Flashback Friday – Family

ff118_familyHi and Happy Friday.  For today’s Flashback Friday, I decided to use an old family photo from the 1970s.  It is one that Mom just sent to me and I love it.  Besides, the photo challenge for yesterday was family.

Here is my family.  I am the one in the middle. Interesting how we are all barefoot except for Dad.  I love these old photos and treasure them like gold.  Seeing the changes of all of us and the next generation in these faces is fascinating.  I just wish I could remember what I was thinking back then.

I love this family of mine — me, my sister, my brother, our mother and our father.  I love this photo too since it is so 70s.  The clothes, the hair, the couch, the wall, and did you notice the flag in the corner?  So retro and so cool.

I am fortunate to have grown up in a family where we were taught and shown unconditional love, acceptance, and compassion.  Also, we were taught to be kind and respect those different from ourselves.  Kirk and I are now teaching that to Ian.

My extended family is equally as awesome.  We are diverse in everything – our beliefs and our religions, who we love, how we earn our livings, what we are passionate about, our politics, and so much more.  Each one is unique and special and I love them all with all of my heart. Also, I have learned a lot from them.

I have recently had the pleasure of editing a family history book that Mom wrote.  And, I have to say from ancestors to those living today, my family is amazing. So many people have been passionate about so many things and we are all so different.  I am blessed beyond measure to be a part of this amazing legacy.

Today I am thankful for:

  • My loving parents
  • My fun siblings who are life-long friends
  • My amazing hubby and son
  • My wonderful in-laws
  • My fabulous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews
  • Learning about my heritage
  • Learning about my grandparents and many great grandparents
  • Growing up knowing that differences in people are okay and interesting
  • Long talks with loved ones who see the world differently than I do
  • Kindness and compassion towards others
  • Love not hate

I look forward to family time during the holidays and cannot wait for more time to chat and learn more about them.  I hope to see my extended family in the summer again soon.  Love to all of them.

Throwback Thursday – Happy Boy

TT_7-7-Happy BoyHi and Happy Thursday! Hope you are having a great day.  Here is a photo of Ian at almost 3 years old.  He was standing on the lifeguard stand and watching the sun set into the ocean.  He was extremely happy and having a great time at Mission Beach in California.

This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of him.  I love the total glee and happiness that he is expressing.  I love how much he seems to be loving life.  And I love this smile and this boy.  This photo was lightened so his facial expression was visible.

He has always been a happy child and fun to be around.  He has moments of being grouchy or difficult when he is overly tired, hungry, doesn’t want to do something or is sick.  But for the most part, he is content, has plenty to do, and lives in the moment.  He has taught me to do that.  He has also taught me to make the most of each day,

While looking at this photo, I wondered when was the last time that I was this happy?  When did I throw away all of my worries and cares and just be gleeful?  I have laughed recently with family members and friends. I have cracked up at a funny memory or cartoon with Ian or a favorite comedy with Kirk.  But I also have cried over family and friends who are sick, the loss of a loved one, and the terrible things on the news.

I have always loved watching the news and reading newspapers since that has been a life-long passion and vocation for me.  However, more and more it has been hard to tune in without becoming emotional during the broadcast or angry.  I continue to be amazed at what people do to one another.  And, trying to explain that to Ian can be a challenge.

This summer we have been making time for fun and to be in the moment. We have had  time for swimming, watching funny movies, lazy days, ice cream treats, games, library books, walks, and many other fun things.  So far it has been great and a real treasure.  As bad things happen, we talk about them and pray about them as well.

Today I am thankful for:

  • My hubby who I am sharing this life journey with
  • Our son who I love beyond measure
  • Amazing friendships
  • My wonderful family
  • Prayer support from our church, family, and friends
  • Ian’s friends
  • Lego builds
  • Play time
  • Air-conditioning
  • Playing games
  • Books and the ability to read
  • Creativity and making up stories
  • No alarm clocks in the morning

I wonder if I can live in the moment as much as possible with Ian, Kirk, and our family and friends.  I am doing my best to do just that.

Throwback Thursday – Summer!

TBT_6-23-2016Hi and Happy Thursday. Are you having a great summer? We are!  So far, so good.  We are about to finish our third week of summer and are having a wonderful time. This photo was taken of Ian in Fort Pierce, Florida many years ago.

When he was this age, his pacifier was a constant for him. This was one of the first times that he got to walk on the sand, or should I say run. He loved it. He still does love it. Sadly we won’t be going to the beach this summer, but have plenty of other things to keep us busy.

Last night, we went to my parent’s house for swimming and dinner. They have a neighborhood pool that we enjoyed. It was a very hot day so the water was perfectly cool and fun. After swimming, we went back to their house and had a great dinner and dessert and plenty of laughs. It was great.

Tonight is game night and homemade pizza at our house. My parents are coming over for that, which will also be fun. Big decision of the evening will be, do we play The Game of Life or Star Wars Monopoly or both?  Perhaps Dominos or the card game Pounce? We will see what Ian and everyone else feel like.

Life with no alarm clocks or set schedules is very nice this time of year. And, since I work at home, I can be flexible enough to start later in the morning or wear my pajamas. How great is that? It’s the little things that become the big blessings, isn’t it?!

Our summer started with a trip to North Carolina which was great. That was for both work and play. We had time to visit family, take a few walks, enjoyed dinner out with friends, and bought cookies and almond strudel at a wonderful bakery, and frozen yogurt treats. Also, I bought a new coloring book (yes I do like coloring), and Ian got a new Lego set. I helped him build it and we took several pictures.

June has been good so far and July should be as well. Next month we will go back to North Carolina, have a chance to visit some friends, may attend a baseball game, and I will have a high school reunion. I have great classmates who are always fun to see.  Cannot wait.

I love all of the memories we are making this summer with Ian. Each day has something fun. Whether it’s spending the day with messy hair and clothes to swimming to reading a library book to watching a favorite cartoon, we are enjoying our time together.

In addition to all of our fun, we are thinking of and praying for those suffering and struggling. We are talking with Ian about what can be done to help others and reminding him to always love others and be respectful. Also, we encourage him to ask questions that he has and we discuss those. With so much going on in the world, there is much to learn.

I wonder what other adventures the summer will bring?  I cannot wait to find out. Hope you also have a great summer!  Enjoy.

Five Minute Friday: Want

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Friday.  Today’s five-minute writing challenge is Want.  Five Minute Friday is for writing freely for five minutes uninterrupted. I haven’t done this in quite a while, but this word was one that I wanted to write about.

Now Go…  My wants have changed since I was a child.  How about yours?  When I was young, I wanted toys, games, attention, time to play with friends, regular trips to the beach, new clothing, and lots of stuff.  Now, I mainly want things that cannot be bought.

I want healing for my sick loved ones with cancer, I want world peace, I want kindness, love, and respect for one another.  I want women and girls to not be raped.  I want men to be taught to respect women. I know that many are, but all need to be.  I want us to take care of hungry children and ensure all children are educated. I want us to cure cancer and AIDS.  I want people not to be addicted to drugs – legal or otherwise. If they are, I want us to help them heal.

I want more time with my loved ones. I still want trips to the beach with my family and friends.  I want to make memories with my husband and my son (like in the picture above from five years ago). I want my son to learn all that he can from me. I want him to always know that he is loved.  I want time to see him grow up and become an amazing man.  I want to grow old with my husband.

Time is up. But I still have a few thoughts to share.

I also have some goals of what I want.  I want to write a book or two, I want to make a difference in people’s lives, I want to see a few shows on Broadway and meet some amazing writers. I maybe want to go back to school to learn something new.  I want to lose weight and keep it off, and so much more.

Wants are different than needs.  To me needs are food, clothing, water, and shelter.  We also need transportation to get around, school, and jobs.  Wants can also be things but often aren’t.  What wants do you have?  Are they things that you can buy or are they items that cannot be purchased at a store?

A few quotes:

  • “Do right. Do your best. Treat others as you want to be treated.” — Lou Holtz
  • “If you want to be happy, be.” — Leo Tolstoy
  • “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” — Dolly Parton
  • “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” — Abraham Lincoln
  • “Success is getting what you want.  Happiness is wanting what you get.” — Dale Carnegie

A few other things I want are for our government to work together as they did when President Reagan was in office.  The situation we are currently in is not just one person’s fault.  I want to see more happy and positive news and for people to not judge each other as much as they do.  I want us to love others as Christ taught us to – unconditionally and always.

I wonder if these wants will come to pass.  Some will but others, I am not sure.  I only hope and pray that they will.

May 9 – Sign

POD_5-9-SignHi and Happy Monday.  Today’s Photo-A-Day challenge is Sign. I found this one at a shop trying to save some money. At least, that is my guess since trying to change the day of the weeks went awry. It seems they found the 8th day of the week. Isn’t that great? Sunurday.

It made me laugh, stop to take a picture, and wish that some weekends we did have a day between Saturday and Sunday. Like this weekend we just finished. It was a good one but very busy with end of school activities, work on the family business, time at home for assorted projects, meals out, and so much more.

Hope you had a great Mother’s Day yesterday.  Mine was good and I would have liked more time to relax.  Oh well, perhaps after Ian goes to bed tonight?!  Isn’t that the way it is?  A mother’s work never seems to be done — even on her special day.

For those with Moms and children, hope you were able to spend time with your loved ones and enjoy that special time together.  For those who have lost their children or mothers, hope you were able to remember them fondly.

A few things I am thankful for today:

  • Signs that I can read and laugh at
  • The ability to read
  • Ian’s excitement about a new library book
  • The start of a new yet busy week
  • Brunch with my hubby, son, and parents
  • A special Lego build from Ian
  • Cards and hugs
  • Dinner out at a restaurant recommended by Ian
  • Relaxing time at home
  • Sleeping in on the weekend
  • Walks home from school
  • Leftovers
  • Time with loved ones

I wonder what other signs I will read this week?  I am sure that there will be plenty.  Have a great week!

Flashback Friday – Mom Edition

FF.Mom_5Hi and Happy Friday.  I don’t know about you but I am so glad it is Friday.  For today’s Flashback Friday, it is the Mom edition.  Enjoy!

FF.Mom_1This first photo is from years and years ago of me with Mom at the beach house.  We as usual had windblown hair and were wearing our sunglasses.  It is one of my favorites of the two of us. The next is on the same porch when I was very young (and so were my parents).

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms.  I want to wish my mother, my mother-in-law, my sister, my sisters-in-law, my aunts, cousins, nieces, and friends a very Happy Mother’s Day!  May you have wonderful and special celebrations.

I want to say thanks to my mom for all that she taught me.  She loved my siblings and me and was always there for us.  She showed us what mothering is all about. I am fortunate to have learned from her how to be a mother for my own child.

FF.Mom_2Until I became a mother I had no idea what it felt like to have your heart living outside of your body. Or having a little person who has heard a mom’s heart from the inside.  Wow! Motherhood is a gift and I am happy to be a part of the club.

Not to say it’s always easy because it isn’t.  There are struggles and many tough times but with other mothers to help and our spouses, the journey seems easier. Thanks to all of the moms in my life who have taught me, supported me, and have been there for me.

A few quotes about mothers:

  • “Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.” ~ Author Unknown
  • “All mothers are working mothers.” ~ Author Unknown
  • “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” ~ Sophia Loren
  • “Mother — that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries.” ~ T. DeWitt Talmage
  • “Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.” ~ Marion C. Garretty
  • “A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” ~ Author Unknown

Happy Mother’s Day!  Hope you enjoy your weekend.  I plan to.

Perfect Spring Day!

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Tuesday.  This afternoon is the perfect spring day.  I was able to enjoy it during my walk to and from school.

I walked by myself to go pick up Ian and enjoyed the sights and sounds.  On the way back home, I enjoyed listening to him talk about his day.  These moments are so very special.

I took this photo last spring and still think it is lovely.

Our perfect spring day:

  • The sky is a deep blue
  • The sun is out and shining
  • The wind is blowing
  • A slight chill is in the air
  • In the sun, it is warm and toasty
  • In the shade, there is a hint of cool
  • No humidity
  • The wind is blowing
  • The flowers are blooming
  • The trees are budding
  • Birds are chirping
  • Dogs are barking in their excitement of seeing us
  • The grass is growing
  • The mulch is being placed in yards
  • The neighborhood bunnies are hopping around
  • Kids are riding their bicycles
  • Neighbors are walking

I love the spring and life beginning yet again.  It is lovely.  This is one of the benefits of living in a state with four seasons.  I feel so very blessed.

The only thing I don’t like is that my allergies often act up.  So, I regularly take allergy medication and still enjoy our walks.  I hope to continue to do so.

A few quotes on spring:

  • Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”  ~ Robin Williams
  • In Spring, everything is full of promise… The child sporting upon the lawn, and the season, sympathize together, and nature rejoices in her virgin loveliness. ~ Charles Lanman
  • No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. ~ Proverb
  • In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. ~ Margaret Atwood

May you have a wonderful spring day.

Throwback Thursday — Childhood Fun

TT.2-11-2016Hi and Happy Thursday.  Today I have a great picture for Throwback Thursday.  My sister Cindy and I are on the swing set in our backyard.  I am the one upside down.

My sister, my brother, and I loved to play in this back yard.  I don’t remember how I happened to be upside down, but I love that I was.  We had so much fun and made so many memories.  We were able to walk to school since we were so close.

I love how this picture sums up childhood, when life was simple, we had no worries except for when dinner time was, and getting our homework done.  My family also had chores to do around the house and we always had to listen and eat what was served.

Still, it was so carefree.  I only wish my younger self had known to savor each and every moment of being a kid.  Now I look back fondly and wish that I had, but it’s hard to see at the time.  Since life was pretty good, I could have taken things for granted. Our parents helped us to not do that.

I was quite shy as a child, almost painfully so.  Needless to say, I was a late bloomer and took things at my own pace.  Things worked out at the right time for me, but it did take time and I thank my parents for helping me along and helping me to find myself.

I had a real and fun childhood and am so thankful to my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who were a part of that.  I also appreciate our pastors, teachers, Camp Fire leaders, Vacation Bible School and Sunday School teachers, and all other adults who helped me to become who I am today.

Now that I am a parent, my husband and I are trying to give Ian the best childhood we can.  That doesn’t mean saying yes to everything that he asks for or giving him all that he wants.  Instead, it means having plenty of time to play, complete his homework, help around the house, enjoy the library, Cub Scouts, having plenty of food, and so much more.

I am aware that some families don’t have that.  We are teaching that to Ian as well and to have him be cognizant of others and be helpful.  We had a food drive last week at school and Ian helped me choose the food and deliver it to school.  And, at Christmas, he chose gifts for a boy on our Angel Tree at church.  He is already learning and I am so grateful.

There are a few things that I think children need to know they are loved and safe:

  • Unconditional love
  • Discipline given in love not anger or hate
  • Routine and consistency
  • Regular and healthy meals
  • Running water that is safe to shower in and drink
  • Parents and other adults who want the best for them
  • Time to play
  • Learning to read
  • Being told I Love You
  • Being read to
  • Being listened to
  • Having family traditions
  • A quality education
  • A safe living environment
  • Knowing they can count on their parents

May we be able to provide this for our children.  If we can’t on our own, may we seek help from others.  And, may we always love them and take care of them.

I will close with a few quotes about childhood.  May we as parents enjoy it with our children.

  • “There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence
  • “Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.” ~ John Betjeman
  • “Childhood is the most beautiful of all life’s seasons.” ~ Author Unknown
  • “In childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking out. In memories of childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking in.” ~ Robert Brault
  • “It is never too late to have a happy childhood.” ~ Tom Robbins

February 4 – Texture

POD_2.4.TextureHi and Happy Thursday!  Today’s photo challenge is Texture.  And, since it is also Throwback Thursday, I decided on this photo of Ian from years ago.

He was studying a rock and was quite interested in the feel and the weight of it.  He has always been curious and has wanted to learn more.  For that we are truly thankful.

Texture is defined in several ways: (1) the way that something feels when you touch it; (2) the way that a food or drink feels in your mouth; and (3) the various parts of a song, poem, movie, etc., and the way they fit together.

The first definition is the most common one regarding texture.  We touch things to learn more about them.  A lot can be discovered from the feel of something.  A few touches and textures that come to mind are:

  • The feel of sand in my fingers or toes
  • Holding hands during a prayer
  • Drinking ice-cold water on a hot day
  • Savoring an ice cream cone
  • Making a snow ball
  • The touch, feel, and taste of popcorn
  • Holding Ian’s hand as we cross the street
  • The feel of a warm mug of hot cocoa on a cold day
  • The taste of that cocoa
  • Hugs and kisses with my hubby
  • Messy dirt as flowers are planted
  • A stone that Ian found for me at the beach
  • The crunch of a yummy salad
  • The pairing of warm hot fudge and cold vanilla ice cream

There are so many items of texture that we can feel and taste and have in our lives.  I have the texture of a variety of friends and family.  They enrich my life in so many ways.  For that I am truly thankful and blessed.  As far as the texture of songs and movies, I will write about that in a separate blog.

One quote by actor Ralph Fiennes that I found about texture states, “Little moments can have a feeling and a texture that is very real.”  That is so true.  Life is made up of small and little moments that can be special and are not to be missed.  Each day I savor those little moments and know that they will change as life goes on.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Cuddles and chatting before school
  • Breakfast with my hubby
  • Hearing I love you from my guys
  • Saying I love you in return
  • Enjoying dinner with my parents
  • Laughter and fun with friends
  • Sunshine for an afternoon walk
  • Super Bowl party with my family
  • The upcoming weekend
  • Reading books
  • Reading a story that Ian has written
  • Having the ability to feel textures

I wonder if I will pay attention to textures throughout the day?  I plan to do just that.  I will also continue to appreciate the little moments in my life.

January 7 – Reading

POD_January.7_ReadingHi and Happy Thursday.  Today’s Photo of the Day Challenge is Reading.  Here is a photo from October 2015.  It is of Ian reading the instructions on how to put up his tent that he received as a birthday gift.

He read these instructions with authority as we tried to assemble the tent for a camp out.  What a fun evening that was.  Kirk, Ian, and I slept in the tent one night in the fall.  Very early in the morning, it started raining so we went back inside.  After the rain stopped, we dried the tent before putting it away.

I don’t know about you but I love reading and especially I love seeing Ian read.  He is a great reader and now reads books of his own, books from the school library, and books we check out from the city library.

A few of his recent favorites are The Jedi Academy series and books by Mo Willems.  He now has all three of the Jedi Academy series – two he bought and the other he received as a Christmas gift.  For his birthday, he was given several Elephant and Piggy books.  We both love them.

I too love to read books.  My favorite books are fiction and often about women.  I also like mysteries.  A few favorite authors are Jane Green, Danielle Steel, Carol Higgins Clark, and Kristen Higgins.  I have many others as well but cannot remember all of the names.  I love checking out books from the library or buying them at discount bookstores.

I also enjoy some nonfiction stories and items about favorite shows or cities.  My interests are varied.  I sometimes like to read biographies or autobiographies about Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Elton John, James Garner, Ricky Martin, Dean Martin, and many others.  I also like  cookbooks, books about traveling, and how others live.  I would be lost without the ability to read.

Reading is so very important in one’s ability to become educated and have a good job.  My prayer is that all children and adults will learn to read and love to read as well.  Many people in my family and a few in Kirk’s family have helped both children and adults learn to read.  It has been exciting to see and hear about too!  May the reading continue.

One of the items on my bucket list is to write a book or two.  I want to write a children’s book with Ian’s help and a historical fiction novel with a strong female character.  I have ideas in my head but I want to find time to actually start working on the ideas, the plots, the characters, and starting doing research.  I will keep you posted on my progress!

A few quotes about reading:

  • “A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.” — Abraham Lincoln
  • “The ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.” — Malcolm X
  • “He that loves a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counselor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter. By study, by reading, by thinking, one may innocently divert and pleasantly entertain himself, as in all weathers, as in all fortunes.” — Barrow
  • “We read to know we are not alone.” — C.S. Lewis
  • “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss
  • “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald
  • “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” — Frederick Douglas

Aren’t these quotes great?  I found them online and like each one for different reasons.  We do learn more and can think about things more deeply when we are reading regularly.  We can learn about ideas and concepts that are different than our own, and can learn how much variety and differences there truly are.

May we have many adventures as we read.  May we remember what a gift it is to be a reader.  May we help others learn to read.