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.

Halloween Flashback Friday

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Friday!  In a few days it will be the last day of October and Halloween.  My this month has flown by.  This photo is from many years ago of Ian dressed as Elmo.  As you can see, I was in a similar outfit.

I know several families who do not celebrate Halloween.  We do, but ours is the fun dress-up Halloween, not the scary one that many people seem to like. Each year, I have to warn Ian that some people like scary stuff.  We do not, as he likes to remind me.

We are ready to walk around the neighborhood and ask for candy.  It is supposed to be warm so that will work well for his costume.  He is wearing the same as what he did last year and is excited about that.

A few Halloween questions.  What are your answers?  Mine are below.

  • Store bought costume or homemade?  Ours are usually homemade.
  • Favorite candy? Junior Mints, M&Ms, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Stay home or go out?  We trick-or-treat and then come home and give out candy
  • Favorite scary movie?  Don’t like them so none

Hope you have a great weekend and a fun Halloween if you celebrate it!  We sure will.

Happy Anniversary to Kirk / Happy Birthday to Dad

TT.DadDay2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Monday.  Today is my wedding anniversary with my hubby Kirk and also my father’s birthday.  What a special day it is. The top photo is of me with my dad the year before Ian was born.  The bottom photo is of my groom, Ian, and me.

Over the weekend, we celebrated my dad and a family friend and had a blast.  Our family and friends always make a big deal about birthdays.  I just love that.  We celebrate each person, have great meals and cakes and ice cream, and give gifts and cards as well. The birthday boy or girl chooses the special meal that is made in his or her honor.  There is also singing and lots of photos.

This morning, Kirk and I had breakfast, reminisced about our wedding day, and gave each other cards.  We are both quite busy and will celebrate more later.  More importantly, we are loving and kind to each other each day.  Or at least try to be. We are also best friends and love doing stuff together.

My hubby and my dad are two of my favorite guys.  I am so very blessed and so thankful for both of them and all that they have meant to me.  It was great for Dad to share his special day with us.  I love them both so very much.

Today I am thankful for:

  • A father who has always loved me, flaws and all
  • A father who has taught me so very much
  • A husband who I treasure more each year
  • A husband who is my partner on life’s journey
  • A father who is great with Ian
  • A father and mother who have shown what true love really is
  • A husband who adores his son
  • A husband who loves to spend time with me and our son
  • A father who loves unconditionally
  • A hubby who loves unconditionally

Today I celebrate my hubby and my father and thank the Lord for both of them.  Kirk and Dad, hope you both have terrific days!  Also, Happy United Nations Day.

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.

Happy August!

August.8-3-16Happy August 3rd! Here it is extremely hot and muggy!  How is it in your world?  Ian is back in school and so far so good.  We go back extremely early but have lots of breaks throughout the year.  It just makes for a very hot beginning of school.

Thank goodness for air conditioning, ice cubes, ice-cold water, and ice cream.  These all help on miserable days.  And on a hot walk home, we are thankful for the shade and breezes that blow.  We are also thankful for a quick rain shower.

Most of July I didn’t write blogs. I hope to do a better job this month.  We had a very busy summer than just flew by. I tried to have down time along with our activities so that is one reason that I didn’t write very much.  And, I am working on new inspiration and what moves me to write.

We had a great summer and had a lot of fun. One evening after running errands, we went to Arby’s and picked up food that we ate at home.  The above photo is Ian’s five-minute fry.  It was the longest that we have seen and took him five minutes to eat.

On this middle of the first week of August, I am thankful for:

  • An amazing summer
  • The excitement of a new school year
  • Library books
  • Play time and down time
  • Seeing friends again
  • Our amazing teachers and school staff
  • My family and friends
  • Prayer support
  • A boy who is excited and amazed to be a third grader
  • Routines and consistency
  • Dinner with my parents and aunt
  • A backpack that Ian wants to use again
  • Food for lunches
  • Special times with siblings
  • New sneakers that Ian helped choose
  • Running errands with Kirk
  • Ice water
  • Ice cold beer with tacos
  • A surprise lunch with a dear friend
  • Photos of friends
  • Hugs with my guys at the end of the day

I wonder if the rest of the month will be as hot as this week?  I imagine it will.  We will do our best to stay cool and will make the best of it.  Happy August!

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 – 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.