Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The First of the Last

It keeps happening...a first that is going to be a last. Each time it happens I think about it way too much. How can a first be a last?

The first volleyball game of her last high school season. The first day of her last year of high school. The first day of basketball practice of her senior year. The first of the last... There is a whole year ahead of those. 

Really, these happen all of the time. The senior year of your last child at home though, those are the tough ones. It really doesn't seem possible. It was just a few years ago our first child graduated from high school and we went through all of the the "first of the lasts." Funny how different it is when you know there will be no children left at home.

So we won't be the first or the last empty nesters. We will just join a group of people that have already gone through this part of their life. 

For now, I will enjoy every first of the last that comes our way...and hope that time will just slow down a little!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Real Basketball

No, not NBA...I am talking about high school GIRLS basketball! I would watch that any day over the NBA.

Today is the first game for our high school girls season.  It is a definite switch from volleyball. I give those girls a lot of credit. Running up and down that floor...whew!  The last time I tried that was in my 20's in an alumni game. There is NO possible way on earth I could do it now.

It's just my opinion, but who cares that the NBA will be playing now. I usually like watching NBA games, but the greed they demonstrated this season has changed my mind. As if players and owners weren't already making enough. Their greed locked out the fans, the employees, the concession workers and clear down the line. Do you think they stopped to consider the people that were counting on those jobs, while they squabbled over millions.

So give me a full schedule of high school games! There is nothing I would rather watch...Go Bulldogs!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Will This Be the Year?

The Christmas season is here. It is time for all of those wonderful holiday traditions. One of the things I love most about Christmas is the family traditions we have. There are a few things though, that I have always wanted to do, but never have. Will this be the year?

The one thing I have always wanted to do is make a Gingerbread House. Why? I don't know. I probably don't have enough patience for it and it will probably fall over within the first hour. Nonetheless, I still want to give it a try. 

I see beautiful Gingerbread Houses in magazines...I am realistic, I know mine would look more like a cottage. I will be doing well to have four walls and a roof...but that is still a house, right?

So what is stopping me? Absolutely nothing. I just never do it. So...This will be the year for my Gingerbread House and maybe a few other things I have always wanted to during the Holidays. 

What have you always wanted to do at Christmas? Maybe this is the year!

P.S. You will see the results of my Gingerbread House and more than likely an interesting account of how it came to be!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Good Morning Holiday Shopper!

It was 4:00 am, I quietly opened the door as to not wake up any of the men in the house. I just needed to wake up my sister. I tapped her on the shoulder, "Good Morning Holiday Shopper! It's time to go!"

This was the beginning of our tradition over 10 years ago. I have always been one to stay away from "Black Friday" shopping, but my sister and I decided to approach it a different way. It was our day to spend together. Just the two of us. We had our lists, though they didn't include the "doorbuster" deals. We had a place picked out for lunch and most importantly we had a day to spend together.

We generally leave from my house and drive to Klamath Falls, aiming to get there at 6:00 am. This requires a 4:00 am departure time and a lot of coffee. We have varied our plan a time or two, including Chico and Redding. Yesterday, we really deviated and took the girls too.

We are way too late now, since many stores start at midnight! Oh well, at least by the time we arrive at 6:00 am...most of the crowds are gone. I used to think a 6:00 am open time was crazy, then it went to 5:00, then 4:00, then Midnight! I will leave those hours to the "doorbuster" seekers!

We have experienced a flat tire just as we pulled into Klamath, luckily near the store's tire shop. We have driven through an unexpected snow storm in a 2-wheel drive car, we have (well, I have) gotten car sick through a winding canyon after drinking too much coffee and my sister has been a real good sport in staying awake in the car. (She always sleeps in the car!) We have always had a great time!

It is not really about the shopping, it is about the Holiday Spirit and the time spent together. We take the approach of trying to spread Holiday Cheer. We smile, converse with the check out cashiers and say excuse me in the aisles. It is hard for someone to be grumpy when you are being joyful!

A friend posted this on Facebook last night, 

"The news is filled with stories from violence from Black Friday. Wasn't Thanksgiving yesterday, you know the day where everyone is thankful for what they have? And 24 hours later, we fight to get more...oh, boy!"

Black Friday is a crazy day for many, but for my sister and I, it is a day we look forward to, not for the bargains, but for the memories. People think we are crazy when we say we are going shopping, but when we explain...I think they get it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Thanks

This mighty oak stands in solid in a field on our ranch. When I look at it it reminds me of a family tree with a strong and deeply rooted foundation. Looking at this tree is a great reminder to me of all I am thankful for.

T   -ime. I am thankful for time to spend with the ones I love. Time to watch my children grow and time to enjoy the blessings in my life.

H  -ealth. I am thankful for my health and the health of those around me. I am thankful that I can pray for those who need it.

A  -nswers. I am thankful that God is in control of the answers and that I don't need to worry, I need to give it all to him. I may not get the answers i want, but they will be the best answers for me. 

N   -anas. I am thankful for my Nana's. I am blessed with wonderful grandmothers who have always been such a positive and strong influence in my life. I was blessed with my husband's nana as well. Now, my children are blessed with wonderful grandparents.

K   -ids. I am thankful for the BIGGEST blessings in my kids! They are truly a gift from God and the best gifts I have ever received.

F   -amily.  I am thankful for my family...each and every one of them. The laughter, joy and memories built within our family are priceless. For me, everything revolves around family and for that I am thankful!

U   -You. I am thankful for you...all of you that touch the lives of many each day with kind words, friendly smiles and genuine warmth. You are what makes the world a better place!

L   -ove. I am thankful for love. The love of God and hi grace has allowed me to love in a way I never knew possible. The greatest gift of all is love.

Count your there are many.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

From Where You Are to Where You Should Be

There are many forks in the road...many distractions, deviations and obstacles. We know where we want to be, we know where we should be, we know what is right...but we are not always there.

The question is how do we get from where we where we should be?

Simple...Move!  Move in that direction...

If you get on the wrong path, what says you have to stay there? It is your choice to make. If you become distracted and hit a few obstacles along the way, keep your focus on where you know you should be.

Too often mistakes are made and we think, "Oh well, I already messed up." That is not have the control to start over  at any point. You don't have to keep making the same mistakes. Get yourself on the right path.

It's in a song, "I dare you to move..." Get yourself moving in the direction you know you should. Look at where you are and where you want to be. Have courage, have strength and most of all have faith that you can get there!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's Gonna Be Dry!

Do you remember cooking your first turkey? I do...I was so nervous and I don't really know why. I had always heard stories about "turkeys gone bad" and I guess I didn't want to fall in that category.

It was my first year of college and I won a turkey from a raffle at the school. Perfect, I will cook for my roommates and friends. The biggest problem was I had know idea what I was doing. I called my mom for a quick turkey cooking lesson.

I remember her laughing when I asked, "what end do you stuff?" Once we got past the reminders of taking out the bagged giblets, neck, etc. I felt pretty good about cooking this big bird. My only wish now was the it wouldn't be dry.

I cooked it and little did I know I cooked it upside down...which I learned later was a trick for keeping it more moist.

It turned out pretty good, either that or the college kids I was feeding were just extra thankful for a big, FREE meal.

Since that time so many year ago, I have cooked more turkeys and it is always a scary process for me. I have made progress though, I know how to stuff it, I have a general idea of how to cook it and it usually comes out pretty moist.

This mom is cooking the turkey...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pies, Pies and More Pies!

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy....and PIE! Holiday dinners aren't complete without a variety of yummy pies! The problem is, how do you choose which kind you want. Do you have one BIG piece of your favorite? Or do you have a TINY little sliver of each?

I have a hard time deciding. Chocolate Cream is always a favorite...but so is any kind of Cheesecake pie, a warm slice of apple or pear pie or a fluffy coconut cream pie.

Let's see what your favorite pie says about you...

  • Apple: You are patriotic, a real down to earth person. you love life and the simple things in it. You love baseball, your family and your country! You are very loyal and love holidays.
  • Peach: You love the country and down home cooking, you may be from the south or have roots in the south. You probably like country music and the outdoors.
  • Lemon Meringue: You like fancy things. During the holidays your decorations are perfect. You like the finer things in life and you eat your pie in very small bites, savoring each piece.

  • Berry: You love every holiday, each one is a great excuse for a pie and a party. You have a hard time making up your mind...there are many kinds of berries, so this is good for you. You are smart and analytical. 

  • Chocolate: You are competitive, accomplished, competent and ambitious. You are a very  generous person. You are often the life of the party. You love holiday gatherings and your chocolate pie. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Just another day to many, but to me it is much more
It is the day God graced the earth with the man that I adore.
I'm thankful for that day with all of my heart
It is the day that my best friend was born
How much do I love him, I don't know where to start.

He makes me laugh, 
He's always there anytime I need him
I know he always cares.

He a father, a husband, and my best friend
I wish him all the happiness that be given to him.

God sent a treasure on the 19th of November
and a day doesn't go by that I don't remember
How blessed I am to share my life with him.

Happy Birthday to my partner in life,
I think I am the one who gets the present...
I get to be your wife!

Happy Birthday Tim...I Love You1

Friday, November 18, 2011

Worry Less...Pray More

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.  ~Leo Buscaglia

I have a note on my bulletin board that says "Worry Less...Pray More." I have to remind myself of that on a daily basis. Often times our minds get cluttered with worry...and there is really nothing we can really do about what we are worrying about.

There are many things in life that we have no control over. All that we can expect to do is our best. We can put forth effort, positive energy, have a good outlook on life and let God handle to rest.

I try really hard to hand my worries over...instead of worrying, I pray. When I pray I have to make sure I hand it ALL over...not just the bits and pieces I think I need help with.  I need help with it all! Nothing is too small to pray about.

Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is to small to be made into a burden.  ~Corrie ten Boom, Clippings from My Notebook

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One of Those Days...Weeks!

Help!I need to put a freeze on the clock for just a little bit so I can get caught up. It has been a busy week and today is no exception.  My ability to multitask is being tested today. So how do you handle a day filled with too many things to do? What are the key steps to multitasking?  Here's a few ideas...

Stay Organized! Make a list for the week. What do you HAVE to get accomplished each day? Pencil in your appointments. Beyond that, make a daily to do list. I also like to make a list of projects to tackle if time permits. Keep your paperwork, files and information pertaining to various projects sorted and in a specific place.

Take Some Time For Yourself! It may seem that will defeat the purpose of getting things done. It actually helps. It will allow you to refocus and re-energize. Many Sunday mornings I thing I have too much to do to go to church. When I skip...I may as well have thrown my list out the window. Most Sundays after church, I get more done that I could have ever wished. Take a walk, sit and relax, call a friend...just a few minutes will help.

Set Realistic Goals for the Day! Don't expect too much.  Know what your would really like to accomplish and know what can wait if needed. Painting the whole living room in one day? Probably should break that down in to more obtainable goals, especially if you are responsible for dinner, kids, etc.

Avoid Distractions! Facebook, texting, soap operas, Food Network...these can all be distractions of mine. Try leaving these distractions behind.

Power Task!  Try doing spurts of 45 minute to an hour of heavy duty work...then take a break and do some lighter tasks.  Don't try to cram all of the hard stuff in at once. Break up your day a little. This can help to make things less stressful.

I am trying to take my own advice today...hence, the break to write my blog. Now, on tho my list of things to accomplish!  Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

One Tough Dog

"Mom, can I have a puppy?" No. "But, he is so cute!" We don't need another dog.

I left the fair and headed home. My daughter and husband were to follow shortly. A little bit after I got home, here they come in the driveway. Out of the pickup they come...with a puppy!

"I told her NO." I said. My husband replied, "I told her NO too, but she wanted me to look at them.  The next thing I knew I told the people we would take this little guy."

This is how Blazer became a part of our family about 10 years ago. He was the cutest little fur ball, probably the cutest puppy we had ever seen. 

Blazer was a Queensland Heeler cross and a great little cow dog. A VERY tough dog. He was kicked many times. If it ever hurt him, he never let it show. We can't recall a time he yelped. He was a stubborn dog and pretty jealous when it came to other dogs.

When my dad moved onto the ranch, Blazer took to him and became grandpa's dog. He put on a little weight from plenty of milk bones and pretty much went wherever grandpa went.

Blazer died last is always such a sad thing to lose a part of your animal family. We become so attached to our pets. Blazer definitely lived a great life...and he was a big part of ours. We'll miss you Blazy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Back to Reality

I have been gone for several days...and now it is back to reality. We were blessed to get to go visit our son in Nebraska and watch the last football game of the season. It was a lot of fun. It is such a neat thing to be able to do.

We have made so many friends and have become very familiar with the area. We have a routine and each time it is very hard to leave. This time some friends from home joined us. My husband's high school football coach and his wife made the trip. This meant so much to us. One of our son's friends from home also came out. It was a weekend full of memories.

It is hard to believe our son just finished his junior year of college football.  Time has gone by quickly. One more year.  This chapter of our lives is a great one. 

So we are home and it's back to the daily routine. Back to reality. It is always fun, though, to get away and be a part of our son's routine. He has shown us how important it is to step out and try something different. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Time for a Break

I am going to take a break for a day or two...out to visit our son.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 

I also want to thank the many Veteran's who have served our country...including both of my grandfathers and my father-in-law. to enjoy some family time...

See you soon.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Great Catch!

I hope you've already had your coffee and breakfast.....

It was about 2:00 am and it was getting a little chilly in the house. I got up to put wood in the fire just like any other night. I stepped out on to the porch with no shoes on to get a piece of wood. I got more than a piece of wood...I stepped on a partially eaten mouse and felt it between my toes! Ewwwww! (I warned you!)

This was one of many treasurer's our first cat, Figueroa, left on the doormat. What is it about a cat wanting you to see what they have caught. Daily there would be a mouse head, bird feathers, the entire mouse or just some remnants.

Things haven't changed any. We have a new cat, Lilly. She is quite a hunter as you may have read in previous blogs. She catches several things in a day. She is a hungry cat. Yesterday, she was very clear in the point that we were out of cat food.

I went shopping and as I am walking in with a bag of cat food, I have to step over the icky remains of the inside of a mouse. I sweep this mess off of the porch and feed Lilly.

Lilly filled her belly and went back outside. It wasn't 10 minutes and I hear a squabble on the porch. I have learned never to open the door when you hear this or the prey just might come in with the cat. I waited a bit and opened the door. Lilly was gone, but there was a plump little mole on my doorstep...Thanks Lilly!

So we start a new day and she hasn't disappointed me, there is a mouse head on the doorstep.

I am guessing that the cats just want us to be proud of them and to let us know they are doing their job well!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ready, Set, Go....

Do you remember when Christmas season didn't start until AFTER Thanksgiving? I sure do. As a small child I remember looking forward to it. I was always anxious for Thanksgiving because after that all of the Christmas stuff would come out. Those were the days!

I was in Redding today and the Halloween items are barely moved into the clearance section...and the Christmas items are in FULL bloom! Say it isn't so.

I love the holiday season. The holiday season to me, though, includes Thanksgiving. We seem to skip right over it in the stores. Sure there is the obligatory display of pumpkin pie filling, stuffing mix and some fall decorations only to be overshadowed by ornaments, wrapping paper and candy canes. They are even paying Christmas music...before Thanksgiving!  I love Christmas music, but something just doesn't seem right about that.

I say NO...I am going to be stubborn and enjoy the fall season and be thankful for the many blessings I have. I will enjoy my Thanksgiving turkey, too much stuffing and pie...then focus on Christmas.

I choose to take each season as it comes and enjoy each one for what it means. I choose to not get so focused on Christmas that the next 6 weeks are a blur. I choose to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to start on Christmas...on which day I will take my annual shopping trip with my sister!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Without a Map

Just get in the car...and go. No map, no plan, no reservations. The only thing ahead is the open road. That is my dream vacation.

If I could take any amount of time and not have to worry about being someplace on a certain day, I would just "wing it."

I have always wanted to just go...take off and head in whatever direction we felt like. It would be so fun to just be able to stop wherever we wanted and turn on whatever road caught our eye. No destination or schedule, just a spontaneous trip.

Many times we have been traveling and we pass a cute little town or shop or restaurant...but that's what we do...pass it. There is no time to stop. My idea of a fun trip would be to stop at any place, any time. 

There are so many places I would love to see, places off of the beaten path. Small towns, dirt roads, places of history are hidden all over the countryside.

So, one day maybe we will take a trip like this. All we will need is some time, money and NO PLAN.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Really? Snow?

The white stuff already? I heard the weather report the other day and didn't really believe there was a chance of snow. It is only the beginning of November and typically that hasn't been the normal weather pattern around here lately.

Well, I was wrong in my thinking. On the way home Thursday night, it was snowing so hard and such big flakes, I couldn't see a thing. The snow was accumulating on the road very fast and it was so WHITE...I couldn't tell where the road was. My winter eyes aren't acclimated yet. Finally, my husband passed me and I could follow his tracks.

I thought this was just an odd occurrence that would go away. Well, it's Saturday morning and it's snowing AGAIN! I talked to friends in Nebraska this morning. While it is 20 degrees here, it is 53 degrees there. While it is snowing here, it is clear there. (Their weather is on the way.) There is something really wrong with this picture. Our son's college roommates think that since he is from California it is all beaches and sunshine. He had to explain that we live in the mountains and get snow.

I haven't put my hoses away yet, the leaves haven't fallen and we still need to winterize. I guess we better get on it. 

So, are you ready for the white stuff? Ready or not I think it's on the way....time to snuggle in for winter and slow things down a bit.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Happy Day!

November 4, 1989 I was blessed to marry my best friend. Twenty-two years later I am even more blessed. This will be short and sweet. I just want to use the space to say Happy Anniversary to my amazing husband!  I figure a blog is way better than a card!

I could not imagine my life any other way and am one lucky lady!

Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

That was Then...

The age old question, "Where does the time go?" I wish I knew. Tonight is the beginning of a new chapter for me. The beginning of letting go of my baby girl. It is her first athletic senior night. She is almost finished with her senior year of volleyball. It seems like yesterday that she took this 7th grade volleyball photo.

I have always had this unique way of looking at the calendar each which sports season it is. So basically my calendar is broken up into thirds for the school year...volleyball, basketball and softball. Our daughter has now almost completed 10 of 12 high school sports seasons.

I can remember our kids starting junior high and people telling us it would go VERY fast once they were there. It is true. I also just had a friend tell me about her last daughter leaving home. "Don't listen to what anyone tells you, don't believe them when they say it's's not!" She said about becoming empty nesters.

I am sad, but I am also extremely proud of our daughter and excited for her to pursue the dreams she has. She has been such a blessing and a joyful part of our lives. 

So for now, we will play out this chapter of her senior year. I will undoubtedly shed a few tears tonight as I will on her two other senior nights. 

As for where has the time gone...I will never have that answer...just the advice to enjoy EVERY minute we are blessed to share.  Love You Mandy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sportsmanship...Do you Have It?

"MCARTHUR – Perhaps Fall River High School should have a warning sign at the entrance to campus: Beware of Bulldogs and rabid fans. Why? Well, when it comes to volleyball, the Lady Bulldogs are next to unbeatable at home in Shasta Cascade League play, going 42-2 since the 04-05 season. Add in a well organized, vocal and pretty funny cheering section, and coming home with a win for visiting teams is more than a little difficult."

I took this quote from Fall River High School fans left quite an impression on the man covering that game. Do you notice that it doesn't say anything about the fans being negative or unsportsmanlike? It doesn't say anything because this group of fans, although very loud and pretty funny, are not rude or unsportsmanlike. They have good sportsmanship.

Compare this to the visiting team fans that came to the Fall River side of the gym and knocked the "aces" off of the wall. Or the fans at a recent games that chanted, "nuts and bolts, nuts and bolts, we got......" Then there was the "How's the floor taste? Tastes like.....(insert opponents name)."

I think it is GREAT when the students want to cheer. Our team loves the noise and actually plays better in a noisy gym. What is hard, is the rude and unsportsmanlike comments. 

The fan club at FRHS has proven you can have fun, be loud and very strange and still be good sports. I have actually heard opposing players say, "I wish our boys would do that."

Sportsmanship is the key, support your team without belittling the other. Keep it positive and never cross the line to the negative side. Be willing to represent your school with spirit and pride.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Help Jacob Achieve a Dream

Jacob doesn't know me. We are from the same area and I have seen him lead worship songs in his church. I know a close friend of his and that is how I am connected. From what I see, Jacob is an amazing young person chasing his dreams and boy can he sing!

He is an employee at out local McDonald's. He is one of 22 finalists in the Voice of McDonald's competition. You have the chance to decide who will represent U.S. at the McDonald’s Worldwide Convention in Orlando. How about a vote for Jacob!

Voting will run from November 1 to November 30, and is open to everyone.
Here is a little about Jacob from his biography posted on the voting page:

I play several instruments and I have been singing since I was 10
My supervisor told me about it and I thought it was a good idea
To make music my career
My mom is my hero – I love to hear her sing and she encourages my singing
I have been here 7 months and enjoy the crew that have become my friends
I have written several songs that I hope will one day impact other’s lives

I am so inspired by this young man for his accomplishments. He is from a VERY small town, works at the ONLY fast food burger place in town and is one of 22 finalist in a NATIONWIDE contest. To me, he is an amazing example of being able to realize dreams through determination. It doesn't matter who you are or where you are from...if you have a dream, chase it!

I hope you will take the time to listen and vote...and share the voting link to your friends. Let's stand behind this young man and show his how much support a small community can give.


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