Thursday, June 19, 2014

Do Something

This week I put up two facebook posts expressing thoughts that I just cant shake from my mind.

First one...

"I feel so small. My life is a tiny thing. I wish so much that the world was a better place and that people could thrive and succeed and be happy. I wish that I could make a difference in so many ways... I keep wondering what little things I can do..."

And second post...

"I have been wrestling quite deeply this week with how much pain and suffering people cause to each other... nationally, internationally, in war, etc. Part of my feeling so small comment was because there is so much that is wrong on our planet and I am one person... one person struggling to pay bills and make my way... and wondering how one life can make any difference on a large, planetary level... lol. It's not like I think I should be that important... but, I wonder what I can do. Then I think of Jesus' parables and how important it is to first be trusted with something small. If I can use what little I have each day to pour into others, than I may be trusted with more to use and to give. What do I have to give today? I have a smile. I have gratitude. I can be kind and thoughtful to others. In my driving. As a customer. As a guest in another's home. I may have just a little to offer, but, by golly, if I offer it with my heart, then maybe I will be given more to offer.... So... those are more of my thoughts..."

I figure, since I keep thinking about these things, I may as well begin to make some changes in myself. When I need to run errands with one of my children to here or there, I wont complain or sigh... it is time I have with them, after all. Many times I get frustrated in traffic! People cut in or zoom past your just to get in front of you and slow down, etc. I feel so very aggravated in traffic. Today I decided that was enough... it is time to let that go. My feelings aren't going to change other drivers, so why not smile and wave them on in... I will most likely get where I am going regardless... so why not change my own attitude? What else can I work on? What can I do to make the day brighter for myself and for those who cross my path?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

My Apple

I have three unique daughters... each one with strengths I don't have... each one with similarities to me... and I LOVE the moments with each one when we laugh and carry on and have fun. My oldest daughter looks more like me than her sisters. She was my right hand as I was raising all her younger siblings... she can out-cook me and it was a delight to teach her many of my favorite crafts. Shasta is tough, yet shy. She is determined but doesn't lose sight of loving others.

My youngest daughter doesn't look like me and she is just plain gorgeous. (Not saying that my oldest daughter and I look shabby, but... cut me break here, we're not quite as beautiful as Zoey!) My youngest has taught me more than any of my other children. She is straightforward and honest and what you see is what you get. She teaches me to overcome and to own my choices and their consequences. When I think I cannot do something, I think of Zoey and I have no excuse that can hold up. She inspires me. I miss her every week. We do not get to see each other very often and I love every minute that I am around her.

And then there's Bek. My apple. When they say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree they are talking about us. She doesn't look like me, but we are soooo alike. Our handwriting matches, even though we never set out to have it that way. I don't like to cook and she cannot cook... ha ha ha. Well, she is trying. We pick out the same pens at the store even though we don't live in the same town or ask each other... we just do! We do have our differences, but our similarities crack us up sometimes. When her fiance was getting to know me all of this occurred to him and he said, "I am marrying your mother!" Not literally, of course.

This past week she called and asked me to go to a movie with her. We had a blast.

As she stepped out, I was calling out, "Hurry! Hurry!"


Then I said, "Stop! Take the camera!" She looked confused. So, I explained that we couldn't have pictures of both of us running off together if she didn't take some of me! I passed the camera to her and starting running!

"C'mon! We have to hurry before they find out we've left!"

"We can't let them catch us! We must escape!"

We got to the theater... and splurged on popcorn...

... and soda...

to share...

Then the funniest thing happened... I said... "Selfie time!! Now make a mother-daughter-time face!" And our expressions were nearly identical!

We looked at the picture and burst out laughing and took one more...

And we did all this prior to the movie, so nobody was disturbed... as far as we knew, anyway.

So, here's to my apple.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Courageous Graduate

My daughter commuted to campus by city bus for four years. Sometimes she dealt with some unsavory characters. It was not just helpful but eased many of our minds and hearts that Nick would walk her to bus stops to send her off and meet her upon her return as well. She went through many of the things that college students face... being on wait lists for classes needed for her major... personal items stolen while in transit... late study nights... papers... incredibly difficult scheduling. She worked a job while taking classes for over 3 1/2 years. A significant highlight to her college experience was working for the San Francisco Chronicle as an intern for several semesters. She has been published many times now. The greatest challenge, however, was losing her brother. I cannot ever express how proud I am that she was willing to accept counsel and help and that she persevered. There were highs and lows as most of us face and it has been my honor to be her mom, listening to her excitement and sharing the pain. When I sat here wondering what to title a post that would highlight her college graduation the word "courage" kept coming to mind.

Today I heard a handful of speeches which were to be an inspirational sending off for these graduates. I looked up graduation quotes, hoping to find one that was perfect for my girl. I smile at the one by Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Hitch your wagon to a star" and I remember those days preparing her for that first semester. She had a dream and she was going after it. Yet Eddie Rickenbacker, a WWI flying ace had the inspirational quote that wins for tonight... "Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared." I know there have been times Rebekah was exhausted, discouraged and afraid. But she kept going. Congratulations, my courageous graduate.

Many of us met at the mall next to the college for a bite to eat prior to the commencement ceremony.

Then my lovely girl donned her choice apparel and we gathered in the parking lot with other family members...

Joseph, Rebekah and Shasta

Meeting up with Zoey

Grandma Cathy, Aunt Debbie and Uncle Kevin joined us, too, and we began our trek to the theater where the very best of the graduations was held... lol.
Thank you, Nick, for making sure Rebekah walked safely in her heels... (Just teasing you, Bek, you did a great job today!)

We hung out a bit since we were early...

Cue music...

Oh, my goodness, I am so proud of her I can hardly stand it!

A quick wave to mom as she makes way to the best seat she could have been given!!

Look! There she is!!

We enjoyed the little talks, but everyone knows the highlight is when your own special graduate's name is called...

It is still not easy to get them to all smile at the same time...

So, I focused on just the girls...

... and then the boys...

Then I had some one on one with Zoey because I don't get to spend much time with her these days...

And I got one last shot of the graduate in cap n gown... with me!

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." ~Albert Einstein

"... no bad thing to celebrate a simple life" -LOTR

It does not seem like four years ago that Rebekah graduated from high school and I drove her to San Francisco State University. We sat on a side road, looking onto the campus, had a heart to heart. We walked all around, taking pictures of scenic little places on campus. She began. She stuck to it. It was very hard at times. She did it!

It was a privilege to join her on campus a handful of times over the years... and it's bittersweet that today we met there and when we left she was an alumni. But, I have gotten ahead of myself!

Rebekah chose a smaller graduation ceremony which was scheduled on a Sunday, so we chose to have her party on Saturday. It was so exciting for me to plan and leading up to it I kept envisioning the scene in Where the Wild Things Are where Max called out, "And now... let the wild rumpus start!"

Shasta and Chris brought balloons!

I made cupcakes...

Stephen grilled...
(My man-child is so handsome!)

Rebekah was determined to get all the mileage she could out of her graduation hat!

Rebekah has been living with Nick's family for all of her college years. They have been very supportive!

Nick and I had let her down easy, sharing that I would be able to give her a crocheted bag as a gift...

She had no idea that she would also get a leather satchel...

... not only did she get a feminine leather satchel... but she also got a second leather one with larger space and pockets galore, quite durable!

Her best college buddy, Alyssa, was able to join us!

Nick's mom, Lori, presented her with a trip!

Jayden joined in as if her were one of us grown-ups... He needs a cousin... lol.

Michael led us in a hilariously fun game after dinner. Here he is with my sweet little Frodo.

Jayden found all the dirt to be had, so after a bubble bath from Grandma, he was slipped into one of my tanks and put to sleep on my bed...

Shasta and Chris took him home later and when he woke up he went to his mom and said, "This is NOT the kind of shirt that a baby sleeps in!" Oh, my, he keeps me laughing, just like Victor always has done.

Up next... Rebekah's graduation!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Shasta's Tribute

Several weeks ago each of us began to talk about ideas we had for Nathan's birthday. Shasta's tribute began a couple of years ago, though. I will take momma liberties to share what I have watched her accomplish, which led up to this amazing tribute to her brother.

Motherhood was a delight. Shasta and I had such a fun time playing with Jayden those first couple of years! However, the struggle of weight gain and bouts of postpartum depression were part of Shasta's life. But the day came when she decided to take her health and fitness into her hands and dedicate herself to making changes... with no excuses. She and her best friend signed agreements with each other to exercise every day.

Shasta and her best friend:

Then one change led to the next. One decision led to the next. She never stopped. Not only has she lost about 80 pounds, but she increased her physical strength and as that happened, her confidence took flight. Since she shares her story best, I will leave the introduction at that...

I first heard about Shasta's plan when I asked if she would like to join the boys and I at the pier on Nathan's birthday. Nope. There was a half marathon in Capitola the weekend following his birthday and she planned on running that 13.1 miles, dedicated to him. So, as brothers and sisters and I planned our day at the pier, Shasta began baking cupcakes. What? How does that fit in here? Well, let me tell you. She didn't have the money to enter the race. So, she began baking endless batches of homemade cupcakes and selling them to pay the entry fee!

The night before...

Sisters, sharing the experience...

Running the last bit of the race! She is wearing Nathan's hat.

Just after the finish line!

It is so exciting to see her place so well in this!!

This is her beautiful medal. The lanyard has sea turtles on it!! It couldn't be more perfect.

More sister time:

Jayden was a great cheerleader for it all!