What a Month!

Playground.4Hi and Happy October.  I just noticed that I haven’t written at all this month.  Sheesh!  I can’t believe that is the third Monday of the month already.  Where has this time gone?

What have I been doing all month to keep me busy?  Let’s see, celebrating a boy’s birthday, having fall break fun and adventures, shopping, eating out, traveling to North Carolina for work and fun, spending time with family and friends, celebrating my mother’s birthday, watching a few movies, working on items for PTO, and so much more.

We just completed fall break and Ian is now back at school.  We had a great time but I took a break from the computer and just enjoyed being in the moment.  It was nice but also a bit strange.  We also had some computer and Internet issues that prompted some of it.  I did, however, start missing my writing.

I love October.  It is my favorite month of the year.  I got married this month and our son was also born this month.  And, it is the birthday of some other loved ones.  So, it is special. And, I love that it is the first month that actually feels like fall.

We enjoy the change in the weather, the chance to wear fuzzy socks again, jackets in the morning, the shorter days and changes in the colors of the leaves. And there is Halloween candy, dressing up, and baking treats. I also like soups, chili, pumpkin spice cookies, pumpkin bread, bonfires, football, and baseball playoffs.

All in all, it is a great month and one that I look forward each year.  You may be wondering about today’s photo.  The photo challenge for today is Tree.  I took this photo last fall and thought it would be great for today.  It is very much fall — after the leaves have fallen off the trees.

Today I am thankful for:

  • A fabulous fall break
  • Taking many photos during our time off
  • Having time at home to relax
  • Holiday creamers for my coffee
  • Extra cuddles in the morning
  • Celebrating my loved ones
  • Fuzzy socks
  • Soup for dinner
  • Reading and relaxing
  • The return of our regular routine

I wonder what adventures this week will bring?  I cannot wait to find out.  Have a great one!

Flashback Friday – Fall Beauty

fallback1Hi and Happy Friday!  Yesterday was the first day of autumn or fall, my favorite season of the year.  Did you have a good one?  I did, but the weather sure doesn’t feel like fall, at least not yet.

This photo was taken two years ago in North Carolina.  The colors of the leaves was gorgeous.  I don’t know how this year will be since it has been so dry and hot.  We shall see.

Don’t get me wrong I really like the summer and we always have a great time and enjoy the time we have together.  However, fall is when the weather is the best, our routine comes back, and life is very rich with so many great activities.

There are so many things that I like about the fall:

  • Pumpkin Spice lattes
  • The chill in the air
  • Not sweating on our walks home
  • Celebrating my wedding anniversary with my love
  • Celebrating Ian’s birthday
  • Celebrating my parent’s birthdays
  • Celebrating two nephews’ birthdays
  • Celebrating cousins’ birthdays
  • Football games
  • Hot drinks
  • Cozy blankets
  • Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Baking items
  • Campouts and campfires
  • Premieres of favorite shows
  • Amazing smells and scents
  • Lovely reds, brilliant golds and oranges
  • The crunch of leaves
  • Long sleeve shirts and jeans

I wonder what this fall will bring?  I hope it will be cooler weather, fun times with family and friends, and some great food and drinks.  Take care and enjoy!

TGIF! Time for rest and fun

I don’t know about you but I am so thankful that it is Friday!  I am so ready for the weekend and for us to have some time for fun and relaxation.  The last month has been really hard and I have had a hard time focusing on my writing.  That is frustrating.

So much sadness has been going on recently that putting together coherent thoughts has been difficult.  A friend passed away, another one is now in hospice care, a former co-worker’s son was found dead, people are suffering and hurting, and several friends are undergoing chemo treatments now.

That is so very much to deal with and my heart has been heavy.  However, I still try to find the good in life and be positive each day.  That is hard some days, but I continue to pray, and have been touched by all of the prayer support for these people.  So things are starting to get better.  When they are, I hope to have the desire to write again and more frequently.  I do miss it when I don’t.

This photo is one that calms me and helps me to remember fun times with family and friends.  It is lovely and one of my happy places.  So that is why I decided to post it for today’s blog.  Hope you also have a happy place or things that can help you when you are down.

Also, it is heartbreaking to see so much hate in the news and online.  We seem to have real and extreme problems with those we don’t agree with and I just don’t understand that.  What happened to having differences of opinion, compromising, and respecting someone else’s opinion and ideas?

I grew up learning to appreciate another person’s take on life.  It was enriching and not scary to me.  These days, people seem to be scared and filled with hate towards others.  This has to stop.  We have to be a people again who love others and show kindness to our loved ones and those we don’t know.

As a mother of a child with a loving heart, I don’t want him to grow up thinking it’s okay to be mean, hateful, and judgemental of someone who is different than he is.  Instead, I want him to be loving, kind, and willing to listen to differences and respect them.

A few quotes about hope:

  • “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” — Desmond Tutu
  • “My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.” — Maya Angelou
  • “Hope is like the sun, which as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.” — Samuel Smiles
  • “You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” — Michelle Obama
  • “Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from today.” — John Wayne
  • “What gives me the most hope every day is God’s grace; knowing that his grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face, knowing that nothing is a surprise to God.” — Rick Warren

May we always remember to be loving, kind, compassionate, willing to listen to others, and respect those who are different from ourselves.  May we have this weekend to recharge and have some fun.  May we have hope despite all of the pain and suffering.  May we remember that our Lord is there with us through everything.

Tears and Joy

lake.summer.7-27Today we say goodbye to that sweet soul I mentioned last week.  Ian’s dear friend Malachi passed away at 8 years old from brain cancer.  He was a joy to know and made us laugh so much.  Now as I remember him, it is with laughter through my tears.

His funeral is this afternoon and one of the hardest decisions I have ever made as a mother was deciding to have us not go.  You see it’s been hard enough for Ian to process the loss of his friend, much less attend a funeral mass in his honor.  So Kirk and I thought that school and his regular routine would be better for Ian.

Not sure if this was the best decision but Malachi’s dad totally understands.  And, that is a great comfort.  I don’t feel so guilty for not being there in person.  We are there in spirit and praying for the family and friends who have lost this amazing young man.  We are hurting too and clinging to our fond and funny memories.

When we met him, he came right up to Ian at preschool and said “Hi.  I am Malachi.  What is your name?”  Ian told him and they went to play together.  Then a few months later when Ian started full-time, Malachi made a point of saying, “I remember you.”

boys-9-6-2016Each time the boys played together, they had so much fun — whether it was Playmobile, Lego, or cars, they made up stories, made each other laugh, and shared.  Both were only children and got along really well.  They were a joy to watch and listen to.

Selfishly, I wanted to see the two of them grow up together, stay friends, and maybe room in college, go on vacations together, and so many other ideas.  But that was not to be.  The Lord had something else in mind.  So now, this amazing soul is in Heaven having a great time.  We miss getting to see him but are so thankful he is no longer in pain or suffering.

There are some people in our lives who come in and make an amazing impression and he did just that.  He lived an incredible and rich life for someone so very young, he had faith beyond measure, and a wonderful sense of humor.  He loved to help people and joke around with them as well.  He never met a stranger and enjoyed his time with family and friends.

I have learned a lot about friendship, faith, loss, joy, tears, laughter, and so much more from both Malachi and his parents.  I feel that my family is blessed beyond measure to have had these friendships. I will forever be thankful they came into our lives when they did.

May we all savor those relationships we have, make a point to tell those we love them, hug our loved ones, be there when they need us, and remember to laugh and enjoy life.  It is a gift and each day is so very precious.  May we also have joy.

Prayers and Heartbreak

Yesterday at church, we prayed for three of our loved ones — two suffering from cancers and the other from depression and other issues.  The two guys (one a child and the other an adult) with cancer are in the advanced stages and things don’t look good.  We continue to pray and hope for the best but who knows what the Lord has in mind.  Not me, that’s for sure.

I am praying for miracles. I am praying for all signs of cancer to be gone. I am praying for complete healing. I selfishly want my loved ones to be healed and back to themselves. I want them to be able to do everything again and not to suffer anymore.

I want long lives for them without pain and suffering and without this dreaded and terrible illness. Yet, these don’t seem to be the answers for several of my loved ones. It seems the Lord has something else in mind and that is heartbreaking. And hard to reconcile.

As hard as it is to think we soon may have to say goodbye, there is comfort in knowing they will be going to Heaven when it is their time.  They are believers and that is an amazing blessing.  That is what I grew up believing and it is comforting. Yet it is still so painful and hard.

The other loved one who we prayed for has been battling some issues for a while.  She is amazing and great to talk with. I earnestly hope and pray that she can find answers, love, comfort, support, and healing, and beat these issues.

In addition to these three, I have many other loved ones battling various stages of cancer, illness, injuries, loss, deaths, and pain.  They all are amazing and brave in the fights that they are in.  May they have comfort in knowing they are not alone.

Living the faith we say we have is hard, especially when seeing people in pain.  However, the Lord promised He would always be there to carry us through.  He knows better than we do what we need and what to provide for us.

Despite all of my sadness, I am comforted by the scripture Jeremiah 29:11 that states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

He knows the plans for us and doesn’t want to harm us. Wow, isn’t that incredible? So may we cling to that and believe that no matter what the answer is, we will be okay. I just have to keep reminding myself of this truth.

As tears roll down my cheeks as I think of these loved ones, I will try to remember this and receive some comfort from it.  Sorry for the downer blog today but this is what is on my mind this morning.  If you are suffering, may you find comfort, healing, and hope. May you know that you are not alone and that you are loved.

TBT – Love of Books

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world.  Love of books is the best of all.” — Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” — Maya Angelou

Hi and Happy Thursday! Here is a photo of a young Ian looking at one of his board books.  This was before he could read.  Once he learned, he was unstoppable and now loves to read.  He wasn’t sure he could learn but did and we are so proud of him.

Speaking of books, I just started reading a book called, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From A Children’s Book.”  It includes life lessons from notable people from all walks of life. For each of these people, there is a quote from the book that influenced them, the title, person’s name and what that book meant to them.

It is really cool, has a lot of great information, and reminded me of a few of my favorites.  A few featured people are: Jay Leno who liked Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and the inventor of the artificial heart who liked The Wizard of Oz. This book has me thinking of what books have influenced me. There have been many.

I never seem to be without a book.  I love to read and cannot remember a time that I didn’t.  I love to be transported to another world and be immersed in the stories and the character’s lives.  One of my favorite books as a child was “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I loved this book and the mystery of that garden and seeing what it meant to the lead character.

I have the book and plan to re-read it soon as an adult.  I wonder if it will have the same allure and amazement to me as a grownup?  I wonder if it will mean as much to me now as it did then?  I cannot wait to find out.  I will share my impressions with you.  I just have to figure out when I want to start on this journey back to my childhood.

A few other favorites from my childhood were:

  • The Snow Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
  • anything and everything by Richard Scarry
  • The Mouse and The Motorcycle
  • The Nancy Drew Mysteries
  • The Hardy Boys Mysteries
  • The Little House on The Prairie Series
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series

Ian has some favorites too.  Some that he has enjoyed are:

  • Good Night Moon (which I must have read 200 times or more to him)
  • The Foot Book and many other Dr. Seuss books
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • The One and Only Ivan
  • Star Wars: The Jedi Academy series
  • A Dog’s Life about a stray dog
  • James and The Giant Peach
  • The Warriors series by Erin Hunter, which he just finished

As an adult, I have other books that I have enjoyed reading or that have influenced me:  Roots by Alex Haley, Jemima J by Jane Green, Thunder Dog, as well as books by Danielle Steel, Carol Higgins Clark, Jane Porter, and so many others.

How about you?  What books have meant a lot to you?  I would love to hear from you.  Please share with me and the other readers.  I hope that your children enjoy books as well.

Hope you have a great adventure with your next book.  I know that I will.

Fun on Friday

Fun_8-12-2016Hi and Happy Friday! Today’s photo challenge is Fun. Here is one take on fun. This is one of my favorite pictures of Ian taken at sunset at the beach many years ago.

I love his facial expression and think he is ready to take on the world and have tons of fun. Or he is ready to dive in.

I love to have fun and enjoy doing so. Sometimes as adult, it isn’t always possible but I do try to regularly make time for fun. With a child, it is easier to be sure to have fun each day.

DSC00210According to Dictionary.com, fun is defined as something that provides mirth or amusement; and enjoyment or playfulness. This first photo embodies that to me. The second one is also fun and a fond memory.

Fun to me is:

  • Watching records be broken during the Olympics
  • Watching a funny movie
  • Reading a favorite book
  • Getting my feet wet at the beach
  • Holding Ian’s hand in the surf
  • Holding Kirk’s hand on walks
  • Swimming at the pool with my parents
  • Coloring with my pencils
  • Completing word finds
  • Talking a walk at the beach
  • Laughing with Ian and Kirk
  • Playing a game of Pounce
  • Playing a board game
  • Pizza night with games and company
  • Time for my dad, his dog, and Ian to be together
  • Helping my mother with the family history
  • Discussing our soap with my mother
  • Spending time watching Ian build Lego creations
  • Laughing until we cry
  • Girls night dinners
  • Time with siblings and our spouses and kids
  • Visits with cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and grandparents
  • Laughing with old friends
  • Singing along with the radio or favorite song
  • Dancing
  • Watching Ian learn something new
  • Helping at Ian’s school and with the PTO
  • Having time to wander in a new city
  • Browsing a used book store
  • Getting treats from a neighborhood bakery
  • Having special cuddle time
  • Our weekend routine
  • Lazy time at home on the weekend
  • Weekly visits with my parents
  • Walking home from school with Ian

What is fun to you?  Do you try to have fun each day?  I hope you do!  Have a great and fun weekend.

Happy August!

August.8-3-16Happy August 3rd! Here it is extremely hot and muggy!  How is it in your world?  Ian is back in school and so far so good.  We go back extremely early but have lots of breaks throughout the year.  It just makes for a very hot beginning of school.

Thank goodness for air conditioning, ice cubes, ice-cold water, and ice cream.  These all help on miserable days.  And on a hot walk home, we are thankful for the shade and breezes that blow.  We are also thankful for a quick rain shower.

Most of July I didn’t write blogs. I hope to do a better job this month.  We had a very busy summer than just flew by. I tried to have down time along with our activities so that is one reason that I didn’t write very much.  And, I am working on new inspiration and what moves me to write.

We had a great summer and had a lot of fun. One evening after running errands, we went to Arby’s and picked up food that we ate at home.  The above photo is Ian’s five-minute fry.  It was the longest that we have seen and took him five minutes to eat.

On this middle of the first week of August, I am thankful for:

  • An amazing summer
  • The excitement of a new school year
  • Library books
  • Play time and down time
  • Seeing friends again
  • Our amazing teachers and school staff
  • My family and friends
  • Prayer support
  • A boy who is excited and amazed to be a third grader
  • Routines and consistency
  • Dinner with my parents and aunt
  • A backpack that Ian wants to use again
  • Food for lunches
  • Special times with siblings
  • New sneakers that Ian helped choose
  • Running errands with Kirk
  • Ice water
  • Ice cold beer with tacos
  • A surprise lunch with a dear friend
  • Photos of friends
  • Hugs with my guys at the end of the day

I wonder if the rest of the month will be as hot as this week?  I imagine it will.  We will do our best to stay cool and will make the best of it.  Happy August!

Summer Has Flown By

lake.summer.7-27Hi and Happy Wednesday.  Can you believe that it is the last Wednesday of July?  I sure can’t.  I have been away from this blog for most of this month and wrote almost nothing.  I hope to get back to more regular blogs very soon. Our summer has been fun and busy and is now winding down. This week we are very much enjoying since school is starting very soon.  We have longer breaks throughout the school year but it does make for a shorter summer.

We didn’t make it to the beach this year but that is okay.  We had a few trips to see family and friends in the lovely mountains of North Carolina where it was a bit cooler.  We did some shopping and walking around.  We also have had a few cookouts, went swimming a few times, had a game night or two, finished some great books, and watched a few movies.

Also, we celebrated Kirk’s birthday and had a few days of parties and special times with him.  This summer I also had a high school reunion.  I was on the planning committee.  We had a great time and a great turnout.  I am fortunate to have a class of people who very much enjoy seeing each other and have plenty to catch up on.  I will write more on that later.

As this summer winds down, I am thankful for many things.  One of them is the view from this photo.  It is of the lake that we saw while crossing a bridge.

  • Photos of old friends
  • Decades-old friendships
  • A weekend of chatting and fun with classmates
  • Ice cream treats
  • Taco Tuesdays
  • Watching the movie “Max,” which Ian picked
  • Ian finishing three books over the summer
  • Dancing The Electric Slide and other favorites
  • Watching an old movie with Ian
  • New Lego builds and a new stuffed toy
  • Watching and talking about the two conventions
  • Time to rest and hang out with my guys
  • The flexibility of my schedule
  • Air conditioning
  • Ice water and iced tea
  • Cold beer and pizza from a local diner
  • Our family pulling together in times of need
  • Keeping in touch on a regular basis
  • Prayer support for loved ones
  • Having time to make many memories
  • Late nights and late mornings
  • Days at home in our pajamas
  • New milestones with Ian

I wonder what we will be doing the rest of this summer?  I am not sure since there isn’t much time left.  We however will make the best of it.  Hope you do the same!  God Bless.

Happy Birthday dear Kirk!

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you!  Happy Birthday dear Kirk, Happy Birthday to you!

Ian and I sang that to Kirk this morning and he enjoyed it.  We both love Kirk very much.  “Happy Birthday Dad,” Ian said.

Kirk is the love of my life, my partner, an amazing father to our son, and such fun to be with. I enjoy our family moments and special times. I love our family traditions.

I love how Kirk makes me laugh, and I so appreciate when he comforts me and supports me. He is wonderful.

Happy Birthday to you dear Kirk!  Have a great one.