I’ve Been A Busy Girl


I thought it was time to show what I’ve been working on to add to my etsy shops (http://etsy.com/ToLoveAlways and http://etsy.com/nanaspocket)
I haven’t been as active on the sites as I should have been. It’s been such a busy summer. September is slipping up on me and suddenly I realize I need to get after it. I hope you enjoy the following photos of my work.
This is my Pray for World Peace rosary bracelet: DSCF6962
Rosary strung on Jeweler’s wire and hand wire wrapped rosaries:
DSCF6980 Black with John Paul II center connector
DSCF6972 Olive wood with copper color accents
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creamy pearl finish with old gold accents
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Camo bracelet – her best hunting accessory!
DSCF6937Car Rosaries DSCF6942DSCF6946DSCF6949

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Childbirth and Breast Cancer


I had a lovely visit from a friend of mine yesterday. We have known each other since I was 19 years old and pregnant with my first child – very pregnant. In fact, she still teases me that it seemed like I was pregnant for 14 months. It felt that way to me too, especially when the little s*** baby knocked the wind out of me with his outrageously huge precious feet. Being pregnant exhausted me and frustrated me. I remember wondering what I had gotten myself into. And I got so stinkin’ big. But, as they say, in the end it was all worth it. My discomfort, swollen body, fluid retention, shortness of breath, and weight gain resulted in the birth of a terribly ugly beautiful red wrinkley screaming newborn son. And two fractured ribs. Did I mention pain? They say a woman forgets the pain over time. I’m here to tell you that is NOT true. I’m old now and I still remember it. I was shocked how the pain intensified after my water broke. It hurt like hell and I remember the nurse telling me she would get me a shot (back then they administered what they called the ‘twilight shot’, no such thing as an epidural then) after a visit from my husband. I told her forget the husband, get the shot. What did I know? I was only 19 years old. Husbands weren’t allowed in the delivery room in those days, so I missed my chance to share the moment with him until after the delivery. Trust me, I did him a favor.

Back to my friend. Bless her heart, she called me last week for prayer because she had an abnormal mammogram. It was especially scary because she had gotten breast implants a ton of years ago and, believe it or not, she was worried that they would have to be removed. I understand that. Don’t misinterpret either of us; the threat of cancer, loss of body parts, and uncertain mortality will sober a person up quickly. But to my dear friend, those implants were her identity. Not that she’s vampy about them, or showed them off in any way, but because after having grown up without a significant amount of breast, the confidence the implants give her is immeasurable. She is a humble person, a professional, a wife, mother, and grandmother.

Before her test results came back, our imaginations had her already sans breast and implants, with scarred thoracic flatness, balding and hyper-ill. Thank God in His mercy, her results were negative. Praise Him! She gave me the good news when she came all the way out to the countryside for a visit. It was a huge relief as you can imagine. Then she surprised me with a line of thought that made me see cancer in a different way. Cancer, she said, clarifies a person’s life. It makes a person see undeniably the important things in life – the moments with family and loved ones, and the uniqueness of every second of every day. She told me that the ugliness of this world became uglier and the beauty of this world became more beautiful. Colors changed. Love intensified. The ordinary no longer existed. And what a lovely thing to become aware of it all before this life expires, maybe even privileged.

I looked at her like she was cray cray. And because I am missing the check valve normal people are born with that withholds bluntly honest but inappropriate remarks, I self-righteously told her that it would have been better had she recognized those things before the threat of a life-ending disease. I have no tact. For that, I am so sorry, especially because this darling woman is closer to God than I ever hope to be. Her spirituality is golden. I know her well, and have for 40 years so I’ve seen every side of her, good and bad, and she knows me as well. So I found it disconcerting how calm she was about the health scare, and how she turned it into something positive, like some kind of saint or something.

Then, after she left I saw a commercial on TV that proclaimed those very beliefs nearly word for word. I felt better. She is human after all. And I just love her to pieces.

There is a huge lesson in all of this: enjoy, love, clarify life now before the threat of something awful happens. Cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” before you think you have to. I’m thankful for the lesson and for my friend’s saintly attitude, no matter the source. She has always been a blessing to me.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award


Many thanks to Mike Lince (Applecore http://globalexplorerclub.wordpress.com/) for sending me the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Yes, it is my first ever, and I am ridiculously happy about it. It’s a big deal to me, kinda like being crowned Mrs. America. Haha, not really, I’m joking. It’s not as big as that. Um, never mind, yes it is.

So, to receive this award, I am required to name at least seven, maybe ten, interesting things about myself including what inspires me. Ok, that’s not hard. If I can’t do anything else, I can talk about myself. The kicker is choosing something interesting to disclose about myself. I think it would be much more interesting if I wrote what other people have said about me. Completely unbiased opinions, of course, and it’s not all good. But interesting? Not necessarily. Maybe insanely funny. Or just insane. Why would I do it this way? Because I didn’t bloom until later in life and grew up without a heck of a lot of confidence. Therefore, it has been my burden to seek out validation of my own worthiness. One could say it is the foundation and inspiration for my late-in-life enthusiasm to pursue goals I have an intense desire to accomplish.

#1. My precious husband and I have been married for 12 years. Being married took some getting used to considering I was single for 20 years before I married him. He said he is very proud of me. My first husband…eh…not so much.

#2. When I published my first novel, my dad said everything I touch turns to gold. Haha, yeah, right. But he was sweet to say it. My mom, may she rest in peace, probably would have said something similar but with more heart. She was my greatest cheerleader and when she died, I very selfishly thought ‘who is going to believe in me now?’

#3. A priest friend said he was very happy to receive a portrait of John Paul II that I painted for him. It’s a fair likeness and I appreciate his kind words.

#4. The librarian in Ville Platte said I must love to read because I sure do check out a lot of books.

#5. Before my God-mother (see this blog post https://nantubre.com/2012/01/30/bessie-delrie/) passed away from lung cancer, I gave her a rosary that I made especially for her. She told me she gave my first rosary to me and I gave her last one to her. It was a deeply meaningful moment between us and I am thankful that she encouraged me to continue my spiritual journey in the Catholic tradition.

#6. I had a long career as a respiratory therapist that took me to a lot of places. I enjoyed it (most of the time) and received an accolade or two from time to time. My proudest moment was passing the National Registry Exam to be a registered respiratory therapist. I was 40 years old at the time. I had good grades although in math and related physics, I was known to put my head on the desk and cry because I’m such a right brainer, I didn’t think I would ever get it. I loved helping people, and most of my patients liked me. But not all of them and you have to expect that occasionally when you work with the public. One time a doctor I thought I knew told me I wasn’t all that good at it. Don’t ask who said that, just know that creep isn’t on my list of favorites. In fact, nobody knows where he is now. ‘Nuff said.

#7. Here something odd – As an Air Force brat, I have lived all over the world, but I’ve never been to Canada or Mexico. Can you imagine that?

#8. Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so. Talk about validation! Not only that, I finally ascertained that because of His love I am worthy and I am capable of accomplishment. I became empowered to begin doing those things I always wanted to. Like write. And create. And love.

The #8 statement is my daily inspiration. Now I want to tell you what inspired me to write Secrets of the Old Ladies Club . During my work in health care, I asked many, many patients of all ages how they feel on the inside. The older people told me they felt the same in their golden years as they did when they were 18 years old. Amazing. From that revelation, I penned the motto of the character named Bethany: “Our bodies may grow old but our souls don’t. They just grow”. Think about it and go with it.

Amen.

very inspiring blogger
Hey ya’ll, don’t forget to pray for peace. The whole world still needs your prayers.

Servant House – A Healing Place


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Hoo-Boy, I’ve been having a rough time of it lately. You know how it goes, you cruise along just fine, then you hit a bump in the road and suddenly your going off a cliff. That, my dear friends, is called ‘life’. So, my friend Mary Lofton told me about a healing Mass taking place at the Servant House in Marksville, La. last Wednesday. Well, of course I wanted to go! Who wouldn’t want to receive a healing? I grabbed a couple of friends from the prayer group I attend, Mary grabbed a friend too and we made arrangements to meet there. It was good to see each other again. Back in the day, she and I belonged to a prayer group in Pineville, La. That period of my life was probably the one in which I grew in my faith the most. That is, until now. I don’t know but I guess because I’m older now, I understand the lessons put before me a little better. Sometimes.

Look out, detour ahead.

As you know, the Lord works in mysterious ways. It seems to me He may be a little OCD about the way He wants things done. Check it out; He made the heavens and the sky first so the earth and solar system would have space to exist. He created the land and the sea, rather yin and yang, don’t you think? Soon He created man out of the dust of the earth, and from his rib He created woman (I’ve heard tell that He was just practicing with the first one, lol). The list goes on and on. Moses to the promised land. King David to Jesus. It all had to be in a certain order. It was important and as we look back on history, we might understand a tiny bit of the reasons why. You gotta love the Big Guy, right? He has a way with puzzles, and I for one respect, honor, praise and am deeply indebted to Him for that.

I often wonder if allowing the human race to have the gift of free will ever puts a kink in His plans? That’s an audacious thought, isn’t it? But then who (in their right mind) believes God talks to them? It takes a special person to hear God whisper His plans, a very special person indeed. I’ve been privileged to meet two of them, Aggie Neck and Donna Culotta.

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More than 25 years ago, Aggie and Donna met through their work with the Diocesan Service Committee in Alexandria, Louisiana. Aggie shared her vision of a community of prayer with Donna and the rest of the story goes like this: They heard, they listened, they believed, they acted. They opened Servant House. I choose to call them kindred spirits as both shared an interest in learning more about the gifts of spiritual direction and healing. Somewhere around 2004, Donna had the opportunity to spend time in Florida with Dionne Bronin and Barbara Schleman at the School of Spiritual Directors, from which she was able to graduate in 2006 and obtain certification in that skill. It was a puzzle/plan with a lot of pieces having to fit into place. And it’s an ongoing ministry of love in His name.

You will find Servant House at 117 N. Monroe St. in Marksville, Louisiana. It is situated in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by lots of green grass, flowers and craggy old bent trees. As a matter of fact, it kind of reminds me of my grandmother’s house. Established on October 15, 1989, Servant House has been a home for many who seek inner healing and spiritual direction. Sometimes a person might show up at the door with a need for someone to listen to them, to talk to someone who cares and prays and believes. Fulfilling such a need in a person is validating for them, an attribute worth far more than prestige or money. Having that kind of gift must be God-given. Although Servant House was and still is all about healing, the community of prayer doesn’t stop there. They take part in a prison ministry, a Charismatic prayer meeting every Monday evening (7p.m.), a healing Mass the 2nd Wednesday of the month, Bible studies, and they are very active in the production of the Steubenville South Youth Conference. They also offer the building for the Avoyelles Right To Life meetings the last Thursday of the month. And every December they sponsor a special Mass for loved ones who have passed on.

One more ministry of the Servant House is a food pantry. They open for one hour first thing M-F mornings to accommodate those in need. Unfortunately, there have been times when funding is low and there wasn’t enough money to stock the food pantry. Servant House depends on donations to keep it open. Donna makes string rosaries and sells them for $3 a piece to help with funding. That’s dedication in action, but it’s not enough. It would be a wonderful thing if they could get more donations coming in from – let’s say – you, if at all possible. Aggie and Donna did not ask me to solicit on their behalf but I feel called to do so. They are two kind, loving souls who have a divine job they are called to do and they do it well. Their drive and determination to serve Jesus Christ is inspirational. If you feel lead to help this ministry grow, give them a call at 318 253-7810. You will be blessed.

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And while you are at it, please pray for peace. The whole world needs your prayers.

LOUISIANA MARKETSHOPS AT THE 115


In Henderson, Louisiana off I-49 at exit 115

In Henderson, Louisiana off I-49 at exit 115[/caption

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Casanova, the owner of a shop by the name of Louisiana Marketships at the 115. She is the most delightful person, a tall (well, taller than me), smooth-skinned beauty with a hard to miss twinkle in her eye and a genuine smile on her face. Her personality is bigger than life so trust me when I say it will meet you at the door. Some people just have that way about them and she is one. It’s obvious she is in her element in the shop because she looked like she was having a ball the whole time my husband and I were there.
Jennifer Casanova Jennifer Casanova


Apparently, Jennifer’s attitude is contagious because every customer left with a big grin on their face. Take a look at Sheila, one of the employees. Doesn’t she look like she loves her new job? Duh, Ye-es.
Sheila

Sheila

The store is chock-o-block with great finds, everything from antiques to art. To quote Jennifer; “It’s a fun, quirky shop on I-10 dedicated to the preservation of collectables, art, and fine crafts with an emphasis on Louisiana artists and products.” It’s a true statement, folks. You ought to see that place. It makes me proud to be represented there. Yes, you heard me right. My book, Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club, has found a nest there down in Cajun Country. Go get you one, Cher! And as Jennifer says, “Come pass a good time!” It will be easy because as soon as you walk through the door, your spirits will be lifted by the sights, the scents, and the good ol’ Cajun music filtering through speakers in every room from the front to the back of the shop. My husband and I had to work hard to keep our feet firm on the floor, but our hearts were jumping and jigging all around with the jive tunes punctuating the air.

And, ohmygoodness, the art! Wait, let me rephrase that: the ART! I can’t put into words how wonderful it was to see so much art work from so many local artists. Enjoy the pictures below but keep in mind this is only a sample. There are 85 vendors to choose from so you’ll have to just go and see it for yourselves. You will not be sorry! It’s just a short trip down I-49 between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Take the 115 exit onto I-10 and there you are. You can’t miss it. Look for the building painted with all the cheerful colors.
Tell ’em Nan sent you…
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And don’t forget, ya’ll, Pray for Peace. The whole world needs your prayers.