In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving, Minnesota style

Our Thanksgiving weekend, was spent at my sister's, with her and her husband and their daughter's. As far as people go, you will find no better people. They have a home out in the middle of a wooded area, that is breath taking beautiful. It is their sanctuary and they open it up to anyone that wants to come. They are hardworking, fun, generous, laid back, easy going type of people, that have the gift of hospitality. Besides eating lots of good food and drinking some excellent wines, and a few cold beers, our Thanksgiving weekend was spent Minnesota style, bundled up outside... playing in the woods, sitting around the fire outside, going for tractor and 4 wheeler rides, sliding around on the frozen pond next to their house, helping haul and stack wood, sharing lots of laughter and my most favorite, sitting in the hot tub, while it snowed and watching the deer come up to eat.

The only time we left their place, was to go to a fish house parade. The turn out for this parade is amazing and everyone has a good time. The people get pretty creative with these fish houses and some go all out. It was hilarious and my little people had a blast. Here are the kinds of things you see at a fish house parade....

My two little spectators...loving the parade...loving all the candy that was thrown.

Even Santa was one of the spectators!

Try explaining to a 2 and 3 year old how Santa can watch the parade AND be in the parade!

Last, but not least, no parade is complete without roller derby girls.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Counting my blessings

In an effort to focus on all that is good in my life, I took some time yesterday to look at pictures from this past year. My life was certainly blessed this past year and I really do have much to be thankful for. I learned the art of letting go once again, as my youngest son graduated from high school and then moved across the country from me and my youngest daughter and her son moving out and flying from the nest to another state, as well. I gained another grandson. I went to battle for my little people and was able to assure their safety in my home. We went on our first vacation across the country, in a van, with a 2 & 3 year olds, to gain a most wonderful new son-in-law. It’s been a year of growth and blessings.

As much as I miss my children and grandchildren, who are too far away to come home for the holiday’s, they are always at home in my heart. So, I decided to do a slideshow of our past year for them and my heart overflowed with gratefulness for my husband, children and grandchildren. The process of working on this, greatly improved my mood and reminded me of all that I have to be thankful for.

I was almost done with my slideshow and stepped away for a few moments and came back to the computer to find that my post had been published. Little lady was very quick at announcing “Look at what little man made on your computer mommy!” I was going to edit the pictures and write a few more things and low and behold, my little man had apparently made a couple of clicks on the computer. After discussing once again, that we don’t touch mommy’s computer, little man, then informed me that when he get’s big, he is going to work on the computer and write about his children, just like I do! (Many time’s when I am typing on the computer, he will inquire to what I am writing about and most of the time I say that I am writing about him or being a mommy.)

Another thing I did yesterday, was read quotes about being thankful. This too, helped me put my mind in a better place. I want to share a couple of them with you.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie

Be thankful for hard time in your life. Try not to look at them as bad things, but as opportunities to grow and learn. Author unknown

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John Fitzgerald Kennedy

And this is the one that made me think of all of you.

In everyone‘s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. Albert Schweitzer

Each one of you have touched my life in the last couple of months. I am grateful for each one of you and the wonderful support and encouragement that you give me. You have each, in your own special ways, helped light the fire inside of me. You inspire me with the things you write and you make me laugh. Thank you.

Today, my heart is full of thankfulness…for my husband, children, grandchildren, family, friends and people that God has brought into my life…for all that I have been given…for this very day…for all that my past has taught me…for all that I was given this year…and for all that is to come.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Greatest Blessings

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I share with you, my greatest blessings on this earth. To my husband, children and grandchildren...I love you to the moon and gratefulness for each of you extends to the ends of this earth and to the highest heavens. XXXXXXXXOOOOOOOOO Always & Forever

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Demon's

Since it is Thanksgiving week, I am trying very hard to be thankful and grateful, in spite of how I am feeling. I have much to be thankful for, so I want these things to be my focus. I don't want negative feelings to steal away my joy.

I have been putting the blame for these feelings on various things...blaming it on these nasty menopausal hormones...on the cold, gloomy, chasing 2 little ones, missing my children because it's getting close to the holiday's...but, truth be told, at this time, every year, I feel this way.

November is a hard month for me, for various reasons...let's just say that past events that have greatly affected my secret' demon's come back to haunt me on their anniversary month. As hard as I am trying to not think upon these things, they are affecting my sleep and trying to pull me down. My nightmare's are waking my husband more frequently, which makes me feel badly for affecting his sleep. He doesn't get upset with me but it does concern him that I am tormented with these things. He wishes that I would talk about these things instead of keeping them hidden.

I am not sure what the answer's are to all of this or if there are any. All I know, is once again, I will ride out this storm. I refuse to let these things push me overboard. I have written to some extent about these things here, in a post called Through the eyes of grace. It's my resolve to continue looking at myself through these eye's of grace but I also need to stop and make sure I am looking at those that hurt me, with those same eye's of grace.

Do any of you battle things like this? Do you have memories of things that you would rather forget? How do you deal with painful memories?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Every Day was a Manic Monday

This past week was a tough week, for some reason and here it is Saturday and I’m still trying to figure out why. It started out with Monday being nothing other than manic Monday and I swear to God that every day since, was just another manic Monday. My little people are in testing mode lately and I am trying to pass these tests with all of my might. There are day’s that it feels like I fail miserably and begin to wonder, how it is that I am allowed to wear this mother hat. My shortcomings and human weaknesses have never been so exposed as they have been with this task of parenting, then any other area of my life. Nothing in my life has caused me greater joy nor greater pain then being a mother. But, then there are other day’s, in which I can proudly say that I arise to the challenges quite well.

Since becoming a mother many moons ago, my goal was to raise these children to someday be good people and while I can say, in the end, my children turned out to be good people, it’s all the day’s from there to here, that I question the kind of mother I was back then and the mother I am trying to be once again. While I know that my children did not get to where they are today, on their own, I cannot take all the credit for the kind of people, that my children are now. Somehow my children grew up to be these amazing people in spite of me…in spite of my lack of being prepared for a task such as this, at such a young age…in spite of the fact, that I didn’t really have a clue to what I was doing. Somehow, along the way, I learned my way through this task and got through the challenges one step at a time. I have always said that I grew up with my children…that my children were my biggest teachers. I read a lot of parenting books and even went to parenting classes, but I think the best education I have ever gotten, has been from the hands on training of life. Parenting is so much more then feeding, clothing and providing for my children, it's trying to teach my children the tools for life and by being the person that led by example, not just by my words.

Raising children is hard work. Raising children to be good people, when all is said and done, is even harder work. Now that I am older and I know what I know, from having done this before, I do have a confidence that I lacked the first time. As I step back in time, to those places I once walked, I know what lies ahead. It’s this knowledge of knowing how much work this is going to be…how much love, pain and joy I will experience, to get to the end result, that I fear....fear, that I am not qualified for the challange. Even though I am using the same parenting philosophy that I used with my children, which was basically reality and common sense discipline, I am still trying to improve upon my parenting skills this second time around. I am still learning every day...and teaching every day, by the way I live and modeling the behavior that I want to see in them.

I am thankful for what I do know, but I am also well aware, of all that I do not know either. I come to this grand-mommy gig with experience and wisdom that you cannot learn in a book. Parenting books can be great guides but they don’t have all the answer’s just as I don’t. I recently, read a couple of books that closely resemble how we parent and I plan on doing a study of these books with my step daughter. I think it’s important that if she is ever going to take these little ones back, that it’s in the best interest of the little one’s, that we all are on the same page, so to speak. These books are very simple and based upon “common sense” and “reality” discipline These books have everything I have tried to tell her and teach her, over the last 3 years, but she wouldn’t listen. (Honestly, after reading these books, I wish I would have written them, because people have tried to encourage me to write a book like this for years.) It is our hope, that now that she say’s, she is ready to listen, that she will listen even more so, since it’s not coming just from me. I fear, that she still won't get it, and then what?

The thing is, can you really teach someone to be a good parent? Isn't parenting more than just knowing which tools to use and how to use them? Can anyone learn how to be a good parent? And, what defines a good parent?

I am feeling tired and weary, after this week with my little ones. I fear, that maybe I am too old for this. I love them with all my heart and even though I know I am suppose to be doing this right now, I am scared of letting them down. At the same time, I am missing my children and grandchildren, that live far away. Knowing that they can’t come home for the holiday’s is hard. Not knowing when I will see them again, is harder. Yet, I count myself grateful for having them in my life, that they are out living their lives like I taught them to do and that they are always in my heart. What more could a mother ask for?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Hump Day!

It's another cold, gloomy day here in Minnesota and I am once again questioning exactly why it is that I choose to live here. Although we have gotten snow, none of it has stayed...but I know it is just around the corner. I actually don't mind the snow all that much as it is pretty and we do have fun playing in it, when it's not too cold of course. It's the bitter, cold wind and the gloominess outside, that gets to me after awhile...that's when I just want to hibernate inside my house. We just got back from shopping for new boots and snow pants and let me tell you, putting two kids in and out of car seats is bad enough when it's nice out, but when it's cold out, it really bites. Okay, enough complaining.

Whenever I get feeling this way, I try to keep my sense of humor by finding funny things to read or look at many of your blogs! Today was my lucky day as my daughter sent me a short little story and another friend sent me a great picture of a men's bathroom. So, in the spirit of lightening my mood, I thought I would share these with you. I hope you enjoy! Happy hump day!

The miracle of toilet paper

Fresh from my shower, I stand in front of the mirror complaining to my
husband that my breasts are too small. Instead of characteristically telling
me it's not so, he uncharacteristically comes up with a suggestion. 'If you
want your breasts to grow, then every day take a
piece of toilet paper and rub it between them for a few seconds.'

Willing to try anything, I fetch a piece of toilet paper and stand in front
of the mirror, rubbing it between my breasts. 'How long will
this take?' I asked.

'They will grow larger over a period of years.' my husband replies. I

'Do you really think rubbing a piece of toilet paper between my breasts
every day will make my breasts larger over the years?'

Without missing a beat he says 'Worked for your butt, didn't it?'

He's still alive, and with a great deal of therapy, he may even walk again.
Although, he will probably continue to take his meals through a straw.

Men's Restroom Mural -------- Read before looking at picture

Edge Designs is an all-women run company
That designs interior office space. They had a
Recent opportunity to do an office project in

The client allowed the women of this
Company a free hand in all design aspects.
The client was a company that was also
Run by all women execs.............

The result.........well.....We all know that
Men never talk, never look at each other....
And never laugh much in the restroom....
The men's room is a serious and quiet place...
But now...with the addition of one mural
On the wall......lets just say the men's
Restroom is a place of laughter and smiles.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I love football. I loved watching my son’s when they played high school football. I think what I loved the most is seeing how much fun they had doing something they loved doing. No matter how cold it was outside, I knew there was nothing that would keep me from being there on the sidelines, watching and cheering for their team. This was the first year of many, that I was not outside standing in the cold and many times, snow, watching my child, playing a game that we both love. I know the pain and discipline that both of my son’s had, that kept them going back, even after major injuries.

I was watching college football on TV this past weekend and during the game, a young man from the opposing team was injured. Whenever I see someone get hurt out on the field, my heart stops because not only do I know what it’s like to watch someone you love get hurt, I know that young man has a mother and a father…has a family that is watching. I have been that mother on the sidelines watching as her son got hurt…sometimes serious enough to need surgery. It has become a habit to immediately say a quiet prayer for the injured and his family. As we awaited the young man being checked out by medical personnel, the sport announcers had some interesting things to say.

They talked about how these young men give up a lot to play football. Football is their life. They live and breathe football with hopes that they will have the opportunity to play professionally some day. It’s every young football players dream. And then something like this, an injury, an injury that could be very serious, with a very serious outcome, comes along, and everything stops. And in that very moment, everything changes…perspectives change. The fact of whether he will be able to ever walk again becomes more important then whether he will play football again. The fact that he is young and has a lot of life to live outside the game of football goes to the top of the list. Being able to walk again becomes more important than football. Perspectives change.

In that moment, it doesn’t matter which team he play for. All that matters is that he is a human being and he is hurt and everything came to a halt. It was evident that people from both sides cared and were concerned for this young man. It was beautiful. It was humanity at it’s best. The game did not go on until he was safely off the field and when he gave the thumbs up while laying on the gurney, both sides cheered equally. It didn’t matter that he was on the opposing side, what mattered was that he was okay. That, my friends, shows that he was on the side of humanity. The side of humanity that we don’t always get to see. Now that is beautiful.

The announcers went on to talk about how this relates to life. They compared the game of football to the game of life. They talked about how we can be going along in our lives and out of no where, something smacks us, right into the middle of our lives and our perspectives change. And this got me thinking…that they are right, because in that moment, that something hits us, those things…those people, that are most important, rise to the top. In those moments afterwards, we find out who is on our side, and who was never really there in the first place. What becomes most important is not whether we can do this or that ever again, but that we are alive. We find out very quickly that there are really important things in life and that there are things that can wait. We find out that adversity can hit us, but it will not keep us down and not only that, it will make us better people, when all is said and done. We find out what really matters.

It’s all about perspective. How it changes when adversity comes and how we arise to the challenge. It’s all about what and who is most important to us when shit hit’s the fan. Right smack in the middle of a Saturday afternoon football game, these men talked about something that was even more important than football. To that I give a loud,” Amen.!“ I don’t know if anyone else was listening but I was.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I am resilient, hear me roar!

Most people assume that my little people are mine instead of the grandchildren that they actually are. This is usually assumed even before they hear them call me “Mommy”. While they are “mine” in the sense that they have been born out of my heart, through this process of raising them, I did not in fact give birth to them. Once people learn the truth and watch us together for any length of time, the most common response is, “ You must be so strong. I could never do what you are doing. “ Those that know of the on going difficulties that we have with their real mommy, my step daughter, pretty much say the same thing. First of all, I disagree, because I think that many people would do “this” if they were in the same circumstances. Secondly, if everyone knew how many times I want to throw in the towel and give up this fight because I get so damn tired, they would know that I am indeed not strong. They should know that the reasons for which I do "this" is because I have fallen madly in love with these two little creatures, that look at me with their big eyes and with the expectancy that I will take care of them.

Now that it has gotten cold here, my pain level, due to my neck and skull injury has increased greatly. When it gets to this point, it is hard for me to mask it. I try hard to not let it show but even my little man can see through the smiles on my face, that I am in great pain. My battle against pain will be life long and it’s a fact that I have come to accept. Those that know how I came to have this injury and see my struggles, have a hard time understanding how I can not only forgive the person who hurt me, but accept this pain as part of my life and then accuse me of being strong because they couldn’t do it. I disagree. I choose the path of forgiveness and acceptance so that I can still have a life, in spite of the pain. They should know that I always choose the path of forgiveness, because it is I, that has needed to be forgiven of so much. If they truly knew how many times I have given up behind the safety of the four walls of my bedroom, they would know that I am indeed not strong.

Last week, I went to see the therapist at the pain management program that I attend and on that day, I happened to be in extreme pain . After determining various factors for my increased pain, the therapist went on and on about how strong I am and how I needed to keep being strong. I cried all the way home because I am tired of trying to be something I am not…tired of taking credit for something I am not.

Later that same day, I had my yoga class and I contemplated not going. I had already missed a month of classes due to being gone on vacation and my pain levels being too high. I am new to yoga but have come to love it. I decided that the pain was not going to win this time and made myself go.

The yoga instructor is this amazing woman that has this gentleness and peacefulness about her. She is a high school teacher and does this class once a week, because teaching yoga is one of her passions. I only know her through this class and have only shared minuet details of my life with her. At the end of class I felt so much better and was thankful that I had made myself go. The instructor came to me shortly afterwards and gave me a hug. She then went on tell me that I had a been on her mind and that there was something she felt that she was suppose to share with me. She said “You must get tired of everyone telling you that you are strong or telling you to be strong.” ( I could not believe I was hearing this because she knows none of my struggles, other than that I am in pain!) She went on to say that she had a word for me and it is “resilient”. She told me to go home and look up it’s meaning. She then hugged me once again and I left. I cried the short trip home…this time for different reasons.

Of course I came home and looked up the meaning of resilient. This is what I found; Resilient: 1. Springing back; rebounding 2. Returning to the original form or position after being bent, compressed or stretched. 3. Recovering readily from illness, depression, adversity; buoyant

This, is my new word for myself. I am resilient! In the face of adversity, I have been in this process of returning to my “original form”, for a long time…part of me say’s that I have been trying to get to my original form or position, my whole life. When I have faced my own human frailties, whether it was as a young drug addict, as a pregnant 17 year old girl, or looking into the eye’s of an abuser, I have recovered from these adversities. Those things did not kill me, they made me better…they paved the road for where I walk now. I have been “bent, compressed and stretched” to my limits, and yet I have not allowed these things to stop me, instead I have continued to strive for something more…strived to get to the next place in this journey.

It’s being resilient that will get me through the pain of today and tomorrow. It’s being resilient that will get me through this grand-mommy gig I got going on. I don’t have to be strong anymore. Do you know how freeing this is for me? I just need to keep on being clothed in resiliency. It will get me to the next place. And when I get to the other side of these adversities, I will look back and see that this too, prepared me for what comes next. I am resilient, hear me roar!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My passion in life

I have mentioned here before that I work at an alternative high school, running the daycare. The students who attend this school, attend for various reasons, such as my young moms who need someone to care for their children while they attend classes or they also have to work full or part time and our school enables them to do both. But, much of the time, it is because they got kicked out of the regular high school for one reason or another or they fit better at our type of school then a regular high school.

Many of these teenagers are what a lot of people would call “misfits”, “problem” children or “juveniles”. Many of these young people already have probation officers. Some are in trouble with the law and are awaiting court hearings and fear going to jail or being sent away. Our students come from all social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds, so we have an interesting mix of students. We have students that come from quite wealthy and high on the social ladder type of families, to those that are practically homeless and have no family. Most of our students fall somewhere between these two groups. The one thing that most of the students have in common is that our school is their last chance or only chance of getting a high school diploma, because they have burnt their bridges else where or like my young mom’s, they have no other choice because of having a child.

Since our school is small, we can meet more of their needs, and they get a lot individual attention. Our school is kind of like a family and for some of our students we are the only family they have. The teachers and staff that I work with, all have a love for these types of kids and are very dedicated to reaching these “lost” children, that come through the doors. Some of them are recovering alcoholics and former drug users themselves and all of them have been teaching for a long time. I have so much respect for them, as they, not only are good with the students, they make less money working at our school.

The main goal of our school is to see these kids graduate and then go on for more schooling or work at a job that they can survive on. Much of the time this does happen but sadly, some even lose their chance to attend our school. While they attend our school, the goal is to empower these young people to make better choices and to equip them for life. Many of our students also work part or full time jobs, mostly out of necessity. This is possible because our school operates at all times of the day.

Working at a school like this is very rewarding, yet sometimes it is heart breaking for me. Many of the students are needy and lack self esteem and they are like sponges in wanting and needing to suck up any attention or love they can get. Many drink alcohol, use drugs, are sexually active, cut themselves and partake in activities that are dangerous. They cry out for attention and they will do anything to get it, even if it’s negative. These are the kids who have fallen through the cracks. They are starving for something more. And we try to give it to them and at the same time, teach them how to get something more for themselves.

At least a couple times a week, I have a student tell me they want to come home with me or that they wish that I was their mother. As much as that might be a compliment to me, it makes me sad that they feel this way. It’s hard to believe they feel this way since they know I am a pretty tough parent and would not put up with their crap. They know they can’t pull the wool over my eyes like they can with some people, because they know I have walked in their shoes or at least shoes, close to theirs. The thing is I see a part of myself or I should say the young person I was, in just about every one of them. They talk to me and tell me things that you hope to never hear from a child…things that they think are normal but aren’t. Sometimes, I have to report these situations to social services since I am a mandated reporter. This is hard, because they trust me, but I always want them to know that they can trust me to do the right thing, which isn’t always what they realize is the right thing.

I think these young people need to know that they matter, that someone hears them and that someone cares about them. They need to know that they can care for other’s too and that it will be accepted. Since I bring my little people with me to work everyday, my little people are well known and well loved by everyone. They are actually called our school’s mascot’s, because everyone that comes to school to work or as a student, knows that they will be greeted by two smiling children every day. The beautiful thing about children is that they don’t discriminate in who they choose to love and care for. My little people show love and care to every single one of these young people, no matter how tough or rough they look on the outside. I have watched with my own eye’s as they have melted the heart’s of those with even the toughest of exteriors. These young people come to school every day expecting a huge smile and hug from my little people. In turn, my little people expect it too.

To be perfectly honest, there are days that these young people drive me crazy. They frustrate me and can suck the life out of me if I’m not careful. Every day that I drive away from the school, I have to leave it all behind. I can not bring it home with me or it would break me. There are day’s I come home exhausted and with my heart broken over their situations and wanting to do more. Some days I think about doing something else, but,it’s my love and passion for young people, that keeps me going back.

Do you love what you do? Are you doing what you always wanted to do with your life? What gives you the drive to keep doing what you do every day? Do you ever want to change jobs? Do you ever think about doing something different? What is your passion in life and is this passion a part of your life?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Before and After

This morning we went to see the doctor, to have my little ladies leg checked and the ex rays showed that her leg has healed! Hip, hip hooray! I don't know who was more happy to get this pretty pink cast off, her or me. The doctor and nurse were quite surprised that she didn't make a peep while they took it off. She just laid there with a big smile on her face. The doctor told me that this has never happened before. They prepared me for her to cry and fight the procedure because the noise from the tool to cut the cast off, usually scares children. The only thing she said over and over, while they were working on taking the cast off was, "I get to wear my pretty Dora panties now." When they had put the cast on, the doctor had told me it was best to put her back in diapers since she still had occasional accidents, as this would prevent it from running down inside the cast. She was not happy about this and I knew that the reason she was smiling so big, was because she knew she would get to wear her pretty Dora panties once the cast is off. Then when they took more ex rays to see if it had healed, she laid perfectly still, which the technician told me, rarely happens.

She actually did very well with having the cast on. After getting the pretty pink cast on her leg, she spent a day crying because she wanted it off and she wanted her Dora panties back on. She no longer thought it was so pretty and was pretty frustrated as she figured out how to get around. Which took all of one day and she has been walking on it and got around quite well these past few weeks. Towards the end, she was almost running! The thing is, I knew that she would, because she is not one to just sit still for very long. The toughest parts for her, were not wearing her panties and not getting to take baths. The toughest part for me, was having to carry her a lot when we went places and with the cast on her leg, she was not light to haul around.

Since it is snowing here and the roads are not very good, we are not going back to work today, so we are going to have a day of celebrating life without a cast. I think there is a nice big bubble bath in the near future for one very brave little lady and of course for one very jealous little man!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm grateful

For the most part, I am conscious of feeling grateful for all that I have and all the people in my life, but today, I woke up feeling especially grateful...for the people in my life. I feel grateful for all of you, that share your lives with me, by inviting me into your worlds, through your blogs and for taking the time to stop by here. Each of you have brightened my world, challenged me and given me insight into lives outside my own. Plus you make me smile and laugh just about every day. Thank you.

I am grateful for my family and friends…for the people I work with…for the young people that I come into contact with daily and all the little people that I get to care for. I am eternally grateful for my incredible children and my equally incredible grandchildren that never cease to amaze me.

Most of all, I am grateful for my husband, who’s love for me, is ever constant…he loves me where I’m at in each given moment…meaning, even when I am not performing at my best. If you knew all of my life…all that I have been through, then you would know what a priceless gift this is to me. I waited 43 years for him…actually, it took me that long to be ready for something so good to come into my life. (I am a slow learner.) My husband is an amazing man…he is gentle, hardworking, loyal, wise, kind, faithful, patient, unselfish, a man of good character. To top it off, I think he is really hot! I never imagined someone this good could be mine…that someone like him could want someone like me. But he did, and he still does and I hope I never take this for granted.

My husband does not shower me with gifts of flowers or jewelry, instead his daily gifts to me are his unending acceptance of me, his uttermost respect for me that shows in everything he does, and his amazing love for me, that transforms even the most mundane day into something beautiful. Words cannot describe the way he looks at me and the way it makes me feel. I catch him staring at me and I will ask him why he is looking at me like that and his most common response to me is, “It’s because I still can’t believe I get to be married to you.” He thinks I am the prize…that he won the lottery with me and honestly sometimes I don’t know how to handle all this adoration…because even on my worst days he still think I’m the prize. He thinks, he is the one that got the good end of the stick, but, I know better.

Tell me, who are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Enough is enough

Since the holiday season is around the corner, with Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, and Christmas to follow a month later, I have been thinking about gift giving, greed, materialism and our abundance of “stuff”. I am thinking about all the people in need, in our world, and here we are with so much. I am battling this feeling inside of me, that is saying “enough is enough” and “what can we do to reach out to those in need?”

We are not rich by any means(at least not financially anyways) but we have done very well at accumulating “stuff”. Quite honestly, our income most likely falls in the government standard of being near poverty but in no way do we live in poverty. We eat very well and don’t go without. We live in a nice modest home. Granted it is nothing fancy and most of our furnishings were bought second hand, gifts, or things given to us. Although it would be nice to have “new” some day, it is a choice we have made, to live simple and within our means. If we do want or need something, we save for it, just as we saved for a year and a half to make the trip to Florida for my daughters wedding. I am deeply grateful for all that we have and thankful that we can both work to provide for our families needs. In many ways, I feel that we are rich and can not help but feel as though we can do more to give to those that have much less.

As I was directing my little people in cleaning up all their toys the other day, it dawned on me that with Christmas coming we need to do something about all these toys they already have….these perfectly good toys, that have nothing wrong with them and that they love to play with. But, you can only play with so many toys. They have enough or I should say too many toys already. Just thinking about them getting more toys sickens both of us. Not just because they already have enough but because of the message given to them in being given too many things. We don’t want them growing up with this attitude of “expecting” and always wanting something more.

We want to teach our little people about giving and not expecting “stuff” or always wanting something more or better…of having to have everything they see or want at the moment. We want them to be aware that we are very fortunate and that there are people out there, that are not so fortunate. With all of this in mind, we have decided to incorporate the idea of giving to those in need, into our Christmas celebration. We will be taking a portion of our Christmas gift fund and using it to give to those in need. I am just not sure where or how we should do that this year.

The thing is my little people’s “other” mommy, the one that gave birth to them, is very materialistic and goes overboard with gift giving, even though she can by no means afford it. Her mother and family are the same way. They go completely crazy for their birthday’s and Christmas. Let’s just say that they give so much that the kids don’t even want to open all of them. Because of this, we don’t always give them anything or if we do, it is something small. We have tried talking to them in the past about this, but they have refused to listen. We will once again talk to them and explain how we feel. We are going to ask them to join in our "giving to others" idea and ask them to contribute also.

When my older children were growing up, we played “secret Santa” to one family each year that we could. They each gave up one of the gifts they would normally get and then I would take them shopping with that money and they would each buy a gift for someone in that family. They looked forward to this every year, that we could do it. So this is one idea of something we could do. But, we would like to search out different options. D’Arcy from Abstraction recently wrote a great post about The Children of Shanti Bhavan and gives an opportunity for others to give. I am looking for something that my little people could possibly understand and get excited about. Please know that we are not trying to take the fun out of Christmas or be a scrooge, we just want to share some of the wealth that has been given to us.
Please share your idea's with me!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Some Halloween Fun

Since Friday was Halloween, I thought I would share a picture of my two little people in their costumes. If you can't tell, little lady is a pink pony and little man is a fireman. I work at a school, so they wore their costumes to school all day and handed out candy to all the students and staff. They loved doing this and since I am always trying to teach them to be "givers" and not just "takers", this was a good lesson for them in how happy it makes us when we give to others.

Although I am generally not big on Halloween for various reasons, one of them being, that it is usually quite cold here and hauling little ones in and out of the cold is not a good time, but this year, it was unusually nice here. Our little towns businesses open up their businesses for trick or treaters in the late afternoon, before it gets dark, so we walked around town with our little people. To say they loved dressing up is an it would be to say they loved seeing all the children and adults that were dressed up. Before we went out, we practiced with them in saying "trick or treat", "happy Halloween" and most importantly, "thank you" to each place we went. I am happy to say that they did it wonderfully the point that my little man actually tried to give out some of his own candy to some of the people handing out candy!

Every Friday evening is our movie and pizza night. I either make homemade pizza or a frozen one or on special times, we order out for one. We all get in our pj's early, make a big bed on the floor, and we all cuddle together while watching a movie. They get to stay up a little later then usual and usually get to have popcorn part way through the movie. Little man calls these nights "sleep over nights", even though we don't sleep there all night, and wants every night to be a "sleep over" night. So, this last Friday after coming home from trick or treating, we made homemade pizza and watched Tinkerbell, which is a very cute movie. I think at this point of Dora and Diego overload, watching any movie that doesn't have Dora or Diego in it, falls into the "cute" category for me.

The first picture, is a picture my daughter sent me of my grandson, who is about a year and half, dressed as a cowboy for Halloween and I just had to share it with you all. He is such a little honey and the joy of my life. He called me on Halloween morning and said "trick or treat" to me and can say "I love you grandma" which is like music to my ears. Even though I just seen him a few weeks ago, during the wedding time in Florida, it already feels like forever that I have gotten to just hug and kiss him.

I never thought in a million years, that I would be doing the Halloween things again, or having pizza movie night, but here I am, playing mommy to little ones. Last year, we attempted to celebrate Halloween, although the little people were pretty young, but their mother was involved with it, so it was a complete nightmare. So, this year, it was quite nice to do something that felt almost normal and it almost feels like old grandpa and I are catching on to this whole parenting thing were trying to do! Just remember, I said "almost"!