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Friday, December 23, 2016

Stepping Past Dysfunction to Achieve Harmony and Peace

Tonight I was sitting in my living room thinking over the events of the last couple of weeks.... Actually, the last couple of years. I've had a full enjoyable schedule in spite of the stress that comes with the Holidays. I was reflecting on two very similar situations with very different outcomes. I'm not a rocket scientist but one thing I know, if you are in the presence of people who due to their own insecurities, feel and act as if they are superior to those they are around..... There will be no harmony..... Period! If you are in the presence of someone you always have to defer to to keep the peace.... There will never be true peace. Inflated egos, gross insecurities, and lack of rational thought will never foster harmony. NEVER! Harmony cannot co-exist with these traits. It can only be fostered by a spirit of equality and humility. It's hard to see the contrast between the two until you've experienced an atmosphere of constant discord for any length of time, then been removed from it to a place of peace and harmony. When you are around dysfunctional people long enough.... You just learn to live with it, turn the other cheek, or walk on eggshells, and don't poke the bear. It becomes a tiring relationship. It is emotionally and physically exhausting. When you finally take a step back 
from the problem, eventually you begin to see it for what it was..... A strain. Now looking back I can clearly see that it takes more than one person to suck the harmony out of the room. It also takes those surrounding the dysfunctional person to enable them to continue to do so. Do I miss the relationship? Yes. Do I miss the constant dysfunction? Hell no. A memory made in harmony is like a soft warm blanket on a bitterly cold night, and not one I will look back on with mixed emotions..... Just genuine amazement that life is much more peaceful on the other side of dysfunction.   

Thursday, November 24, 2016

All I Know

Yesterday poor planning landed me in the eye of the storm which is Walmart. As I attempted to blitz through as quickly as possible, I found myself saying....  "This might require nerve medication, a straight jacket, and a cocktail." Then I remembered that it was time to calm down and remember all reasons I have to be thankful.

I am thankful for salvation, for without it there would be no hope.

I am thankful for grace, for without it there would be no salvation.

I am thankful for my past.... The good, the bad, and the ugly have made me what I am today.... A thankful soul.

I am thankful for my parents, a firm foundation and unconditional love is the beginnings of a happy heart.

I am thankful for my marriage. I love the quote from movie Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade... "Choose, but choose wisely." 35 years ago I did.

I am thankful for my children. Motherhood was truly a dream come true for me. My children  bring me great joy.

I am thankful for my grandchild. There simply are no words to describe how he has completely captivated my heart, and when I have no words, that says a lot.

I am thankful for my job which is simply a pleasure and a blessing.... One I don't take lightly.

I am thankful for my health. The older I get, the more thankful I am.

I am thankful to be able to find the humor in almost anything... Especially myself.

I am thankful for my present. There are a lot of dark paths one can find themselves upon. I've had dark times, dark emotions, but my path has always led me back to the light... For that I am thankful.

There is a line in a song by Matt Wertz, that says.....

"I don't know how your love works,
How it covers me with grace,
I don't know how you swallow all I am, 
when I can't stand my taste.
All I know, is the bleeding in my heart
and the healing of your touch.
All I know, is you gave everything,
So let that be enough.... That's all I know"

I am thankful that when I feel less than, the cross steps in and makes me enough. When I feel betrayed and beaten down, the ointment of his love covers my bleeding wounds. When I feel like a failure, He reminds me that I am a conqueror. When others treat me as if I'm below them, He reminds me that at the foot of the cross, we're all on level ground. When I feel overlooked, He lets me know that He sees me in the wilderness. He sees me in the valley. He sees me through, I may not know everything, but I do know, knowing Him is enough, and for that I am thankful.









Wednesday, November 23, 2016

That's What I Miss

I stood at the kitchen counter chopping celery and onions. The hum of the convection oven, and the tick-tock of the timer sang in the background. I tossed some chopped celery in the simmering butter on the stove, and went back to the counter and began chopping onions. Riley, my bulldog whined as I chopped... She was out of water. "I know, I know" I told her. I stopped chopping, gave her water, washed my hands and carried the onions over to add to the celery. The smell of the cornbread was starting to fill the kitchen as was the cool of the evening. It was getting dark outside as I stood over the simmering pan of onions and celery..... "Something seems off" I thought to myself. That's when it hit me just how quiet the house was. Besides the simmering of butter and the humming of the oven, the only sound was the clicking of the dogs toenails on the hardwood floor. Awe, it's the holidays that make me miss the pitter-patter of little feet running up and down the stairs. It's the silence that makes me miss the giggles and muffled noises of mischief in progress just beyond my sight. It's in the still of the evening when the sadness of having grown children threatens to wash over me. What am I thankful for tonight?? Tomorrow I'll be surrounded by all of my family and baby kisses. That's what I miss.

Monday, September 26, 2016

She Flooded My Life with Light

I'm assuming every family has one... The one who connects all of the others, the one whom the family revolves around. I remember summers at her house, Christmas around her tree and family dinners when there were more family than room. I called her "Red Ant" because like Mohommad Ali, she could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee except she was a little bitty thing. I used to hate the way she used to wake us up in the morning. She believed sleeping late was for lazy bones and even if it was summer break, that was no excuse just to lay around sleeping your life away. She would bound into our darkened room, clapping her hands and in a sing song voice say "Rise and Shine, Rise and Shine" while throwing open the curtains, allowing the blazing sun to accost our sleepy eyes. She took great delight in this little ritual simply because she knew we dreaded it. I'm pretty sure that by todays standards it would be considered just a few hand claps shy of child abuse. When we were finally awake, she would sweetly ask if we would care for some chocolate gravy and biscuits, which would immediately eradicate, or almost eradicate any ill feelings we harbored about her rude awakening. She called me "Little Jackie LouLou", and her house was like a second home to me even though we lived 2 hours away. Being at Red Aunt's house was just how things were supposed to be. The family would stay up late telling family tales. My cousin and I would sit quietly and listen even though the stories had been told a thousand times. She would wait until everyone was tucked soundly in bed, even if that meant it was 3 a.m., before she whipped out the vacuum and begin to clean... Leaving little triangles on the living room carpet to be found first thing in the morning. I loved to pester her, I loved to shock her with off colored remarks just to see her pale skin blush and watch her mouth fly open in shock. She would laugh and slap at me and say.... "Awe, now LouLou". The last couple of times I visited her, I would hesitantly stick my head in her room to see if she recognized me. She would throw her hands in the air and say..... "Oh, if it isn't Jackie LouLou." We laughed together and she teased that she was going to spank me... "You'll have to catch me first," I told her.  She lived on a country road that dead ended at the pasture that used to be filled with cows.  Her house was down the road from my Grandparents', their houses separated by a huge garden in between. She took care of Grandma and Grandpa until God called them home. After they died, she took care of other elderly family members during their last days. She was the epitome of a care giver. Her hair had turned gray, her steps had become slow and unsteady, but she still had the sparkle that won her the title Red Aunt.... It lay there just beneath the wrinkles that adorned her precious face. After my Mother's funeral, looking into that face was surreal..... Their faces had become even more alike and it felt like home to me.  She was the matriarch of our family and we are a much better family because of her. All of my memories spent at her house will be treasured forever, and she will forever remain a piece of me, and a piece of everyone she touched because she just had a way of coming into your life and throwing the curtains wide open.... Flooding your heart, your life with a little bit of orneriness and a whole lot of light. The world is a darker place without her in it, but heaven has become oh so bright.

Friday, September 23, 2016

In Memory Of

Doris Lee Scott
June 23, 1924 - September 22, 2016

In Memory of
Doris Lee Scott

Born:   June 23, 1924
Died:   September 22, 2016

Funeral Service
Criswell Funeral Chapel
Monday, September 26, 2016, 10:00 a.m.

Officiating
Reverend Ed Rutherford
And
Reverend Steve Hogue

Casket Bearers
Marty Jackson, Dusty Henderson, Brad Faust, Kendall McKibben, Bryan Smith, Steve Timmons

Honorary Bearers
James Abbott, Luther Green, Glen Walker

Concluding Service
Memorial Park Cemetery

A Life Well Lived

A single simple rose
A teardrop from my eye
A memory of your smile
Our final last goodbye
You gave to us your love
You paved a path of faith
Today we do not mourn
But joyfully celebrate
A life well lived

Psalm 30: 11-12
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing.
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.
To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O LORD my God I will give thanks to You forever.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

That's a Wrap

"Parting is such sweet sorrow.", at least it was for the cast of "Someone Save My Baby Ruth". Our 4 night performance at the Marlow Opera House came to an end last night and the curtain came down. Close ties were formed by all and we agreed during the cast party that we hated to see it end. In a few short weeks, we went from being strangers, to friends. Isn't that what local theatre is all about? When rehearsals started a few of the cast members knew each other, but by the last performance we had "gelled" and from the feedback we got from the audience, it showed. Mike came to every performance even though I assured him it was not necessary. After curtain call last night, he told me that DLT should definitely get this cast back together to do something else because the chemistry came across onstage and flowed out to the audience. We immediately, in the post show glow, started plotting and scheming on ways we could make it happen. A murder mystery dinner theater was mentioned..... Writing our own play was batted around, because of course we are a successful group considering we had just done an Off-Broadway show.... No, seriously. The Marlow Opera House is half a block off Broadway.... In Marlow Oklahoma. Soooo, in reality I am not joking when I say we did an Off-Broadway Show.

Let's face it, anything that is successful has to have one important thing.... Great leadership! I cannot say enough about our amazing director. Not only was she patient and kind, she was also very helpful. She didn't hesitate to give us direction... In a good way. She also did something that I think helped us gel as a group. She began each rehearsal with an ice breaker which helped loosen us up, gave us a laugh and ultimately broke down the walls that often surround people when they are in a group of people who don't know each other.

One of the most amazing things about this play, were the kids (technically some were teenagers, but when you're my age they're kids). We had 4 young teenagers in the cast and one girl who was a little younger. These kids were no amateurs, it was clear from the first rehearsal that this was not their first rodeo. I am not exaggerating when I say that I was amazed not only at their talent, but how professional they were. I've been around youth before and I know sometimes it can be like herding kittens. Not with this group. They showed up for every rehearsal, prepared to give a full blown performance each and every time, and they did. Come to find out, they probably had more experience than the rest of us. All of them had previous experience and it showed. When the adults are long gone, DLT has a bright future with talent like this.

The cast hesitantly cleaned up and prepared to move out after the cast party. Saying goodbye wasn't easy, but was made tolerable with promises of..... "We'll get together for lunch", and "Let's write a play together". Yes, "Parting is such sweet sorrow", but only for now..... "That's a wrap:





Opening night backstage selfie with Mr. Earnest Noble








Taffy and Toffee sooth Mrs. Candy's Nerves


Baby Ruth is such a doll....
She never cries





Ada Sourball may have been
more than Sidney Swindle could
handle

We came together as strangers
but left as friends
Those clumsy candy cooks

Alas, they finally found poo
Reese's Pieces, but just a tad
too late








Ada proved to be very bendy

Ready to roll
Will Penny Candy lay Baby Ruth down long enough
to take Earnest Noble's hand in marriage?
Sequel anyone?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Getting Serious About Water Conservation

Anyone who knows me, knows how conservative I am. I like things easy, simple, no fuss, no muss. Ha! In the word of Harry on "When Harry Met Sally", I'm the worst kind of woman....

Harry: "There are two kind of women: High maintenance and low maintenance."

Sally: "Which kind am I?"

Harry: "You're the worst kind. You're high maintenance but you think you're low maintenance."

That's an accurate description.... But maybe I'm changing. Today I proved that I'm a multi-tasking, water conserving genius (of sorts). This morning after vacuuming the house (all hardwood floors except for bathroom), I decided to give my two Bulldogs, O'Reilly (pronounced OH Reilly! with an exasperated sigh, but we just call her Riley), and Mr. Walter White (pronounced just normal and we just call him Walter) a bath. I usually do them one at a time, but this morning Walter couldn't wait his turn and jumped in with Riley.  Oh well, I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone, or rather bathe two dogs with one tub of water, which in itself is conservation, but the dogs and I took it a step further. I had just gotten Riley rinsed when she decided the tub was too close for comfort and jumped out taking a good portion of the water with her. The bathroom floor was already standing in water before Walter bailed as well. The two of them shot through the hallway, down the stairs, and though the rest of the house leaving a river of water in their wake. No worrries, the floors needed to be mopped anyway and with their help half the work was already done.  I fetched my Spin Mop (have I mentioned lately how much I love that "as seen on TV" gadget?) I do, I love it..... With the entire house standing in water, my little helpers and myself got the entire house mopped in a New York second. I should enlist the help of my double trouble Bulldogs more often. This multi-tasking act of  water conservation makes me want to go out and hug a tree..... But on second thought, I might get all sweaty so I'll just stay put. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

One Nation

Like everyone else, I remember in vivid detail what I was doing when the events of 9/11 occurred. Just moments before, I had walked my youngest to school, gently holding his hand. Had I know then what I know now, I'm not certain I would have been able to let go of that tiny hand. In 2001 I was working in a busy doctor's office. Each day was like strapping into an 8 hour rollercoaster ride with phones ringing, people coming and going, but not on 9/11/01. That Tuesday was eerily quiet with few patients showing up for their appointments. I had a sickening knot in my stomach, and like a mother hen, I just wanted to gather my chicks into the nest under my protective wings. That evening my husband told said..... "Our lives as we know it will never be the same." As I watch documentaries on the stories of that day the one thing that strikes me is this. On 9/11/01 we were one nation. There were no protest of "Black Lives Matter". We were not Republicans or Democrats, white or black, rich or poor. Prayer wasn't taboo, compassion wasn't sparse, and politically correct wasn't a catch phrase. We were one nation, one people united in our determination not to let evil prevail. What will it take for us to become one nation again?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Almost Show Time

I walked out on a limb a few weeks ago and tried out for a play our community theater is doing. I was surprised (and thrilled) when I got the call that I was given a part. This is the second play I've done. The first one was about 3 years ago. Sunday night we "went off book" which means we started rehearsing without scripts. Once you start rehearsals without the script, practice takes on a whole new dimension. Without the script you can actually watch the scenes play out. I think it's a good sign that after several weeks of rehearsals, we are still laughing at the funny parts..... In fact I think we are laughing even more.  I have enjoyed the rehearsals from the beginning and as we progress, rehearsals are even more enjoyable. We have a great cast, several of which are young people. I have been blown away by how talented and professional they are. You can tell they are not rookies. Same goes for the adults. We have a wonderful cast of talented people who have given 100% into making this play a fun (and memorable) event. Tonight is our final rehearsal before we move into the Marlow Opera House where the play will be held. We will only have a couple of rehearsals there before it's show time. I'm excited and I think the rest of the cast is as well. If you get a chance, and would like a laugh, come enjoy this Melodrama with us. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

No Comparison

One of my favorite things to do is to attend social painting classes. I love to grab a bunch of girls and get creative. This weekend I got creative with my daughter. I woke up Sunday feeling pretty lousy. Before the class started, I seriously thought of asking for a rain check so I could go home and go to bed. But when the instructor started instructing, I got in the zone. I intentionally didn't look at my daughter's painting as we progressed. She paints with an amazingly steady hand and she blends her painting with incredible focus. Me.... Not so much. Midway through the class I thought to myself.... "It's going to look horrible"  As we were wrapping up the session, I glanced over at my daughter's painting. Yep, it was perfect as usual, but even though mine was different, it wasn't horrible, in fact I thought it looked pretty great. The coolest part of a social painting class is when everyone has finished and you get to see everyone's painting. Although they are all the same subject matter.... Each painting is uniquely different. Some decide to paint in totally different colors from what the instructor suggest. Some people add or change some aspect of their painting. Then you have people like myself. I follow the instructions, stroke by stroke, it goes against my nature not to. After class I thought about comparisons. It's so easy to glance at someone's life and think you have failed by comparison, when in reality you haven't. Life would be boring if we were all alike. Our differences are what make us interesting, and as someone once said, "Boring lives don't make for interesting stories". Remember that the next time you have the urge to compare yourself to someone else....

Friday, July 15, 2016

Forever Impression

An angel got her wings this week.  My aunt passed quietly in her sleep and she will be greatly missed. She proved that it isn't always the big things in life that leave a lasting mark, but also the tiniest of gestures that leave a forever impression. This is one of the fondest memories.
I was born, raised, and will die a priss-pot.... That's just how it is. My mom and dad both came from large families with 8 siblings each. We frequently spent time with mom's family, but we rarely spent time with dad's family. Why? I think it was because my mom was uncomfortable with broadening her borders. Although those who knew her probably didn't realize it, she was held captive by social anxiety and a plethora of insecurities.  When we did visit dad's family, she insisted on dressing me up in frilly dresses, socks and black patent shoes. She didn't dress me up (as much) for her family, but with dad's, it was full throttle bells and whistles. One summer she took a trip with one of her sisters. After dropping her off, we went to dad's brother's house for a fish fry. We got there early in the day and everyone seemed happy to have us come and actually be able to stay for more than a few minutes. My cousin wanted me to go outside to play, but of course I wasn't dressed for outdoor activity. I remember my aunt Doris saying.... "I bet we could find you some clothes so you can go outside to play" Sure enough she found some jeans, a shirt and some shoes that were made for playing. The rest of the day was spent outside in the good ole Oklahoma heat. My cousin introduced me to the art of crawdad fishing (or catching). For someone who was used to playing house and dress up.... Crawdad fishing was way outside my expertise and I LOVED IT!! When the time came for us to clean up for the fish fry, I remember walking through the kitchen and hesitantly asking aunt Doris..... "Are people going to be hugging me and stuff tonight?" She put the towel she was holding down beside the sink and bent down beside me..... "Not if you don't want them to honey." I told her I didn't mind the hugging, but if there was going to be hugging I should probably change clothes. I knew mom wouldn't be happy if the whole family saw me in my rough and tumble state of disarray.
 
This morning when I visiting dad for coffee, we talked about that day and how much fun I had. He said that aunt Doris had told him how much she enjoyed watching me have fun and get dirty. Hands down that was one of the best days of my life. Aunt Doris made me feel so comfortable and accepted. She made it feel natural to walk outside the boundaries of what was normal for me. The thing I remember most, was just a kind, gentle spirit which left a forever impression on my heart. My sweet aunt passed in her sleep to join her husband, siblings, and her children that passed before her. I have no doubt that she feels right at home which is fitting because that is how she made others feel.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Urine Funny

Everyone copes with life's mishaps and hurdles in different ways. My coping mechanism is humor.... Sarcastic-ish humor, but not in a mean way... In a humorous way.... Well humorous to me and select others who appreciate a good pun or light hearted fun. My son told me once that God would rather me be righteous than funny, which I thought was funny since God created me and my sense of humor. I'm tempted to say I can't help myself, but that wouldn't be owning my humor. I guess if I tried really hard and had some duct tape and bailing wire handy at all times, I might be a little more successful in keeping my sense of humor in check at inappropriate times. The thing about it is, it happens so fast.... It's like the cartoon bubble is just forming over my head encapsulating the words that are already out there and I can't (hard as I might try) take them back.... So, I just own it. The latest example is as follows....

Our Alaskan vacation ended with my husband spending the last leg of the cruise running a dangerously high fever. That's it, nothing but this crazy fever and all the aches and pains that go with it. We still had 3 days left, so I meandered around the ship by myself spending a great deal of time in the piano bar, huddled with my sketch pad and pens. When we got home he continued to feel horrible and the second day even he agreed he needed to go to the hospital. Long story short is we got him to the ER not one second too soon. Apparently he had developed a bladder infection, that traveled to the kidneys and ended up septic which is a very severe condition. He spent 4 days in the hospital and was finally released, weak as a kitten and looking like he had lost 20 pounds. Seriously, he is the only person I have ever know that comes off a cruise having lost a lot of weight. Why can't things like that ever happen to me. I would have gladly taken his place and  viewed the whole deal as a jump start to a much needed diet. He was scheduled to see a specialist a couple of days after he got out of the hospital. I went with him to the appointment and listened as the doctor described a procedure he wanted to do which involved running a scope into his bladder (I'll let you decipher how he intended to get the scope to the bladder), so he could see if there was an issue that needed to be addressed. Needless to say, Mike was not excited about the whole ordeal, but the doctor assured him that he would prescribe him medication so he would be relaxed going into the procedure that would be done in his office. He also described what he called "Vocal Local" meaning he would be talking him through the procedure, explaining what was going on, therefore taking his mind off of what was actually taking place. So the day of the procedure came. He was anxious that the medication wasn't taking the edge off the anxiety, but his speech was a little slurred so I thought it was doing it's job. They put us in the room and stuck me out of the way (physically speaking). The nurse prepped him and the doctor came in and asked how he was feeling. Mike told him he didn't think the medicine had worked because he was really anxious. Then the doctor said...."Remember me telling you about the "Vocal Local"? as he patted him on the shoulder.... I stifled a snicker that wasn't as stifled as it was meant to be and the following words tumbled through my brain and right out my mouth..... "So does that make you The Penis Whisperer?"..... I mean... Where did that even come from? Well, I will tell you.  In a Nano second my mind went directly to the hypnosis sessions I listen to when I am fighting my insomnia.... Which led to the thought of whispering, which led to the movie "The Horse Whisper", and that's when I thought I was muttering under my breath, but it ended up being way more overstated than a mutter. As soon as the words were out, a very chilly breeze sucked every bit of oxygen out of the room and even though his back was to me, the doctor froze in place, gathered his thoughts (and was probably furiously groping for an adequate come back) and could think of notta.  His nurse chuckled under her breath but quickly sucked it in as he said.... "I didn't hear anything".... I know, I know, it was a very un-righteous thing to say, God forbid, but come on, you gotta admit it was a little funny. I sat as quite as a church mouse during the rest of the procedure. I felt like I should be sent to the principal's office.  I got a brisk cold shoulder from the doctor as we waiting for Mike to get dressed so he could discuss his findings with us. I didn't say a word to him.  I intently read my National Geographic and he typed away on his computer. The tension was very.... Tense. In case you're wondering if I apologized.... No, I did not. I wouldn't have been able to do so with a straight face. On the way home I told Mike that I hated it when people didn't "get me". Then he said the most perfect thing possible.... "Your sense of humor is one of the things I love the most about you.... I always have." Now that's a man who gets me.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Is it Asking Too Much

Earlier this week an event occurred in the house. Although I didn't witness it, I automatically blamed it on the cat. With no direct evidence, I put certain behaviors and past incidents together and came to the conclusion that he had to be the culprit. Tonight a similar event occurred and there was no doubt the cat didn't do it. When I added 2 and 2 together, and saw the evidence, it had to be the dog. I scolded Walter for being a dumb head and apologized to the cat for wrongly accusing him of something he did not do. He was so gracious in accepting my apology. As I headed back upstairs, I thought to myself that surely I wasn't the only person in history to apologize to an animal. If that is true, and others do apologize to their furry friends when we jump to conclusions, shouldn't we be willing to apologize to non-furry friends when we falsely accuse them of something, or treat them in a harsh manner?  Oddly enough, you rarely hear of people apologizing to others, myself included. I think we are so shackled by pride and self-righteousness that we can't simply bring ourselves to say..... "I over reacted, please forgive me" or "I was wrong, please forgive me." A few years ago, one of my kids told me that I had a hard time apologizing to them. Since then, I have made a conscious effort to be more aware when I have crossed a boundary (assuming it's a boundary I know I've crossed), and have been more forthcoming with a needed apology. Just a little food for thought.... How quick are you to apologize? If people can be kind to pets, shouldn't they have the capability of being kind to people.... Or is that just asking too much?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Men in My Life


This weekend I celebrate three very special men in my life

My Father: When people ask me about my Dad, I tell them that he is the closest thing to a saint that I know. He is the most kind, energetic, loving person I have ever met. He is my leading man because I grew up knowing without a doubt that I was loved unconditionally. He showed me what to look for in a husband by being an example of how a man should treat a woman. He showed me what it meant to love sacrificially. He continues to show me what it means to have, not just a good work ethic, but what it means to have a happy to serve work ethic.  He is the first man I ever loved and he is one of my best friends. He is my drinking (coffee drinking) buddy and I cherish each and every day he is in my life. I can’t imagine life without him.


My Husband: Mike is very close to being a saint as well, mainly because he puts up with me every day and he seems to actually enjoy it. Like my dad, he loves me unconditionally and cherishes me like most women only dream of being cherished. He is kind, gentle and never lets a day go by without telling, not only me, but our 3 children how much he loves them. He also has a work ethic that is seldom seen in our society. He is patient and slow to anger and I adore him. I am so blessed to for him be a father to our children, and Pop’s to our grandson. I am a luckiest girl to get to grow old with this precious man.

My Son: Who knew this energetic little guy would grow into such an amazing man? He has the ability to talk me off the edge in a nanosecond. There is just something about his gentle reason and calm demeanor that settles me when I am two breaths away from an anxiety attack.  He is a man full of wisdom and thoughtfulness. It has been a blessing to see him transition from my son, into a husband and a father. His playfulness has always made him a kid magnet, and to see him with his son is a true joy. He is a wonderful hands on dad and a loving husband. He is a blessing to everyone he comes in contact with, and he makes me so proud I could just burst. When I look at him I know there is hope for the next generation.

Beyond these three men are others who have mentored me, pastored me, friended me, and blessed me. They are too numerous to count, but in my heart I thank God for each and every one of them and the blessing they have been. If you want to be great, surround yourself with great people… I have a great life because it is filled with great people. Happy Father's Day to the men in my life, and thank you for making a difference in this girls life.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Nuggets of Gold

The Alaskan cruise wasn't just about the places we visited, we had a great time while we were on the ship as well. Since the cruise was a 35th wedding celebration for both couples, one night our waiter surprised us each with a heart-shaped fudge treat which was too sweet for even my sweet tooth.  They made an announcement over the intercom about..... Well, I can't exactly say what they said because I wasn't paying attention (imagine that), but whatever they said lead me to believe the wait staff was going to sing or something. Imagine my surprise when our waiter reached over and took my hand. My eyes must have been as big as saucers when he gestured for Mike and me to dance to "That's Amore". I resisted at first.... I mean, I'm not one who enjoys being in front of a crowd unless it's my intention to do so, (like when I did a play with our local theater). But, even more surprising was my quiet husband's reaction. Mike is 10 times worse about wanting to keep a low profile and avoiding the limelight than I am. I was stunned when he didn't skip a beat and immediately took my hand and began to dance. When he saw my discomfort he tried to calm my nerves, and asked why I was frazzled.... "Because I wasn't expecting this" He laughed at my hesitation and asked..... "Do you know why it doesn't bother me to dance in front the entire dining room?" .... "Yes, I would love to know the reason for that!! You usually hate this kind of thing." He laughed and said.... "Because, see all of these people? I don't know any of them and I will never see them again, so Honey Badger just doesn't care." I had to laugh at that, because Honey Badger is our favorite YouTube video in spite it's irreverent language. I finally relaxed and enjoyed the moment. I was made more comfortable when another couple seated a few tables away were put on the spot. When they tried to resist the spontaneous dance, the waiter brought them over by us and instructed them.... "Just do what they are doing." Regardless of the amount of urging and encouraging, not everyone could be positively influenced into letting their hair down, metaphorically speaking. All I can say is those who didn't missed a great opportunity to create a moment to be remembered. Those little moments will be  forever treasured like nuggets of gold.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Princess Vacation Diaries.... Victoria BC

And then there is the crown jewel of them all. Most people do not go on an Alaskan Cruise only to be excited about the chance to visit Victoria BC.... Or, maybe they do. Maybe it's the name..... Or, maybe it's the fact that when a co-worker went, she said they hired a driver to escort them around in a car like they use for the Queen. When I heard that..... I said..... "Oh, I could totally wear a tiara".... I can hear you say.... "Oh, no, surely she wouldn't" To which I can  assure you.... "Oh, I totally did!"  I found the website with that particular car and Doretta arranged for the driver to pick us up at port and give us the grand tour
of Victoria. This was the best experience ever. Well, maybe not ever, but it was pretty high on the list.  First of all, Gilles P. Proulx, the owner of the car picked us up and treated us like royalty. The car is a 1990 Daimler Limousine. Mr. Proulx put American Flags above the headlights in our honor, which I thought was a thoughtful gesture. This Gentleman, and I say that with all sincerity, went above and beyond to share his passion and love for Victoria with us. From the minute he picked us up, he gave us as much information as possible about Victoria. He answered every question without hesitation.... It was as if
Victoria was a breathing part of him. Doretta and I had discussed prior to our trip whether we should visit the Butchart Gardens. We were only in Victoria for 4 hours so we decided against it. Mr. Proulx encouraged us to go, even though it would be dark. He walked us to the gate and handed us a map. He told us exactly how long he thought it would take for us to have an adequate tour and said he would be waiting for us when we returned. It was twilight when we walked into the gardens, and immediately we were in awe.  Truly there are no words to adequately describe how beautiful and serene it was. The beauty was so intense, it felt like we were in a Disney movie.  As the sun set, we found the surroundings just
as beautiful and surreal due to the use of lighting which only enhanced the experience. We followed the map and were very disappointed we didn't have more time to linger. I kept telling saying.... "Oh, how I wish Daddy could see this.... He would love it" With each twist and turn, we found another surprise. The sunken garden caught us off guard. We walked up to it and found the center lit up with a beautiful fountain of water and lights. The Rose Carousel like something out of a fairytale. It was made of
intricately carved animals, painted in vivid colors. When we wrapped our tour, Mr. Proulx was waiting for us, just as he said he would be. We continued around other parts of the City as he explained the history and answered all of our questions. My husband and I wanted to see Craigdarroch Castle while we were there. We knew it would be too late to tour, but we wanted to drive by. Mr. Proulx not only drove us by, he stopped and explained the history behind it, then he offered to take photos. We walked around the Castle and when we came back to the front, he said..... "Princess, it's getting late, we had better
get you back to the ship before you turn into a pumpkin." He was too much of a gentleman for me to suspect he was hinting that maybe I had visited the chocolate buffet one too many times while at sea.  I was sad to leave. As we drove back to the ship, he continued his tour and stopped to take pictures for us. I have a  bit of a time phobia, or maybe it's abandonment issues even though I've never been abandoned.  Regardless, when I saw the time I was anxious. He assured me we would be back to the ship on time. He
was absolutely right. As we were walking up to the ship, they began to take down one of the boarding ramps.... I was very close to having a panic attack, but my husband calmed me down, telling me they wouldn't leave us when they could see we were coming. He knows me well.  He could tell I was within seconds of..... "Having kittens" as he calls it (my panic attacks). Our visit to Victoria was the best memory of the trip.  Mr. Proulx's  passion was so infectious, it made us all want to visit Victoria at a time when we could stay a while. Victoria in itself is a vacation fit for a princess.
 
 
 
 

 



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Girls Gone Wild in KatchMeIfYouCan.... I mean Ketchikan

Our final Alaskan port was Ketchikan. Mike was so sick with a raging fever, there wasn't a discussion as to whether he would get off with us, and strangely, my cousin's husband (Jerry) decided to hang back and stay on ship as well. If I were an offend-able person, which I am not, I might think he didn't want to spend the day with me sans Mike. Fortunately, I know how exactly much Jerry enjoys spending time with me. He doesn't show it in a visible way, but I can read between the lines and see there is joy bubbling in his little heart whenever we are together. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over. Doretta and I were excited to have some good ole' girl time. We hitched a free ride on the downtown bus, which to the Totem Heritage Center. We enjoyed the beautiful gardens. When we finished walking around the gardens, we caught the bus and went back downtown. Since the day we landed in Seattle, both of us had been craving crab legs. Both of our guys thought we should wait until we could got home to Red Lobster to eat crab legs. Since we had no adult supervision, we decided to treat ourselves to a crab leg feast at Annabelle's Keg 
and Chowder House.... It was delish. We walked around downtown before getting back to the ship a little early. We had a great time together, as we always do. We were a little sad, although not visibly so, that they guys missed the whole girls gone wild in KatchMeiIfYouCan... I mean Ketchikan. But a girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do, and in this case it meant a family bonding moment for me and my favorite Cuz.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Big Chill at Glacier Bay

Day 4 of the cruise meant we had been staying up later than usual, so it wasn't a mystery that we had a hard time getting up and around that chilly morning. We went on deck and watched in wonder as we passed through icy waters and into a winter wonderland. We saw whales jumping for joy, bears scavenging the rocks in search of moths, and a seal happily lounging on a floating piece of ice. The Captain dropped anchor so we could sit and watch for a while.... That's when I noticed Mike, who is typically close to my side, suddenly missing. The deck below me was the "Serenity Deck", which offered hammocks and covered lounge chairs. Mike and I had taken a nap the day before on a hammock. It was a little chilly, but we found blankets and pillows at the bar which made the isolated hammock the perfect lounging
place on a chilly day. I walked along the deck peeking through the holes in the back of each lounge chair, searching for Mike's feet or green hoodie. Finally I found him curled up watching the glacier calve into the water below. The glacier is beautiful with a perfect mixture white, gray, and hues of turquois spun carefully between the layers like icing on a cake. I was fascinated by huge holes that looked like turquois secret caves, just beckoning to be explored. The Captain said we would stay anchored for an hour or so, so I curled up beside Mike to watch the show. The crackle of ice breaking away echoed through the bay, then splashed to the water below... It was a chilly spectacle of wonder. Mike wasn't his perky self, so just before we set sail again, I suggested we go inside for a quick nap. During our nap I notice Mike was so hot that his touch practically blistered my skin. I crept farther and farther to the other side not knowing he had experienced more than a slight chill during the ice show at Glacier Bay.