Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking back at 2011


I entered 2011 with a word for the year, I felt the Lord directing me to the word "found".  I knew in my heart that I needed to be found changed in many ways.  I longed to be changed spiritually.  My life was in a dry place and renewal was one of my hearts deepest desires.

Today as I look back I can see huge changes that occurred throughout the year, not just for me, but my family as well.  Some things we walked through were pure joy and some were very full of pain.  Through it all I truly have found myself walking closer to the Lord, thankful and very full of hope for the new year that lies ahead.  I am counting my blessings and naming them one by one.


Our family was blessed with a year like none other.  Over the past ten years one or more of our daughters has lived out of state.  This year we enjoyed more visits than ever.  We started things off with an unexpected trip home from Beto and Lindsey in February.  They spent a few days here in Michigan getting a taste of winter weather.  This was a first in all the years they've been together.

In March we took a much unexpected trip to Dallas to be with Jenna after the breakup of her engagement only two months before her wedding day.  It was a difficult trip, but one completely set in motion by the Lord.  The month of May brought us back to Dallas, along with my 81 year old parents, to spend the week that would have been Jen's wedding.  We did plenty of celebrating that there was no wedding.  Along with the heat of summer August brought Dave back to Texas for two weeks of work and time to see the kids.

The fall brought us to Chicago to help Alfred and Alicia move in preparation for Alfred starting school for nursing.  After winning a free flight through Orbitz on Twitter we booked a flight for Dave as well and made a September visit to the Lone Star state for a few more days.

In November we found ourselves on the road for a 17 hour road trip for Thanksgiving.  This time the entire family, all five kids, Dave and I were together.  Although we were only there for about three days it was wonderful!

I never dreamed we would be so blessed to all be together again for Christmas.  All five kids came home!  It's been years since we've all been together for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My heart was bursting as I sat and looked at my entire family around the table on Christmas night.  My parents joined us as well and the tears fell as Dave thanked the Lord for everyone being together.


My photographer daughter knows the joy it brings to me whenever I get new pictures of my family.  Since we are so far apart the photos are treasures to me and I have them all over my  house.  Our Thanksgiving trip was the perfect time to grab a  photo shoot.  Christmas brought me a wonderful assortment of new pictures for my home thanks to Lindsey Joy.

Dave and I have had a good year.  Although the pain of being apart from Jenna during one of the roughest times in her life was huge, we saw the Lord peeling layers of blinders from her eyes and bringing her into a new and better life.  We found a new church to attend and after years of being one of thousands we are now two in the midst of what I call our church family.  This has been a huge answer to my prayers.

I am more than blessed to have such a wonderful guy by my side.  He sees me through the good and the bad.  There is no one I'd rather walk through this life with.  He loves me so unconditionally that at times I feel so undeserving.  He loves his kids and is a devoted dad.



Beto and Lindsey have had a year blessed with their business growing and continuing to prosper.  They love being photographers and do an outstanding job at it.  We couldn't be more proud of their hard work and talent. They have been married for more than six years and are totally and completely in love.



Alfred and Alicia have had a year jammed full of work, school, work and more school.  Alicia continues to thrive at her job at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.  Her long commute baffles me, but she never complains.  Alfred has just completed his master's degree while working up to three jobs around the clock.  This next year will be a whole new challenge as Alfred has been accepted to nursing school, another answer to many prayers.  They have been married over three years and are also a beautiful mirror of what love and marriage should be all about.

Jenna's year has been so life changing it's hard to put into words.  After getting through the breakup of her engagement she's found herself busy with work and attending the University of North Texas.  She's happy and thriving in her life.  We look forward to seeing what's in store for the new year for her.  She will be moving back in with Beto and Lindsey in a couple of weeks while she's paying for college.  We feel blessed to see her life heading in a good direction and to know she has family that loves her and are there for her during this season in her life.  We miss her like crazy.

Here we are at the end of a very full year.  I feel as though the Lord has filled my cup to overflowing.  The moments spent with my family have been the ones that have seen me through.  I've learned to live life and enjoy life with my kids all far away, but there is still nothing as sweet to a mom's heart as being with her family.

I am thankful for the blessing of family, the most important thing to me. It's a crazy bunch we have filled with much laughter and love.  I'm so thankful for sweet memories to keep me going until whenever the next visit might be.
Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you have found yourself changed during 2011 and may you find all that the Lord has ready to bless you with in 2012.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A little lack of sleep, lots of food, and a full heart

Last Tuesday at 2AM we peeled our eyes open, showered, hopped in the car and headed on a road trip.  The excitement was so strong that within about an hour I had drifted back to sleep as Dave drove the car south for our 17 1/2 hour trip to Dallas Texas. I am not a morning person so sleep was the best place for me to be.

We passed this brand of truck many times and I snapped a pic because it's my dad's name.  As excited as I was to be with my family in the south I would be missing my extended family back here at home.

The weather was good the first part of the drive and the only downer was that I was fighting a migraine.  I ended up sicker than usual and I'm sure the lack of sleep and stressing over leaving my job at the holiday were the cause of it.  Bless Dave's heart for being so great and driving the entire trip without a single complaint.  He's always so good to me when I'm battling head pain.

We hit some rain along the way, but still made good time stopping only to get gas and take the much needed restroom breaks.

We had hoped to stop in Wagoner, Oklahoma to see our friends Susan and Mickey, but I was just so sick.  Bless Leigh Ann's heart for letting Susan know we would not be stopping on the way down.  I had to laugh how I connected with a friend in Pennsylvania to let a friend in Oklahoma know that we would not be stopping.  Crazy?  Maybe so, but it worked.  (Thanks again Leigh Ann)

We did snap a picture of the Wagoner water tower just to prove we were really there and also of the MacD's were we met Susan and Mickey two years ago on our quick stop while heading to Texas.  See Susan, I really was thinking about you.

We arrived at the kids around 7:30ish PM on Tuesday night.  Beto, Lindsey, and Jenna were waiting for us and ready to serve us up some hot homemade soups which were so yummy after eating on the road.  The next day Alfred and Alicia flew in from Chicago.  I almost couldn't contain myself that the whole family was together after three years.  I didn't want to drive everyone crazy so I tried to just keep my enthusiasm to myself.

Later that day after much wardrobe deliberations by the girls we headed to a gorgeous spot to do some family photos.  Our last family picture was taken at Alfred and Alicia's wedding over 3 years ago.

Lindsey and Beto set us up and got everyone in order.  I had my little point and shoot along just to capture a few candids.  The good photos are yet to be seen.  Lindsey's working on that right now.  I wanted separate pictures of the kids as couples and of Jenna.  I haven't had a new photo of her in some time. She likes to change her look so my current ones don't really look like her.


Beto has found a love for Dave's medium format camera that he used for many years.  It shoots film and Beto has been having fun with it.  Film, it's a thing of the past, but a new thing for our kids.  It's like listening to albums on Beto's turn table.  Huh, I thought those things were antiques?  Yet our kids love the record player.  Go figure.


These two have been married for over six years and are still crazy in love. 


Alicia took over the digital to photograph Linds and Beto while Dave got his hands back on his film camera and snapped a few shots.  I loved watching them in action.  Notice the color on the trees.  Michigan has only bare branches at this point waiting for snow to cover them.  Oklahoma was beautiful and spots in Texas as well.


The whole gang.
FINALLY, me and my girls, Alicia, Lindsey, and Jenna.  Yes, this was my greatest blessing and I'm so thankful for each one of them and how very different they all are from each other.
David and his oldest daughter, Lindsey Joy.  The two photographers being photographed by none other than me.
We moved from that location just down the road to the lake.  It was beautiful.  I never knew there was a lake close to where the kids live.  What a great sunset.
David and his daughters.


 My girls, youngest to oldest.  Jenna is not really that much taller, she just had on high heeled boots.  My girls are all quite tall, but pretty even in their heights.


After photos we headed to dinner.  The place we wanted to go to was closed so we went next door to Tillman's.  We had been there before, but not Alfred and Alicia.  The meal was great and the dessert consisted of making your own smores at the table with all homemade ingredients.  Such fun!



A couple of nights Jenna stayed overnight rather than driving all the way to her place.  Thanksgiving morning was a busy time of preparing food.  Jen and Alf got the job of snipping the beans.  Trust me whatever you do with Alfred is an experience.  He is crazy funny and always kept us laughing.  Yeah, he looks all innocent here, but I rather doubt he was that intent on those beans.
Alicia was busy making homemade biscuits in the kitchen.  My family has a tradition of eating biscuits and gravy and it's now a tradition for my girls as well.
Beto and Lindsey getting ready to carve the bird.
Someone in the family LOVES her mashed potatoes.  We had red skinned potatoes this year and I think someone ate them all.  Did you Alicia?  Actually she had her own plate due to an allergy and couldn't eat them prepare the way everyone else's were made.

Dinner was outstanding.  My girls did all the cooking and I was the head cleaner-upper.  That worked pretty well in my book.
Beto's dad joined us as well since his wife was not able to be there.  We snapped the picture before he arrived.
We really enjoyed our time with the kids.  I could have taken tons of photos, but I think these were enough.  The kids spent some time playing Settlers of Catan.  We did a tiny bit of shopping including Black Friday morning for Alf and Alicia.  The rest of the time was just hanging out and having fun together.

Saturday morning we all went out to breakfast before we hit the road for home.  Lindsey came down with tonsillitis on Thanksgiving night and was a real trooper despite a fever and sore throat.  She headed to the doctor right after we left.
One last photo snapped at the restaurant, Alicia and Alfred.  I snapped a few more, but Lindsey was just not feeling well and Alfred was misbehaving on all the rest.
I was not happy to be leaving my family behind.  Actually this is my, "Your mother is getting frustrated with you" look, but Alfred didn't really seem to even notice, LOL.  It was all good fun.

Our long trip to Texas was over all too fast.  Three full days together was far better than spending the holiday without any of our kids.  Although I felt a ton of stress leaving my job during the holiday time my husband knew that getting me to Texas was the only way to have a happy wife.  He was right!  Some things in life cannot be done over.  A holiday with the entire family just never works for us since we all live apart from one another.  This Thanksgiving will be one to hang on to.  We, as a family, never really know when will be the next time we see each other.

I look forward to Christmas in hopes of having the kids all home for at least a few days.  Nothing is quite set in stone yet other than Jen has her plane ticket bought.  I will just try to relax and let it come as it may.

I hope you all had a blessed holiday whether you were with loads of family or none.  I've learned over the years that being together is best, but it's not always doable.  I'm thankful that God in His goodness allowed the plans to be carried out and memories to be made to cherish for years to come.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The pet food aisle

Have you ever wondered why your path crosses the paths of certain people?  I often pray for the Lord to direct my steps and to allow my path to cross with those that might need me in their life at that moment or I might just need them.

Today I was out and about getting my hair beautified and then running a quick errand to Meijer’s to pick up some ingredients for our dinner tonight.  I really didn’t feel like chasing into the store, but knew the next two nights would find me busy with work which usually means a quick and easy meal or take out.  I knew that tonight had better be my night to cook something substantial.

I quickly roamed up and down the aisle trying to complete the list in my hand.  I rarely shop Meijer’s and don’t know where stuff is, but it was on my way home and convenient.   One huge mistake was going in the wrong door needing to use the bathroom only to find it was on the other side of the building.  I decided to try to hold off and get out of there ASAP.

Once I had all of my cooking ingredients I headed for the pet aisle.  Why not get the cat stocked up as long as I was in the store?  I found the food she likes and knelt down to study the labels making sure I bought the right stuff, finicky cat anyway!

Before I knew it an older lady with a cart filled with cat food began yacking my ear off.  She asked what kind of food my “cats” like.  She wondered what kind of “cats” I have.  I politely answered her and started to concentrate more and more on my need to hit the potty.

I started talking to myself in my head as this little old woman told me a very long and drawn out story about having two cats, their ages and habits along with the detail about her dogs.  “Gotta go, gotta go” was all my head was screaming.

She finally shared how they had taken in a stray cat.  The dog was sick and it was necessary to put pills in his food.  The stray began eating the dog’s food only to end up at the vet with a $1800 bill.  OUCH, big bill, OUCH, gotta go!!!

I smiled and tried to act interested.  I wondered if she was just a nut or very lonely lady just needing someone to talk to.  I was not about to tell her that I was on the verge of wetting my pants.  I made the mistake of telling her that my cat had just seen the vet with a urinary infection costing my $200.  Little did I know that she would then share how she, herself, had a urinary infection since July.  She freely shared about her meds and visits to the urologist in detail.  Trust me, talking about all this urinary stuff while needing to “go” was about killing me.

I finally smiled at her, told her I was sorry that she had been dealing with this sickness, encouraged her to trust for health and healing, and then wished her a good day with happy, healthy pets.  Oh my!

As I walked away I asked the Lord why in the world this lady needed to be in my aisle while I needed to get “going”.  He gently reminded me that it is not by mistake that our paths cross the paths of other.  He showed me that all things are in His timing and my prayer to touch the lives of others may not always be according to my agenda for the day, but rather it was His plan that needed to be walked out.

I safely made it home, no accidents on the road or otherwise!  I smiled to myself as I clearly saw that even the smallest of things might just be a huge thing to someone else.  I hope my short and unplanned visit in the pet aisle was just what the Lord ordered for the dear old cat lady with urinary issues.  

Isn’t it funny how life works?  I pray that we never find ourselves in so much of a hurry that we fail to be a small blessing to someone in need.  Who knows, tomorrow might be the day that I need a listening ear and I sure hope someone has the time for me…even if they need to get “going”. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reflections

It's been a time of reflection if nothing else.  I've finally been given the chance to go back to my old blogs and save the posts that matter the most to me.

It's been very bittersweet to sit and read about my life and all the transpired over a period of a four years.  My first year of blogging was not retrievable, but the posts that began in 2007 were all there, no photos, but the words that I needed to find were there.

It's been evident that God has shown Himself more than faithful to our family.  We've walked through places that were pure joy: the engagement and wedding of Alfred and Alicia along with many family vacations.  There was a long valley that brought me to my knees in pain and prayer.

It's hard to look back and realize how human I am.  I can see all the mistakes I've made and all the choices that were wrong.  The best part is seeing that even though I stumbled along the path of life, I was never alone nor forsaken. 

The post below was written the fall of Jenna's senior year.  We had no idea what was to lie ahead of us and how much pain we would go through. 

Today I look back with a grateful heart that we made it through that difficult time in our lives.  God has brought me to a new place of hope and belief in the power of prayer. 

From this mom's heart I can say that loving my children has been the easiest and toughest thing in my life.  I can't say I wouldn't change a thing because I would change so many things if I had the ability.  A friend who is battling cancer recently said to me, "I will walk through the valley to get to the other side and plant my flag of victory!"  I can say with a grateful heart that I'm watching my flag blow in the wind.

Reflections

Over the last several days the weather has turned quite cool and the nights feel like fall even though the official calendar still tells us it's considered summer here in Michigan. Once September hits we call it fall, but the cooler days usually don't hit until later in October. The rain has fallen off and on making it damp and just not nice to be outside.

As I look outside my front window where there is a soccer field I see all the little boys in their football gear practicing "rocket" football. Rocket football is for the little guys grades 3 on up. I love seeing them all pumped up acting like the big guys. They clap, hit, run, and stomp acting all grown up. It's just fun to sit and watch them every year.

I can't believe its September already. I'm longing to somehow bring August back. The month came and went taking me by surprise. Things got busy with Alicia moving home. Jenna injured her arm causing her to give up her senior year of tennis. We need the warm days of August to take some senior pictures. It's our last daughter needing senior pictures. No more little pigtails and ribbons. She was so cute with her little pink and blue jacket. Now she is so beautiful and almost eighteen years old. Where did August go?

I love fall more than any other season because the colors in Michigan are glorious, but I'm longing to bring August back.

Jenna, my sweet Jenna...I love you! I love what lies ahead for you. Your future is very bright. I will always long for the days when you sat on my lap and we sang songs together. Jenna, beautiful Jenna, you're the one the only one that I adore. I will cherish this year with you.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

It was one of those days.

I woke up with a nagging feelings of being frustrated.  I was convinced that I had somehow hurt someone I love very much and unsure how to handle it.  Some things had transpired months ago and it was subtly brought to my attention that my words and actions may have left a sore spot.

All morning long I fought the feelings of despair. The funny part was that the Lord was showing up at every turn shouting at me loud and clear.  The sad part was I was not quite ready to listen.

I had plans to get together at night with a group of friends from the Praise and Coffee gang.  Sue had invited some of us over to her place for a night of girl time.  I decided to get up and get busy.  I made my list for the grocery store and headed out.  My heart was heavy and my mind just couldn't move past how to mend something that I really didn't even understand.

I came home and got busy baking to take a little treat along to share with my friends.  I flipped over my daily devotional that sits on my kitchen window sill and found the Lord right there. The scripture spoke loud and clear.  "I have set the Lord always before me.  Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure."  Psalm 16:8-9.  There He was reminding me to set him before me, put him first, and rest secure.  I pondered for a split second and moved on to the ingredients that were scattered on my counter top.

Noticing how quiet it was in my kitchen I headed over to my laptop and found my way to Pandora.  I found a station and headed back to the baking at hand.  The first song that came on was Laura Story singing GraceI had not heard this song before, but the very first line caught me right then and there speaking about my proud heart and my unfocused eyes.

Finally I realized the Lord was trying to get my attention.  I had not wanted to believe that I could hurt someone I love so very much.  I wanted to believe that person was wrong, misguided and not understanding me.  Ahh, I needed to do some soul searching.  I needed to look at my own heart and not try to fix the other person's.

The day went on and soon it was time to head to my night out.  I drove the 45 minute drive finding myself in prayer and reflection.  My friend that was going to ride along with me had to cancel and once again I realized the Lord wanted to speak to my heart.  He knew I needed that time alone in the car to be quiet and just listen.

I was broken.  I needed to drop my pride aside and allow the Lord to pick me up one more time.  He reminded me that my actions were far from perfect, but His forgiveness was far more than any mixed up and confusing situation.  I knew in my spirit that I needed to forgive myself.  I needed to stop allowing the enemy to convince me that I was a loser and unloved because of a situation that neither me nor the other person could control at the time.

Life finds a way to keep us busy.  Our ears get close and our eyes lose focus.  The peace comes when we understand that the Lord never leaves us.  He continues to prick our hearts and minds longing to draw us to Him.  I may fall short of His glory over and over, but if I continue to seek His face I will always walk in the power of His daily sufficient grace.

I am not sure the situation is resolved and I cannot confront this person face to face.  I can only seek the Lord to heal and restore, to give grace unending and patience to trust in His timing that restoration will come.

Thank you Lord for Calvary and the gift of grace that is poured out freely on me day after day.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Just Fishin'

Yesterday Jenna and I were riding together in her car listening to the radio. It wasn't long and a song came on the radio that she had shared with me a short time ago. It was a song about being like your mom. Of course it brought me to crying like a fool. I looked over and the tears were falling from her eyes as well.  We both had to laugh in the midst of the tears.

A little farther down the road and another song came on the radio. It was called Just Fishin' by Trace Adkins. The song speaks of a daddy and his girl just spending some time together. Although the little girl thinks they are just fishin' the daddy knows better, they are making a memory.



Today we said goodbye to Jenna after our few short days in Texas. Right as we got ready to get the worst part of the trip over with she turned on the song. Oh, there's no doubt the tears fell and fell hard.

I couldn't help but be reminded of the years when Jenna was home alone with me and her dad. Her sisters had moved to Texas and it was just the three of us. Soon Jenna began to develop a love of tennis just like her dad.

The two of them spend hours upon hours working on her form, her strength, and her endurance. They ran stadium steps, batted balls nonstop and shopped for girly tennis dresses to make Jenna feel cute while she played.Yup, her daddy was the one to shop with her, not me.

All this time was not just about the game of tennis. As I look back I remember the bond those two formed and how for the first time they really found out that dad-daughter love runs deep.

It's hard to leave our youngest all alone in Texas. We always know the other two girls have their husband to protect, love, and share life with them, but Jenna is by herself. Her daddy is still her protector, her strength, and her pal.

Thanks Jenna for a few days of loving on you, laughing with you, and being reminded that that special place in our hearts is always there for you no matter how far apart we might be. WE LOVE YOU and you will always be your daddy's little girl.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

And so it goes...

There are so many things swirling inside of my head right now.  I wish I could just write it all on here and let it all come crashing out, but I can't.  The feelings that I have involve too many people and it would not be fair to any of them.

There are areas in my life that I wish I had concrete answer to: my job, my daughter’s future, finding a new church, menopause.  Did I mention menopause?  Oh yeah, I guess I already did -  Oh the joy of menopause.

*Pausing to thank the Lord for my patient and always loving husband.  Did I mention menopause?  Sigh*

I've found this stage in life to be madness.  I guess that became evident when I named this blog.  No one really prepared me for what comes along with this glorious and constantly confusing time in life. I find myself grabbing charts at work to use as a fan when the heat rises.  It's comical, sort of, yet oh so frustrating.  Of course it always happens at the worst of times.  Oh well, it's all a part of it and so I press on.

Work has left me confused.  I've worked some extra hours over the summer due to being short handed in our department.  It's always rough for everyone when we are short.  Finding someone new, training someone and all that goes with it are maddening.  It's only my job to fill in the hours, but that's enough for me.  I learned many, many years ago that the good Lord created me to be a part-timer.  I've never functioned well working too many hours.  I become depressed and out of sorts.  Again, sounds a bit like menopause to me.  Menopause, did I mention menopause?

When it comes to being a mom of a single daughter that lives very far away there is no other word to describe it other than madness.  It's hard to give a hug through a text message.  It's hard to show how much you care about her life and all that is happening in it when "I love you" is sent by a text or Facebook messages.  She's an adult, but still so in need of guidance and support.  It's just plain hard.

At least church seems to be something to be a bit excited about.  I've been feeling lost and in a dry place for a very long time.  We have attended an amazing church for over 28 years, but it's grown to be a huge church, like 8,000 people and more.  We've sat under teaching that has been invaluable in my walk with the Lord.  We've watch our kids grow to love the Lord and long to serve Him while being a part of this church.  Now, we are a lost pair in a sea of thousands.  So we ventured out.  We found a little church close to home and visited the last two weeks.  We felt loved.  We felt contentment.  We felt noticed.  Being a part of a church means more than walking in and walking out the doors week after week.  That's where we have been for a very long time.

And so it goes.  My life is filled with feelings of being unsure, unsure about so many things.  Thankfully I can lay it down and be reminded of who holds tomorrow and that I need not feel the need to be the one in control.  There is ONE far, far  greater than I who knows my future at work, at church, and with my family.  He even knows each moment of menopause and has promised to be with me--- even when I walk through the fire so to speak.  (Trust me, some of these hot flashes feel like fire.)  He tells me to not waste my time worrying about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough worries of its own. (Matt 6:34)

Today I thank the Lord that even though my mind is swimming, my heart feels a bit heavy from time to time, and I find myself feeling like a lump of hot dish plopped down on a plate and all mixed up I can rest easy (in spite of the sleepless nights) knowing I really do rest safely in the palm of the One who created me (Jeremiah 1:5), the One who counts the hairs on my head (Luke 12:7), and the One that calls me His own, yes, I am a friend of God...

... and so it goes.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

You are THAT guy!

Standing in the park talking with Steve I looked across to the tennis courts and spotted a group of guys that I knew.  In the midst of them was someone new, someone I'd never seen.  I couldn't quite take my eyes off from him.  He was blond, thin, and looking pretty hot in his high top socks and short shorts.

While trying to carry on a conversation with Steve I found my eyes looking past him and at you.  You were the new guy.  You were the one that grabbed my attention.

Steve, being a great friend, willingly walked me over to meet you.  You seemed kind of shy and sweet.  Most of the guys you were with were loud and loving any attention they could get, but you didn't seem to care for attention.

Months later I remember vividly you showing up at the high school where I was watching a girl's basketball game with Tami.  You sat and talked with us and once again I noticed how very gentle you were and just an all around sweet guy.

More months pasts and finally the day came where you called to ask me out for New Years Eve.  I, already being committed to other plans for the night, regretfully said no.

It was pretty obvious that the Lord wanted our paths to cross.  Even though we went to different high schools we found ourselves sitting together at Mac Donald’s after a guys basketball game and had our first real talk.  You were someone special and my heart strings were being tugged ever so gently.

I know it took years of growing up to see that I needed you in my life.  After all, I was only fifteen when we met.  I finally realized that the gentle, loving, and giving man I had been dating for three and a half years was the man God intended for me to spend my life with.

Today is your birthday. We have shared 35 birthdays together.  Each year I'm reminded of what a blessed woman I am to have you by my side.  You are the best listener in my life.  You always put me before your own needs.  If I need chocolate or anything else you drop everything just to make me happy.

I know this may sound sappy and like all the other tributes women write to their husbands, but I want to make sure you know that God in His goodness graced my life with the gift of you.  There is nothing more wonderful and beautiful than to know how much you love me every single day of your life.  You are my best friend and you make me laugh even in those times when I don't want to.

David, thank you for loving me, working hard to provide for me, and for filling my heart with the knowledge of being safe and secure with you.

May you be reminded in hundreds of ways today of how amazing you are.  May you feel God's goodness raining down upon you from your head to your toes.  Most of all, may you feel happy and content knowing you are loved beyond what can be said!

Happy birthday my love!  I pray that we will have many more years to blow out the candles together.

"For you see, each day I love you more ~ Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It was quite the week!

I had been struggling with a migraine or some type of major head pain. It finally peaked on Sunday and by Tuesday I was too sick to even walk or talk. David ended up talking me to the doctor where I was injected with some type of pain killer.

By the time we got home I was pretty out of it and hit the bed. The pain was totally gone in about a half an hour, but was replaced with six hours of constant itching. On the up side, I was too drugged to really care that I itched all over. In the middle of the night the pain returned full force. So much for that method of treatment.

I woke the next day to find myself taking three naps. Needless to say, I was zapped. I ran out for a short trip to the pharmacy to get some prednisone and to get my hair done. I've been working odd hours and had canceled this appointment once and really wanted to get it over with. Thank the good Lord the girl that did my hair did an amazing job of giving me a head and neck massage as well.  Once I was finished it was right back home to bed.

By Friday I was looking forward to the weekend and heading to the suburbs of Chicago to move our kids. They were heading north of the city to relocate for Alfred's job and schooling.  We decided to sleep at home that night and head out by 6AM for our three hour drive.  Thankfully we are an hour ahead of Chicago.

The kids had worked like crazy getting everything packed up.  By the time we arrived the guys were ready to head out with the U-haul while Alicia and I finished up at the old apartment.

Despite the guys forgetting the keys to the new place it all came together in time.  After lots of hard work we had thing pretty much moved into their condo and it was starting to take shape. 
Cute little kitchen area

Dinner at Big Bowl Thai Restaurant
We decided to call it a day, get a hotel for Dave and I, and head to dinner.  The kid's condo gas wouldn't be turned on for a few days so a hotel gave us all hot showers as well as letting the kids enjoy their new place without dad and mom under their feet 24-7.  We worked hard the next day to get things put away and make their new place feel like home.  It shaped up really nicely!

We went out to dinner that night for some Mediterranean food.  It's always something fun and different when we visit our kids.  There are options for eating that we just don't have in our area.

Monday, Labor Day, the kids surprised Dave with tickets to a Cubs baseball game. His birthday is coming up this week and  He was really excited!  We rode the train into the ballpark, one of my favorite things to do!!! 

Riding the L
Still a bit under the weather, but having fun!
Happy Birthday Dave!

We hopped off the train and headed right across the road to the ball field.
We had some great seats just beyond third base.  I enjoyed watching people, eating a hot pretzel and some peanuts, as well as...oh yeah...watching the game.  I also got the entire low down from the lady behind me as to what shoes would be purchased for her young son to wear to school.  She spent most of the game talking on her phone with someone to make sure the right pair of shoes were purchased.  (Oh brother!)
What's a ballgame without a hot dog?
The score board at Wrigley Field drove me nuts!  It's a classic and has not been updated to a high def big screen.  It took me to the 7th inning stretch to figure it out.  I know it's really cool, but I'm a slow learner.  Alicia was a bit fascinated watching the people turn the boards to change the score.  

Dave had fun making a little video of the "take me out to the ballgame" song that we all had fun singing at the 7th inning stretch.
video
It was a fun day even though the temps had dropped a ton.  We went from hot and sweating while moving to sweatshirts and jeans along with that cold wind that Chicago is known for.  David had fun sportin' his new Cubs shirt that I surprised him with.  When in Chicago we do as the Cubs fans do.  Well, Dave was right there with the Cubs gear while I showed up in pink and stuck out like a sore thumb.
Dave and his girl
Alfred ended up catching a fly ball!  He was pretty excited.  The ball looked like it was coming straight for my head and as I ducked I plowed into the lady next to me. (You can see her right to the left of Alicia)  She was quite the sport and just laughed it off.  The two little boys behind us were a bit bummed that the 6'4" guy in front of them had the advantage in catching the ball.


It was a really fun day and a good way to relax and have some fun after all the work of the move.  Woohoo, the Cubbies won!  We took the train back to our cars and the kids headed north while we hit the road south and back around the lake to Michigan.
Thanks Alfred and Alicia for a fun holiday and for letting us be apart of your lives.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

He always seems to know just what I need

David took the day off from work on Wednesday which is always a huge treat for me to have him home.  Lately I've been in a bit of a funk.  I think I need a vacation from life...or something! 

We woke up to some gloomy weather, but heard the forecast for a nice day and some big waves at the beach.  We packed up our stuff, picked up some lunch from the New York Deli and headed out.

By the time we got to Grand Haven the sun was working it's way through the clouds and the waves were totally out of control.  We were ready to have some fun.



The red flag was flying meaning, "No Swimming", but it doesn't stop people.  We knew the rip currents would be strong and we didn't plan on going out very far.

My husband, always the manly man, started showing his stuff against the water.

He was having as much fun as if he were a kid again!

video


I headed in a bit more timidly....
...but the waves were in total control!
Of course we couldn't go to the beach and not have it feel like date day.  A little "D + G" in the sand felt appropriate.

We needed a bit of R&R after playing in the water.  Wow, suddenly we were both reminded that we are in our fifties and the old bodies aren't quite what they used to be.

Lake Michigan never ceases to amaze me with its beauty.  It doesn't matter if it's summer and hot or the dead of winter and freezing.  It's a beautiful place to behold.
We finally walked the pier and had fun just watching everyone getting pounded by the waves beating along the edges.  These four little guys were giggling their heads off as the water flew up and came back down to totally immerse them.  It was great!
This "boy" wanted to join them in the worst way.  He'll never outgrow being a kid.  I love that about him...most of the time.
We walked the boardwalk and got some ice cream and then decided our day at the beach was about over.  You know I'm having fun when my hair gets wet.  I didn't have a choice.  The waves just took me down.
We headed home and stopped along the way to get a bunch of fresh blueberries and peaches.  I'm hoping to attempt my first peach pie, after all it is my favorite.  I just might make a blueberry one as well.  I would have taken pictures of the fruit, but the camera got drenched.  The car keys were also in someone's bathing suit pocket.  Thank the good Lord they did not end up in the bottom of Lake Michigan.

What a fantastic day!  It might not have been a vacation, but at least for a few hours I totally forgot about life and stress and found good old fun with my best friend!