Sunday, July 25, 2010

Slice of Life #10 Friends

I think that one of the truest tests of friendships is to be able to stay friends no matter what life changes occur in either persons life and to be able to stay in touch. I have to say my friendship with Gardenia has truly stood the test of time. We were introduced by my parents. They were looking for friends for me to help me be stronger in the gospel of our Savior and they thought that I would be a good friend for her in return. I was a struggling single Mom at the time and constantly having issues with being lonely when my boys would go visit their Dad for the weekend. Our first meeting I believe was at the movies, our whole family met to watch one of the Lord of the Ring movies. Anyways after that we started getting together. I don't know who started our outings but my parents couldn't have been more right about such a postive friendship in my life. Gardenia, as she is known on line, and by the way happens to be my favorite flower, was always there for me when I needed help. Whether it was cleaning my house, a shoulder to cry on, or being up for one of my crazy expeditions. She quickly became Aunt Gardenia, well her real name plus Aunt, lol, but you get the picture. One of our favorite stories is how she decided we should go to a dance, she might say it was my idea, but I'm pretty sure it was hers. This was for 30 year olds and up and at the time I was slightly under age even though at times I felt older than all attending. Looking back now that is highly laughable, but I digress. So neither of us knew anyone else going to this church dance but I was always game for a dance and she thought that I being a highly outgoing person would be able to make us a friend or two right away. Well she learned something new about me that day. We walked in and looked inside at the dance and I turned and looked at her and said, "now what". She say, "your the outgoing one". I laughed and said, "only when I know everyone". Well I decided we hadn't come all that way for nothing, so I said,"Let's go to the food table. You can always find something to talk about around food." So we did and pretty soon we were chatting it up with a couple of people and dancing. So it was a sucess!The best thing about Gardenia is that she is always up for a lark. The top picture is of her in costume at Big Red's and my open house, halloween party, that we through right after we got together. Not everyone dressed up. But Gardenia is way to much fun to not to do so. Below are pictures of a pool party right before that. Where she provided the pool for my son to have his party and house. His birthday is always to hot and I'd wanted to do this for awhile but never had the ability. She and my husband (friend at the time) got into a hand standing competition at the pool. I have to say they both had such good form. I can't remember who won.

I remember going and buying this suit for her. Back then she was Wildwoman Gardenia. Still is truth be told :)

This was our first double date. My husband was taking the picture. And while things didn't work out with Mr. Tall in the picture it was a growing experience and we had fun saving her, lol. And she looked super pretty.
Once we even went to Mississippi on a rediscover Gardenia tour just to get out of Texas. We saw alligators, jelly fish, and snakes and she laid on her someday grave ( I know weird, lol). I have to note that we did that with another good friend. We've seen many a movie together infact with no girls amongst my children, I'm so happy to have someone to go see the Twilight movies with. Otherwise I'd have to do it when my little ones were taking a nap and my husband at work and my boys at school and it had come out on video and I'd probably get depressed instead of enjoying the movie b/c I have to hide out to do it, lol.
So we've been through some life changing experiences on both sides. Some good and some bad and some just stepping stones, but through it all we've been there for each other like good friends should.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Slice of Life #9 - Bugs

As a toddler I would chase the tree roaches that had gotten in the house and stomp on them in my bare feet. Needless to say I never had a love of bugs. Growing up in Texas the June bugs have long been my enemy. I remember watching a bug zapper that my Dad bought to hang up outside the front door to lower the amount coming inside. It was like 4th of July early, lol, 'Zap-Zap-ZZZ-Zap!'. I never got tired of hearing that noise. It meant one less icky sticky fingered bug to fly into my hair and freak me out. I'm sure my brother's and sister's have plenty of memories of me shrieking and shaking my hair or brushing off my clothes to get the things off of me. I'm sure I looked plenty silly too, but I just can't help it, June bugs are to me what snakes are to Indiana Jones. If I remember correctly he didn't like bugs either, lol, I think it's a big reason women love his character so much, they identify.
When I was a young woman, I attended our young women's youth camp at church. There was one year that stands out in my memory and I often tell this story when bugs come up. It had rained alot that year. Kind of like this year. And bugs were creeping and crawling from everywhere to get to high ground to survive. As we arrived near dark, I can remember going to our slabs to put up our cots and grossing out as we heard milipedes crunching under our shoes. Needless to say, no one went barefoot. There were two girls that were so full of themselves that they had mosquito nets and were teasing the fire out of the rest of us for not having one. It was sweet revenge the next morning when we woke up to screaming the next morning from the two. One had awakened to find one on the pillow next to her and they both had them climbing up the nets on the inside, so they were surrounded. Oh sweet justice! Okay so not very Christ like of me, but I was young ;)
So there's my bug memoirs. Hoped you enjoyed!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wrapped Gifts

Last week was my Grandmother's 91st birthday. My uncle had a birthday dinner for her and invited everyone that could come to come over. For the last several years I have just bought my Grandmother a card or sometimes given her a new updated picture in a frame. It's always hard to know what to give someone who has all that they need and very little space in there home for more. However, over the past year Mom discovered a store near me that is an outlet store that carries the kind of shirts that she likes. So this year I decided to get her a shirt and see if I could make her a bracelet to match. This is a new found hobby of mine. Well as you can see below, I found the perfect beads to match her new shirt. And the shirt was to me, so like her, it was just the perfect gift.
So I started looking through my closet for a gift bag to recycle and give her the present in. As I was going through the bags, I thought back to my childhood. My grandmother had worked at Foleys and J.C.Pennys when she was younger and had learned the art of wrapping gifts. Infact she is the one who taught me how to make my Christmas wrapping turn out better than a wadded taped mess, lol. I remembered the beautiful paper and pretty bows and Dad having to help get the box open because of the tape and then reaching through the layers of tissue to see the most beautiful sweater or gorgeous tafetta dress. And as those memories flooded back to me I knew that I couldn't throw these specially picked items into a bag with pretty tissue. It needed to be wrapped in loving care with layers of tissue paper to enfold it and keep it wrapped neatly for her discovery. So I ran to the store and bought a matching blue paper. Nothing fancy, just simple and elegant like my Grandmother. I folded the shirt neatly with the bracelet laying on top into layers of tissue paper and wrapped the box and attached a squiggly pearlescent bow to the top and taped her card up underneath. I loved seeing my little Red all proud to be intrusted with such a pretty package, carrying it very carefully for a two year old to give it to his Grandmother. Well he didn't get that far. He gave it to his Great Uncle but he just knew it wasn't for him. Lol. So I guess my point is this, that yes, sometimes it's not the outside that is important but what's inside. But as we grow the outside becomes just as important as the inside.

Slice of Life Meme's: Goodbyes

My last walk as a single mother, as I became part of another person and his life forever
(My boys with their adopted cousin making ground hog holes in my bestfriends backyard two months before our wedding)

One of the hardest goodbyes in my life was because of good things happening in my life. I had said goodbye's several times in my life by the time I reached my 33 year of life. However, in the preceeding 7 years I had made a great deal of personal growth and been in a stable environment, making many friendships and having many acts of kindness performed for me and my boys that left such feelings of warmth and affection between me and givers. I had been single for almost ten years, and finally the man of my dreams had asked for my hand in marriage. It was a whirlwind of activity to get married as quickly as we wanted to, and yet the months seemed to drag by interminably as we worked through the process. Yet all the time, in the back of my head, was the realization that we would be leaving behind not only the lifestyle of a single mother family that we had learned to cope with, but also many loved ones. My boys had friends that they had just estabilished bonds with and started spending time with beyond school. I had friends that I knew while I might contact them once in awhile that they wouldn't be as much a part of my life. It was so hard to give in to my new husband's needs and move. I remember as I started sifting through the things to put in the garage sale that my Mom was afraid that I was giving up my identity because there were so many cherished things that I put up for sale in the garage sale. I look back now and realize that while I knew that wasn't true, I didn't realize that I was in the process of saying goodbye. It was much easier to say goodbye to things and it was symbolic for me of letting go of all the things that I knew and putting myself into my beloved's and Savior's hands. I also know that the Lord prepared the way by sending me a visiting teacher about a year ahead to build a relationship with that later would move into the same ward as my husband right about the time we were to be engaged. This along with an old friend of my husbands that we have adopted as a Great Aunt, so to speak, who made sure she gave me hugs every Sunday, went along ways to making me feel that I was loved in my new ward. It is true that with great blessings come great responsibilities. I went from being taken care of by a ward family, to taking care of others and being among familiars to having to constantly reach out and make new friends. In the 3 years that I have lived here that hasn't changed much as our ward is very transient and my boys have changed school 3 times already. However, with every change and painful bit of growth, my Savior has been there for me. I am thankful that we never have to say 'good-bye' to him. Through prayer we have his constant companionship and I know he helps us through every 'good-bye' in our life. I am thankful that my husband had us move here. There are people that I miss from our old ward, but I know that we were needed here and that our whole family has been growing and being given the time we need to bond. I also know it was where we needed to be to prepare for our step to becoming an eternal family. I know in my heart that eventually we will leave this area and again it will be very hard as we have again made so many deep and lasting friendships, but I know that 'goodbyes' aren't forever and so I love the phrase from one of everyone's favorite hymns..."till we meet again, and Jesus's feet".

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Slice of Life Prompt: Fireworks Stories

I have to start out by saying we are heading out soon to see the fireworks tonight. I will not be deterred. Last year was a huge dissappointment when we thought that a certain place was going to have fireworks and then they didn't. Shame on them! But we did have fun earlier in the day getting soaked by the neighborhood fire trucks as part of our neighborhoods celebrations as you can see in the top picture. As a girl I remember going to many a fireworks display until we got to be teenagers and then my Dad would complain about the traffic and it was always my Grandma that had to go to see the fireworks. It was thanks to her that I remember seeing them out on the lake at Walden and again at the Race Track in Houston. Both were very memorable displays. Two years ago we saw them in Bastrop out over the river. The fire works were so close that we had some fizzle out right into us! But my most memorable experience was watching the finale in Hermann Park with my Dad's Brother and some cousins anf my family. I think I was 8 at the time. Back then we usually got together with my Dad's side because it was the day before my Grandmother's birthday. More about that in later post. Anyways, after sharing lot's of yummy food at my Grandmother's we had all driven over to the park. I remember walking around with my family looking for the perfect spot. They had speakers all around the area that were piping in loud patriotic music. I've always had a great love for music and this appealed to me. But what made the biggest impression was during the finale, they played "Coming to America" by Neil Diamond. He was my Mom's favorite singer for awhile, so I was no stranger to the song. But around me the adults started talking about the significance of the song and I just felt that moment and the excitement that is found is this land meld in me forever during those special moments of spectacular sights and moving sounds.