Ian’s Artwork

Hello and Happy Wednesday.  Hope you are having a great week.

Today I wanted to share some of Ian’s artwork with you.  I hope you enjoy it as much I did!

He drew an ambulance, an ant house, and a gas station.  It was fun to watch him draw these pictures and explain what they are.

And, here are a few quotes that I enjoyed:

“Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called ‘All the Things That Could Go Wrong.’” — Marianne Williamson

“Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist after growing up.” — Pablo Picasso

“Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.” — Walt Disney

God Bless the USA

One of my favorite songs that I sang in high school chorus was by Lee Greenwood.

Here are some of the words from “God Bless The USA.”  The words are perfect to celebrate this Memorial Day.

And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.

And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.

And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.

For there ain’t no doubt I love this land. God Bless The USA.

Thanks to him for such a great song and for the men and women who have defended us!!

May you have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day

For love of country they accepted death…”  ~James A. Garfield

Happy Friday!  I hope that you have a terrific Memorial Day weekend!

This weekend is traditionally known as the beginning of summer.  So, people will be traveling to be with friends and family, having cookouts, and swimming in the ocean, lake, or pool.

I always have enjoyed the long weekend and the fun with the start of summer.  And, here in Tennessee it will be very hot — 90 degrees all weekend.  The heat of mid-summer is starting early.

But let’s not forget the reason for the holiday weekend.  It is remembering those in the Armed Services who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms.  Be it death, a massive injury, or a major change in their life, they make sacrifices for us each day.

I hope that you can thank those in the military for their service and job protecting us.  And, please honor and respect those who we have lost.  Thanks to you brave men and women for all you do.

It is amazing to me to think of what military families deal with.  Being away from one another for a year at a time or longer, going to parts of the world where Americans are not liked, in fact, they are often hated, and yet these men and women go wherever they are needed since it’s their duty.

Many of us have friends and family who have served in wars throughout the years or in peace time.  I had friends from high school who served during Operation Desert Storm and also in the more recent conflicts had some family and more friends serving.

My prayers are with the military, the generals and other officers, the Joint Chiefs, the people in the Pentagon, the Cabinet members, and our Commander-in-Chief.  Whether or not you agree with the conflict they are involved in, it is so very important to remember and support those in uniform who are protecting us.

There is quote that says a hero doesn’t wear a cape but a dog-tag.  I must agree and say thanks and God bless all of those serving and have served in the military.  We appreciate what has been done for us both by those who go to fight and by the families who stay behind.

Remember, freedom is never free.

We Love To Read

“To read is to fly: it is to soar to a a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.” — A.C. Grayling

“The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.” — Anthony Trollope

“If you can read this, thank a teacher.” — Anonymous teacher

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss

“Children are made readers on the laps on their parents.” — Emile Buchwald

One of my favorite things to do is sit and read a good book. How about you?

A comfy chair or couch, or the beach, a good drink (depending on the temperature and weather, it could be a cold glass of water or hot cocoa), and a real book.  Ah bliss.  I like hard or soft bound books and ones with interesting art on the cover and a great story inside.  I still haven’t converted over the E-Books — at least not yet.

I enjoy being transported into another place and watching the characters deal with issues or learn something new about themselves. Some of my favorite authors are Carol Higgins Clark, Danielle Steel, David Baldacci, John Grisham, Wendy Corsi Staub, Jane Green, and Nora Roberts.  And, I have recently discovered Karen McQuestion and Jane Porter.

When I was younger, I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” series as well as “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis, and “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett was another childhood favorite.

I also enjoy biographies of people such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Amy Grant, Julie Andrews, Susan Boyle, Ricky Martin, and Dean Martin as well as many, many other fascinating people.  And the story of Anne Frank is truly sad and moving. Finding out what makes people tick and their life history is truly fascinating to me.

I also enjoy reading my soap magazine to find out about the actors who tell the stories that I so enjoy.  And, it’s been fun that I have met a few of them through the years.  As you see, I have a wide variety of tastes.

And, now having a 4-year-old soon-to-be reader, I have enjoyed seeing his love for books!  He too enjoys pouring over a book and studying all about them.  And, once he hears a story read to him, he can then read it back to himself.

One of our favorites is Richard Scarry.  Ian can spend hours as I used to do looking at all of the animals on the page, the cool cars, and fascinating stories and characters.  And, he has recently discovered Dr. Seuss!  He loves “The Foot Book,” “The Sleep Book,” and “Yertle the Turtle” among many, many titles.  I think that these two are the best children’s authors.

Each month of his life, Ian has been getting a book as part of the Imagination Library.  God bless Dolly Parton for sharing the love of reading with so many people in Tennessee and other states!  Ian has looked forward to these books each month and we now have quite a collection.  His last book will be the month he turns 5 years old.  That will be sad but maybe Kirk and I can start our own collection for him.  Kirk too loves to read.

And, each month in the mail, Ian gets his High Five magazine which he really likes.  It is neat for him to be excited about a magazine and all of the great stories inside and funny things to look at!  Thanks to my parents for the subscription.

Each week we like to go to our city library.  Ian will often ask to go since he enjoys playing there with toys and puzzles, renting movies, as well as checking out a pile of books.  Right now we have three videos and 20 books checked out.  Among these are “Harry, the Dirty Dog,” “The Sneetches and other stories,” The Caboose Who Got Loose,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” and a few for me as well.

This summer our library will have its yearly reading program.   We signed up Ian a few years ago and read many, many books to him.  He loved it and the summer ended with a great party in the park behind the library.  A fun time, that’s for sure.

I have several friends who have published books.  It is an honor to know people who have been published since I know the hard work involved.  I hope to join this club one day!  In addition to my love of reading, I hope to be an author.  I really want to write a children’s book as well as a novel.  I am currently working on ideas and look forward to seeing what develops.

What books do you like?  What authors can you lose time with while being transported to another place and time?  Please share these with me and our other readers!

Things We’ve Learned

On Friday, I posted a blog about a dear friend Dawn who was celebrating a birthday.  She also does a blog, which is linked to this one — It Just Dawned On Me.

For her birthday, she wrote about 44 things that she’d learned.  They are so good that I decided to borrow a few!  Hope you don’t mind Dawn!

Here some thoughts from my wise friend.  Her quotes are in italics and then I had a few comments to add.

  • Days can seem long, but life is short.”  I love this!  It is so true since some days just seem to drag on and on.  But then others seem to fly by.  And, it seems it was just the first of the year and here we already are in mid-May.  Life is short and important to enjoy.  Make the most of each moment!!
  • Relationships are what is important. We are each made for relationship.”  This is so very true.  Spending time with loved ones is so much more important and special than just about anything to me.  As I get older, I realize how true this is.  I am blessed with many kinds of relationships and hope you are as well.
  • Messy won’t kill you… it might aggravate, irritate, and you might need to fumigate… but it won’t kill you.”  This I love since I am not the neatest person.  I try but honestly, I have so many other things to do that being neat is always at the bottom of the list.  My husband puts up with a lot — my piles of items that I need to straighten up.  And, Dawn knows how I am.
  • It’s fun having friendships that have lasted the years.”  Yes, it truly is.  I hope that each of you has at least one friend who you has been in your life for a very long time!  This is a true blessing from God!
  • Children are a gift from God Himself.”  This I know to be true.  I truly feel honored and blessed to have our son.  My husband and I waited until later in life to have him and truly feel like he is the perfect addition to our family.  And, we are so blessed to have many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends who are also great kids!
  • I could eat Mexican food every day.”  Me too!  In fact, I craved this food while pregnant with Ian and now he likes it too.  Tacos, enchiladas, beans, and the list goes on!!
  • Remember the good things.”  This is true and sometimes hard to practice.  It always seems to be easy to remember the bad and hard things in life.  But remembering the good is truly important.
  • Know that bad times will pass. They always do.  It won’t be that way forever.”  Even though the awful seems to never end, it will and it always does.  This is a light at the end of the tunnel, but it sometimes takes a while to get there.
  • Laugh.  Laugh a lot.  Laugh at yourself.”  This is great advice and something I like to do every day.  Have you ever laughed so hard you cried?  That is an amazing experience that I hope you have sometime in your life!
  • I’m not in control of life . . . even though I like to think I am.”  To me it’s a great comfort that God is in control.  We can sometimes think that we are, but we really aren’t.
  • Tell people that you love, that you love them.  Say it over and over again.  You need to say it.  They need to hear it.”  Yes, I totally agree.  Something so important for us to do.
  • God is good.  All the time.”  AMEN!

I hope you are as blessed by these wise thoughts from Dawn as I was.  This is just a portion of her 44 items.  Please check out her blog to read the rest.

Happy Birthday Dawn, Jennifer

Happy Birthday wishes to two of my dearest friends who are celebrating birthdays this week — Dawn and Jennifer.

I have known both of these ladies for more than 20 years and we have been through so much together.   We have shared wonderful times and also some very hard times as well.  Both of them were bridesmaids in my wedding.  I love them like sisters.  We have each other’s backs and that is awesome!

A memorable quote from the movie “Beaches,” was about having a very long memory between the two lead characters.  My memory of both of them is very long too.  I have had the pleasure of both of them in my life for many, many years.  That is a true blessing!!!

There is something truly special about a long and endearing friendship.  You can look at each other and just crack up laughing.  Or remember and reminisce over so many wonderful times and experiences that you have spent together.  Having inside jokes and amazing times together is a real treasure.

Dawn’s birthday is the same week as her son.  Happy Birthday to him as well.  We met in college during our freshman year.  We lived on the same hall in our dorm all four years while in school.

Our senior year we were roommates.  She had to put tape down the center of the room one time since I was quite messy and she was the neat one.  I have tried to change my ways and be neater but I still clearly remember this.  Sorry for my messes Dawn!

We used to like going dancing quite a bit and had so much fun.  We had so many great memories through the years.  Both of us had amazing dreams for our future when we first met and now since we have lived interesting lives, some of those have come true and some of our life has turned out differently.

Jennifer and I met in high school.  We were in chorus and show choir together and had fun traveling several places during our senior year.  We since have worked together with our reunion committee and had an absolute blast with seeing our old (pun intended) friends from school.

I remember her Z28 that she used to have.  It was a stick shift and we used to go out for lunch quite a bit and get together after school as well.  It was a great car to run around town in.  I have a picture of the two of us in front of the car with our big 1980s hair!  What fun memories.

She was a young mother and I was privileged to be very involved with her daughter through the years.  And I remember singing Handel’s Messiah one year at midnight mass with Jen.  That was great as well.

I could go on and on with stories about the two of them, but most of those should remain between us.  After all, friendship and the secrets of friends are sacred.

Happy Birthday to these fine ladies who I am honored to have as such close friends!! I do love you both very much!!

Here are few quotes about friendship:

  • “A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.”  ~Douglas Pagels
  • “Most of us don’t need a psychiatric therapist as much as a friend to be silly with.” – Robert Brault
  • “Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things.”  ~Author Unknown
  • “A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.”  ~Leo Buscaglia
  • “Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.”  ~Sicilian Proverb

I hope that you also have a dear friend to share the good and bad times with.  Please share something about your friends with me and the other readers.

Graduation Day

Congratulations Graduates!!

On Saturday afternoon, my husband’s family celebrated the high school graduation of one of our own.  My nephew (Kirk’s brother’s son) Jonathan graduated and it was a real celebration.

When I first met Jonathan, he was 5 years old — nearly the age that Ian is now.  He was into similar activities that Ian is — loving cars, and playing and just being a little boy.  He was the ring bearer at our wedding and looked adorable in his tuxedo.

As we were driving to the graduation, Kirk and I were talking about our wedding and that he was just starting school at that point.  Fast-forward 14 years and Jonathan is a fine young man with an exciting life ahead of him.

It is truly amazing how quickly time flies by.  We have a lot of memories with Jonathan and his parents and have so enjoyed spending time with them all of these years.

One year we were at the beach together and had a wonderful time.  Playing in the sand, making sand castles and sand animals, going to a parade, and eating cheese steak sandwiches are some of the highlights.

Despite the difference in their ages, Jonathan and Ian are buddies and get along very well.  They trade toy cars and when Ian was younger, they loved playing together.  They still do enjoy talking about trucks and cars.

For graduation this year, Ian decided to give a book to Jonathan about Tonka trucks.  This book was given by my sister to my brother’s oldest son, who then passed it along to Ian a few years ago.  On his own, Ian decided that he wanted his cousin to have it!  What a sweet and caring thing for Ian to do.  He knows that Jonathan likes the trucks as much as he does.  It is very special to know that this book is still in the family.

Graduation is truly an amazing time in one’s life — both for the graduates and the parents.  During the ceremony, I was watching Jonathan’s parents who were beaming with pride as their son received his diploma.  They have been great parents to him and have taught him so much!

Since my son hasn’t started school yet, it is hard for me to imagine this feeling.  Yet, I know it will be here in no time.  Once he starts school, the time will fly.  Lord, please help us along that journey!!

The graduation speaker said these words, “No one will care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  I really like these words and know they are great advice.

Here are few other graduation quotes that I found online:

“There is a good reason they call these ceremonies “commencement exercises.”  Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.”  ~Orrin Hatch

“The tassel’s worth the hassle!”  ~Author Unknown

“The future lies before you
Like a field of driven snow,
Be careful how you tread it,
For every step will show.”
~Author Unknown

For those of you graduating this year, whether from high school or college, I hope and pray that you will enjoy the next phase of your life and can look back on your growing up years as a fun time.  God Bless!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope that you had a great Mother’s Day yesterday.  Mine was nice and quite special!

After a very trying week, I enjoyed lunch out with my parents and my husband and son. Being with both my mom and my son was truly a gift!  We shared a great meal and made some new memories.

As I was growing up, I didn’t realize the importance of being a good mom.  As with most kids, I suppose I took her a little bit for granted.  I had no clue what she did for me either and how all of her gifts and knowledge, and love would impact me in my life as a grown-up.

I was and still am fortunate to have a mom who has always made time for us.  We went to Camp Fire events together, church and drama club activities, and the occasional camping trips.  And we always made great crafts at our birthday parties. One of my friends commented on it recently.

But until I became a mother, I had no idea of what it takes to be a good, caring, compassionate caregiver, nurturer, cheerer, and supporter.  You sometime don’t appreciate a person until you go through the same things.  My mother has taught me how to be a good mom to my own child.  I can’t thank her enough for all that she has done for me over the years.

Now that I am grown up and have my own family, it is a treasure to be friends with my parents.  But she is always mom and always will be.  There is still much respect and love but now there are more things we can share together.

This week while I was at the hospital, I was blessed to have my mother with me. It was such a relief just to have her in the room.  I don’t know about you but to this day, when I truly feel my worst, I want my mom.  Thanks Mom for being there for me!

I have learned so much from her.  I only hope and pray that I can be as good a mother to my son.  I love him with all my heart and know it is my responsibility to teach him how to be a successful man who will find his own way in life.  I am ready and up for the challenge.

Here are some great quotes about motherhood:

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.”  ~Tenneva Jordan

“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.”  ~Mildred B. Vermont

“A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.”  ~Peter De Vries

“The phrase “working mother” is redundant.”  ~Jane Sellman

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new.”  ~Rajneesh

What a Week!

The last seven days have been amazing and so full of blessings.

I have felt such an outpouring of love and care with all of the prayer support that I received!  (Please see my posting on Wednesday to read about my trip to the ER)

Yesterday afternoon, I went to my regular doctor for a follow-up visit.  My blood pressure was normal (yeah!) and I was so happy about that.  And, he gave me a medicine to help my stomach / GI tract to settle back down.

He also told me that doctors often can’t tell you exactly what is wrong with you but that they can tell you what isn’t wrong.  That is something profound, don’t you think?  It is also frustrating when you want to have an answer. As I found out this week, however, that isn’t always possible.

We then discussed diet and some changes that I need to make.  He mentioned that healthy eating has to be a new lifestyle choice and not considered a diet.  As you know from reading my blog, I am trying to lose weight but am still not having much success.  This doctor reminded me that it’s all about portion control, eating fewer carbs, and avoiding fried food (for my stomach mainly but a good idea for overall health).

I thanked him for his advice and the medicine.  Then we came home from the doctor, took the medicine, and made dinner — salmon, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and biscuits.  DELICIOUS!  And, I had no stomach, etc. problems.  For the first night in a while, I slept very well through the night and without almost no pain. Thank you Lord.

This week has truly been a wakeup call and has shown me how far from the healthy food choices I was. I thought I was doing well but got off track the previous week. I am working now each day to make healthier choices.  And, to exercise as well.  I am tired of feeling lousy and ready to feel better and back to a fun and healthy weight.  After all, I have some great clothes that I want to be able to wear again.

My husband and son have been so sweet and attentive to me. My hubby has been helping a lot around the house (something he does anyway) and been making sure that I have been getting rest and what I need.

In addition, my son has been very attentive. Ian has a doctor’s kit and last night he gave me a checkup.  He checked my heart and said, “there is a robber in your heart trying to get the pain out,” meaning he wants Mommy’s pain to go away.  He has said several times, “It’s okay Mommy,”  and “I hope that you can lose weight Mommy.”

It means a lot to have my own cheering section!  And, I feel truly blessed to have such a loving and caring set of family and friends who provided such amazing prayer support and concern.  That has meant the world to me this week.  Thank you Lord for watching over me!

How was your week?  I hope and pray it was full of blessings!  Please share with me and other readers.

Thank You Lord

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And in the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Phil 4:6

This verse has very special meaning for this week!  It was helpful and the perfect  scripture verse for me after a very difficult night at the emergency room.  Thanks to my dear sister for sending it to me.

On Sunday, my son and I went to have dinner with my parents after dropping off my hubby who had a quick business trip.  During dinner, I started having chest pains — right in the center.  These followed a few days of pain on either side of my chest/stomach area.

Needless to say, I was worried and anxious since my grandfather had passed away of a massive heart attack at my age.  So my mother took me to the hospital to be checked out.  The hardest part was the what-ifs and the not-knowing.  It is amazing what your mind can drum up when you are worried about something.

And, as we got to the room and started the waiting game, my mother got on the phone and called friends, family, my siblings and my hubby to let them know what was happening.  She asked everyone for prayers and few of us had much sleep that night.

Prayers started immediately and I must say that as I was lying there waiting for answers, I felt calm — which is not what I expected to feel.  The love of God and all of my prayer warriors helped me from going totally crazy and worrying the entire time.  I truly had a blanket of love and protection around me.

For those who prayed, I cannot thank you enough!  I am truly honored and humbled that you lifted me up to the Lord!  I am so appreciative of your love and friendship.  You are awesome and I love all of you so very much!!!  It meant the world to me to hear of your love, concern, and prayers!

The amazing news is that after a long and sleepless night and many, many tests (EKGs, blood work, a stress test, a CT scan, and an ultra-sound), I was told my heart is healthy.  THANK YOU LORD!!!  What an amazing answer to prayer!!!!

And, as I was being discharged on Monday morning, the ER doctor told me that there are many causes of chest pain, but that I had none of the big causes.  Can I just tell you what joy and relief I felt?  I felt a weight had been truly lifted and an amazing gift was given to me by the Lord!!!

I still have to follow-up with my regular doctor to determine the cause of the pain.  I am frustrated not to know yet what is going on, but feel certain that I will find out.  And, hopefully very soon.  I had some additional pain last night but nothing like what made me want to go to the er.  I will keep you posted on what I find out.

Thanks so much to the emergency room staff — nurses, techs, doctors, and others — as well as food services and the chest center.  All of you were so kind and gracious and truly took your time with me.  I had a good experience despite the circumstances.  It went as well as could be expected.

I know some other friends who also had chest pain and went in and it ended up being acid reflux.  And another person at 29 years old, went in since he didn’t feel like himself and found out that he had to have triple bypass surgery.  And, after his legs were bothering him, my cousin found out he had blood clots in his legs.   It was good that all of these people went to the hospital to see what was the matter since you never know.

Before all of this happened, I was already on blood pressure medicine and will continue to take that.  And, I am trying to lose weight as well and eat a more healthy diet.  That too will help with the BP and make for a healthier heart.

Again, thank you dear Lord for your mercies and love for me.  And, for the work of the physicians and many others, and the outstretched prayer support that I felt. AMEN!!

“Our God is an awesome God, He reigns from heaven above!”