometimes talk to myself). It is so good for me, a good outlet.

Of course, when I blog I am only sharing a part of what's going on. Sometimes what I share isn't a full picture - it's just a small glimpse. And I don't mean to worry anyone with what I share, I promise! So I just want you to know, that I'm okay!

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Because life is too short

Life is too short.

I say this a lot. Because mostly, I think it's true: life is too short. None of us can live forever. And when we are surrounded by loved ones, family, and friends, life is always going to be too short. Is 100 years enough time with those you love? I say no. And yet, if I get 100 years, I'll be feeling pretty blessed.

March, as I've said was a rough month.

There was a lot going on here at home. At the start of the month, my time was split between taking care of my kids and granny. There wasn't enough time to do everything and so many balls got dropped. There was no time to take care of my husband (not that he needs to be taken care of, just not enough time to spend with him). And there certainly was no time to take care of myself. A shower, a change of clothes, and food on a mostly regular basis were about all I could do.

And then Lisa passed away. Not that long after Ginnie passed away. And during all of that a friend had to pull out of a cancer trial she was in because it stopped working.

I was an exhausted, emotional wreck at that point.

As I often did, I checked the camera I had been saving up to buy. I liked to watch the price just in case. It paid off. The camera was on-sale.

I went to my envelope (yes, I stuck money in an envelope as I got it) and I counted: 15 months of saving and I had enough to buy it at the sale price.

I thought about it. I thought some more. I hemmed and hawed. And in the middle of sitting at respite care with granny, I decided it was time to buy my new camera. You know why? Because life's too short.

It was still hard for me to decide to buy it - it was a lot of money. Even though I had saved, picked up extra jobs to help save for it, it was definitely a big splurge. There were plenty of other things to do with that money: summer wardrobes for the kids, music lessons for the kids, landscaping in our yard, put in savings towards a new vehicle. I mean, I could go on and on with all the things we could have done with that money.

But life is just too damn short. I saved, and I worked. The kids knew I was saving. They knew I wanted this camera. And there has to be a lesson in there for them, right? I wanted something nice for myself that I didn't need. So I worked and I saved. And I watched the price on it. And I researched and researched. And when I had enough, I bought it.

There's a small part of me that still feels guilty, but mostly I'm very happy. I love my new camera. I pretty much take it with me everywhere. No really, I do. Ask my family and they'll you. I take it with even when they say things like "Really, you're bringing your camera with for this?"

Oh yes, I'm bring my camera as we walk around the block - you just never know what you'll see.

I know I'm not a professional photographer. This isn't a potential career for me. It's a hobby. It's something to do for fun because I enjoy it. And I couldn't be happier.

I'm not saying I'm going to spend us into high amounts of debt and make huge purchases all the time. I'm rarely make purchases this large (the last one was the serger sewing machine I bought myself after working a part-time job and saving like 6 years ago). But every once in a while, I give myself permission to splurge. Because life is just too short. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hearts, Holes, and Spots

Over the weekend, another woman I knew (over twitter) passed away from breast cancer. She was 34 years old and had a tough form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer.

Honestly, I didn't know Seporah that well. I wish I had time to get to know her better, though. We had several friends in common. I feel in my heart that with more time, she would have quickly moved from acquaintance to friend.

Despite not knowing her very well, my heart still hurts to hear of her passing. And my heart hurts knowing that I have friends who are heartbroken over her death - their lives will never be the same. All the people who are now walking around with a hole in their heart, wondering how, if ever, it will mend.

And I think of all the people I have lost, who have left holes in my heart. The list continues to grow.

And I think about how just barely a month ago I was writing about grief as a side effect to cancer.

And I think about how the other night a friend asked me some questions about chemo, as they prepare for her father to get it (along with radiation).

And I think about how we learned about Lauren Hill passing away this weekend as well.

And I think about the several members in husband's and my family who have cancer right now.

And I think about a friend who has a child with brain cancer. And a friend whose husband has brain cancer.

And the thoughts they keep going. And going.

Cancer is such a bastard, isn't it?

Cancer doesn't care about your age, who loves you, who you love.

Cancer doesn't care about what type of person you are.

Cancer has no feelings, no emotions. 

Cancer just is. And it just comes. And it just destroys lives.

Cancer makes us hate it. Except cancer isn't something you can yell at, or scream at, or throw things at. You can't punch when you feel all sorts of hatred towards it inside.

Cancer can't apologize for what it's done. There will be no knock-down-all-out-fights that turn into tears and apologies and hugs and promises to do better next time.

Because cancer just is.

That, my friends, might be the most frustrating thing about cancer.

You can't bomb it, or punish it. You can't bargain with it or beg it.

And yet, there it is, staring you in the face. Turning lives upside down. Taking our loved ones and our friends from us. Stealing our health away. Taking our time. And our money. And our security.

I hate cancer. I hate it so much I want to punch it.

But you can't punch cancer.

It leaves these holes in our hearts. We learn to live with them though, to walk with them. We learn to keep loving even with them there. No one can come in and fill those holes, but our hearts are amazing. And, at least in my experience, our hearts expand, and room is found between the holes, with new friends, new loves, new moments.

These holes, they don't ever heal, not for me anyway. They change over time though. But those holes they stay with me, because the people I care about, even if they aren't physically with me anymore, they are with me.

I suppose instead of saying holes, I should say there are spots in my heart. Holes mean absence. I don't have absence. I have memories and love and laughter and hugs. These spots keep all of that alive inside of me.

I don't know if it's the same for others. I hope that it is though. That through our grief and our pain and our tears, we can go back to the spots in our heart and remember the moments we shared with our loved ones.

I know many people are hurting right now. Just from my own friends - I hear the stories, see the sadness in their eyes, feel their pain when we talk. I know there are spots on our hearts that sometimes feel too big to allow anything else in. I know this because I've felt it.

And I just want you to know that I wish with all my might I could just reach out, scoop you up, give you the biggest, longest hug ever, give you all the love in the world, just pour that love straight from my heart into yours.

I can't do that literally, but I want you to know that I'm doing metaphorically. And I've got some good people in my corner who are doing the same for me. Filling my heart up, so I can fill up yours.

This isn't the post I sat down to write, but it is the post that came out of me, so I'm going to leave it. And if you need me to send a little extra love or prayers or good thoughts your way, please leave a comment so I can do that.


Monday, April 13, 2015

A Favor

Hello my dear blog readers.

Today I'm stopping by to ask you all for a quick favor. A friend of mine is doing a survey about the impact blogs can have. If you could please take a few moments of your time to take it, that would be lovely.

On the question that asks what blog you read, just click my name Brandie (and click any other blogs you read as well!)

The survey should take about 5 minutes and I know Rebecca (and I) would appreciate it if you took it!

Thanks so much.


On a completely unrelated note, I posted at Journey of 1000 Books last week. I've got a list of books to review and I think I will put most of them up over there. I'll still put the occasional one over here, but I'm going to try to revitalize the blog over there!