Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

As my end of the year post I am offering you a 'Condensed Year In Review' collage. We made many great memories in 2010 that I will carry forward into the new year. My awesome evening with Melody and Kate at the Martina and Trace Concert. I was able to cross that one off of my Bucket List. Britt knocking the socks off of the audience at the Wizard Of Oz musical, in her role as Dorothy. 
Even though our hearts were broken when our beloved Buddy was hit by a car and died, rescuing our Paddy girl from the dog pound the day before being put down and St. Paddy's Day has helped us move forward and heal. What a blessing she has been to us. I turned 61 this year and spent most of 2010 thinking I was 62. Of course that entitles me to spend most of next year when I am 62, thinking that I am 61. We went to band concerts, football games, chorus concerts, soccer games, School plays and even had breakfast with Santa. We traveled this year to Chicago, Louisiana and Texas and did some camping. We even fed the water fowl at the park, but the best part of the whole year has been the time spent with family and friends. Those memories are priceless.

As we celebrate the coming of 2011 tonight, we will also be celebrating the hope of a better year than the one we are leaving behind. I not only wish for my family and friends (....and if you are reading this post, I consider you my friend) good health and happiness in the new year. I wish for those that have found themselves jobless in this year, the joy and prosperity of a new job that is far better than the one lost. For those that have lost loved ones to death, I wish for you to be able to replace the hurt, emptiness and anguish with warm memories and the healing that you so very much deserve. For those that have suffered from poor health, I pray that God' loving touch will heal you and bring you good health. Above all else, I wish for you all to be able to look at the world around you and see a world filled with love and peace.
Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Remembering Mama

Some times memories can be such a mixed bag of emotions. Something as simple as a photo of a Colorado Blue Spruce tree can spark such memories. My mother and father were living in Virginia when he passed away in November 1979. For a while after his death my mother was so unsettled. She couldn't even seem to be able to make a decision as simple as where she wanted to live.
 For a while following Dad's death she moved to Ohio and lived with my sister. While there, she found one of those 'too good to pass up' deals in a seed catalog for Colorado Blue Spruce trees. I don't recall now how many seedlings of this beautiful tree she ordered, but I do know she got a lot of them for a minimal price. That spring following my dad's death, she and my nephew, Brett planted every last one of those seedlings on approximately 15 acres of my sister's property. For a little while my mother became the Johnny Appleseed of Colorado Blue Spruce trees.
Like I said, Mom had a difficult time making decisions for a while. Eventually, she went back to Virginia where she stayed with my brother Joey until wonder lust struck her once more. In the winter of 1984 she moved to Ohio for the final time to live with my family. We bought a house in the country with 1 acre of land and a little cottage separate from the main house. This was perfect for her because it not only allowed her to live close to one of her children, but also gave her the independence she needed by having her own little home. It must have been right for her because she lived there for the following 14 years.
One day she went to visit with my sister and came home with two of those Colorado Blue Spruce trees in the back of her car. Her car had a hatch back and it was jam packed full with those two trees and there was still quite a bit more sticking out of the back. By this time it had been about 7 or 8 years since they had been planted as little saplings. They were no longer little saplings, but now full fledged trees. She had already envisioned where they should be planted and we went to work digging the holes and getting them planted there. In the front left corner of the property we planted her trees and they were beautiful standing there. She could sit at her kitchen table, sipping her morning coffee and look out  of the window at two of the trees that she and God had worked together to grow. 

It was just before Christmas in 1996 that she thought it would be nice to decorate these two trees with lights. I bought enough lights to display a cheerful twinkle and we went to work wrapping those trees in them . Oh my, but they were beautiful. It was about a week before Christmas day that year when my little Mother came stomping into my kitchen madder than a wet hen. She grabbed my hand and dragged me out the door to show me what she had discovered when she was sitting at her kitchen table that morning sipping her coffee.
 Some time during the night someone had stopped on the road, unplugged the lights to the fullest of the two trees, sawed it down and drove off with it, lights and all. I really think that what upset her the most wasn't so much that the tree was gone, but the fact that it was stolen. In fact as she mourned the loss of her tree that she had nurtured from a sapling, she mentioned on several occasions that if someone needed a tree so bad, all they needed to do was ask and she would have given it to them. I have no doubt in my mind that she would have done just that. It was the kind of person she was.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your visits through  out the year and your wonderful comments along the way. This week I have appointments for medical tests as well as some baking and cleaning to do for the coming week.  Keeping this in mind I probably won't be posting again until the New Year. J.D. and I want to be sure to wish our old and new friends a very Merry Christmas and a healthy Happy New Year.

May God's love and blessings rain down on you and yours this Christmas Season....

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Memories


Some of my sweetest memories are those that include my children. 1. My yearly quest when my children were little was searching out a Santa for that photo with my babies. 2. Theresa's Grandpa was bound and determined that she should be the next Annie Oakley. This meant that Grandpa kept her dressed in cowgirl gear for the first few years of her life. 3. The first year that we stayed home for Christmas and put up  a tree, money was a bit tight. To get by with less we placed our tree in a corner and only decorated what wasn't against the wall.  Theresa took care of the decorations on the lower branches. 4. I will never forget the year that Chris made a bird feeder for me in Cub Scouts. He was bursting with pride when he gave it to me.

Chris' first Christmas he wasn't much bigger than his stocking. He was a sick little guy that winter. In fact, I don't recall many years that Theresa and Chris weren't both sick at Christmas time. Hey, I just noticed, I really was young once.

Christmas programs and concerts have always been part of our celebrations. Theresa's instrument was the flute and I so enjoyed hearing her play. 

This was the year that we moved to California. Knowing that the move was coming, I had Christmas bought, wrapped, packed up with the furniture and sent ahead with the movers. Sounded good at the time, but there was just one little catch. Once we got there we couldn't find an apartment right away to rent that would accept children. We did manage to find one apartment complex that rented to us for one month just out of the kindness of their hearts and the fact that it was so close to Christmas.   

For that one month our furniture went to storage along with the Christmas presents. Our furniture for that time was lawn furniture and sleeping bags. I believe our tree was the original Charlie Brown version sitting perched on a cardboard box with very few decorations. Santa didn't bring much that year, but what he did bring put smiles on my children's faces. That was the year that we had Christmas twice. What child wouldn't smile at that?

What a joy it was today going through old pictures. I not only found photos that had captured moments of happiness for my children, but I found priceless memories tucked away in that trunk too that warmed my heart and brought me happiness.

 I hope that you will take the time during this Christmas Season to rediscover your own priceless happy memories.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Christmas Prayer

So many lives today are touched by cancer. My guess would be that everyone has a family member, friend or acquaintance that has or is battling with this terrible disease or has lost the fight of their life to it. There are some fortunate ones that have survived and are now in remission. Will we ever be completely free of this horrible disease? My Christmas prayer is a small one that I hope others will join me in saying:

Dear God, I pray  that You will guide someone to find a cure for cancer.  ~Amen  
 Today I will create a place for the candle on my side bar and list the names of my loved ones and friends that have lost their battle to cancer. If you would like someones name added to my list please leave their names in a comment and I will be honored to add them.

This prayer and candle came to me via e-mail. Feel free to add it to your posts and e-mails as well. A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting  Another Candle... Please help keep the flame from burning out. 

Wishing all a day filled with warmth and love.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dare To Believe

When I came across this picture this morning I found myself once more taking a walk down memory lane. I remember the year that the bubble lights found their way to our Christmas Tree. I was mesmerized by them. I remember sitting in front of the tree for what seemed like forever waiting for the lights to warm up so the bubbles in the colored liquid would bubble repeatedly. After the bubble light  show would begin I would sit for hours watching them and doing some Christmas dreaming in the process.

The Christmas' of my youth were not commercialized like they are today. I recall early memories of believing in Santa. I would faithfully write my yearly letter to Santa and ask for that "ONE" special gift. I always agonized over what I wanted that gift to be. There would be no Christmas cash from grandparents for shopping after Christmas to go buy what I wanted, but didn't get. All of my grandparents had passed away except for my maternal grandmother and her gift to us at Christmas was handmade and from the heart. I appreciated that far more than an envelope with money in it. With my letter written, I knew that jolly little man with the red rosy cheeks and hearty 'Ho Ho Ho' would do all that he could to make my wish come true.       

I will never forget the year that my belief was shaken.  After a Sunday service at our church, all of the members were invited to a Sunday potluck dinner at the minister's home. I was at that age where although I enjoyed playing with the other children, I also liked to be within ear shot of the adults to see what they were talking about. On this particular day it proved to be a bad idea. As I stood quietly by the doorway of the kitchen I heard the church ladies discussing Santa. I knew this was a conversation I didn't want to miss, but should have. My heart was crushed when I heard the words........ "At what age should we tell our children that Santa just doesn't exist?"

I think I was in shock. Of course back then I had no idea what shock was. I just knew that I had to find a quiet place to myself. When I did, I sat and cried until there just wasn't any tears left to cry. These were church ladies that I had overheard talking about there being no Santa. Church ladies wouldn't lie, would they?

This was also the year that I asked Santa for a beautiful ballerina doll that I had seen at the store. If there really was no Santa, then I might as well forget about that ballerina doll. To reinforce that thought, the next time I went shopping with my mother, the doll was no longer there. I was sure that someone had bought it and taken it home to their little girl. Being stubborn and bullheaded as I sometimes can be, I remember laying in bed that night and saying over and over to myself until I fell asleep, "There Is Too A Santa!" "There Is Too A Santa!" I don't think I ever put as much effort into believing in something as I did that year trying to rebuild my  shaken belief in Santa's existence.

When Christmas morning came that year, there under the Christmas tree was the ballerina doll that I had wanted with all of my heart and that I had asked for in my letter to Santa. Although I never  again wrote yearly letters to Santa after that Christmas, I still never completely let go of my belief in him.

Many years later as a mother and faced with the question of Santa's existence from my own children, I just simply told them, "When you stop believing, is when Santa no longer comes." This year my children are 35 and 40 and I'm pretty sure they still believe. At least in the goodness of Santa in a person's heart.

Dare To Believe!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh! The Snow

 Oh! The snow, the beautiful snow
Filling the sky and the earth below
Over the housetops, over the street
Over the heads of the people you meet
Dancing, Flirting, Skimming along.
~ J.W. Watson

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Share The Joy Thursday

The Sound Of Sunshine
~ There is a short Vevo ad right before the video begins. Please be patient. ~
one two three, uhuh

i wake up in the morning its six o'clock
they say there may be rain but the sun is hot
i wish i had some time just to kill today
and i wish i had a dime for every bill i've got to pay

some days you lose you win
and the water's as high as the times your in
so i jump back in there where i learned to swim
try to keep my head above it the best i can
that's why,

here i am, waiting for this storm to pass me by
and that's the sound of sunshine coming down
and that's the sound of sunshine coming down

one two three, uhuh

i saw my friend bobby i said "what's up man"
you got a little work or twenty to lend
i opened up my hand he said "i'm glad to see
they can take away my job but not my friends"

here i am, waiting for the storm to pass me by
and that's the sound of sunshine coming down
and that's the sound of sunshine coming down

i wanna go where the summer never ends
with my guitar on the beach there with all my friends
the suns so hot and the waves in motion
and everything smells like sun tan lotion
the ocean, and the girls so sweet

so kick off your shoes and relax your feet
they say that miracles are never seizing
and every single soul needs a little releasing
the sterio bumpin till the sun goes down
and i only wanna hear that sound

that's the sound of sunshine coming down
that's the sound of sunshine coming down

i said you're the one i wanna be with
when the sun goes down
i said you're the one i wanna be with
when the sun goes down
singin you're the one i wanna be with
when the sun goes down

that's the sound of sunshine coming down
that's the sound of sunshine coming down

 I'm not sure why, but from the first time I heard this song it filled my heart with joy. There is no mistaking the fact that we are living in hard times. We deal with all of the darkness that comes along with a poor economy on a daily basis...... job loss, unemployment, poor health, high crime rate and depression. The list goes on and on. I hope that by sharing the joy I experience from hearing this song you will find a little joy today as well.

Prayers going up for all that are out there today interviewing  or  searching for a job today...... My daughter Theresa among them.

Join me at "Meri's Musing" for Share the Joy Thursday.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Warm Memories

Here I sit in the early hours of this fine day wrapped in the warmth of our home that we are fortunate to have. I look out of the window and see the thermometer hanging on the porch post telling me it is a {{CCOOLLDD}} 7 degrees outside this morning. The area schools are on a 2 hour delay, so my grandchildren will get to squeeze in a little more dream time before getting up and heading out into the cold. While I have been sitting here drinking my coffee and counting the blessings we have received, my mind drifts back from time to time to days long ago when I was a child on a cold winter's day.

When this girl went to school there were dress codes and one of those was that if you were a girl you wore a dress to school. There were variations to that dress code though. Can you imagine going out in these kind of temperatures wearing a dress? Well, the dress was still required, but on really cold or snowy days we were permitted to wear long pants under the dress. I remember wearing corduroy pants sometimes, but the ones I really liked to wear were the jeans that were lined with flannel. Ohhhh, talk about Heaven on a cold morning! By the way, I am talking about public school here, not private school. As a matter of fact dress codes in the public schools I attended were in effect until after I graduated in '67.
We lived in town, so that meant that I walked to school.  When we arrived at school back in the day, we weren't allowed to just go in the door and go to our class room.  No, we waited outside for the bell to ring and then we were allowed to go to our class room. I recall a very lengthy preparation time just getting the outerwear on and ready to head out the door. Of course I had my long pants on, thick knee socks, shoes and boots (if there was snow on the ground). A sweater was usually part of the winter wardrobe. Let's not forget of course, I needed to have a warm hat, mittens, coat and a scarf wrapped around my neck several times and then once around the lower portion of my face. I am serious when I say that I could totally identify with the little brother in the movie, "A Christmas Story".

Even though times were hard when I was growing up they were also simpler and safer times. If I was given the opportunity to go back and change anything I wanted about those long ago days, I wouldn't change a thing. I hope that on this cold day that you can wrap yourself up in the warmth and happiness of some childhood memories like I just did.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mosaic Monday

Our first significant winter storm of the season took place yesterday and continued through the night. I had planned on putting our Christmas tree up on Saturday, but just didn't feel up to it.  As a result, there sat a few well worn sad looking boxes containing the tree and it's decorations in the living room waiting for me to find the spirit to put it all together. That spirit came when I looked through the french doors to the deck yesterday morning and saw snow floating down. 

Of course along with the decorating of the tree comes the prep work of dusting, cleaning and furniture rearranging. Done. Done. Done. Tree up and decorated. Done. The Christmas Angel on top. Done.

While all of this was going on our little Paddy Girl just wasn't real sure what to think of all of this activity in her otherwise stable world. You need to keep in mind that this is her first Christmas with us. She also was a rescue puppy from the dog pound, so we don't know what she witnessed or dealt with last Christmas.  I am sure that her little mind was active asking questions like: Why is a tree being brought into the house? What's with all of those beads, shiny balls and colored lights. Poor baby, spent quite a bit of time curled up on J.D.'s lap. She knew he wouldn't let any of this strangeness that was going on hurt her.

Have a safe and warm week.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Random Act Of Kindness

Today's message is short, sweet and to the point. I know that this time of year many of us are looking for ways to pay forward random acts of kindness that have come our way. This morning J.D. forwarded this information to me that he received from an e-mail friend of his. Thank you Peggy J. for the information and the link. What better way to pay anything forward than to shower those young women and men serving in our Armed Forces with messages of thanks. 

Several years ago about this time of year an address was circulating that could be used to send messages to our troops. We tried to take part in that, but our cards came back to us. I was disappointed to say the least. I have checked this one out and it does seem to be legitimate. I hope you will take the opportunity to spread a little kindness. The only cost is a couple of minutes of your time. 

Just click on the graphic above to follow the link to 
"Lets Say Thanks".

Wishing you a blessed day!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rest In Peace

While at the hospital yesterday having some routine tests run, I heard on the news that Elizabeth Edwards had stopped her treatments for cancer after being told that it had spread to her liver. Along with this report the news media found it necessary to also add past news concerning her estranged husband's extra marital affair.  I found this little snippet uncalled for and in poor taste.

Later at home, I switched the TV over to the evening news only to hear that Mrs. Edwards had died. They reported that in her final hour she was surrounded by loved ones and her estranged husband, John Edwards who was there to comfort his children. To add a foot note to the picture they had just painted of Elizabeth Edwards surrounded by her loved ones as she passes from this life, they continued their story with the details of her husband's affair, illegitimate child and the fact that the divorce she had filed for wouldn't be final until the first of the new year. 

I have one question............ WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE? Wasn't it enough, what this amazing woman has dealt with for the past six years? Not only did she contend with the cancer, having a husband that turned out to be a louse and the tragic loss of her 16 year old son, but the news media can't even allow her the dignity to pass from this life without dredging up dirt to add to the report of her death. Shame on every last member of the press that thought this was appropriate news reporting. This lady fought a courageous battle for the past 6 years and loss. She left behind family and friends who loved her and she will be admired and missed for years to come.

Elizabeth Edwards
1949 ~ 2010
May you Rest In Peace

Sunday, December 5, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

It seems as if no matter where you go, how long you are away or how much fun you had while there, it always always feels good to be back home again. With my second knee replacement surgery ahead of me on September 13th, we had a lot to do  still ahead of us and not a lot of time to do it in. 

Our first order of business on returning home was to get the house up for sale. With a little tidying up, yard mowing and cob web dusting done and we were ready. Before we knew it, the Realtor that would be handling the sale was at the door, the contract was signed and a 'For Sale' sign that had taken residence next to the mailbox.

Taryn's birthday dinner was next on the agenda. This of course was a special year seeing as she turned the dreaded 13 and became a teenager. She got her Pandora charm bracelet for her birthday and a few charms. That makes deciding on what to buy for future gifts a lot easier. Taryn had commented some months before that she would really like to have a cake that looked like a pizza for her birthday. Melody, being our talented cake creator fixed her right up with that request.  She did an amazing job as usual. The candles on her cake said 03 instead of 13 because I thought I had a 1, but didn't. I have complained for sometime about disliking the number 13 birthday because that seems to be the age when our sweet little grandchildren seem to just disappear on us and become people that we no longer recognize or know. This problem seems to worsen when the number 16 birthday comes around. It is coming up on 5 years since we first started noticing this pattern in grandchildren and we are still waiting for that first grandchild to be returned. We had another grandchild that turned 16 in August and sure enough...... "POOF" she was gone. Maybe in my subconscious I thought if the candles spelled out '03' instead of '13'  we will have found the way to break that pattern. So far so good.

We had been looking forward to our camping trip over Labor Day Weekend since we decided to do it. When the Grand daughters were young we would take the three of them camping on the 4th of July weekends. This year we rented two spaces next to each other and Chris, Mel and the boys joined us. Things didn't even get off on a good foot from the start. Although we rented two spots, what we ended up with was 1 1/2 spaces because the State Park didn't know what they were doing when they designated their camping areas. It is a long story that I won't get into the details of, but can say that they did offer to appease us by allowing us to use the 'Host' Campsite's entertainment area. We thought things were all ironed out until the last night we were there. I woke up hearing voices outside and seeing campfire flames that shouldn't have been there. When we went outside to investigate we found the tent moved from the 'Host' campsite entertainment area into our already crowded area and a campfire going next where the tent had been when we went to bed. It seems as if the 'Host's' mother and step-dad had decided to come visit unannounced and even though no one answered the camper door when they knocked, they went ahead and built a campfire not three feet from Chris' tent. It totally ran them out of the tent with all of the campfire smoke going directly into the tent.

Other than that we did have a really good time. We cooked all of the meals over the campfire. I for one love food cooked over an outdoor fire. One of our camping neighbors turned out to be Chris and Mel's next door neighbors from home. Sharyl, Brian and Kassidy added to the fun and good time. Riley pretty much spent most of his time going back and forth. Britt, now {{{17 years old}}} was working and didn't make it to the campsite that weekend. Theresa and Michael came out and spent part of the day with us on Sunday. I am thinking that even when you weigh the good times, fun and memories created against the hair pulling aggravation that took place that weekend...... Well, the fun and good memories would have to win out.

The last event on the agenda was catching one of the soccer games before my surgery because it would be doubtful that I could walk the distance to the field for a while after the surgery. It was especially important to me that we do this because this was Seth's first year playing soccer. He had been wanting on that field for a couple of years now while attending Riley's games.  even when he was just a wee little guy, a few times he did make it to the field and was carried off kicking and screaming. Riley's team made the all stars this year..... YAY RILEY!! I enjoyed watching Chris coach Riley's team as much as I enjoyed watching the games.  I am very proud of the great job he does dealing with the kids and the fair and impartial way he handles his team by not showing favoritism toward Riley. 

Have a blessed day today and check back for the rest of the story.