Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2/22/02 - 2 minutes until 2

2/22/02 – 2 minutes until 2

My sister posted this tonight.  Tomorrow is the ten year anniversary of the passing of my best friend I had for 36 years.  Tomorrow is the anniversary of the death of my father.
Although it may be repetitive to some, my father had the unique gift of making each of his six children feel special at any given time.  He had the gift of recognizing the uniqueness of us all.  He had the gift of opening up our eyes to see that in each other.

Time passes and though we may feel everything that needs to be said has been said, there is still so much to say.  So much to feel.  So much to understand.  So much to share.
Ten years ago I was a much more vulnerable, undisciplined, insincere person than I am today.

Today I am honest with myself and with those who surround me. 
Life does that.  Friends help that.  Therapy does wonders!  Experiences make us who we are and help us to beam from the inside out.

The more I learn, the more I know how wise Dad was.  He is with me every day.  He is with all my siblings and all who knew him.  If you knew him, you would get it.
He didn’t speak a lot like most people do, but when he did, it was great!  His words were either great words of wisdom that the layman could understand.  Or his words would have you rolling in laughter with his humor…kind but so hilarious!

His heart I now know was filled with kindness and love.  I know more each day how much he and my mother were alike.  And I certainly understand the sadness I feel so many days knowing how much more I could have learned from them before they left us.  What incredibly generous people…
My heart continues to fill with gratitude for the family I have.  Though we first lost our matriarch, then our patriarch, I feel so lucky to have my siblings.  We are who we are.  We possess the same strengths Dad saw in us, and the same strengths we need to work on.  The beauty of it all is we have each other. 

There are no bones about it.  We have had our disagreements; our moments of shame; our times of feeling excluded and withdrawn, but we have remembered we are who we are and we have so many fond memories of the two incredible people who fell in love so many years ago.  They have left us with so much knowledge to carry on their legacy…I am proud to do so!
That is our common thread and what has brought us to where we are today. How much sweeter could it be?

So today, Dad, you are honored.  You are thought of every day, but today is yours.  I tell you often and today I write it…thank you for creating and teaching me a life I so very much appreciate.  Thank you for those who are left behind to appreciate you as well…I love you…
You left us with tools for beautiful lives...may you rest in peace knowing your most important job was one well-done.



Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thank you, Christmas...

What is it about Christmas? 

There is anticipation and excitement of the unexpected, knowing that regardless of what is about to come, we know it will be great.
There is kindness and generosity with most everyone – except for the everyday “Grinches” – and unlike every other day of the year, we just accept the “Grinches” for who they are and move forward with our own optimism.

There is wonder, magic, and hope.
There is a bit more time allotted for those we don’t always get to spend time with, but would like to – and vow to every year.  We make more effort to showing them how much they mean to us…

There is a bit more care in handling stress with an understanding the moments will come and go while moments of joy and tenderness will soon follow. 
We treat loved ones with more care, being sympathetic to their issues and concerns over our own. 

Our hearts are filled with love and compassion for those who have touched our life, and even more love and compassion for those who have positively impacted our lives.
We smile and laugh more.

We say “Merry Christmas” to strangers; hold the door open for strangers; say “Thank you” more frequently; say “I love you” more often…and sleep more soundly.
We don’t care how much it’s overdone, we make sure we show all our neighbors how much spirit we have by lighting up our homes – not at all embarrassed to show our passion for the season. 

We give surprises to our friends, family, and neighbors – things we picked up that reminded us of them to give them as a token of our gratitude for who they are to us.
We forgive others for their short-comings, and see ours more clearly with an optimistic outlook to change ourselves in the New Year.

We can easily see what makes us happiest and promise to follow those things with each New Year’s Resolution we make…and to be true to ourselves.
What can we learn from the season?

Embrace the unknown trusting it will be a great outcome.
Accept people for who they are and move forward with your own eternal optimism.

Believe in wonder and believe in magic.  Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give up HOPE!  Be childlike in your dreams…
Make time for those who matter most to you and forget about everything else.

Recognize stress as it comes about and trust that joy is present; just stop to recognize that over stress.
Smile more.  Laugh more.  Say “Hello” to strangers and hold the door for them.  Say “Thank you”.  And always remember to say “I love you” to those you are closest to.

Make time for a good night’s sleep!
Don’t be embarrassed to show your spirit; your passion.

Surprise others – and yourself.
Take care of ourselves first.  In doing so, we will be more tolerant and forgiving – and giving – to others.

Don’t complicate things.  See and understand what makes us happiest, be optimistic, and go for it!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Simple Day

Slept in waking up around 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning

Mixed my favorite wake-up drink of Diet Squirt and water
Greg wakes and makes my next wake-up drink – coffee

I mix mine with Godiva White Chocolate Liquor…afterall, it is the weekend…
Relocated into the den to collect information for church today – religious education and women’s group

Feel pretty good about doing worthwhile work on a Sunday morning
Greg cooks a comfort breakfast of homemade Danish sausage, eggs and fried potatoes – which were given to us by friends who grew them

I clean up after breakfast
Greg goes to the grocery store

He brings me a “People” magazine – which I consider an extravagance – but he knows it’s my guilty pleasure!
I really clean the kitchen, sweep and mop

Do a load of laundry and toss into the dryer
Sit down for a minute to check Facebook

Shower – change – go to church
Teach religious education and talk with my friend, my co-teacher

Give my friend a treat from my recent out-of-town trip because I thought of her
Meet with the ladies of our Silent Auction – well, most of them

Talk on the phone with one of my very favorite people sharing a truly insignificant concern and being comforted by her, regardless of my concern
Greg makes dinner and makes a fire

I feel like I am home
Although this may seem like everyone’s typical day, today is a day when I feel love and comfort and appreciate it.  I think much about who I am and feel my surroundings depict a great deal of who I am.  I feel as if I should appreciate these days more…appreciate my husband, my friends, my family more…appreciate my faith and being alive more…today is one of those days and though there is more to come, it is perfect!  What more could I possibly ask for?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Unexpected Miracles

We’ve all been through times of worry; times of gratitude; times of appreciation for the value of life – our life and the lives of others. 

This is something I experienced more so this week than any other.
Based on a dose of cold and callous words, I was lead to believe through a series of appointments that I very well may have been a victim of an ill-fated illness. 

It’s crazy, yet revitalizing what occurs to when s/he goes through this experience.  Such things that crossed my mind were:

People die every day from random shootings, automobile accidents, heart attacks, strokes, aneurisms, etc…you have heard it all.
If I only knew what it is that is making me sick and/or in pain, then I could overcome it.  This is another shot at life versus random death.

Every possible negotiation with the powers that be!
Telling myself, “No one loves life more than I!”  I truly believe this.  There are many who love life just as much, but I am not quite sure I have met anyone who loves it more than I. 

I gave myself up to my destiny.
I pleaded for a long healthy life with my very best friend, my husband.

I knew whatever it was causing me to not feel 100% is something I could overcome.  I have witnessed stronger people and weaker people overcome the same.  My attitude – this would be a cinch.
After I threatened my doctor’s office to contact me mid-day Friday before a 3-day weekend, or they would find me seated in their office until I received my results, I received a call at 9:05 a.m. with a message telling me that my tests were “normal” and there was no need to worry.

What was life changing for me is the love I felt from others.
So many years of my life have been wasted thinking my mother never knew how much I loved and adored her.  She was – and still is – the classiest lady I have ever known. 

I never felt as if I told her that or felt as if I told her enough how much I loved her.  I was always shameful of not feeling I did enough. 
Today I realized how off-base I was….

Everyone I interacted with today; everyone I shared my experience and news with; everyone who didn’t even know of my condition – every single one of them – I knew and know love me. 
The realization that made me cry tears of joy was not only for my somewhat clean bill of health; the tears of joy were for having a small slice of what Mom went through (very small) and realizing she really did know how much I love her. 

There is no bigger weight that has burdened me than that single thought…and no greater sense of relief in knowing my burden is no longer…
Thank you, my friends…my family…

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Your Parents, My Siblings...

Dear Nephews and Nieces,

There is not nearly enough that can be said for the life you have been given by the most extraordinary parents who have used the tools brought to you by my very own parents.

Your parents…my brothers…my sisters…are indeed the best people I know today. 

Without thought or provocation, they are the most generous, giving people.  They love you with the soul of their heart.  I have heard their heartache when you’re in pain.  I have heard them boast of your accomplishments with pride and glory.  We have shared concern for you not really knowing your grandparents as we knew them as parents.

Can you even imagine what they have given up or would give up for you?  It’s so beautiful for me – as a non-parent – to witness my blood make the sacrifices they have and they will for you.  I only hope that if I were to have had children that I could be somewhat of the parent they have been to you.

And for me as the youngest in our family, they have treated me on some level as parents to me…

When I finally found the love of your dear uncle, my brother Mike shared with me his thoughts and knowing his little sister was going to be well-taken-care-of now, as she should be.

Even since I was a young child, I have always felt the nurturing instincts of Theresa taking me under her wing.  She did and still does spoil me as if I am her own. 

Rick has worked on savoring many of the traditions of the paternal side of the family in maintaining the meat production and sharing the pride of our family to everyone with whom he speaks.

Annette has done both as a maternal figure for me, as well as keeping the memories of mom and dad alive.  I think every conversation we have includes a fond memory…or a dream we ourselves would like to achieve.

Chuck is crazy and silly and smart.  Because of this, there are times when he drives me nuts with his talent, because he is so successful, and he still remains a loyal and loving brother to me.

I know how deep each of their love runs for me, and mine for them.  We share similar senses of adventure, yet crazy differences that keep us unique.

I know the foundation your parents were raised on.  Maybe you already know it, or perhaps you have yet to realize it, but your parents are the best.  They are a product of the best and love you more than life itself.  They have given you the same tools and lessons (and then some!) for you to have the good fortune of the life you have.  They have protected you and showcased you, as you so well deserve.

There is not a conversation I have with any of them that doesn’t include an update on you…on your well-being…on your life now as an adult.

And I, as your far-away aunt, with no children of her own, will always be there for you, as you and your parents have been for me.  I carry the same love for you as they do.  It’s important you know I too, love you more than life itself.  I too feel heartbreak when you’re in pain, and I praise you with a full heart as if you were my own.

If nothing else, know how loved you are, so very unconditionally and how you have so many who would do anything for your happiness…

Thank you for who you are and what you are giving to the world…


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Simple Serenity

A few words from my husband telling me how cute I am when I am feeling and looking my absolute worst. 

Seeing a butterfly that reminds me of my sister-in-law’s mother who has passed away, but loved butterflies. 

A phone call from a friend when you don’t really feel like talking but when you answer the call, you can’t imagine life without her. 

A text or email from your brother simply saying, “I love you, little sissy…” 

An email out of the blue from Uncle Pat saying how proud he is of me. 

A phone call from Uncle John just to say he’s thinking of me. 

A beautiful throw from the Phillipines from Aunt Helen’s recent visit. 

Photographs from my cousin, Colleen, that she had collected from our childhood and placed on a CD. 

My sister reaching out to just see how I am doing. 

My other sister calling because she just wants to talk. 

A friend bringing a sample of a recipe I shared. 

A friend bringing me some of her green beans from her garden. 

A friend taking me away from work on an errand when she knows I am having a tough time being “present” that day. 

A mindless puzzle to remove the trivial worries of the world. 

A surprise card in the mail from an acquaintance to say thanks for just being there. 

Laughter together with friends. 

Tears shared with friends. 

The unconditional love that surrounds us. 

A really good meal. 

The smell of fresh cut grass. 

The smell of fresh cut hay. 

The smell of clean clothes out of the dryer. 

The smell of the outdoors after the rain. 

The smell of a campfire. 

The smell of movie theater popcorn.

Hearing great news from a friend!

The amazing gift of birth.

An unexpected friend. 

An unexpected day. 

An unforeseen loss to help to appreciate what we have. 

An unexpected change in events that we think is for the worse, but turns out to be for the best. 

A guardian angel.

Family or friends that return into our lives. 

New friends that appear when least expected. 

A call from someone who you’ve been thinking about.

Doing something out of the ordinary. 

Mopping the floor when I don’t feel like it. 

Making a “bucket list” and checking it off. 

Jumping out of a plane…jumping into a wind tunnel. 

Reading a book. 

Getting a pedicure. 

Dancing crazy to music of the past. 

Watching the garden grow. 

Watching the hummingbirds fight for sugar water. 

Watching a deer eat from Campground Glen’s hand. 

Seeing flying fish. 

Seeing smiling dolphins. 

Seeing the pumpkin plant take over the yard.

Traveling and learning about people.

Listening.

Experiencing new cultures.

Getting out of our comfort zones.

Being calmed by classical music.

Making a list of all we have to be grateful for…


Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Memories with Molly

Dear Molly,

You’re a constant reminder of a very sad, yet loving time in my life.  We’ve been connected for perhaps 30-35 years now.  You’ve been with me during my childhood, my new adulthood in Florida, and with me today as part of our family in Utah.
You became part of our lives when Mom first became ill.  You came to us out of the blue.  You were by her side inside the hospital and when she was released.  You comforted her and though it’s never been said, I am sure you were a confidant for her; someone to talk to and the great listener you still are today.  You were there for us all and kept us positive and together.

After Mom left us, you were there to comfort all of us.  You were and still are the best listener without placing any judgment and allowing us to figure out our own solutions. 
You stayed with Dad for awhile.  I don’t know if he talked to you much, although I know your presence reassured him there was a life to live with promise and future. 

I talked you into moving to Florida with me.  Afterall, being the “baby” of the family, I would need a chaperone and someone to watch over me.  I didn’t always pay as much attention to you as I should have, but you remained solid and unconditional.  When I did take notice of you, you would bring me warmth and the calmness a family member offers.
 You were there for me when I had heartbreak of boyfriends, work disappointments, with me when I was sick, there to listen when I had disagreements with friends, and even when I had reason to celebrate.  So loving…so monumental in my life.

You moved with me to Utah and sat in the car with me and Poupie, my loving and loyal cat.  I believe it was you two who kept me awake during the drive and gave me advice on my new life alone several hundreds of miles away from a life I had become so comfortable with.

You became sick.  You needed an operation and when I found the right person to help you with your illness, you were better in no time.  Ironically, your doctor is a motherly individual in our lives now.  She took you in and brought you back to full health with minimal scars.  She helped your neck pain and brought reconstruction to your feet. 
You seemed happier and back to yourself – you were the rock I hadn’t seen in a long time. 

Now I wake to see you and I see you right before I go to bed and you are there whenever I need you.  You’ve given so much without even as much as asking for a thing in return.  I hope to learn from that. 
When I look at you, I think of the life I have had and the life I have; the life you and I have shared together.  I look back on my childhood and think of how you and my siblings and Dad were together as we said our goodbyes to Mom.  You remind me of my accomplishments and all the obstacles I have overcome to be where I am today.  You keep me on track with where I am from, where I am, and where I am headed.  You keep me true to who I am and watch over me.

When I look at you and your maroon yarn hair, your oversized head on your tiny body, your neck that my dear cousin, Charlene, sewed back on, and your faded baby socks she put over your worn feet where the stuffing was falling out of your body, and I see love and life.  I feel such a depth of gratitude and peace for where I am in my life and all the amazing fortune around me.
Molly, you are my Mom’s baby doll, but you are most likely the confidant to me that I know you were to her and so many. 

Thank you for joining me on my journey –