Big Sky

I pulled over to take this pic after going up to an appointment for my mom. I call it “Big Sky”.😍

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Easter is My Favorite Holiday

If anyone knows me well, they know I love Easter!

No I mean I really LOVE Easter!💗

I was thinking about this the other day as we had a few sunny days and all this spring decor had me thinking about Easter and why I liked it so much. 🐥🐇


Well for one,  I grew up in southern California where it was always WARM and SUNNY, 😎 so Easter had us buying new, spring clothes with all the beautiful colors.

My mom sewed almost all my clothes and Easter was extra special as we browsed through huge pattern books and admired all the pretty pastel fabrics.

Then, what followed was looking for the accessories: white shoes, purse and little white gloves, with lace.

I loved my little, white gloves so much that I wouldn’t take them off when eating chocolate in Sunday school. 😂

And occasionally I had a “bonnet” or kerchief.

We had so much fun coloring Easter eggs.

And then there were the HUGE, SEE’S Chocolate Easter eggs beautifully decorated with pastel flowers. They were almost the size of an ostrich egg and usually filled with a rich creamy filling. That  big ol’ egg would be rationed to last me 2 weeks HA.

Oh, I just loved waking up to big, stuffed Easter baskets, putting on my Easter best, going to church with the family, singing all the special music, smelling the flowers in the air, then enjoying a big Easter spread.

Just lots of really warm memories.


Now, compare that to my first Easter in Indiana.

I was so bummed when I realized my pretty, new sun dress was going to be covered by a winter coat, and it was way too cold ❄️ to even want to take it off for any pictures.😒

Year after year.

Why did we even bother getting new clothes for Easter?🤷🏻‍♀️

Yep, Easter in the midwest has pretty much always been cold, rainy or overcast. Sometimes it even snows! Just makes you feel all cheery inside when looking forward to spring. (Insert sarcasm) 😒

Then, I grew up and my own kids came along.

SAME STORY.

I’d try to dress them in cute, little outfits but worried their little legs would freeze off, so I added tights, a sweater,

a parka. 😞

And we still tried to provide an Easter egg hunt…most were INDOORS.

But I mean, who wants to hunt Easter eggs INDOORS? 👎🏼

And guess who else likes little, white gloves?👇🏻

He just had to have a suit.

So, my thoughts going way back to sunny California have always brought fond memories. ☀️

As I reflect, I can say one constant has remained.

That Easter really has NOTHING to do with any of this.

Not weather, not new clothes, or a big yummy meal, not even another “holiday”…

That it’s all really only been about Jesus.

Easter always caused me to reflect on what Christ has done for me, personally.

Rereading the resurrection story and the hours Christ submitted to his father’s will just grips my heart every time. I try to slow down taking in each detail of what really took place.

The torture, the betrayal, the extreme love and sacrifice for all mankind.

Every year of my life, even as a kid, I tried to imagine the scene, and it always moved me to tears.

No matter how I try to contain myself, the tears always flow.

Because I know no one could ever love me that much, nor willingly sacrifice their life for me.

And so it’s not the new clothes, the candy, the sunshine…not even being with family.

It’s about pure love. Unimaginable tenderness for ALL mankind.

You never have to earn this love nor question his love for you.

Bottom line…

He came as a baby

to die as a young man.

For you and for me. ❤️

He created us and He wants to see us again with Him someday.


Hope you have a very blessed Easter!

What are your traditions on Easter Sunday? Please tell me in the comments.

Today I Reflect

Have you ever been betrayed? Betrayed to the point it will cost you your life? Choices. Today, Maundy Thursday is observed by Christians everywhere…the Thursday before Easter. 🌷It also signifies the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with his apostles prior to his betrayal and ultimately his death. Can you imagine loving another so much that you’re willing to die for them including the one that betrayed you? Heavy, heavy choices. Today I pause to reflect on both the turmoil and burden Christ must’ve had in his heart. Life brings many choices… some, very difficult. You just pray you’re hearing correctly. Yesterday, I had to help make such a choice for my mother who could not make the choice for herself. Seeing her cry, being continually scared 💔(esp since her cardiologist stroked her) just put through SO MUCH since October and now yet another, major, choice followed by surgery. I sure hoped and prayed I was doing the right thing on her behalf. AND praying the doctors were right this time. My heart felt like it would burst. Only time will tell if we made the right one. So today, I lean hard on my Lord and reflect on choices and the heavy decisions that Christ would face as he walked this lone road. 💗 Life can be hard, not at all like we expected and yet we still have to believe this is the path God intended us to walk. Ultimately, he is in control and knows beginning to end. It’s our path to walk. Our story. Our testimony. Hard or not. May I make the right choices and may I be found worthy in the end. 🙌

My backyard

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)

uncle-terry-recent

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.

Terry3

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.

Terry5

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.

Terry1

His ultimate sacrifice recognized.

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

Terry4

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.

Terry 2

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

Pathways

You never know what’s just around the bend (good or bad). Refocus to assure you don’t swerve too far off the chosen path you’ve been asked to travel.

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Happy Fall!

Happy fall!

Although, here in Indiana it’s still in the 90s.

I felt so bad for all the men working to replace our roof for the last three days! We noticed all the neighbors were getting their roofs replaced, so we had ours checked as well.

Yep, that’s what happens when you get some pretty large hail.

All the banging and mess made me think of all those in Texas and Florida, Puerto Rico, everywhere it seems…are having to totally gut their homes and rebuild; it is so sad to see everything people are going through.

And then there’s all the fires as well. (My dad used to help fight the fires in California when he was a young Marine.)

We keep praying for everyone affected by these tragedies; it must be so devastating to have to start all over. I can’t even imagine!

If anyone is looking for a place to donate, we feel confident with Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Blessing or Convoy of Hope https://www.convoyofhope.org/donate/.

I have personally worked alongside the founders of Convoy of Hope; they are good people and 100% goes to relief efforts. Many times they are first on the scene with the other organizations I just mentioned above.