December Blessings – Family and Friends

Giggle.4-18-2016December is a month of celebration, fun, festivities, family, and friends.  It is also a month of amazing blessings.  So, I plan to write this month about the many blessings I have in my life.  Today’s blessing is family and friends.

I have an amazing family and a terrific circle of friends.  I was born into a wonderful family on both my mother’s side and my father’s side.  And, I married into a great family.  I was also blessed to start my own family.  I have always been surrounded by love and that is an incredible blessing.

My friends are equally awesome.  Some of them I have known for my entire life, a few through various phases of my life, and some much more recently.  Each one has enriched me beyond measure.  They have come into my life when needed and are cherished.

This photo was taken last Christmas of me with my brother and sister, and my nephew’s arms are behind the tree.  As you can see, we love to be hams for the camera.  We all grew up acting in plays, singing in musicals, choirs, and at church.

My siblings were my first friends and have been supports to me throughout my entire life. I love to spend time with them, their spouses, and children.  We always have a great time and laugh until our sides ache.  We also have fun with our parents and all of us together.

Today is the birthday of my childhood and life-long friend Tammy.  We have had so much fun over the years. It was hard for me when she moved away in junior high but we stayed in touch over the years. Now, it is fun to spend time together with our spouses and children.

A few quotes about family and friends:

  • “The truth is maybe we are just average. But the way I see it — families where parents get up every morning and go to jobs that are hard so they can get their kids through school and through life, and struggle to make it all work and manage to do it with dignity and a little humor — well, that’s not average. That’s extraordinary.” ~DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler, The Middle
  • “Families are like fudge — mostly sweet with a few nuts.” ~ Author unknown
  • “To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.” ~ Barbara Bush
  • “Across the range of diverse experiences and traditions that have been written into our Nation’s story, family has remained a steadfast and common foundation. Every day, families offer comfort and support to one another with enduring and unconditional love and they contribute to their communities and our country.”  ~President Barack Obama
  • “A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.” ~ Douglas Pagels
  • “Friendship is like a rainbow between two hearts.” ~ Author unknown
  • “A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad.” ~ Arnold H. Glasgow
  • “A true friend is forever a friend.” ~ George MacDonald

Thank you Lord for my wonderful family and friends.  Please bless each and every one of them.  And may you be blessed as well.

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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.

What a Month!

Playground.4Hi and Happy October.  I just noticed that I haven’t written at all this month.  Sheesh!  I can’t believe that is the third Monday of the month already.  Where has this time gone?

What have I been doing all month to keep me busy?  Let’s see, celebrating a boy’s birthday, having fall break fun and adventures, shopping, eating out, traveling to North Carolina for work and fun, spending time with family and friends, celebrating my mother’s birthday, watching a few movies, working on items for PTO, and so much more.

We just completed fall break and Ian is now back at school.  We had a great time but I took a break from the computer and just enjoyed being in the moment.  It was nice but also a bit strange.  We also had some computer and Internet issues that prompted some of it.  I did, however, start missing my writing.

I love October.  It is my favorite month of the year.  I got married this month and our son was also born this month.  And, it is the birthday of some other loved ones.  So, it is special. And, I love that it is the first month that actually feels like fall.

We enjoy the change in the weather, the chance to wear fuzzy socks again, jackets in the morning, the shorter days and changes in the colors of the leaves. And there is Halloween candy, dressing up, and baking treats. I also like soups, chili, pumpkin spice cookies, pumpkin bread, bonfires, football, and baseball playoffs.

All in all, it is a great month and one that I look forward each year.  You may be wondering about today’s photo.  The photo challenge for today is Tree.  I took this photo last fall and thought it would be great for today.  It is very much fall — after the leaves have fallen off the trees.

Today I am thankful for:

  • A fabulous fall break
  • Taking many photos during our time off
  • Having time at home to relax
  • Holiday creamers for my coffee
  • Extra cuddles in the morning
  • Celebrating my loved ones
  • Fuzzy socks
  • Soup for dinner
  • Reading and relaxing
  • The return of our regular routine

I wonder what adventures this week will bring?  I cannot wait to find out.  Have a great one!

Flashback Friday – Fall Beauty

fallback1Hi and Happy Friday!  Yesterday was the first day of autumn or fall, my favorite season of the year.  Did you have a good one?  I did, but the weather sure doesn’t feel like fall, at least not yet.

This photo was taken two years ago in North Carolina.  The colors of the leaves was gorgeous.  I don’t know how this year will be since it has been so dry and hot.  We shall see.

Don’t get me wrong I really like the summer and we always have a great time and enjoy the time we have together.  However, fall is when the weather is the best, our routine comes back, and life is very rich with so many great activities.

There are so many things that I like about the fall:

  • Pumpkin Spice lattes
  • The chill in the air
  • Not sweating on our walks home
  • Celebrating my wedding anniversary with my love
  • Celebrating Ian’s birthday
  • Celebrating my parent’s birthdays
  • Celebrating two nephews’ birthdays
  • Celebrating cousins’ birthdays
  • Football games
  • Hot drinks
  • Cozy blankets
  • Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Baking items
  • Campouts and campfires
  • Premieres of favorite shows
  • Amazing smells and scents
  • Lovely reds, brilliant golds and oranges
  • The crunch of leaves
  • Long sleeve shirts and jeans

I wonder what this fall will bring?  I hope it will be cooler weather, fun times with family and friends, and some great food and drinks.  Take care and enjoy!

TBT – Love of Books

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world.  Love of books is the best of all.” — Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” — Maya Angelou

Hi and Happy Thursday! Here is a photo of a young Ian looking at one of his board books.  This was before he could read.  Once he learned, he was unstoppable and now loves to read.  He wasn’t sure he could learn but did and we are so proud of him.

Speaking of books, I just started reading a book called, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From A Children’s Book.”  It includes life lessons from notable people from all walks of life. For each of these people, there is a quote from the book that influenced them, the title, person’s name and what that book meant to them.

It is really cool, has a lot of great information, and reminded me of a few of my favorites.  A few featured people are: Jay Leno who liked Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and the inventor of the artificial heart who liked The Wizard of Oz. This book has me thinking of what books have influenced me. There have been many.

I never seem to be without a book.  I love to read and cannot remember a time that I didn’t.  I love to be transported to another world and be immersed in the stories and the character’s lives.  One of my favorite books as a child was “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I loved this book and the mystery of that garden and seeing what it meant to the lead character.

I have the book and plan to re-read it soon as an adult.  I wonder if it will have the same allure and amazement to me as a grownup?  I wonder if it will mean as much to me now as it did then?  I cannot wait to find out.  I will share my impressions with you.  I just have to figure out when I want to start on this journey back to my childhood.

A few other favorites from my childhood were:

  • The Snow Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
  • anything and everything by Richard Scarry
  • The Mouse and The Motorcycle
  • The Nancy Drew Mysteries
  • The Hardy Boys Mysteries
  • The Little House on The Prairie Series
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series

Ian has some favorites too.  Some that he has enjoyed are:

  • Good Night Moon (which I must have read 200 times or more to him)
  • The Foot Book and many other Dr. Seuss books
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • The One and Only Ivan
  • Star Wars: The Jedi Academy series
  • A Dog’s Life about a stray dog
  • James and The Giant Peach
  • The Warriors series by Erin Hunter, which he just finished

As an adult, I have other books that I have enjoyed reading or that have influenced me:  Roots by Alex Haley, Jemima J by Jane Green, Thunder Dog, as well as books by Danielle Steel, Carol Higgins Clark, Jane Porter, and so many others.

How about you?  What books have meant a lot to you?  I would love to hear from you.  Please share with me and the other readers.  I hope that your children enjoy books as well.

Hope you have a great adventure with your next book.  I know that I will.

Summer Has Flown By

lake.summer.7-27Hi and Happy Wednesday.  Can you believe that it is the last Wednesday of July?  I sure can’t.  I have been away from this blog for most of this month and wrote almost nothing.  I hope to get back to more regular blogs very soon. Our summer has been fun and busy and is now winding down. This week we are very much enjoying since school is starting very soon.  We have longer breaks throughout the school year but it does make for a shorter summer.

We didn’t make it to the beach this year but that is okay.  We had a few trips to see family and friends in the lovely mountains of North Carolina where it was a bit cooler.  We did some shopping and walking around.  We also have had a few cookouts, went swimming a few times, had a game night or two, finished some great books, and watched a few movies.

Also, we celebrated Kirk’s birthday and had a few days of parties and special times with him.  This summer I also had a high school reunion.  I was on the planning committee.  We had a great time and a great turnout.  I am fortunate to have a class of people who very much enjoy seeing each other and have plenty to catch up on.  I will write more on that later.

As this summer winds down, I am thankful for many things.  One of them is the view from this photo.  It is of the lake that we saw while crossing a bridge.

  • Photos of old friends
  • Decades-old friendships
  • A weekend of chatting and fun with classmates
  • Ice cream treats
  • Taco Tuesdays
  • Watching the movie “Max,” which Ian picked
  • Ian finishing three books over the summer
  • Dancing The Electric Slide and other favorites
  • Watching an old movie with Ian
  • New Lego builds and a new stuffed toy
  • Watching and talking about the two conventions
  • Time to rest and hang out with my guys
  • The flexibility of my schedule
  • Air conditioning
  • Ice water and iced tea
  • Cold beer and pizza from a local diner
  • Our family pulling together in times of need
  • Keeping in touch on a regular basis
  • Prayer support for loved ones
  • Having time to make many memories
  • Late nights and late mornings
  • Days at home in our pajamas
  • New milestones with Ian

I wonder what we will be doing the rest of this summer?  I am not sure since there isn’t much time left.  We however will make the best of it.  Hope you do the same!  God Bless.

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.

Happy Birthday Dear Cindy!

Girls.In.BootsHappy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Cindy, Happy Birthday To you!  Today is my sister Cindy’s 40-something birthday!  Here we are rocking our boots and socks. We just recently discovered this photo.

I hope she has a great and wonderful day and wish that I could be with her.  As I have written before, she was my first friend and a close confidant. Almost all of my early memories include her.  She was the blond great sister and I was the brunette.  Not sure which one had more fun, but we both did our best to.

As you can see from our photos, we are hams for the camera.  Our brother is as well.  The three of us had a great childhood and remain friends.  Our parents taught us to love each other, stand up for each other, and take care of each other.  I thank them for that and all that they taught us.

The fact we are still close and love to be together is an amazing blessing that I treasure very much.  It is now great that our kids love to spend time together and have fun.  Ian loves to be with Cindy’s kids and Richmond’s as well.  Cousin time is as special as sibling time.

My sister is an amazing woman, friend, teacher, wife, mother, singer, actor, crafter, and so much more.  She loves to see children learn, loves the beach, savors time to read and relax, enjoys singing, watching her children in their sporting events, loves coffee and chocolate, and being with her friends and family.  She is awesome and I love that she is in my life.

I have enjoyed many special times with Cindy. Among them are:

  • Camping with our family
  • Playing pounce with family and dear friends
  • Listening to Grandpa’s stories
  • Sunsets at Mission Beach
  • Reading at the beach
  • Games and campfires
  • Fish tacos
  • Singing songs at Camp Tiyani
  • Family sing-alongs
  • Swimming at Grandpa and Grandma’s pool
  • Sleep-overs in the La Mesa front room
  • Visiting state parks
  • Driving across the country
  • Hearing a song one too many times
  • Community theater and high school theater
  • Sharing a room for years
  • Being each other’s maid of honor/matron of honor
  • Witnessing our children’s baptisms
  • Comforting each other in loss
  • Celebrating amazing milestones

Below are a few of my favorites photos of the two of us and with Richmond. Cindy, I hope to see you soon and celebrate. Love you so much!

Giggle.4-18-2016 DSC06098 girls at beach Three crazy kids Cindy.Patti.on.slide

Throwback Thursday – Graduation

Jen.1Hi and Happy Thursday. Today is graduation at both the high school and Ian’s school for the fourth grade students.  In honor of that, here is a photo from my graduation — many, many years ago.

I am the one in the large glasses as was the style in the 1980s.  Glasses that covered half of your face and big hair. That was quite popular. I am pictured with my friend Jennifer. We are still friends and still see each other.  She is a lifelong friend.

This summer my graduating class is having a reunion.  I am on the planning committee. My class enjoys getting together and we always have a great time.  It may be unusual but many people always come back for the reunions.  I am blessed and very thankful for that.

Two weeks ago, our nephew on my side graduated from high school.  He like the students graduating tonight is ready for the next chapter of his life. Last night, our nephew on Kirk’s side of the family graduated as well.  I am thrilled for all of them and excited for their opportunities.  God bless and good luck to all of you.

For the fourth graders graduating to middle school, I wish only the best for you.  You have learned a lot at the elementary school and are ready for the next phase in education.  You will be the big kids. God bless you.

Although my graduation was a long time ago, I remember the fun yet also unknown feelings that I experienced.  That summer we went to the beach and had a great visit. I had great times with my grandparents, siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, and cousins and I will always cherish those.

It was plenty of play time and I am thankful to my parents for that time. When it was time to go to college, I flew back home by myself, packed the car, and drove up to my college. My parents later checked in with me to be sure I had all that I needed. I sure felt grown up after that experience and that I was ready to be an adult.

A few quotes about graduation:

  • “There is a good reason they call these ceremonies “commencement exercises.”  Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.” ~ Orrin Hatch
  • “The tassel’s worth the hassle!” ~ Author Unknown
  • “You may not know where you’re going, but so long as you spread your wings the winds will carry you.” ~ C. Joy Bell C.
  • “I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.” ~ Author Unknown

To the high school graduates, I wish the best for you whether you are going to college, joining the military, starting your career, traveling for a while, or a combination of those.  May you use your wings to pursue your dreams and remember all that you learned and where you came from.

I wonder how I am going to feel when Ian graduates from high school in 10 years?  I imagine I will be both happy and sad.  We have lots of great years between now and then and I plan to enjoy and savor each one.  After all, that time will fly by.