A Cherished Journal

Life is never appreciated quite so much as when Death comes calling. The same is true of this journal chosen for the 2016 Cherished Blogfest.

As a writer, I have stacks of journals. Finely bound books with gorgeous illustrations…

Journals

Spiral notebooks covered in scrawling ink and lead…

Spiral Notebooks

And then there’s the Cherished Journal.

Cherished Journal

After I wrote in in the other night, I realized there were only five empty pages waiting to be filled.

Tears puddled. I flipped to the first page, lovingly inscribed by my mother. She purchased it during a ladies’ retreat with a group of women from church.

IMG_0997

Years from now, when I’ve forgotten what the lessons were about that October in Seaside, Oregon, this note from my mom will crackle like a fire in my heart.

Because three short months after she wrote those words, my mom graduated from this earthly plain. Now she waits in Heaven to impart more encouraging words – someday – when I have moved past this life.

This made me think, not for the first time, how neglectful we are of the people in our lives. People we love tend to see the worst from us. We pick up the phone and vent at them when a day turns mean.

How many times have I snapped at my husband because something or someone else hurt or irritated me? Too many to recount. And the thought shames me.

On the other hand, how often have I hugged him and told him what he means to me? Since the day my mother broke the earthly chains, this has happened more frequently.

But less so the further from that painful goodbye I travel.

Do I really need someone dear to me to depart in order to cherish those who remain?

It chills me to think this has become the way of things in my world. Casual words and flippant teasing dominates the conversation. What about meaningful remarks of sincere appreciation?

I hold the cherished journal in my trembling hands. It blurs. The dry ink can’t be touched by my teardrops.

Open Journal

But can my heart? Will I finally learn the lesson this simple gift – now filled with my own thoughts and plans – tries to teach me?

Don’t wait for Death to show you what is truly cherished.

Live today with words and deeds that cherish all those whose presence in your world is a greater gift than any book or heirloom or brightly wrapped parcel.

Who will you cherish today?

cherished-badge16

Who knew there was so MUCH to be thankful for?

July buzzes along. Maybe things are heating up weather-wise where you live.

In my neck of the world, I like a little sunshine with my summer. Blue skies dazzle my personality. In short, sunny days make me smile.

Here’s what I had to be thankful for this week:

Monday

D200

Thinking of a hidden lake in Colorado. What’s the most beautiful place you’ve climbed high to see?

Tuesday

D201

My weakness for ice cream is genetic. I inherited it from my mother’s side of the family. I love Tillamook’s Brown Cow. What’s your flavor of choice?

Wednesday

D202

For the love of the game…some have gotten shoulders x-rayed, broken toes, or worn icepacks over their eyes.

Thursday

D203

Which is the reason I ascribe to the philosophy that there is no such thing as owning too many pairs of shoes.

Friday

D204

In fact, I’m dreaming of watching my Giants take home another World Series Championship come October.

What about you? What makes you pause and say “thanks” right now?

Try Some Saturday Gratitude

Another week in 2016 is gone.

I’m feeling a little whiplashed from the speed of time. I mean, remember when it seemed like it took forEVER for a year to go by? Back when you counted them by birthdays?

Now I have to do advanced math to figure out my age.

And the only reason I’m anticipating the next birthday is because I get a trip to Hawaii in the bargain.

Without further grumbling, here are six reasons to be grateful this week:

Monday

D193

I had a HORRIBLE Monday this week, but I got up and faced down the day anyway.

Tuesday

D194

I really need some girlfriend giggle time.

Wednesday

D195

It’s heating up in the world of Giants’ Baseball. Expect to see some memes. This one is a hat-tip to Old Men’s Softball.

Thursday

D196

I know some everyday heroes. I bet you do too. Don’t let their deeds go unacknowledged.

Friday

D197 This meme needs no additional explanation. Every person who has ever gone on a diet can relate. (Replace chocolate with chips or whatever your food-based weakness is.)

Saturday

I had a really HORRID Monday this week, but I got up and faced the day anyway.
Swing away. And I say the same to my SF Giants. Go boys. Best record in the league.

What other reasons can you think of for being grateful? Any of these memes stand out for you?

It’s a short work week – and other reasons to be grateful

Another Friday. Another week of life slid past. Where did it go?

Maybe the week seemed short because there were only four work days.

Or we could be getting old.

Nah! Short work week all the way.

Here’s this week’s gratitude memes in review (only five since it IS a short week and all):

Monday

Do you light off fireworks? My kids are adults and they still play with sparklers.
Do you light off fireworks? My kids are adults and they still play with sparklers.

Tuesday

Most of the time my cat lays UNDER my lounger, but he's keeping my company.
Most of the time my cat lays UNDER my lounger, but he’s keeping my company.

Wednesday

Wash away the dead weight, my friend. Be free to pursue your dreams.
Wash away the dead weight, my friend. Be free to pursue your dreams.

Thursday

I apologize to all the golfers and fishermen. Your good times bore me.
I apologize to all the golfers and fishermen. Your good times bore me.

Friday

Hey but I'm outside getting my daily dose of Vitamin D so I'll stop complaining now
Hey but I’m outside getting my daily dose of Vitamin D so I’ll stop complaining now

What are you feeling thankful for this week? You made it through another one. It’s the weekend.

Life is short. Celebrate everything.

Happy Birthday to The Man

Happy birthday to the man…

Born June 27, 1965
Born June 27, 1965
  • of the hour
  • I’m married to
  • of my dreams
  • who puts up with me day after day
  • who proposed to me 29 years ago and married me 28 years ago
  • who is the best father my boys could have
  • who I’m glad to grow old with
  • who spoils me
  • I love…still…after all this time
  • who looks at me with awestruck eyes
  • who loves me…still…after living with me for nearly three decades

Okay, the man’s a saint! I admit it. I’m the one who calls him “Mr. Wonderful” after all.

Back in 1982 when two cute seniors flirted with me the day before school started, I never would have imagined one of them would be my husband. And it wasn’t the one I dated first, either.

P4300107

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a man who stood beside me through the births of two sons (well, there were those few moments he was nearly passing out, but I hardly remember that).

After the birth of son #1
After the birth of son #1

This is the man who taught our sons to shoot hoops, ride a bike and drive a car.

tanner_0019

Yes, he’s an amazing father. My boys are blessed.

A0064

 

 

 

He spoils me with great trips

Caribbean 2016
Caribbean 2016

And I let him spoil himself with Mustang convertibles

P6180269

He has a sense of adventure that parallels mine

Ziplining 2016
Ziplining 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not to mention a sense of humor

Thanksgiving 2012 -085

And didn’t he help me make handsome children?

Now we’re blessed with daughters, and our family is complete.

Thad & Kacy Wedding 2016 - 0627

Happy birthday, Mr. Wonderful. I’m glad you let me talk you into dating me and then trick you into marrying me. I hope I make you half as happy as you’ve made me.

Here’s to another 50-some years, right?

 

Seven Days of Smiles

Smile! It’s Friday. Your face can do this. I promise.

Some weeks are rougher than others. No matter what, Friday always looks better when we can regurgitate the good parts.

Still sounds gross?

Sorry. Here are the memes. I included last weekend because, hey, I didn’t want you to miss out on more reasons to be thankful.

You’re welcome.

Saturday

I was at the coast. No chance I touched the freezing Pacific Ocean.
I was at the coast. No chance I touched the freezing Pacific Ocean.

Sunday

D171

Monday

Wouldn't you like to lasso up the Presidential candidates and get some straight answers?
Wouldn’t you like to lasso up the Presidential candidates and get some straight answers?

Tuesday

Am I the only one who's directionally challenged? Or the only one whose GPS steers them wrong?
Am I the only one who’s directionally challenged? Or the only one whose GPS steers them wrong?

Wednesday

I shudder every time I see this photograph. Some pets are NOT for petting or cuddling.
I shudder every time I see this photograph. Some pets are NOT for petting or cuddling.

Thursday

D175

Friday

The irony? The day I made this meme wasn't sunny but I had a headache anyway.
The irony? The day I made this meme wasn’t sunny but I had a headache anyway.

And there you have it! Another week full of reasons to say thank you.

What do you think of the new memes? Too snarky? Not your style? (The change is a direct result of consultation with the Social Media Jedi Master. She’s sure you guys will share these ones.)

This Week in Gratitude Memes

Maybe you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter. That’s perfectly okay.

But I don’t want you to miss out on my effort to come up with 365 ways to be grateful this year. In case you’re wondering what this is all about, check out this post.

Feeling a little out of sorts? Think life sucks big lemon grenades?

Let’s walk through the week:

Monday

If only cupcakes burned calories
If only cupcakes burned calories

Tuesday

Remember the anticipation of summer break? Teachers feel it every June.
Remember the anticipation of summer break? Teachers feel it every June.

Wednesday

Summer rain showers have a definite positive side
Summer rain showers have a definite positive side

Thursday

I've had fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries this week. Summer is delicious!
I’ve had fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries this week. Summer is delicious!

Friday

 

Although my friend reminded me I could use a compass to draw a circle.
Although my friend reminded me I could use a compass to draw a circle.

Count your blessings, my friends. Even if you have to dig deep to find them. (You are still breathing. The air isn’t toxic.)

(Coming up next week, I’m going to get a little tongue-in-cheek with my gratitude memes. If you see them and love them, feel free to share them.)

What are you thankful for today?

 

Merry Christmas

Some people love Christmas “the whole Christmas season,
Please don’t ask ME why, I don’t know the reason”*

Original Image from Papercards.com

Others might say “bah-humbug” or plot against “every Who down in Whoville” during December.

A guy who needs no introduction
A guy who needs no introduction

December 24th is generally my favorite day of the month. It brings my family to my home. We sing carols around the piano (loudly enough to camouflage my hack job on the piano). There is food, laughter and a true appreciation for the gift exchange.

Christmas Eve game time in 2013
Christmas Eve game time in 2013

Not that I’m morally opposed to Christmas morning. It holds its own set of wonder and tradition.

PJs and Presents - Christmas morning 2013
PJs and Presents – Christmas morning 2013

This year, I’m especially thankful that my adult sons and their women are going to spend the night on Christmas Eve. Because they want to carry on our Christmas morning traditions for one more year.

Sometimes Mom gets the biggest gift. I always get the BEST gift: family
Sometimes Mom gets the biggest gift. I always get the BEST gift: family

Christmas dinner is always fabulous. My husband’s mother cooks enough for half the county and it’s all delicious. This year, she’s roasting a turkey rather than a prime rib. Best of all, she’s going to make cornbread dressing!

Don’t count on leftovers of that ambrosia.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

*Something of a mis-quoted quote from my all-time favorite Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Spider (Vein) Extermination: results are in!

I made a promise to my readers. I guess I need to deliver on it. But it has to do with spider…veins.

The idea of spiders in my veins fills me with shivers of icy dread. No, anything but spiders. So creepy and crawly and hairy and AH!

But spider veins aren’t crawly or hairy at all. Creepy? Yes. And they make my skin appear crepey, as well.

This summer, I purchased a discount coupon for three injectable treatment sessions. The last week of July, I had my first appointment. You can read about it here.

Two other appointments followed at four-week intervals. When I had my final treatment in September, the doctor advised that I should wait two or three months before determining if I was pleased with the results.

The three-month marker has arrived.

Before and After Photos

Left Ankle: Before the First Treatment
Left Ankle: Before the First Treatment

Left ankle four months after two treatments
Left ankle four months after two treatments

 

Right ankle three months after three treatments
Right ankle three months after three treatments
Right ankle before the treatments
Right ankle before the treatments

My Results

My results are mixed.

The area of the worst spider (vein) infestation remains an unsightly mess of blue webbing. (Blue because that is un-oxygenated blood pooling in those areas.)

However, my other ankle responded favorably. No, the veins didn’t disappear completely, but they’re much less pronounced. I’m hoping a good tan will disguise them completely.

Obviously, I can’t give a glowing report touting the wonders of sclerotherapy.

You won’t hear me condemning it either.

In some cases, this may be the most affordable course of action. In other cases, you should spend the money on something else.

My Recommendation

Given the price and level of inconvenience, including pain and after-effects, of sclerotherapy, I do have a recommendation.

It’s worth a try. At least two of the areas I had treated look like successes.

However, if you have an over-saturated area (like my left ankle), this might not be the pathway toward beautification. Since I have a hideous varicose vein in that leg, that was an added complication (which I wrote about here).

The rate of $100 per treatment seems slightly steep to me, since the appointments last twenty minutes and the vial of solution this buys is minuscule. The $90 per treatment “deal” I got by packaging three treatments with the coupon was a 55 percent savings over the usual price.

Needless to say, I’m tight with my money. I would never have tried this procedure at $600 for three treatments.

I also feel sclerotherapy would have been more helpful if I didn’t wait until my veins had ten years to create webs and settle in.

If you have the money and your veins are a fairly new addition to your legs’ landscape, give this treatment plan a try.

Giving Thanks for What I Love about Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I think I say that on this blog every year.

But it’s true. And time has not changed this fact.

Why do I love thanksgiving so much? Let me see if I can show you with a few pictures.

The whole gang playing Settlers of Catan
The whole gang playing Settlers of Catan

 

The best part of Thanksgiving is gathering with my family. This year, we’re celebrating in Lincoln City at my sister’s new home.

Bluster. Beach. Baking.

Sounds like a perfect setting for the annual thanksgiving feast.

Feast?

That brings me to the food.

I love thanksgiving food. Turkey is healthy, too.

The things I love? Not so much. Cornbread stuffing slathered with turkey gravy. I could have an entire plate of that ambrosia.

 

 

thanksgiving dinnerAnd don’t forget the dessert. This year, I baked my sister’s favorite – cherry pie. Next year, it will probably be my father-in-law’s favorite – apple pie. Pretty much, if it’s pie – and there’s ice cream – I’m in.

desserts

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about you? What do you adore about Thanksgiving?