On Endings and Beginnings

Just a few hours left of one of the hardest years we have had. 2020 is winding down and we will soon be on to 2021. Amazing, right? Not the hardest, but it does rank up there. Not being with loved ones for most of it has made for a challenging year. We also have worried about loved ones who have been sick and dealing with so many challenges.

Still, there are good things and it is time to almost say Happy New Year.  As I have read, tomorrow, January 1, will be the first day we can say hindsight is 2020 and have it apply to the year that just ended.  Truly strange, but there you go. I just wonder if we have actually learned from all of these changes.  I sure have.

Today, I have had many mixed emotions, about endings and beginnings, about losses, and plusses in our lives, and those that I am missing; some who I will see again and others I will not. I am also happy to have some lazy time at home with no projects that have to be finished; just be worked on. I am enjoying a really good book and will have some time to color in my new book with quotes.

We will have time with my parents this weekend as we did over Christmas.  They are the only people in our pod. They are the ones we have seen in person this year. There have been a few others but very short visits, usually outside, and wearing masks. It will be good to see them, but tonight we are at home.

My son and I will take it easy. We will enjoy pizza, a favorite movie or tv show (depending on what we decide), something for dessert, perhaps some hot chocolate, and watching the ball drop — if we can stay up that late. We will also talk and laugh, which I truly love.

What are your plans?  We recommend being careful, social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and staying home.  We are all for that and feel at times that we are part hermit.

On this last day of the year, I am thankful for:

  • My son who loves to learn
  • Brunch as well as a Christmas roast with my parents
  • Opening presents — whether in person or over a Face Time call
  • Zoom calls with family
  • Online or phone contact with friends and family
  • My son’s chats with his friends
  • Christmas cards from friends and family and sending out our own
  • Hot chocolate and hot tea
  • Staring a new book “My Dear Hamilton” — really good so far
  • Laughing at a favorite show
  • Watching White Christmas and singing along with each song
  • Watching The Post with my son and talking about the importance of the 1st Amendment and newspapers
  • Long chats with my son
  • Hearing the fart machine that I gave my son for Christmas and us cracking up together
  • No alarm clocks over our break, which we know will change very soon
  • Walks around our decorated neighborhood
  • Take-out food or delivery from a favorite restaurant
  • Chats with my siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins, and other family
  • Being able to shop online at home
  • Having the two of us be happy at home
  • Peppermint bark given as gifts (yummy!)
  • Photos and memories
  • Nightly Bible reading with my son

Happy New Year to you and yours.  We wish for you blessings, hope, peace, good health, safety, and much love.

Rejoicing always can be a challenge, but is important

In our church’s sermon yesterday, the pastor quoted from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. “ Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Powerful words, right?! (image from Power Point Clip Art) 

Jesus told us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything? Seriously Lord? You really want us to do this? You really expect us to do this? It is a challenge what we are called to do. Also, it can often be just what we need. After all, the Lord does work in mysterious ways. 

As hard as this year has been, there have been good points and times that I cherish. Extra time with my son to talk during breakfast, prayer group chats, time to watch a favorite show or movie, Zoom chats with family and friends, phone calls and texts, cards in the mail, and time to cook a few favorite meals. Also, I like that we don’t have to race out of the door each morning.

Still I miss seeing friends and my sister and brother and their families. It has been since last year that we saw them in person. Too long but we are all trying to be careful and listen to the doctors, researchers, scientists, and others who know how serious this pandemic really is. 

I also miss my friends, going to church, seeing people at Ian’s school and around town, eating at a favorite restaurant, and so much more. I am thankful that there are ways to handle that, just not the same as we are used to. We can Zoom or chat with our friends, see them outside with masks on, listen to an online church service singing the hymns at home, and getting take out food or going through the drive-thru. 

So there are things to rejoice about and to give thanks about. Just sometimes, we have to think about them. Sometimes they don’t come as easily since we can get bogged down in the bad stuff of life. I have learned through my struggles that having joy and positive things in my life made a big difference. It cannot be all bad to be able to heal from the pain and sadness. 

This year I am praying a lot – for family, friends, my son and his classmates, his teachers and all of the other teachers in our lives, his school administrators, other families at his school and those all over the world in this time of new education, college students, and those at other schools as well. 

We also pray for our loved ones’ health and the health of the nurses and doctors who are taking care of so many sick people, the first responders from many departments, all hospital staff, and the police officers. We pray for those in the military, in positions of leadership, and our elected officials. 

I know that this Christmas will be like one I have never seen.  We have always spent time with lots of family and friends — both on my side and on Kirk’s side. This year that is not possible. In my families, there will be no large gatherings — at least not in person.

As hard as that is, we know it is the right thing to do for this year. So much is still unknown about the virus that we need to be careful and mindful of keeping our loved ones healthy and safe. 

So this year will be quieter, smaller, and hopefully with some real quality time with those nearest and dearest to us. Sleeping in, games and chats, laughter, study, some time to work (but not much), songs, favorite movies, and reading of the story of Jesus’ birth. 

A few things I am thankful for: 

  • Despite not getting to sing “Silent Night” by candlelight at my church, we can sing it at home. Also, I recorded a TV special about this precious hymn. I look forward to watching that. 
  • Bible study in the evening with my son. This was his idea and for that, I am truly thankful. 
  • My family who I treasure so much and am enjoy shopping for. Secret Santa gifts are a great idea. 
  • Cards from loved ones about their year. We are sending one out as well. 
  • My friends near and far who are never more than a call, text, or Zoom away. 
  • Time with my son’s best friend and our families for their birthday celebrations. 
  • Plenty of time to watch some favorite movies and TV shows. 
  • Zoom chats with family and friends. 
  • Being able to sit under a blanket and read a book. 
  • Looking at my son’s art work and creativity and listening to him explain it. 
  • Our home with many memories with us and my late husband. We miss him but each day continue to heal. 
  • Listening to my son on a Zoom call with friends. They love to laugh and that is wonderful. 
  • Days off from work to enjoy the season of giving, loving, and peace. 

I hope and pray that you can find the blessings in your life, despite all of the hardships. I pray for peace and joy for you. I also pray that you will always, always love. 

Throwback Thursday – Snow Day

Hi and Happy Thursday.  Today, January 25, I wanted to post a Throwback Thursday photo of Ian playing in the snow.  He was about 2 years old when this was taken.  He loved the snow and playing in it then and still does today.

We had a few snow days recently and had time to play in the snow, throw snowballs, and take a walk.  It was wonderful and just as precious as the day of this photo. We have been blessed by this wonderful soul who continues to amaze us each year.  We continue to be thankful for our family.

Today I am also thankful for:

  • Snow days with nowhere to have to be
  • Hot chocolate and giggles after playing in the snow
  • Toast with avocado for breakfast
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
  • Movies at home on the couch
  • Days in pajamas and no makeup
  • Messy hair and extra cuddles
  • Working at home
  • Hot tea, hot coffee, and hot chocolate
  • Reading a favorite new book in three days
  • Library books
  • Family photos and memories
  • Time with friends and family
  • Laughter with loved ones
  • Walks home from school
  • Time to play
  • Time to relax
  • An active imagination
  • The wonder of childhood
  • The blessings of childhood
  • My family who taught me about respect, love, and kindness
  • Songs we love to sing
  • The love of learning and discovery

Hope you have a great day!  Hope you have time with your loved ones and stay healthy!  We know a lot of sickness is going around so we pray for health, rest, and quick recoveries.

The Blessing of Beginnings and Endings

cropped-champagne-glasses.jpgHappy almost New Year! In some parts of the world, it is already 2017.  We have hours left where we live.  Tonight will be a low-key night at home with good food and some time to relax and celebrate.  We will ring in the new year before midnight since school will be starting back soon.

One year will be ending and another beginning.  2016 was a good one since I had a high school reunion, caught up with several friends, served half the year as PTO president and look forward to the second half, spent lots of time with family, took many pictures, celebrated 18 years of marriage, celebrated Ian’s 9th birthday, remembered some loved ones that we lost and were sad to say goodbye to, sang and danced, and so much more.

I look forward to 2017 and what is in store.  I hope that all of the upcoming changes will be good.  And, I hope that we can begin to be kind to each other again and find ways to work together.  I also hope for peace, kindness, health, love, and blessings for my loved ones.

During our winter holiday break, we watched Rudolph and the Red Nosed Reindeer and the lesser known Rudolph and the Shiny New Year.  Ian enjoyed both movies very much.  Each were fun.  And each had some good messages about being kind and loving to others.  And the value of friendship and support.

Here are a few New Year quotes:

  • Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~ Oprah Winfrey
  • Hope and faith flower from the cheerful seeds of the old year to the sprouting garden of the new year’s dawn. ~ Terri Guillemets
  • A Happy New Year! There is a glow of cheer and optimism in the very words “New Year.” The old year, with its anxieties and worries, is over. It too brought happy days and sunshine, and in memory we must cherish the bright places. ~ May Louise Crane
  • A new year is simply the turn of a calendar page — and a beautiful chance for us to turn over a new leaf. ~ Terri Guillemets
  • May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions. ~ Arnold Glasow
  • We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day. ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce
  • Lord, as the New Year dawns today,
    Help me to put my faults away.
    Let me be big in little things;
    Grant me the joy which friendship brings;
    Keep me from selfishness and spite,
    Let me be wise to what is right.
    A Happy New Year! grant that I
    May cause no tear to any eye.
    When this new year in time shall end,
    Let it be said: “I’ve played the friend,
    Have lived and loved and labored here
    And made of it a happy year.”
    ~Edgar Guest (1881–1959), “Prayer for the New Year”

December Blessings – Family and Friends

Giggle.4-18-2016December is a month of celebration, fun, festivities, family, and friends.  It is also a month of amazing blessings.  So, I plan to write this month about the many blessings I have in my life.  Today’s blessing is family and friends.

I have an amazing family and a terrific circle of friends.  I was born into a wonderful family on both my mother’s side and my father’s side.  And, I married into a great family.  I was also blessed to start my own family.  I have always been surrounded by love and that is an incredible blessing.

My friends are equally awesome.  Some of them I have known for my entire life, a few through various phases of my life, and some much more recently.  Each one has enriched me beyond measure.  They have come into my life when needed and are cherished.

This photo was taken last Christmas of me with my brother and sister, and my nephew’s arms are behind the tree.  As you can see, we love to be hams for the camera.  We all grew up acting in plays, singing in musicals, choirs, and at church.

My siblings were my first friends and have been supports to me throughout my entire life. I love to spend time with them, their spouses, and children.  We always have a great time and laugh until our sides ache.  We also have fun with our parents and all of us together.

Today is the birthday of my childhood and life-long friend Tammy.  We have had so much fun over the years. It was hard for me when she moved away in junior high but we stayed in touch over the years. Now, it is fun to spend time together with our spouses and children.

A few quotes about family and friends:

  • “The truth is maybe we are just average. But the way I see it — families where parents get up every morning and go to jobs that are hard so they can get their kids through school and through life, and struggle to make it all work and manage to do it with dignity and a little humor — well, that’s not average. That’s extraordinary.” ~DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler, The Middle
  • “Families are like fudge — mostly sweet with a few nuts.” ~ Author unknown
  • “To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.” ~ Barbara Bush
  • “Across the range of diverse experiences and traditions that have been written into our Nation’s story, family has remained a steadfast and common foundation. Every day, families offer comfort and support to one another with enduring and unconditional love and they contribute to their communities and our country.”  ~President Barack Obama
  • “A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.” ~ Douglas Pagels
  • “Friendship is like a rainbow between two hearts.” ~ Author unknown
  • “A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad.” ~ Arnold H. Glasgow
  • “A true friend is forever a friend.” ~ George MacDonald

Thank you Lord for my wonderful family and friends.  Please bless each and every one of them.  And may you be blessed as well.

Hello December!

cropped-champagne-glasses.jpgCan you believe it’s the first day of December?  I sure can’t.   It is amazing that we are now in the last month of the year.  2015 has gone by so fast!  We just got back to school yesterday from a long Thanksgiving break and now we have three weeks until Christmas break.  Wow.  My how that time does fly.

I have always loved December.  It is the month of my birthday, my brother’s birthday, anniversaries, the Advent season, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, lots of fun with family and friends, special parties, gifts, crafts, New Year’s Eve, and so much more.  So many beginnings this month and so much to celebrate.  I look forward to a great December.

candles GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAToday (which is my birthday), I am thankful for:

  • An amazing Thanksgiving weekend with friends and family
  • Laughing with an old family friend
  • Opening special gifts from loved ones
  • Hearing my son say “Happy Birthday Mom”
  • A special birthday hug and kiss from my hubby
  • Another year of blessings
  • Lunch out with loved ones
  • My family and friends
  • Reasonably good health
  • Birthday wishes and old photos
  • The fun and craziness of the month of December
  • Holiday parties and festivities
  • Advent suppers and services
  • Counting my blessings
  • Holiday specials
  • Christmas movies and cartoons
  • Trimming the tree
  • Baking and making gifts
  • Drawing names for a gift exchange
  • Choosing a needy family to help
  • Having Ian pick toys for an angel tree gift
  • Having time to celebrate
  • Listening to “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” by Andy Williams
  • Warm socks and sweaters
  • A glass of wine with a meal
  • Hot tea or coffee in the morning
  • Reminiscing about our younger years with my siblings and friends
  • My parents and all that they have done for me and provided for me

I wonder what fun adventures we will have on this 1st of December?  I can’t wait to find out.  Hope you have a great one too!

Happy Thanksgiving

POD_March.6_Chair-Happy Thanksgiving to you!  May you have a wonderful day with family and friends and celebrate what you are thankful for.  I am thankful for many things and many people.  I am blessed beyond measure and so very grateful.

We recently found out that we had ancestors come over on the Mayflower and helped settle Plymouth. The knowledge that someone from our family was there at the first Thanksgiving is so very special.  It has made the story much more real for Ian and for all of us.

These people were Ian’s 15 great grandparents, if I counted it correctly.  Mom discovered this amazing news during the update of our family history.  I have been helping her with it and am having a blast.

My favorite Thanksgiving prayer is one that my grandfather wrote back in 1951.  This photo is of me sitting on his lap many years ago.  As my regular readers know, he was and remains my favorite storyteller.  He taught me so much and for that I am thankful.

In light of the world today, his prayer is still quite poignant and special.  After all, family and friends are still what is most important.

“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.”

Thank you Grandpa for your amazing and touching prayer.  You had a way of capturing events in life that are easy to take for granted.  Many people who have lost loved ones may never know these joys and thrills.  May we be a comfort to others in their times of loss.

I have found as I get older that it is the little things and normal things of daily life that I cherish the most. The daily routine and things that I can count on are so very special.  I hope and pray that I never take them for granted.

This year I also pray for peace.  Sometimes I wonder if we will ever have it again.  May we truly have peace on earth and goodwill towards men.  And I pray for good health and safety.  May those who are in pain or sickness be healed and become stronger.  And may we take care of one another.

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends and family.  For all of you, I am really and truly thankful. And I am looking forward to time together to eat, laugh, chat, and make new and wonderful memories.

Back to Reality

Patti_Ian_ElPasoHi and Happy Monday!  Today we are back to our normal reality — school and work.   And, the words of an En Vogue song are running through my head, “Back to life, back to reality. Back to the here and now, oh yeah…”

This morning, it was hard to wake up when that alarm went off at 6:30 a.m.  I have never been an early morning person but have had to learn to get up and get the day started. Getting Ian ready for school and myself ready for the day keeps me busy each morning.

Over the past two weeks of Ian’s winter break, we enjoyed not having the alarm clock to wake us up.  We often were up by 7 a.m. anyway.  However, being woken up by a sweet boy saying, “Mom, it’s 7:05,” is often nicer than the alarm clock.

Ian is an early riser as long as he’s had enough sleep.  But school days can often be a challenge, especially the first day back after a long break.  I think he was excited and ready to get back, once he finally got going.

Today, he will have library as his special area class.  Since he loves the books, that should be a good time for him.  He helped chose his lunch for today as well as his outfit that he picked out last night.  So long as he can stay healthy, we should be fine.

Then tonight we have a celebration.  He is getting his Tiger patch from Cub Scouts and is thrilled.  He and his den have been working the entire first semester in doing activities and attending meetings to earn it.  This is the first patch he has earned and we are so excited about it!!

Should be a fun and great day back to our normal reality, but for now, this morning, I am getting used to some time to myself.  The house is quiet again and I am missing my sweet and small companion.  But, he will be home in later and we will enjoy our evening.  Kirk is here today so we can have lunch together.  That will be fun!

Today I am thankful for:

  • Sun on a cold day
  • Hot chocolate
  • Morning hugs
  • A kiss from my hubby
  • Our morning routine
  • Left over pancakes for breakfast
  • Hot coffee with creamer
  • Lunch dates with Kirk
  • Ian’s wonderful school
  • Seeing friends again
  • A kind and fun teacher
  • Cub Scout leaders

I wonder what fun and amazing things we will add to our routine today?  I look forward to finding out.

The Blessing of a New Year!

champagne.glassesHappy New Year to you and yours!  It is a blessing for a new year to begin. Cheers to you!

Last night, Ian stayed up until nearly 11 p.m.  He wanted to stay up all night.  He almost made it, but not quite.  When the ball dropped in Times Square, we couldn’t wake him up.  He was carried up to bed and didn’t stir until the morning.

When he woke up at 8 a.m. this morning, he asked me, “Why didn’t you wake me up Mom?”  I told him, “We tried Ian, but you just didn’t want to wake up.”  “Okay.”

My parents came over last night and the five of us had a really nice time together.  It was fun to stay in, watch TV, talk, eat a few yummy treats, and enjoy the end of the year together.  We laughed and had fun.  Ian really enjoyed himself, as we all did.

I was awake until 1 a.m. so needless to say, I am tired today and have a headache.  So, a lazy day has been in order for today and it has been perfect.  The tradition of watching the Tournament of Roses Parade in pajamas lives on!

It is amazing that it now is the year 2015.  The days between Christmas Eve and today flew by.  We enjoyed most of them, but were also sick a few days so that kind of put a damper on things.  And, very soon, school will start again as well as the normal work schedule.

Routine is great, don’t get me wrong.  But, so is all of this time together to talk, watch sports and movies and old shows on television, play games, and have no set schedule.  I enjoy the simple and little things and have loved all of this time during Ian’s Christmas break.  He has truly enjoyed all things about this holiday season and it has been wonderful.

I am thankful for the beginning of a new year and the ending of one that was mostly good.  We lost a few loved ones, but new family members were also born.  So, life has truly gone on and will continue to do so.

Brad Paisley has a great quote that I feel is just right for today,  I saw it on New Year’s Eve. “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book.  Write a good one.”  I plan to make the most of each day this year.

I plan to live, love, laugh, and learn, among many other things. How about you? I also want time to stop and smell the roses, so to speak and to continue to live in each moment. Children are great for that!

I wonder if I will remember to do all of those things as much as possible?  I sure plan to do my best!!  Hope you will too! Have a very Happy New Year!

The Blessing of Medication

Hi and Happy New Year’s Eve Eve.  It is amazing to think that only two days remain in 2014.  Where did the time go? I will write more about that tomorrow.

Today, I waGEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAnted to write about the blessing of medication.  An odd topic but one that seems right for this time of year when so many people are sick.

Kirk and I went to the doctor on Saturday morning and found out that we have bronchitis.  The on-call doctor gave us prescriptions for two medications that we are still taking.  Both of us are feeling better but it is taking time.  I am just so thankful that there is something that can help us.

I am also thankful that Ian doesn’t have this.  I just hope and pray that he doesn’t get it.  Hopefully he won’t now that we are no longer contagious.  Fingers crossed. (This photo of him is from Halloween last year when he was dressed as a doctor.)

This isn’t the first time that I have had bronchitis.  I had it quite a bit when I was younger.  Thankfully it hasn’t been as common for a while for me.  That too is a blessing. My lungs are stronger than they used to be and that seems to help.

chemistryWe are now on our fourth day of medication and that is where the fun and gross stuff begins.  Lots of sneezing, coughing, etc. in the effort to try to get the infection out.  I won’t go into more detail than that, but suffice it to say, yuck! This is the point in the illness when we are getting worse before getting better.

One of our meds is an antibiotic.  I am thankful that there now are antibiotics to help fight crud like this.  So glad they were invented.  Many years ago, people didn’t have the luxury of such a medication to kill the virus and help get them better.

I am a fan of Downton Abbey, which takes place at the beginning of the 1900s.  It is amazing to see the differences between then and now in medicine and medical treatments.  So much has changed for the better.  I am so very thankful to live today.

Still, many people develop illnesses and have major health problems.  My prayers are with them and their families for healing and the right treatment to cure the problem.  Leukemia, the flu, colds, cancer, severe allergies, heart disease, cystic fibrosis, MS, brain injuries, broken limbs, and many other issues are some of the health issues that loved ones are dealing with.

My thoughts, prayers, and support go out to them.  Lord, please stretch out your healing hand upon these loved ones and help them be well again.  Please give them the strength to fight what ails them.  And please provide comfort to their families as well.   Amen.

We try to eat a healthy diet, take vitamins and supplements, exercise, and get enough rest.  However, sometimes, that isn’t enough and extra help is needed.  So, I am truly thankful that such things are available when needed.  Along with the medication, rest, plenty of fluids, and time often cures what ails us.  I just hope that we all have the time that we need to get better.

May you have a blessed and healthy end of the year!