Timing Is Everything

Last Sunday our Bishop gave a talk on timing.  He started off the talk by saying that it isn’t the kind of topic that you would think to give a talk on in Sacrament meeting, but that after he related the things in his talk, we would see how it applies to gospel principles.

As he spoke… my husband and I kept glancing at each other.  I know the talk was for me/us.  I’m sure many others in the congregation gained a lot from it too, but it was very ‘timely’ for us.

I was trying to decide if the talk was to tell me to be patient, it’s coming,  or if it was a confirmation that all the things that had happened that week were happening at the right time.

Since Sunday, things have continued to happen that now makes me know it was the Lord’a way of letting me know that the ‘timing’ for our move was finally right and that where we are going is where he wants us to be.

We’ve wanted to move for quite some time.  Not because we don’t like our condo, because we do…. we just don’t like living in such a strict HOA community.  At least, too strict for our taste.  Plus, we just need more room in the garage for my hubbies stuff and he wants to be able to tinker out there.  And we wanted everything we needed on one level so we didn’t have to deal with stairs.  And a place for the dogs.timing is everything

We put our condo on the market at the end of September.  I had been frustrated all Summer long that we couldn’t seem to make the time to get it ready to list.  But again…. timing.

We had a lot of interest in our condo that first few weeks, but no one moved forward with an offer.  In the meantime, we had found a home that we wanted to buy and put in an offer contingent on the sale of our home.  Because our offer on the other home was contingent on our sale, the Seller opted to keep their home on the market, but we would have first right to continue with our offer if we could remove the contingency should they receive another offer.

Well…. after several weeks on the market, we still had not received a offer, though I had recently had people through looking at it that sounded like they might be making one.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) the Seller  on the home we had offered on received another offer on their home and we were not in a position to remove the contingency, so we lost the home to another Buyer.

I was so frustrated because I knew we were so close to getting an offer, but I wasn’t positive so we had to back out.  I had spent time in my mind dreaming about where I would put things and what we would do to make the space our own.  We were so excited about moving further North to be a little closer to our kids.  I was very disappointed when we lost the house.  Then about two hours after our deadline to remove the contingency on it, an offer DID com in on our condo.  Crazy!

We started on the hunt again for a home to put under contract.  We looked at several existing homes and even went through some new construction.  There was a home in a subdivision we had looked at earlier in the year that I wanted to see.  It had pretty much all the things on my list that I wanted other than it was a 2 story, but with the Master is on the main.   I loved the kitchen and family room area in that thing.  The pantry was to die for big.  But the thought of having to do stairs to get to the office or craft room was a little worrisome to me.  My husband and I both have knee problems and have recently been told we need knee replacements…. so stairs is becoming more of an issue.  However, we hope after knee surgery they will be just like new.

We kept looking because of the 2 story thing.  Then a couple of days later, we went back over to the same subdivision to look at a rambler that had just come up on the market.  Though we like most things about it… again… it was lacking in some areas and I wasn’t stoked about it.   The listing Agent had mentioned that they were framing another rambler right around the corner that would be available the end of December.

After walking through the finished rambler we walked down the street to see if we could find the one he was talking bout.  There were about 5 homes under construction on that street.  We started walking through all of them.  We found some we kind of liked on the East side of the street, but didn’t know which was his.   A couple buying one of the homes under construction came to see how it was going as we were walking through theirs.  They told us that they thought that most of those on the East side of the street were already sold.

There was one under construction on the west side so we walked across the street and walked through it.  We really liked what we saw, so I called the Realtor back to ask him which one they were building and that was the one!  I told him we were very interested in the home.  He got my email info and said he would email me the floor plan and we could talk on Monday.  Yesterday we signed the papers and are now Under Contract on it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch….  we had more people interested in seeing our condo.  Since the offer we accepted on it was an offer contingent on the sale of their home (sound familiar?), we had opted to keep it on the market also.  I had three more showings after we went under contract with this Buyer.  One of them is very interested and her Realtor said she was probably going to make an offer on it without contingencies.  Though we have not seen one yet.  Perhaps because the Realtor asked me what the chances would be of our current Buyer being able to remove the contingency on ours.  I told her I wasn’t sure, but that she could possibly do it.  She had two homes on the market she was trying to sell and only needs one of them to sell to close our deal.  So she could possibly take out an Equity line if necessary to close on ours if she had too.  I think that may be why we haven’t received another offer.  She didn’t want to get her clients hopes up.  But you just never know!

So it’s been a CRAZY couple of weeks with things going in directions that I never thought they would!  And it’s all because the timing was right.  Had we not been Under Contract on the first home to keep us occupied till this other home under construction became available, we wouldn’t have been over there looking at the right time.  And why didn’t a Buyer for my condo come along sooner?  After all, we had had over 17.000 hits on the listing!  You’d think ONE person would come from that, right?  It’s just a confirmation to me that the Lord knew what needed to happen in order for all the ducks to be in a row.  TIMING!

The best part about the timing of finding this house, is that we caught it in time to make some of the decisions on colors and such.  I was too late for the kitchen cabinet color, but it was the color I wanted anyway, so that worked out great!  But now I can choose flooring and paint and countertops, and a few other upgrades, etc.  Plus, we got in in time that I am having the laundry room expanded a little into the garage (which is MUCH bigger than what we have).  I know I will like it much better.  I’m pretty excited about it.  So not only are we getting a nicer more updated home than we would have…. but I also have a say in the choices and we won’t have to go in and remodel anything in an older home!  NEVER owned a brand new home.  This is exciting.

Although we are moving even further South from where we are, which puts us further away from the kids…. the access to the neighborhood is quite convenient, and time wise not a lot different for our kids to get to us.

I just keep thinking that there’s a reason we are headed over there.  I’m sure we will figure out why someday.  In the meantime…. I’m grateful the timing has worked out for us and for the Bishop’s talk to be a reminder that things happen in the Lord’s time, not ours.  And, in most cases, it’s always the best for us.

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

UPDATE — December 16, 2014

As a continuation of the above story….. the Buyer that I mentioned above backed out of the contract with us about 3 weeks later leaving us with NO BUYER! By that time, we were well underway on making changes to this new home we we under contract for and had put lots of money down on, but we needed a Buyer to be able to purchase the new house.

Again…. timing….. We just had faith it would all work out the way it was suppose to. It took until the first part of January to find another Buyer but they couldn’t close on the purchase of our condo till March and our Builder wanted to finish and close on our home in February. Luckily, my husbands Dad was in a position that he could temporally loan us the money we needed in order to purchase our home and we paid him back as soon as we closed on selling the condo. So…. the timing was amazing on all of it. We’ve been in our new home since February 23, 2014. We love it here and have already found reasons why we should be here. Too many to name here… but we feel that Heavenly Father knew where we were needed more than we did!

I Am Still Grateful! How Are You?

Almost Gone….

You know the feeling of not always appreciating something till it’s gone?  Or in this case, almost gone….

We have been wanting to get out of our condo and back into a home now for a few years.  We have great neighbors…. we really do, but we have decided that we are NOT suited to be in an HOA (Home Owners Association) where the rules are a little too strict.

Don’t get me wrong…. I don’t mind some restrictive covenants to make sure the neighbors home and yard stay in good shape, etc….. but telling me that I can’t paint my door any color I want or that my husband can’t work on our car inside the garage is a little too strict for us.   Those are only just a few of the rules we find a little too strict for our taste here in this community.

However…. in all honesty, it’s a wonderful community!  There’s so much that is good about it. But, we have decided that it’s time to move on.  The timing has worked out good for us this year to do that.  Though it’s been a little stressful in ways to get this ball rolling, we have finally reached the point where we can make plans for a new home.  Though signatures are not yet complete and delivered at this time, we are about to go Under Contract with a Buyer to purchase our condo.

It’s funny…. but I didn’t realize just how much I really loved my condo till the process of getting it ready to put on the market began.  We have completely updated the upstairs and finished off the basement since we moved in.  And we did it with the pretense that we were going to stay here for good.  In other words…. at the time we started the remodeling, we thought we’d be OK living in the condo for a long time.  (And, yes, we knew the rules and at the time thought we’d be OK with them.)  Even though the condo was initially purchased as an investment property, and we knew we would have to live in it for at least 2 years to lose the Capital gains tax and didn’t thing we’d be staying, once we got here, we decided we liked it.  Therefore…. we put a lot of money into updating the upstairs and finishing the basement because I wanted it nice.  But, after so many HOA decisions that have rubbed us wrong, and the fact that we realized we do need a bigger garage, and a doggie door, and a bigger gathering area, and…. Well, you get the picture.  We just want to get back into a house.

Our Condo
Our Condo

While we were cleaning and de-cluttering a few weeks ago I had a little bit of a melt down.  I was in the basement in the second kitchen/ crafting area that I designed.  I realized how nice it really was and knew there was a very good chance that I might not have that same kind of area in a new home.  I got a little emotional and started thinking about all the other things we’ve done here that I love and wondered how am I ever going to get what I really want in a home and stay within a price range that would work for us?

After a little crying and praying, I had a feeling come over me that everything would be OK.  I needed that reassurance.  It may take a while for what we buy to become completely what we want…. but I know it will get there.

It’s going to be a little hard to say goodbye to this place when the time comes, even though we’ve only been here 6 years.  I’m just grateful that I’ve realized how much I have loved it and will miss it AND the neighborhood!  I’m also grateful that we seemed to have found a Buyer that will love what we have done just as much as we have!  Like the song says: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”  That’s life I guess…..  Here’s to the future…. whatever it holds!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

Blessings Unmeasured!

As I lay in bed this morning, my thoughts turned to the many things I’ve been blessed with in my life and I became overwhelmed with gratitude! I truly have a wonderful life!

I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities over my life that have brought me so much happiness!  I’m particularly happy today for where my life is at right now.  Even facing the health challenges I am currently facing….. I am so blessed!  I couldn’t ask for a better more loving or supportive husband.  He IS the best.  I love him so much and appreciate all he does for me which is way above the call of duty!  Thank you, John for entering my life!  You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.  Your children could not ask for a better Father and they will all attest to that!

I have 3 wonderful children who I adore.  They are the joy of my life.  I love them so much and know that they can achieve anything they want to in this life.  I pray for them and hope that THEY know they can achieve their dreams!  They are truly wonderful people….. smart, witty, good looking, helpful and loving.  I could go on….. but I won’t lest I give them big heads.  <grin>

I am so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It has brought me so much joy and comfort over the years!  One of the many advantages of being a member is having a Ward family.  That’s the unit of the church that you are assigned to in the area you live in.  We meet weekly as a Ward for our Sunday meetings and worship together and lift one another up.  I have been blessed to live in three areas during our marriage and all with terrific Wards and people!  It’s been hard to leave each area when we moved just because of that!  The people I have met and associated with in each area have all been a blessing in my life!  And that includes other neighbors and friends around that weren’t/aren’t members of the church.  We’ve been blessed to live in some great neighborhoods.

Though John and I would like to get out of the condo situation we are currently in….. for reasons that apply to ‘rules’ and the fact that there are a couple of things a home would have that we don’t have here…..  I truly do love my condo!  It’s beautiful and comfortable and provides us with all the necessities of life.  Again, we have great neighbors and friends here and we know we are loved.

I love that John is retired and that we are not tied down to jobs that dictate when we can do things.  We are able to pursue other things both in fun and in making money.  (Which is still a work in progress….)   Time is such a blessing to us.  Though I don’t use it all as wisely as I would like to, I have that option.  Again… truly blessed.

I had a great family life growing up.  I had/have wonderful friends and wonderful precious memories.  I have a terrific family and though I didn’t feel I was really close to my siblings growing up, I have that sense now.  Even though I don’t see my brothers as much as my sisters…. I feel a closeness to them.  I’m grateful for all of them.  My parents were great.  It’s hard to see them get old!  I miss my Dad terribly…. especially in the summer when I long for his vegetable garden and fruit trees!  I miss his silly sense of humor and his loving ways.  I’m just grateful to know that I will see him again someday.  I’m grateful for my Mom.  It’s hard to see dementia setting in.  I don’t spend as much time with her right now as I would like to and feel I should because of my health issues.  Though I do have good days and just need to get out there!  If  I lived a little closer, I know that would be easier for me.  I’m so thankful to my sisters for being there for her!  I know they are wearing themselves out!  I hope to get back on the schedule soon for regular visits.

Wow.  I’m blessed with such awesome friends! Both near and far.  They love and care about me so much.  I just wish we could all see each other more…. but I’m so thankful that we stay in touch!

I’m so grateful for music in my life and how much joy it has brought me in so many ways!  I love to perform and have had some wonderful opportunists to do so.  I have met so many amazing people through my journey with music and theater.  All friends that I love and adore!

I know the Lord is blessing me with my health right now.  I am improving daily and know that I will get through this chemo stuff with flying colors!  I know He has plans for me to stick around for a long time!  It just needs my effort in finding out exactly what those plans are!  It is amazing how a health issue like this will make you think deeply about things that you may not have before.  I’m grateful for the time I’m taking to learn and study about things….. particularly about health and self improvement.

I have a great life!  There’s always things out there that we all wish we had or hope to have someday.  I have those dreams too…. but I truly feel gratitude for where I am right now and what I have….. and as my images says in today’s post….  “Gratitude turns what we have into enough!”

What a wonderful time of year to have these feelings.  They just need to be carried on everyday in my life.  Perhaps it’s time to drag out that gratitude journal again and start reminding myself everyday of what I have to be grateful for!  The list could go on and I haven’t even come close to saying it all here.  I just felt I should be thankful for the things that were meaning so much to me at the moment.  Just recognizing that where I am and what I have is enough!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!  I hope you will take the time to be grateful for your life, just the way it is!  Know that we are all here to learn, and the experiences we are going through at the moment are only for our growth and betterment!  Find out what lesson you are to be learning through it!  Hang onto that gratitude and it will pull you through!

I am Grateful!  How are you?

Traditions

This is a time of year for family, food, fun, love and traditions!

Over the years my family has had many traditions.  Some evolved into different traditions over time, some served their purpose for a time and others are waiting to be reborn again.

For as long as I can remember….. the Holidays revolved around family.  My family was never one to travel out of town for Christmas.  With the exception of my one brother, Val, who didn’t really live in Utah once he got married…. everyone else was within a 40 minute drive of my parents house.  Even Val and his family would occasionally make it to our family Christmas gatherings.

I don’t know about you…… but I have great memories of my whole family celebrating Christmas morning together at my parents house.  I’m the youngest of 5 children…. so I got to be a part of this for a long time.  My oldest brothers oldest daughter is only 6 years younger than me, so I was still pretty young when we started having the nieces and nephews sleep over for Christmas.  I couldn’t even begin to tell you where everyone slept…. I just remember we were all there!  They probably shared my bed and my room… but I only remember Christmas morning!

My parents had a very large family room in the basement of our home.  Our home was fairly large for the time it was built….. bigger than many of the other homes in our neighborhood.  We had a room large enough to hold all the presents under the tree as the family grew and still have room for all the bodies too.  It was great fun for me.  I can still see in my head that family room being stacked with Christmas presents!  It was total chaos…. but we loved every minute of it.

As the families got older…. parents decided it was too much work for Santa to bring all the toys to my parents house….. besides….then you had to get them all home!  After that, Christmas morning was spent with me and my parents running to my brother and sisters houses to watch them open Christmas morning.  Now that was crazy!  Each family was in anticipation of our arrival so they could get to their presents!  We rotated the order every year so the same family didn’t have to wait as long each year.  I remember that tradition only lasting a few years.  After that….. we would pick one family to be there with to open gifts…. then we would make the rounds to the other homes to see what everyone else had received.

The finny thing about that was it always meant that mine and my parents Christmas gifts were the last thing opened that day…. and I never seemed to mind.  I always had so much fun seeing what the other family members had received, I was quite content in waiting for my own.  My parents still did that rotating Christmas thing with my family for years!  It was part of their fun!

The best tradition my family every started was our Christmas Eve gathering.  That’s been the one tradition that has been so hard to give up.  Unfortunately…. because I am the youngest…. that tradition died while my kids were still fairly young.  Well…. not really young, but young enough that we had no grand kids of our own to keep the tradition alive.

Let me tell you about out Christmas Eve tradition.  It’s probably similar to many of yours, but it holds so much intense love and memory for me…. it’s what Christmas is about.

We would start with a big dinner for the family.  Even as large as the kitchen and dining room area was a in my parents home….. getting everyone in was a tight squeeze.  We had extra tables set up everywhere…. just as you would expect.  Of course we all brought something to contribute to the meal.  Once the meal was done, the younger kids would head to the basement to play while the adults cleaned up the kitchen mess and put the folding tables away.

Then we would gather in the living room upstairs…. which was another large room.  We decided to start acting out the Nativity as part of our tradition.  It was always fun switching parts and using whoever had the most recent child as Baby Jesus.  I remember we would raid my Mom’s scarf collection and jewelry to dress up the Wise Men and shepherds.  We’d very often take an old towel and cut a hole in the middle of it big enough to put a child’s head through and then wrap a belt or piece of fabric around the waist.  Another towel or piece of  fabric would become the covering for the shepherds head.  The angel would be draped in a sheet with a piece of silver tinsel wrapped around their head.  Over the years, we started actually ‘making’  a few costume pieces. Nothing fancy…. no patterns…. just pieces of fabric cut to work instead of old towels.

The kids would look forward to putting on the Nativity every year.  We finally got to the point one year that instead of reading the story out of the Bible, we used an LDS Primary song called ‘The Nativity Song’.   We would sing all the verses.  As the characters were mentioned in the verses, they would take their place in the nativity scene.  It seemed to work pretty good and would at least keep the kids singing as we proceeded.

Then…. we would sing Christmas carols until the time of the big arrival!  My parents always arranged for Santa Claus to pay a visit and bring one small gift for everyone.  He’d pull a gift out of his big black bag, read the persons name and then they would sit on his lap for a minute and have their picture taken and get to talk to him for a minute.  Our kids absolutely looked forward to that part every year.  The challenge was to keep them occupied till he arrived so they weren’t looking out the window in anticipation.  Early on in this tradition, my parents were able to get Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus to come.  They were adorable and fun…. but time takes their toll on everyone and we soon had to find another Santa helper to do the job.

After Santa left, the kids would exchange gifts with their cousins.  We all drew names so we only gave one gift and received one gift.  It was all part of making the season seem right…. giving a gift to someone else.  As the years went on… the gift exchange evolved into a VERY fun White Elephant exchange which we still love to do.

Christmas Eve was the tradition that was hard to let go of.  As my parents aged and the family got bigger…. they didn’t want to have it at their home anymore, so we compromised and went to the church to do it and the adult children were in charge.

Once the grandkids grew up and started getting married, then we ran into scheduling problems of not everyone being able to make it on Christmas Eve anymore because the other side of the family they had married into had their traditions too.  It became more of a hassle than it was worth…so we started finding another night besides Christmas Eve to have a family party.  The same charm just wasn’t there anymore once we did that….. but it was still special and fun to get together with the family.   Honestly…. I’m amazed that we went as many years as we did without having our own spouses families expecting to share Christmas Eve time.  It’s pretty amazing when you think about it.  Maybe it was just luck, or it was just something that our spouses knew they were getting into when they married into the family!

I’m hoping that this tradition can be reborn again with my own family.  I know it won’t be as easy to pull off because already we have families of my kids significant others wanting to share the night.  If my daughter wasn’t out of town this year…. I think we’d all be here for the evening this year.  However, it’s just not quite the same without little kids involved…. but that will come.   I have big hopes for the coming year…. all of my children have significant others in their life right now and I’m dreaming of them all settling down and starting families of their own.  I’m hoping they’ve all reached the point where they are ready for that!

However, we have started a new tradition in my family.  A few years ago we (or should I say ‘I’) decided we needed to have a family Christmas crafting/baking night.  It has been a lot of fun to get us all together and tackle a new project.  Right now we don’t have a definite purpose or use for the particular project we make…. but we’ve managed to get them ‘eaten’.   We  still try to have a Christmas party for my side of the family so we take them there to be consumed.  The party has been after Christmas for many years because it was easier for people to fit it into their schedules.  Since my Dad passed away and Mom is in an Assisted Living center…. we’ve just scheduled the dining room area at her place to get together, so it’s easier on her.  This will be the first year we haven’t had a family get together for Christmas.  We are celebrating her 90th birthday a few weeks later, so we decided to hold off for the celebration till then.  So…. this year…. our baking project became neighbor and co-worker gifts!

Wow…. I could go on with other traditions we have that mean a lot to me….. but this post is already VERY long!  But I guess that’s why traditions are so important to us….. they hold so much emotion and fond memories it’s hard not to rattle on about them.

I’m grateful for all the years that I had keeping those amazing traditions and the meaning they hold in my heart.  I was very blessed to be a part of it.  I look forward to starting more traditions with my own family as it grows.  My family means the world to me.  I’m so grateful for them!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful Christmas and hoping that your traditions will add to your memories this week!

Please share what some of those traditions are!    Merry Christmas!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

 

We haven’t done a very good job of digitizing our old photos yet…. someday I hope to post some pictures of Christmases past!

 

Here’s a little Christmas card from my family to yours!

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I’m Not Homeless!

In these economic times, I have to reiterate how grateful I am that I have a home to live in and the all things I need and more.  I just saw a segment on 60 minutes tonight that talked about how many homeless families there are that are forced to live in their cars or trucks because they have no where else to go.

It made me so grateful for what I have.  Not just having a house to live in, but the fact that my husband was blessed to have had a career that he worked for 31 years and was able to retire with benefits.  That’s an usual thing today.  Most people need to plan for their own retirement because they won’t be getting a pension plan from their employer.

Luckily, my husband was a school teacher and had those benefits and was able to retire. Thankfully, over the years we have always had a lovely home to live in and continue to live in a very blessed situation.

I know I’ve mentioned having a home as something to be grateful for before….. but the segment on 60 minutes tonight just really brought it back to light in my mind.  I do have to say how impressed I was with the people they interviewed that were living in those conditions.  One family in particular.  They interviewed the children, a boy and a girl around the ages of 13 and 15.  I was impressed with how they try very hard to make a ‘normal’ life for themselves, even under the circumstances.  I was amazed at their attitude about the situation.    I’ve posted a link to the trailer for the segment posted on Youtube.  It’s not the entire segment…. but you’ll get the idea of how these people are dealing with their circumstances.  Listen to what this young lady says at around 2:15.  The actual link to the article below has a link within it for the entire segment.

I’m grateful I’m not in that position.  I’m grateful I have a wonderful home…… but I’m also grateful and encouraged by the courage of this young family and the optimism they have for a better future!  It’s inspiring to me and hopefully to others who may be in the same situation.  I guess the real question remains….. what can we do to help?  Perhaps that’s a good focus for our service to others this time of year.

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Stay At Home Mom

The other day I was thinking about my life…. and I suddenly realized how lucky I was that I had always been able to be a stay at home Mom!  What a blessing for me, my children and my husband.

I wonder how much my kids would consider me a stay at home Mom since there was a 6 year period during their teen years that I actually had a business with a friend teaching young kids in a performing group called Spotlight Sensations.  Though they were all involved in one or more of the classes of that business, it still meant that I was gone a few hours after school a few nights a week.  I guess during those times they had to fend for themselves for dinner…. though I know my husband was always willing to fix them something.  But, I think I always had a lot of those quick ‘throw it in the microwave’ type convenient foods around.  That’s the one bad thing about it being during their teen years….. my youngest son doesn’t remember me cooking much…. but I sure did when they were little!

In spite of that 6 year period…. I was still what I consider a stay at home Mom.  When they were little, I was always available if they needed something at school.  And during those young years before they were old enough for public school, I was there to take care of them.  I even participated in teaching in a parent co-op nursery school in those preschool years.  I was available to support them in some of their extra curricular activities.  I think that pretty much qualifies as being a stay at home Mom!

My business never really brought in any extra money…. it just paid expenses and we were rewarded emotionally by working with those kids.  It was a great experience.  We didn’t start the business because we felt like we needed more money…. it was just something my friend and I wanted to do, plus it gave us a place for our own children to learn the skills that we were teaching.  (Though some of our own kids fought us tooth and nail about being a part of it back then…. I think they might actually admit that they are grateful now…. and even had fun!)

Unfortunately…. there are so many people that are forced to have both parents work in order to get by.  I was so lucky that we were able to live on my husband’s income.  We didn’t live in the ‘richest’ part of town, but we certainly weren’t in the poorest  part either.  We were blessed with a lovely home and great neighbors and friends for our kids.  (Of course, by the standards of poor countries…… we were and are rich!!)  Our kids had all of their ‘needs’ met. They may not have received all their ‘wants’….. but they were never without what they needed!

I’m so grateful that I was blessed to find a husband that had a good job and owned a home when we got married.  I realize not everyone is that lucky when they are newlyweds.  I consider myself very blessed.  I’m grateful I was there for my kids pretty much when they needed me.  I’m grateful that we learned to live on what we had and never had to go without and that I was able to be home with them!  And…. in case my kids forgot…. they were doubly blessed in the Summer because both Mom and Dad were home!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

 

As a side note…. while I was looking for a picture to post with this…. I suddenly remember what a busy Mom I was!  Amazing how you can kind of forget that thing after you get through it!

Watermelon

There’s nothing better than a nice ripe juicy cold watermelon!

I just happened to pick a good one this time!  I wish I could say the same with helping my son pick out some last week for his HS reunion….. but unfortunately, I blew that one!  This one, however, is perfect!  I love eating a good piece of cold melon!  They are so much better when they are cold.

Can you see how there are 6 areas with pockets of seeds? Those are the areas you scoop out with a spoon to create a Watermelon Wagon Wheel. The trick is leaving enough space between the scoop outs to create the spokes!

Eating watermelon always brings back lots of fond memories for me.  The first being camping trips we took as kids .  We used to use the creek as our refrigerator for the melons.  My Dad would just set them far enough in the water that the cold water would keep the melon cool.  Very often, we would save the melon for our trip home from camping.  I have some great memories of pulling off to the side of the road with our camper right at Rock Port Dam.  My Aunt and Uncle and cousins were usually right behind us.  We’d pull off that road and cut up the watermelon and eat it right there.  That was part of the fun of the trip home!

I don’t think I went camping with my parents much past the age of 13 or so.  After the camping trips were over, it then became the thing to use our back yard as the place to eat melons.  Usually, at some family gathering.  We would make sure the melons were good and cold and then take them out back and cut them up.  Everyone would sit around eating melons and spitting the pits in a bucket.  Good times.

I remember as a little girl my Dad teaching me to make a wagon wheel out of a piece of watermelon.  You cut a good piece off the melon so it’s still in its circular form.  Then you take a spoon and make a circular cut at each point where there is a pocket of watermelon seeds.  You’ll see there are about 6 areas around the outer edge of the watermelon piece that when cut away with a spoon, forms a wagon wheel with the rest of the watermelon piece.  My Dad and I used to see who could make the best wagon wheel out of the watermelon.  Of course, once you cut away those pieces eating them as you go, and then took time to admire your handiwork…. you were left with the very best part of the melon still to eat!  I’d make my way to the center heart of that melon piece by eating everything else around it first.  Then I’d savor that watermelon heart!  Hmmm Hmmmm……  Great memories!

I’ve seen some pretty interesting pictures of things carved out of a whole watermelon….. but I had more fun making a basic wagon wheel out of one piece of watermelon than you can even imagine!  My husband thought I was crazy the first time I did it!  He’d never seen it and thought it was pretty silly.  After all… you were just going to eat it anyway, why not cut it up and eat it?  What’s all the fuss about?  Ah….. but the time it took to try and make that wagon wheel look good was as much fun as eating it!

I do love watermelon.  Especially when its juicy, cold , sweet and not over ripe!  I’m grateful for watermelon!  I’m grateful to my Dad for teaching me how to make a wagon wheel from a piece of watermelon…. but more importantly for taking the time to do it together!  Watermelon holds lots of memories for me!

What do you associate eating watermelon with?

I am Grateful!  How are you?

My Father

Where do I begin?  So many thoughts running through my head.  This is an attempt to give tribute to my Father….. a wonderful man whom I miss very much.

I thought Father’s Day would be a perfect day to express gratitude for my Dad….. not only because it’s Father’s Day, but also because tomorrow would have been his 90th birthday!  It’s hard to believe that he’s already been gone for 5 years now.

My Dad was a funny person.  All the grand kids would attest to him being a tease.  We could hardly ever get a picture of him with a straight face.  He was always pulling some goober face when the camera clicked.  He loved to have fun with his grandkids.

Donald White Bangerter June 20, 1921 — May 31, 2006

I remember many a camping trip with my family.  Mostly just my sisters and I since my brothers were too grown up to join us by the time I was old enough to remember the campouts.  He taught me how to fish.  Oh, how my Dad loved to fish!   I don’t quite understand how I could grow up loving camping as much as I did and now not even want to do it!  I don’t know….. I guess I’m just too much of a princess!

His obituary read ‘Gone Farmin’.  It really could have just as easily read, ‘Gone Fishin’.  He spent a good portion of his retired years farming.  He was raised on a farm and always had a large garden.  He knew how to make things grow.  Not only did we have a large patch of ground in our back yard for a garden, but he purchased a very large piece of land that he could do some ‘real’ farming on.  He and his brother Carter spent many an hour gardening.  Oh how I miss his corn!  And cucumbers….. and tomatoes….. and…. well…. you get the picture!

As my Dad’s health started to deteriorate, he made the decision to cover his beloved garden at the house up with sod.  He also sold the plot of land he had.  Ironically, he was gone by the following Spring.  I don’t think he could bear another summer to come and go without getting his hands in the soil.  That, and the fact that his two younger brothers, who he was very close to, passed away and pretty much took the life out of him.  He and Mom could not do the kinds of things they had always done anymore and he didn’t like that much.  I sometimes wonder if he just gave up.  Life has a way of doing that to you.

Dad was a hard worker and believed that everyone should be.  He was a brick mason by trade, so he spent countless hours in the sun, using his hands to create.  He loved to create things.  I believe he looked at farming as a hand in creation.  He loved to build things and work with wood.  I don’t remember my Dad being the kind of person that sat around a lot when he was younger.  He would come home from work and rest for a while in his chair, but it seemed he was always doing something around the house.  Even on the weekends.  Unless of course we were camping!

My Dad was a very generous man.  He loved to have nice things but didn’t flaunt it too much.  He liked to drive nice cars and dress up clean and sharp when he and Mom would go out…..but he was very generous.  He was always willing to help any one of us when we were having struggles.  I believe he was truly grateful he was in a position to do so.

My parents were great supporters of me and my ‘habits’.  Mostly that of performing.  Both in High School and College.  I was very fortunate that Dad put me through college.  It’s just a shame that I don’t have anything to show for it!  (Long story that we won’t go into now!)  Just know that I appreciate the support he gave me and though I don’t have a diploma…. I learned a great deal in college and was blessed with some wonderful experiences that have affected my life.  All thanks to my parents generosity.

I am so grateful that I had such a wonderful Father.  I’m grateful that my children remember him fondly.  Thanks for always taking such good care of us Dad!  Thanks for being a good example and so fun loving!  We all dearly miss you!  I give you a bouquet of purple roses from your rose bush on this day and send you my love!

Your Baby….. Wanda

I am Grateful!  How are you?

Mothers

Since I took the opportunity to talk about my own Mom on her birthday….. I wanted today’s post to be a post about Mothers in general.

Let’s start off by asking… What is a Mother?  As I searched the internet for definitions, it was interesting to find some things that varied…. but my actual favorite was the description off of Wikipedia:   A mother, mom, mum, momma or mama, is a woman who has conceived, given birth to, or raised a child in the role of a parent.[1] Because of the complexity and differences of a mother’s social, cultural, and religious definitions and roles, it is challenging to define a mother to suit a universally accepted definition.  I think that sums it up quite well.  It’s a hard definition to make in anyone’s book that would apply to all.

I’m sure most of you would agree that you have had several women in your life that have had a major influence on you.  I know I have.  And some of those amazing women have never had the opportunity to be a Mother and yet they have had a huge influence on a number of people.  I believe one of the main gifts that women have been given is to be nurturing.  Most women find ways to do that even if they don’t have children.  Now… bear in mind…. being nurturing, in my mind, doesn’t necessarily mean you are dealing with a young child.  We all need nurturing….. now matter what the age.  Nurture means to support, encourage, bring up and train.  I know I’m still being nurtured by that definition!

Though I look at Motherhood as one of the most wonderful things I have been blessed with in my life…. I  can also look back and be critical of myself to the point of seeing how inadequate at the job I was.  But rather than let that thought get me down…. I came to a realization that there is much wisdom with age.  Haven’t we been told that all our lives?  Part of life’s experience is to learn from our mistakes and try to help others not make the same ones!  Remember how when you were a teenager you didn’t think your Mom knew squat?  Did you notice as you got older that you realized she may have known more than you thought?  Perhaps we should listen to our elders more!  There is something to be said for maturity.  Along with it comes the realization that you don’t know it all!  My advice is to pay more attention to what Mom says!  You might just pick up a tidbit of good advice.

While we all make sacrifices in some way, a Mother’s sacrifice is enormous.  One of the many things floating around on Facebook today was this:  ♥ To all the unselfish moms out there who traded sleep for dark circles, salon haircuts for a ponytail, long showers for quick ones, late nights for early mornings, and designer bags for diaper bags, and wouldn’t change a thing ♥   That’s just a partial list of what Mom’s sacrifice!  But as it notes at the end….. she wouldn’t change a thing!

Moms and ALL women in a nurturing role are truly beautiful and amazing people!  However, sometimes we forget how much all the little things we do mean to the people in our lives.  Today I sang a song in church called SHE by Cherie Call.  The basic message of the song is that though you may not be a model or a diplomat or someone rich or famous…. you are beautiful… indispensable…. wonderful!  One of my favorite parts of the song goes like this:  And it breaks my heart every time I hear her wonder, if she means anything in this world that pulls her under.  And she doesn’t always see the way that Heaven smiles above her, that’s the reason that I try to always tell her that I love her!

So tell all those wonderful women in your life how much you love them today!  Tell them”Thanks” for all they’ve done and for just being who they are!  Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful women!

I am Grateful!  How are you?

My Home

What is your definition of home?  Is it just a place to lay your head, or is it much more than that?  For me….. it’s much more.  I spend a lot of time at home.  Since I don’t have an ‘outside’ job and I work from home….. I’m here a lot.   Home for me would be defined as a place of refuge, a place of comfort…… a place where I can be my true self……. Not that I’m not myself in other places….  but I think maybe we do things at ‘home’ that we don’t do in public.

Our lovely home

My home is an expression of me.  It’s a good thing I didn’t marry a man who really cares how my house is decorated, what colors I use, etc. (though there are time I want his opinion….. of which he doesn’t like to give….).  Maybe that whole decorating thing is just a natural part of being a woman, or a creative person.

I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s with shows on TV like “Father Knows Best”, “The Donna Reed Show”, “Leave It to Beaver” and “My Three Sons”…… all shows about the ideal family doing things that were ‘gender’ specific (for the times anyway….. many of which would cause arguments today!)   So…. perhaps growing up that way….. with my parents pretty much doing those ‘gender’ specific things….. it would only be natural for me to want to decorate my home the way that I want….. with a woman’s touch.

It’s important to make it a comfortable place to be.  In our last home, I was pretty neutral with all the colors I chose.  This time I have branched out a little and added more color.  Even though they would be considered neutral in some decorating books….. they add color that I’ve never had…. and I love it!  It makes my home warm and cozy and comfortable.  Just like a home should be.

We have all the comforts and beyond in our current home.  Can you imagine what it must have been like before indoor plumbing?   I can’t even imagine the torture it must have been to have to make a trip to a cold cold outhouse this time of year!  Yikes……   (sounds like I’m getting onto another topic of gratitude here!! )   So…. I’ll stop just by saying…. I’m grateful to live in a warm lovely home with all the comforts I need.  This time of year makes that feeling of gratitude even stronger!   I am truly blessed!

I am Grateful!  How are you?