Happy 15th Birthday, Joell!

A very happy birthday to our grandson Joell. The Babe, (a/k/a Grandpa) is in Maryland celebrating with part of the family this Thanksgiving. Because he’s been filing live reports since he arrived Wednesday, we have up to the minute photos and feedback. It does everyone good to remind ourselves how important we all are to each other. I stayed home with the dogs and the two quilts I need to finish for Christmas and mail off to Colorado. Busy time for sure.

We haven’t seen Joell for a year, and at that time were sure shocked to see the result of his growth spurt. His voice emits from his feet, I swear. I imagine it’s deeper now. He is a competition swimmer, so he has a swimmer’s body, lean but muscular, and so strong! His passion for swimming was nothing compared to his passion for mountain biking. He is in races every weekend, holiday, and special occasion. His dad describes him as a beast. I do believe that’s a great word.

Beast aside, Joell has always had such a kind heart. Since he was a little boy, he’s helped the underdog feel superior, the left out feel part of the family, and everyone feels his love. I cannot wait to see how far he goes, armed with life experiences that no one his age has. He’s been to Hawaii for Christmas several times, has seen the Pope’s motorcade, and has visited the White House on numerous occasions. The list is much longer and even more distinguished. You could probably make a movie about it and keep the interest of a varied audience.

Joell, we are so proud of you. The man you are becoming is just around the corner. You will continue to shine as a good human, son, grandson, cousin, nephew, student, and especially friend. The picture below shows his workbench in the family garage. He has become pretty proficient at servicing his mountain bike. The neighborhood kids have an additional bonus to his friendship; he can fix their bikes with some expertise many of their dad’s don’t have. Way to go, kiddo! It’s been a joy being with you for all the birthdays we’ve been able to travel to your home to celebrate you! You know how Miss Kathy loves birthdays. And yours holds many, many special memories for us all. I’ve loved watching your parents decorate the dining room for your parties over the years. They have just as much fun and excitement as you have!

Enjoy the photo collage below. It’s been a hard couple years for the Babe and me, losing all the people we have following the pandemic, and now with the life change of the Babe’s second retirement from the VFW. He needed this reminder that all that is worth it in life is in the members of our blended family. Our five adult children and our five grandchildren are reminding us what a wonderful place this world is during these times. And that is all that matters. Happy Birthday, Joell. And have some cake for me!

To everyone reading, I thank you for indulging me today. Celebrating birthdays is important to me, celebrating each and every person helps them become themselves, whomever they are meant to be. As you have your deserts today, send a good birthday wish to this extraordinary young man. The world is watching him. He’s a good one. Let’s see each other again tomorrow. Quilting and Yellowstone are ahead of me for the rest of the time until the Babe comes home. How about you?

One More Day . . .

In waiting for the Holiday Season to begin, don’t lose sight of today and all it has to offer. My grandma used to say, “Don’t wish your life away.” Once again, she is right. What good can possible come on the day before the big day? A lot.

You could be emotionally shut off from society and use today to finally get the nerve to venture out like Scrooge did after his night of three nightmares. Every bit of courage you gather up prior to finally opening the door to the world, you can feel inside of you. And, gosh, this isn’t so bad. Don’t admonish yourself for not doing it sooner; it just wasn’t time. It’s a great time to get the cobwebs out. If I have been a recluse for two years, I doubt it would be a great idea to venture out on Black Friday to view the world anew. Common sense should rule.

We had some really nice Thanksgiving Day’s when the kids and I were home alone in the late 1980s. The boys would put up the Christmas decorations on the house, complete with lights, and after we ate dinner, we would gather in front of the house at 6 p.m. for the annual lighting ceremony. They admired their handiwork as their sister and I marveled at the sight.

I’m not a bargain shopper; I was one who made gifts for my family and friends. A crocheted afghan, a fleece pullover, or a hat/scarf combo. I’ve never gathered in a Black Friday crowd, nor do I have any desire to do that. Nope, not my deal. As a single mom, I used layaway, and paid weekly all fall until December. It was great for me. I always wanted to have the same number of packages for the kids to open. We’d make the gift opening last all morning. We’d have orange juice and glazed donuts for breakfast, and savor the smells of the turkey baking while we opened gifts.

I’m starting the day by cleaning up the house a little, and practicing an attitude of gratitude while doing this chore. I keep resolving to get decluttered, and I keep doing it. I’m getting closer than I was. That’s progress, and I’m going to be grateful. The thing is, I want the house picked up for us, not for the kids. They know we have dogs, and are retired. It’s tough to get some places to dust. It doesn’t matter! They are who matters. And for that, I’m grateful.

After the upstairs is done, if the Babe is home by then, I’ll do a bit of prepping for the sides tomorrow. Since our turkey needs to be in about 6 a.m., I may get it ready in the pan, and wrap well with foil so we just need to put it in the oven in the morning. That will make it easier! Then the Babe can cook the icky stuff for him to eat. The icky stuff is the giblets and neck, yuck! Did I say that out loud? Wow. Mom would eat it, but none of us kids did. Dad wouldn’t either.

The grandkids don’t want gifts for Christmas, but giftcards. Then they may have what they really want. It makes it easier, for sure. Still, I miss when they were littler and you could buy a fun toy or cute dress. Yes, those days are gone for the three older kids. The littles in Colorado are getting real boxes to open, so we’re lucky that way. Hope we get to see them soon.

Have a beautiful day. Be grateful for good memories. Keep them in their place, the past. Make more new ones the rest of the weekend. Stay in the present, not too far in the future, which isn’t happening yet. Today is the gift we have right now. Enjoy! See you tomorrow!

Thursday Thoughts

Another adventuresome day with Mom. Her vision was pretty bad today, and that frustrates her. She had difficulty getting in the car, too. I have an SUV. It is higher than a car. She was pretty worn out after we were home. She stayed in the car while I went in and got her prescription. There has been a dramatic reduction in her activity in the last six months. Please keep her in your prayers, she can use them. We just want to keep her safe from injury and harm.

I have found my mind wandering this afternoon, my friends. I want to stay in this moment. It’s important to remember life may make some enormous switches soon. We cannot plan for everything, and we don’t want to borrow trouble from tomorrow. We need to replace the worry with prayer. It’s all we can do.

The weather over the next few days will be brutal. We are in a polar vortex that just won’t let go. Again, I feel sad for the homeless and hungry. Drop off an extra coat at a shelter. Send an extra $10 to the Salvation Army. It doesn’t take a lot to be mindful of others during these hard times.

It’s time to finish some random tasks to get organized for my meeting with Cartney tomorrow about our book. We need to decide the project deadlines, page orientation (portrait or landscape), arrangement of cover, back cover, and all the pages in between. It will be a good start.

Take care. Stay warm. Check on your neighbors. Thank you for reading. Tomorrow we’ll know how soon we can talk about when we finish and release our book, “Roxie! What ARE You Doing?” I’ll see you tomorrow.

Wintery Wonder

Living in Nebraska my entire life makes me wonder: What would it be like if you lived where there were no seasons to speak of? If you had no winter, no cold weather, no snow? Many folks love living in California, Arizona, South Texas, Florida, etc. I’ve never lived a winter elsewhere. I hear it’s wonderful, swimming outdoors every day. Confession, here, I can’t swim. I’m afraid of it. Actually, terrified.

The two things which have terrified me my entire life are dying in a fire; or dying in a drowning. My worst fears have come true within my family. My son Nick had a rental house fire in 1999 and moved away to Kansas City afterwards. It hurt no one; he and his partner lost a cat.

My oldest son Frank drowned as a child and lived. Two or three times before getting to the hospital. I was pregnant with my daughter. What a trauma for a pregnant Mom and baby! It is only by the grace of God I kept my sanity. I was so afraid something would go wrong with my baby. I believe in PTSD, and I am sure I had it. Smells of suntan lotion and wet sand would send me right back to that beach on that day, praying over my son. It is a trauma you don’t forget. Sometimes, I can still feel the gut-punch. Grateful still; son survived, lives a good life, is the best friend you could have. He’s mine, right up with the Babe. Blessed.

Frank, Me, Becky, Nick. Eleven Thanksgivings Ago.

Below, left to right: New Jim Shore Nutcracker, My 45-year-old Nativity set (Home Interiors, remember them)?, the new barn doors the Babe built to hide the recess for a TV (Popular 10 years ago), and some pastel Santas, angels, and Christmas tree. ‘Tis the season, right?

As I embark on decorating, day two, I thank you for reading today, and hope you have a beautiful Sunday. The sky is very overcast, it almost looks like a snow sky, as if it could start snowing at any minute. It might. One can only hope! Be Safe, Be Courteous, Be Kind, Be Grateful. It’s the season for us to be loving and forgiving. It’s hard, yet the best give you can give yourself. I’m trying, too. See you tomorrow.