Category Archives: family

Long days, short years: Live your life !

When I was a kid in school, I couldn’t wait to get older. That 12 months between birthdays took FOREVER to pass by! “How much longer until my birthday?”, I would ask.  Then I had my own kids and somehow things changed. During the newborn and toddler months and years, the days could pass very, very slowly and I couldn’t wait to go to bed every night, exhausted. My kids then asked me the birthday question.  But the years passed quicker and quicker and they outgrew their cribs, then their toys, and then their need for me, it seems.  But they still need my cooking!

I love seeing my children grow up but sadly this means I am getting older as well. My friends are getting older and some have died. My mom , though young at heart, is getting up there in age and has lost many of her friends and most of her relatives. I like to think that she will live forever but I know that her last day will come. Last night I had a bit of a shock when it dawned on me that my older sister, the one I go hiking mountains with, is only one year younger than my dad was when he died of cancer! And we had no warning that he was going to die. We had a family Christmas party as usual, and he was dead the next March. By the way, my sister’s motto is Live your life! She has lived her life to the fullest and continues to do so.

But that is how it happens sometimes. There are no guarantees for how many days or years we will be on this earth. I saw a video of a huge boulder rolling down a hill onto a car. The driver lived, but it could have easily been his last day. Last week a young man was drowned after driving into a flooded low water crossing and getting washed away and trapped in debris. No warning. One minute he was driving along and the next he was being swept away. Sometimes it seems like the good ones die instead of the ‘bad’ ones, but we don’t get to choose, do we?

I guess what I am saying is,  don’t waste your days. So many ways to do that. Today might be the beginning of the end for you or me. We could be dying and not know it. We could be killed in an accident. Sorry to be so morbid, but it’s worth remembering that our living days are numbered and should be valued. When I was a depressed student in college, I allowed myself to become trapped in a dangerous situation where my life was in the hands of another person who could have ended it. That day I had thought I didn’t care if I lived or died. But when I was at risk of having my life taken, I knew I wanted to be alive! I was able to escape and my life changed after that. I stopped being self-destructive and began to live again. I saw what a fool I was being and how selfish, not caring about the people who had done some much for me and truly loved me! I thank God that he gave me a third chance. Yes, I am a slow learner.

Embrace life, it’s short. Make it as sweet as you can by loving others and loving yourself and loving God.

Revelation 21:4 English Standard Version (ESV)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

 

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Don’t let the Terrorists Win

Today, once again, we look back with grief and confusion at a terrible day in America’s history.  According to Wikipedia, 2,996 people were killed and over 6,000 injured that day during 4 attacks carried about by the terrorist group al-Qaeda. 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers were killed that day. Men, women and children of all walks of life lost their lives in an evil attempt to destabilize and destroy  and punish America for supposed crimes against Islam according to a videotape released by Osama bin Laden, founder of al-Qaeda.

In 1996, bin Laden issued a fatwā calling for American troops to leave Saudi Arabia. In 1998, al-Qaeda wrote, “for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.”[51]For a brief period during and after the attacks shocked and frightened Americans became emotionally united against a common enemy. Everyone consoled each other and many prayed and memorials were held. Bumper stickers were printed and shirts screened. We were sad for the dead, proud to be American, and glad to be alive.

Meanwhile, our leaders were taking steps to prevent another terrorist attack from happening. Namely, they created at least two new departments of government.

From Wikipedia: The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a cabinet department of the United States federal government with responsibilities in public security, roughly comparable to the interior or home ministries of other countries. Its stated missions involve anti-terrorism, border security, immigration and customs, cyber security, and disaster prevention and management.[3] It was created in response to the September 11 attacks and is the youngest U.S. cabinet department. In fiscal year 2017, it was allocated a net discretionary budget of $40.6 billion.[2]Also according to Wikipedia : The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that has authority over the security of the traveling public in the United States. It was created as a response to the September 11 attacks. For fiscal year 2012, the TSA had a budget of roughly $7.6 billion. Part of the TSA budget comes from a $2.50 per-passenger tax. The Obama administration had proposed tripling this fee by 2019, with most of the increase going to reduce the national debt.[45]Need I say more? We now live in a society where we are constantly watched by millions of cameras, have our cell phones and internet messages monitored by satellites, are guilty until proven innocent, and are asked to spy and report on our suspicious neighbors and fellow citizens. Have you seen this government sponsored campaign ?

See Something, Say Something.

Personally I don’t think it is ‘everyone’s job’ to become homeland security spies. Sure, if you are going about your day and something obviously wrong is going on, call 911. But to ask people to watch  poorly done videos and have them be constantly on alert and paranoidly looking for details of a scene in case they need to make a report is just wrong. We PAY people to protect us, police, FBI, the military. It is our job to LOVE our neighbors, raise our children to be kind and tolerant of others beliefs,  speak words of peace, love and wisdom in our communities. Volunteer, give to charity, invite people over for a meal, visit the sick and elderly. Leave the crime fighting to the professionals. In doing these things we do not let the terrorists win. Love wins.

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I love how America is full of tourists from every country in the world, despite the DHS and TSA making it more difficult to travel. Keep coming! We love you! 

Did you celebrate Grandparents Day?

Did you even know that  today, the Sunday after Labor Day, is Grandparents Day? I confess that even though I have six children and until recently, they had two pair of married-forever grandparents, I never have done much to celebrate this day. Maybe bought a few cards over the years or gone for a visit to their house. I’m extremely thrifty, remember those six children?,  so I’m pretty terrible at sending or giving cards and gifts for any but the most important occasions. Actually I’m pretty bad at celebrating all special occasions.

I used to LOVE shopping for gifts for people, but then I had the depressing realization that sometimes people( not necessarily grandparents) did not want the gifts, or they worried about me spending too much,  and it just made them uncomfortable. They often just wanted to spend time together without the pressure of gifts. Is it just me or do very few people actually enjoy getting surprises? Unless it’s something you specifically asked for, and then it’s not really a surprise unless they are good at picking up on clues and keeping secrets. Once, my son shocked me with a Garmin running watch for Mother’s Day. THAT was the best gift I had received in a very long time! Then a few years later, he bought me a nicer one. Yes, I really love that kid. 😉 But, HE is very hard to buy for. He is very picky and likes to buy his own stuff, expensive stuff,  and he is very uncomfortable expressing emotions, so accepting gifts is tough for him.

Once you get past a certain age, you either prefer to buy your own stuff, or you really hate clutter from things you don’t or can’t use, such as clothes that aren’t your style or size, or collectible items you really don’t need more of . Considering grandparents have usually been around for awhile, most of them have the stuff they want and need and have very specific taste. When we have given them presents, I’ve tried to make it something useful or consumable or, occasionally,  a homemade item. The one gift that they used for many years and seemed to get so much enjoyment out of was a bread machine, back in the early 1990s when everyone was baking bread. After that we could always expect a fresh loaf of bread when they came to visit.

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My sister, mom , dad (wearing the tie), and father-in-law at the nursery to see my newborn. They loved the babies!

Christmas shopping has really become a burden to me. Not only do I have a very limited budget, my children are all past the toy stage and into the electronics, computers and cars stage. I just can’t afford to buy them the stuff they  would really enjoy. In the past few years , I’ve really struggled with what to buy them. Last year I decided it would be a fun idea to take my two youngest on their first plane trip and go visit my sister in Utah during the winter time where they could experience their first real snow. I kept it a secret until Christmas and then did the big reveal. It wasn’t as well received as I’d hoped. We ended up having a good trip, lots of snowy fun , no regrets, but I don’t think they would have said yes if I’d asked them first. I’m seriously considering one big family gift for this year, probably a new TV. Based on the annual Black Friday deals, I’m not the only one who has this idea.

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My husband’s parents were wonderful grandparents and they are missed. 

As for Grandparents Day, my mom is the only grandparent still living, and she went to her favorite city, Las Vegas, with friends this weekend. I sent her a text to tell her good luck and that we love her. She is an amazing grandmother and my kids love her very much. Of course, she spoils them, which is totally appropriate for a grandma to do. She actually got up early before she went to the airport so she could make cupcakes for my son’s birthday and sent them via my sister. My mom has been there for me with each newborn and has babysat and loved each of my children. She has supported me through many parenting trials and difficulties , financially and emotionally,  and has even taken care of my disabled daughter . I wish I could afford to pamper her in her golden years.  I hope and pray that she gets very lucky in Vegas because she deserves it!

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Good luck, mom!!! She’s an expert at the slots. 

I hope you had a good weekend. Are you blessed with children and therefore have grandparents to celebrate? What gifts do you like to give them? Does gift-buying give you pleasure or stress?