Tag Archive | children

I’m Getting Old ~

I have recently begun to acknowledge that I am, indeed, getting old.  At 50-something years of age – okay, 55, but I admit I had to do the math on a calculator because I couldn’t remember which 50-something I was – I have come to realize and accept that I am past middle aged and on my way downhill to the end of my life.  I am neither afraid nor sad about this revelation, as I know exactly where I’m going, and I know I will go when He says my time here is done, not before.

I’ve noticed subtle changes in my physical being:  thinner skin, “age spots” where you least want them to be, easier to bruise and longer to heal, memory loss.  Perhaps the worst of these, for me, is the memory loss.  I can no longer remember year-to-year how old I am, I cannot remember my grandchildren’s birthdays, and to be honest, sometimes I have to look on my calendar for the exact date of my husband’s birthday.  I remember it’s in early April.  I keep an in depth, detailed Calendar on my Outlook application at my work, and I routinely print it out and keep it in a like-size binder that I carry with me at all times.  I keep everything immediately important in there, or it will be forgotten.  Even when my payday is (every OTHER week) and when bills are due.  My binder is my lifeline.

My health is failing year by year, and I wonder how much longer I’ll be able to mobilize without major assistance.  I have back issues, knee issues and now foot issues.  When I get sick, I take forever to come back to good health.  A simple cold can turn into bronchitis/sinusitis, strep ~ and I may not recover for several weeks.  My shopping is now curtailed by a myriad of orthopedic pains that only allow for me to walk for approximately 25-30 minutes total before I have to abandon whatever plans I had for doing things outside the home.  I know a good portion of my problems are most likely due to weighty issues, and I try to exercise (recumbant bike & treadmill) on my good days ~ but my good days are fewer and far between than the bad ones.

Lately, I find myself measuring what’s left of my life in increments of 7-10 years at a time.  Maybe I should take it down to 5 years.  I am fairly confident that I have a maximum of about 12-15 years left before I am summoned to be by my Lord’s side.  And I’m totally okay with that.  This is not a “complaining” post, but just one of acknowledgement.  But increments of just 5 years left of life seems so very short when there is so much more I want to accomplish before I leave this world.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I want to surround myself with my children and my grandchildren as often as is possible.  Since one of my children keeps three of my grandchildren in Alaska, I am in despair of seeing them again.  I am blessed that I can see most of my children/grandchildren as they are mostly local (with 35 miles)… although some I still do not get to see often enough even though close.  Oddly enough maybe for some of you to imagine, but the most important thing I would like to accomplish would be to regain a relationship with my estranged son.  I pray to God every day that, for whatever reason I don’t know, he would forgive me and learn to love me and we could have a mother/son relationship again.  Did we ever?  I think so, but my memory fails me.  He appears to put all of his thought to his deceased father.  I often wonder if he’ll care when I’m gone, being relatively sure that, if he even does, it’ll be short-lived.  Our distant relationship is the most painful thing in my life right now.

But I digress.  I am relatively sure that I will move on before my soul-mate and husband.  His family has a history of longevity much more than mine.  And, besides, he has strict orders not to go before me ~ by me.  If he were to die first, I do not know how I could continue.  I can’t even conceive of it!  Maybe it’s selfish of me to think this way, after all, he would be just as devastated and hard-pressed to continue without me.  Anyway, my orders to him are just tongue-in-cheek.  We both know that we do not have control of when we will be going home to be with God.  We only know that we will be together again in eternity at some point of His choosing.  That’s enough… for now.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my thoughts.

TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Advertisements

Golden Harvest Festival ~

Beaver Lake Nature Center, in Baldwinsville, NY, is holding its 35th Annual Golden Harvest Festival this weekend (Saturday and Sunday).  Having grown up and gone to school in Baldwinsville, I have been very familiar with this autumn tradition for all of its 35 years.  However, I hadn’t attended for a number of years.  This year, Al and I decided we wanted to go and see if anything was new, different.

A beautiful archway of decorative balloons from the Syracuse Balloon Company welcomes festival-goers

A beautiful archway of decorative balloons from the Syracuse Balloon Company welcomes festival-goers

There are a LOT of things to see, do and taste.  I was mostly interested in the photography aspect of the event, focusing on children, crafts and animals.

A young festival-goers pets a goat near the Petting Zoo at the Golden Harvest Festival.

A young festival-goers pets a goat near the Petting Zoo at the Golden Harvest Festival.

A "mini farmer" enjoys a brief sit-down at the Golden Harvest Festival.

A “mini farmer” enjoys a brief sit-down at the Golden Harvest Festival.

The craft booths that surround the grounds really caught my interest.  These are quality items by a variety of vendors from fabrics to jewels, to furniture and henna artists.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How about a ride on a horse-drawn wagon?  Or maybe you’d like a hat made of balloons…

Horse-drawn wagons take kids and adults for a ride around the grounds

Horse-drawn wagons take kids and adults for a ride around the grounds

A young man grins for his dad while wearing his brand new balloon hat!

A young man grins for his dad while wearing his brand new balloon hat!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 My favorite craft item, one that my husband could not let me do without, was this glass Red Oak leaf.  Those who know me, or have read my blog, know what a Red Oak tree means to me.  Al, in his infinite wisdom, thoughtfulness and generosity, saw me wistfully looking at this beautiful peace of work and purchased it for me to keep on my window in my sewing room (my personal sanctuary).  

A beautiful Red Oak leaf created of glass for my sewing room window.

A beautiful Red Oak leaf created of glass for my sewing room window.

It was a wonderful couple of hours well spent… despite lunch:

Not much nutritional items for lunch, unless you like hummus!

Not much nutritional items for lunch, unless you like hummus!

1 Golden Harvest Fest 2013 blessings

Have a wonderful Autumn!

Until next time, thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Hope you enjoyed my photos.

TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

 

Revealed Chapter 11: Take Him at His Word

“Impossible is an opinion, not a fact”

In March 2001 I was baptized at Second Baptist Church in Auburn, NY.  A full water immersion baptism.  I sent written invitations to my family and friends, asking them to come to the beginning of my journey with my new life.  I gave my testimony in front of the entire congregation.  I rehearsed and quoted my favorite verse:  2nd Corinthians 5:17:  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”   But my new life had begun long before this pivotal moment in my spiritual travels.  It began that very first night in 1997 when I was slumped on the floor of my bedroom and praying to someone/something I wasn’t even sure existed.  I just didn’t know it then, but my heart was ready.  So God sent someone to me, my husband, to help show me the way and help me understand and find my faith in a way that I could/would understand.  In the 14 years that Al and I have been married, we’ve grown together in faith, in love and in God’s love.  But especially in just this past year (2012).

2nd Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

That’s not to say it’s been an easy road.  Life, even with God’s unconditional love and guidance, is not such an easy road to travel.  There are always pitfalls, missteps, crises and challenges that you have to muddle through.  For me, it’s been that much easier knowing that God has my back at every turn.  Knowing that.  Again, not a simple or easy concept, like the “trust fall”.  And we have had our share of challenges and “trust falls” just this summer to get through.

 Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.

Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.

Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.

Painful moments, TRUST GOD.

Every moment, THANK GOD.

My children are not believers, unfortunately.  I would love for nothing more than to have them find their way as I did, so their futures will be secure in the knowledge that they will go to Heaven when their lives here are complete.  They cannot deny with honesty that I have changed, and changed much for the better since I came to God in 1997.  I wonder if they think this happened by osmosis.  And others that knew the “before” me, do you think I just woke up and decided one day that I was going to stop swearing like a redneck trucker?  Or that I was going to suddenly stop beating on my kid’s behinds with a belt, or whatever else I could get my hands on that worked as well or better?  Perhaps I just suddenly ran out of FWB’s (see “Chapter 9:  Faith”) that I would go visit at all hours, leaving my children home alone and at risk for my own selfish reasons.  And then there was that weekend trip to Florida to be with a “friend” while I left my children with people I barely knew, let alone trusted.  But they were okay, really, they were what? 11 and 13 years old?  And Karrie was 17?

I’m not saying I’m a model of a good Christian woman.  I know I am far from that, but I’m trying.  The fact that a person can come from the chaos and irresponsibility that I have come from and turn a life around and begin living the right way ~ the way God intended us to live ~ is a testament to His existence.  For whatever reason, He came into my heart for the asking, and made me new.  My debts have been paid, my sins forgiven and forgotten ~ and what do I owe?  Only faithfulness, devotion and love.  What He asks for is not that hard!  And for those of you who do not choose to believe, that is your choice.  I’d rather believe and be wrong than not believe and be wrong.  My way (which is His way) is a win/win situation, and I’m not wrong

Now?  My daughters and I have good relationships.  Don’t ask me how they found it in their hearts to forgive me, even when I could not yet forgive myself.  Blessing after blessing.  My son and I have been estranged for the most part and remain so, despite the fact that it’s very painful and I pray daily about it.  I’m sure, in His perfect time, it will be resolved.  Al and I are wonderful together.  As I’ve said, we’ve had our issues, what couples don’t?  But we’re getting through them with God’s help, and the help and guidance of many of our Christian friends.

I had a comment awhile back on one of my chapters from a man who was criticizing what I had written.  He seemed to think I was self-involved, self-pitying and that I should (basically) get over myself (not in those exact words).  I believe he used the word “whining” or “whiney” at one point.  That is the one and only negative feedback I’ve received, and I found it in my Spam box.  Go figure.  But I have not and will not dismiss the comment this person made because it’s negative, as it has value and merit as all of the positive ones I’ve received.  Although, I regret that I did hastily delete the comment before replying to this gentleman and thanking him for his opinion. 

So, why did I write all of these chapters and put myself “out there” for all to see?  Good question.  I was definitely not self-pitying, nor whining.  I guess I was trying to make a point by showing how something good can come from something so dreadful, if you just have faith.  There are so many women who have been or may still be in a situation(s) such as I have been, and I’m hoping they find their way to this blog and get something positive out of it.  If they’re led to a new life through spirituality, that would be my best blessing.  But if they simply get out of a domestically violent relationship, or stop taking their frustrations out on their children by abusing them, or just give their child an extra hug and “I love you” today, I would be deliriously happy.  It’s as simple as that.  I don’t want pity, or praise or condolences or a pat on the back.  I want my words, my experiences to find someone and give them inspiration to better their life and those around them.  I was able to achieve this through finding my faith and spirituality, and you can too.  It only takes a moment and a simple prayer, and to believe that Jesus died for you on the cross.

If you’ve had an abortion, doesn’t matter how long ago, there is help for you.  If you drink or do drugs, abuse your kids, allow yourself to be abused in any way (and there are many ways) there is help for you.  If you’ve attempted or think you might attempt to end your life (yes, I have *twice*), think again and again!  Call someone, call anyone and talk it out ~ and pray, pray very hard.  There is help for you, too!  You are never alone, even if you don’t believe, God is there with you… for you, in you.  Take Him at His Word.

** Aftermath ~ Just a quick note ~ I have found out the BH has passed away, without ever having found me on the street and having to kill me (“Chapter 6:  Trading Faces”).  As told in Revealed Chapter 10:  May You Reach and Find God Before God Reaches and Finds You, BB committed suicide in 2003.  Do the math:  that’s two out of three “ex’s” who have left this world for the next.  That leaves MS, my first husband, alive and well.  Hmmmm.  Actually, he and I have since become good friends, and I have forgiven all three of my “ex’s” (2 posthumously) for their part(s) in my journey.  I guess maybe I should’ve thanked them!

~ Coming Up:  A first-hand look inside a 72-hour stay at Hutchings Psych Center after a suicide attempt.

                        Don’t miss it!

Revealed Chapter 7: Into the Lion’s Den ~

The first few years with my new, live-in “beau” were common.  In March of 1985 I gave birth to his son, and we began to move around (relocate) quite a bit.  BB was a farm hand in rural Cayuga County.  Before I met him, and for several months after we first began living together, he worked on his family’s dairy farm.  For whatever reason, he decided he no longer wanted to stay on the family farm, but was hoping to “advance” his career by changing jobs to a different farm in the area.  Often dairy farm jobs come complete with housing for the farm hand and family.  Thus, we began to move as he would take a job, decide he didn’t like it or it didn’t pay enough, and get another job with housing… dragging us from place to place in the process.  The children and I were still receiving public assistance in Cayuga County, but BB’s paycheck was barely $150-$175/weekly, plus the “housing” (which was usually bleak at best, but included utilities, typically).

 As what often happens when two people co-habit together without even knowing each other, it didn’t take long for our true colors to begin to show.  I learned quickly that I had chosen to be saddled with another “child” rather than an equal adult to help me carry the family responsibilities.  And I think he learned that I had a quick temper and low tolerance for stupidity.  I grew tired of moving around and uprooting the family and changing schools simply because he could not get along with his employers time and time again.  Often I would have to intervene between him and his supervisor or the farm owner just to try to keep him employed and us in one place for more than a few months.  This would be a regular pattern throughout the upcoming decade. 

It didn’t take long for the arguments to begin in earnest.  I learned early on that this was a person who literally believed everything he said and did was right.  Needless to say that verbally fighting with such a nut case is beyond frustration.  And, as the months and years went by, I discovered that it was not simply just a tactic he used to try to “right fight”, he actually believed whatever he said was true and correct.  This would be his delusion right to the end.

 Add to that the fact that BB was a drinker.  He came by it honestly enough… all the “men-folk” in his family consumed mass quantities of beer at the local watering hole, where BB was literally raised.  I guess that’s pretty much when and where the violence began between us.  He was not a “happy” drinker, but was belligerent.  It began with just a push here and a shove there, then a punch in the arm and a kick under the covers in bed at night.  Admittedly, I fought back…. though my 5’6” against his 6’4” made it pretty futile.  I was not one to take things lying down, despite the fact that often I had no choice.  On more than many occasions when BB wanted his way in bed and I refused, I found myself being kicked and shoved onto the floor and screamed at and ordered out.  When he got tired of me picking myself up off the floor and sleeping on the sofa (because I wouldn’t let him have his way), he decided to forgo the kicking and shoving and just not take “no” for an answer.  I contemplated over and over about having him arrested for rape, but I had no income ~ well not enough to support my growing family on my own.  So I remained quiet… for now.  I’d grit my teeth and wait the few moments it would take for him to finally leave me alone, then I’d cry from frustration.  I would eventually be quoted giving a description of BB to sheriff’s detectives as a sexual addict.  That was neither a lie nor an understatement.

 In late 1986 I would announce that we would be adding one more to our family, as I was pregnant again.  We were still bouncing around to various farm jobs, but at the time we were living on a really nice farm in Skaneateles, NY.   Despite our differences, I always thought we could work things out and maybe, eventually, find a way to exist together.  I wasn’t so much a realist back then.  Well, not until I went for a prenatal checkup and found out that I was walking around with a venereal disease that went undetected!  I think I was in shock at my OB/GYN’s office.  Never ever had I had such news!  I took great time and care to question my doctor about everything to do with it:  how it’s transmitted, symptoms, treatment.  I wanted to know everything.  I was informed that I would’ve had to have gotten it from my partner (BB), that there would be no other way possible.  Well, I guess that would mean that he must’ve gotten it elsewhere… which would mean I was not the only “girl in town” for him.  Not such a big surprise.  When I got home and confronted him, he denied, denied, denied.  Like if he said it enough times, I would believe it like he does.  When a major argument ensued, he left the residence and didn’t return home until the next day after work.  Hmmmm.  To keep peace, I let it slide for the time being, but did not forget nor forgive.

 Katie was born in May 1987, and in August 1988 I finally landed my first job… well, other than when I was in high school.  This was to be my first real job:  an intake clerk for a weatherization program for a non-profit agency in Auburn, NY.  I was excited.  We managed to move into some low income housing in Auburn that wasn’t far from my work, and they had programs for both preschoolers Brian and Katie to attend, while Kristen and Karalyn went to elementary school.

 I don’t know if it was the fact that I was gainfully employed that made me feel better about myself, but things began to change for me, and hence my family ~ and not necessarily for the better.  It was common knowledge to me and anyone who knew him the BB was not with me exclusively (to put it kindly).  He decided to revert back to his old ways of “open marriage”, even though he and I were not married ~ he still wasn’t divorced from his first wife.  In a way, it was relief to me, since he left me alone more often, and I soon began to explore my own other interests.  BB decided to leave the farm hand life, and he took a job as a cab driver in the city of Auburn.  He worked nights and slept days, which seemed to suit us well.  I was making new friends, who soon became drinking buddies as we made our rounds to various bars on Friday and Saturday nights.  Kristen would’ve been about 12 years old then, and I had no qualms about leaving the other 3 smaller children in her care while they were in bed so I could pursue my own carefree fun.  I was coming into my own “all about me” phase that would last decades before I would wake up and see the light.  Right now, I was of the opinion that I deserved to have a good time, whenever/wherever I wanted to.  After all, I worked hard, I took care of my kids and I tolerated an idiot ~ who would deny me a little fun?  It would be a little more time before I would come to realize that “fun” had all of its own costs.

 ~ To be Continued in Chapter 8…

Smile for Awhile ~

I’ve been thinking of ways to incorporate my family into my blog, and finally found an ideal way.  I’ve taken some of my favorite photos and captured just their smiles.  The incredible beauty that is found in one’s smile is enough to bring joy into your heart.

My grandson, Braden’s, cherub-like smile is precious!

I especially adore my grandchildren’s smiles.

Gavin’s smile is more knowing, maybe mischievous, as a 10 year old.

Four year old granddaughter, Aubree’s, smile is infectious.

Carefree and daring is 4 year old “Bree”.

My little “eskimo” grandson, Austin, lives in Wasilla, Alaska, and I don’t get to see his smile in person nearly enough!

Austin looks like he’d much rather be playing baseball than sitting still for a photo op!

Nieces Michelle (below left) and Lisa (below right) have that genuine smile of their mother, and both just as beautiful. 

                  

Although I have several more grandchildren to share, as well as children and sibling smiles,  I’ll have to save those for another time, another smile.