And Just Like That…

Summer is over and it is time for school again.  Can you believe it?  My the summer sure flew by.  It was great and busy and so much fun.  We had time with friends and family, time to visit the beach, and the mountains as well.

How was your summer?  Is it over for you?  Not quite yet for many people.  Already finished for others. I hope your summer was as good as mine was. I hope you had fun, many blessings, and time to relax.

We enjoyed many sunsets while at the beach.  This photo is of one of them.  Isn’t it lovely!?  A little off-center but still nice.

Here are some things I am thankful for this summer:

  • Long walks
  • Seeing Ian learn to ride a bike
  • Ian reading an entire series of books, which I have just started
  • Vacation with my guys
  • A quick stop on the way home in New Orleans where I enjoyed beignets
  • Meals on my favorite porch with my favorite people (well many of them anyway)
  • Card games with a childhood friend
  • New games with family
  • Visits with dear friends
  • Laughs with friends and family
  • Hugs and prayer circles with loved ones
  • Fish tacos from a favorite restaurant
  • Treats from the ice cream truck
  • Trip to a theme park with my guys, including Dad
  • Jewelry store makings and chatting with Mom
  • Outdoor showers
  • Flexibility of a family business
  • Sleeping in and early morning cuddles
  • Hugs and kisses before bed
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Used bookstores and clothing stores
  • Movies and special shows
  • Family sing-alongs
  • Sunsets at the beach
  • Toes in the sand
  • Chats with cousins and siblings at the beach
  • Our family beach house
  • Generations of family enjoying time together
  • Special meals out with Kirk
  • Extra time to visit and be together
  • Art projects and henna tattoos
  • Enjoying every single day of the summer — no matter what we were doing or the weather — we did our best to savor it all

Now we are working to get back to our routine. It may be a tough week but we can do it. Routine is good and so we will be back to it very soon.

I was so busy and having such fun that I hardly wrote at all this summer. Sheesh. I meant to write more this month but just didn’t get to it. I will try to do more in August as my schedule is getting back to normal. Please let me know of ideas that you’d like to read about.

Blessings to you and yours. Hope your school year is a great one!  And if you are not in school, hope that work is going well.


Miracle in Thailand

Did you see the news this morning?  All 12 boys and their coach are now out of that cave in Thailand.  YEAH!!!!!!!  An amazing miracle.  They  survived against all odds and it is time to celebrate.

When I last watched the news this morning, the divers were still coming out and other adults who had been helping the boys.  I hope and pray that all of them will safely come out as well.

The teamwork and support that these boys have received has been amazing. The Navy Seals, the divers, paramedics, doctors, nurses, and other first responders have gone above and beyond. They are real and true heroes.

The fact that one person died while trying to help them is also amazing since it could have been so much worse.  I am very saddened about that loss and feel for his family and friends.  He was brave and strong and died doing something to help others.  Wow.

I only hope that we can learn from this bravery, this willingness to work together for the good of others, and the round the clock effort to get them out.  So amazing and so inspiring.  I want us to pull together as well in hard times and on issues that may divide us.

Although I don’t know the names of everyone involved, I will continue to keep them in my prayers.  I will think of the boys and hope they can return to their normal lives without too much pain and suffering.  I will think of their families and how relieved they are that they were returned back to them.  I will think of all of the brave men and women who made it possible for them to be brought out of that cave.

In the world of so much negative news, so much hate, and so much rhetoric, it has been refreshing and important to have a good news story.  The fact that a miracle occurred is the icing on the cake.

I wanted to add a few other things that I am thankful for:

  • The excitement of Ian reading all of the books in the Harry Potter series
  • Upcoming beach trip with family
  • Work where the three of us can be together
  • Running water, air conditioning, and a refrigerator
  • Iced tea or iced water on a hot day
  • Fans that help keep the air moving
  • Extra time with my guys
  • The laughter from silly Mad Libs answers
  • Lego builds that are amazing
  • Time with our loved ones
  • Laughs and fun memories
  • Extra long hugs
  • Messy, wind-blown hair
  • Visits with old friends
  • Sharing a meal with loved ones
  • The beach house front porch and table
  • That 12 boys and their coach will be okay despite the odds

I wonder what adventures we will have on our upcoming vacation?  I don’t know but am looking forward to them.  Blessings to you and yours.

(This map is from Power Point clip art.)

Happy Birthday to the Land That I Love

Tomorrow, July 4, is the birthday of the United States. In 1776, our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence that created this land that I love. This land of freedoms, of opportunities, and of care and compassion. Happy 242nd to you America!

I am thankful that they created our government with three equal but separate branches, instead of a monarchy which they came from. Those branches, as I learned in 9th grade Civics, are the legislative, executive, and judicial. My wish is that today our leaders in these branches would work together instead of constantly fighting and being mean to each other.

I hope and pray that we will continue to be a land of care and compassion, a land where anything is possible, a land where we help one another, and a land where we learn from each other’s differences. Sadly I am seeing more hate, division, mistrust, and no willingness to listen to each other.

That has to stop. We have to find a way to listen to one another, to learn from each other, and to be caring and help take care of each other. We have to do better for ourselves and for our children who look to us for guidance on how to treat others and navigate their world.

When President Reagan was in office, he had many heated discussions with senators and congressman, such as House Speaker Tip O’Neill. They went at it and spoke emphatically and strongly on their side, but they didn’t throw mud or call each other stupid or unwilling to work. They instead found compromises and worked for the betterment of the entire country.

Can we do that now? I believe we can. We just have to stop the rhetoric, the incitement of violence, and the hate. On both sides of every issue, we must do better. We must learn to love again and treat one another with kindness. We also must listen to each other, whether we agree or not. How else will we figure out our problems?

Our land is amazing and full of so many gifts and freedoms that many people in the world do not know. We can speak freely, we can worship as we choose, we can protect ourselves and our families, we can have a fair and speedy trial, and we can vote.

These are just some of the rights that we have as Americans. May we remember how precious they are, may we not take them for granted, may we protect them without hate and malice towards others, and may we remember we are all in this together.

A few quotes about the Declaration of Independence and Independence Day:

  • “It is very inspiring, my friends, to come to this that may be called the original fountain of independence and liberty in America and here drink draughts of patriotic feeling which seem to renew the very blood in one’s veins.” ~ President Woodrow Wilson
  • “Liberty is the breath of life to nations.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
  • “The Declaration of Independence! The interest which in that paper has survived the occasion upon which it was issued; the interest which is of every age and every clime; the interest which quickens with the lapse of years, spreads as it grows old, and brightens as it recedes, is in the principles which it proclaims.” ~ John Quincy Adams
  • “From every mountain side,  Let Freedom ring.” ~ Samuel F. Smith
  • “Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
  • God Bless America
    Land that I love
    Stand beside her
    And guide her
    Through the night with the light from above
    From the mountains
    To the prairies
    To the oceans
    White with foam
    God bless America
    My home sweet home

Beach Body — Not This Year

Hi and Happy Thursday. I read something on Facebook recently that spoke to me since I do not have a body ready for the beach this summer. In fact, it isn’t even close.  It said, “How to Have a Beach Body: 1. Have a Body; and 2. Go The Beach.”

I added with this that despite me being overweight, I am looking forward to our trip to the beach. I will enjoy myself but may be embarrassed at some of the photos that we take. I will do my best to focus on the wonderful family time that I will have and the fun time with friends. Memories will be made and that is something to look forward to.

Speaking of photos, I have always enjoyed hamming it up for the camera and taking photos with my loved ones. My siblings and I like to be silly, as do Kirk, Ian, and I. But, I was just looking at some from earlier this week, and oh brother, I have some work to do. I don’t like how I look and saw many flaws. So it is time to make changes.

I currently am heavier than I was when Ian was born. That had been my heaviest but now I am beyond it. I have struggled with weight loss and have a constant battle with it. I sit most of the day with family business stuff, things for Ian’s school, and many other things, and don’t get much exercise.  I also love to eat and love my food. So what else is to happen as I have gotten older?

But over the summer, I am trying to walk more, be more active, and eat more healthy food. The past few years have been stressful with lots of changes, family members and friends with major health issues, deaths of dear ones, and a lot going on.  So, food has been a source of comfort. I have eaten while being stressed.  I am working on that as well.

I really and truly want to be around to see Ian grow up.  I also want to grow old with my husband. So, it is time to take care of myself and get back to the size I was before Ian was born.  Although that is still a double-digit, I will be happy to see that again since I felt so good when I was that size.

When I had success before, I did cardio of up to 45 minutes each day, watched my food intake and the sodium.  So, I will work my way up to this again.  I will plan to start with 30 minutes a day of activity and go from there.

This photo was taken in 1990 of me with my brother at the beach. This is my favorite beach to visit and am so looking forward to being there again this summer.  I was in the best shape of my life back then and felt really good.

One problem with where I live is the humidity and the discomfort of being outside at certain times of the day. The beach we always visit doesn’t have that so it is easier to walk.  I plan to do a lot of that during that trip.  I also plan to before and after the trip. And I will be doing exercise inside as well.

I have had successful weight loss in the past and have had heavy times as well. It seems to go back and forth. I just hope and pray that I can get a handle on it. I am going to try. I will add activity, still enjoy my food but try to make better choices, and try not to stress eat.

I have heard a quote that nothing you eat feels as good as being skinny or something like that. I am not to that point yet since I still very much enjoy my food and desserts. I do however, realize that it is time to get a handle on things and do better for myself.

I would appreciate ideas and suggestions, but please don’t judge as I am trying. Thanks and God Bless.

All Children Need Their Parents

Whether you are appalled at the recent policy of separating illegal immigrant children from their parents like I am or you think they are getting what they deserve, it is something that is wrong and shouldn’t be done.

Breaking up families in any way or separating kids from parents they need is wrong no matter who the family is or if they are legal citizens or not.  At least it is to me.  I cannot speak for anyone else but I am heartbroken that this is happening. I am heartbroken for the parents separated from their kids and more so for the kids who are apart from their parents.

When I woke up this morning, I had the following thought, “Is a refugee or illegal immigrant child of less value or importance than my son?” I say a resounding and loud NOooooooo!  So why are they being treated like they are?

It is something that I am surprised that we aren’t more livid and outraged about.  It is something that is breaking up families and doing harm to young minds and souls.  It is something that needs to stop.

I have heard some people say that this is supposed to a deterrent and that these families know this is the policy.  But what if they don’t?  What if they are just being told the kids are being taken to the bathroom and then not being returned to them?  Does that change how we feel about the situation?

No matter who the family is, it is hard when kids are ripped from their parents’ arms.  And, condoning it and saying it is our new policy is just mind-boggling to me.  I honestly am trying to understand the thinking, but as a mother, I can’t.  My mind and heart first go to the child.  And in this case, that is thousands of kids who are now in a foreign land without the very people who they need the most.

There are a lot of people who are speaking out against this policy — all five first ladies, the Rev. Franklin Graham, a Catholic cardinal, Senator John McCain, Senator Ted Cruz, the Methodist Church, attorneys, pediatricians, the United Nations, Senator Mazie Hirono, and many others.

My hope and prayer is that something will be done very soon so these kids don’t have to suffer for too long.  Immigration laws may need to be improved, but does it have to be at the expense of families?  Of children?

Let’s contact our senators, congressmen and women and other elected officials to have our voices be heard.  Let’s also vote in the upcoming elections.  Let’s be part of the change that we seem to need.

Let’s remember the precious lives who are being harmed and don’t have to be.  Let’s be the compassionate and safe refuge that our country has been known for.  Let’s please do better and make America kind, compassion, and loving again.

Children are some of the best teachers that we have.  In closing, I want to leave you with this thought from Mary Hollingsworth’s “On Raising Children”:

“…Children teach the world to love. They teach us to look past a person’s skin color right to his or her heart. They teach us how to be honest, open, and innocent.  And they teach us how to hug and laugh and be enthusiastic. 

“Children make us keep our promises because they never forget one that we make.  They even make us into scientists and professors by asking ‘why?’ about everything that moves and many things that don’t. 

“Isn’t it interesting that while we are teaching our children to be adults, they are teaching us to be children?  That’s especially important when we remember what Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.'” 

Don’t find fault, find a remedy

“Don’t find fault.  Find a remedy.” — Henry Ford 

Isn’t that a great quote?  I came across it and knew that I had to write about it.  Since it is often easier to criticize or find fault then find solutions or remedies, I knew it was worth considering and discussing.

I don’t know about you but I am sick and tired of hearing our county’s leadership gripe about the other side, complain that the enemy is making it so nothing is happening, and digging their heals in that their way is the only way.

Whatever happened to compromise, meeting in the middle, or actually listening to someone else’s argument?  Those seem to be gone and we are much more apt to blame others.  As Mr. Ford said, let’s instead try to find a remedy.

Do you think that is possible?  I only hope and pray that it is.  When I was in Civics in 9th grade, I was assigned to argue in favor of a subject that I didn’t agree with.  It was one of the hardest things I have every done, but I learned so much as a result. I learned what was important to someone I disagreed with. I learned why that other argument had validity. And, I learned to respect others who disagree with me.

My dream is that we can have national education that advocates this.  I think that our children need to learn to argue in favor of what they believe and against it.  This, if nothing else, would help bridge the gap between us.  These kids would understand why someone feels the way they do that is different from their own feelings. And they would know that it is okay to disagree with someone and also to respect them.

What a concept right?  Perhaps that is one remedy to our division, criticism, blame, and hate.  Do you have an idea of a remedy?  Please share if you do.

One of the definitions of remedy from Merriam Webster Dictionary is ” something that corrects or counteracts.”  My hope is that we can work to do that rather than just place blame, find fault, accuse, or belittle.

Let’s be kind to each other, let’s respect each other, let’s listen to each other in order to understand where someone else is coming from.  Is that possible?  I don’t know.  I hope and pray that it is. After all, we need healing from all sides of issues and from all people.

A few quotes about compromise and remedies:

  • “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
  • “Compromise, contrary to popular opinion, does not mean selling out one’s principles. Compromise means working out differences to forge a solution which fits the diversity of the body politic.” — Madeline M. Kunin
  • “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
  • “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.” — Colin  Powell
  • “Problem-solving leaders have one thing in common: a faith that there’s always a better way.” – Gerald M. Weinberg
  • “Our right to disagree is precious but fragile. The best way to protect and preserve it is to let the other side speak without demonizing them or destroying their right to be heard. Such civil exchanges are the heart beat of democracy – essential to keeping it alive.” — Madeline M. Kunin
  • “Instead of thinking out the box, get rid of the box.” – Deepak Chopra
  • “Diplomacy is listening to what the other guy needs. Preserving your own position, but listening to the other guy. You have to develop relationships with other people so when the tough times come, you can work together.” — Colin Powell

Summertime Fun

Nothing says summer like the ocean and the beach!

Hi and Happy Summer.  Are you having a good one so far?  We are and enjoying our different routine. We were super busy between the last time I wrote and the end of school. There was a lot going on and much to finish. So I have not had the time to write and I have missed it very much.

We are enjoying the down time and the family time. On the other hand, we have been busy with our family business, yet still make time for nice meals together, some shopping and some time to chat without somewhere we have to be each night, or without homework.

We are having time to read, enjoying ice cream, Lego movies and builds, and word finds. I have asked Ian to teach me about chess and I am looking forward to that.  He has become a great player and I know almost nothing about the game. I am blessed to have time for that with him.

This summer, Ian has discovered the Harry Potter books.  He really likes them and has been taken in by the world that J.K. Rowling has created.  I have not read the series yet but think I might.  I have heard so many great things about it.

I will have to take more photos of our adventures this summer.  I tend to enjoy being in the moment and forget to do that. I am, after all, from a different generation than that of documenting everything on a cell phone. And, I don’t have the right phone to do that with.  Perhaps one day.

On this summer day, I am thankful for:

  • Later bedtimes and the chance to sleep in
  • Homemade dinners and time to visit
  • Watching a favorite show or movie together
  • Hearing about favorite parts of Ian’s new book
  • Enthusiasm of a new Lego set
  • Enthusiasm of a new book
  • Watching Ian build his new Lego set
  • Treats from a favorite bakery
  • Walks with my guys
  • Times with family
  • Family photos and fun times
  • Funny times together when laughter turns to tears
  • Used books stores where I can find books, bumper stickers, and buttons
  • Our slower pace
  • Our upcoming beach trip
  • Dinners out with friends and family
  • Birthday celebrations and new life

Hope you have a great day. I will try to write more over the summer and have plenty to write about. Just finding the time to do it is often a challenge. Please share ideas that you’d like me to blog about. Blessings to you and yours.

Sunrise, Sunset — Swiftly Fly The Years

Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play?  I don’t remember getting older, when did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?  When did he grow to be so tall? Wasn’t it yesterday that they were small? 

…Sunrise, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset, Swiftly fly the years. One season following another, laden with happiness and tears. — from Fiddler On The Roof

This song brought me to tears today as I was thinking of all of the changes that Ian has had over the last few years.

As we wind down this school year, I am saddened in a way that this is our last year at his current school.  In the fall he will start at a new school, middle school.  He is ready and I am not, at least not yet.

You see, we have had a blast over these last years at our beloved elementary school.  He has learned so much, made many friends, had wonderful teachers, and has grown into a fine young man. He has loved school and has loved learning. My husband and I know what a blessing that is.

Each morning, the entire school says the Pledge of Allegiance and then the school pledge which I love and will miss hearing on a regular basis.  It is all about promising to do your best, to be kind to one another, to not give put downs, and to help each other.  It is what so many of us adults need to hear as well as these kids.

I too have had a blast at this school. I have made many new friends – in staff members, teachers, and other parents.  I was involved as the PTO secretary for a few years and also as the PTO president.  The PTO has worked to do a lot of great things for the school, the teachers, and for the students.  I have been honored and pleased to serve.

It is just hard to believe that our time at this school is finished.  It flew by and is now changing.  As that song says, I am full of happiness and tears as we move to the next chapter in Ian’s life.  I know that PTO will be in good hands as a great new board was elected and many things will continue that we started during my tenure.  I feel good about that.

However, I will miss all of my current activities this fall.  I have been trying to figure out how to deal with the changes and am trying to look at it as a positive step.  At least for this upcoming year, I have decided to take a step back and see what I want to do next.  I will still help but it will be on a limited basis and in a different capacity.

I have a dream of writing a children’s book.  I certainly have enough material for one.  Or a young adult novel.  I just don’t know.  I look forward to finding more time to write again.  I also am considering going back to school and will continue to stay busy with our family business.

I remember when Ian started kindergarten and was just learning to read.  Now he reads novels and many other books.  He has blossomed, come into his own person, and learned so much.  He is an amazing blessing.  I cannot wait to see what comes next.

To the parents in Ian’s class and grade, I imagine that you can relate to what I am talking about.  Changes are coming for all of us.  I know that our kids have a great foundation and will do well.  I just have to remind my heart and head of that fact.  Love to you all.

Have You Voted Yet? Today Is The Day

Hi and happy Tuesday. Primary election Tuesday that is. May 1st as well often called May Day. Have you voted today or in early voting? I hope so. I did during early voting and am glad that I did.

Ian came with us to vote and helped choose the candidates.  He enjoys the process and is interested in knowing what happens. I am hoping it will stay important to him as he gets older.  After all, elections are the time when we can have our voice heard and vote for those we agree with.

Each vote counts and each vote matters.  May we choose wisely.  May we think about who we want to run the offices that are up for election.  We will be voting again in November for the mid-term Congressional races. That will be interesting and I hope not too ugly.

As a song in the musical Hamilton states, “Winning is easy, governing is harder.”  May we remember that and help elect those who will do right by us.  I don’t know about you but I am thrilled to live in a country where I get to help decide those who lead us and provide essential tasks for us. My hope is that they will continue to do so with honor.

If you have questions about voting, please contact your local Election Commission Office. They can tell you where to vote and who is on the ballot, or refer you to that information.  And when you go, please remember your Voter ID card and Photo ID.  That is what was required at our precinct.

A few quotes about elections and voting:

  • “Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be.” ~ Sydney J. Harris
  • “A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election.” ~ Bill Vaughan
  • “Politicians and diapers should be changed frequently and all for the same reason.” ~ José Maria de Eça de Queiroz
  • “The politicians were talking themselves red, white and blue in the face.” ~ Clare Boothe Luce
  • “People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote – a very different thing.” ~ Walter H. Judd

Celebrating The Life of First Lady Barbara Bush

Hi and Happy Monday.  How was your weekend?  Mine was good and quite lazy with some family time.  On Saturday morning, I watched the entire funeral for First Lady Barbara Bush.  It was a moving service and beautifully honored such an amazing woman. (Photo from Power Point clip art.)

I didn’t expect to be so moved or so touched, but I couldn’t help it.  After all, she was quite something.  The church was stunning with the pipe organ and fantastic choir.  The hymns were some of my favorites and I sang along with them.  The speakers were also great and gave lovely comments about her — Presidential historian Jon Meacham, friend Susan Baker, and son Jeb Bush.

All three of them had touching stories about Bar as she was affectionately called by friends and family.  They also had funny stories so there was laughter with the tears for the estimated 1,500 people in attendance.  They moved me at this celebration of her amazing 92 years.

Some of the stories I had never heard before and others I had.  As I listened, I was touched by what an amazing woman of integrity she was.  She lived life fully and seemed to enjoy every minute.  She loved with all of her heart her husband of 73 years and her 6 children, numerous grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren (I am not sure of the numbers).

One story was about visiting an AIDS clinic and holding babies and hugging patients.  That just wasn’t done in the 1980s since so much was not known about this disease.  Despite that, she showed and shared compassion.  She demonstrated loving others and being kind. She knew how important it was to those at the clinic and did it.

Some of the letters were shared between President George H.W. Bush and Barbara.  They showed the love they had for one another and it was beautiful.  And something to learn from about what real love is.  Jeb Bush also had a few funny anecdotes about his mother and how tough she was with him and his siblings.

She was honest, was considerate and helpful to others, was sharp-tongued at times, but from what was said about her it was done out of love and fun not vengeance or hate.  She was civil, had manners, served others and taught her family how to serve, and she taught her kids how to behave as well.

Barbara Bush is someone to admire and look up to.  She is someone we can have as a role model for ourselves and for our kids.  And frankly, she reminded me of my own grandmothers — Grams and Grandma.  They too were incredible women who loved their families, taught them manners and how to behave, worked hard in their chosen professions and interests, and loved to be with friends and family.

To all of these women, I say thank you.  Thank you for being beacons of how to treat one another, how to love, and how to know what is precious in life.  May we learn from you and treat others with kindness, respect, and love.  Always love.

The former Presidents and First Ladies and the current First Lady came to celebrate Barbara Bush’s life.  Seeing them all together in the pew and also in a photograph was  moving.  First Lady Melania Trump sat with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton.  They were across the aisle from President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.

They came together to celebrate this amazing woman’s life and were civil to each other.  They hugged each other, they smiled, and seemed happy to see each other even though it was to celebrate the loss of someone so beloved.

If only we could again be friendly with those we don’t agree with.  To be kind to each other, to listen to and respect one another, instead of the constant distrust, hate, and ridicule of those who are different than us.  May we do better in our personal lives as we communicate with others.  And may we think before we post and share hateful things and comments on social media.

It was refreshing to see people being brought together to remember someone who truly knew what was important in life, who served her country, who cared for others, who lived a life with integrity, grace, and compassion for others, and who helped those she didn’t know.  The lovely comments about her from those who attended the service and those on the news were so welcome and nice to hear.

My hope and prayer is that we can all live this way again.  That we can be kind and loving to one another, that we can help take care of each other, that we can stand up for what we believe in without tearing others down or being hateful, that we can love and not hate, that we can praise and not ridicule.  And that we will always come from a point of love.