Summertime Goals

Who’s ready for summer?

We are!! After a spring of solid rain, a week of temperatures in the high 90’s followed by a week of 50’s and 60’s, I sure am ready for summer.

Our 23rd wedding anniversary was May 15th. My husband splurged and got us a big, fancy patio umbrella. It’s 11 feet wide, solar powered with lights, and the umbrella itself rotates!

So, if we are sitting on the patio chairs, shade. And, we can turn it so if we’re sitting/ swimming in the pool, shade. My son gets sunburns quite easily, so pool shade is definitely a gift.

Tomorrow, the temperatures start to build their way back up towards summertime fun. My summertime goals are:

  • wear my swim suit every day
  • swim every day (unless there is lightning)
  • catch fireflies at night
  • blow bubbles
  • watch sunsets
  • take walks
  • have a potluck
  • picnics
  • do sidewalk chalk
  • read a bunch of books
  • do art
  • take naps

Man, that does sound good! Sign me up, I’m ready. Here’s to a great season, whether yours is summer, winter, spring, or fall. What are your goals for your season?

Hope you have a wonderful Saturday!

Jessica

our pool and new umbrella
our 23rd wedding anniversary gift- fancy umbrella

I Have an Art Blog

In November 2021, I started another blog. An art blog. It was a few weeks after I did my first craft show.

It’s called Jeweled Again by Jessica. I take old jewelry and make pieces of art. I have done 3 craft shows so far. The last one was in between mom’s services. I wrote about it on there.

Also, I follow some of your blogs with both of my sites, because for awhile there, I was only blogging on one sight at a time. I’m trying to learn to multitask, ha ha.

Here’s the link if you’d like to see it.

https://jeweledagainbyjessica.com

Hope you have a great day!

Jessica

my art I make on jeweledagainbyjessica

18 Things to Help Someone During Loss

They say time heals. I find myself agreeing with that on some levels. Parts of losing my momma do seem a little better than they were initially.

While I am sure that time itself has had a hand in that, my heart tells me that the kindnesses people have shown have also made a huge impact. I mean, when we feel supported, sometimes we are reminded of our capacity to keep on walking through hard things.

I got to thinking about the ways people have shown their support through my family’s loss and came up with eighteen things that have been monumental.

Because, honestly, loss is hard and sometimes we have no idea what to do for somebody. Before I lost my own mom, I remember trying to put myself in my friends’ shoes when they lost their moms. I tried to support them and be there for them, but never really knew what to do.

Now that I have some insight, I thought I’d share in case you are looking for ways to help someone you know.

  1. Plastic silverware- believe it or not, was such a gift in the days before the services. We had many family members staying in one house and a friend brought a big container of it and oh my gosh, it was fabulous not to have to mess with having to wash silverware
  2. Show up- in whatever capacity you can, whether that is in person, phone calls, email, texts. People reaching out has been extremely helpful.
  3. Take food- the old fashioned thing to do used to be to take meals to the family. I’m not sure that happens a lot anymore, but I can say we were so thankful for the casseroles, cookies, soups, and desserts people brought.
  4. Send flowers to the services- the services are flat out hard. Even the anticipation of having to GO to my momma’s service was unsettling. However, seeing all the flowers there! Oh my!! And, reading the cards accompanying them was so uplifting. Several of my friends sent flowers and I’ll never forget it.
  5. Send a card- my parents were just shy of being married fifty five years and I am telling you what, people sent sympathy cards in the mail. My dad would go to the mailbox every day for weeks and it was full of cards. Super comforting.
  6. Comment- whether on a blog or text or social media, if someone is writing about their loss, showing support through commenting is huge.
  7. Sending thoughts/prayers- sometimes our friends and loved ones live far away. When friends and family couldn’t make it to the services, hearing them say ”thinking of you” was immensely helpful.
  8. Stop by- two days after mon passed, friends and family came to the house. Some brought veggie trays, muffins, brownies, fruit, etc. All sat at the kitchen table and visited a while. That meant a lot to all of us.
  9. Wind chimes- seriously, wind chimes are an amazing gift. My cousins gave dad some and a couple of my friends gave me some. Their songs when the wind blows remind us of the love and care given with them.
  10. Find cards to send for the first holidays after the loss- especially Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. I actually found an amazing seller on Etsy who makes cards for Mother’s Day without your mom. She was soooooo sweet. Those were the hardest cards I have EVER had to buy, but I wanted to send cards to my siblings and dad. She even changed them a bit to fit our situation. When she told me she was going to gift me two cards, I cried for two hours afterwards because I was so touched by her kind gesture. Her shop is http://www.cardandstory.com if you’d like to look.
  11. Suggest books- when I don’t know how to do something, I read about it. I had zero idea how to do mom loss, so in the first two weeks, I found two books that helped me a lot. They are: “Things I Wish I Knew Before My Mom Died: Coping With Loss Every Day” by Ty Alexander and “Healing After the Loss of Your Mother: A Grief & Comfort Manual” by Elaine Mallon. When someone is ready, books can help a lot.
  12. Ask what they need- granted, most won’t know what they need. However, when a friend asked me, I told her a meal would be great. She came with grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and cookies.
  13. Ask something specific about what they might need- before I went through mom loss, I always asked more generally, ’Is there anything you need?’ Now though, I’m going to change that to ’please tell me two things (or three or ten) you need.’ ’Anything’ means having to come up with well, anything. Two things is doable.
  14. Support the kids- when my friend asked what she could do, I asked if her kids could make my son some cards. He lost his grandma. She brought him the sweetest homemade cards.
  15. Support the spouses- my husband knew mom for 27 years. His loss was huge, too. When he shared mom’s service information on his social media page, condolences specifically for him poured in. His work sent a plant which also showed their support for him.
  16. Keep checking in- things get quiet as weeks pass by. The world is busy and it can feel like people forget, so checking in is especially nice. I have a friend that texts me a hug type gif about once a week. A couple other friends text me to see how I’m doing. My cousins check in, too.
  17. Support the best friend- my mom’s best friend lost my momma, too. It’s important to remember the family AND the best friends.
  18. Attend the services- we had two services for my momma. A visitation five days after she passed and a life celebration a few weeks later. Total, about 450 people came. I cannot tell you how much it meant to see all those people. Even members of my high school class came. Plus, some people even drove over three hours one way to see us for an hour! That will never be forgotten.

Wow!! That’s quite a list. No wonder we have felt so loved and supported during this.

If you have ideas or suggestions on how you support someone during loss, please feel free to comment.

Thanks for much for reading. Hope you have a wonderful day.

Jessica

flowers a friend sent for mom’s life celebration

Yellow Flowers and a Yellow Dress

Long lasting marriages are something I’ve grown up seeing. One set of my grandparents were married 52 years, when my grandma passed. The other set was married 73 years when my grandpa passed away.

That is quite a legacy. Almost 2 lifetimes in the number of years alone.

If you’ve read my posts lately, you know I recently lost my momma. My parents were married just shy of 55 years, when she passed.

Today my husband and I are celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary. We were married on an Ozark mountain top and there were yellow flowers everywhere. It was absolutely beautiful. Mom was my maid of honor and she wore a yellow dress.

When I considered the first year of ‘hard firsts’ without my momma, I never considered our anniversary as being one of them. I think it is though, because I sure am missing her today.

I thought I’d share some wedding pictures from that day with you, just because.

Thank you for reading. Hope you have a great Sunday.

Jessica

me- 23 years ago today
my husband and my mom
veil adjustment by mom
my nephew who is now 23
yellow flowers yellow dress

Ideas on Creating an Art Fundraiser Donation Basket

I love to make art. My roots for doing so lie in watching my grandmas and mom make beautiful stuff out of a variety of things.

My grandma Irene was the queen of mixing together flour, sugar, eggs, to artfully create masterpiece-worthy pies and bars. Rhubarb especially.

My grandma Wilma held the honors of crafting her own wardrobe. She made multiple dresses and two piece pant sets in various materials, with piping to boot. In fact, I have the outfit she made and wore to her 40th wedding anniversary party.

My momma’s quest for her creative self expression led her down many avenues. She did everything from making dolls to knitting sweaters, sewing curtains to home decor items. Eventually, she added jewelry making, acrylic painting, and stained glass to her list of talents.

My art is like a combo pack- some of each of them, I suppose. Bits of each, that when combined, equals something layered and unique.

This week presented a pretty cool opportunity for me. My husband’s weekly bowling league had a tournament to raise money for a local family who lost a loved one. It was a chance to donate some of my art to a raffle.

Ooooooo!! What should I give and how should I do it? Individual pieces or something combined?

I decided that several items together could be impactful. I mean, if we’re going to share our art, let’s share it.

After staring at an empty basket for awhile, ideas started trickling in. I thought it’d be fun to share them with you.

my art donation basket coming together

Ideas on how to create your own art donation basket:

  • Try to choose a basket size that will hold whatever you’d like to include
  • Dress the basket up, if you like- I added a piece of jewelry and an artificial flower
  • When filling the basket, maybe start with one piece – I chose the sparkly rhinestone necklace on its velvet stand, with a pink flower that I glued on
  • Stick with that piece’s theme- mine was ‘sparkly rhinestone’
  • Maybe consider a color theme as well- I picked pinks and blues, with yellow floral accent colors to draw the eye in
  • Consider adding fillers such as tissue paper and doilies
  • Use a hole punch on your gift tag or business card, attach it to a piece of twine, and tie it to the basket/ handle
  • Think about who is going to be bidding or buying those raffle tickets- I thought about how the women bowlers might really want to help that local family out, so I included different items that might appeal to many
  • Also, consider who the fundraiser is for- sometimes people will buy fundraising items, then gift the item back to the person/family- I thought about what the woman that lost her husband might like to receive if she ended up with my art basket
a jewel and flower added to the basket
added a business/gift card to the basket
the finished basket

My husband was so excited when he got home from the bowling tournament. Apparently, my art basket donation was well received. There were 24 bowlers total, and my basket sold 58 raffle tickets! (insert huge smile here.)

The other donated items included 8 gift cards and a handmade afgan. Total the raffles brought about $500 for the family. Isn’t that amazing??

Some pretty extraordinary things happen when people get together to help someone. Even in a tiny town and even on a Tuesday.

I am thankful I was able to be a part of that. Maybe your art donation basket/ gift basket will be a part of something heartwarming, too.

Hope you have an awesome day!

Jessica

A Wildflower Birthday Without Mom

On this day, in 1946, my momma was born in an old farmhouse in rural Iowa. Oh how I wish she was here to celebrate this day, but life has taken us on an unplanned, unwanted journey.

You see, unexpectedly, she passed away at the end of March. April brought my parent’s 55th wedding anniversary and Easter. May brings Mother’s Day and her birthday.

For a week, I’ve been trying to figure out how to do a birthday without somebody. She had me when she was 21, so there’s been many years of gift making, card buying, and such for me. Her loss brings all those traditions to a halt.

So, here it is, THE day.

What I’ve decided to do is plant wildflowers. I picked out a place in my yard that’s not a ‘front and center stage’, but more of a ’come and sit for a bit.’ It’ll get plenty of sun and moonlight. Oh, how my momma loved the moon.

The lines are blurred about who started our love for wildflowers first. Years ago, I remember pointing out all types of them on the roadways when we traveled. Perhaps I sparked an interest for her, but it could’ve been the other way as well.

She grew wildflowers in her yard and would show them to me every summer. My, how she loved them. Seeds to colored brilliance is a miracle in itself.

For her services, I made wildflower seed envelopes for people to take. The sign I made read, ”She loved flowers. Let’s plant some.” Love the idea of people growing flowers to think of her, too.

My back pasture is in it’s gorgeous summer bloom. Daisies, wild roses, and more adorn my walking path. What a joy to see them there, especially today.

If there’s such a thing as heavenly birthdays, I hope today is a big celebration there. My family and I surely do miss her.

Here’s to wildflowers and birthdays. Time for me to go plant some!

Hope you have a lovely day,

Jessica

morning dew
I’m going to plant inside the fence
wild roses
some pretty flowers
her favorite color was yellow
my helper- mom loved cats

First Mother’s Day Without One

I made it through my first Mother’s Day without my mom. Never ever thought those words would be uttered by me. What a strange, difficult process parent loss is.

On March 16, 2022 mom went to her local hospital. Multiple tests results led us on a rollercoaster of fears and emotions. 10 days later, she passed away. Super suddenly. A rip-your-heart-out kind of devastation.

It has been so hard, and hard isn’t even a big enough word. I’ve experienced loss before, but nothing even touches this.

They say the first year of ’firsts’ is the hardest. ‘Firsts’ being holidays and such. There have been several right in a row for us. My parent’s 55th wedding anniversary, Easter, Mother’s Day, and tomorrow is her birthday.

Maybe you’ve already been in similar shoes- if so, my heart goes out to you. Or maybe you don’t know this type of loss-if so, my heart wants to protect you from it, because it’s flat out heartache.

My husband, Little Bit, and I had been planning a mini vacation before mom got sick. We decided to still go. On Mother’s Day, we went to my favorite place in the entire world, Dauphin Island, Alabama.

I’ve got to tell you, it was immensely healing to stand on the white sand, hear and feel the waves coming in, find sea shells, and take a huge walk down the beach.

We ended our island time at a tree that I love more than just about any other tree. It’s a gigantic live oak in the middle of the island.

Each time we go there, I visit it. There is just something about trees, you know?

They survive big stuff sometimes, like wind, hail, and storms. That tree has seen many tropical storms and maybe even some hurricanes, yet it still stands there, branches outstretched and welcoming.

While there, I cried about my momma and asked for strength. Strength for the other upcoming firsts and strength for the missing because honestly, there’s a lot of missing her.

Mother’s Day was a sappy, teary day for me, gratitude filled because I am a mom, and heavy because I don’t have one.

In Biloxi, I got a new t shirt that says, “Saltwater heals everything.” I’m not sure about the everything part, but it certainly made that day a little easier.

I appreciate you reading this, thank you.

Jessica

Beach at Dauphin Island
favorite tree, favorite island

Love and Miss

My mom liked my writing. When I wrote on my blog, she often commented. We lost her very unexpectedly a week ago today. Instead of me rambling on and on about some lesson I think I’m learning or something, I will let the letter tiles sum up where my heart is. She is truly loved and missed.

Jessica ❤️

Unmeasured Journeys

A Good Sunset

I love a good sunset, don’t you? The kind where the sun just holds its space. It’s not in a hurry to put itself to bed quickly, but instead offers a brilliant fading glow.

Last weekend we ventured to a nearby lake. I seemed to be the only one who was interested in stepping into the 30 degree chill to look about.

So, after layering on sweatshirts and a hat, I made my way to a dock, a beach, and up a long set of stairs. Photographically, it was worth a cold nose and toes.

I saw bird footprints in the sand, reflections in puddles, patterns on the steps, and the sun, that glorious sun! A lot of people I know are moon fans. I do love the moon, but my heart belongs with the sun.

We caught the sunset at the perfect time, but instead of me taking the pictures in my usual spot there, I went to the right. And, kept going right, which gave me a new perspective.

The cool part? I was able to try different things, see the sunset in a new-to-me way. It was fun and I love all the pictures I took.

So, here’s to more good sunsets and trying new things. Hope you are doing well! I appreciate you reading.

Jessica

the birds beat me to the beach
love this pattern on the stairs
reflections in the picnic shelter
sunset view
sunset around a tree

Adventures in Kittens

We have definitely had some big lessons this year. For example, we found out a pretty major one: apparently, cats are extremely fertile. Whoa, who knew? haha

It’s a long story, so I’ll give you the short version. We rescued a kitten that someone found in their truck ENGINE when they got to work last year. Not sure where the kitten crawled in at, the kitten needed a home. We were the home!

That was last November. February of this year brought another cat that needed a home. My friend’s kids found her under a farm house and brought her to my door. My husband and Little Bit connected to her instantly. (The cats eventually worked out their differences. Ha.)

We had the second cat about a week when I got this nagging suspicion that she was pregnant. No one believed me. March 31, my hunch was proven correct, when 4 kittens were born.

Our November kitten didn’t like the babies, so we put her outside. Then, when the new baby kittens were almost weaned, we started letting their mother go outside during the day. We had planned to get her spayed when her kittens were weaned and were counting the days.

Welllll….. that’s where the lessons kicked in. Our November kitten got pregnant and so did the mother cat. The November kitten was around 5 months old when she got pregnant! Again, who knew? I had no idea they could be so young. Also, we had been told that in order to spay the mother cat, the kittens had to be completely weaned…

Fast forward, we have had 3 litters of kittens since March. I kept all the litters inside until they were weaned since we live in the country where there are stray dogs, coyotes, and things. Now, all the kittens are big enough to be outside and they love it. Daily, they play in the yard and climb trees and things. I try to take them for walks in the back pasture often, too. At night, I put them and the dogs in the garage because it’s winter and cold outside.

It has been an adventure to say the least. It’s easy to go from extreme joy to a bit of overwhelm at the thought of keeping everybody well and well fed. Why not give some away, you might ask. We have tried. Lesson number 1,111,111, nobody seems to want cats. But, that’s a story for another day.

Luckily, I love babies. Actually, my cousin and I have talked about how I have always wanted lotssssss of babies. Like 5 or more. But, evidently I did not SPECIFY human babies. Ha ha.

None the less, we have many animal babies running around outside right now, and fur on them or not, I am thankful.

Unmeasured Journeys~ meet Ruby
Unmeasured Journeys~ ducks and Squealer the kitten
Unmeasured Journeys~ newborns looked like bear cubs
Unmeasured Journeys~ nap time!
Unmeasured Journeys~ those whiskers!
Unmeasured Journeys~ kitten love!
Unmeasured Journeys~ Stevie

Seems like, with joy sometimes comes loss. That last picture is Stevie. On my birthday a couple weeks ago,, she disappeared. I looked for her a week and cried for days. She was only 15 weeks old. It happens sometimes, in the country, with animals. I’ve also lost ducks, chickens, and another cat, to what? I’m not sure. But, I miss them just the same.

So, here’s to adventures in kittens. A heart opening and warming experience for sure!

Nature on a December Sunday

We’ve had a ton of rain lately. Yesterday, we went down to the river to see how much it had risen. At that time, it was up close to 10 1/2 feet over normal and certainly was not it’s regular glorious, clear color. My husband said it may take a week before the mud makes it way out.

As the trees clumps washed by, I wondered where they would end up. The current was quick. Will we see them again eventually, as we cross river bridges when we head to the state south of us? Interesting things to ponder, as water whizzes by.

After looking at the water for awhile, I found myself wandering about, taking pictures of various things. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, much less picture wise. Today, I start.

Unmeasured Journeys~ the rising river
Unmeasured Journeys~ a unique leaf
Unmeasured Journeys~ bark and things
Unmeasured Journeys~ river rocks
Unmeasured Journeys~ the river after lots of rain this week

My Heart and Art

I love art. I’ve been making it for awhile now. About a year ago, I had this sort of innate desire to create stuff. So, I started. It is such great fun. Then, yesterday, my pieces emerged out of my craft space and into my first-ever booth at an Arts and Crafts Fair!

You guys, I was so nervous to call to find out if there were even any booths available. Why? What’s the big deal? Well, for one, art hanging on my walls is pretty different from the chance for it to maybe hang on someone else’s. I almost backed out of calling, but then I did it anyway.

Sometimes things that seem risky are worth the chance! I met so many wonderful people there. It was also really exciting to have my own booth! I am just very gratitude filled for the opportunity. The pieces that I loved making were well received. It was really cool to see someone pick up one of my pieces and comment about it or say they were getting it as a gift for someone. How cool is that?

If I met you at the show, thank you for looking at my blog. As soon as I figure out my next steps, I will do a post with information. Right now I am trying to decide on online platforms and where to sell. If you bought a piece from me, I thank you will my entire heart!

Hope you have a wonderful day! Thanks for reading!

Jessica

My Heart and Art