In memory of…

A very special lady…my sister, my friend!

Aug. 7, 1954 - Aug 1, 2002

Aug. 7, 1954 – Aug 1, 2002

Miss you, miss your smile.  I can’t believe it has been 11 years since we last talked on the phone.  It seems like it was just last week.

The time has gone by, and so much has changed, but my memory of you is still the same.  You were my protector, my friend, and my confidant.  We laughed and we cried together, and sometimes, we even laughed so hard, we cried.

Oh how I wish you were here, so that we could share these days together.  The days of our empty nest, and amazing grandchildren. The days we talked about so much, and we were so looking forward to going through together.

Sharing in each others joy and crying on each others shoulder, talking and listening and learning from each other. And don’t forget…laughing too! Lots of laughing I’m sure!

But for reasons I will never understand this side of heaven, it just didn’t work out that way.

So on this day, as well as many others, I remember you and the very special person you were to me and to the world!

You will always be in my memory, and forever in my heart.

Thank you for your unconditional love to me.  I love you!

My big brother

He’s my big brother, and my only one!

He came to visit me from Arizona – stayed for a few days, and is on his way home today.

My big bro

We enjoyed some good food, and watched a few good baseball games together.  My team actually won 2 games in a row!

Relaxed a lot, shared memories of the “good old days“, and made a few new ones together.

I will have to admit, being his little sister as an adult, is so much better than being his little sister as a kid!

Nothing bad, just the typical annoying little sister thing.  Hopefully, I don’t annoy him as much anymore – and if I do, well, he doesn’t let me know!

He’s a good big brother, and I’m glad he’s mine!

Thankful Thursday: 3 gifts entwined

1. Our hands entwined, forever!
32 years and counting! I like to think that holding hands, might just be one of the secrets to our success! 🙂

20130328-102440.jpg

2. A symbol of two sisters, and a reminder of how their lives entwined with mine. They are gone now, but I will never forget how their lives touched mine.

20130328-101359.jpg

3. The fig vine entwined around the tree in our backyard.

20130328-102927.jpg

What about you?

There are a lot of bad things in this world, but there are a lot of good things too. I would love to hear more about the good things.

Will you join me in looking for these gifts and sharing them with others?

This weeks theme is “3 gifts entwined

Write about the 3 things you are thankful for to go with this weeks theme, (with or without pictures) – and make sure to include the link to your blog.

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.
~Henry VanDyke

I hope you have a wonderful “Thankful Thursday!”

Mission accomplished!

A few weeks a go I was feeling a little overwhelmed by Christmas, and all of the events that would take place in the month of December.

I was determined to not let it get the best of me, so I gave myself a few goals.

My goals were to relax and enjoy each moment of the season. Celebrate time-honored traditions, reflect on the special family memories, and be willing to make new ones!

No two Christmas’ are ever alike, and this year was no exception!

I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning with my very best friend. We went to the Hotel Del Coronado to see the huge Christmas tree, one of our time-honored traditions!

Christmas 2012 at the Del

We had good conversation and a great dinner at a quaint little restaurant. We laughed, we looked at the lights, we wrapped presents, and drank coffee together.

On Christmas morning, we exchanged a few, very special gifts. Gifts that we will treasure because of the love and the thought that was put into giving them.

I also learned a very valuable lesson, and it was probably my best gift of the year.

I learned that sometimes the unplanned events and moments can be the very best moments of all! The month was filled with these moments, Christmas day included.

I wasn’t able to be with my own kids at Christmas, but I did get to hear their voice, and the voice of my grandkids.  An unplanned moment, and priceless gift indeed!

The afternoon was spent with my best friend, my mom, my niece and her husband.  The plan for the day had always included lunch with my mom, but the bonus was my niece and her husband.  They were a much welcomed, surprise visit! Another unplanned moment.  I was able to celebrate Christmas with my sister’s daughter.  I know she really would have liked that a lot, and that makes me happy.

It was great to spend time together, talking and laughing, and enjoying the comfort and love of family.

And…I also met my goal!

In fact, I think this Christmas is going to hold a very fond memory for me.  I’m glad I gave myself these goals.  Especially the goal to try and enjoy each moment, because the moments, both planned and unplanned, were good, and I really did enjoy this Christmas!

sunset at the beach 4

A perfect ending to beautiful day!  Mission accomplished!

Related Articles:

https://beckystout.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/overwhelmed-by-christmas/

this time last week

This time last week I was traveling north to be with my daughter and her husband, to celebrate the 1st birthday of our youngest grandson. A sweet little blue-eyed boy, with a sparkle in his eyes, and the infectious belly laugh of a one year old.

Happy Birthday, little guy!  I love you so much!

Rick looking up at me

This time last week, 26 lives were ripped from this world in a horrific shooting at a grade school in Newtown CT.  The lives of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, grandmas and grandpas, were changed in ways that I can’t even imagine.  Changed in a way I don’t want to imagine, because it should never have to be imagined.  It just shouldn’t be.

The extreme contrast of the two did not go unnoticed by anyone in my family.  Our event was to celebrate a life, a milestone.  In Newtown, they were mourning. It was a tragedy.  Plain and simple, as there is just no other way to describe it.

My heart, it is so full.  It’s full and overflowing with the memories of the week-end, and struggling with the wide range of emotions.  The sorrow for the families who are in so much pain. The blessing of a wonderful husband, the gift of amazing children, and the joy of precious grandchildren.

I feel a little like Mary right now, “pondering all these things in my heart“. It was a very special moment in my life.  Our time together as a family was full of laughter, and hugs, and smiles. In Newtown, there are only hugs and tears.

And once again I am made aware of life and its brevity. How abruptly it can end, and how important it is to cherish my family each moment that we have together.  I am reminded by the powerful message of the inability to control, and I am overwhelmed by the security and knowledge that we are all in the Hands of God.

Thankful Thursday – 3 gifts striped

Three Gifts Striped

1. A striped candy cane made by the hands of someone I love, my big sister. Every year at Christmas, she would give me a hand-made ornament.  She passed away 10 years a go.  I miss those gifts.  I miss those hands.

Each year, as I hang the ornaments on my tree, I have a quiet moment of reflection as I think about my big sister, and her special gifts, and how much she loved me, and I loved her!

candy cane

2. Cozy socks that keep my feet nice and warm! Oh how I love a new pair of socks.

Because life is just too short for plain white socks!

sock

3. The blinds on my window. Not nearly as meaningful as the candy cane ornament, but certainly practical, and some times practical is good too.

window stripes

Don’t shut your eyes tight

We were sitting at the kitchen table playing with the play doh. She was making ” spaghetti and meatballs” and he was making “solid shapes”.

I grabbed a chunk of the play doh and started mashing and squeezing it through my hands. Transported back in time at the smell of the fresh new play doh.

Then I just listened.  I listened to the happy chatter of our 4 yr old granddaughter and 6 yr old grandson, as they talked about their lives!

And as I listen, I find out that the life of a 4-year-old in preschool includes taking a nap, and she is not real fond of this requirement.  It is in fact, a very traumatic event in this little girl’s life.

So apparently her big brother has come to her rescue, and has been giving her some advice on the matter.

“Did you do what I told you to do?” he asks?   “When it’s time to take a nap, you just lay down, but you don’t shut your eyes tight, just squeeze them almost all the way closed, and it will look like you’re asleep, but you can still see everything that is going on!”

Sounds like good solid “big brother” advice to me!  I ask him if that is what he did when he was in preschool.

“Yes! One time when my dad came to pick me up, he thought I was sleeping, but I could see everything”.

“Do you think your dad ever found out that you weren’t  really asleep?”   He assured me that his dad never found out.

Ahh…the “innocence” of youth!  Or is it?

Keeping a promise

It happened many years a go. A promise was made between two sisters.

A promise that we would always be there for each other, and for our children. It was important for us to remember their special day, and we were determined to make every attempt to send a birthday card to our children, and get to know them on a personal level.

We promised that we would support each other, and listen and learn from each other. Hold each other accountable. Our hope was that we were going to break the cycle, and make every effort to stay connected.

Build relationships that we did not have the privilege of experiencing with our own Aunts. Establish traditions, that would hopefully result in lasting memories.

We were holding true to this promise, when the life altering event of the death of my sister, took place ten years a go. This caused, among many other things, a lack of connection to her children. The distance and the grief created an invisible barrier.

However, I am still committed to the promise I made to her.

I have created some new memories, and I’m excited to carry on new traditions. More importantly, I’ve re-connected with two beautiful lives, and I’ve made another promise.

20121010-144620.jpg

A promise to her kids, and to their kids. I will be here for you, and I’m looking forward to building memories together.

Bittersweet journey

I’m flying north, on my way to meet my great-niece for the very first time. She’s six months old, her mama, my sisters’ eldest.

I am going to meet the granddaughter that my sister has never met, nor will she ever meet her here on earth. She will never be able to hold her in her arms, look into her eyes, and hear the words that every Grandma loves to hear…”I love you, Grandma“.

I know it is only my “human-ness” that makes me think that she is missing this. She is in heaven, she really isn’t missing anything!

But I am missing her.

I am missing the joy, the love, and the excitement she would have for this little one. I’m missing the stories we would share, the burdens we would carry, and the blessing of being Grandmas together.

She loved her girls. I can still hear her voice when she called to tell me the news of their birth. I can only imagine the excitement she would have had with the news of a granddaughter.

Giddy with delight, proud beyond words.

So I take this journey knowing that it will bring moments of absolute delight, as well as moments of reflection. Reflection of an amazing lady, and the legacy she left behind.

20121003-202027.jpg

Happy Birthday Linda!

Happy, Heavenly Birthday to my big sister!

I can only imagine how much she is enjoying her day!  Her love for life was contagious, and her love for people, knew no bounds, especially, her love for her family.  I know, without a doubt, that she would have done anything for me as long as it wasn’t illegal or immoral!

I miss her smile, her laugh and her hugs.  It was because of her enthusiasm for the little things in life, that I am reminded of her often.

This is just a short list of memories of an amazing lady, sister and friend!

  • Temecula – our meeting place when the kids were small
  • Dolphins – we watched them play in the ocean, she was amazed
  • Artichokes – she found this strange thing to be fascinating, and insisted we try it
  • Christmas – I think it was her favorite time of the year.  She loved making it special for others, not just herself
  • Angels – every Christmas, she would make an ornament for me, it was always an angel
  • Thanksgiving – she taught me how to make gravy
  • “Nurse Jones” – together, we pulled my brother out of the dark side of the ICU room when he had a heart attack
  • Sail boats – camping by the ocean, her favorite place to relax
  • Chicken Apple Sausage – she introduced me to this – still one of my favorites

In memory of your special day.  In honor of you.

I love you Linda!