Summer’s here!

summer
summer
Image source: Google

Today is the first day of summer (you can get great summer deals today, including a free small blizzard at Dairy Queen), when it’s the longest day of the year in the U.S. and the shortest day of the year for people in Australia and residents south of the equator).

Heather, Andy, and their kids
Heather, Andy, and their kids

Our daughter Heather, her girls, her boyfriend Andy, and his kids, took off fast today for a much-needed break from work and a vacation in Branson, MO. It was a surprise for the kids.

There’s lots to do in Branson, although I joke to Ray that it’s “an old people’s place” with country hick singers and the entertainment shows (he loves it). However, Branson has beautiful scenery at Table Rock State Park and nice shopping and restaurants at Branson Landing.

Heather made a fun scavenger hunt at her house, where the kids looked for clues all over the house, until they got to the last clue which read that they were going on summer vacation in Branson. She is such a fun mom! The kids loved the scavenger hunt!

Me & Leah at our home for Thanksgiving 2017
Me & Leah at our home

Today I went to lunch with our youngest daughter Leah. When she was still living at home, she and I would go to lunch every two weeks when Ray was paid.

This was our mom-daughter special time together. After she moved out, I wanted to continue the tradition. Leah now stays busy working, taking her violin lessons, drawing her art, and doing stuff with her friends. We still try to go out every couple of weeks for our “mom-daughter” time.

A Moment's Pause Art Print
A Moment’s Pause art print
Copyright 2018 Leah Jones

You can follow Leah on Instagram @leah.merae to see the art she’s working on recently from daily prompts. You can also check out and buy her art at her Society 6 online store (Leah Merae).

I try to do lunches with Heather, too, only she lives much further away (an hour), she works more than full-time hours, and she is constantly busy, but we see each other when we possibly can.

Eden & her family
Eden & her family

Our middle daughter Eden stays very busy too, working 3 jobs, but she and Ray regularly text and video chat. We drop by to see them at times, since they and Leah live down the street from us in Butler. 

Heather, Eden, and Leah
Heather, Eden, and Leah

While our three precious daughters stay on the go every day and live their own, busy lives, I’m still trying to adjust to the empty nest. (I digress from the first day of summer, but I’m going with the writing flow for now.)

I’m not going to lie. It’s hard. Real hard. The house feels so empty at times. (My marriage isn’t what it should be yet, though we are in Christian marriage counseling now.)

insomnia
woman with insomnia
Image source: Google

At night when things are often too quiet, I lay down, wrestling with insomnia again, and then the mom guilt attacks me. The regrets. The painful ache in my heart, missing their beautiful, sweet faces and their physical presence here.

The haunting, condemning thoughts of, “I should have done more fun things with them” or “I shouldn’t have yelled at them so much” or “Why was I so focused on a clean house instead of just enjoying my time with them more?” Sometimes I miss them so much.

These days I do stay busy with my speaking and writing books. When I’m in between books, I get so restless, and feel like I’m just going to absolutely come out of my skin from boredom and anxiety. Today at lunch, Leah wisely told me, “You need to find new hobbies, mom.”

burger & fries
burger & fries

“Like what?” I asked her in between bites of a juicy cheeseburger and french fries drowned in ketchup. 

Creative things like painting or playing a musical instrument. For example, right now I’m learning to make origami.

Nancy Wilson of Heart
Nancy Wilson of Heart
Image source: Google

I told her that while origami is cool, I don’t want to do that and that I don’t know how on earth to draw or to play an instrument. The only instrument I’ve ever wanted to learn how to play was piano (which I quit my lessons as a child) and the guitar, so I could pretend to be Heart’s musician Nancy Wilson.  But I wanted to play bass guitar, not rhythm. I never learned how, and now I have no desire to be a rock star.

“What else can I do?” I asked my child who is wise beyond her years.

Whatever I want, she said. And Leah thinks that anyone can learn to draw or to play an instrument, no matter what your age is. It’s not too late to learn something new!

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
Image source: Google

Here are some things I DO want to do–this summer:

  • Spend time with God and our family;
  • Travel somewhere new;
  • Start my walking/jogging routine again (pray for my self-discipline, puh-leeze! I’ve gained all my weight back!)
  • Drink more water and continue healthy eating (cut carbs and sugar dramatically, more salads and fresh veggies);
  • Restore our marriage;
  • Possibly write a children’s book with Leah illustrating the art on the front cover (she’s thinking about it!);
  • De-clutter my office (tame the paper tiger!);
  • Go horseback riding somewhere;
  • Have some much needed down time at the beach, my place of rest and refilling;
  • Visit my family and friends in different states;
  • Go on another train ride;
  • Speak at a women’s conference (several times would be great!);
  • Lead at least one person to Christ, hopefully more;
  • See God moving in our family, drawing us closer to Him and one another;
  • Visit the mountains; 
  • Ride a hot air balloon ride with Ray, drinking champagne;
  • Have roses bloom in my home garden;
  • Grow more Christ-like, in the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Laugh more. 

These are just some of the things I’d love to do. What about you? Share your comments below.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Pumpkin fun: Louisburg Cider Mill with Annabelle & Violet

I had promised our granddaughters, Annabelle and Violet, to do something fun with them when this new year started. So I took them to the Louisburg Cider Mill pumpkin patch. I had no idea they were having a festival this weekend and it was so crowded–and hot!

First, though, I had lunch alone with our beautiful daughter Heather for us to talk. We tried out a new coffee shop in Belton, Kneaders, which also serves pastries and sandwiches. Heather and I both ordered the turkey-avocado-bacon sandwich. It was so yummy!

Lunch with our beautiful daughter Heather
Lunch with our beautiful daughter Heather

 

Turkey-avocado-bacon sandwich at Kneaders
Turkey-avocado-bacon sandwich

Here are Annabelle and Violet at the Louisburg Cider Mill. Such pretty girls and they are growing up so fast!

Annabelle & Violet at Louisburg Cider Mill
Annabelle & Violet at Louisburg Cider Mill

The line into the store which sold the apple cider and cider doughtnuts was ridiculously long, but it went fast. Naturally, it went all throughout the store so you’d be sure to buy things! I bought some postcards for family, and our cider doughnuts and drinks.

Violet commented on how rich the owners would be with all those people buying doughnuts. Yes, I wish I could bottle their secret and sell my books like that! Maybe I should get into the doughnut biz! 🙂 I thought this sunflower coffee cup below was really cute. 

long line into store
long line into store

 

sunflower cup
sunflower cup

I ordered 2 dozen doughnuts for our family. We sat in the shade on hay bales to eat our cider doughnuts and drink our apple cider. They were delicious!

Enjoying our cider doughnuts!
Enjoying our cider doughnuts!

 

Apple Cider
Apple Cider

As we ate, a band was playing bluegrass music with banjos. It reminded me of the TV show HeeHaw, which my father used to watch as he relaxed at night, drinking beer and eating salted boiled peanuts (boiled peanuts are a southern thing!). The girls and I listened awhile, although that’s not my style of music!

Crowd listening to bluegrass
Crowd listening to bluegrass music

There were lots of vendor booths at the festival. The girls wanted to get their faces painted. Violet chose a pretty flower and Annabelle picked a lovely butterfly. The young woman who painted these was so talented and sweet.

Violet with her flower face painting
Violet with her flower face painting

 

Annabelle with her butterfly face painting and the artist by her
Annabelle with her butterfly face painting and the artist by her

Violet and I noticed the white pumpkins and other unusual-colored ones. She said they looked painted. 

pumpkins
pumpkins

I did stop by another booth before we left to try some fresh-squeezed lemonade. It could have used a little more sugar, but was cold and tart.

lemons
lemons

Afterward, I babysat our precious granddaughter Piper, while her dad Craig and her mom Eden went out to Longhorn Steakhouse and to shop at Target for their two year wedding anniversary. I was happy that Piper said my name, “Nana.” When Violet and I clapped after she said Violet’s name, my name and other family’s names, Piper clapped, too. So cute!

Craig and Eden are expecting their new baby soon, so it may be awhile before they can go on regular dates after the baby comes! We’re excited about the new addition to our family!

Violet & Piper
Violet & Piper

 

Our daughter Eden & her husband Craig
Our daughter Eden & her husband Craig

Overall, it was a fun family day for me! I hope the girls enjoyed it, too.

Girls and me
Girls and me

I’m planning to do more fun things this year with my family. How do you make memories with your family? Ber sure to keep writing and doing your bucket list! Leave your comments below.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Let new adventures begin!

Today is my birthday and I was so blessed by my family and my friends to wish me “Happy Birthday,” and to give me encouraging Scriptures, pretty graphics and words on Facebook.

Would you as my reader and fan on my subscriber list, here at BethJones.net, and on social media please pray for me and my family as well? We desperately need them! Let me know how I can pray for you as well!

woman praying
Woman praying

Every birthday and new year, I pray about the coming year. My prayer last night to God was private between Him and me for me and my family, but I cried many tears. But one prayer I’ll share publicly is this which comes from a little plaque I recently bought: “Let new adventures begin.” Amen!

A couple of friends on Facebook used that word adventure in wishing me well for the new year, so I took it as confirmation God will do just that! What adventures would you like to have in the coming year? Leave your comments below!

My husband Ray and me
My husband Ray and me

Today my husband Ray took me to lunch for my birthday–my requested choice was, of course, Mexican. My chips and salsa fix! After we ate our meal, I wanted more chips and salsa, but was embarrassed to ask for another bottle, so Ray did, saying it was my birthday. I laughed as he ordered not only the bottle, but a cup of salsa to go and he said, “Happy Salsa Day!” Yes, I’m addicted!

My birthday today with Ray at lunch--got my chips and salsa fix!
My birthday today with Ray at lunch–got my chips and salsa fix!

Ray gave me a pretty birthday card with flowers and butterflies on it. 

Birthday card with flowers & butterflies
Birthday card with flowers & butterflies

On Ray’s next paycheck (next week), we’re planning to do something special for his “gift” to me. I’m excited and can’t wait.

Our three beautiful daughters wished me happy birthday today, and my sister Maria and my friend Shelley called me this afternoon, all which made me very happy! It was a good birthday!

Our 3 beautiful daughters Heather, Eden, & Leah
Our 3 beautiful daughters Heather, Eden, & Leah

 

My precious sis Maria
My precious sister and my BFF, Maria Willis

 

My BFF Rochelle Valasek
my BFF Rochelle Valasek

I’m so thankful for another year. Each day is a gift. God is good and life is beautiful, even though there are hardships. I believe it’s important to count our blessings every day.

Me on my birthday today
Me on my birthday today

“The way I see it, you should live every day like it’s your birthday.” ~ Paris Hilton

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail