Category Archives: Life and Death

Thoughts about my life and the way I have dealt with death of family and friends.

Remodeling on Next to Nothing

Hello! I have been able to do a little more to my kitchen. I have started covering the exposed beam that runs between the kitchen and dining room. I'm using old baseboards from my basement.


The next project will be to remove the plaster from the ceiling. I had hoped to be able to put a new ceiling right over the old plaster, however, the plaster is too crumbly. It continues to fall, little pieces at a time, onto my counters and floor, so the plaster has to go.

I am also waiting on a call from a friend who knows an electrician who may be able to do the electric work for a reasonable price 🙂. Barring any complications I might have a new kitchen ceiling and no electrical problems by winter!

I am not terribly frustrated by the slow progress. I knew going into this remodel that I wouldn't have much extra money to spend and because of that things would move very slow. While I wish I had more of the kitchen completed, I am happy that progress is being made. Slowly but surely this kitchen will get done 🙂.

So far I have spent about $50-$75 on the remodel. A neighbor recently moved to Florida and gave me the extra drywall he had from a project and I think I have enough wood to create a unique ceiling. I have been pretty lucky. The electrical work and cabinets will, most likely, be the largest expense in this project.

Until next time friends! May all your projects turn out fabulous!

What’s Next?

My new book is out!
Look for it on Amazon or createspace.com restore 😊. I am super excited!!

Now that my book is finished I am not sure what to do with myself. I have all sorts of ideas but I'm not sure where to start.
My kitchen remodel lingers and I have some ideas for a new book and art projects, but where to begin? Have any of you had a lot of things to do but find your self sitting on the couch binge watching Netflix?

Feeling Overwhelmed

My life is not horrible. I have, however, found it a bit rough these last few weeks. Today all of it poured out in this poem. I don’t really know if it makes sense, then again I’m not sure poems are always supposed to make sense 🙂

I have no voice

Not a single choice

Breath is caught in my throat

But the page sings every word I wrote

There is a pain in my chest

I feel that I cannot rest

I am not as perfect as can be

I am not a perfect person, no, not me

I am bleeding inside

No, you cannot tell, because I hide

Sometimes I just need to be alone

Need so bad I feel it in every bone

I don’t want your hugs

Don’t need your drugs

I just need, for a little while, to not be needed

I cannot breathe until the noise is receded

I do not mean to maim or hurt

My words are not meant to be curt

Not meant to cause pain

I would prefer them to fall soft like rain

But I have let them build for too long

They fly from my mouth much too strong

I listen and I give

Because that’s the best way to live

I try not to complain but my effort falls flat

So, I stuff the words back down until my mouth is fat

I cannot speak

My will grows weak

The words go flying

My strength dying

I cannot help you

Because right now I need help too

Yes ma’am, no ma’am, I am tired of compliance

I… just… want… silence

I need the soft sound of rain

To clear away the pain

 

It is amazing how words written on a page can help a person start to feel better. Like I said, my life isn’t horrible. Sometimes, it just gets a little overwhelming. It’s okay to give what you have, but, as I am learning, recharging and taking care of oneself is also needed. Lots of love my friends 🙂

Breathe

Have you ever felt like life is just throwing things at you to see how you will cope? The last month has been like that for me. I feel that I am doing well and doing horribly by turns. Last week I believed I was doing quite well and then work pulled the rug out from under me and I began questioning myself. This week I met with my illustrator and I felt everything might actually be falling into place. Then I got a call from daughter’s school. Disrespect of a guest teacher and refusal to follow directions. At least she wasn’t fist fighting on the playground.

I thought,  it could most definitely be worse! I have had worse, so I know. I found myself sobbing at my dining room table, even though I know it could be worse. I think sometimes when life throws everything at you at once, it gets too overwhelming to pull the good from the not so good. When this happens and life gets complicated it helps to step back and breathe or in my case have a good cry. Sometimes, even the strong need weak moments. I’m not sure if I am strong but my friends and family tell me I am, so I’ll take my weak moments and use them strengthen myself. 

I don’t know if any of this makes sense. It’s just a thought in my tired brain today, one I felt like sharing. Much love to all!

Division & Unity

I am tired. I wasn’t meant for so much worry, I don’t have a strong enough constitution for it. That’s probably why I was born in the time period I was born in, why I was born to a lower middle class white family in a tiny town in northern Illinois. Don’t get me wrong, I had my fair share of worry as a kid. I was picked on a lot for being overweight, having glasses, being poor, which was evidenced by all the hand me down clothes I wore. It wasn’t cool back then to wear “old” clothes. I just didn’t fit in with most of the other kids. On the other hand, I made some really awesome friends of the other “unpopular” kids. I am still very close with several of them. All of that was a far cry from what other kids went through growing up.Kids in war-torn countries or the kids in Africa that were starving as my mother kept telling me when I didn’t want to eat the salmon cake she slid onto my plate at dinner. I was safe in my little bubble.

POP! I grew up and the rest of the world made its way into my field of vision. Now, I am a grown up with a kid! Now I see the world without the rose-colored glasses and I worry. People are mean, uncaring and often times blinded to the plight of others. Since the presidential election last November I have felt a sense of unreality. I must be in a movie or a television show. The kind where everything is bleak and gloomy, at least until the hero steps out of the rubble and forms a band of other unlikely heroes. Together they defy the enemy and save their country. This isn’t a movie, though. People are being hurt and are frightened. Resistance is a key word that is popping up everywhere and it’s scary to think that this my country and not one that I see from the safety of my television screen. I see horrible links on social media and I am tired. I have a ten-year-old daughter, so I suppose being tired isn’t an excuse for closing my eyes. I am choosing to pick up the mantle of the quiet protestor, a doer of good in my own way. Here are my words and my thoughts on what is going on in my country today.

I keep seeing people post about how we need to stop the division of our country and that this same thing happens every 4 years, so why should we have our collective panties in a bunch. They say this like the people protesting are the ones who divided us. Here is what I say: we, the protesters, of our country’s new president did not divide our country, the new president did. He started the division on the campaign trail and continued it in his inauguration speech. He started it when he said it was ok to put your hands on a woman without her permission. He started it when he blamed every Muslim for terrorist attacks. He started it when he blamed every African-American person for gang violence. He started it when he blamed every Latino person for the drugs coming into our country. Our newly sworn in president started this division, not the people who protest. Yes, there are those out there who are letting their anger get the best of them and that needs to stop. The rest of us are just trying to open the eyes of those who refuse to see. Women’s rights are important not divisive. Civil rights are important not divisive. Human dignity is important not divisive. Environmental protection is important not divisive. If we keep silent then hate and fear grow. If we raise our voices for the protection of our fellow humans and the planet we share it is not divisive! It is a call for love and peace. We want bridges not walls. The next time you want to tell someone to be quiet and stop their divisive talk, because what is done is done, try listening instead. Really hear what they are saying, because out of most people you will hear a cry for love and kindness not hate and ignorance. Love not hate, bridges not walls. These words are my new mantra. 

Blogger Recognition Award

Hello, everyone out there in the blogisphere! I have been given the great honor of receiving a nomination for the Blogger Recognition Award! Thanks to Fed’s Life for the nomination!

Rules:

  1. Write a post to show your award.
  2. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and share the link to their blog.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog got started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Nominate 15 bloggers of your choice for the award.
  6. Comment on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them and provide a link to your post.

How did youmakeyourown get started? I started this blog as a way to cope with the loss of my husband. Writing has always been a great help to me, I find that I can say the things that are on mind better through writing. The blog has continued as way to throw out my thoughts on loss, life, and the world around me. I also indulge in poetry from time to time :).

My advice to new bloggers is: 1. write what you know or what you want to know. Write about what makes the fire in your heart grow, what you are passionate about. 2. Don’t stop writing. Write even when you feel you don’t have much to say. Just keep writing because you never know who your words will touch.

My nominees:

  1. The Daily Norm
  2. The Book Wars
  3. Inspiration Indulgence
  4. Hot Chocolate and books
  5. The Shameful Sheep
  6. Yummers Tummers
  7. Annie’s Cooking Lab
  8. Melting Ice Towers
  9. Home made with Mess
  10. Beauty Beyond Bones
  11. Be Inspired!
  12. I’m Done Being The Fat Girl
  13. Scale it Simple
  14. Mocking Bird 2002
  15. Dysfunctional Literacy

Learning to Dance Alone

January 12th, 2011. This was the start of a really horrible year for me and my family. It has been six years since that date and in those years I have never felt more despair, anger and gut wrenching fear. In these past six years I have also felt myself rise from all of the fear and anger to become stronger and have more love and acceptance for those around me. And I would trade it all for one more day with him. Is that selfish or stupid? Possibly, but I would be lying if I said otherwise.

I have learned to dance in this life without my partner. I had to learn the steps by myself. Even as I wrote that sentence I know it isn’t true. I had and still have so many people who have taught me and continue to teach me new steps to this dance. There are many days that I dance alone, though, because sometimes you have to be your own teacher and your own dance partner.

With all of that said, this post isn’t about me and my dance, today it’s about teaching the steps to others.

The last few months and even days of 2016 were gut wrenchingly difficult for some of my friends. They have lost the ones they love. Words have been said to them that, at this time, are hollow and meaningless. I know, I heard those words six years ago and I have said them in the last several months and days to my friends.  They have also heard the words “I’m here if you need anything” and “Let me know if there is anything I can do for you”. These words are worse than the “I’m sorry for your loss” phrase. We say them because we don’t know what else to say, but the truth is the person or people grieving don’t know what they need. Scratch that, they do know what they need, they just can’t have it and there is no way you can give it to them. What they need is their loved one back, but that can’t happen, not in the way that they desire at this very moment.

The words have been said, the services have been completed and now life flows forward. Now you have to find a new way of living this life, you must learn a new dance. The first year is the worst because you have to celebrate all the holidays and surprising life moments without the ones you love. You don’t know how to dance without them because it has been so long since you’ve had to, so you stumble and fall your way through it and the whole time the music keeps playing as if nothing has happened. Remember this, it may feel like you are all alone and that nobody cares that you are hurting, but that is not true, you just cannot see them clearly through the fog that covers the dance floor. They are there and they are helping you when you stumble, listening to your sobs and offering comforting hands and words and they pick you up when you fall. You may not remember them later as the fog begins to clear, but they were there, teaching the new steps that your heart refuses to accept at this moment.

The coming years will be difficult and you will fall many, many times. The steps to this new dance, this new way of living, are difficult to learn. As you learn to dance alone I want you to remember,  you will smile again, laugh again, and even enjoy life again. There is no shame in that, but do it on your own terms. Do not let someone else tell you that you have grieved enough. Do not let you hold yourself in the fog of grief, either. Remember too, that when you feel like you are falling down reach out, because there are people who will hold you up until you can stand again. You are not alone.

The coming years will be difficult and you will have to learn how to dance once more. Until then, just see to your basic needs, these are the primary steps to this new dance. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water, eat, breathe and put one foot in front of the other. I love you all!

Face to the Sky

I raise my face to the sky

I scream WHY!

Why must I wonder how I will feed my child

Will I be able to make my house payment

Why! 

I feel like crying but crying shows weakness so I yell instead 

My baby asks for things: books clothes games a snack and I yell because we don’t have money for all that

How do I handle all the stress all the worry all the pain

I’m not alone

Others feel the same

Some yell and some find other ways to deal

Dull the pain and the worry even just a little while To be happy and not feel the worry anger despair

But it just pulls us deeper into the despair and gives us more to worry about once we surface from the high there is always a low

It slams us down and breaks us again and again and again

WHY! 

Until one day we realize that that there are people standing near shouting for us to get up and start anew

Leave the pain killing things and let yourself feel 

We are here and we will stand with you

But they cannot walk our path for us they must simply stand next to us

Frustration and loneliness rush in and we risk drowning once again

Get up the voices whisper and we yell at them to go away they don’t understand 

No but they are standing there anyway whether they understand or not and they lend a hand and we shove it away

I’m not weak we yell and scream I can do this myself 

The tears come unbidden as I you we lay on the ground screaming at as the tears fall down 

Face to the sky crying WHY!

The people are there again whispering 

There is no because to answer that question 

It simply is

I have a choice, you have a choice, we have a choice

Get up or stay down 

Getting up is hard because there is a risk of falling again and again 

I’m not alone, you’re not alone, we are not alone

Others have been here they know 

It’s a path we must walk alone but there are others close by they look over and smile whisper you can do it 

I pull myself to my feet tears still stuck in my eyes anger and sadness burning my heart

Stepping forward letting go

Stumbling 

Falling 

Getting up

Pain

Anger

Tears

Frustration

Sadness 

Stepping forward 

Letting go

Smiling 

Happy

Stumbling 

Catching 

Face to the sky

Head held high

                                    VP 9-19-16

No Money, Stressed, But Positive

I have done it quite brilliantly this time! I have managed to put my finances so far into the toilet that there is no way for it to be fixed. Yep, about negative $500 in my account and growing. Went to Walmart with the charge card to get a few things and it was promptly declined. Now I am in panic mode. WHAT IN THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO?  Did I mention that the outlet in my bathroom doesn’t work, my dryer is near death and my stove is acting up? Yeah, I am in one hell of a shit storm right now. Again, what the hell am I going to do?

I am going to take a deep breath, get as many hours as I can at work, have a garage sale and remember that as life goes, mine is actually very good. I have had some craptastic moments but I also have a bunch of wonderful people in my life who are there for me in those moments.

What I am not going to do is sit around feeling sorry for myself or blame other people. It is no one else’s fault that I am not good with money. It is no one else’s fault that I use loans to dig myself out of holes, temporary fixes. Now all of that has caught up with me and I have to do what I should have done in the first place. Pay bills and quit spending money.

Please do not think badly of me, I was, at one time in a more financially stable place. Truth be told I would still be there except I went ahead with the publishing of my book when I should have waited. Shoulda woulda coulda will not get my money back and neither will sitting on my ass crying about it.

The point, my friends, is that when life throws up rough spots you can either boo hoo or you can stand up and take action. You can blame others or you can take responsibility for yourself and your life. I have always believed: You can’t control other people but you can control yourself and how you react.

Living in a constant cloud of negativity makes me feel like crap. I don’t mean feeling bad for a day or even a week, I am talking about constantly complaining about life. I think that if a person continually focuses on the bad things then that is all they will ever see. If instead, a person looks for the good things then the rough stuff becomes easier to work through.

Life is full of big bad stuff that is harder to overcome and takes a lot of people working together to change. Why then would I choose to focus on the little things all the time? Be angry, friends, be sad, shout some curse words, sheds some tears, then take a deep breath and let it go, because life is too short to hang to the little things that anger you. Instead, hang on to the little things that make you smile. Life is much better that way :).

Just a few little things that make me smile. There are much more 🙂

 

Don’t Eat My Cereal

If I have invited you into my home for more than a 5-minute conversation I consider you my friend. If you have spent the night in my house you are, more than likely, considered family. I only have one hard and fast rule in my house, do not eat my cereal.

I am a generous person for the most part. We are all a little selfish from time to time and I am no exception. I will let you read my books, use my shampoo, make your dinner, I will even sleep on the couch and let you have my bed. You can borrow my clothes and use my computer. DO NOT EAT MY CEREAL!

See? I am generous. I am loyal to a fault and I usually share everything I have. However, if I am eating please do not stand over me and say, “I want some!” and then expect me to hand over my bowl or give you a bite. Have I not already given you everything else? Do not take another mile if I have already given you 2. In other words, DO NOT EAT MY CEREAL!

You want something from my garden? Ok, it’s yours. Want me to bake you some cupcakes? No Problem! Just DO NOT EAT MY CEREAL!

Welcome to my house, where the only hard and fast rule is: DON’T EAT MY CEREAL!

 

 

This a work of fiction, maybe ;), for all those generous people out there who would give you the shirt off their backs. Also for parents because we all know that if we were eating a shit sandwich our children would want a bite simply because we were eating it :).

P.S. If you like my writing check out my children’s book, Stuck by Valerie Prather, on amazon.com