My Valentine to the Readers

Even if you don’t have that special valentine today, or you are feeling sad and low… I, even a stranger to you, want you to know that someone DOES love you and saw you before the beginning of time. You are important; you were designed to come into this world, you have something to add, and you are still here for this purpose.

Be you…but be kind.

Don’t listen to naysayers.

Dig deep.

Keep going.

Happy Valentine’s Day❣️

 Psalm 139:15-16 (NLT) – “You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

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Twenty Creative Ways to Leave Love Notes

Twenty creative ways to leave love notes for people.

When my husband and I started dating, we enjoyed leaving love notes for each other in creative and clever ways. ❤️ Later on, I tried to do the same with my two kids. And, I sure got a kick out of seeing them doing the same for us, each other, and now with their spouses.

But, you don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day to surprise someone with a love note. We have left notes for all sorts of reasons…a job promotion, a Geography Bee winning, a note of encouragement or note noticing your kid helped another person…the skies the limit!

Here, I snuck out after the snow stopped to leave love notes for my hubby to find before he left for work the following day. 🙂 ⛄️

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OK, so here’s the list of things we actually did throughout the years, or ideas I came up with.

(More pictures at the end of the post. 🤗)

THE KEY IS… USE YOUR IMAGINATION!!



❤️Twenty Creative Ways to Leave Love Notes❤️

• Hide notes in lunch boxes, books, backpacks or under and behind items for someone to find when they clean the house.

• Sneak out at night and write a sweet message on their car with shoe polish paint.

• Leave a note under their favorite coffee cup or hygiene item they use every morning.

• Use dry erase marker to write a love note, positive thought or verse on their bathroom mirror.

• Print out a sign and tape it to a wall where they’ll see it when they open their door or behind a door they will close. (i.e. bathroom door)

• Find your kids’ homework agenda and leave a congratulatory, encouraging, or fun message on a particular day. (i.e. a tryout days, their first week of school, a birthday, a milestone.) 🗒

• Kiss the back of a card’s envelope with lipstick on and print S.W.A.K. (Sealed With A Kiss) 💋

• Leave a note on the rear view mirror or in their car seat.

• Write a note on the toilet paper using a Sharpie. 😉HA

• Slide a creatively designed note under their door at night, so they see it first thing in the morning.

• Use dry erase marker or permanent Sharpie to write on a coffee mug or favorite glass.

• Make a unique plate to be used for special occasions ONLY. (i.e. “You’re So Smart”, “You Did IT!” “Congratulations!” “We’re Proud of You!”) 👍🏼

• Tuck a note in a pant pocket, coat pocket or glove.

• Leave a note inside their glasses case. 👓

• Leave a note on top of a stack of  clothes you’ve folded.

• Leave a card or note under the car windshield wipers while they’re at work.

• Leave a note taped to their computer, the remote or TV. 📺

• Tape a note to their favorite food item that they use every day. (i.e. creamer, cereal or coffee can.)

• Place a note under their pillow or pinned to a favorite blanket. 🛌

• Tape a note to their car keys.

• Leave a note in their suitcase as they leave for camp or a business trip.

• Lastly, of course, you can always just send an e-mail or text. 😉 💌

JUST HAVE FUN WITH IT❣️

Tell us in the comments below what you have done before. 👇🏽


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Garlic Buttered Shrimp and Asparagus

When I was younger, you couldn’t get me to eat ANY kind of seafood. None. Nada.

The thought of going to Red Lobster after church…just yuck.

I think it had something to do with the fact my dad used to take me fishing with him out on Balboa Bay in California. We used to be out for hours trying to catch fish…many a time we caught seagulls. 🎣 They’d sweep down and pick up our bait as the line was spinning out into the sky. Oh, the memories. But during those long hours of baiting, and smelling stinky fish all while drinking V8 out in the heat of the day, 🤢 well, it just seared it in my brain. “NO, YOU WIll NOT LIKE SEAFOOD!” 🐟🐠🦑🦐🦀

And I didn’t for many many years.

Then, somewhere between high school and college I was asked pleaded with (more than once) to try fried shrimp, and I actually “tolerated” it. (I think because it was fried, so I barely tasted anything seafoodish.) I later graduated on to trying grilled shrimp and scampi.

It was a big leap for me. 😂 I guess anything with garlic and butter on it has resonated with me.

So, here I am. Now sharing my own shrimp dish. Unreal.

But this turned out better than I would’ve thought as I’ve literally only made shrimp twice in my life. It met the hub’s satisfaction, so it’s going on the blog. 🙂

You will need:

1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp (Yes, I actually did this myself..I know!😱)

Olive oil to coat your pan

5 cloves of crushed Garlic (or jarred minced garlic can be used.)

1 stick of butter

Salt

*Red pepper flakes

*Smoked paprika

1 & 1/2 Lemons

*Parsley

*Asparagus cooked


*optional items

Instructions:

In a hot skillet, add olive oil just to smoking temperature. Next, add in the shrimp, constantly tossing till slightly pink (roughly a minute) and then add in your garlic and red pepper flakes (small amt) turning everything for about another minute being careful not to burn seasonings. Add butter to your liking. (If your butter is salted no need to add salt.) Add paprika, and finish with chopped parsley and lemon juice. You just want to toss your shrimp till they turn a darker pink and curl slightly. I then added steamed asparagus mixing it all together and added a bit more of the seasonings also more lemon juice. (This is all to taste.)

It assure you it will be delicious! 👌🏼

Just ask my hubby and this shrimp 🦐 eatin’ gal now. 😉

What is your favorite seafood and where would you like to be eating it about now? We just got a snowstorm, so I vote Hawaii!

Items to buy:

I love my pan: https://amzn.to/2DkT2Ar

Peeled & Deveined shrimp: https://amzn.to/2MoNqbC

WOK: https://amzn.to/2Cv7l3W

Don’t Be Demanding During the Holidays

As the holidays roll around, I often talk with people and hear about how stressed they are trying to please their family members at this time. It makes me reflect on family dynamics and why people act the way they do, or get so bent out of shape at this time of year. I just heard a lady (while at the hair salon) speaking about how she works SO hard, is super busy, then has to cook a huge meal while off work…yadda, yadda, yadda, BUT this year she was choosing to stay home, just her and hubby, and she thought it sounded glorious. Why is the holiday season SO stressful for us…women, especially?

I believe it’s because some family members have preconceived expectations about how things should go. I hear friends say that their family members don’t understand their hectic life or work schedule, that they always are the one to cook and never get help, they mention they don’t get much time with one side of the family over another, or they ate 3 huge meals in one day just to please everyone. Geeze!

Why can’t people talk with each other and just be honest explaining their reality like grown ups should be able to?

As I grow older, I reflect on these situations and have created a series of posters entitled, “The older I get…” All are observations I’ve had while talking to people or while encountering certain social situations.

So, my own kids are now married. And I refuse to be that parent that pressures them (silent or not) into feeling they have to meet my needs or be somewhere that causes them undue stress. I don’t want to apply that kind of pressure to anyone! I haven’t liked it myself, in the past, and I don’t want it for them. No holiday, or get together is worth that feeling of guilt, or the added stress of trying to please everyone. You can end up resenting family holidays. I mean, even if it doesn’t seem fair at times, I refuse to put that pressure on my family because I’ve seen what that kind of hurt can do to relationships. It causes problems or misunderstanding for years! And I don’t want that! I want my family to visit me because they love me and want to be around me. I don’t want anyone feeling stressed over trying to make an engagement because they fear my disapproval. That’s not love, nor dying to one’s rights, nor is it even enjoyable when they do show up because it’s begrudgingly. Am I right?

I have seen so many family splits over such stupid nonsense.

I know of occasions when my own mother felt she didn’t have an adequate home (not completed due to constant remodeling nor enough beds for everyone), and she would ask if I could house family coming in from out of state. That really never bothered me because I liked hosting them and just being together all in one place was fun to me, and it brought joy to my parents. However, I always felt bad mom worried about many a holiday season. She wanted things to be just perfect, nice and cozy, creating good memories for grandkids she wasn’t able to visit with all that often, and I understood that. But, to be able to just do what you can, and be okay with that, and everyone giving grace to each other and just being thankful to be together…that would be more enjoyable. That’s what truly mattered, still does.

So, you can’t make it one year, or you’re cramped and everyone sleeps on the floor, or you’re not a good cook, so you get takeout, or you can only buy a few gifts…no biggie. It’s really not important and it’s sad people don’t realize that sooner. We really need to let go of OUR wants, OUR expectations, OUR needs, and try to put ourselves in the OTHER person’s shoes.

Not everyone has the same upbringing, not everyone celebrated Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas the way you did. Not everyone understands your traditions, norms, or your family’s customs. And guess what? That’s perfectly fine. We all are unique. We were all raised differently. And that’s okay, too! There is no perfect way to do things. Why do we think everyone should be like us, do like us, sound like us, think like us, celebrate like us or just conform to our ways? The way “we’ve always done it!!”

Life is a mix. A mix of people…ideas, wants, and needs. We all need to just chill and learn to enjoy one another because time is shorter than we even realize, even at this moment.

I’ve seen many a family go through extreme crisis, and I bet they would tell you that just being with their special loved one, doing nothing extraordinary, or having any great plans would be just fine. Letting go of any differences. In fact, I would bet they would be happy to just let go of everything and just be.

Be present.

Because, being there in the moment with their loved one, would be gift enough. ❤️

Saddened by the Disrespect Shown to Another Young Soldier (Repost 5/26/17)

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After recently visiting my Uncle’s grave, I was upset to hear, once again, about another young man who lost his precious life.

Another son had died.

In a foreign, far away place.

He fell as a soldier wearing the United States uniform, and now, his parents were bringing him home.

And the reactions of the plane’s passengers made me sick.

VERY SICK and VERY ANGRY!

The article describing the incident here.  

I wanted to cry. I felt horrified to think other human beings could be so calloused. Americans, at that!

I couldn’t even fathom this lack of respect, nor comprehend such a show of self-centeredness or whatever they thought they were trying to achieve.

What causes a person/people to treat a grieving family with such disdain?

What has happened to our America?

I tried to place myself in that family’s shoes; that frozen moment in time they will NEVER forget…

My heart was heavy for them.

But how can my heart be SO different from those that were on that plane?


My family is also familiar with this pain. They could tell you of profound grief.

We, too, lost a young soldier in Vietnam many years ago.

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He was escorted home, finally.

It just happened to be decades after being listed as Missing in Action. (MIA)


It was the 60s and the Vietnam War was raging. My Uncle Terry had volunteered just as his two older brothers had.

Marine family of uncles, dad, and brother

He was part of a helicopter crew, rescuing the wounded when his helicopter was shot down.

Some of the men were thrown from the fiery crash, but Terry was never found.

We always wondered what the full story was.

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Then, in 1993, some Vietnamese farmers came forth with items from a crash. And the story began to unfold.

Forensics were then confirmed in Honolulu, and my brother–then a young Marine himself– escorted Terry’s remains home.

Terry could’ve been buried at Arlington. However,  the family thought it best to teach a community (and the younger generations) a valuable lesson.

A lesson we feared was being lost, not really taught in schools much anymore.

Not just one lesson, but many:

That war was cruel.

Kids were still dying to this day.

That we should be there to support families, help where needed, and invite a military family over for the holidays.

(You know, just be a good human.)

That this could have been anyone’s son or daughter.

And there were other countries losing their people, DAILY, due to lack of freedom with many picking up rifles to enter war as children.

Most importantly,

that freedom had a price. Always has, always will.

A HUGE price.


So, on that hot and humid July 4th, Terry’s high school gym was packed out.

He was remembered for his talented football skills, and his kind, gentle ways.

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His ultimate sacrifice recognized.

Our family, once again, was left with distant memories.  Terry’s parents (my grandparents) had wounds reopened all over again.

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People lined the streets, kids waved flags, and many a biker rode in from the surrounding states to finally return their MIA bracelets.

It was a memorable sight to see them piled high, on the floor, near my grandparents’ feet. It had to be so hard for them.

The news crews were there to capture it all.

The flag-draped coffin.

The thunderous flyover that moved you to your core.

The caisson; a solemn reminder as it passed through town to the beat of a sole drum.

COMPLETE RESPECT was shown that day.

Tragically, for this other family on the plane…

that didn’t happen.

There wasn’t much, if any, shown.


My Uncle Terry didn’t get to finish college.

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And I sometimes wonder what his life might have looked like.

What would’ve been his hobby to tinker with?

Who would he have married? How many kids would he have?

He wasn’t able to marry, have kids or enjoy a weekend with family.

(Just to have another day to show his own thankfulness.)

No, he CHOSE to leave a comfortable life to help in a far away land.

He wanted to show his loyalty.

He wanted to make sure we were ALL afforded continued freedom.

Simply put…HIS MOTIVES were PURE.

USMC, Marine soldier's gravestone


If I had been on that plane, I can tell you…

I could NOT have sat there silently!

I KNOW, that I would’ve stood to speak for that family.

I KNOW, I would’ve cried with that family.

I KNOW, I would’ve tried to apologize to that family.

AND, I would’ve thanked them and made it clear that this is not the totality of America that my Uncle, nor their son, gave their lives for!!


Find a military family to reach out to.

Reach out to a grieving widow, a cop, a neighbor…the lonely and under appreciated in your community.

Compliment your local worker.

Invite someone over for the holidays.

Say a prayer for others.

Just show some kindness, some thankfulness.

Bridge the gap(s).

Teach your kids.

Show some honor and respect.

I know my Uncle Terry would have,

if he could.


* For Terry’s documented military story two accounts are listed below:

http://www.vhpa.org/KIA/incident/68081999KIA.HTM

❤️🇺🇸❤️🇺🇸❤️🇺🇸❤️🇺🇸❤️🇺🇸❤️🇺🇸

http://www.hmm-262combatvets.org/hoffmann_memorial.htm


Link to:The United States Marine Corps

Written in honor of Terry who would have turned 72 Feb. 4th.💗

Show some thankfulness this Thanksgivingposter.

A Reblog from Another Author: Narcissism

As you know, I follow several bloggers, counselors, psychologists, pastors…all writers here on WordPress Reader, and this came through my email recently (via my subscription to one of the authors’ newsletter). I’m just now getting around to my mail and reading some newsletters, while I recuperate from surgery. I thought I would forward (reblog) Ana’s article as it contains very useful information regarding narcissistic and/or toxic people. Towards the very end of the written material, you will have to click “view original post below” to read on. That’s where the information is so interesting and hits the nail on the head.

Also, you might consider ordering Ana’s book; it would be such a valuable tool.

Author quote: “You can’t have reality in a situation or relationship where there is none, especially a situation that is embellished with toxic behavior to push your buttons, play with your emotions and manipulate you to your lowest level like that with a NARCISSIST.”

Ana’s bio link: https://afternarcissisticabuse.wordpress.com/about-ana/

From her blog post:

After Narcissistic Abuse

From my Book – From Charm to Harm and Everything else in Between with a Narcissist! @ https://www.amazon.com/Charm-Harm-Everything-Narcissist-Narcissistic/dp/1523820179/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468595784&sr=1-1&keywords=from+charm+to+harm

One of the most obvious signs of malignant Narcissism is the way they constantly malign others. They are constantly remodeling, redeveloping, and improving their own image at someone else’s expense through their acts of back-stabbing, triangulating, smearing, putting others down, constant negativity, betrayal, lies, extortion, etc. We must ALWAYS consider that love should never hurt a person nor take them down a road of destruction. Ultimately love can make us sad when we lose a loved one but that is the reality of unconditional love when someone near to us is suffering, or we lose them completely – and that is more or less grieving a REAL connection between two normally functioning people. Abuse at the hands of a Narcissist is psychological and emotional abuse MEANT to intentionally harm and damage a…

View original post 1,831 more words

Zion National Park, Utah

We just got back from our 30th, anniversary trip out west.

I was determined to help my husband check off some of his bucket list,✔️ all while revisiting childhood memories.

I was born and raised in California till age 11, and dad would always pack us up in the Jeep, camping as we headed east. I say “camped”, but we really roughed it.

We never stayed in a campground. ⛺️

So, I had remembered Zion as being one of my favorite, places ever.

And once again, she did not disappoint!😍

I’ve been experiencing severe back, leg and shoulder pain for almost two years now, and we almost canceled our trip.

But after some recent deaths in the family, that were SO sudden, we talked of how there is no guarantee in life, and every day is precious…and you have to grab every moment when you can.

Make the memories where you can. ❤️

I re-thought it, and just decided to try and medicate myself and try some of the “easier” trails.

This is a picture from one of them.

Just like a postcard, I tell ya.

Absolutely beautiful!!!

I wouldn’t say the trails were so “easy” and boy did I pay for it once I tried to sleep, but I’m still glad we now have these memories together.

PS I will try to post more pictures of our trip when I finally get back on eastern time 😴 and my body has some time to recuperate.😜

Dad, the Original CHIP

My Dad was an original CHIP.

Does anyone out there remember the TV show, CHIPS? (Now I REALLY “date myself” I’m never going to have young bloggers following me.)😜

It was the 70s and the show featured two handsome cops who were part of the California Highway Patrol… AKA CHIPS.

Funny thing is we were watching that show all while living with our very own CHIP.

Dad was a patrolman on the Anaheim Police Department. (Orange County, CA)

He initially was a young patrolman and even trained in hopes of joining the first helicopter division.

Then came the Harley.

Master Patrolman.

Master Patrolman, Anaheim Police Dept

My Dad was COOL!😎

He looked handsome in his neatly pressed uniform, shiny helmet, and tall, black boots.

I eventually came to hate those dreaded boots.

After dad’s long work shift, he’d grab an apple or carrot, a book, or the latest Reader’s Digest, then he would proceed to ask me to pull off those big boots of his.

First, it was hard for a skinny, little girl to manage this task.

Secondly, I knew what was about to transpire.

Those feet had seen a long, hard day of policing, and once I struggled to get them off, nothing but “FRITO feet” smell encapsulated the room.

Me and dad as an Anaheim patrolman in the 70s.

It was BAD folks! Really bad!

But oh how I LOVED those occasions when he picked me up from school, and we pulled away fast on that thunderous machine…it was thrilling I tell ya!

Everyone turned their heads to hear where that sound was coming from, and with me on the back, boy did my chest swell.

Like, my dad was cooler than theirs kinda cool. 😉

As we’d lean into a curve, I thought we I would surely fall off!

He could possibly put a knee down if he had to.

On one occasion he didn’t put a knee down but went flying through the air with just his handlebars. Later, the fellow patrolman relayed it looked like something out of a cartoon.

As part of the patrol drill team, they had been practicing for the Anaheim Parade and just as we were heading out to go see our dad, we got a call he had been in a wreck. Not on the highway, but during the drill team practice.

I guess the other officer said go left and dad thought he said right.

OOPS. (Was I supposed to tell that story, Dad?)

Speaking of Disney parades,

I absolutely loved when he got us into Disneyland for free. (I was obsessed with everything Disney!) It’s what I thought heaven would be like.

At times, Dad worked undercover like when they were trying to break up drug rings.


Yes, that’s him on the end (right) in my mom’s wig and scarf as a headband. I remember asking dad what that was in his mouth… what was a roach clip?

I distinctly remember him dressed up like this. And I was so interested in seeing how the other guys had dressed on this particular occasion. 😂
Dad worked many a graveyard shift, too.
The other side of the job made me aware of the sadness and dangers associated with it.

It was the hippy era, and with that came the drug culture and a lot of shattered lives.

Sadly, dad had to take the life of one of those individuals who had robbed a store.  I will never forget it. I would ask him from time to time, what he was feeling at the time of the shooting.

What he said that day.

What exactly happened that day.

What it felt like to take a life.

Then later, came to realize, wow, I could’ve lost my dad that day!

I remember seeing 8 mm footage of Dad and his fellow officers making busts. Stoned out kids were part of a large mob trying to climb the Angel stadium walls. The were trying to get into a Jefferson Starship concert after being told tickets were sold out.

Anaheim Police Dept, Angel Stadium

While intently watching the film, I inquired about a nicely dressed couple (a standout in THAT crowd). He relayed that they were looking for their missing daughter and showing her picture around.

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I also remember thinking, how sad it must have been for those parents. And dad telling me about runaways coming to California and all the trouble they’d find themselves in.

Then, there was the Charles Manson saga, and police stops as well as escorts for dignitaries like then Governor Reagan, famous actors and comedians all while checking in on the elderly and less fortunate, like Jake.

Dad met Jake while riding around the county.

Jake, was a kind, gentle soul; his skin all leathery brown and wrinkled from working in the sun.

He lived in an old shack with a worn out floor, part dirt. I still remember looking around his home with all its unusual contents.

One time, he gave us some old marbles. (I still have them today.)


I can recall the aroma of his home and the surrounding eucalyptus trees mixed with orange scent from the nearby orange groves.

(Isn’t that something how the mind remembers smells from so long ago?)

Jake would come out to greet us and as soon as he opened the worn, screen door many a dog, all shapes and sizes, would come barreling out.

I loved the sight of it!

I loved dogs or any animal for that matter. I always wanted to be a vet, but sadly, I was the most allergic person in my family. So trips to Jake’s ranked right up there with a visit to Disneyland.

One particular day Dad took us to Jake’s, and he let us have two dachshunds. I couldn’t believe it! I was in heaven!

PicMonkey Photo

Oh, Mom wasn’t too happy about dad going against the doctor’s orders, (ie severe asthma and eczema) but his reply to her was, “She’s so miserable without a dog she couldn’t be any worse with a dog.”

(Secretly, I’m kind of glad dad did a no-no.) To finally own an animal, some of my best memories.

There were some other tragic memories forever etched in my mind, too. Like the day I vividly remember dad coming home on lunch break to wash his hands and they were covered in blood. (Mind you, this was before the awareness of self-protection from communicable pathogens.)

He had just come from down our street. A little boy had run out in front of a car while chasing a ball and was killed. I remember passing his home, as I had every day, on my walk to and from school. I remember looking at the pavement and then thinking how sad that family must now feel.

And, my Dad had been there to try and help.

Yes, dad saw a lot.

AND, that is kind of where the story ends because he was sick of the rat race he said and decided to leave California and head back to his boyhood home, a small town in Indiana.

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I’m hoping to have Dad either guest write or share his many stories with me, so I can share them with you here. Many are pretty adventurous and hilarious.

(Some, while he was on the police force and others just getting into mischief like only he could do.😊😁)
Yep, the cool CHIP…he was my Dad.

—————-

Do you have wild stories with your dad?

PS Encourage my dad (in the comments below) to share more of his stories!!