A Thanksgiving Prayer

img116Happy Thanksgiving.  Here is a prayer that my grandfather wrote and was published in November 1951.

Here I am pictured with him in 1990.  He was and still is my favorite storyteller and an amazing writer, educator, father, and grandfather.

He wrote a newspaper column for many years called “Parent’s Corner.”  It sums up the perfect Parent’s Thanksgiving Prayer to me. Each time I read it I am in awe of the pictures that his words so vividly describe and I tear up over them.

“Our Father-God we thank thee

  • For the ringing laughter of our children playing, for their giggles, and the moist throaty chuckles of our babies
  • For the tender weight of a sleeping child in our arms, and the trust of a tired son who rests his head upon our shoulder, and sleeps
  • For the joy we feel in baby’s first tooth, first word, first step, and the thrill of the grown-up child who marries
  • For the exultant communion with our teen ones when we dive together into the clean cold surf at dawn, and stand with them silently at sunset drinking glory from the cloud-studded sky
  • For small boys on tricycles, or on hands and knees in the sandbox pushing toy trucks and making man-noises
  • For tomboy girls streaking across the lawn, swinging on rings, or whirling like pinwheels on turning bars
  • For the wonder on the sensitive face of a half-grown child as she listens to a great organ for the first time, or watches a symphony orchestra
  • For the fun of family picnics, and vacation trips, and going fishing together
  • For the thrill we feel when a daughter stands before us in her first formal gown, and we realize that she is beautiful
  • For the joy of a child’s recovery from illness, and the relief we feel when we see an accident almost happen, but not quite
  • For the pressure of a timid child’s hand in ours as we walk together in the dark
  • For parenthood we thank thee.
  • And, our Father-God, to thee we pray for peace.  If it be thy will, grant that we may continue our lives together in the precious years to come.

Amen.”

May you have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving!  And, may you be thankful for those special to you.

Thanksgiving Story Bracelet

story.bracelet0002Hi and happy the day before Thanksgiving! I don’t know about you but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Good food, great family time, catching up with friends, and being thankful.  What can be better?

This year is even more special since we found out a few months ago that we are descendants of people who arrived in the United States via the Mayflower.  To think that my relative was one of the first to arrive is truly amazing.  And that this woman who is 10 generations before me was one of the pilgrims that I have learned about in school.  WOW!

Ian recently asked me, “Do you think there was turkey at the first Thanksgiving?”  I told him, “That is a very good question Ian.  We should look that up and figure out the answer.  If there was, it more than likely was wild since they couldn’t go to the store.”  He stopped to think about that, grinned at my answer, and then went back to playing.

Yesterday, Ian brought home a booklet and bracelet that they’d worked on at school — My Thanksgiving Story Bracelet.  In the booklet, they colored the picture with each explanation of bead color, and read the story.  My scan of it didn’t turn out very well but you get the general idea.  Hope you enjoy it!

  • Black is for the Pilgrims who left England searching for religious freedom
  • White is for the sails of the Mayflower
  • Blue is for the big ocean the Pilgrims traveled across
  • Dark green is for the new land the Pilgrims reached
  • Silver is for the long-snowy winter the Pilgrims faced
  • Lime green is for the fresh, new spring that gave the Pilgrims hope
  • Tan is for the Indians who helped the Pilgrims survive
  • The last four colors are for the first Thanksgiving feast
  • Orange for the pumpkins, brown for the turkey
  • Yellow for the corn, and red for the cranberries
  • This is the story of Thanksgiving

What a wonderful treasure for his first grade class.  This is such a great way to learn history because it’s fun and interactive. Thanks to his teacher who worked on this with the class!

The pilgrims were a hearty and brave group of people.  Knowing that the pilgrims grew all that they had or shared with the Indians is incredible to me.  I will think of them and their struggles as I am shopping this afternoon.

The fact I can shop for what I need at the grocery store or farmer’s market is one that I feel blessed to have.  Then I can come home, store the food in the refrigerator, use our running water to prepare the food and then clean up, and use the stove and oven to prepare it.  What an amazing blessing!  I am honestly and truly thankful for all of those amazing luxuries.  I do my best each day not to take them for granted.

Blessings and being thankful, that is what is about.  That and the breaking bread with loved ones.

——-

One of my favorite magazines has a quiz about Thanksgiving.  Here are my answers.  What are yours?

  • Best Thing About The Holiday? All day with family, great meal, and fabulous leftovers
  • Host Dinner Or Go Elsewhere? We are going to my parents to eat
  • White Meat Or Dark Meat? I like both of them
  • Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish? This is a toughie since I love the stuffing with cranberry, my sister’s sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes
  • Favorite Thanksgiving Dessert? My favorite pumpkin dessert is pumpkin bread.  I also like pecan pie with whipped cream
  • Cranberry Sauce: Canned Or Homemade?  I do like the canned and plenty of it
  • Sweet Potatoes: With Marshmallows or Without? I like a few on top for extra flavor
  • Best Leftover? Turkey sandwiches with cranberry and stuffing
  • TV Time: Parade Or Football? Parade first and then football
  • I’m Most Thankful For: My family, my friends, running water, and a kitchen full of food
  • I Should Be More Thankful for… my comforts, my health, freedom, and my loved ones

May you have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving!

Photography 101 – Glass

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Tuesday.  Today’s Photography 101 is Glass. I decided to include two photos of stained glass since I think those are so pretty.

The first photo is in the breezeway between the sanctuary and outdoor patio and rooms at my grandparent’s church in San Diego, California.  This is a special place where the family would gather.

The second picture is of the place where my other set of grandparents met – in Hendersonville, North Carolina.  We visited that during the summer this year.  It was quite special to be there and see where it all began.

It is amazing to me how similar the shapes are of the windows at the two churches.  It must be a common design. Unfortunately these photos don’t do these windows justice.  They are so much prettier in person.

I have always liked stained glass windows.  The church where Kirk and I met and got married also has stained glass in the windows of both the sanctuary and the narthex.

Here are a few quotes about glass and stained glass:

  • “People are like stain-glassed windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.” — Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
  • “The world is a looking-glass. It gives back to every man a true reflection of his own thoughts.” — Thackery
  • “Broken glass.  It’s just like glitter, isn’t it?” — Pete Doherty

I wonder when I will get to see another lovely stained glass window?  Very soon I imagine.  Have a great day!

Photography 101 – Treasure

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAToday’s Photography 101 word is Treasure.  Normally we think of treasure as gold and valuables, but treasure also is who and what we truly value and love. My treasure is my family, friends, and the memories we make and share.

The house that I have chosen for today is one of the places where four generations of my family have had fun and have enjoyed being together. This is the family beach house and it is a wonderful place to gather.  It is a definite treasure.

I love the turquoise color, love the front porch where hundreds of meals have been served, and love the doors and windows, which are opened and let the ocean breeze in.  I also love the table and benches that a friend built for us, the ramp down the side of the house which leads to the outdoor shower and patio, and the gate which Ian clung to as he was first learning to walk.

I also love the family sing-alongs around the piano, love when we pack people in to spend the night, love taking turns making meals, love playing games and talking late into the night on the porch, love eating fish tacos from a restaurant that we can walk to, love the back patio crowded with all of the bikes, love the towels and sunscreen all over the front and back porches, and love to watch all of the beach and boardwalk activity.

It may seem like an odd choice for treasure.  But, this place is very special to me.  It doesn’t look like much, but every square inch is filled with memories and fun with my dear friends and family.  I am so blessed to have had this place to come to throughout my life.  And, from the porch, if you look to the left, you can see the lovely pacific ocean and sand.  To the right is the bay on the other side of a major street.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is Ian just finishing his puzzle a few years ago on the porch table.  He was also having fun with his cars. We traveled with him to this house for the first five years of his life.  Each year he enjoyed something new and had blast, just as I did. That is an amazing treasure and a wonderful blessing.

SRP.72.Bill.Mairzy.Patti.late1960sHere is a photo of when I was a child on this same porch. I am sitting with my parents.  The wooden table hadn’t been built yet when this was taken.  As you can see the color of the gate is different, cars on the street are different, but the fun of the place is still there.

That fun has simply grown as my husband and I, and my parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles have grown and have wanted to bring new family members to enjoy the fun.

This tiny house is treasure to me and is a place I love to visit.

Today, I am thankful for:

  • A place where family and friends can gather each year
  • A tiny house which feels big because of all of the amazing memories
  • My grandparents who purchased this house
  • A boy feeling better after a lazy weekend trying to get over a cold
  • Early morning hugs
  • Having fun at a Cub Scout meeting
  • Handing out popcorn to our friends and family nice enough to buy from Ian
  • Mom’s roast, potatoes, and veggies
  • Date nights with Kirk
  • Oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins for breakfast
  • Making meals for the Thanksgiving feast
  • A shortened week of school
  • Decorating for the holidays
  • Having wonderful friends and family
  • Memories with my loved ones

I wonder when I will next get to visit my treasured place? I hope that it will be very soon!

Flashback Friday – Bare Feet

3.kids.Michigan0001Hi and happy Friday!  For today’s Flashback Friday, I decided to post a photo of my sister, my brother, and me with our bare feet on a sand dune circa late 1970s / early 1980s.

I like our big grins, bare feet, and hands in the sand. With all of the cold weather this week, this photo made me happy. And warm.  I also like our striped shirts, the patches on my jeans, and that all of our jeans are riding up as we sit in the nice warm sand.

This particular trip was somewhere in Michigan at the dunes.  We enjoyed them and were fascinated with this different sand than we were used to.

This photo was taken while we were visiting friends and family.  We had a great time.  During this trip we also went to a plant where they packaged cereal.  I still vividly remember recreating the process in our friend’s basement after seeing the professionals at work.

I have many fond memories of growing up with these two.  Our parents were great about taking us to a variety of towns and cities throughout the country.  We also enjoyed many camping trips.  I am at left in the photo, Cindy is in the middle, and Richmond is on the right.

I am thankful for:

  • Camping trips with my parents and siblings
  • Family adventures
  • Food cooked over a camp fire
  • Playing cards with the family
  • Singing our favorite camp songs after eating s’mores
  • Cassette tapes that played during long car trips
  • Seeing these dunes for the first time on this trip
  • Crossing the border into Canada for dinner
  • Old and grainy photos
  • Scanners for old photos
  • Bonfires on the beach
  • Running around after sunset
  • My wonderful and amazing family

I wonder what the next adventures will be with my sister and brother and with our parents?  I cannot wait to find out and love that our spouses and children will be there to enjoy the adventures with us!  Three generations will be even more fun!

Happy Birthday Dear Pam!

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA Today is the birthday of one of my favorite people — my cousin Pam.  Happy birthday to you dear Pam!  May you have an amazing and wonderful day! May you have fun and a great celebration!!!

We have been good friends for many years but have never lived close to one another.  The distance doesn’t matter and for that I am always thankful. In fact, each time we see each other we pick up right where we left off and always have much to talk about. And we stay in touch with one another during times we aren’t together in the same city.

Kirk, Ian, and I went to see her this summer and had so much fun.  We laughed, we chatted, we drank our wine and it was terrific!!  It was great being at her lovely house with Pam, her hubby, and family.  We hadn’t seen each other for 4 years before that.

img073Growing up, she was my beautiful and cool cousin from California.  I loved the summers we would go there and see her and her family.   I remember in high school listening to the  music of the day and always remember “You Spin Me Right Round,” by Dead or Alive as a song we’d dance to.  That was one of many songs that we used to enjoy together.

To borrow a line for the movie “Beaches,” my memory of her is very long.  I love that and love that we still have a blast together.  And, our husbands get along well too.  She still is my cool cousin and just as beautiful, but I like it that now we both live in the south.

Pam, I wish we could be with you today to celebrate!  Hope you have a wonderful day!  Love you so very much!  And I hope to see you and your wonderful family again soon!!!

The first of these photos was taken this summer.  The second is from the early 1990s when I had a sunburn. These are two of many photos I have — all of them remembering a special moment.

I love all of my other cousins too!  I am so fortunate to have a great group of cousins.  Last week, one cousin Robbi celebrated her birthday.  She too is an amazing woman and a friend.  I am sorry that I missed a blog for you Robbi!  We enjoyed a wonderful and fun party with her and her family.

To all of my cousins, I love you so very much and wish we could see each other more than we do. Hopefully we will again soon.  Cousins truly are our first friends other than our siblings and I am honored to have the best!

Photography 101 – Moment

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERALife is full of amazing moments.  Both good ones and bad.  Today’s Photography 101 prompt is Moment.  I thought this picture would work nicely for that.

I took it several years ago of Ian at the beach. It is one of the first times he was able to stand in the ocean by himself without getting knocked over.  I love how he is watching the water rush over his feet as the waves go in and out.

He was fascinated with the speed of the water, the feel of the waves and the squishy sand.  I loved watching this learnable moment. He has come to love the ocean, the waves, the sand, and all of the amazing colors of the water as much as I have.

Ian has helped me to live in the moment and savor each activity or project that I am working on.  He is very good about living life to the fullest and making the most of each moment.  Kirk and I have learned a lot from him and continue to do so.

A few moments that I am thankful for this morning:

  • Trips to the ocean with family and friends
  • Messy hair and long cuddles
  • Starting the day with my two favorite guys
  • Crisp bacon and hot coffee
  • Hearing “I love you” from my hubby and son
  • Saying “I love you” in response
  • Bright sun on a crisp and cold day
  • Gloves and a brisk walk into the school
  • The anticipation of new library books
  • A warm house

A few quotes about Moment:

  • “Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all that we need, not more.”  — Mother Theresa
  • “For a moment at least, be a smile on someone else’s face.” — Dejan Stajonvic
  • “Anything can happen to anyone at any time and you shouldn’t just live through the days, or you lose them. You should do what you can to enjoy every moment.”– Sarah Brightman
  • “Stop waiting for the perfect day or the perfect moment… Take THIS day, THIS moment and lead it to perfection.”– Steve Maraboli
  • “All it takes is a single moment.” — Alison McGhee
  • “Every moment – something beautiful happens.”– Jay Woodman

I wonder if I can remember to make the most of each and every moment that I have.  I plan to do just that.  To making each moment count!!

Time For Changes

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Monday!  It is time for some major changes in my life.  I mean weight loss changes, and improving my health. I am so over the size that I am, so I have to change.

I have to change what and how much I eat, and I have to change my exercise or lack thereof.  Time to eat better, time to exercise, and time to stop making excuses.

In recent pictures of myself, I don’t like how I look. “Where did that double chin come from?” I asked myself.  And, “how did I get to be this size?” Or “Is it my clothes that make me look fat?” Sadly no, it’s not the clothes.  So, it is the time I realized that and moved on with weight loss 2.0.

I can no longer deny that something needs to be done.  But isn’t it funny that we make excuses to ourselves until we are truly ready to make the changes that are necessary in our lives?  I have been making them for a while.  In order to get better, I have to stop that. Starting today.

Several times in my life I have had to work hard to lose weight.  I am not a person who can do it easily and that in itself is frustrating.  I am on several medications for health issues and would like to stop taking those. My doctor has told me that losing weight will help. He also said that exercise is important, but it boils down to what you put in your mouth.

I have a great appetite and love to eat.  Sometimes I just eat entirely too much food.  My cousin gave me a great idea of using smaller plates and that if the food isn’t in the house, it won’t be a temptation.  She is right.

Before getting pregnant with Ian, I was very successful with losing weight and then maintained it for quite a while.  I was careful with my salt intake and exercised every day.  Knowing that I have had success in the past is very helpful and something I will pat myself on the back about.  And I can draw on that for strength.

My cousin also said it is in your mind.  If I determine and decide to do this, I can.  I have to take care of myself and realize that my health is important.  So, I will schedule exercise time on my calendar and plan the meals carefully. Even though these seem like little things, they are big and very important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  That is the key – not to think of this as a diet but my new lifestyle.

Here is an interesting quote on losing weight: Elizabeth Berg said, “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.”  I am not quite there since I truly love food.  And, I still want to have some treats so I am not feeling deprived.  I just have to figure out healthier ways to eat those favorite items.  And, each day, I need to be active and exercise.

I am fortunate that my hubby and other family members love me no matter what size I am.  And, my son thinks I am beautiful, which means the world to me.  And, they all want me to be healthy, so here’s to the journey.  I will keep you posted on how things are going.

Any ideas or words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated!  And, if you are on this journey, I’d love to hear from you so I can support you too. After all, we are in this together!

Flashback Friday – Theater Fun

Mairzy and Patti as Nuns Sound of MusicHi and Happy Friday!  For today’s Flashback Friday, I chose a picture from the early 1980s.  Mom and I are dressed as nuns for “The Sound of Music,” which was performed at our community theater.  We were in the chorus of singing nuns and my sister played Marta.  It was such a fun show.  In this picture, I love the expression of our eyes, our smiles, dimples, and the praying hands.  We did have a great time.

Throughout my childhood, I was in plays and musicals and loved every minute of them.  Our community theater produced great shows with amateur actors, singers, and dancers.  There also was a Junior Playhouse for kids.  We spent quite a few summers there.

Some of the shows that we did were “J.B.” about the story of the book of Job in the Bible, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “Barnum,” “The Sound of Music,” “Hello Dolly,” and others that I don’t remember.

Then in high school, I was in the drama club and had a blast with that as well.  The shows that I was in for that were “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Our Town,” “Around the World In 80 Days,” “Pillow Talk,” and “Bye, Bye Birdie.”  In college, I performed in three musicals — “Camelot,” “Carousel,” and “South Pacific.”

It has been a long time since I have been on the stage.  I miss the fun and camaraderie that the cast has.  And, since I love to sing, it was fun to have that chance.  Long days and many hours were spent in the community theater and my high school theater.

We went with Ian’s Cub Scout Den this Monday on a tour of the square where the community theater was and still is.  It was fun to see that building again and it brought back a lot of great memories. During the summers of junior playhouse, we would walk down to the local pharmacy for snacks and ice cream.  That pharmacy is no longer there.  That building was converted into a restaurant.  The food is good but I miss the pharmacy.

I also love to see musicals and plays.  Two years ago, we took Ian to see Peter Pan and he loved it.  It was an abbreviated production during the school day, but just right for him.  I hope we will see more shows soon.

We have a few friends who are professional actors and I love to see them in their particular genres.  We also have friends who are actively involved in the theaters in their community.  Theater to me was a fun hobby.

A few quotes about the theater:

  • “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages…” William Shakespeare
  • “Movies will make you famous; Television will make you rich; But Theatre will make you good.” — Terrance Mann
  • “Act well your part; there all the honour lies.” — Alexander Pope
  • “Life is a theatre set in which there are but few practicable entrances.” — Victor Hugo
  • “An actor must never be afraid to make a fool of himself.” — Harvey Cocks
  • “The stage is a magic circle where only the most real things happen, a neutral territory outside the jurisdiction of Fate where stars may be crossed with impunity. A truer and more real place does not exist in all the universe.”– P.S. Baber

I wonder when the next time will be that I am in a play or a musical?  I am not sure but hope to be in a show again one day.

Happy Veterans Day – 11-11-2014

US.Flags cross_Memorial.DayOn the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice went into effect and fighting ceased between the Allied Nations and Germany.  World War I was then finished.   It was called the war to end all wars.

Then in November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words:

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

Thus Veterans Day was born.  Happy Veterans Day to all of those amazing and brave men and women who serve our country. I want to say thank you to all of the men and women who have served in uniform or are still serving.  You make it possible for me and my family to live and enjoy our freedoms promised by the U.S. Constitution.  For that, I will always be grateful.

Not only are those being shipped away to be honored, but all the families who are left behind to carry on.  I am in awe of those families who have a member deployed for one year.  That is such a long time and so much happens.  I feel for and pray for those families and hope everyone will return home safely again.

Those in the service certainly know what true sacrifice is.  Some give their lives, others give their health, their bodies, and their time.  May we not take them for granted.

A few quotes for Veterans Day:

  • “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.”  ~ José Narosky
  • “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”  ~ Elmer Davis
  • “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  • “Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.”  ~ Michel de Montaigne
  • “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”  ~ Maya Angelou
  • “Courage is almost a contradiction in terms.  It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.”  ~ G.K. Chesterton
  • “Freedom is never free.”  ~ Author Unknown

I wonder if on this Veterans Day, I will truly understand and appreciate all the amazing things that our military men and women do for us?  I plan to do just that and say thank you!