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Monday, December 31, 2012

Day 20 - Grandpa Ron


Today is Grandpa Ron's birthday.  He is 70-something.  The something doesn't really matter because G Ron is still young and active, vibrant and very much living the good life.  G Ron is my husband's dad and daily, I see so many wonderful attributes in my husband that he very clearly got from his own papa. 
Although G Ron lives far, far away, he and grandma never fail to make the long drive to come visit, see the grandchildren and spend time with their kiddos. 

This past summer, they drove up to see my two youngest perform in Summer Musical Theater.
Since we've always lived out of State and far away from family (sadly), Ryan and Maddie were beyond thrilled to be able to perform for G & G. 

Our lives are blessed daily by Grandpa Ron and I wish him a Happy, Happy Birthday and a year filled with joy and peace! 

Until next time,
Kathleen

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day 19 - Calendars



I knew we'd eventually get to those funky, off-the-wall postings where folks would read and go "what in the world??"  It's only Day 19 - oh well, with me sooner is generally better than later.

Today, my youngest and I had a few exchanges to do with Christmas clothes that didn't fit.  It was strange because it wasn't as if everything was too big or too small....some things were gianormous and other things were so small she could barely get them on.  It wasn't as if I didn't do all the shopping for her and it's not as if I don't know what size she is.  She's average in height and build, a tween medium....or so I thought!

At any rate, after exchanges were made we ran to the local giant superstore and looked for wall calendars for me.  Here's the deal.  I LOVE me a good calendar!  Love them!  Love to get them as Christmas gifts, they are my favorite.  You know how in the movie Elf, where Will Ferrell says "I'm smiling.  I like smiling, smiling's my favorite"?  Well I like calendars, calendars are my favorite.  Generally, my family gets me calendars for Christmas.  Not just one, oh no, because I need several.  I need at least one, preferably two, for my office.  I need one for the kitchen and I like to have one hanging in my bedroom.  I'll admit, I'm a bit obsessive about knowing what day it is, what time it is and what's happening tomorrow.  Sadly, this year (and I told them it was because they didn't love me anymore) my family did not get me one, single calendar.  Bah, Humbug!

So today, I bought myself a few calendars.  My calendars don't have to be fancy.  They don't have to be expensive.  I love a calendar that has pretty pictures and maybe a lovely quote or a Bible Verse.  I love a calendar that in some way depicts the kind of month it is....for example, a snow scene for January or some tulips in May.  But I also like a calendar that will give a surprise.  Something new and different every month.  When I buy a calendar, I try hard to judge it by it's cover.  That is, I try not to look at the back to see what each month's photo is going to be.  After all, that spoils things.  I have to assume, if a calendar has a good front photo (which is usually the January pic) then the months to follow will have a nice photo as well. 


Madz and I picked out 3 lovely calendars today and I couldn't be more pleased. 


I feel like I am now ready for 2013 and all the wonderful adventures and surprises it will bring!

Until next time,
Kathleen

Friday, December 28, 2012

Day 18

Today, I am thankful that we live where we live.....not in the heart of the city, but not so far away that we can't run to the grocery store when I realize there is no hamburger for the meatloaf.  And, we can go see a movie that starts in 20 minutes (just as we are about to do!)

But because we kinda/sorta live out in the country, we have all sorts of cool and interesting visitors, in our very own backyard.  Sorry for the poor picture quality.  It was dusk.  Photos were taken through the window and I was trying hard not to alert the dogs to what was going on in their yard!

First, I noticed this little guy.  I think he was trying to eat the crab apples that had fallen off the tree.

Look at this precious baby.

So cute, I can hardly stand it!

There must be lots of fallen crab apples!

I was brave (and quiet) enough to venture out onto the deck, without the babies, or our dogs, noticing.

Oh!  She hears something.

Time to scatter....I think at this point, the dogs have realized something is amiss and have begun to bark.

Momma and daddy maybe, keeping an eye out?

And, they headed off.  I was so happy they came to visit! 
 
It was a precious little blessing in what was otherwise, just a regular day.
 
 
Until next time,
Kathleen

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day 17

I still haven't quite gotten over my overwhelming sense of thanks and gratitude for having our power restored.  Every time I go to flip on a light switch, I find myself holding my breath, silently praying it will turn on.  There is NOTHING like not having something to enhance our gratitude....in a way, I suppose, that is a sad thing.  I have to wonder how very much we take for granted each and every day, assuming that since we paid the bill, the heat will go on.  But in a way, isn't it also a matter of faith?  We have faith that when we flip the switch the light will go on.  When the weather man predicts a -0- degree day, we have faith that the heat will warm the house.  I can't imagine what life would be like if we had to constantly question whether the every day things would work, if the car would start, if the roads would be clear, if the plumbing would cooperate.

I kind of think our faith in God works much the same way.  Things are going along swimmingly and I know God is there, I know He is behind me, supporting me, cheering me on.  But I can tell you, after day 2 of no power, I was seriously doubting His existence.  Silly, silly of me, I know and so immature.  Just when I think I've become this woman of great and mature faith, a woman of God, we lose power for a few hours and my faith falls apart.  I am ashamed to admit it.  Just thinking about this, makes my cheeks burn crimson and frankly, scares me to death.  I have to wonder:  what if something really and truly bad happened to me....would my thin line of faith hold?  Would I know God was there and that He wasn't just my cheerleader, but that He was holding me, loving me, supporting me, regardless?  Would I fall on Him, run to Him, BE with Him? 

I know the answer, of course, is yes.  Really and truly bad things have happened and He was there.  I knew He was there.  I've cried and grieved, screamed and yelled, fallen down and felt His love none-the-less.  I've even been mad at God, blaming Him for the bad and still, despite it all, despite my immature actions and faith, I've felt it.  I've felt HIS LOVE, known with every fiber of my being that He was there, not just with me, but UPholding me. 

Without power, I was cold and uncomfortable, sitting in bleak darkness in the middle of December.  Without Him....frankly, that is just too scary to even consider.

Until Next Time,
Kathleen

Day 16

Love Came Down

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.


~ Christina Rossetti 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Catching up on Grateful....Days 10-15


First off, none of the photos in this posting are my own.  They are all gorgeous pictures from the Internet, because despite our adventures of last week, it never once occurred to me to take a photo. 

So, we had a bit of a snowstorm in Nebraska.  We got maybe 7 or 8 inches of snow, but before the snow fell, we had rain, sleet, rain and snow mixed and then 45 mile an hour winds.  These conditions caused power lines to ice up with 2" diameter ice coverings.  As the winds blew, power lines began snapping.  We lost power a little after 10:30 pm on Wednesday night and it didn't come back on until 1:24 a.m. on Saturday morning.  No power means no Internet, so of course I couldn't post Grateful, but I surely was thinking grateful thoughts, or at times, trying my best to think grateful thoughts. 


Day 10:  Children who look at rough spots in life as an adventure.

My children spent the first day of no power playing board games, quizzing each other for finals which were slightly delayed, foraging for kindle for the fireplace, giggling, laughing, crafting, wrestling and generally having a ball.  I complained of being cold.  I complained about the lack of light.  I was uncomfortable and generally miserable, but my children were troopers.


Day 11:  A husband who was willing to drive back and forth from work with terrible road conditions to bring us food, light the fire, check up on us and then take us out for a delicious dinner.



Day 12:  Friends and strangers who care.  By the end of day two, we had more offers of dinner, homes to stay in and help with the pets, from both dear friends and complete strangers, than we knew what to do with.



Day 13:  Prayer.  During hour 49-50, I lay in bed, layered in clothing and blankets and prayed.  My prayer became a mantra...."please, please, please, let the power come on."  I prayed that prayer for exactly 33 minutes before I heard the teeniest click of my alarm clock and knew the power was finally on. 


Day 15:  Perspective.  I won't minimize how incredibly difficult it felt to me to be without power.  I won't say I didn't whine, cuss, complain, cry.  I won't pretend I was the model of faith and stoicism to my children the entire time.  But I will say that I was able to keep my grumpiness and complaining to a minimum, each and every time it occurred to me that there were 20 sets of parents in Connecticut who would have gladly traded places with me last week.  It really is all a matter of perspective. 

Merry Christmas Eve.  I hope your day is filled with blessings and lots of gratitude,
Kathleen

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 9 - Kaitlyn

And I promise you this.  No matter who enters your life, I will love you more than any of them.....

 
 
Kaitlyn Emily.  Our "eldest".  She is.....
 
 
A trumpet player.



A young woman of faith.
An actress....

Super smart!


 An outstanding speaker....
A GREAT catch!

A great big sister, mentor and friend....

A loving cousin.....

 
But most important to me, she is MY DAUGHTER.  And for that, I will be forever grateful!
 
Until next time,
Kathleen


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I'm joining bloggers across the country today to pause and remember.
 
Charlotte Bacon
Daniel Barden
Olivia Engel
Josephine Gay
Ana Marquez-Greene
Dylan Hockley
Madeleine Hsu
Catherine Hubbard
Chase Kowalski
Jesse Lewis
James Mattioli
Grace McDonnell
Emilie Parker
Jack Pinto
Noah Pozner
Caroline Previdi
Jessica Rekos
Avielle Richman
Benjamin Wheeler
Allison N Wyatt
Rachel Davino
Dawn Hochsprung
Nancy Lanza
Anne Marie Murphy
Lauren Rousseau
Mary Sherlach
Victoria Soto 

 Please join me in taking some extra time to ponder the small ways we can each bring more peace into the world, during such a sorrowful time.  We hold our children's hands for awhile, but their hearts forever.
 
Father, I pray that your everlasting light shine in the hearts and lives of the families who have lost precious children, mothers, wives, sisters and dear ones.  Shine your light in our world, though at times we cannot see through the darkness, we know You are with us.  Hold these precious souls close to you as  you welcome them into Your kingdom where they will live eternally with peace and love.  Hold their families in the palm of Your hand and bring them comfort and peace in their time of mourning.
 
Amen

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 8 - Fun & Games

With children in the 7th and 8th Grades and another in college, this is the first Christmas I don't get to help throw a Holiday classroom party or buy teacher gifts.  Makes me kind of sad, really. 

And so, today, I am grateful for some silliness at my children's Junior High.  Today, for a $2.00 donation for mission work, the kiddos could dress in their Christmas finest, or rather, silliest.
Determined not to purchase anything, we put together these crazy outfits last night.  Ryan's wearing dad's tie from Christmases past and has ornaments safety pinned to his dad's red sweater.  Maddie has a snowman sweatshirt on, which I made by the way - also eons ago, along with a green velvet skirt from a Halloween costume and a scarf from a Christmas Teddy Bear. 


It was early when we took this picture....see, it's still dark outside!  I failed to get the crazy Christmas socks that Maddie is wearing, along with my bright red suede shoes.  To complete the outfits (and because you had to be wearing at least 3 Christmas items) we stopped at Walmart on the way to school (Walmart is really empty at 7:00 in the morning, did you know that?) and picked up a sparkly Santa hat for Maddie and a blue, Denver Bronco Santa hat for Ryan. 

I'll try to snag better pics after school.  We'll see what the mood of my ninos is, at that time.  I managed to completely embarrass them as I was singing "Mamacita, donde esta Santa Claus" at full volume on the way to school.  I was cracking myself up....I was not cracking up the kids.  "Mom," Maddie said, "you are SO off key!"

Yeah, I can't sing.  I can barely play the piano and can't even come close to playing any one of the many instruments my children can play.  None-the-less, it's fun to try!  I love this time of year!!  I'm still laughing at my vocal attempts.  And, despite their teenage angst and apparent appall at my singing, I think I saw small smiles on both of their faces.

Until next time,
Kathleen

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day 7 ~ SNOW!

Today, I am grateful for the little bit of snow that fell and the chance to stay home all day crafting, eating, watching football, catching up on DVR'd shows and spending time with family.  I LOVE today!






Until next time,
Kathleen

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day 6 ~ Music

 

On this beautiful Saturday morning, and even with a heavy heart for the unbearable sadness on the East Coast, my heart is nearly bursting with gratitude for blessings too numerous to count.  Although I know it could all be taken away at a moment's notice, for His was are not our ways, I will choose to be grateful. 


Last night was our children's school Christmas Music Concert.  It was an unbelievable array of instrumental talent and singing.  Music speaks to me in ways I cannot explain or even understand.
And so, this morning, I am grateful.
Ever grateful.
Unspeakably grateful.

Until next time,
Kathleen

Friday, December 14, 2012

Day 5 - Construction

My children's school in under Construction.  More specifically, a new gym is being built along with some new classroom space and a newly paved parking lot.  Construction is messy, inconvenient, a pain.  It makes life difficult and dirty.  But, as my husband likes to say about things which are worth having, even when the process is difficult, "It's a good problem to have."  Next year, we won't have to drive across town to take the Junior High Boys to basketball practice at another gym.  Next year, we won't have to borrow space from a church (also on the other side of town) to host the Band and Choir Christmas concert.  Next year, we won't have to host home basketball and volleyball games at other schools.  And, next year, we will all be together in one new, amazing gym. 

So for today, for construction, I am grateful.

Happy Friday!

Until next time,
Kathleen

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 4 - New Friends

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.          ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton
 
 
 I typically give daily thanks for family and friends.  And of course, the first people who come to mind are my immediate family and old friends, many of whom live far, far away.  I am ever grateful for lifetimes of friendship, love and support offered by certain sweet, special people. 
 
But my Day 4 gratitude post is for new friends.  I always find it so interesting to think about how people come into our lives.  It's fascinating to examine the how to's of connecting with different people.  I meet someone who is a kindred spirit and think, "Wow, how did I get lucky enough to meet this person?!"
 
My "new" friend Gail is just such a person.  We met through our sons; Gail's youngest and my only son became friends right off the bat when we started our new school last year.  The boys are two peas in a pod, talented musicians and singers, actors, computer geeks and sport fanatics.  I thought it was neat that Ryan met someone with whom he had so much in common.  It was months before Gail and I met.  Our first conversation was all of about 30 seconds, with the usual, "I'm Ryan's mom, I'm Noah's mom" introductions.  You know the kind, where you forget to actually tell the other person your name, since you are more readily identified by your children than yourself!
 
Gail and I would run into each other at school events and exchange pleasantries, always commenting on how happy we were that the boys were getting to be such good friends.  One night our families had dinner together.  I thought Gail and I would never stop talking.  The conversations were endless and animated, funny and light.  Tears were shed over lost pets and the demands of raising teenagers, shared faith, cooking and life.  I remember my husband literally dragging me away from the front door as Gail and I continued to talk after it was time to leave.
 
Gail is an educator, librarian, tutor, mentor and part-time Pampered Chef Associate.  She is of course, a wife and mother and huge supporter of the arts at our children's school.  She is a child advocate.  Gail and I talked a lot about our children's school.  I noticed that she had nice things to say about people.  She has lots of friends.  She thinks highly of people, even people who do not act highly.  Gail gives folks the benefit of the doubt and finds the good in people.  Where I am quick to judge and condemn, Gail goes first to a place of mercy and grace, allowing people to be people and loving them despite their faults.  She is good and Godly.  I was inspired.
 
We had the rare opportunity to meet for coffee yesterday.  Over a cup, I learned even more about this amazing woman.  She is charming and funny and I left the coffee shop feeling carefree and light.  When I awkwardly asked Gail if I could take her picture for the blog, she agreed.  I was grateful because I know it must seem strange to have someone take your photo and then tell you they are going to blog about you.  Not sure I would have been quite so amiable, I probably would have run screaming from the coffee shop! 

(She's photogenic, too, as you can tell.)
 
I believe God puts people in our lives for a reason.  I believe the Lord put not only Gail, but her entire family in our family's life and on Day 4, I am ever grateful.
 
Until next time,
Kathleen