Hidden Years

July 22nd, 2014

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Now that my kids are grown up and I have the ability to look back and see….just how far we've all come, I get it!  I get what God was doing with me and in my kids lives all those very important years.  While I've always been a believer that God has a plan, back when I was in the mama trenches….it was what I clinged to most.  How else can a mom to 3 under 4 hang on to her sanity believing anything but GOD HAS A PLAN?

It was there, in the hidden years that God was using me to mold my children into the people He wanted them to be…..someday.

I won't lie, I grew weary!  I fell short.  I complained and felt many days like I didn't count for anything.  Or that I was wasting who I was as a person.  Don't get me wrong, I loved being a mom.  But if you've ever been a stay-at-home mom with a bunch of kids….losing your identity is one of the biggest challenges you can face.  Those times sneak in and try to rob you, don't let it steal your joy or desire to give up being THE MOM GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO BE!

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The hidden years are the most important in your children's lives.

I hear it all the time, your kids are only little for a little while!  Every time I speak to or see one of my grown kids my heart reminds my brain….."Just yesterday, you were looking down into that face!".  Our "little while" sped by at mock speed leaving me with sweet memories and thankfulness that I hung in there and did the work!

Yesterday, a friend posted a saying on Instagram about disciplining your children while they're young so you can enjoy one another when they are teenagers.  I thought about that and smiled knowing how close my kids are to one another and to their dad and me.  It was hard to stay consistent with training them to behave but doing it day in and day out paid off.  I love being around my kids and so do other people.

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I didn't have the distractions that most mom's today have…..I didn't have a blog or internet to pull my attention away from my kids needs.  I was full-on, all the time!  How grateful I am for that.  I was needed and had I been buried in a cellphone or a laptop, I would've failed in many ways.  Kids don't just turn out….well-rounded humans.  It takes time, it involves sacrifice and it includes a pile of trial and error!

So, for you mama's trying to balance it all…..YOU CAN DO IT!  Don't miss out on real life training with your small (for now) children because you are wrapped up in Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!  Those things will not call you up and ask you, "Mom, how'd you do it…raising kids seems hard and boring?".  The long days of rocking cranky kids and reading the same books over & over are worth it.  Even the multiple baths each day because "someone" uses her hair as a napkin every single meal.  All of it is important to what God is doing in both of your lives!

I'm certain that for me, God was using every single moment for His Glory.  The hidden years gave me the advantage of taking life one day at a time and allowing me to speak God's love into each of my kids hearts.  I didn't have to rush or hurry or even pound it into their heads…..every day held something teachable for them and for me.

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I can laugh now when I think about how long I stayed in a nightgown somedays….when at the time, I thought I was a horrible mom!  I realize our schedule was "our" schedule and we all survived!  I like who they are….and I see that in spite of my many human errors, they are amazing young adults that please God with their lives.

Why would anyone want to miss out on being a part of that?

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Lord

Thank you for the hidden years of my life.  I see just how much I needed them.  I'm so grateful for the time YOU ALLOWED me to have with each of my children.  Help me to encourage other mom's to jump all the way in with the long days of raising their kids every day!

Amen

I’m Not Jealous

July 21st, 2014

For 11 days now I've been completely on my own!  Me, a happily married chick in her "late" forties all by herself!  For those of you counting, 47 and of those 47 years I've been married for 25 of them.  Out of those 25 years, I haven't had to do ANYTHING I didn't feel like or want to do.

My hubby…..is a gift from GOD!

I've thought about how much I love him and miss him every single day since he left for Texas.  We don't do apart!  Except this go round, we haven't had a choice!  He's working on a huge project at the ranch and me tagging along just wouldn't fit.  He'd be worried about me and I would be miserably bored.  So, staying home and taking care of things around here is my gift to him.

The jolt of reality for me is….

I'M NOT JEALOUS OF SINGLE LADIES!!!

I can't think of ONE SINGLE THING that they have in their life that I'm envious of, not even cooking all the cheesiest meals I can dream up! The endless amount of free time is fun for about a day and then I'm ready to share a great meal and conversation with my guy.  Even when he's being annoying (and face it, all people get annoying here & there!) I miss having him around.  I don't even mind him throwing his clothes down in the closet!  The amount of stuff he just takes care of without me ever having to think about is endless!

You'll never hear me singing ALL THE SINGLE LADIES tunes.  I appreciate having a man who loves me and takes good care of me.  I don't just love him for all the hard stuff he does either.  I love having him to talk to and share all that's going on in my day.  With him in Texas, that's not easy to do.  Phone connections are miserably difficult and it is frustrating trying to text out feelings over a cell phone.  So, no thanks!  Our normal close connection is strained and awkward!

I've always heard absence makes the heart grow fonder and I certainly would agree but missing out on one another's lives for more than a month is torture!

So, for you single gals:

I'm not jealous of your lives.  You are definitely someone to be admired!  You hold a lot of life together all by yourself and that's not easy to do.  All the housework, yardwork, bill paying, home maintenance, car care, meal prepping, shopping, pet loving, personal security, one-person laundry, activity attending and holding down a JOB…..all of it, just isn't fun to do alone but you make it look easy!  And if you are a single mom, you are even more amazing!  I can't imagine the additional stress of doing it all alone!  I am more committed than ever to pray for the single ladies & single mama's around me.  Your lives are incredibly valuable and I will never skip a chance to lend a helping hand ever again!

God,

Thank you for reminding me just how blessed I am to have a great man to share my life with.  While marriage and companionship isn't for everyone…..I'm eternally grateful that I have such a special man to love and care for me.  Protect him while he's far away working and help me to keep the home fires burning.  I look forward to another 25 years of living life together!

Amen

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Good For Me, Will

July 18th, 2014

In just 1 week,  I have scored big by stopping in at Goodwill.   After painting in my master bedroom….. I knew that adding a side table was a top priority to pull my look together.  So,  I went to Home Goods and browsed around hoping to find something "inexpensive"  to set beside the pretty reading chair in my room.   While the bargains are a plenty in HG…… Good deals on small tables were nowhere to be found.

Unless I wanted to pay over $140!

Now,  I love decorating but not when it gets wasteful.   I like to buy NICE items at a fraction of the real cost.   I'm not ashamed to be thrifty!   How else do you think I can afford clothes and shoes  for my fashion loving family?   And yes,  every member likes looking good! 

I shop like it's an Olympic sport!

I left Home Goods bummed and thought about stopping in at Goodwill down the street.   Since it was around 7:30pm I thought surely there would be no special deals left…..

And then I saw it!  

Not only did I find a good deal….. I lucked up and found a steal!   A beautiful real wood table that was full of style and charm for $9.99!!!!!

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It is perfect for the spot I had in mind!   I cleaned it up and now it holds a lamp and some books…. And I'm feeling super rich because I paid so little for it!!

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I've lived here 7 months and have never visited the super Goodwill warehouse.   Mainly because I had no idea where it was!   Who knew I'd been driving right by it all along?

It's closer to me than the Goodwill I normally shop at….. Crazy!

I decided to get proactive and find this place on Sunday.  Imagine my surprise when I found how close it was to my house….   Grr!

Shopping here is not for the wimpy!   This is big league thrifting!   People were wearing GLOVES!   The workers rotate bins full of stuff every hour on the hour and the shoppers go to town.   Then when you're finished all of your items are weighed and that's how you make your purchases.   By the pounds!   And it is cheap!  

It was a little overwhelming for this newbie,  however….. I safely wandered around casing out the place because I have big plans of finding some special deals in this thrift Palace!

While looking around I found this – -

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A brand new Vera Bradley purse with tags (and it's a new pattern) for a whopping. 36 cents!!!

I paid 36 cents for a $38.00 designer purse!!!   Squeeee!

Fast forward to last night.   Ally was in town visiting me while all my guys are in Texas and we thought we'd do a Goodwill run.   The store was packed!   Annoyingly busy but we managed to squeeze our way into the furniture section where we found a pair of these – - -

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For….  $14.99 each!

These are solid wood and in perfect condition!!   I bought one for my bedroom and Ally bought the other for her living room!

The moral of the story?

Get out there and look…. Super good deals are everywhere!

Goodwill means good deals y'all!

One Year Ago

July 15th, 2014

 

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Just one year ago….I was stepping into a world that I couldn't imagine.  As I sat in a cool darkened room in sunny Florida watching and waiting as my mother struggled through her last day on earth, I had no idea how different my life would be.  This particular day was very long.  Family and friends visited, loved ones called and encouraged all while Gates and I comandeered all the activity going on around us.

We were brave.  Or naive.  Who can say which?

Out of all the family members….it had to be the two MOST EMOTIONAL of us all — holding bedside vigil with my dying mother.  I think about that week so often.  How we barreled down the highway for the long trip to be with her (just the two of us) not really knowing how hard it was going to be.  But God….

God knew and He arranged it strategically just for Gates and me (and MOM).  Between the two of us, we managed to play like puppets for her and she loved it.  We sang, we quoted scripture, we told stories….we teased and we even made some mistakes that week.  Watching someone die is excruciating, especially when it is your mother.  Oh, but it's all part of life.  So, we bravely soldiered on….like we knew exactly what we were doing.

By the last day, each of us were tired to the point of giving up.  Looking back, I see how God orchestrates every single detail of a person's life & death.  Nothing happens without a heavenly plan.  I believe it's for the best that we don't know every detail otherwise we would try to intervene.  For me, I was going through the motions as best as I could that day.  And I have no regrets.

This long year filled with so much change kept me occupied until I remembered.  At the strangest of times…..I would think, "I have to call Mom and tell her this…she is going to laugh so hard!".  And then I would remember.  I caught myself buying items for my house and thinking, "Mom is going to love that I have this!".  And then I would remember.  If I struggled, I would think, "Mom is totally going to sympathize with me!". And then I would remember.  "She is going to be so proud of ________!" and then I would remember!

Grief is different for every person but the same for us too.  Each of us have to weather it….somehow, someway!  I am grateful for all the closure between my mother and I.  Our history was painful, harsh and many times cruel.  But not the last year of her life.  Hurts were healed (not all forgotten … but almost) and hearts were mended.  I can't tell you how badly I needed that and the peace that it gives me knowing she could waltz right on in to heaven wearing her sassy pants and bragging her head off about her kids & grandkids gives me an assurance that everything is OKAY!

I miss her but I don't want her back….well, I say that but I do want her around for moments.  I don't want her sick or struggling here on earth ever again!  I want the good parts and in this humanity that can't be the case.  Heaven is home and that's where I want her to stay.  I'll see her again.  I have that promise and when I feel sad or sorry for myself, I remember…

……my mother is in heaven, waiting for me!

 

Let’s Blow This Mother Up

July 13th, 2014

My neighbors…..they are a mixture of folks!  Some are friendly and say hello as they come and go.  Other's never even look our way (and that's cool).  A few are quiet hard-working types who pull in the garage and shut'er down.  Here and there are sprinkled the loud & obnoxious types.  The kind who think EVERYONE enjoys their parties and kids running through the streets late into the night (like, 1 am late) screaming and shouting.  It's a true picture, really, of America.  All kinds of people in one busy little area of Indiana called Walker Farms.

Just this past weekend, my neighbors put together a little firework show.  I didn't know about it but I've since READ ON FACEBOOK that they invited everyone.  Strangely, I didn't get my invite.  So, it's safe to say….they invited who they knew.  I can dig it.  What I can't dig….is the loud explosions booming over my house that sounded like the Hatfields & McCoys were shooting it out at 10:30 pm in my front yard!

It didn't help that I was home alone and Ms Lizzy decided that there were indeed murderers outside and that she would remain on high alert AKA barking until all was safely quiet again!  Boom, bark!  Boom boom, bark bark bark!!!  KABOOOOOOM!!!!  Barky bark barky!  Really, I don't want to mislead anyone with my post here…..I love having fun!  If you know me, you know….there isn't ANYONE on earth more party hearty than me.  I just don't know about fireworks on July 12th in a VERY CLOSE sea of vinyl covered tall houses!  The houses in this community are right on top of one another, stacked tight!  For me, a little too tight for shooting off huge fireworks right in the middle of everyone's $1000 mortgage payment dwellings.

Call me a fuddy-dud, I don't care!

So, I posted the question on the neighborhood forum — >

Just wondering…….how much longer will the neighborhood be celebrating with the booming fireworks?

I love the USA but the explosions are crazy loud! Shhh, it's 10:30!

Many jumped right in with frustrated agreement….and then it got mean.  Over and over, back & forth….snarky comments mixed in with "some people just have to complain" and of course the "WE LOVED THE SHOW" comments.  I wasn't the only one to ask about the noise either.  A few other people voiced their concern and before you knew it, people were resorting to name-calling and seeking out revenge.  It was a real eye-opener into the thinking of many people within walking distance of my front door.  It really made me sad!  The lack of concern for others was profoundly absent.  If you were frustrated with the noisey fireworks, you were a whining complainer who didn't want anyone to ever have fun!  If you were shooting off fireworks….you were a proud American who wanted to bless the world around you with fun and excitement!

All I could think is…. WHERE AM I?

I want to be a good neighbor and I don't want everyone around me mad at me for being a nuisance.  If I'm keeping people up all night screaming in the streets, it's probably a legit reason for them to want to complain.  I recognize that I'm NOT the only person living in this neighborhood.  So, because of that fact….I have to limit my wild shenanigans!  I can't just do whatever I want.

All from this last week, I scrolled through a newsfeed after googling "fires caused by fireworks" and one after the other listed horrible stories of real life families devastated by fires that were started because of fireworks.  I can't even imagine the heartbreak of someone losing their home or worse, their lives all for an exciting night of leftover fireworks.  Besides that, who knows if the stuff being fired off is even legal or of safe quality? 

I would never take a chance like that in a neighborhood like mine.

So, next time…..and I know there will be one because I read post after post of impending nights of sky-rocketing blasts.  I pray A) I'm not home!  B) No one gets hurt!  C)  No one's home is hit or damaged!  and D)  Neighbors don't fight like gangsters in the hood when someone complains!

God bless America

 

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

July 12th, 2014

If you've ever watched the tv series LOST then you know a little about how crazy a trip can go.  This past week, my hubby's company chartered a bus and loaded it up with everyone in the company (all of the Hageman family except 2 members were on this bus) and took off for a Cincinnati Reds game in search of fun for all the hardworking employees.

Since we did all live to tell about it….here goes the low-down of our day!

Okay, first let start this story with the facts.  WE ARE NOT REDS FANS!  We are dyed-in-the-wool ATLANTA BRAVES people.  But what can you do when your boss decides to set up a fun day for the company at a Cincinnati Reds game?

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Well, I'll tell ya.  YOU GO!  Because, these people know how to have fun….EVERYWHERE THEY GO!

The trip started out on shaky ground when we had to wait an extra hour for our bus to arrive because they had to "upgrade" it 3 times!  THREE DIFFERENT BUSES!  Are you with me so far?  THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A RED FLAG!  But since we are gluttonous for adventure…..we loaded up on the bus with all the faith of a Catholic nun (and no offense to the Nuns of the world)!  We were just confident that the day's biggest challenges……would be how much we would eat, drink and do to have a great time! 

Oh the naivete!

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Let me introduce Cynthia.  She is our bus driver.  From the moment we hopped on board……her bus lady abilities were questionable.  She seemed scattered and off her rocker and it was only 10:00 am in the morning!  Instead of "getting ready" for departure, she jumped in the driver's seat and peeled off.  Once she was driving, she started to do all the things a person would need to do to be set to drive:  adjust the seat, look at a PAPER MAP, check her phone, figure out which way to go, read some mail…..you know?  Just wacky stuff!!  In the meantime, we are swerving and stopping in all directions. In the busy city of Indianapolis!

It was SCARY! 

She weaved us in and out of the busy interstate traffic, yelling at other vehicles and complaining about HOW AWFUL THIS BUS WAS!  We hung on and prayed…..other's in the back of the bus took it as a sign to open up some chemical courage.  It wasn't even lunch time and people were drinking!  If she got cut off in traffic….she would yell, "SOMEONE FLICK THEM OFF!".

Yes, this is all real!  YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP (which became our theme statement of the day!)

By the time we reached Cincy….everyone just wanted TO GET OFF THE BUS!  So much so, that we jumped off several blocks from the stadium and waved GOODBYE to Cynthia!!  See ya later crazy C!!

Off we hustled…into the game (which was started at this point).

Since the Hageman's do nothing half-heartedly, we climbed the stairs to our seats in the Clubhouse area (because the elevators had a long line and there were 28 of us).  Never will I be able to just "attend" a baseball game again!  I blame the Hageman's for spoiling me to the luxury that is Clubhouse seating!  The cool shade, the smorgasborg of different foods & drinks (all open buffet style)…..the air-conditioning!!!  All of it, perfect pleasures for a snob like me!!

I ain't ever going back to regular game seats y'all!

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Just look at us.  Don't we look happy?  We are living it up….

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Even Ms. Sandy is unaware of all that awaits us once this long overtime (12 innings) game is over.

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The newly-weds…..Adam & Chelsea.  God love them.  They handled the day like old pros!

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Our son Gavin……eats, sleeps, drinks baseball!  There was no way we could just leave him behind.  He smiled the entire day, but that's just how he is as a person!  Happy kid!  He even handled it like a champ when Ms Sandy asked our waitress for her number for Gavin!  So funny!

I told her to stop trying to pick out my daughter-in-law!!

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I don't know it….but I'm almost positive my future DIL does NOT work in a Toby Keith restaurant wearing Daisy duke short shorts!  I mean, he's 24!  He would've shown signs of a that kind of taste in women by now….right?

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Here is Shane asking this nice guy if he could snap a few group photos of us as we leave the game.  He was kind enough to indulge….but only some of us made the photo!  :)

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I told you….YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!!  We laughed and laughed and laughed!  What else can you do?

By this time, we've been gone all day.  We herd our way out of the stadium and head back to our bus.  Cynthia & company are awaiting us somewhere on a city street.  So, we walk and walk UPHILL to where we finally find her.  Only, there are emergency cones surrounding our bus and the lower deck doors are all opened with coolant bottles on the ground.  ON A BUSY CITY STREET!!  I haven't shared that the group of folks I'm with are FARM PEOPLE have I?  This ecclectic group of people…..understand hard work, heat and make-do!  This little breakdown didn't faze them!  They were ready for it!

Several of them jumped right in to help poor old HOT Cynthia who was sweating like a leaky pipe and one second away from full-on tears.

The bus would not stay running.  Nothing worked.  They tinkered with the engine area, they added coolant…..they did mechanic stuff over & over.  It would crank up…we would get a little further up the hill (trying to navigate the 5:00 Cincy traffic) all while cars and other buses were cutting us off and whipping in front of us.  We just needed to get out of the city!  And Cynthia….needed help!

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This is Steve (the boss).  He is stomping on the gas pedal (no, I'm not lying) trying to keep the bus running because Cynthia just can't do it!

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The patient HOT crew!  Just trusting……that this is going to work out.  3 hours from home!

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Not one vehicle on this street will give us a break or get out of the way.  I will never look at buses the same again!  It was like NO ONE could see we were in trouble!

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After jumping ship (bus), we wandered like the Israelites all over downtown Cincy searching for a restaurant to "hold up" while the bus company sent a replacement bus for us.  An interesting note:  The bus company we were chartered on was from Lafayette Indiana.  Many hours away!  This long day…..had the possibility of becoming an all-nighter!

We climbed back up the hill, carrying all of our stuff; coolers, backpacks, purses etc… until we found a place to eat dinner while we waited.  A Toby Keith restaurant seemed appropriate for this motley crew of farmers, execs….employees and their wives.  So, we took over one side of the place and ordered our dinner all while trying to cool off.  Everyone had started to reach the point of deliriousness by this time.

Heat has a way of sucking all your life out!

A few hours later….we were on our way with a new bus from a new company and poor old over-heated Cynthia up in the front passenger seat.

We made it home around 9pm, safe and sound still believing….YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!!  It was so much fun!

Thank you Hageman's!  You sure know how to party!!