Wednesday, November 15, 2017

WEEK 3- #graditudetrain -Keeping It In Perspective and Shout OUT to Barbara Owens


I'm full steam ahead on my #graditudetrain. 
(see post week 1 and 2 below if you're wondering what this is all about)
It's been so much fun to see some friends hop on board this with me. When others get on board this train of giving thanks in ALL things it gives me more momentum. Starting this train has truly been like hitting the reset button.

On Thursday of this past week I walked outside to the fresh smell of rain and I was tired, so very tired, but right away I took a deep breath and thought, today is going to be a good day. 
I know it is strange that rainy days invigorate me, but they truly do.
The above pic is our drive way up to the cabin in Washington. 
When it rains here, I can't help but think of this special place that now houses my oldest daughter Emma. 

I needed that rainy morning last week to stop, and pause because the few days prior had been all kinds of rough.

I feel compelled to share the things that have happened this past week that I wasn't so thankful for because, basically they SUCKED!!

First, My dishwasher broke.
(insert full blown crying emoticon here)
Which ok, it's not the END of the world because we have hot water and dish soap and sponges, and hands that work. I was reminded of the 4 years in the cabin where we lived without a dishwasher, or central heat, or more than one bathroom,  and I gotta say  I stopped in my tracks and thought...it's those little things like dishes piling up that can really derail a train of gratitude in a New York Minute!

But beloved reader,  I was determined not to let it.
 
I'm keeping the bigger perspective in mind, and the minute I almost started to be ungrateful I was reminded not only of the cabin life, but of another momma friend of 4 who is battling for her life right now.
It was a moment that I paused and thought, God thank you that I'm healthy enough to stand here, and do dishes by hand for hours and hours if need be. 
It was a true reset button when I thought about how my friend probably wishes more than anything in all the world that she was healthy again and able to care for her clan of 4 kids. 
I give thanks for Barbara because she is a warrior momma who I admire for her strength and courage and humor. 
I paused and lifted up prayers for her and her family and thanked God for her. 

IF you're interested in helping my fellow momma friend click the link below. 
Help Barbara fight Cancer for the 2nd Time

I started thanking God for all the things that are STILL working even though my BLASTED bleepity BLEEP dishwasher is broken!!

Then the place where I work got broken into right before our big Veterans day event last weekend. 
Which for me personally wasn't so bad, but I felt terrible for my boss/friend Mark who had to deal with this in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday. 
I started to think about how in life when you are going about your business something like that can happen and really shake things up. 
They are moments that cause us to pause in all our busy, and hopefully we remember what to give thanks for in those moments.
I felt a certain sense of violation and frustration toward this selfish, stupid person who thankfully didn't get away with a single thing, but still it caused all kinds of other work for us last week that we really didn't need to be dealing with.

Even in this though, I was thankful that nothing was taken, and no one was hurt. 
And I KNOW we did do some really good work for our community this past weekend when we gave away free tattoos to all the veterans as our way of saying thank you for your service to our country.

There are countless other little things that happened this past week that tried to derail this train, but I saw those things coming down the tracks and thought to myself ... NOPE...NOT TODAY! 

We all have those things that come to rob, kill and destroy the attitude of gratitude, but they are nothing more than the Punk Ass Devil messing with what really matters. 
When talking about giving thanks it's important to mention that not all things, obviously are worthy of thanks or gratitude. A lot of things in this life truly are horrible and there are no answers for the injustice. 
But, "in all things" we give thanks. 

Still, I believe there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

I'm not really sure how this works when faced with true tragedy. I don't pretend to have all the answers or even some of the answers, but I know that personally in my life if I look for gratitude in every circumstance I can always find it. 
It might not come right away, but it does come to me.

Again I will say, in this life we find what we are looking for. 

If you look for something in every life circumstance to be thankful for you will find it. 

This "graditudetrain" isn't about ignoring the horrible bad things that happen in life, it's about being determined to not stay there. 
We have to allow for times of grief and sorrow to fully heal. It can't be all sunshine and roses everyday because with out the dark times we don't know how to appreciate the light.

I do believe though, there is something to wrestling our way out of those dark times and the muscle we use to dig out of that pit of gloom is gratitude.  

So there you have it... week 3 here I go !
Keeping my attitude of gratitude and the determination to be a graduate in giving thanks in ALL things... "grad"itude  train for LIFE!!


Monday, November 06, 2017

Week 2 of the #graditude train



Last week on November 1st I decided I would start my own hashtag #graditudetrain on Instagram. 
I misspelt the gratitude(graditude) on purpose for two reasons;
one- so that the hashtag will only have people who come aboard this train with me, and 
two- because grad-itude has the word grad in it which is what I'm doing. 
I'm determined to become a graduate in this life of gratefulness. 

 This is a train that is full of people who want to come against all the negative in this world with an attitude of giving thanks. 
Even, in the midst of hardship and struggle I will give thanks.
"Like the homies on the night watch!" 

I have to admit that for me, this is not a hard exercise of the heart. 
Even though like everyone who has lived on this planet for 2.5 seconds I have experienced hardship and struggle in many different ways , my M.O. or resting stance of attitude falls very easily back into positivity and gratitude. 

For years, I have said I might not be rich in material things, but when it comes to what is really valuable in this life I am beyond wealthy.

The people that I'm surrounded by, and who I have crossed paths with are some of the most incredible people on the planet. 
I feel beyond honored and blessed to know each and everyone of them. 
Much like the above photo of my giant, (aka my husband) hugging my daughter on her home visit from Seattle last month... coming back to an attitude of thanks is like coming home for me. 

I feel the embrace of my creator everyday when I look around and see all that He has given me to enjoy. 
My  heart swells with gratitude for the people in my life. 
This first week of thanks has not only reminded me once again how rich in love my life is, but also how abundantly blessed  I am in the department of relationships.

There are 30 days in this month, and honestly every single one of these days could be filled with a shout out of thanks to certain people in my life that have shaped me. 

Just for fun, let's look at the numbers of my rather large family of origin and marriage.

I have 4 siblings, 4 children, 2 parents,  4 parent-in-loves, 1 husband, 4 nieces, 1 grand-niece, 1 grand- nephew, 6 Uncles, 3 Aunties, 2 brother-in-loves, 1 sister-in- love, countless cousins.... so you do the math! 
In my family ALONE there are more than 30 people to give thanks for, and I truly DO give thanks for them ALL!!
That is just my family that I didn't get to choose, but would choose each and everyone of them if I could. 
Then there are the ones that I call family that I did get to choose. 
My friends who are like family to me and who I choose to walk out life with, my inner circle if you will, I give thanks for ALL of them as well. 

I realize this is not the case for everyone. 

This gives some insight as to why coming home to a stance of gratitude is so very easy for me. 
Even with all of these beyond amazing people in my life, I still struggle (like any human "being" ) does. I put the word "being" in quotes because just being human means we will from time to time fall out of the character traits that we would hope WON'T define us in the end. 

Ya know, like... I mean we all have bad days! 

Days we wish we could push the rewind button and do that part of life over again. 
The great thing about this life though, is that we get to choose to push the reset button.
We might not get to rewind, but we definitely can reset our course. 
So, that is what this month is about for me.
I'm hitting the reset button, and coming home to a place of giving thanks for what truly matters in this life. 
I'm looking up instead of down.
I'm determined to graduate from this life with a masters degree in gratitude!

Who is with me?
 


Wednesday, November 01, 2017

On Being Thankful - Week 1 of the #graditudetrain

I've been really quiet on here. 
Some of that quiet came about because I've been really busy just living, but a good portion is because I've been letting the steam of my inner soul build up again. 
I read this quote on another blog a long time ago, and it never left me;
When the door of the steambath is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes through it; likewise the soul, in its desire to say many things, dissipates the remembrance of God through the door of speech, even though everything it says may be good...Timely silence, then, is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts.

So that's kind of what I've been doing these past several months. 
I've been allowing the steam of my soul to build up again in hopes that I would come back  to share something that would be really good for you all beloved readers. 
That above quote also reminds me of something that my grandmother used to always say to her kids, and then my mother said to me several times as a child, and now of course I say it to my own children; 
"The smart one shuts up!" 
Well, I don't know if shutting up really does make one smart, but I've been working hard to appear real, real smart these days. 

I decided today, November 1st was a good time to get back on here, break the silence(even if I may appear stupid for doing so) and share some thoughts with you all.

You'll have to let me know if all that quiet helped me to become infinitely wiser these past few months? (wink wink)
 
In my quiet I've been contemplating the state of our world at large as well as my own personal little corner in it. 
I've been quietly mourning the tragedies occurring around the world, and at the same time still mourning the loss of my beloved friend Christeeny. In my mourning and grieving I've also been trying to attain a happy balance of gratitude and still have hope for the future.
I'm not faking the happy, and I always have hope in Christ,  but it is very much mixed with sadness at the same time. I feel as though I can't just throw my hands up though, and stop hoping for a better tomorrow because I have 4 children who need to be reminded that there is still so much good in this world. 

(Enter John Mayers song The Heart of Life)

I wonder if anyone else feels the same in regards to seeing how crazy our world is right now and trying to make sense of it all for your children's sake if not for your own sanity?
I know there are some things that will never make sense to me, but I desperately want to try and find a way to help my kids navigate the madness of it all. 

I have decided that to come against all this crazy from a different angle. I'm taking a totally different perspective than all the negative that is so easy to find these days. 
Like that saying, "You can't fight evil with evil" that's what I'm trying to do here. 
Fight the good fight.
Run the race,
and 
Hopefully, Lord willing set a hopeful example to my children of what we do when the going gets rough. 

So today, I break the silence to invite you beloved reader to join me this month of November to get on a gratitude train with me. 
For the whole month of November I am going to post what I'm thankful for in an attempt to  maintain balance and come against the spirit of sorrow, depression, and crazy in our world. 
November is a good time to start, don't you agree ? 
With Thanksgiving on the horizon I want to get on a train that gives thanks even in the midst of madness.
I also know that giving thanks and living in a state of constant gratitude is a muscle you have to work out everyday. 
Some days are better than others. 

I know there are actual studies out there that prove that when you feel the funk of life creeping up on you all that is needed is a good dose of giving thanks.
My friend/pastor shared this past Sunday the very same state that I'm talking about so I know I'm not alone in this. 
 
 
I have a wooden sign in my house that says this;
"There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. "
and I truly believe it. 

Even in the midst of pain and sorrow, heartache, and loss there is always something to be thankful for. 

Today I am thankful for contentment and courage to change at the same time. 

I'm content with where God has me right now and at the same time open to what He might want to change in me for better tomorrows. 
I'm thankful for the state that I live in as well as the state that my heart is in. 
It has taken me a very long time to find this place of contentment, especially in regards to living in Nevada again.
Those of you that know me well, know that it has been a life long struggle for me to find the beauty is this place that I used to disdainfully refer to as 
"Brown Town!" 
I chose that above photo for todays post because, even though I have lived here most of my life and seen that Nevada fence in pictures countless times I never knew where it was located until today. 

Can I get a witness that in this life you find what you are looking for? 

If you look for the good in any situation you will find it , and vice versa. 
I have searched high and low for the good in this state and worked very hard to find the purpose in being here right now. 
I believe I have come to a place of true thanks for this season and the place where I live. 
I'm thankful that I live close to my parents and amazing siblings. 
I'm thankful that I get time with some of my nieces and being a part of their lives is priceless to me. 
I'm thankful for the lifelong friends I have here who have walked along side me, and my family and made all of our lives richer and deeper because of their influence and devotion to us all. 
(My friend/pastor very much included in that thanks)

I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that no matter what I won't look back on this time, on this season, and wish that I would've had a better attitude about it. 

So who is with me?
Let's put out the energy of giving thanks and get on this #gratitudetrain 
 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Back to Building Things

My Giant has gone back to building things for work instead of drawing things on people. 
It's a shift in my home and my heart since we no longer work together for a paycheck.
We continue to work together here at home to raise this awesome family of 3 teens, and 1 young adult that God has given us, but I miss him at my other work place, ever so much. 
That's a blog for another day... today I want to talk about building things.

Several months ago my sister Jenny and I were having a conversation about a proverb found in the bible ;
"Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands."
Proverbs 14:1

Birthed out of this conversation my sister started this awesome blog;
 Proverbs 14 Project
Please check it out if you have a minute or two, but don't go just yet ; )

We talked about what it looks like to build a house metaphorically speaking of course, because neither myself or my sister Jen have real good carpentry skills.
She's a little more handy than I am with a hammer and nails, but we both know
all those building genes were given to our little Brother Greg.

The skills my brother Greg and My Giant have in the department of building things are off the charts.
But for real... Bob the builder has got nothing on these two genius builders!

Again, a blog for another day.

Back to the conversation with my sister Jen. We talked about how even before we were married women we were building in our life a metaphorical house, and even way back when we knew what we wanted that home to look like.
Now, having a young adult daughter who left to go build her life again in Washington, I am thinking about how important it is to have a good foundation in this life, before you go off to build, walls, doors, and windows.

(the cabin before we started building there)

Since our conversation some months ago, I've started reading all the scripture I can find on building....
Come to find out there's a lot of building going on in the scriptures.  
 I hope to kind of unpack the boxes so to speak of what I've been building over here, and what I will hopefully build with words today on this here bloggy poo. 

There is a different kind of building outside of wood and nails that happens from the day you were born until the day you die.  From our early years when we are just learning what we love, what we are good at, what makes our very own hearts sing, to the years later when we decide to build with someone else, if we decide to build with someone else, we are always either building or tearing things down.

I have come to know that in one lifetime there is a lot of building that takes place. 

Whether we build in a business, marriage, or relationships with friends we are always either building or tearing things down.
Right from the start we are building habits in our lives that if they are good can in return build a good foundation for life, but if they are bad will tear us down in the end. 

"Can we Fix it?
YES WE CAN!!"

The things that you say yes, or no to in this life are the hammer and nails of this metaphoric kind of building.
 How they affect your person as well as your soul, and all the people around you become the walls and the doors. 
This makes me 
  wonder have I been the hammer or the nail?
Am I a wall or a door?


For instance, if you are physically active person with sports and exercise your building a body that will hopefully be able to like the song says;  "jump around, jump around, jump up and jump down" well into your 70s, 80s, and Lord willing even your 90s, maybe even your 100s!!

If you are person who loves to study and learn from books you are building a brain that will have a satchel full of information to pass onto to younger generations. 
"Through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family)[*nation] built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation]. 
Proverbs 24:3

The house that these scriptures are talking about is the house of our lives. 
Our bodies. 
Our interest.
Our passions.
Where we live day in and day out.
 
In my young adult years I have been primarily focused on building this awesome family that God has given me. 
It started when I fell in love with a boy named Moses and promised my love and devotion to him at the young age of 19. 
We built for only 6 months before we committed to each other a covenant to be married 6 months later. 
We then had 3 years together before kids. 
Moses btw was the one who wanted to start a family right away... I wanted at least 5 years together just the two of us before adding on, and so we compromised, and 3 years later came Miss Emma Faith
 Oh how quickly we built this family! 
We built 4 babies in 6 years. 
That was a lightening fast build if you ask me... and honestly,  I think I'm still unpacking and settling into that major build. 
(wink emoticon here)
I have been building this house with the help of my genius builder husband and my master builder Jesus for 22 years!!
Whew, thats a whole lotta building !
But, even before I said "I do" at 20 years old  there were those childhood years with my parents and siblings, and even though I didn't realize it, I was building there too.

I would call those childhood years our foundational years. 

This is where we have to learn to build ourselves up, in order to go out into the world and build with others. 
I personally, was learning how to share coming from a family of 5 kids including myself.
I was given the great gift of my faith and the practice of it, and how God plays a role in every detail of my life. 
I was blessed with good foundational years. 
I had parents who encouraged me and really were my biggest cheer leaders in this life. 
They still are!! 
Thank you Mom and Dad if you are reading this <3 center="">

<3 center="">
But, if that wasn't your story your foundation years might look quite different, and at some point you have to go back to those years and re-build the foundations of your life. 

These souls that re-build the foundations of their lives are some of the most brave, and courageous people I know. 

I can't even begin to express the awe, and emphathy I have in my heart for the people who have had to go back and re-build their foundation. They are an inspiration to me, and truly some of my life's greatest heroes.


And now, currently these are the years that I feel I'm on the long home stretch of raising these 4 humans in the ways that they are building their foundations. I know that God has graciously given me, and my Giant these precious souls to guide and lead for life, but they are all quickly approaching the ages where they start leading their own lives. They will make decisions all their own that will shape their futures, and all I can hope and pray is that we've given them a good foundation.

At the same time while continuing to build here at home
many people say that your 40's become the years that you build your financial security. 
You begin to think about the years ahead, and how you might want to retire and stop building someday, and because of the ticking clock of your aging body, there seems to be a scurry of building that happens outside of yourself. 

Because of this I feel as though I'm being pulled in every direction and that I have all these mini- building projects going on!!

Can I get a witness ?

 In all this scurry and building, I have been reminded recently,  that this house here soon will change and already has. 
Physically as each child grows up and moves out and starts building their own house, but also spiritually as my prayers for these precious lives will change and so will the focus of my own life. 

In the process of letting go, and gratefully letting the changes happen, I don't what to tear down what I've worked so hard to build here on this masterpiece called my family.

"Unless the Lord builds the house the laborers labor in vain"
Psalm 127:1

There will come a day when the house we live in will be smaller because there won't be need for a lot of rooms. 
But that doesn't mean I get to stop building.
I don't think we ever get to stop building.
Aren't we continuing to build right up until our dying breath what we hope to spend all of eternity enjoying?

Even grandparents who are in their 60s and 70s are still building for the next generation. 
They are setting an example of what retirement life can or should look like.
Maybe we get to retire from our jobs that pay the bills, but we don't ever get to stop building in this life. 
I don't want to labor in vain on a building project that is not eternal and will soon turn back into dust. 

"[Put first things first] Prepare your work outside and get it ready for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house and establish a home. "
Proverbs 24:27


Once you grasp the idea that everything you do in your life is a part of a larger picture and in a sense building something, you begin to see this even carries over into church, communities, and politics.
 
When thinking about the world at large and this amazing country that I was born in I start to see that even there I have been working toward building something.
I've been reading about things in history and how these nations were built. 
The laws and constitution and what our forefathers wanted to build was a place that was so different from the one they left behind. 
Overtime if those same priorities for building are not maintained then the outcome can be very different from the blueprint that was set before us some 200 years ago. 

(the cabin after some major re-building went down)

The foundation of this house has been shaken once again, and it has proved to me once again that we have a GOOD foundation. 
When life changes whether by a job change, a death in the family or of a friend it has a similar response like the feeling after an earthquake.
All you can do is stand and wait for the aftershock and you hope that the foundation of the earth won't move again. 

Gravity and the ground we stand upon, is something that we all take for granted. 

But when the foundation is not solid and can't be counted on then you begin to question everything. 
You wonder how was this house built?
Thankfully, and with an incredible amount of awe for knowing this at such a young age, I know my foundation is secure. So when the earth shakes I hold onto my anchor in this life and know that this house was built on solid ground.
I wait for the rumbles and shakes to pass and then look for cracks in the walls that might need to be repaired. 
I pick up the broken pieces by the grace of God and move forward without fear. 
 
"According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it."
1 Corinthians 3:10

Long after I am gone, what I have spent my life building with either continue on or like dust just blow away with the winds of change.
I'm taking the time to build well in every area of my life, and when I see areas for renovation I choose to be the hammer and not the nail.

There is still so many more thoughts on this topic that are rolling around, but before this turns into a novel I'm going to just put this out there.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this beloved reader.
Until I have more thoughts to share just know I'm over here singing ;

"Bob the builder
Can we fix it?
YES WE CAN!!"


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Shout Out To All The Dads

Is it just me or does Father's Day sometimes seem to get overlooked?

That is a rhetorical question that I would love to hear from you about beloved reader. 

I'm not sure if it's because summer is in full swing, or just because in this world we live in there aren't as many of you out there that deserve a day to be recognized, (sad but true)  but whatever the reason if you are a dad who SHOWS UP and has continued to SHOW UP since the day your kid/kids were born then I applaud you. 

I see YOU! 


Here are the dad's in my life that I have come to know, appreciate, and applaud.

I'll start with my baby's daddy ;()


When I first met Moses, and before we even were married, or had children of our own I knew he would be a really good dad. 
I watched how he treated my youngest brother Jeremy who was only a little over 1 year old at the time.
He studied him, and observed some very interesting things that Im not sure anyone in our family had ever noticed before. 
When he spoke to me about these observations he said them with love and laughter and not irritation or confusion.
I then watched how he reacted when my other brother Greg borrowed his truck without permission and ruined the brand new bed of the truck by taking it out off- road, and neglected the fact that their was a whole engine in the back of his truck.

He was frustrated, confounded, and  livid...but he didn't overreact.

He simply went and got my young teenage brother Greg and had him fix the back of his truck.

He has always provided a way for our kids to make things right when they go wrong.



He was patient.
He was quiet.
And he was and still is a stellar example of what a good dad figure looks like. 

After we got married and the conversation of having children came up I was astounded that HE wanted children so soon, and even believe it or don't BEFORE I did.
In most relationships that I know of it's the woman who begs to have kids early on, and not the other way around.
I'm still not sure to this day, why he was so adamant about wanting kids so young, but I have appreciated his love and devotion to them ever since.
Many times I chuckle about the fact that people think because I'm the one with the degree in Early Childhood Ed, and the one that was primarily home with them, that it made me the better parent.

But it's kind of an inside joke between Mo and I that we know who is the better parent. 



For the most part of raising this big family of 4 kids I have been the one who had the honor of being home with them, but only because the jobs that I could find have paid me a lot less than what Moses could make. 
(Ahem.. that's a conversation for another day)

There have however been a few times in our family life when I was the one who went to work, and Moses stayed home... and those were the times when it was quite evident that had the tables been turned in our life of raising kids, he in FACT would have made the better parent to stay at home with them. 



I can't possibly put into words the appreciation and gratitude I have for this man I married 22 years ago. The way he parents our children makes me fall in love with him all over again.
There are not many men who can balance it all and be this amazing, but somehow he has found a way  and we are all the better for it. 

------------

Where did this Blue-eyed boy/dad/ wonder come from .... but from another blue eyed boy wonder named
affectionately known now as, Papa Russ.


My father-in-law or in -love as I like to call it, cause 
I'm not in-law... I'm in LOVE.

Raised as not only the oldest in the Scofield family, but THE ONLY BOY....Rusty you amaze me.

With three younger sisters is it any wonder he learned quick how to make his way in the garage fixing things?
My own brother Greg has adopted YOU as the mechanical genius of a dad that YOU are. 
I know he found in YOU a kindred spirit being the only brother of 3 sisters.
*And btw, he tells me to call you more often! (LOL)



I give you a shout out today, because honestly my husband who is the father of my children wouldn't be here without you.
The two of you started out together as just a couple of dudes, and all these years later I still love to see you two dudes together. 
I love hearing you talk of mechanical things that may as well be a foreign language to me. 
Pop you have saved us thousands of dollars over the years because you taught your son how to fix things. 
You taught him to "worry it out" and not give up.


You taught him what it looks like when your teen gets in trouble and you spend every last dime to get him out of it, and back on the straight and narrow. 

I'm thankful for you and today I recognize you for SHOWING UP!
You didn't turn your back on your wayward son in his teen years, and today on this day I appreciate YOU!

---------------------

And then there's my dad...


Oh How I LOVE this man!!

He has shown me what it looks like to be faithful and true to one woman and 5 kids for 47 years. 
He worked every day to provide for said 5 kids and then some more kids along the way that weren't even his own. 
There is not one other human on this planet that I admire more for being true to his family and loving them so well.

My dad was born into a family of ALL boys...


And somehow he managed to raise three daughters who all love and adore him.
He instilled value and worth to us, and never, ever made us feel as though we couldn't conquer the world as women if we wanted to.
It still amazes me that he never batted an eye when it was that "time of the month" and he would buy feminine products just like he was buying toilet paper!
I mean that is a REAL MAN!!
He has loved my mom with such devotion over the years and instilled a trust in her, my sisters, and myself , that not all men look the other way!
He never left my moms side when the house was full and the chaos was more than any man could handle. 
He may have retreated to his man cave there in the house, but he never headed down to the local bar for hours on end with God knows who. 
He came home everyday after work, paid every bill on time, and bought flowers for my beloved Grandma the day before she died because the Bo Sox won the world series. 
The love and devotion that he still has for my mom after all these years is precious to me. 
To hear him talk about her with such love and appreciation for all the years they have been together, well ... it makes me weepy just thinking about it.
He is one of my life's heroes because despite the fact that early on in life he suffered some serious tragedy he never let it slow him down. 
He's brilliant, funny, and truly a devoted father.
Now that he's retired he calls weekly, sometimes daily (wink wink) to check in on his kids, and always lets us know what's happening, and who is going where, and reminds me to call my mom more often. 
*(Apparently, I'm not good about picking up the phone once in a while and checking in)
He doesn't wait for me to call him and check in, although he has mentioned a time or two that he would love it if I did. 
He let's me know that HE KNOWS how busy life is for me right now, and HE picks up the phone to check in.
I appreciate those phone calls more than he could ever know.

With both of these men in my life if I could use one word to describe them it would be;
INTEGRITY.

definition- the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness:

They both have raised their families and taken the role of fatherhood with such integrity, and they deserve this day of recognition.

Happy Fathers Day Moses!
Happy Fathers Day Papa Russ!

Happy Fathers Day Dad!

 
And to all the Dad's who show up with integrity in their back pocket to every game, every band concert, every recital, every wedding of walking your daughter down the isle, every day to work  to provide for all the fun...

You are my life's heroes and I give this SHOUT OUT TO YOU!!

Thank you for making this world a better place. 


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Christine

"Nothing can make up for the absence of  someone whom we love, 
and it would be wrong to try and find a substitute;
we must simply hold out and see it through. 

That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time, it is a great consolation, 
for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us. 
It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap;
God doesn't fill it, but on the contrary  keeps it empty and so helps us keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain. "
Dietrich Bonhoeffer




I remember when I first met Christine.
She was described to be me by my husband as an old High School friend who was a "shit ton of fun!"
My husband doesn't have many people that he would call "friend" from his High School days, let alone anyone he describes as ALOT of fun, so naturally,  my interest right from the start was peaked.
My version of meeting her was that right from the start she felt like family.
Well, and then there is her version, she says I walked out with an Italian woman's attitude hand on my hip and the look of  "best not be trying to crouch in on my man sista," on my face. 
Her version is of course more colorful than I remember. 
We will still be arguing about this first embrace for all eternity ... I told her there might be playback reels in heaven and so that will hopefully settle who's right on this one. 
   But truly, within moments of our first embrace we two became beloved friends. 
We had kindred spirits and a soul sister love right from the start.

I met her when her son Benat was the same age as my oldest son Solomon, only 5 years old.
At this point in her life she had already survived two craniotomies , and seemed to be the picture of health to me.
We instantly bonded over family and the love of our heritages, her's being Basque, mine being Italian.
She taught me the language of passion for life, and a few choice words in Basque as well. 
"Puty Las Wah"- being an all time favorite for the whole clan now.
Translation- Loose Butt to be said after ... well a good loud Fart!!

Shortly after meeting and bonding instantly she attended a women's retreat with me in Lake Tahoe.
We bonded further over our mutual love for the elderly, baseball, babies, wine, the Lake, music, and being moms.
WE may or may not have smuggled wine into that women's retreat... I'll admit to nothing!
I remember falling in love with her heart and soul, and crying out to God for her life, and for that Bitch Cancer never to return and take this beloved friend away from me. 
But, The bitch returned.
We held our breath until the MRI's came in, and I was beyond relieved, and once again astounded that
She kicked it's ass once again.
 
And then it seemed the bitch moved away and left us all feeling a little too comfortable for while.
I moved away and she came to visit first with her whole family and then later she came again for another visit, and I had her all to myself. 
She was wanting so desperately to have a different story.
One that didn't involve death and dying and that disgusting C word!
 We lived fully in every moment of fresh fish from the Seattle waters to the nights out by the camp fire. 

What a treasure that time was. 
She gave me the book Broken Open and she inscribed a love note to me in the front of this book that I will treasure more now than ever before. 
 
We talked about life, death, and all that goes on in between.
In her last months here we had many a conversation about this book Broken Open.
So many of our conversations were about the bigger picture. 
When she came to Seattle the second time to visit, she helped me get my shit organized and slim down the gross amount of hats I had collected over the years, and didn't have room for in my tiny 800 sq ft cabin. 
We laughed until I think I peed my pants and then laughed some more as we tried on every ridiculous hat I had collected over the years.
 
On that trip, and being out of her element of not cleaning house everyday in her own home(she kept the CLEANEST house btw) She was determined to get down to the bottom of my families dirty clothes hamper, which I laughed at and said... "More power to ya sister!" 
You know you're  family when you let someone do your dirty laundry! 
With 4 kids empty clothes hampers like perfectly clean houses, were a distant memory, and almost a myth in my life at that point. 
I'll never forget how happy she was to have an empty hamper even if only for a moment, until kids came in with muddy pants from the rain. 
She was a hard worker, who didn't like to sit still for very long. 
I know she got this gene from her dad and her mom, both of whom she loved with all her heart. 
When I went to visit her only a few weeks after her 4th and final craniotomy she was once again astounding me with her strong will to live, and as she was picking up dog shit in the backyard and cracking me right up about it,  I was astounded at the fight she still had left in her. 
And later when I left that cold day in January I cried, because I knew this was it.
But like wonder woman she just never quit. 
She fought the good fight.
She fought LIKE A CHAMP!! 

On another visit before I came over I wanted to do something, anything to make her feel better... 
She asked me for cookies.
I burnt them. 
We laughed at how here I was trying to help her feel better, and in the end she made ME feel better.
If you met her in that 12 year span that she fought like a warrior against this beast, you wouldn't even have known that she had brain cancer unless she chose to tell you, because she never complained.
Not even ONE tiny bit.

She was not a victim to Brain Cancer but a survivor, and one that spent the last 12 years of her life trying to help others who sit down one day in a Dr.'s office and are told "You have brain cancer." 
Shortly after her first diagnosis of a brain tumor, when most people would have been devastated beyond belief,  she joined a brain cancer forum in the attempt to help strangers process this horrible diagnosis. 
I mean, WHO DOES THAT?
Our warrior woman Christine did.
She was without a doubt a warrior, armed always with humor, hard work, brilliant even WITH Brain Cancer, and she was stubborn as all get out!! 
She wasn't about to let this beat her, or rob her of her time with her son, or tell her what she could or couldn't do.
So she fought, and fought, and fought some more.

I'll never understand as long as I live why she was given the battle she was handed at such a young age. 
But,  I do know that her courage and passion for the short time she was here has forever changed me, and I'm beyond grateful for EVERY moment. 
Every meal.
Every glass of wine shared.
Every song enjoyed together.
Every sunset in Tahoe. 
Every Pig kill in January.
Every warm summer evening on her back porch.
She was and will continue to be a precious gift to my heart.
She gives me hope that even in death you can make others laugh.
If Christine taught me anything its that life doesn't permit us the luxury of time to meet strangers.

She seriously would make friends standing in line at the grocery store. 
When the clouds of grief and sorrow pass and the sun peeks it's head out from behind those dark clouds of a love lost too soon, then is the time to remember that life is for the living.
Her spirit is too big to ever leave us.
In every story that we share and every memory that we have had with her she will continue to be with us and live on in that way.

But, I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is still ALIVE and no longer in pain.

She said she was really looking forward to giving us all some shit down here in her afterlife!
And, Oh what an AFTER LIFE ON EARTH IN HEAVEN she is having now!! 
Anyone who knew her knows that heaven's gates are having one hell of a party right this very moment. 
Thats right I put heaven and hell in the same sentence... and you know what?
It's appropriate.
Because that's what life here for her for the last 12 years was. 
Heaven to have more time with her son Benat... but Hell to live with Brain Cancer for most of his young life.
Now, she is where every tear is wiped dry and there is only good. 
No more pain.
No more sorrow.
No more TRUMP!!
(she would appreciate that last sentence more than I can even express in words)
  
She wasn't a fan of traditional funerals and so she won't be having one if her wishes are kept. 
She asked only that when we found the time, that we would  go to one of her favorite places at Silver Lake and remember her unbelievably beautiful life, that we all raise a glass to this Beautiful Life and all that it entails. 
I will honor her life by choosing to be kind to strangers, loving my family with unwavering devotion, and giving out as many hugs and kisses(on both sides of the cheeks) to as many people who will let me. 
I will scream GO GIANTS at the top of my lungs (even though I'm a Bo Sox Fan) and savor the time around a big long table with good food and beloved friends and family.
 

My life is richer, fuller, and just all around better for having known this amazing soul.
My heart is heavy for her son Benat, Husband Dan, and Parents Annie and Jean Pierre.
Please keep them all in your prayers as they will be living in the gap until they are reunited again with their beloved.
As long as I'm alive here on earth,  I will carry her in my heart and be forever grateful for all the memories. 


Friday, May 05, 2017

New Book/Old Book/ Book Club Via Inter Webs

 I've been thinking about building things lately.
Not necessarily with wood, nails,  and a hammer, but metaphorically speaking. 
Not to worry beloved reader, I haven't suddenly taken up carpentry.
In thinking about building I have realized you need good tools.
One of the tools I was given to build my life early on was the bible.
Many of you know it is a book I love to quote and ponder upon, but many of you might not know that early on in my life the family bible in my childhood home had quite a bit of dust on it and was rarely opened.
Around the time I was 13 years old I realized that my soul needed more than what the words Duran Duran was singing on the radio.
That was almost 30 years ago now (damn I'm OLD)!

 As a Catholic Family I was raised to go to church every Sunday and confession on Saturday, and I was taught by very loving awesome nuns about the 10 commandments and other key scriptures, but it was the bullet point version of faith.  For some strange reason though we never seemed to read the bible at home. So when the dust was blown off  of that  big book I wasn't quite sure what had happened. 
My sister Jen started reading it first and I thought she had entered a cult of some kind.
Then my mom Ellen began to read it, and I couldn't even ask her for money to go to the movies with out her quoting something from the good book....
I also want you to know that when I first started reading the Bible it confused the Hell out of Me!
Literally I suppose the HELL was coming out of me.. (insert laughing so hard you cry emoticon here)
but for real, it is a confusing book and I get that. 
It's also a very large book, in fact it is a book that has several books inside it.
Books upon books upon books.
When I read the bible for the first time, not like in Sunday School but in the comfort of my splash painted teenage room with hand prints and music notes all over the walls I had SO many questions. 
I know see what a gift it was to have this incredible tool in my life at such a young age.
 However, I realize that many people are still so confused, bewildered and really just not interested at all to open that big book and it makes me sad.
I can't stay sad for long...
"Aint nobody got time for that!" 
So I'm happy to report that one of my all time fav
 authors/speakers/storytellers/fathers/husbands/brothers from another mother has published a book to come out this month titled ;
What Is The Bible?
By Rob Bell.
I rarely promote books that I haven't even read yet, but I know in my knower this is one that I personally am going to enjoy, and I think you might too.
I want you to know beloved reader "the why" behind all the quotes I often refer to in the bible. 
And,
I wonder if anyone out there who is reading this might consider reading this book with me via the inter webs and discussing your thoughts on it with me??
If you have ever been interested in reading the bible even just a tiny bit then this book is for you.
If you have been reading the bible and feel you have a handle on it that no one else does and that Rob Bell is a heretic ... then move along this is NOT the discussion for you.
Again I will say;
"Aint nobody got time for that!" 
But if you are among one of many readers I call a beloved reader here and you trust my recommendation for a new book then;
I want YOU beloved reader to take a journey with me and read the Bible in a whole different way.
Or maybe, possibly read it for the very first time?
I'll come back to more thoughts on building after this post, but for now I just want to put this question/challenge/adventure is out there/proposition online for YOU to get this book when it comes out and read it with ME ?
Oh and don't forget to get YER Coffee!!
ANY TAKERS?

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