Counting Blessings · Davis Family · Emily (Me) · EmptyNest · Italy · Marriage · Parenting

Becoming Empty Nesters

Please note, I’ve updated the name but not the URL for my blog. In a world full of Catholic Bloggers, I just want to be me. I’m unapologetically Christian/Conservative, but I’m a lot of other things. I’m not the great writer others are…. and I am just going to journal and play here. I hope you like the new lightness of the blog (ok, not always light). LOL

August 3rd, we will have been in Italy for four years. I can’t believe how fast and how slow it’s gone. You know what I mean?

On July 6th, our youngest left for Texas to go to Engineering School. He got into so many schools, it was hard for him to decide where to go. We landed at a small school in Texas. I say WE because we had tons of family conversations about it. And although pop culture tells parents they have no say, I beg to differ.

You see that young man… he’s going places. And his daddy, friends, a few teachers, coaches, family and I all worked as a village to make sure of it. He did the majority of the work, but I won’t be dismissed.By the grace of God, he is continuing to stay focused and spread his wings. We could NOT be prouder.

My cousin Laurie and her hubby and our family friends Andi & Jay are standing in for us in Texas. We also have my bestie Kelly and approximately a zillion family/friends (ok – I’m exaggerating). We couldn’t be more thankful and blessed with their influences in his life and their love for all of us – I mean – it’s not an easy task I’m sure. We’d all do it for others too… but it’s amazing and scary in some ways. Sigh.

So anyway, today is the 20th day we are living alone. It’s weird currently. There is so much to do. Let me catch you up…

  • MAJOR TASKS/LIFE CHANGES:
    • Bud graduated
    • Sorting Through 19 years of stuff.
      • The big toss
      • Shipped the rest
    • Bud left for Texas.
      • Orientation – Andi took him
      • ROTC Camp – we will drop him off
      • Buying lists of things – Andi & I
      • Driver’s License – Andi & Fam are helping him
      • Gym – they take him daily
    • Tarleton Conversations and emails…
      • I will say this. I literally sent the Prez/VP of the college an email after how great the entire Admissions/Advisor/ROTC team treated us. They answered a billion questions and called us, emailed us – and yes, even heard back from the VP. Can not say enough.
    • Planning our Trip to Texas
      • Getting Bud to FW
      • Graduation Party – Thanks Laurie & Mario
      • Visiting Friends & Family
      • Visiting Lake House – and fishing trip – Thanks Mario & Laurie
      • Finding dog sitter – Check! Thanks Rachel.
    • Finding a New Place To Live
      • We did it. We found a new Realtor. We told them exactly what we wanted, and how much we wanted to pay. We looked at half a dozen places and found one that we are super excited about.
      • We are moving to a town called Teverola. Many Americans live there, but it’s also very Italian. And we are happy. It’s a one-story, bottom floor apartment. 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, fireplace, pizza oven, nice porches, living area and kitchen are open. And plenty of storage. It’s nearer to the Support Site and we are going to start going to the gym there. Very excited about that.
      • But mostly – it’s a small Italian town with little shops and people say they walk everywhere, etc.
    • Marque’s Job
      • We are now hoping our contract is renewed.
      • The word is, no matter who wins, Marque will stay.
      • Pray for us, my nerves are continually shot here. LOL
      • Marque is not worried at all.
    • Pet Update
      • Gianna is going to live in England at the end of July. There is a group there who works with dogs who have behavioral needs. It’s best for her… also, it’s best for us. She has never allowed us to bathe, brush, or even pet her. She was abandoned, and she just never came around. And she’s gotten progressively aggressive – but she can’t help it. The vet said she is the most anxious dog he’s ever seen. Who knows what she has been through. We have nearly had her for two years and have tried everything. Trust me.
      • Melvin has been with us since January. He was about 5 weeks old when he was found on the streets of Gricignano and we have had him since that day. He’s 7 months old now. Strangely – they look like siblings, except Melvin won’t ever weigh over 7.5 Kilos (16 lbs). It’s been so nice to have a dog who greets us and wants to play, love, etc. You know? Sigh.
      • Goose & Mavericks are outdoor cats and we rarely see them. They are neutered but it’s so common for cats to be outside here. Unsure if they will come with us to new place. Doubtful. Being outside has thinned them up. Funny because they love the puppy and Gianna continually tries to eat them. LOL
    • Health Updates
      • Marque has Type2 Diabetes. After his colon cancer he got thin, and was being careful. But with the pandemic stress, senior year stress, etc… he gained it all back. He’s currently working with our doc to get it straightened out. All diet and exercise related. And trust me, we are working on it.
      • I am working on truly getting over past trauma. It has affected my blood pressure, and anxiety in ways that I have to prayerfully and purposefully learn to control. Sigh. I’ll tell you about the book/workbook another time. Once we settle in our house I will have plenty of time to work on me. Blah.
    • Em’s Volunteering
      • No CCD this year. Parents here don’t take it seriously and it’s frustrating. In fact we have taken a step back from the base Parish. Gotta find a good Mass and Parish experience. It’s super sad. But I am continuing to work on my relationship with God. Need to talk to the new Priest. I miss a Parish to get involved in and make good friends. It’s not how it works here. Sigh.
      • IC Club – all is well there. I’m the Events Coordinator for this next year. So exciting. Happy to say that we have a positive and helpful team. So thankful.
      • NMCRS – I am hopeful to get back involved there.

If you made it through that – you’re awesome. I will tell you this… as much as we miss our son (and for that matter all our people), we are loving hanging out, and working together to sort through things to downsize. It’s so easy to cook for two people. Y’all, I’m serious. If you want to know the truth – it’s only been 20 days that we’ve been alone. But we are a great team. And we know once we get through actually dropping him at college, the process of downsizing our stuff (which thanks to black mold won’t be hard – you’re welcome)…, moving again, getting through contract renewal… it will be smooth sailing.

We will likely be overseas until bud graduates college. But we hope to travel and spend some time in the states, and have some visitors over here.

Enjoy these pics of Melvin and Gianna – wait till you see how alike they are –

More soon…

Love & Hugs,
Lady Em

Anxiety and Fear · Catholic · Catholic Faith · Currently · Emily (Me) · Faithsanity · Italy · Mental Health

Faithsanity – We All Need It!

Dear Ones,

#truth

Did you ever experience heartbreak whilst praying a Novena or Listening to a suggested video?

Ahem, I have a point.

Well yesterday I had one of those moments. I was reading the forward for the St. Therese Novena, and it was suggested we listen to a video from the Pray More Novenas Retreat. Y’all – it was overwhelming. My chest and heart were heavy with sorrow at how lacking I am in my trust for God. But it was AWESOME and NECESSARY! And it took every fiber in my being to not beat myself up for being weak.

I really do try, every day, to look on the bright side. And I find that actively praying and being involved in Catholic Community is essential to my Faithsanity. You say, “what is Faithsanity? That’s not a word!” I say, “yes it is, I just made it up!” To me it means – being present in my faith and having good and faithful people around me that keep me on the right track. No – it’s not their job. But when you spend your time with quality, uplifting people, your attitude and angst can turn around. I promise you that. And anyway – the back and forth mentally can make life feel insane. Without my faith – on days I doubt and turn my back – I feel insane. Therefore, the word Faithsanity stands. I’m gonna say it’s an ACTION VERB! The art of purposing to stay active in the word and surrounded with Faith so that you won’t lose your mind. How’s that? You’re welcome!

I won’t bore you with everything I’ve walked through in my life. If you have read my various blogs the past nearly 20 years, you know the craziness of my childhood, and all the details that brought on a monumental lack of confidence in myself and my talents that God gave me… And sadly, my lack of trust for God himself.

I don’t know if you are like me, but for as long as I can remember, my mind, when any little thing goes wrong, spirals very quickly to a dark place… Not a place where I would harm myself (though I have thought of it at times in my life)… But a place where the doubt and the “well of course things won’t go right, how could it… no body cares about me…why do you hate me God?” thoughts trickle in. And I’ve made a lot of bad decisions based on how little I thought I was worthy of God‘s love. It could be the smallest thing and I spiral. So weak – right? In my mind, I’m so weak… and yet, in HIM I am strong! Come Holy Spirit – help me remember.

I am here, in Italy, separated from a truly faithful community. Even though I teach CCD and am involved, I do not feel close to these folks, many who truly do not put God first. I’m sure there are people here who would take offense, but it’s very weak Catholicism here. Very weak indeed. Our Catholic Community at home was close and strong and lived liturgically. And it was awesome… Admittedly, I did not always see it. But that’s not the point. The point is – I need that close Catholic Community. I need to stay in the word and bridge the gap of being away from home whenever and however I can. Because this whole hiding thing I’ve been doing – it doesn’t work! lol

Anyway – before I talk your heads off, Let me lead y’all to this clip I watched yesterday… If you are struggling with self worth, self doubt, and any kind of spiritual negativity – Please click the link (look for the study sheet too)… and LISTEN to this. Memorize it. God knows our world and knows how much we need him. I implore you!

I may listen to this daily for the next several days. I want it to really sink in. As I was watching, I became hopeful that I will once and for all, really take the words in and realize that I am special to God and That I have a purpose. If you are walking through a period of time, be it daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly or just randomly periodic… where you need assurance that God loves you and that he doesn’t need you to be perfect he just needs you to trust him…

This is for you: The Gift of St. Therese and Her Weaknesses

Additionally – Please sign up at Pray More Novenas for a great spiritual experience. John-Paul and Annie are spectacular and bless us all so much. I always get so much out of it. Being honest, there are times I miss a day, and that is ok. God knows your heart. Catch up and keep going. Without great and encouraging people like these faithful two, I’d be lost. I’m so thankful.

I just thought I’d share that with you! It may make absolutely NO sense to you.
But I am struggling – obviously… and I am going to keep coming back and reminding you that there is hope in God and our Faith! We are blessed and we are strong. And our Weaknesses will teach us what we need to learn – therefore to view them as gifts is necessary!

1 Peter 5:7 –   Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. 

Be blessed Dear Ones. I miss you all.

Love & Hugs
LadyEm

Angels · Catholic Faith · Counting Blessings · Currently · Davis Family · Faith · Family · Italy · LadyEm

Harm vs. Inconvenience

Unsure whose image this is.

Dear Ones,

As I was reading my Magnificat this morning, it occurred to me that there’s a difference between being protected from harm, and walking through inconveniences. So in my human mind I get the two mixed up. I say to myself, “why would God let this happen? Why would God allow me and the people I love to be harmed in this way?!”

Here are the first few passages I read… and literally stopped to post, after being thoroughly convicted

“Exodus 14:19 — The angel of God, who had been leading Israel’s camp, now moved and went around behind them.

God’s providence is powerful indeed. Christ, who has led the way through death to life, now shield us from all harm and feeds us with the Bread of life, Himself, as He continues to lead us in our own exodus from slavery to the promised land of eternal freedom.

Psalm 34:1-9  — 1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your[a] faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him. 9 O fear the Lord, you his holy ones, for those who fear him have no want.”

In the italicized portion above, you see that it says Christ shields us from harm. And as I was reading it I thought to myself, “duh, harm… Not inconveniences.” You may be asking yourself why this is a revelation to me. And if I’m being honest with you I don’t know why it’s still Is. I guess because I’ve been through so much in my life that the battle in my mind is sometimes so overwhelming that I need the constant reminder. And so when I feel strongly convicted I share… and I guess that’s what God wants me to do.

Lately I’ve been really battling depression over the fact that here in Italy were still locked down, my friends are leaving, and I can’t find a job. I think the real truth is that we all become cheerleaders for other people and we forget to tell ourselves the same thing. One would think if you could articulate to someone else that things are going to be OK he would buy it yourself but that is apparently not always the case. When things are terribly out of my control in life, because of some of the damage that was done In my childhood, it is, simply put, extremely difficult, to re-route my thought process away from the negative.

This mild depression is compounded by the fact that my husband wants to stay here for a few years, because he does have a very good job, and our youngest goes to college in the fall of 2022. To say that I dislike Italy and being this far from family is an understatement. There are some very good things here. Of course we always look for the good. But it’s lonely in a way that I can’t describe well without sounding crazy. We will be going to Texas for about six weeks this summer, spend some time with family, look at a few colleges, and visit with friends. It will be a battle for me to get back on the plane and come back over here.

I know that I have walked through worse… And that God has brought me to the other side. I just pray that by my example, on my good days, that I can make a difference in someone else’s life. I am a worrier. It’s one of my biggest sins. I know that things are gonna turn out OK because God has always provided for us… But I can’t seem to stop my mind from going to dark places on occasion.

I am stronger than I sound in this post, for sure. And I do praise God in good and bad times. Let me end this post with a positive… 10 days ago our washing machine broke down. The water is so hard here it had rusted the whole front of it in 2 1/2 years. Luckily the Navy exchange had two washing machines one being a Toploader. This is important because the rust on the front loader was caused by taking the clothes out of the washer and the hard, unfiltered water. Long story short I didn’t have a washing machine for a few days and I did lament spending the money on a new one. But the good news is folks we had the money to buy a new one and it is a superior washing machine. It is a 220 V machine for Europe, However the instructions are written in English. Her 2 1/2 years I’ve use the machine or the instructions are written in Italian and I kid you not I guessed which Load I should use. Haha

Check out the pictures of the old one.

It may sound like a lame example… But truly I believe God helped us choose a better washer for our family. It’s been a dream actually.

So you see you sometimes inconveniences turn out for the best. And even walking through harm, on occasion can mold you into a person that fits more with what God wants you to be. We cannot drink the water in our homes, but we can afford bottled water. I cannot physically reach my friends and family in the states but I can speak to them and see them over the Internet. There are so many things that can feel harmful. But there are are truly many more blessings in life. It’s about getting your mind straight… Let’s help each other do that!

Being far away is inconvenient. Many things about life are inconvenient. But we are not in harm’s way! Praise God!

Pray for me! I’m praying for y’all too!

Hugs and Blessings,
LadyEm

Catholic Faith · Davis Family · Family · Health · Italy · Lent · Marque

ALL CLEAR – We Can Finally Breath…

Dear Ones,

Did you ever have a time in your life where you just couldn’t breath right? I feel like the past year has especially been that way for us.

My husband had surgery to remove colon cancer one year, one month, and five days ago – but who’s counting. It has not been easy. But today y’all, today – we got the ALL CLEAR.

Yep, after a morning of beautiful outfits and needle sticks from hell – three tries on the IV y’all, but I digress… the surgeon came in with what I can only describe as, and you’ll have to take my word for it, beautiful pics of a pristine colon. You’re welcome!

Y’all when we walk in this Navy hospital, they know us. That is and isn’t a good thing. “M’am, you’ve been here before haven’t you?” “M’am how’s your husband (or son)?” My husband still holds the record for most days in the hospital on the base, and longest surgery…

This past year in lockdown has been particularly hard on us…. but we are bouncing back and we are hopeful… Admittedly I am great at lifting others up, but I really need to be better about doing that for myself.

We can breathe. We are so relieved. And we are clinging to the words of Our Lord….

I thought I’d share with you our decor this year. We don’t have a lot of extra room AND we have three animals (and a teen) haha. So – we are creative with it.

This year, once again, we are locked down for Holy Week. Just as we recently found a Latin Mass Parish to attend, and then the lockdown came. Keep in mind, here in Italy, we can not leave our yards without permission except to walk a dog or exercise. And so – we are thankful to at least have a Parish on base where we can go and be with OUR LORD!

The picture above is on my buffet in the dining room. The Olive Branches is what our Parish gave us this year instead of Palms. This is the tradition in Italy. The crosses are from Hobby Lobby and we’ve had them for years… and the cloche is probably from there too.

I hope wherever you are, you have a great Holy Week. More soon.

Love and Hugs.
LadyEm

#LadyEmCrafts · Catholic Faith · Davis Family · Italy · Lent · StampinUp · SweetnSassy · Valentines

Shrove Tuesday And A Couple Valentine’s Cards

Dear Readers…

How I wish I was a more regular blogger. I will make attempts to do better, and stop apologizing. Because I’m bored with the apologies. HA I hope you are all well. Life is life… Sigh. Hugs.

Today is Shrove Tuesday. Do you know what Shrove Tuesday is? Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras – they all mean the same thing. Today – historically – WAAAAY BACK. People would empty their pantries of eggs, milk, and sugar so that they could fast for 40 days of Lent. In my house, one wants pancakes and the other wants waffles. I’m low carb, so I will figure it out. LOL Breakfast for dinner is NEVER a bad thing though. Information about traditions below.

Tomorrow – we kick of Lent with Ash Wednesday – this year we will be sprinkled with Ashes instead of receiving on the forehead. UGH But we know everyone is doing the best we all can. Of course, NOTHING I ordered for Lent is here. But never fear, let me give you a list of Free or Inexpensive Lenten Printables. This way, if you are in the same predicament with mail (with all the weather in the states, the delays must be similar), you can still get your Lenten Plan together. Here are a few things I love:

And perhaps my Favorite – Prompt Me To Pray Through Lent via Monica at Arma Dei. She has so many Lenten Printables from her Lenten Pack of Prayers to a Lenten Quest to her Stations of the Cross. You really should check out her site!

Plus I have a couple books here with readings and devotions for Lent. I’m disappointed that the NEW hasn’t shown up, but it’s ALL GOOD! Catholics are versatile and able to overcome. LOL

Now – I think it’s ok to show you a few Valentine’s Cards I sent to lovely folks I know.

Card #1 – Card Recipe
Stamps: Sweet ‘N Sassy Stamps: Some Buggy Loves You, Texture Tiles 5 and Texture Tiles 7
Paper: PaperTreyInk, StampinUp, and Scrap DP
Ink: Jet Black Amalgam Ink-Gina K Designs, Various Copic and Spectrum Noir Yellow Sparkle Pen.
Embellishments: Blue Scrap Ribbon

Directions: I have bins with scrap paper and precut layers in it. I stamped the X’s and O’s on a piece of chartreuse paper (PTI) and I believe the DP with dragonflies is from StampinUp. I just layered it and tossed some ribbon on. I wish I’d have taken a picture of the inside, because I stamped Happy Valentine’s Day, and Somebuggy loves you! Put it all together with tape adhesive and dimensionals.

Card #2 – Card Recipe
Stamps: Sweet n Sassy Stamps: Kitty Image – from Lots of Love, Sentiment from Valentine Critters, and Background from Rose Background.
Paper: PaperTreyInk and StampinUp
Ink: Jet Black Amalgam Ink from Gina K. Various Copic Markers, and Wink of Stella
Embellishments: Pink Scrap Ribbon.

Directions: I cut and layed out layers from scrap paper. I stamped the Rose background and colored with comic markers… then I used the teeny hearts from the Sweet n’ Sassy Donut Worry set and stamped in various colors with SU Ink, and used a water brush to move the ink around to give a little dimension. I stamped the kitty and colored her with Copics, then put it all together with tape adhesives and dimensionals. Scrap ribbon from my bin. Easy Peasy.

Card #3 – Card Recipe
Stamps: Sweet n’ Sassy Stamp Sets: You & Me, Donut Worry, and Texture Tiles 9
Paper: PaperTreyInk and StampinUp
Ink: Jet Black Amalgam Ink from Gina K, Various Copic Markers, and Stampin UP Inks: Baked Brown Sugar, Early Espresso and Soft Suede.
Embellishments: Red scrap ribbon.

Directions: I stamped the coffee words image on a scrap of ballerina pink paper, and stamped the coffee and donuts in various browns, and sprayed with water for a spill effect. I colored the main image with copic markers and used a piece of pink/red gingham paper for a layer. Then I added the red ribbon and put it all together with tape adhesive and dimensionals.

It was one of my funnest evenings in a long time. Music, mess and fun! I get messy in my craft room. I hope to do it more. Anyway – I got them into Military Post, but who knows when the receivers will receive.

We’ll talk about Lent tomorrow. Ash Wednesday Y’all.

Happy rest of your Tuesday.

Love, Hugs & Blessings,
LadyEm