Monthly Archives: December 2012

Many people have been looking forward to this day all year, because they believe it will be the luckiest day of the year, or just a cool day to get married or have a baby on, or whatever special thing they have going on in their lives. This day does not feel like a cool day to me, but it is a day that I will mark for a very different reason. Today, 12-12-12 at 12:00pm, marks the 5 year anniversary of my dad’s graduation to Heaven. I know that was a wonderful day for him, but for me, it is a lonely day, because I miss him so much. It never occurred to me when I was growing up, that I would ever live a day without my parents on this earth. A crazy thought…probably, but it was the thought of a daughter who loves her parents very much…a daughter who could not imagine a world without her dear parents in it…then. I can imagine it now, and I do not like it at all.

Looking back on all the wonderful days of my first 50 years, I know without question that I have lead a very blessed life, as have my mom, my sisters, and all of my dad’s grandchildren and those great grandchildren who had the opportunity to know him. Dad was fun loving, and made things fun for all of us. He was a great kidder, and passed that love of teasing on to his girls. There was always some kind of joking going on, and it taught us to take a joke and to laugh about things. There was always a lot of laughter at our house.

My dad always seemed so young. He never seemed to age. I think it was that he was so young in spirit. He was a kid at heart, and it carried into his life. Dad was a very positive, loving person. He always had a way of looking for the best in people and the best in every situation. What a great way to be!! I think that is one of the things that made my dad great. My dad is the kind of person I want to be, but I could never be as amazing as he was. All I can do is try my best to follow in his footsteps…to live the way he taught us. He made being a loving person seem so easy, no matter what was going on…he just walked in love. Forgiving people for their faults and looking for something good in them. It didn’t matter what mistakes we made as kids, Dad always said something like, “Well, just try to do better next time.” Whenever I’m having a rough day, I think back on Dad’s forgiving ways, and I try to live in a way that would make him proud of me.

Five long years have come and gone since my dad went to Heaven. It is our great loss, and Heaven’s gain. I know that my dad is ok, and living happily with his parents, sisters, his 2 granddaughters and other family members who have gone before, and that this is their time with him. I know they are busily catching up and rejoicing in the presence of our Lord. I know I will see him and the rest of the family again. And mostly, I know that the Comforter is with me and my family today, because God knows we have need of comfort. I love you Daddy, and I’ll see you again very soon. You are in my future for now.

From almost the day he was born, my nephew, Barry was Grandpa’s boy. He wanted to do everything with his grandpa. Barry was highly motivated for a little kid. Oh, he liked his toys and especially trucks too, but he wanted to do man’s work most of all. He was practically a little grown up from birth. Not very many people are like that. Most little kids want to play all day. They don’t want to be bothered with work. Barry wasn’t sure he wanted to be bothered with play. It was always funny to hear Barry say that he wasn’t going to school, because he had to stay home and work with Grandpa. To Barry, there was nobody better than his grandpa.

Barry is all grown up now, and yes…he did go to school, although I’m not sure he was always happy about it. His love for and connection to his grandpa has never changed. There has and always will be a closeness there. Barry is one of the people that I know I can count on to help out with care for my in-laws, for that very reason. If I ask him to help me with them, he is quick to respond to that need. Help just doesn’t get better than that.

Not a whole lot has changed a far as Barry’s interests are concerned. He still likes trucks, motorcycles, and pretty much any type of mechanical work. He has added hiking with his wife, Kelli to that mix, a pass time I can totally relate to and one I don’t think his grandpa ever did. Of course, there are several of us who have taken up that pass time, and fully enjoy every minute that we are able to get out there and enjoy nature.

Barry has grown from a cute little grandpa’s boy to a man that I respect very much. Many times I don’t know what I would do without him. I know Bob feels the same way, as they have to get together once a week for breakfast and good conversation. They can each be counted on to help the other when needed too. Happy birthday Barry!! Have an awesome day!!

As we get closer and closer to the Christmas break in school, I am reminded of the many Christmas Programs of the past. So many schools don’t do those any more, and I find that very sad, but as most of you know there might be someone who is offended by such activities. Again, I find that sad. I am reminded of the program where I started out in the choir, and then was elected to be an angel. I didn’t need wings for that one, because I was so excited that I was floating all on my own…well, it felt like it to me anyway. That was the most exciting Christmas program ever for me, and it was probably a good thing I was an angel then, because I don’t think acting for really for me, or at least, I had no interest in it later on.

I remember the one where the choir was performing, and one of the boys got too hot, or nervous, or had locked his legs, and suddenly he passed out right in front of the whole crowd. The music teacher was horrified, and really didn’t know what to do. She was leading the choir, and the show must go on, you know, so she tried in vain to get him to just get up, but to no avail. He couldn’t after all, because he was out cold. Finally a couple of teachers came up and carried him out of the gym. He was fine, but very embarrassed. I don’t recall if he came back in for the rest of the program, but I don’t think I would have wanted to.

The programs my girls and my grandchildren were in have special meaning to me. Though they varied in theme and some were after you couldn’t make a Christmas program be about the true meaning of Christmas, they were all precious in my heart. Little tiny voices singing loudly, and often off key. Forgotten words, and the teacher reminding the child of their lines. Those dreaded costume failures, that thankfully weren’t as bad as some of the celebrities failures. The jitters and tears over parts forgotten, or even that the child worried would be forgotten. It all added up to the Christmas program, and it didn’t matter if it was a total flop or done to perfection, when it was your kid out there, it was the best program you had ever seen…and you truly meant that.

Every year for as long as I can remember, my mom’s family has held a Christmas party for the entire family. There is no way all of us could even consider getting together on the holiday itself, because there are around 300 of us now. Of course, we don’t usually have that many who are able to make it to the party, but we always have a great turnout. One of the things my grandparents asked was that we not stop the tradition after they were gone, because they wanted their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to know each other. In their honor, the Christmas party continues.

Yesterday was the party for 2012. We had a good turnout, and as always the food was amazing. On thing I can say for our family…we are good cooks!! Many of the traditional dishes were there, but some had a new and modern twist. Family traditional dishes for many families, blended together to form a different type of tradition…but then, that is how traditions get started. Someone brings in a wonderful dish, and someone else gets the recipe, and uses it at their next gathering, and a new tradition begins. The family Christmas party has seen its share of recipes exchanged and passed along.

Every family or group of families who put on the Christmas party every year, always add their own touches. Centerpieces are one of the big attractions, and are often given out to those who attend. This year the centerpieces were made form candy canes and peppermint stars. They were very cleverly designed, and caught everyone’s eye. They were beautiful, as I’m sure you will agree.

For me and many others in our family, it just isn’t truly Christmas until we all gather together and celebrate together. Our thought drifting back to the ones who started it all, and hoped we would continue it through the years, both during and after their lifetimes. Merry Christmas to all my family, and to those in Heaven who are celebrating with Jesus this year. I love you all!!

Jessi is the type of person who can always bring a smile to just about anyone’s face. Her sense of humor and quick wit make her so easy to like and so much fun to be around. She isn’t one bit shy, so she gets to know people easily. That has placed Jessi in several positions of leadership, and she has performed her duties with a knack for easy perfectionism. The people she has worked with have found themselves thankful to have worked with her, and even more, glad to have known her. I can’t say that I blame them there. Jessi is very capable and very responsible, and yet she maintains that sense of the carefree.

I love to hear Jessi laugh, because you can hear the joy that lives in her spirit. She doesn’t waste time being depressed, because she finds joy is the everyday little things, as well as the big things. Life doesn’t get better than that. I know that the joy Jessi has comes first from her deep belief in God. Jessi is our church’s youth group leader, and all the kids enjoy going to the weekly meetings. She has a way of making it fun to get together and yet to learn good Godly moral values. Our kids need Godly leadership in all the areas of their lives, because without it, our children will fall victim of all the false beliefs out there. Having Jessi teaching them how much fun it can be to live for the Lord, is a great way for parents to supplement their good teachings.

Jessi got married this past summer to a wonderful man named Jason. Their love for each other radiates from their faces every time they look at each other. I am so happy for Jessi and Jason. They both deserve that kind of love and happiness. The future is not set for them yet, but they want kids, and I know that when they have them, they are going to be great parents. I have watched them both around their nieces and nephew, and the love they feel is so obvious. I personally can’t wait for them to have kids, because I think that will be a wonderful day for both of them. Today is Jessi’s birthday. Happy birthday Jessi!! We all love you very much!! Have a wonderful day!!

Seventy one years ago today, one of the most horrific attacks ever launched on US soil took place. Following that attack, the United States entered World War II.  That would eventually lead to the men who would become my dad and my uncles, also entering World War II. So many people think that the United States loves to go to war, but that is simply not the case. The United States is a nation of people who try to give everyone the right to live and let live, but if we are provoked or if another nation is in need, most nations or terrorists will find that we are a nation they will wish they had not messed with.

Our family has not lost a soldier to war that I am aware of, at least not as far back and including World War I, so I don’t know what it feels like to lose someone to combat. I do know that whenever our nation is involved in a war, my prayers go out for protection for all our soldiers…those I know and those I don’t.

There have been times when our nation has been divided over whether or not we should be involved in a war, but when it is an attack on our soil, very few people protest the war. It just feels different, more personal, whether we know anyone who lost their life or not. They are our people, and this is our nation…our safe zone, and we don’t like having anyone come in and violate that safe zone. The attack on Pearl Harbor came as such a shock to so many people, because they had been lead to believe that we had made an agreement with Japan that they would honor, but no matter what they are like today, they did not honor the agreement made than, and many people paid for our nation’s trusting ways with their lives.

The attack on Pearl Harbor will forever be embedded in the minds of those who lived it and those who have studied it. Today, I want to honor all the men and women who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor and in World War II, and all the men and women who have served their country in World War II and all the other wars our nation has been involved in. Thank you all for your service.

My daughter, Corrie’s family all love pets. No matter how much work they can be, they cannot imagine life with out their furry friends. Their newest addition was Molly, who is a miniature dachshund. Like many animals, Molly has her favorite person/pet out of the family. For Molly, that person is Josh, my youngest grandson. Molly does not appreciate it when Josh is not there There are rules, after all, and Josh is supposed to always be at home, or at the very least, take Molly with him. The latter doesn’t seem to bother Josh much either, in fact, last night he tried to take Molly to Youth Group at our church, which would normally be a problem, but last night it wouldn’t have mattered too much since Josh was the only kid there, and the teacher is my niece, Jessi. I’m quite sure they would have had a wonderful time with Molly. Nevertheless, Corrie caught Josh, and wouldn’t let Molly go. I’m quite sure they were both unhappy with her over that one. In fact, I’ll bet Molly practically glared at Corrie.

As far as Molly is concerned, Josh is her pet, not the other way around. She has it in her head that Josh should be with her all the time. School and other activities are just not allowed unless Molly gets to go too. That is ok with Josh most of the time too, but there is the small matter of homework. Molly doesn’t understand that Josh might be busy. That is when she takes matters into her own hands…or paws, or in this case, teeth. No, she doesn’t bite Josh. She would never do that, but she will use her teeth to pull off Josh’s sock and nibble on his toes. Now nibbling on someone’s toes is…well, eeeewwww, but Molly just doesn’t care what we think. If it will get Josh’s attention, she will do whatever it takes. I guess it is a way of telling Josh exactly how she feels, but I still think it is gross.

Josh and Molly are practically inseparable. There is no doubt that Molly is Josh’s best friend…at least in the animal world, and he is hers.  If it were possible, they would never be apart. It’s funny how animals have a certain member of the family that is their favorite, and the animal seems to thinks that the human is the pet. It is a show of love and dedication that you don’t get anywhere else. It is why we have pets I guess. Unconditional love and devotion to another being, whether it is man or animal is something very special.

During the holidays, my thoughts often turn to our military men and women who will likely spend their holidays far from home, whether they are in a war zone or not. I was never in the military, but my dad was, as were and in some cases, still are, brothers-in-law, nephews, and cousins. It is such a lonely feeling to think of being so far away from loved ones during the holidays, and it isn’t just about the festivities. For many spouses, and even children, it is about hoping that everything is under control back home. Worrying about things being broken down, needing maintenance, or even if there is someone to help with decorating for the holidays, are all things that are on the minds of our military men and women all the time, and especially during the holidays.

My dad was not married at the time he served in the military during World War II, but he and his brother and sisters had always played a big part in the running of the family farm, while their dad was away working on the railroad. I was reading the letters he wrote home in the days leading up to and including Christmas of 1943. Dad was always such a caring person, and he especially struggled with the idea of his mom and younger sister trying to run the farm by themselves. In Dad’s letter he expresses his concern, and then asks his brother to rent a house in town for the girls. Dad was also always concerned that they might not have enough money. He rarely spent much money on himself, saying that he didn’t really need much. That way, he could send more money home. He told his mom to use any or all of the money he sent home to save for when he got out, saying that he could always make more, and their needs were more important than a savings account.

Dad’s letters to his mom and siblings have been a treasured window into the person my dad was. He was a deeply caring man, who always took care of those he loved. Like so many other military men and women, he wished he could be home for the holidays, but he understood that he was doing something very important. He was fighting for freedom for our nation, and the nations around us who couldn’t fight for themselves. Dad’s sacrifice and the sacrifices of so many other military men and women have made so many freedoms possible, and yet, they themselves lose so much. It is something that we don’t always think about, and something I want to commend today.

Bob and I grew up during the hippy years of the mid-1970’s. All the guys wanted to have long hair. Bob’s hair was, by no means, as long as many other guys had, but it was quite a bit longer than he had while he was living at home. Like most parents, he was told to keep it short, while he was living at home. So when he graduated, he moved into his own place, and grew his hair longer…much to the irritation of his mom. I met Bob about 6 months after he had moved out on his own, so his hair was already longer.

Bob and his family had always had a great relationship with their family who lived in Forsyth, Montana, which is where Bob’s family came from. The family would go up there to visit at least once a year, and Bob didn’t change that tradition when he moved out. His uncles weren’t so much older than he was that they really seemed like uncles exactly, so he got along with them very well. After Bob moved out, he would go to Forsyth just to hang out with uncles, and visit his grandma. Eddie, at 11 years older and Butch, at 9 years older were, nevertheless, the older generation. When Bob was 19, Eddie was 30, and Butch was 28. They pretty much sided with Bob’s parents when it came to the length of a man’s hair.

The older generation took great pleasure in teasing Bob about his hair. I’m sure that he heard things like “you look like a girl” or “shaggy dog.” I’m also sure he was repeatedly told to get a hair cut. Of course, like most kids in the hippy generation, those comments had no real effect on him. Nevertheless, I’m sure Eddie got Bob’s attention when he decided to tell Bob, “We can fix that right now!!” Then, he proceeded to attack Bob, or rather, Bob’s hair with an unplugged electric hair trimmer. Eddie would never really cut Bob’s hair, and I’m pretty sure Bob knew that too, but in the moment, maybe he wondered just a little bit, while genuinely hoping that the trimmer wasn’t plugged in.

As we head into the Christmas season, my mind wanders back in time, to when I was a child, and Christmas was drawing closer. Mom and Dad loved Christmas, so the tree went up as early as possible. Decorating our Christmas tree was always a big deal. Of course, back then, we had a real tree, in fact I don’t think there were any artificial trees back then. The evening started with Dad cutting the tree to the right height, so it wouldn’t bend at the ceiling, but somehow, with the star on top it would almost touch the ceiling. The house was filled with the wonderful scent of pine, and we were filled with anticipation.

Once the tree was up, Mom and Dad would string the lights and garland, while the room was filled with the voices of all of us as we sang Christmas Carols and ate the wonderful snacks Mom had prepared for the occasion. Finally it was time to start decorating the tree. Each of us girls had our own ideas on true tree beauty, and while we didn’t always agree on what that was, we all managed to work through our differences to create a tree that we were all happy with. And we always thought that the current year’s tree was the best ever…and maybe it was, because as we got older, I’m sure ornaments were more evenly spaced, and our choices of placement put more of the elegant ornaments in front.

Those days of family tradition and all of us being together have changed a lot over the years. As more of us married or had to work, the traditional Christmas decorating event changed until eventually it was completely unlike the ones I remember as a child, but the love and the spirit was always there. While each family has their own traditions now, and it is Jessi and some of the other grandkids who come to decorate the tree for Mom and Cheryl, to me it will always be Mom and Dad who really made Christmas what it was when I was a kid. Their love of the Lord and their love of His birthday surrounded our home at that time of the year. They showed us what the Christmas spirit was all about, at Christmas and all year round.