Christmas Five Years Ago

TT.12-17_15Hi and Happy Thursday.  For today’s Throwback Thursday, I included a picture of the three of us at Christmas.  This was taken in 2010 when Ian was 3 years old.

My how has he changed since this photo.  He was into all things that preschoolers love.  He had fun at Christmas but this year is different.  He now understands what it’s all about, enjoys reading his Advent calendar each day, and had fun drafting a long letter to Santa.

In 2010, he got the Candyland game and we played it for hours and hours.  Last year, he received Monopoly and was equally thrilled.  Also, in 2010, Ian received a large fire truck that he was able to get into and play with.  He loved it and still enjoys it today.

I have always loved Christmas and love that he enjoys it as much as I do.  He is very excited to have just today and tomorrow left at school before our break.  Let the holiday fun begin!

Today I am thankful for so much.  We are blessed and fortunate to have our family traditions and our family and friends to enjoy being with.  Among my blessings are:

  • Family traditions with my family of 3 and extended family
  • Ian reading his Advent Bible verses each day
  • Shopping with Ian for an angle tree gift
  • Christmas shows with my guys
  • Hot chocolate and popcorn in the evenings
  • Advent services and meals at church (even though we missed a few because of illness)
  • Christmas party at school
  • Parties with friends
  • Making fudge for gifts
  • Crafting ornaments and other things
  • Choosing favorite photos
  • Playing games with friends and family
  • Hours and hours of fun and laughter
  • A break from our usual routine
  • Seeing friends after years apart
  • Special dinner out with my hubby
  • The upcoming birth of our Savior
  • Messy hair and pjs on Christmas morning

And a few quotes about Christmas:

  • “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” ~ Burton Hillis
  • “One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” ~ Andy Rooney
  • “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • “Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas. “~ Peg Bracken

May you blessed and enjoy this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving

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

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

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

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

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

“Our Father-God we thank thee…

• For the ringing laughter of our children playing, for their giggles, and the moist throaty chuckles of our babies
• For the tender weight of a sleeping child in our arms, and the trust of a tired son who rests his head upon our shoulder, and sleeps
• For the joy we feel in baby’s first tooth, first word, first step, and the thrill of the grown-up child who marries
• For the exultant communion with our teen ones when we dive together into the clean cold surf at dawn, and stand with them silently at sunset drinking glory from the cloud-studded sky
• For small boys on tricycles, or on hands and knees in the sandbox pushing toy trucks and making man-noises
• For tomboy girls streaking across the lawn, swinging on rings, or whirling like pinwheels on turning bars
• For the wonder on the sensitive face of a half-grown child as she listens to a great organ for the first time, or watches a symphony orchestra
• For the fun of family picnics, and vacation trips, and going fishing together
• For the thrill we feel when a daughter stands before us in her first formal gown, and we realize that she is beautiful
• For the joy of a child’s recovery from illness, and the relief we feel when we see an accident almost happen, but not quite
• For the pressure of a timid child’s hand in ours as we walk together in the dark
• For parenthood we thank thee.
• And, our Father-God, to thee we pray for peace. If it be thy will, grant that we may continue our lives together in the precious years to come.   Amen.”

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

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

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

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

Throwback Thursday – Fun With Pam

TT.11-19-Patti.PamIn honor of my cousin Pam’s birthday tomorrow, I decided to post a few photos of fun times with her.  She is one of my favorite people on the planet and we always have a great time together.  As you can see, we enjoy smiling and silly poses.

The picture at the top of the blog is in the beach house kitchen when we were making dinner.  Looks like we are making spaghetti and having a blast as usual.  I recently came across this photo.  She and her hubby came to the house for dinner and to visit with us.  It was July 2009.

Pam has been a dear friend since we were kids.  We don’t see each other regularly but when we do, we always pick up right where we left off.  I just love that about us.  We have different ideas and opinions on lots of things, but we still enjoy long and lively chats.  There is nothing more fun than having a glass of White Zinfandel with her.  This is a great time to talk and laugh.

TT.11-19-4.girlsThis other photo is from another trip to San Diego. It was taken in 2006, before Ian was born.  From left are me, Pam, my sister Cindy, and my sister-in-law Beckie.  These three gals truly are my sisters.  They are all awesome women, great fun, and fantastic mothers.  They all love their hubbies and kids as much as I love Kirk and Ian.

I love having these strong women in my life.  I also have several more awesome cousins who are as fun and special to me as Pam is.  And, I am blessed with some wonderful  friends and other terrific family members as well.  My girlfriends are so very important to me.  I only wish that I could see them more than I do.

There is nothing like time with female friends and family. Sometimes I just need that time or else things are not right in the world.  You know what I mean?  Don’t get me wrong, I love the guys in my life, but a gal has to have time to just chat with other gals.

This blogs celebrates those amazing women.  I am blessed beyond measure to know and love Pam and so many other amazing friends and family.  I cherish each of them.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Celebrating Pam’s birthday tomorrow even though I won’t get to be with her
  • Being able to pick up right where we left off when seeing each other
  • Laughter and a glass of wine with Pam
  • Female friendships
  • The fun of an inside joke with a life-long friend
  • Photos of summer fun
  • Girls Night Out with high school friends
  • Mother-daughter activities and fun
  • Chatting with my sister and sister-in-law
  • Being with my cousins and aunts and nieces

Happy early birthday to you Pam!  Hope you have a great day.  Love you!!

Traveling and Home Again

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Friday!  Hope you are having a great summer!  Mine has been good and very busy.  I just noticed that this is the third posting for July — sheesh!

As you may have read in my post from a week ago, we had the pleasure of attending a family reunion.  It was so much fun but went by way too fast. I did my best to savor each and every moment.  Therefore, I wasn’t on the computer much at all.  Taking a break was nice.

One of the places we visited while in California was Mt. Laguna.  This photo was taken from the last time we visited.  Ian is walking down the path where my grandpa used to say Willie our elf friend lived in his cabin.  It was fun that year to find an actual building.

Being there again was great.  Ian and I enjoyed a day with my mom and her two sisters.  We stopped at a diner for lunch on the way to the mountains, enjoyed the beauty and smell of pine trees, had time to shop and find Ian a new stuffed wolf friend, and on the way back, stopped to get him some Lego toys.  This was one of many great days.

We also had several weeks with family and friends in North Carolina.  That too was lots of fun.  We enjoyed seeing Ian’s best friend from preschool, enjoyed yummy king crab legs and corn on the cob for dinner, went shopping at some favorite stores, and had time to play.

Now after being gone for a month, we are back home.  It is nice to be in our own space again.  Today is full of laundry, catching up on our mail, unpacking all of our stuff, settling into our normal routines, and sleeping in our own beds.  We are busy yet glad to be back home again.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time while we were gone.  It was fun to visit friends, chat with family members, sleep in a variety of places, and enjoy food that we don’t often have.  Still, there is no place like home and I am glad to be back.

A few things I am thankful for:

  • Memories of great visits with family and friends
  • Photos of these visits
  • Laughs with loved ones
  • Holding hands at prayer time before a shared meal
  • Cherishing sunsets into the ocean
  • A wonderful flight home and airplane adventures
  • Starting a new book
  • My kitchen and making a yummy dinner
  • Sleeping in my own bedroom
  • Messy morning hair
  • A safe drive home

There is much to be thankful for.  We have had a great summer and made so many memories.  Our traveling was truly wonderful and being home again is also wonderful!

Great Family Rules

Now.Oct.21On Sunday, I enjoyed watching the Golden Globe Awards.  Michael Keaton won for best actor for his part in the movie “Birdman.”  I haven’t seen the movie but do want to. He gave an amazing acceptance speech that was quite moving. He talked about his tough childhood and his best friend among other things.

Here is my favorite quote from it that I wanted to write about today: “In the household in which I was raised, the themes were pretty simple: work hard, don’t quit, be appreciative, be thankful, be grateful, be respectful, also to never whine ever, never complain, and always, for crying out loud, keep a sense of humor.” — Michael Keaton

I love this since these are all themes that Ian needs to learn.  My parents taught us these ideas as well as the importance of faith and family and that just as important as working hard is playing hard.   So here is the quote broken down and a few thoughts on each item.

  • Work Hard.  This is so important for both children and adults to remember.  Hard work is a key part of success.  We tell Ian that his job right now is school, learning, and doing his homework.  It has been a learning curve, but we are helping him to understand that he must complete tasks assigned to him since they are so very important.
  • Don’t Quit. Another important thing to remember is that once you start something, you need to finish it.  Sticking with a task or project will help as a child becomes an adult. And, when you don’t quit, the end is so very sweet.  Success in one’s accomplishment can be celebrated.
  • Be Appreciative. It is easy in this amazing country we live in to take things for granted.  But, appreciating what we have is necessary to knowing its value. So many people are lacking in things that are part of our everyday lives. That gives me pause and helps me remember how blessed I am.  I appreciate having running water, electricity, glasses to wear, a refrigerator, health care, an amazing school, a car to drive around in, faith, and good health.
  • Be Thankful. We regularly pray and say thanks to our Lord for the amazing gifts that we have.  We also thank others for what they do for us, how they make us feel, and for spending time with us.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday since it is all about food, family, and being thankful for all our blessings.  Each year, before we eat, our family stands in a circle, holds hands and shares what we are thankful for, and then we pray.  It is a very special time for all of us.
  • Be Grateful. This is a little different.  I am grateful for all of the opportunities and things that my parents did for me over the years.  They were amazing teachers and have taught me so much.  Now for our son, I am grateful to have them and Kirk’s parents there for him.  Our other family is equally important as are dear friends.
  • Be Respectful. My parents taught me this very well and we are teaching Ian.  It is important to respect others, whether they are different or not.  All people, from the CEO to the janitor at a company are important for that company’s success.  It is important to remember and respect all that people offer and other’s differences.
  • Never Whine Ever.  I love this!  I have always hated whining.  When Ian was growing through the terrible twos and threes, he used to whine.  It felt like fingernails on the chalkboard to me.  We would talk to him to help him stop and explain what he needed or wanted, without that whiny tone to his voice. Thankfully he learned how much I didn’t like it and didn’t do much.  Every once in a while it comes back up, but we try to stop it right away.
  • Don’t Complain. This is so very important to remember as it is an easy habit to get into if one isn’t careful. I know someone who complains regularly.  It is so hard to be around this person.  I feel myself getting more down on life when I hear too much of that. There is too much good in life to dwell on the negative. And if someone doesn’t like something, it can be changed.  We are working to teach this to Ian.
  • Keep A Sense of Humor. Being able to laugh is so vitally important for our sanity and our life.  I have always loved laughing and laughter.  I love to hear Ian and his cousins giggle at something funny.  I love when I am with dear friends and we look at each other and burst into fits of laughter.  And, I love being with family while a funny joke or story is shared.  Laughing at ourselves can make the worst days somehow better.
  • A few thoughts from my family to add. I am also grateful that my parents taught us the importance of faith and living it each day, the importance of family and friends and spending time with them as much as we can, and that playing is just as important as hard work. Regular prayers and being active at church were part of the faith but so were showing it each day in how they treated one another and us. Each summer we had time with family and friends, and our family makes a big deal about birthdays.  We gather to celebrate each person’s special day.  And, Dad worked hard at his job for years but always made time to do fun things, take vacations, and truly his down time.  Mom also worked very hard in all that she did but always made time for fun and things she loved to do. He and my mom cherish trips with friends and family and I have learned to do the same.

I wonder if Kirk and I can continue to teach Ian these amazing themes for his life?  I will work each day to do just that!   What themes did you have growing up?  Please share them.

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!

In Your Mercy, Hear My Prayer

praying. handsThis has been a tough week.  As you know from my posting yesterday, I have some very sick relatives and a friend who are dealing with fighting cancer.  Each of these people means so much to me.  I hope and pray that they will receive the treatments that they need to get better.

The hard part is that one of them received a malignant diagnosis and this breaks my heart.  I talked yesterday about choosing to be as positive as I can be, but the pain is still there since it was such a shock to hear this news.  I hate to think of this special person no longer being in my life and I don’t want to.  However, I want to spend the time that I have left with this person and offer comfort and help and try to make the most of it.

As with any tough news, it takes a while to process.  This is one of those weekends.  I have also been thinking of a few friends and relatives who have lost loved ones recently or a milestone of that loss.  That too is heartbreaking.   To say goodbye is so hard and there is no right way to grieve.  I took a class in college that was incredibly hard to fathom at the time but I am so glad that I did.  It was about grief and the stages of it and that it can take a while.

Two things just came to my mind.  One was the best advice that I ever received from a dear friend.  He was a paramedic with more than 20 years experience and had seen it all.  I was a young professional just out of college and starting my first job.  This man told me “Never be a grave hugger.”  He meant to always tell your loved ones that you love them and to never leave something unsaid.   He knew only too well and had seen how precious life is and how fleeting.  This was truly the best piece of advice I have ever received.  Thanks to you GD!

The other was our recent sermon series at my church.  The pastor based it on the amazing Tim McGraw song, “Live Like You Were Dying.”   A few of the keys that our Pastor expanded upon were from the chorus, “I loved deeper, and I spoke sweeter, and I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.”   Aren’t those powerful words?  So important to remember and sometimes so hard to do.

We all get so caught up in the day-to-day of life and sometimes things that don’t really matter in the long run.  The times when we can share with our loved ones, tell them we love them and take the extra time to help each other are so very special and important.  May we all try to find the time to stop and smell the roses as it were.

Today, I want to say a pray for my friends and family who are suffering and sad and in pain.  And, I also want to pray for my son who is fighting bronchitis this weekend.  He is much better today and that is a real blessing.

“Dear Lord, please stretch out your healing hand upon those receiving treatment.  Please guide the physicians, nurses, and all involved in their care.  In your mercy, please hear my prayer.  (at church we say our instead of my, but I wanted to use my in this case)

“Help us, the families and friends of those suffering to be strong and help them through the darkest time.  May we be there to listen, pray, commiserate, give hugs and love, and help one another.  In your mercy, hear my prayer.

“May we take no moment for granted and spend the time with our loved ones as we can.  Help us to love and not be afraid to share that love. In your mercy, please hear my prayer.

“Lord, I also want to take this time to say thank you for all of the blessings you have given me and all of the times you have shown me how much you care for me and my loved ones.

“Thanks also for our dear and sweet son.  He is healing and getting back to himself by talking to me all day about his toys and interests.  He truly is an amazing blessing.

“May I learn to live my life as Ian does by enjoying every moment to the fullest and totally being in each moment. He has truly taught me so very much and I am so thankful for that.  Amen.”

May you too be blessed!

Birthday Blessings

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy 1st day of December.

Today is the first day of Advent — our season before Christmas.  They will light a candle at church and we will hear part of the Christmas story. And each Wednesday between now and Christmas, we will have a dinner and short service.  The time of year helps us remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

It is also the day after the birthday of five of my friends — Laura, Karla, Phyllis, Becky, and Donna.  Hope all of you had wonderful birthdays!  I got to see two of these ladies last week during a fun girls night out.  The others I keep in touch with mainly through Facebook and do see around town some.

This is the day that some of my friends have to move out of their homes.  I am going to do my best not to cry today when I think of these changes.  Instead I want to smile and focus on knowing them and being excited for a new chapter in their lives. You can read more about these changes in “An Ode to SRP.”

Today is the first day that I am truly going to work on my weight loss journey again.  I saw a recent photo of myself and didn’t like how I looked at all.  My face has gotten much heavier than I realized — as has all of me.  I know what to do, I just have to do it.

December 1st is the first day of the last month of the year.  It is hard to believe that it has gone as quickly as it has.  It seems like we just started 2013 and now are nearly into 2014.

It is also my birthday.  Normally I don’t write about my own birthday but today I wanted to share my blessings with you and some of my thoughts over this last year.  Here is a picture of me from 2010 with my birthday cake.

It has been quite a year.  There have been losses but also several new people have come into my life.  It is so hard to say goodbye to people who mean so much to you but unfortunately this is a hard and sad part of life.  New friendships are fabulous, as is seeing your son make a new friend who he has a ball with.

We didn’t have a real vacation anywhere this year so Ian’s Christmas break from school will be our time off.  There are a few museums in our town that I hope to visit, we’ll be sure to go to the library, the park if it isn’t too cold, as well as other fun things that we will be doing.  Perhaps a road trip or two but mainly time at home and with friends and family.

Ian started kindergarten this year.  At the beginning, I had a very hard time and missed him like crazy.  But, over the weeks, I have come to like going to the store by myself, being able to run out quickly and do something, read a book without interruption, and go to the bathroom by myself.  The fact he loves school makes this so much easier.

Last night at my birthday party with family and friends, my grandmother was there.  I feel so fortunate at my age to still have a living grandparent.  For most of my life I knew three of them and always felt very fortunate for that fact.  This year is something that was another treasure for me.

Some of my blessings and things I am thankful for:

  • A man who loves me no matter my size or mood.
  • A son who comes to me when he is hurt and asks questions and who wants me to put him to bed each night.
  • Parents who taught me about love and family.
  • My brother and sister and their spouses for showing love and kindness to me.
  • My nieces and nephews for being the fun and amazing kids they are.
  • In-laws who have welcomed me and all my quirks.
  • Friends who I have known for many, many years and still can talk so easily to and have such fun with.
  • A feisty grandmother who enjoys being with her family.
  • Aunts and Uncles and Cousins who are so fun and special and important to who I am.
  • New friends who I am still developing a relationship with.
  • Ian’s teachers who watch over him and teach him so much.
  • Ian’s friends that he is making and having fun with.
  • Our house and neighborhood where we love to be.
  • Our church where we met and got married and continue to enjoy services.
  • Our city’s library where we check out so many great books and go on great adventures.
  • A computer where I can write and keep in touch with others.
  • A journal where I take sermon notes and write down inspirational ideas and quotes.
  • A piano where I am re-learning music and trying to practice more.
  • Our neighborhood where I can walk and Ian can ride his bike.
  • The ability to sing and the fun of singing with family and friends.

I am so thrilled to have made another journey around the sun.  Hope you have a wonderful 1st day of December!