Monthly Archives: December 2012

 

Isaac, who is the youngest son of my niece, Jenny and her husband, Steve, has always seemed like the quiet one. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that Isaac isn’t all boy. He and his brothers are very rough and tumble. They are always wrestling around, and playing all the tough boy games that boys love. Issac may be the youngest of the 3 boys, but he is no quitter. He will take on his big brothers in any game.

There is one area of Isaac’s life that requires a little bit of a softer touch, however. That is in the area of his little baby sister, Aleesia. You can’t play rough with babies, and Isaac is definitely up for that challenge. Isaac has been the baby of the family for a long time, and he wanted to be the big brother for quite a while now. His big brothers got to be big brothers and now…finally it was his turn. And, think Isaac is doing a wonderful job as big brother.

For now Isaac and his big brothers will have to be gentle with Aleesia, because she is just a little girl, but I think she might want to get busy and grown up tough, because I think the day will come when they will decide that she can handle their type of play. Girls with brothers do tend to be tomboys sometimes…at least until their teens. Then I think Isaac will find himself in charge of making sure nobody picks on her…self appointed in charge.

Isaac is an all around good brother and tough guy, because being the youngest of 3 boys demands that you be able to handle yourself. I remember when he was pretty little, and the older boys still wrestled around with him. I guess with brothers, it’s get tough or cry. Now, mind you, they weren’t mean. It’s just that boys will be boys, and Isaac needed to figure that out right away. And it worked out really well, because all the boys are good friends, and on one thing they all agree…their sister, Aleesia is the best sister a guy could ever ask for. And I think Isaac is the best big brother a girl could ever ask for too.

My mom and her siblings have always had a close relationship, and even if their lives have become busy enough at times, so that it became almost impossible to see each other very often, they maintained a lasting love for their siblings and their spouses. Of course, as with most families, the older siblings and their spouses had more in common with each other than with the younger siblings. Because of that, my family spent more time with my Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George’s family, since my cousins, my older sister and I were close to the same ages.  That said, I remember going out to Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George’s house to play, and always having a great time. Maybe it was that I was so young, or maybe it was because everything always seemed more fun at someone else’s house, but we always had the greatest time.

My Uncle George was always a soft spoken man…at least when I was around. I’m sure that having 5 kids of their own, all feisty, could make a man raise his voice once in a while, but I don’t recall that happening while I was there. I always liked their house, because it seemed so unusual. They had built it themselves, and it had cool and unusual, at least at that time, doorways, which were arched, and a fireplace, which our house didn’t have. There were lots of other things about their house, their own design that I liked too, but I don’t recall what all they were now. It’s been a long time since I have been through their house. All I know is that we always had great adventures out there.

My Uncle George is a handsome man…the kind you think of when you say, tall, dark and handsome, so I can see why my aunt was attracted to him, but there was so much more to him than that. I always loved his quiet laugh, and his gentle ways. He was always so nice. Today, my uncle is 88 years old. He has been a member of my mom’s family longer than any other spouse, and like my Aunt Sandy always says, he is more like a brother than a brother-in-law to her and I’m sure most of the kids. He is the oldest living member of the family now, sort of the man of the family, since grandpa passed away, back in 1980. His childhood was without a family of his own, because he was raised in the State Children’s Home, but for the last 65 years, he has belonged to us…and we are very, very happy about that. Happy birthday Uncle George!! Have a wonderful day!! We all love you very much!!

Yesterday I attended the funeral of my 4th and 6th grade teacher. She was my absolute favorite teacher in grade school, and I had the distinct pleasure and was greatly blessed to get her as my teacher for 2 years, because she switched from 4th to 6th grades the year I got to 6th grade. The strange thing was that I didn’t know she was the same teacher…at least until that first day, because since her first husband had died, she had remarried. So the first time I had her, she was Mrs Clark, and the second time I had her, she was Mrs Lloyd. Her name didn’t matter to me, all I cared about was the fact that I got to have my beloved teacher for yet another year. Nevertheless, I still had trouble remembering that she was Mrs Lloyd now.

While Mrs Lloyd’s name gave me trouble, I had no trouble loving my teacher. She was like everyone’s second mom. The things she said to you were genuine…straight from her heart. She always looked for the best in her students, and she expected to find good traits in each and every one of her students. Because of her faith in her students, as well as her genuine love for each one, we all tried our very hardest to make her proud of us, and because of her encouragement, we knew that we could do whatever we set our mind to. Mrs Clark-Lloyd made us feel like there was nothing we couldn’t do.

The years since I was in 4th or 6th grade have passed quickly by, but my memories of my favorite grade school teacher have never faded. I could see her face in my memory all those years. I think we all have one or more teachers who inspired us to do our very best, and their lessons don’t fade as the years go by. Mrs Clark-Lloyd was one of those great teachers. Over the years, this tiny woman always seemed larger than life to me. She was like an angel of the human kind, who’s faith in God inspired her to instill faith in her students…faith in God and themselves.

One of the first things I noticed about my niece, Michelle, as a baby even, was her eyes. They were beautiful, almond shaped, smiling eyes, that brought a sparkle to her entire face. When she smiled, her whole face smiled, and her laugh was and still is contagious. It’s all part of Michelle’s nature. She has a bubbly personality, and that makes her a lot of fun to be around. She never lacks for friends, because she has such a great personality and a love of life. A smile, laugh, personality, and great eyes, are all just part of the outward beauty that is Michelle, but it is her inner beauty that draws most people to her.

Like Michelle’s art work, her beauty comes from deep inside herself. As an art education major in college, and with only one year left before she will be able to teach, it occurs to me that many of our children will learn to express themselves and their own inner beauty from one of the best. Michelle will be a great teacher, as she has already shown in her work as a student teacher. I was never much of an artist, but I can tell great work when I see it, and Michelle’s art is so beautiful. I would love to be able to create the kinds of beautiful pictures and other art work that she creates with ease.

I understand that Michelle will have to go away to college for her fianl year, and that makes me very sad. I will miss seeing her at church on Sundays, or family gatherings, but I know that it will be a growing experience for her too. I only hope that she will be able to come back her to teach, because I think it would be really sad to have her talents go outside of our state. I think the students here would really miss out if she were to get a teaching position somewhere else. And, I’ll admit it…I would miss her very much. Today is Michelle’s birthay. Happy birthday Michelle!! We love you very much!! Have a wonderful day!!

Today, my niece, Toni will marry her best friend, Dave. I am so happy for both of them. They will be married on a beach in Kauai, Hawaii, in the warm sun, with temperatures around the 80’s. The day will be as beautiful as the couple standing on that beach dedicating their lives to one another for the rest of their lives.

The road to Hawaii has been a road Toni and Dave have traveled over the past several years. I have watched their relationship grow and blossom during that time. They just seemed to click from the start. I have never seen Toni look happier. My beautiful niece literally glowed with happiness. I didn’t know Dave very well then, but I could see how good he was to Toni…how good he was for her, and I liked him immediately. Dave always looked so happy around Toni, and I could tell that she was changing his life forever…they were changing each others lives forever.

So, today is the day…the moment that they will say “I do” and become husband and wife. The excitement travels through the air from Hawaii to Wyoming, because while we are not there on that beach with them physically, our hearts are sharing in the joyous event that is taking place on that beautiful beach so far away. Our minds will wonder if the event has taken place yet, because while we know the day, we do not know the time of the wedding. We look forward to seeing the pictures they will take, and their glowing faces, and then they will go forward as a married couple to spend time seeing the sights and then home to begin their married life together. We pray God’s greatest blessings over their marriage and their little family, and wish for them all the best. Congratulations to you Mr. and Mrs. Chase on this your wedding day. Have a lovely honeymoon. We all love you very much!!

Along about this time of year, my thoughts turn to Summer. I know that sounds odd, since it is almost officially Winter, but since Winter is the season I dislike the most, I start thinking about Summer. The days start getting longer after the 21st of December, so for me that signals the down hill run to Summer. I like being outdoors, but not in the cold weather, so I don’t ski, snowmobile, or any of the other Winter sports. For me, it is hiking in a beautiful, warm, green forest that turns my mood around…and there is just something about making it past that half way mark between one Summer and the next Summer that puts a little skip in my step.

It is at this point that I feel like I can survive the cold, dark Winter, which has not, at least so far, been so cold this year…but then, we are just getting started really. The wind this years, however, is a very different story. What we have lacked in cold, we have definitely made up for in wind. I’m not really sure which one I think is worse, but a good guess by a very small margin would be the wind. After a couple of days of constant wind, I find myself begging for the storm to just get here already!!

Wyoming is, nevertheless, my home, and I don’t expect to ever live anywhere else. I have resigned myself to our Winters, and like every other Winter since I was 3, I will survive this Wyoming Winter too, but I do find myself liking them less and less every year. The Summers here are wonderful, usually just to my liking. We have had some that were viciously hot, and some that didn’t feel like Summer at all, but for the most part, it is a time when I can bask in the sunshine and warmth of the season, and believe me…I do not think of Winter around the middle of June.

When I first met my nephew, Ryan’s future wife, I liked her, but it was early on in their dating and so often you brush those first encounters off. I guess you don’t get too attached, because in dating, there are those that come and go. Soon, however,  it became apparent that Chelsea was the one for Ryan. I think I was surprised at just how fast it became apparent that Ryan was gone on Chelsea. There were a few struggles…such as when she wanted to move back home to Seattle, because we hated to have them go, even though we know that her family felt the same about her living here. Nevertheless, I always liked Chelsea, and that fondness has grown over the years that she has been a part of our family.

I think most of us really come into our own…once we leave our teenaged years behind, and that is certainly what I have seen in Chelsea. She has such a sweet spirit and a wonderful sense of humor. She is a business woman who has worked very hard to bring in a second income for the family while remaining a stay at home mom, which is a top priority with her. She first started out making jewelry, with a flare for the beautiful and sometimes unusual, at Sophisticate Jewelry. She also has a new venture, which is baked goods, at Momma H’s Tasty Eats. I have personally had her muffins, and I highly recommend them.

Chelsea has almost effortlessly worked her way into the hearts of this family, and we all love her very much. She is a good wife and mom, and those two things go a long way toward earning our love and respect, but what warms my heart today is that in the short time that Chelsea has been coming to our church, I have watched her grow spiritually into a strong woman of God. It is a beautiful thing to see. She is in church every week, and many Wednesday nights, literally absorbing the Word of God. Her family is there and little Ethan is always so excited to go to Sunday School, as I’m sure Aurora will be when she is old enough. Chelsea glows with the happiness that can only come from living in the grace of God. Today she did something that many Christians don’t often do. She brought her neighbors to church, and they were excited to come, because she was excited about her church. That is spiritual maturity and continued growth, and that is something to be proud of. Chelsea, I want you to know how much I love and respect you. You are a blessing to our family. I am so proud of you.

We just got back from taking our grandsons Chris, Caalab, and Josh for ice cream. Our granddaughter, Shai couldn’t come because she had to work unfortunately. That seems like such a little thing, but when I see the faces of the Connecticut school shooting, I realize just how thankful I am that my grandchildren are here with me. So many people are hurting right now. Whether they knew anyone involved or not. Not knowing anyone involved, does nothing to stop the pain a nation feels on this day. You can’t think about it without feeling pain…pain for the parents who lost children…pain for the children and spouses who lost their mom, dad, husband, or wife…pain for friends who have lost friends…pain for a town who has lost so many of its members…pain for a nation who must watch in stunned disbelief as we go through this…again!!

We each have a tendency at a time like this to want to hold our loved ones just a little closer…to try to ease the pain that each of us feels inside. No one is immune. Everyone knows that this has happened, and no one can understand why. Why did this man decide that his life was over, and why did he feel the need to take so many with him? Questions that will never really be answered, and even if they are, the answers won’t make sense…because this act was senseless.

As I sat at Dairy Queen, enjoying the time I feel so very blessed to have, my mind drifted back to the poor families of Newtown, Connecticut, and their empty homes and arms tonight… to their broken hearts, and the nightmare they can’t wake up from, because it is real. A renewed sadness filled my heart, as well as a sense that things are very wrong in our world these days. All we can do now is pray over those with broken hearts and lives, and those who would destroy the lives of others.

When you are taking a picture of a kid, you just never know what you are going to end up with. Kids show their emotions as they appear, and you can just deal with what they are feeling at the time, or just don’t bother taking the picture. Before the days of digital photos, you couldn’t even be sure if what you were getting…especially when it came to how fast the facial expressions of kids can change.

While my oldest daughter, Corrie was usually quick to smile, and pretty cooperative, my youngest daughter, Amy was more the take it or leave it kid. Those pictures could be so funny. Corrie was smiling, and you wondered who pinched Amy. Their kids seemed to follow suit too. Corrie’s oldest child, Christopher was all smiles, while Amy’s daughter, Shai can come up with some amazing take it or leave it shots.

I know lots of people would think that those angry faced shots would be something you would purge from the camera as worthless, but if you wait to delete them for a while, you might find that you really like those pictures too. They show the ways of children. Kids are so honest about there feelings and their moods. They don’t care if people see them crying, pouting, or angry, they just feel what they feel and you get to deal with the outbursts.

What I have found as I have looked at those grouchy pictures, is that after that frustrating moment lacking in cooperation is over, those grouchy faces can be very funny. I don’t suppose the child would think so…at least not at the time, but as they grow up, and especially after they have children of their own, they can appreciate just how funny those shots can be. So the next time you are tempted to delete a picture of your child that is sporting a grouchy face, wait a while, and try to look at that picture after the moment of frustration has passed, and see if you don’t think, as I did, that that grouchy face just might be the one you was as your wallpaper on your cell phone or computer, because it has a way of putting a smile on your face.

There is an old song sung by Perry Como called “There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays” and when your family has students away at college, that song comes to mind right about this time of year. Some students like my grand niece, Siara are away at college for the first time in their lives, in fact it is the first time in her life that Siara hasn’t lived at home with her parents. For those students, being far away from home is both fun and yet, very lonely…at least at first. Once they make friends, most students start to feel better, but there is still no place like home.

Siara came home for the Christmas break today, and her Facebook page sported comments like “Homehomehomehome!! (: It’s about time!” and “Forgot how pretty my house is during Christmas!! SOOOO happy to be home(:” tonight. Really, while there might be people who aren’t sure what some of that means, they get the jist of it…Siara is in Seventh Heaven right now, because she is home for the holidays. She will be just fine when the next semester starts up, even though she will be sad to leave her family again, but she will also be well aware that Summer vacation is right around the corner. For now she will just enjoy the time with family and friends.

My niece, Lindsay has been away at college for some time now, and while she still misses her family too, the pain of missing them is easier to deal with, because she has been down this road before. It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t look forward to coming home for the holidays, because she is just as excited as Siara is. When I texted Lindsay to ask if she was coming home for Christmas, she texted back that she was…followed by “Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!” Her excitement was as evident as Siara’s, and while Lindsay won’t be home until Saturday, at which time I expect that her real excitement will surface. It is so hard to come home…see your house all decorated for Christmas…and not feel like you are finally home for the holidays.

Because of the years Lindsay has been in school, she is more able to deal with being away from family, but being away from family is always hard, and if you have to be away from family over the holidays, it’s even harder. Being with family is one of the most important parts of the holidays, if there is any way to be there. I am so thankful that Lindsay doesn’t have to be away from all of us over the holidays, because we are a close family, and we don’t like having anyone be far away over the holidays. As Lindsay always says, “We would miss her face!!” I’m so glad that both girls will be home for the holidays.