Monthly Archives: January 2013

Sometimes, I really wish all my babies could have stayed babies. Not just my girls, but my grandbabies too. Ok, I know that sounds silly, but when I look at pictures, taken when they were babies, and I see those sweet little faces, I just can’t help myself. I know that if my girls hadn’t grown up, I wouldn’t have the grandchildren I have, but I still miss their little baby faces too. I wish I could go back in time for a little while every so often, so I could visit the babies they used to be. That would be so cool!! To be able to re-connect with the babies they used to be would be such a wonderful gift.

Each of my daughters have given me the most precious gifts of two grandchildren. The first two are just one day apart.  Oh, the times we had with those two were so amazing. What one of them didn’t think of, the other one did. They had such different personalities. When one was crying, the other was laughing…hmmm, I wonder if there was a reason for that. The pictures we took of them were so varied. Because Amy babysat her nephew, Christopher, the babies were together a lot, so there were a lot of pictures of them together. And you never knew if they would be fighting or playing. Nevertheless, we were able to get some pictures of them that, to this day, make me wish I could go visit the babies they used to be…if only for just a little while.

My youngest two grandsons are 15 months apart, and their relationship has often been one of vying for superiority. Being the youngest two and each having a, possibly bossy older sibling, they didn’t appreciate having this other little kid trying to boss them too. When they were together, it was sometimes a war zone. Nevertheless, they could produce some of the sweetest smiles I have ever seen. There is nothing like those little baby smiles. The same child smiling as an adolescent, doesn’t look the same as that innocent little baby smile, babies can produce, because only a baby can smile that way. Once babyhood is gone, so is that innocence, and that is why I would like to be able to go back in time now and then, to visit the babies they used to be.

My niece, Toni has always been a woman of quiet grace. I don’t know any other way to express that really. She is beautiful and yet, she doesn’t think so. Her beautiful face almost always wears a soft smile. She never pushes herself on people, but her sweet spirit seems to draw them to her anyway. I never think of Toni that I don’t think of her looking just like this picture of her, because that is so often exactly how she looks. Sweet and content with life.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, Toni has a funny side too. She can goof of with the best of them, and when she does, she is very funny. Through the years I can remember so many funny times with her. Of course, some of them she might not consider very funny, but then that is normal for any of us. I remember a time when she was about two years old, and I had gone up to visit her family in upstate New York. Her mom, my sister, Cheryl had made milk shakes for dinner, and as they sat on the table between drinks, the top froze a little bit. We didn’t have straws, and poor little two year old Toni was about to find out just how big a problem that can be. She lifted her glass to take a drink, and when the shake didn’t move down the glass to her lips, she lifted it straight upside down…well, you get the picture. Miss Toni Had a face full of chocolate shake, and it was cold!! She took it like a little trooper, but I will never forget the shock it produced in the rest of us. I felt so bad for her. We all have our moments, for sure, and all you can do is shrug it off and move forward…which is what Toni did. Before you knew it, she was laughing and playing again, like nothing ever happened. Toni has always liked being a bit on the goofy side, and most of her antics bring a big laugh, and she is such a good sport about it. You just never know what she might do next.

All kidding aside though, Toni is never happier than when she is with the two men in her life. They are the most important…always. When she is with Dave and James, her face shows the way her spirit feels…peace. Life is good and all is well. Toni recently married Dave, who is the love of her life, and I felt so much joy and happiness for her…for them. They are so good together, and I love how blessed she is. God has been so good to her. Today is Toni’s birthday. Happy birthday Toni!! We love you very much!!

With her marriage to Prince William, almost 2 years ago, Kate Middleton added another facet to my family’s connection to the British Monarchy. I had always known that I was related to Diana Spencer, who became the Princess Diana that we all know of and loved, and later I found out that my husbands family also has ties to Princess Diana. Now, I find that my son-in-law has ties to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, or Kate as we all know her, even if the Queen hates it. Kevin’s grandmother’s maiden name was Hettie Middleton, and Kevin asked me if he might be related to Kate, when she and Prince William became engaged.

Now, we all quickly found out that Kate and William were actually distant cousins, as I have now also found out Bob and I are, and that tied her to my family and to Bob’s, but not to Kevin’s. I began researching Hettie Middleton’s background, and after a couple of hours, I had my answer. Indeed, Kevin is related to Kate Middleton, on his grandmother’s side, thereby adding another facet to the connection.

I know there are many people in the United States, who are related to the British Monarchy, and may be even more closely related than my family is, but having known about my British connections to the Monarchy and to Winston Spencer Churchill, has made me very aware of them throughout my life. I have always loved being related to them, but never more than with Princess Diana, who was so very special, and with William, Kate, and Harry, all of whom I consider wonderful people. William and Harry, and now Kate have managed to be so much more in touch with the people of England. The British Monarchy, like many monarchies, have always been known for a great degree of stuffiness. I have to credit that to their mother, Princess Diana who did her very best to teach them about the real world and those that they would someday be ruling over. I think she got that across quite well, in that they and Kate are much more comfortable talking to and being around the people of England, than any of the others.

Today Kate celebrates her 31st birthday, and this summer, she will give birth to the future King or Queen of England, and that will add yet another person to the connection that my family has to the British Monarchy. I am very excited for them, and I add my birthday wishes to Kate, as I’m sure many others around the world, do as well. Happy birthday Kate!! Have a wonderful day!!

Remember when life was simple. You were a kid with no responsibilities. You went to school and then you went outside and played with your friends. Sometimes, when life gets to be too much and my stress levels are through the roof, I really wish that I could go back there again, but then I suppose many people do. Life wasn’t always so complicated. Back in the old west, people didn’t have so many places to go. Families spent time together. Kids seldom went to play at someone else’s house, and spending the night was something saved for trips back East to visit family that you had not seen for many years.

The kids in a family had really two places the went…school and church. Other than those places, they were at home, helping out around the place or doing their homework. With no television or radio, there was no big news story to occupy their minds. They used their imaginations to pass the time. Kids might pretend to have families, or they might pretend they were on a train to visit famiy, or maybe even fighting Indians, although I seriously doubt that many girls played that game.

Today, the kids get bored if they don’t have a video game to play, or the MP3 player playing their favorite tunes, or television coming up with newer and more exciting ways to entertain them. Reading books is almost a thing of the past, and I don’t mean because of the Kindle, which I consider to be a form of reading a book, but because they would rather watch a show on television than read about it. Their imaginations don’t seem to be able to take them into the book like we used to be able to do. It’s all about what action is put in front of their eyes, not about turning words into pictures in your imagination.

Now, life is so hectic. Most people have several places to be right after work, and they can’t go home for an hour or more after they get off work. Dinner is often late, or picked up at a fast food joint along the way. There is just no time for a home cooked meal, unless maybe it is on the weekend or in a crock pot. No wonder TV Dinners became so popular…and the microwave, of course. I mean who has time to cook stuff in the oven either.  No one!! Life was so simple then…what happened?

It’s funny, how at each new stage in your life you seem to change. Sometimes is major ways, like going from being a little kid to being a grade school kid…or even more going from junior high to high school. Other changes can seem more subtle, but in many ways, they are even bigger changes than those prior ones that seemed so big. Like the changes I noticed in my grand niece, Siara, from high school graduation, to coming home from her first semester at college, and her first time living away from home. To most people, I’m sure she seemed like the same Siara that she always was, but I saw something else. She was more grown up, more sophisticated, more…college, and yet, she hadn’t changed that much at all. Can that happen?

Siara has gone from a high school girl without a care, to an adult in college, who knows the heartache that life can sometimes throw your way…right in the middle of some of the best times of your life. How can those two things coinside? One minute you love your life and everything you are doing, and the next, you are in tears because you miss your family so bad it hurts. That is how life is, when you move away from home and to another city. Especially when it is the first time.

For Siara, this particular day is especially hard, because it will also be the first birthday she has spent without her family. Being so far away from those who have always made your birthday a big deal is one of the hardest things to do. Oh, I know that her friends at college will pick up the slack and make her day the best it can possible be, but there will still be a few very important people missing. I know this day will be especially hard too, for her mom, my niece, Chantel, because she and Siara have always been so close. This will be a hard day for them, but I hope they will also find a way to make this one of her best birthdays ever as well. It will be different, but different doesn’t have to be bad. Here’s hoping this birthday is super special, Siara. Happy birthday!! We all love you and miss you very much, but we are also very proud of you and all your acomplishments.

My grand nephew Ethan is 4 years old today, and at this age, he is really coming into his own. He has lost the toddler aspect of his personality, and it has been replaced with a little boy with ideas of his own. He knows what he likes and what he doesn’t. And he doesn’t mind telling you what he thinks about it. Oh, don’t get me wrong, Ethan is a very well behaved little boy…he just knows what he wants to do. His mom, Chelsea told me the other day that he wanted to come to my office, which just happens to be just down the street from where he lives. He tried very hard to insist on it, but it wasn’t a good day for Chelsea to bring him. That just melted my heart. Ethan is such a sweet boy, but it never occurred to me that he might enjoy stopping by my office for a visit. It was just such a sweet little moment, and I told Chelsea that she would have to bring him by real soon.

Ethan has a shy side too, though. Sometimes at church, when he feels like maybe there are just too many people around, he will hardly talk to me or anyone else but his parents, grandma or his aunts. Of course, that doesn’t include the other kids, because Ethan is all about playing with the kids…any kids. He loves his little neighborhood friends, his cousins, and his friends at school, and he loves his teacher, who he often calls Mrs DeHaigler, instead of Mrs Haigler…a mistake that I find very cute, as I’m sure his teacher will too.

Ethan loves to laugh, and loves to hang out with the guys. If his dad or grandpa are doing something, it just must be cool, and Ethan wants to be a part of it. He is all boy, and loves doing the guy things that boys love to do. And Ethan loves to make his little sister laugh. He loves being a big brother, and loves having a live in playmate, and of course, Aurora thinks Ethan is the greatest big brother ever. On that one, she could be right…or biased, but you’ll never convince her of that. Happy birthday Ethan!! We love you!! Have a super cool day!!

As I was sending out a text today, I began to think about the changes in communication we have had through the years. In the very early years of our nation’s history, when a child married and decided to move West, it sometimes meant that family members never heard from each other again, and if they did, it was hit and miss. I’m sure that there were many broken hearted parents as a result of those moves, and I am equally certain that those moves brought about the changes in communication that we see today.

First, of course came the Pony Express, which while it greatly improved things, was still pretty slow, and news of family members passing or giving birth arrived quite some time after the fact. Not that anyone would have been able make it back in time, but it would be hard to find out after it is all over. The invention of the telephone greatly improved communication, and I’m sure people found it comforting to be able to hear the voice of their loved ones once again.

Today, with so many forms of communications, as well as ease of travel, we are able to see loved ones so often that we, maybe take it for granted. Even if you can’t be with family members, you can Skype, Video Chat, and Face Time, so not only can you hear their voice, but you can see their face, in real time.

Our modern communication abilities have maybe spoiled us to a degree. We have so many ways to talk and travel, and yet, I don’t know about you, but one of the main ways we communicate…texting,  is probably the least personal. It seems like in our busy world, it is easier to text and then wait for the answer, than to talk on the phone. The main reason for this is that you have to hold the phone to talk, so unless it is a long conversation, or one that should be held in a more personal way, we choose the more impersonal…texting. Many people think we text too, as a way of not being too social, and maybe that is so. It seems like we are becoming more of a solitary people in some ways. Still, texting, like the Pony Express, the postal service, the telegraph, telephone, computer, and cell phone are all ways of keeping in touch.

Right before Christmas, we were at Walmart doing some shopping. There was a couple and their little girl there, and the little girl had noticed a doll house. As we walked by them, the little girl was busily trying to talk her parents into buying the doll house for her. They kept telling her that she already had a doll house at home and she never played with it. She insisted that she did, and that she would play with both of them if they would just “please buy it” for her. Of course, her parents knew what the end result of their daughter’s promise would be, and as they kept walking away, the little girl followed along behind them, doing her very best to convince them that she would keep her promise.

That little conversation took me back a number of years to when my girls were little, and we got them a doll house for Christmas. I had never had a doll house, and in my mind, it would be a treasured item for any little girl, and I’m sure they played with it for a while, but it never really became the treasure that I had expected. That isn’t really surprising, in that, a doll house can get boring after a while, because the dolls don’t do anything. Like kids today, dolls that do nothing get pretty boring after a very short time…I mean, there is only so much you can do with the imagination, and then you move on to toys with a little more action to them.

As we walked on, I was smiling to myself, because I could see how that little girl’s parents were thinking that they would just have to point out to their darling daughter, in the very near future, that she still wasn’t playing with the original doll house much, so she definitely wouldn’t have been playing with the new one, had they purchased it for her. And if she gave it some thought, I’m quite sure that she would have to agree with her parents, that while she loved her doll house, in her head, it probably wasn’t her favorite toy. The truth is that she just wanted them to buy her something, and for lack of a better choice, she opted for the first thing she saw.

My dad was always a cowboy at heart. In his younger days, he rode horses, worked on the family farm, and did all the other cowboy type things. He listened to country music, and liked old westerns on television, or attend the rodeo. But, the one thing that that, in my opinion showed his cowboy style the best, was the cowboy hat that he so often wore. You almost never saw him in any other hat on vacation, and he wore it if they went someplace that it would fit in for. I’m quite sure he hated not being able to wear it to the places that it just wasn’t appropriate.

Dad always took such good care of his hat, and you could always tell that he was one of the good guys, because his hat was always white, and of course, the good guys in any old western, wore a white hat. I suppose that was like the football teams of today. If all the helmets looked alike, how would you know which team was yours. So we always knew that Dad was a good guy, because he wore a white hat.

Oh, Dad had other hats too, and in fact I can vividly see him is one of the many baseball type hats he had, and of course, there was the hat that was a tool of his trade…the hard hat. I clearly remember him in those, but I never felt like they fit his personality like the cowboy hat did. Dad was always the guy I thought of when someone said cowboy. He wore the Bolo ties, and the western belt and vest, and what cowboy would be complete without the cowboy boots, but none of that said cowboy as much as the cowboy hat.

When I think of my dad, I have to say that one of my favorite pictures is of Dad on a horse with his white cowboy hat. He was doing one of his favorite things…taking his family on a vacation. They had taken a horseback ride on a trail, and Dad looked so happy. He was in his element, in the mountains on vacation, and riding a horse. Just what a cowboy would want to be doing.

As much as I dislike snow, and the inevitable wind that always seems to come with it, there are times when, if I have just a moment of free time, and if I stop long enough, I can look at the snow and possibly see something beautiful. It’s hard to do that though…slow down…look around…stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Everything in life these days demands a hectic schedule. Every day I try to cram everything I need to do into a day that doesn’t have enough moments in it, let alone hours.

I had just such a moment on New Years Eve. I had the day off, and Bob had to work. I still had my caregiving duties, but I had a little bit of quiet time late in the morning. I took a look outside, and there it was. The wind had quit. The snow was a little bit windblown, but smooth in many ways. The sun had come out and was shining brightly on the snow. The air was cold…frigid really, but it didn’t matter. I stepped outside, and looked at the snow. The sun was so bright, it made my eyes water, but I still couldn’t take my eyes off of it.

The snow was beautiful, but looking deeper I saw what the snow tries to hide from those who just casually glance at it. So often we miss the deep inner beauty of the snow. There in front of my eyes I saw the riches of the snow…the gems that it had been hiding…snow diamonds. “What”, you might ask, “are snow diamonds?” Well, they are not just ice crystals sparkling in the sunshine. They are much more than that. They are the little glimmer of hope that no matter how heavy our burdens are…no matter how tough our job or our life is…there are still beautiful things around us that can lift our spirits, brighten our days, soothe our souls, and mend the brokenness that comes from a life that is lived far too often in a hurry.

As I stood there in the crisp cold air, looking once more at the beauty that had been pointed out to me by my Lord, in an effort to show me the things He has made that I might have missed, I felt a warmth inside me…a smile that started in my heart and after making a brief stop in my consciousness, it came to rest on my face. I closed my eyes so I could fix the image in my memory. With  their beauty, the snow  diamonds  had completed  their appointed work. They had lifted this caregiver’s spirit…brightened my day…and made me feel like I could breathe again.