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. ❤️

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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.

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.😜

Happy Birthday

Wishing my son-in-law, of almost two years, a very happy birthday. 🎈🎈

As you can see from this photo, he is an extreme Falcons fanatic. (Yes, this is their wedding engagement photo.) 🏈

The man knows EVERYTHING there is about this team! The Atlanta Falcons SO need to hire him, for real!! He has been so loyal to them no matter what the season! (Even writing Facebook posts to encourage fickle fans.)😉

Now I know more about the Falcons than I ever have in my life. HA

*Photo by: Haley Dawn Photography

Easter Decorations

I LOVE Easter and all the spring colors.

I bought a lot of Easter decor this year; probably more than I’ve ever purchased before.

My mother painted this little chick many decades ago, and I decided to use all the wild violets in the yard as a backdrop. I’ve never seen this many. It looks like faint, purple blankets laying all over the yard.spring chickI’ve been playing with flatlays on Instagram.

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I just thought these bunny plates were so cute and vibrant!

bunny plates

bunny flatlaypinkbasket decorrabbit and blossom decorwooden eggs

Did anyone else decorate?

Are you having a big Easter dinner with family?

What yummy things do you cook/bake?

Born Today, 23 Years Ago…My New, Lil’ Tax Deduction

Today is the day my daughter was born, 23 years ago.

So please bear with me as I brag on her. 😉

This blogging is kind of like a life’s journal, right?

Anyway, I was scheduled to be induced as I was past my due date and had grown very, very LARGE.

And, as usual, (I had done this before. 😉 ).    I couldn’t sleep at all!!

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That morning was stormy and a tornado warning had just been issued. We joked about naming her Stormy. We had names swirling around in our head, but hadn’t chosen one, just yet. (Ha, I realized I used “swirling” around; that really was  coincidence.)

She was born at 5:35 on April 15th, and we named her Morgan.

Yep, she was our new, little, tax deduction. 😉

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Well, not so little.
She weighed 9lbs!!!! :/

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She was a joy from the minute she arrived; an easy baby.
AND SOOOO cute, I must say. 🙂

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Everyone always wanted to hold her. I got comments everywhere I took her.

As she grew, her eyes became so expressive. She had/has large, pretty eyes with super long eyelashes, just like her Daddy.

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She’s always been more quiet.  She’d just sit back and observe everything. So, at first, she seemed a little shy and rarely talked. (I used to be that way all through grade school…hard to believe now. ) But, she was also quiet due in part to her ACTIVE, TALKATIVE, big brother.

One day, she was caught talking to her little “boyfriend” (in first grade) and the teacher scolded her and said, “Morgan I always catch you talking to Quinn; do you ever stop talking?” And the teacher told me Morgan then put her little hands on her hips and emphatically exclaimed, “Well, I can’t get a word in edgewise at home because of my brother!”

Morgan never really gave us any trouble.

She used to be a cheerleader, violin player, volleyball and basketball player.

morgan cheer.jpg

She enjoyed helping in church by leading worship during the adult and teen services. She loves to sing and can sing harmony.

She’s always been quite the fashionista, since she was young. She would rather get jewelry and pretty shoes for her birthday presents, than toys. Every time we went shopping, I’d turn around to find her on the floor trying on shoes, even adult ladies’ shoes. HA

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Her kindergarten teacher told me Morgan would often notice what she was wearing and would even compliment her.

Later on, Morgan graduated early from high school (she couldn’t wait to get out of there) and sadly moved far away from us to Georgia. She had met a cute boy while visiting her cousins, through the years, and I think that was a big draw to leave Indiana.

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Plus, she said she always hated the overcast weather here in Indiana. I also think it was fun driving around on golf carts in that golf cart community down there.

Morgan's Graduation 10

She attended college and graduated with a 4.0 then went on to be a dental assistant.
She married that wonderful guy, bought a house and now has become quite the carpenter and decorator after watching all these shows on HGTV where they flip homes. (We’ve even decided to start our own blog together detailing some of her, and my work. I’ll let you know when it’s up and running. 😉 )

One, neat memory we share was when I entered her in a SUBWAY restaurant contest hoping to win a 529K college scholarship for her. She was 11. She ended up winning, and was one of ten national winners. They featured kids hoping to promote healthy eating.

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Maybe some of you younger bloggers saw those commercials.

Does the phrase “Play Hard Eat Fresh” ring a bell? She was featured as the ice skater. She had been a figure skater competing since she was five, so her sport was spotlighted in the commercials.

She first won a trip to Dallas where she shot in front of a green screen and met some phenomenal kid athletes from around the country. Then, later we were asked if we would like to travel to Hawaii to shoot commercials with Bethany Hamilton. She was presently working with SUBWAY and they offered to fly us to her home in Kaua’i.

Anyhow, it was all a fabulous blessing for our whole family to vacation on the gorgeous island of Kaua’i.

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Well, we vacationed while Morgan worked AND ate a lot of SUBWAY sandwiches. 🙂

 

I’ll end by saying my Morgan is a caring, compassionate person who can read people well and is good at tuning into peoples’ feelings. (I hope I had a part in training her that way.)

But, it makes my heart soar to see her reaching out to all types of people, from all walks of life, and going out of her way to think about them and finding ways to meet their needs. That makes me more proud of her than anything else.

Throughout her life, when people would compliment her beauty, I would always be quick to point out to her (and them) that a “pretty heart” was so much more important. I just didn’t want all the compliments to make her vain, and I do now believe my daughter, although so beautiful on the outside, is just as beautiful on the inside.

And that makes my heart happy and proud. 🙂

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Daddy and I celebrate the person you’ve become today!
We love you Morgie.