Seasons Change

Navigating the Hills and Valleys of Life

Weathering the Storms

March April  English Proverb

Many couples have conflicting values regarding the management of finances, so a major problem for many newlyweds is financial management. If money matters are not clearly defined prior to marriage, issues are sure to develop. gives great tips for newlyweds in this area. Considering I was a single parent for 20 years prior to our relationship, my husband had no problem with me managing our household finances. For the first few months it was a breeze. However, our storms arrived after I quit working full time 5 months into our marriage.

richer or poorerI return to work full time next month, but in the meantime, we have had to learn how to budget to temporarily support our home on one income. We are blessed enough to not have major debt, with our expenses being mainly mortgage, one car note, utilities, and household expenses. For us, budgeting was not a major problem. We just had to adjust and cut back on non essentials. Things we changed included:

  • Cutting back on conveniences, i.e. expensive coffees, fast food meals, sodas– this tip helped a lot because I was purchasing a large coffee each morning, sweet tea every afternoon, and eating out daily for lunch. I also gave up sodas for infused water. Cost effective and healthier!
  • Switching from bottled water to tap water– This was more for my husband and daughter with their outside activities. Bottled water is/was convenient. But we make sure to have a water bottle handy that we fill and chill before they leave home.
  • Purchasing less expensive or store brand household/grocery items– I grew up in a home that was brand loyal, so this was a surprising stretch for me. Even though there are some brand name items I refuse to compromise (soap, detergent, tissue), I have saved a lot making the switch.
  • Meal planning and taking lunch to work/school– The most challenging, but also the most rewarding. Working 8 hour shifts with an hour commute daily caused us to fix convenience meals. Our meals on workdays consisted of fried foods, boxed dinners, and canned vegetables. Meal planning allows creativity in meal choices and also allows us to change our one that is healthier. has great and realistic meal planning tips. Crock-Pot and one dish meals are also easy on the wallet and time savers. I am also cooking more with fresh vegetables.

Even though they are small changes, incorporating these practices make a difference in your wallet. AmericaSaves provides ways to save money on a tight budget.

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The Honeymoon is Over

Who doesn’t love weddings? New love, the promise of spending eternity together, not to mention the beauty of the bride are all fascinating….wedding

But once the work of the wedding is over, the work of marriage begins ….

Five months into our marriage, we are finding the obstacles that we thought weren’t so difficult, are not as easy as we thought.

One of our biggest issues was breaking down walls of communication. Talking is one thing, effective communication is another. We had to learn each others communication styles, making our thoughts clear and understanding what the other person is saying. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re making great progress. In the words of my mother, we are learning to “pick our battles,” and not make every issue an argument.

the brady bunch

We DEFINITELY aren’t The Brady Bunch

Another obstacle we are facing is blending our families. Collectively, we have five children from previous relationships; I have two, my husband has three. Since my son is an adult, we have no problem with having a blended family work with him. But the other four children are close in age, ranging from 9 years old to 12 years old; 3 of them are girls, and one boy. We have our work cut out. The only child in the home is my 9 year old, so we like to have one other child over weekly, and try to get all of them together at least twice a month. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There is always a struggle for dad’s undivided attention. Even though our girls are close in age, their likes are vastly different. The oldest girl (12) is really into sports, specifically softball. The middle one (10) is into clothes and makeup (already!!!!) The youngest (9) likes music, books, and dance. Because each has their own likes and interests, its hard to get them to interact with each other without our prompting.

Thanks to Walt Disney, this is the image many have when they hear the word “stepmother”….

queen narissa

So, what’s a girl to do to erase those thoughts? Its hard on kids to have a step-parent. Its even harder on adults to BE a step-parent. Kids have to get used to the new person in their life, as well as accept them as a parent. The step parent doesn’t want to come off as pushy, but even we as parents want to feel loved as accepted. We’re having our issues with the kids acting out in various ways, but we are working through them. gives some wonderful tips on child rearing as a whole and advice for blended families.

One major accomplishment for our family….

hallelujahWe have found a place to worship together. I was taught a few years ago that families should attend worship services together. Even though I was raised in the church from an early age, my husband nor I have been active in the church for a while. It is a blessing that we have found a church that we all enjoy. I am positive that our growing in our faith will help our marriage and family tremendously.

We’re being realistic about marriage and not expecting roses and rainbows everyday. We know that there will be challenges here and there. However, I feel that with patience and prayer, we’ll survive this chapter in our lives. In 30 years, we’ll be able to look back and laugh.

Have any of you had challenges with blending families? How did you overcome them?



Grandmas are the Greatest

Growing up, I always thought of grandparents as these old people who watched the news and westerns on television and went to bed by 8pm. I loved my grandmothers, because of who they were, but I didn’t expect much fun out of them. I wasn’t around my paternal grandmother much because she and my grandfather moved to Ohio when I was 6 years old. But the thing I remember most is that she had the prettiest rose bush in her yard and made the best tea cakes and buttermilk pies.teacakes_final_endshot

My maternal grandmother…. Well….I loved her…. but as a child I thought she was pretty mean. She was a nurse and a pastor’s wife, so basically she worked all day and was in church every night. In retrospect, she may not have really been mean, but just exhausted and didn’t have much leisure time for us. But I remember that she always had little ceramic figurines filled with dimes or half dollars that she would give us for our birthday along with a $2 bill. She did this every year until we were 18.


My mom was the grandmother I definitely didn’t want to become. She was the grandma that let the grand kids get grandma chocolateaway with everything. She would always say that she wanted her grand kids to have great memories of her, more than memories of her “just being grandma” going to church and telling stories about “the old days.” She taught my son, her oldest grandchild, the art of grilling. She makes sure that she and my daughter have something a new recipe to try every week. Even though the youngest grandchild is only two years old, she can’t make too many moves without him following close behind.

When my son told me I was going to be a grandmother, I not only thought that he was too young at 22 to be a father, but I thought I was too young as well…. 40 is too young to be a grandma, right? With my grandson being almost 450 miles away, I figured the distance would prevent me from becoming too attached. Boy was I wrong. My husband, daughter, and I drove 8 hours at night, in the rain, to make sure we were there for the birth. It seemed as if he waited on me to show up, because he made his entrance into the world 15 minutes after I arrived.

It was at that moment my life changed. I was no longer just a mom, but I became a grandma that wanted nothing but the best for her first grandchild. It was then that I realized the grandmothers before me prepared me for this moment.

Even though both of my grandmother’s have passed, their presence in our community is still strong just by their name. Even though they never did anything I liked or thought was “fun,” they gave me a strong spiritual foundation and taught me character in the way they lived. My mom taught me that grandmothers can still have fun. Through her I learned that grandchildren are God’s way of giving me a second chance to do the things I may have missed with my own children. was helpful for me with tips on how to be a better grandparent. At the moment, I wish there wasn’t so much distance between us. But I make sure I don’t take the time I do have with my grandson for granted. Quality bath time and reading stories to him are necessary. Even though he’s still quite young, I’m excited about teaching him life lessons before he truly understands. He can’t eat solid food yet, but I’m ready to share his favorite meal and talk about his day with him. Most importantly, I want him to know that Grandmas are the greatest.

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Life is funny sometimes.

Today is 17 March.

The first day of Spring is 3 days away.

Three weeks ago we experienced major ice and snow (at least for our area) that closed schools, businesses, and government offices.

It rained here last week 5 days out of 7.

My husband cut our yard yesterday. Our high temperature today is expected to be in the 80s.


My oldest son had his first son 6 weeks ago. I’m no longer just a mother, I’m a grandmother.

My daughter, who was a little 8 year old girl who loved soccer last year, is now a pre-teen who is crazy about dance, but hates the outfit because she is self-conscious about her body.

This time last year I was a girlfriend. Now I am a wife.

Over the past few years, my Mom has been one of my closest confidants; the one I turned to and leaned on when I needed her help. Now the roles have changed. Her health is declining and now she needs me.

A year ago, I had a career plan. I enrolled in classes to further my education while continuing my career as a nurse. Now, I am unemployed and figuring out my next move.

All of this happening while the seasons are changing outside.

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