Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day is a Special Day!

As this Father's Day has approached, I've been enveloped with memories of my own father and thoughts of thankfulness for my sweet husband and the great dad that he is. I would like to share those thoughts in that order to celebrate these great men and the difference that they have made in my life.
My dad was a great story teller. Whenever, I picture him in my mind, I never think of him as he was at the end of his life. His body taken over by cancer. I always remember his eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled, showing his silver tooth on the bottom. His silver hair mussed up a bit  and his eyes lively, and his hands and body animated as he related one of his beloved Bandit stories. That dog was definitely a close friend to my dad. I don't think he loved any of his other dogs as much. Even his favorite joke was tailored to be real by adding Bandit to it and one of our old family friends, Judy Miller. He told that joke so often that I have it memorized and have retold it myself many times to friends and acquaintances. It's always fun at the end when they realize the story isn't real and that they've been 'had'. I have always been grateful to my Dad for being worthy to hold the Priesthood. He saved my life while I was in the hospital dying from lack of blood by wielding that priesthood and giving me a blessing that allowed the blood to finally flow through the tubes and into my body just before the blood went bad and they would have to throw it away. He also gave me countless father's blessings that allowed me to have a glimpse of my Father in Heaven's love for me. And I know that I have overcome the challenges I have and succeeded much in life as a result of his belief in me. My dad has influenced me so much and I'm thankful for the friendship that I was able to develop with him as a young single mother when I worked with him as his accounting clerk. He will forever be one of my greatest hero's. This is a picture of him at a pool party for Isaac's birthday.
My own husband, became a great man in my eyes from the beginning of our romance. As we changed from friends into embarking on our great love, he told me, "I want to take care of you and your boys", as we stood under the big oak tree on the front of my lawn. That moment is forever etched in my mind. I don't think he realized how important those words were. How much those words spoke of his character. I just recently learned that there was a boy from my childhood whose parents would have loved for him to date me that responded to their information that I was available back then, "but she has two boys". There were several men that I dated that just weren't sure if they could take on the responsibility of two children that didn't have their genes. So when my husband, said that to me I knew he was the one. Not because I thought he was the only one that would ever commit to our family, but because he was sincere in that desire. Because we had already been friends and I knew that he understood what he was saying and that it wasn't said lightly to win me over. I had a witness in that moment that he would grow with me and that we could be real partners in this life of struggles helping each other to overcome and be the parents that our children would need. He hasn't always been perfect as a step dad, but I haven't always been a perfect mother or them perfect sons ;)
The point is that we have stepped into those roles and given it our 'all'. And we are a work in progress. And 'progress' is the key word. I love him beyond belief for never settling for the status quot. He inspires me everyday to work harder and improve myself. The boys made him cards this year, and the cards asked questions about their dad that they had to answer themselves. One of the questions was, "what does your dad do?". Little Red answered, "go to work". And Blueberry boy answered, "fixes things". Most people would think that means he's a work-a-holic. Because he does work. You could never accuse him of being lazy. He likes to get things done. But when he's done, he's taught the boys, it's time to have fun. I love that they see a balance. He knows how to relax. He knows how to have fun and he's taught me to relax and have fun too. Which is something I lost for awhile around my kids when I was single. This is a pic of us having fun at Disney World.
 I am so blessed to have a chance to learn from some great dad's in my life.
 Thank you to my Father and thank you to my Sweetheart for your loving influences in my life and my childrens'

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Passing of a Great Mother

My dear  Grandmother passed away on Thanksgiving day. She was 93 years old. I have thought about writing this post almost every day since, but I haven't been ready till now. My Grandmother was responsible for many things in my life and I am very grateful for the life lessons that she taught me not only through word but also through example. I'm going to share some of my memories on here to express my love for her.
When I was little my parents would send me for the occasional visit during the summer. I loved going to her house. We didn't have central air, so it was nice in the Texas heat to want to burrow under the covers, although she had these two clown pictures hanging up in the guest bedroom that totally creeped me out, so needless to say it wasn't just comfort that had me loving those visits. I know this will sound weird, but she taught me how to properly make my bed and how to maintain a house through scheduling. My personality loved these things. Scheduling dusting! Who knew!? There was also the coveted shopping trips to the mall. I love shopping and I loved hearing about Grandmother's experiences of working at Foleys and J.C. Pennys. In fact when I started working for Foleys during my divorce and worked my way up through the ranks to an area sales manager, providing for myself and my kids and even obtaining a house and a car through my own credit and hard work, I felt nobody's pride more than my Grandmother's. I remember her making a point to tell me how proud she was of me pulling my life together. And because she knew the rigors of what I was doing; I knew she understood just how hard I had had to work to get there. Back to shopping :) My Grandmother would always buy me one thing while out shopping. I remember one time the visit was during Christmas break and she bought me this beautiful spiderweb ornament with a spider on it that glittered in gold. It was my favorite ornament to put on the tree because I picked it out and it was from our shared experience. Another time, when I was 13, my Dad had told me that when I turned 13 it would be my choice as to whether or not I got my ears pierced because he didn't believe I should. I didn't see any reason not too, as it meant not getting headaches when I pinched my ears with clips. Well apparently I missunderstood because I got my Grandmother in trouble. But I asked her if she would take me to get my ears pierced. She not only did that, but made it memorable by taking me out to eat at Neiman Marcus and then over to get my ears done. On the way back through, Macy's, I lost my lunch due to nerves. Poor Grandmother! However, it was a memorable event, lol. Grandmother also had a way of giving such wonderful gifts. Two of my favorites were first, the birthday party she planned for me with a crown and pink girly cake. I had told her how I hated Halloween and always getting stupid halloween birthday cards. She listened and made a special trip out to our family farm to have a girly party for me, although she did slip up and embarass me by buying me panties as a present, if I remember right, lol, but the pink Happy Birthday Crown way out weighed the other. The second was a plaid tafetta Christmas dress from Foleys buried underneath the mounds of tissue in a perfectly wrapped box with a beautiful bow. All that time in retail had taught Grandmother that wrapping could be just as important as the gift. And she was right. I loved that she took the time to teach me a thing or two about that as well.
My Aunt said that her passing on Thanksgiving was appropriate and I told her that I totally agreed. It will make celebrating Thanksgiving every year a little more special, but also entertaining was her specialty. Our family has so many memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas and 4th of July potluck dinners at Grandmother's with fine china and always two kinds of olives. The first time I hosted at my apartment she brought me a pretty little hostess gift. Grandmother was big on instilling proper manners in each of us, but even more than that, I think she was teaching us that the little things matter. Whether it is remembering someone's birthday or that special touch on a present, or dusting the furniture, all those things come around to caring, and she cared a great deal. I always loved her phone calls and her characteristic..."What you know". She loved being called Great mother instead of Great Grandmother and I think it was appropriate, because I know she was a great Mom, a great Mom-in-law, a great Grandmother, so if you totaled all the Motherly totals together she definitely came out Great and then some :)
                                          (This is her coming for a visit after Jame's birth)
 (These next two shots were her modeling a clothes line at her assisted living home. She never stopped doing and her mind was strong till the day she died.)
I love you Great Mother! Till We Meet Again, I promise to remember your many life lessons and to apply then in my life. Thank you for a beautiful legacy.