Happy Birthday Tammy!

Tomorrow, December 5, is the birthday of one of my nearest and dearest friends, Tammy.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAI guess you could say she is my oldest friend.  We met in elementary school and have been friends ever since.  Here we are after some time at the beach last summer.

When we were little, Tammy and I and our sisters Sonya and Cindy formed a club!  The four us loved to laugh so we thought we’d expand that into this sisterhood.  We lived around the corner from each other so we had lots of play time.

One day I will never forget was in third grade.  Tammy and I were talking in the class.  Our teacher, Mr. Toler, sent us to the closet since we were in trouble.  Instead of being quiet, we moved all of the backpacks out of the bottom of the closet and then continued talking.  I think after that we were sent to the principal’s office.

When we were in the 8th grade, Tammy and her family moved away because of her father’s transfer of work.  For a young girl like me who was painfully shy, this was devastating!  I remember when I found out and how sad I was.

But we have managed to keep in touch and stay friends over the years!  Isn’t that cool?  Even though we don’t see each other all of the time, we still can pick up from where we left off and always have lots to talk about!

When Kirk and I married, I had hoped that Tammy was going to be able to come to the wedding, but she told me over the phone, no.  Then what do you know, she surprised me and showed up on the day before our wedding!  My family was in on it and they all pulled one over on me.

I remember how happy and truly blown away I was.  It took me a while to compose myself after crying some happy tears.  My oldest friend was there on my wedding day.  If only I had known she would be there, I would have had her as one of my bridesmaids.

Now, we are both married and have kids – I have one and she has four amazing kids.  Three girls and a boy.  This past summer we saw them at the beach and the boys had fun playing together and we had fun catching up.

It is never enough time but I am always blessed to have time with my dear friend and see her with her precious family.  The kids are well-behaved and fun to be with.  Tammy’s oldest daughter looks like she did as a child.  And the other kids look like some of Tammy’s sisters.

Having a friend for most of your life is a real and amazing blessing.  I thank God for bringing Tammy into my life and for keeping her there for all of these years.

Tammy, may you have a wonderful birthday!  Love you my friend.  And never forget, AGADKTGA!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Late Birthday Pam

Yesterday was my cousin Pam’s birthday!  I was late on my posting since I wasn’t on the computer at all yesterday.

Pam, so sorry this is late!  I did think about you all day yesterday and hoped you had a fabulous day.

Pictured at left and from left (in 2006) are me, Pam, my sister Cindy, and my sister-in-law Beckie.  These three gals are my sisters and I am so blessed to have all of them in my life!!!

My cousin Pam is one of my favorite people!  We have been friends for as long as I can remember.  Growing up, Pam was my cool cousin from California! I always looked forward to hearing about her adventures and seeing her in the summers when the families would get together.

We had such fun together in the 1980s and before and since.  Here we are pictured in the 1990s, I think.  There have been so many funny pictures taken over the years with great grins and poses that I am not sure.  We always have enjoyed being hams and laughing.

She is an awesome mother to two wonderful girls who I had the pleasure seeing grow up and getting to know.  They are awesome just like their mother.  And, her hubby, Bob, is funny and great to be around.  She has an amazing family who I also love very much!!

I will never forget the first time that my husband Kirk met Pam and Bob.  We went to a Mexican restaurant in Old Town San Diego.  The two guys cracked up and yelled at each other as if they’d known each other forever.  I was thrilled to see how well they got along.  It makes me laugh to think about!

Now, Pam is a grandmother to a beautiful girl.  Her oldest daughter is a great mommy!  I can learn so much from Pam during Ian’s growing up years.  Pam is less than 2 weeks older than me.  We have been close for a long time.

Pam has met Ian and is great with him, and so is Bob.  Ian also got to meet their daughters, but not their granddaughter yet.  Hopefully that will be soon!

It has been several years since I have seen my cousin and I really do miss her!  I do, however, love the fact that when we see each other, it is as if no time has passed.  We pick up as we’d seen each other the previous week, not three of four years ago.  It is awesome.  I hope that you have someone like that in your life!!

I love ya cuz!!  And, can’t wait to see you in April of next year!  YEAH!!!!  It will be so much fun.  So glad you had a great birthday!

What A Week!

Hello and Happy Friday!

Hope you’ve had a great week!  Mine has been a good one but has flown by.  As they say, time flies when you are having fun.

On Sunday, we went to the library and checked out a pile of books and videos.  I managed to finish one of the books I checked out in four days.  It was very easy to read and hard to put down.

We checked out several Mouse the Mouse books – “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” “If You Take a Mouse to School,”  and “If You Take a Mouse to the Movies.”  Ian loves all of these stories. And, he enjoys looking at the amazing drawings in each book.

It is especially fun since Ian has a stuffed Mouse the Mouse doll from those stories.  Last night when we were reading one of them, Ian said as Mouse, “I sure miss my family and I am glad to be a part of your family.”  I told him we are glad you are part of our family too!  Isn’t that cute?

—————-

This week we watched the Presidential Debate on Tuesday and then we voted on Wednesday.  An amazing week of politics!

The debate was a good one with both men standing up and firmly presenting what they believe in.  They were both interrupted, both corrected, and both had some real zingers.

On Monday is the last debate and soon will be Election Day.  I must say I am ready since it has been a long 18 months of campaigning, spending huge amounts of money that might better go to programs we need to have funded, and plenty of mud-slinging.

Here is a quote I came across this week.  It sums up very well the attitude I would prefer to see as we wind down the election season:

“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election and advised them, 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy, 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those who voted on the other side.” — John Wesley, 1774

May we have that heart as well between now and election day and afterwards as we transition to the next President, either Obama or Romney.  May we also respect the position and the man who is elected.

————

Yesterday, Ian had his 5-year-old checkup at the doctor’s office.  He was a little bit nervous but not as much as he might have been.  We have been watching the Disney Channel’s “Doc McStuffins.”  A young girl is a doctor for her toys.  In it they sing about “Time for Your Checkup” and talk about the fact that a doctor is there to help you.

He is now 44 inches tall — quite tall for his age.  And he weighs 43 pounds so he is tall and skinny!  Hopefully he will stay healthy as he is now!!  We are truly blessed.

The only bad part of the exam was getting a flu shot.  We tried focusing on the fact that the needle was very small but Ian still cried and was scared.  The nurse who did the shot gave him some stickers so that helped a little bit as well.

But as he went to bed last night, he said, “Mommy my arm still hurts.”  I told him I was sorry but that shot is to help you from getting really sick.  He said, “Okay Mommy.”

——————-

Today at lunch I am eating with a good friend who I used to work with named DiAnn.  We worked together for nearly 8 years before I left for maternity leave and then decided to be a stay-at-home mom.

We had a great time working together and still enjoy seeing each other.  However now it isn’t as frequent as it used to be.  You become quite close to people who you see for 8 hours a day 5 days a week.

The main thing that I miss from no longer working is my girlfriends.  That daily interaction was very special and I didn’t realize how much until I no longer had it.  I miss our regular chats about our families and other friends.  We will have much to discuss and gossip about I am sure and I cannot wait.

And for dinner we are eating with another close friend who I have known since high school — Jennifer.  She is one of my absolute favorite people on the planet and was a bridesmaid at my wedding.

I have seen her daughter grow up to become an amazing young woman and now Jen will see my son grow and change.

Over the last few months we haven’t seen each other very much and we’ve had time through the years where we lost touch.  But the amazing thing is that we can always pick right back up where we left off.  It is a real blessing to have a friend like that!

Both of these gals have meant a lot to me and I look forward to spending some time with both of them.

—————–

No matter what you are doing today and this weekend, I hope you have a good time and enjoy yourself!

To Making It Count!

In the movie “Titanic,” the characters raised a glass in a toast and said, “To making it count.”  That is such an important phrase to remember, and yet, I know that we don’t always make things count.

This morning I found out a friend of mine in college died.  She lived each day to the fullest and knew how to make it count!!

Her name is Shelli and she fought a long and very hard battle with cancer.  She went through treatment on and off for many years and was in constant pain.

And yet, she was thankful for each day the Lord gave her.   And she was one of the most positive people I have ever known.  She also was constantly praying and had a very strong faith.

I had lost touch with her in the years since we graduated from college.  Then in 2010, I saw her at a reunion at our alma mater, Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee.   We then stayed in touch over the years, mainly through Facebook.

It was great to see the fun things she did with her husband Joe and their children.  And, to also share in prayer support when needed.  Shelli was a blessing to me and I know to her many friends and her family.  She will be greatly missed.

Dear Lord, I hope that I too can make each day count and truly live my faith as my friend Shelli did!  Please welcome her to Heaven with your open arms!!  AMEN.

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye is never an easy thing…”  the song states.

That is true.  Saying goodbye is often very hard to do.

My family likes to take time with our goodbyes and give hugs and wish one another well.  This is nice but can sometimes be dragged out and become quite emotional.  Some others whom I know don’t like to say bye at all.  Instead you just wait to see them the next time around.

In recent weeks, there have been several goodbyes that I have seen and/or been involved in.  Having family and friends leave at the end of a fabulous vacation is bittersweet.  You remember all of the fun times but are sad that they are ending.  Instead of being with the dear people, you have to hold on to the memories and enjoy the photos that captured your time together.

This week a friend got married.  She has been living with her two sisters for several years.  On her wedding day, she said goodbye to being single and being with her blood family to start a new family with the man who she loves.  She was so excited and I am thrilled for her, but never again will she be at the same house with his sisters without her hubby.  A new chapter of her life and theirs has begun.

This morning, we said goodbye to a friend who is a missionary in the Philippines.  She is going back to continue her work with children and to get married.  She is an amazing young woman who I am so blessed to have as a friend.  I wish her the best and hope to see her again one day.  And, I am in awe of her following this calling.

And with the tragedy last week at the movie theater, I can’t help but think that a lot of people never had the chance to say goodbye.  That to me is very, very sad.  It is important to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you.  Saying, “I love you and I will see you soon” makes total sense to me and is a cherished sentence.

I have to say that the Hawaiians have the right idea with goodbye.  They use the word Aloha which means goodbye as well as Hello.  That is wise because for each goodbye, there is hello.

I like the idea that the end of all things in life, there is some kind of new beginning.  When one amazing opportunity ends, a new opportunity or experience begins.  That is encouraging when feeling sad about having to say goodbye.

Perhaps the better thing to say is “Until we meet again.”

Or as the Irish Blessing goes:

  • May the road rise up to meet you. 
  • May the wind always be at your back. 
  • May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. 
  • And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Childhood Friends

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with one of my best friends from childhood.

We were best friends in elementary school and junior high school and had so much fun together.  Then when we were in 8th grade, she moved away.  That was hard on us but we survived and stayed in touch and are still friends to this day.

When Kirk and I got married, she surprised me and arrived for the wedding and rehearsal dinner the night before.  It was great having her there and meant the world to me.

We talked throughout the afternoon and enjoying hanging out together and it was like no time had passed.  We picked up right where we left off the last time we’d seen each other.

Two years ago was the last time and all of our kids have changed quite a bit in that time.  It was so fun to see them interacting and having such fun together.  It is great that the next generation is having as much fun as we always had together.

I am so happy and blessed that she is still in my life.  It is awesome to have known someone as long and as well as I have known her.

Tammy, thanks so much for your continued friendship!  You are awesome.

The beach beckons

I love the beach.  Plain and simple!  I love it.  How about you?

I have been going to the beach since I was a child.  And, I love that my son loves the beach as much as I do!

Going with family is full of fun and special memories.  Seeing Ian play with his cousins is wonderful.

And spending time with good friends is also great!  Catching up with those I haven’t seen in a while is priceless to me.

The sand and the sun beckon and the ocean waves ebb and flow.  I so love to watch the ocean and sit in the sand and follow the waves as they crash against the shore.

I also love to watch all of the people and the birds and other animals.  I always feel at peace when at the beach.

Here are few fabulous quotes about the beach and the ocean:

“Don’t grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.” — Michelle Held

 “I have always loved the beach. The smell of the salty water, the wind in my face, the gentle roar of the waves all combine to create a sense of peace and calm.”  — Anonymous

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.” — Isak Dinesen

“Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone.” — Anonymous

I hope that you enjoy your time at the beach this summer! 

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.

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.