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!

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!

Family Love and Memories

img116Yesterday, I watched two DVDs of my grandfather’s 80th birthday party.  One DVD included his stories and some songs and the other included memories of him and toasts.

We celebrated his 80th in 1988.  Hard to believe it was that long ago now. It was amazing to see all of us circa 26 years ago.  So much has changed since then.

In this video, I saw my grandpa (inspiration for this blog), my grandma, Grandma’s maid-of-honor and family friend Evie, our family friend Wayne, who was like a second grandfather, and his amazing wife Rett.

They have all passed away and were fascinating people.  I was enriched for having known all of them.  Evie was a pilot and had great stories to tell, Wayne was a fireman, and Rett was Grams’ best friend.  The fact that all of them lived such long and amazing lives is wonderful!

This photo was taken a few years after this birthday celebration in the same room where the video was recorded.  I spent a lot of time in this room through the years and loved it.  The turquoise walls, Grandma and Grandpa’s chairs, their piano, artwork, and knickknacks make me smile.

I also noticed that some important people who are now in the family weren’t back then.  Many loved ones have joined our family through marriage and births.  It is amazing to think that my grandparents now have 18 great-grandchildren, if I haven’t left anyone out. The family love has continued to grow!!

As I watched this DVD, my eyes welled up with tears as Grandpa told stories of Willie, and several other characters that he made up.  It was such a gift to again hear his voice as I remember and the lines that each story would end with.  It took me back to my childhood and all of the fun times we had as a family.

As I have written about, each Willie story would end with his scratching his head and saying, “I still wonder where rainbows come from.” The entire family would always say it with Grandpa.  Chills to see and hear that again!

The family singing was magical.  My amazing Aunt Linda can play almost anything on the piano without music, and often transposes the key as needed.  She did this on the DVD.  All of us in the family sang along to a song wishing a special birthday to Grandpa, also to a song that Mom had written about the family for Grandpa’s and Grandma’s anniversary, and several favorite show tunes.  As I watched the singing, I sang along again.

It was wonderful to be back in the family cocoon.  Kirk and Ian watched it with me and asked about the people there.  Ian was amazed to see his grandparents and his mother looking 26 years younger.  “Wow, Mom, is that you?” he asked.  “Yes, Ian. It sure is,” I told him.

I was so happy to watch these old videos of how I remember my grandparents and their house looking.  To see it again and all of those people whom I love so much was an amazing treasure.  So many happy tears and happy memories.

It has been a few years since I have seen my cousins and aunts and uncles.  We are planning a family reunion for next summer and I cannot wait!  It  is great that the fourth generation of our family loves to be together as much as the rest of us.

I wonder what amazing memories will be made and recorded at this next gathering?  I am sure there will be many and I am so looking forward to it.

Fall Wedding At Farm

fall.wedding.2

A few weeks ago, we went to my son-in-law’s wedding.  It was lovely and a fun weekend for our family.

He was the ring bearer in our wedding so it was very special seeing him get married.  It is hard to believe that he is old enough to be a newlywed but the time has moved on quickly and he has grown into a fine young man. His bride is a fine young lady.

Their wedding was at a farm in rural Tennessee and was a gorgeous and very calm setting.  Here are some of the photos that I took of the scenery. Fall.Wedding.6 Fall.wedding.3 fall.wedding.4 fall.wedding1 fall.wedding5

It was a great time for friends and family with a lovely service, great meal, fun dancing, and all of the traditions that one sees in a wedding.

I wish J & B well!  Love you both very much!!

I wonder when I will be able to go back to that pretty farm?  I am not sure if I will, but I have some lovely memories.

Throwback Thursday – Yummy Meal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor today’s Throwback Thursday, I decided to include a photo when Ian was about 2 years old.  As you can see, he is wearing much of his meal.  He seemed to like it and thought it was yummy.

I love his expression, his smile, big and bright eyes, and the messy hairdo.  I just wish I could remember what the meal was.  Probably spaghetti since that was always a messy time.

Now that it is 1 week since he turned 7 years old, it is fun to look back at these old photos. Images like this bring back such fun memories. And make me realize how fast time goes and how important it is to capture such precious times.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Messy hands and faces
  • A happy boy after a yummy meal
  • Remembrances of Ian at 2-years-old and each year since
  • A 7-year-old who is excited to buy a new book with his birthday money
  • Upcoming fall break for some down time
  • Having a camera to capture our fun and crazy days
  • A chance to visit great teachers during a school open house
  • Cooler mornings and evenings and warmth during the day
  • Laughter and funny stories
  • Catching up with a dear friend or family member
  • Making meals with my family

I wonder if the next time Ian eats spaghetti it will be this messy?  I doubt it but can’t wait to find out.

September 24 – Loud

Sept.24_POD_LoudToday’s photo challenge is Loud.  I decided to include an old picture of my family.  We are loud, boisterous, silly, theatrical, and fun.  This photo is from the early 1990s.

Come to think of it, both the 1980s and 1990s were loud — with the music, clothing, and hairdos.  And, I loved it!  That was the era that I grew up in, graduated from high school, went to college, earned my degree, and then started my first job.

Many years ago, Saturday Night Live did a sketch called The Loud Family.  We called them “The Louds.”  This family would yell at each other at the dinner table.  My family mimicked that a few times and it was so funny.

I don’t think we meant to be loud, but all of us are passionate and have good lungs, so our voices carry.  That and plenty of singing and theater experience has helped all of us to project our voices.

Now, Ian is carrying on our fine family tradition.  He often has a loud voice and loves to talk and play. I think he too will have time in his life on a stage.

I love my original family and all of our fun times we have had together over the years.  My parents, sister, and brother are my favorite people.  Now all of us kids are married and have kids.

Dinners together were always important growing up and still are to all of us.  Now, we have all of the kids, as well as cousins, aunts, uncles and others to join in the fun.

I wonder when I will get to be loud again with my goofy family?  I sure hope it’s soon!  Love you all.

Throwback Thursday – The Drells

The drells at Mission Beach

For today’s Throwback Thursday, I am going way back to one that was taken in September 1972 in Mission Beach, California. I am not sure if it was taken at the beach or the Bay side, at least I think this is the location.

It is of me and my sister, who I called The Drells.  When I was little, I couldn’t say the girls, so this name was created. This was taken a few months before our brother was born.

I came across this photo while scanning some pictures a few years ago.  I just saw it again yesterday and loved it.

We often wore matching outfits and apparently these bikinis are one of those outfits.  I am the brunette and my sister is the blond.  I don’t have a clue what we were doing but we seem to be having fun.

We both have loved the beach for a long, long time. You can see that we clearly like having our toes in the sand.

Today, I am thankful for:

  • A sister who is a dear friend, amazing woman, and a great teacher
  • My brother, who we met soon after this picture was taken, who is also awesome
  • Our parents who showed us the love of the ocean, the beach, and the importance of family
  • Their spouses and children and my hubby and son who have enriched our family so much
  • Mission Beach where I have enjoyed my time with four generations of my family as well as dear friends
  • Sand in my toes — both as an almost 5-year-old and now
  • The beauty, smell, and feel of the ocean
  • Watching the sun set into the ocean
  • My grandparents who bought a very special home at the beach
  • Amazing family vacations
  • Cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends who made the beach time so special
  • Adding friends to the love of the neighborhood
  • Memories and old photos such as this one

I wonder when the next time will be that I am at the beach with my sister and the rest of our family.  I hope it will be soon.  After all, we do always have a fun and memorable time!

Independence Day

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” July 4, 1776

Aren’t these words great?  I certainly think so.   These amazing words are from the Declaration of Independence.  Some of the men who signed it were John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.

Today, many Americans will celebrate with cookouts, trips to the pool or beach, parades, time with family, patriotic music, and fireworks.  It is a fun day with family and friends and great to celebrate the birth of the United States.

In celebration of this land with freedoms unlike many other places, I am reminded to thank those who have made it possible:

  • Thanks to all of the Veterans who have fought in wars for our freedom and country’s protection
  • Thanks to the active servicemen and women who continue to fight for our freedom
  • Thanks to our reservists who are willing to go when duty calls
  • Thanks to the families of our military and all that they sacrifice
  • Thanks to the many who have been seriously injured or died in protection of our country
  • Thanks to the POWs who suffered more than I can imagine in protection of our freedoms
  • Thanks to all who sign up to serve and continue to protect this amazing nation

As the quotes goes, freedom is never free.  The brave men and women of our military and their families know that is true.

FlagsA few quotes about Independence Day:

  • “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”  ~Elmer Davis
  • “Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • “Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.” ~Louis D. Brandeis
  • “If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace.” ~Hamilton Fish
  • “I love my freedom. I love my America.” ~Jessi Lane Adams
  • “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’ll gladly stand up next to you to defend her still today. Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land. God Bless the USA.”  ~Lee Greenwood

May you have a blessed day celebrating our freedom!!!

Throwback Thursday – Pam and Patti

img067For today’s Throwback Thursday, I decided to include a few pictures of me with my cousin Pam.  In honor of our recent visit, I thought I’d go back a few years for the photos.

This first picture was taken in the early 1990s.  I don’t remember what year.  I love it of both of us.

Since this was taken, we have posed for many pictures, including our recent visit.  We have also laughed a lot, cried a little, and had so many fun times together.

girls 2Pam is one of my best friends.  And, I love that we are family.  No matter how long it’s been since we have seen each other, we pick up right away and chat like no time has passed. Vacation 2006 185The friendship we have is rare and I cherish it.

This second picture is (from left) of me, Pam, my sister Cindy, and my sister-in-law Beckie. And the third was taken on that same day while shopping and walking on the boardwalk of Beckie, Pam, and me.  These were taken in 2006. Fun times with my girls!

Shared stories, laughter, togetherness, time at the beach or pool, and talking over a glass of wine are some of the many things we enjoy doing together.

Now that we are both married and have families, our circle has grown.  There are more people to have fun with and to love. Our families are so important to both of us and I just love that!

A verse in scripture (Proverbs 17:17) says that a friend loves at all times.  And Elbert Hubbard said, ““A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”  I am blessed to have such a friend who is also my cousin.

I wonder when I will get to see my dear cousin again?  I do hope that it’s soon!

June 3 – Family

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAToday’s photo challenge is Family.  Here is a selfie or should I say ussie of my family and me that I took recently.  We were having a fun day.

I have been blessed with a great family.  The family I grew up with, my husband’s family, and now our family with our son are all a blessing.

I have a circle of dear friends who are also my family.  Many of them I don’t get to see as much as I’d like to, but when we are together, we always have fun.

I love the family I grew up with – my parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.  From my family, I learned all about love, humor, laughter, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and consideration of others.

I love that although many of us are different, we have found a way to get along and have fun together.  That is rare and an amazing blessing.

With my family, I have always felt loved, appreciated, and valued. My family is so very precious to me.  I am truly honored to be a part of these people’s lives and for them to be a part of mine.

A few quotes about family:

  • “I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich.” ~ Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford
  • “Families are like fudge — mostly sweet with a few nuts.” ~ Author Unknown
  • “A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.” ~ Ogden Nash
  • “The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.” ~ Erma Bombeck

I look forward to family time this summer and many fun memories that we will make.  I wonder how soon we will have that time?  I hope it is very soon.