Posts Tagged With: Friendship

The Greatest Gift of All

Baby Sparkles. My little 4-year-old self had been mesmerized with her commercials for months. Those big, blue eyes. Those curly, blond locks. That crown that lit up when her head was tipped back. My heart almost ached with hopes that she’d be under the tree that Christmas morning.

The picture was shaky as the cameraman, my grandpa, tried to follow the dancing four-year-old on the screen darting from one corner of the room to the next. Christmas music filled the background muffling the adult conversations scattered around the room. A blonde six-year-old sat next to the tree admiring the lights and little glass ornaments. My sister. Soon presents were passed around the room. The four-year-old settled down next to her sister and brightly colored wrapping paper flew through the air.

“Baby Sparkles!! Grandma! I love her so much! Thank you grandma! Every inch of that wiggly four-year-old overflowed with delight. Grandpa’s camera scanned the room for the older sister only to find her sulking in the corner.
“And what did you get?” Grandpa cleared his throat.
“Baby Sparkles.” Disappointment oozed from every syllable.
“But don’t you like your baby sparkles?”
Suddenly the six-year-old bursts into tears. “NO. I wanted a DOG, not baby sparkles!”

Baby Sparkles. I can still picture her in my mind. I’d asked for her every day that fall, and holding her was like magic. My sister, well, not so much. Now that the anguish of not getting that puppy has subsided, we both can laugh as we watch our smaller selves so enveloped in the Christmas magic.


Today as I pick up the Christmas paper strewn across our family room floor and admire the twinkling tree lights one last time before they are hidden under the stairs for the next eleven months, I smile. Baby sparkles is long gone. The Legos that scatter the floor will someday loose their shine. And that’s ok. Somewhere between baby sparkles and lego knights for my boys the magic changed…or maybe just became more clear. The best gift of all has always been the gift of being together with those I love, creating memories that won’t get old or loose their shine. With my parents in Malaysia this holiday season and the passing of loved ones, the gift of memories has been even more magical.

I hope your Christmas was filled with the magical gift of being with those you love and remembering Christmases past. That, for me, has been the greatest gift of all.

Merry Christmas memories from our family to yours!

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When we moved from our house in town to our house 15 minutes from town, my husband and I started a list of all of the out-of-ordinary animals we saw (or evidence of them) around our property.IMG_0846

  • Muskrat
  • Snapping turtle (we named him Franklin and he lived in our pond until the flood)


  • Deer


  • Owls
  • Hawks
  • Eagles
  • Wild Turkey


  • Rats (So. Many. Rats. I HATE rats)
  • Mice
  • Foxes
  • Coyotes
  • Elk


  • Bull Snakes
  • Garden Snakes
  • Brown Bear (it knocked over our garbage can and stole bags of garbage one night, then knocked over our grill another)
  • Mountain lion (scat all over by our pond)
  • Rattle Snakes


  • Bobcat (Howard, our dog, treed it and we watched it hiss at him for an hour)
  • Desert centipede


  • Raccoon
  • Skunk
  • Milk Snake (in our house!)


I had no idea what a city girl I was until I came face-to-face with my first rattle snake. Not to mention the rats, the mountain lions, the bears…Early on I realized that life would be different from here on out, and I had to raise my children accordingly. After we moved in, my husband and I set up the “buddy” system. The kids always had to have a buddy at all times when they were out exploring. I found myself constantly saying, “Where’s your buddy? Find your buddy! Don’t leave your buddy alone!” and the boys would run off, rolling their eyes. We found quickly that when we said “buddy” it didn’t have the right ring to it. For three rough-and-tumble boys, “Buddy” sounded far too sissy. But wingmen, now that was something little boys could get excited about. That night we found a really great you tube video of two fighter jets flying side-by-side, and we sat our boys down. We taught them about wingmen and told them of the grave responsibility they had for each other. A wingman never leaves his partner’s side. They help each other, they protect each other, and they warn each other of impending danger. They had graduated from “buddies” to “wingmen,” and it wasn’t a term to use lightly. They had a responsibility as brothers to stick by each other and protect each other, no matter what, no matter where. And it worked. I’m thankful for three boys that stick together, play together, and help each other out. Three wingmen flying side-by-side.


This month I’ve been thinking about the “wingmen” I’ve had over the years in my life. Those that have flown beside me, who have helped me, and who have stuck with me no matter what. My amazing parents, my awesome sister, grandparents, in-laws, teachers, professors, friends, my husband…Those people that have flown by me both when the skies were clear and when the storms arose or bullets flew. More than anything, I’m thankful for a Father in Heaven who flies next to me, guides me, and lifts me up. The ultimate wingman.

This is a month of giving thanks, a month when we think about the amazing blessings we have in our lives. I imagine the things that we hold most dear and cherish more than ever this month are not things at all. They are the wingmen who have been at our side. Sometimes I think about those I love who have passed on. I think about the life they led and the life they left behind. I will always remember many years ago sitting in my grandma’s little living room after her funeral with cousins, aunts and uncles all around. Pictures were strewn across the floor. Pictures of old friends, new friends, family, and those she loved. Album after album of those that flew by her throughout her life. She left this life with very little worldly possessions. And that didn’t matter to any of us. She left behind so many with memories of her love and her influence. She flew by their side, and they flew by hers.

I’m so thankful for the wingmen in my life. Those that flew by me for only a short time, and those that continue to be there. This Thanksgiving let’s remember that our greatest blessings of all are those soaring through the winds of life by our side.

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If you liked this post, I’d so appreciate your vote. Just click here. That’s all you do. Thanks!

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Leap of Faith

But what if I fail?…”

Can I tell you a secret? Blogging terrifies me.

I’m a relatively private person. Telling the world my feelings, my experiences, my stories, my life, that kinda intimidates me. In some ways I’m still shocked that I took the plunge and wrote that first post nine months ago. I served myself and everything I stand for on a silver platter for anyone in the entire world to read, critique, judge, enjoy, or mock.

What if no one reads my posts?
What if people read it and don’t like it?
What if I offend someone and they make ugly comments?
What if I can’t come up with a story?
What if I say too much?
What if the people following me via email feel like I fill their inbox with senseless garbage and wish they’d never signed up?

But among all the doubts and worries, I mustered up the courage and chose to hope. I stepped up to the edge and held my breath, assuring myself that if even just one person would read and like what I had to say, it’d be worth it.

To my dear friends and family, to the sweet friends I have found along the way, to those who have trusted me with the precious gift of your time, who have allowed me space in your email inbox, who have commented, liked, encouraged, cheered me on, and clicked on my site, it has meant the world. Your words have made me laugh, cry, and brought such sweet joy to my day. You have given me hope.

IMG_5180So now I’ve taken another giant leap out of my comfort zone. I feel vulnerable and incredibly silly all over again. But if I have learned anything in the past months of writing and posting my stories, it’s that we never know unless we try. I signed up to be a part of “Top Mommy Blogs.” I very recently learned about it through my sweet friend, Marla at A Pendulum World (who you should go see, because she is amazing and her blog is so refreshing, down-to-earth and all-around awesome). It’s basically a directory of blogs that parents write. The way it works is that if people click on my button to vote for me, my blog will become more accessible to those searching for things I write about. Up to this point I’ve simply wrote. I haven’t really reached out. I feel a bit ridiculous writing this, but I feel like it’s time to stretch myself a bit. Just like before, I’ll need your help. If you enjoy my posts, please click on the “Mommy Blog Badge” off to the side (or in this post) once a day as often as you like. That’s all you have to do! When you get done reading my latest post, just give it a good click. I would appreciate your help so very, very much! (And while you’re at it, maybe you could check out A Pendulum World and vote for Marla as well. 🙂 )

imageI hope you, too, can take that risk you’ve been contemplating. Do something totally unexpected, totally life changing, totally wonderful. It might seem out of character, you might feel incredibly vulnerable and maybe a bit silly. But you’ll never know unless you step up to the edge. Here’s to all of us, you and me, taking leaps of faith in this journey of life.


“…But oh my darling, what if you fly?”

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What Friendship Is All About

I’ve been reminiscing about those good old days of high school lately. Maybe it’s getting back in touch with old and dear friends, maybe it’s receiving that ten year reunion invitation, maybe it’s coming across this jackpot of memories while cleaning up photo boxes (I hope you friends don’t mind me sharing a few!), maybe it’s my first child finishing his first year of elementary school. Regardless, in all my reminiscing I have come to realize a few things. I’ve realized that so much can change in ten years! College, weddings, kids, careers, travels… It almost feels like a lifetime ago. On the other hand, it hit me this week that time goes so fast. While so much has changed, I can’t believe  a decade has gone by since those care-free days in that small town. But more than anything I’ve realized that good friends are hard to find, even harder to leave, and impossible to forget.




Homecoming dinner (fine garage dining). Spaghetti at Tedrianos or something like that, right?

Last night as my husband and I were getting ready for bed I was enlightening him on my life back then. I was in the middle of telling him about how for fun my friends and I would go to Goodwill and have fashion shows with the most ridiculous, outlandish dresses and outfits we could find when my dear husband–national science olympiad champ, valedictorian, Star Wars and Lego fan–interrupted. “…Man, you guys were dorky! You think I was the geek? I would have been WAY too cool for you!” I was shocked. “Us? DORKY? Never! We were so cool!” But the more I thought about it, I realized that maybe, just maybe, he was right (isn’t there a movie about that?). We may have been nerds, but we sure had fun! And honestly, looking back, what does it matter if we were dorky or cool?


Ten years have passed since we posed in our fashionable Goodwill attire for the camera, had a sleepover on the trampoline, passed notes in Spanish class, or serenaded our coaches with our goofy songs on long rides home from soccer games. Ten years since we ate lunch under that tree in the commons area, laughed at our inside jokes, sang karaoke together, went on bike rides, saved seats for each other at an assembly, did each other’s hair before prom, or exercised to “Sweating to the Oldies” with Richard Simmons (which is, of course, how all of the cool kids spend their Friday nights, right??). But ten years have not made us forget. I’m sure not one of us have forgotten how we stood up for each other. How we supported each other in our various activities. How we all had different beliefs, different hopes and dreams, different talents and abilities, came from different backgrounds, had different values. But that didn’t matter. We respected each other. If it mattered to one of us, it mattered to all of us, because that’s what friends do. They care. They never made me feel silly or left out for things I chose to or not to do. They respected my decisions and never pressured me to compromise my standards. We lifted each other up, helped each other realize and reach our goals. We haven’t forgotten how how we celebrated each other’s achievements and comforted each other in our failures, disasters, and disappointments.




Soccer! Such great memories on that field!

It really doesn’t matter if we were the coolest or dorkiest high schoolers ever. What matters is that we were friends. And that friendship helped shape all of us into the people we are today. Teachers, mothers, fathers, scientists, physical therapists, entertainers, hospital staff, engineers, independent thinkers, leaders, service men and women, secret agents, missionaries, nannies, spouses, believers, friends. I owe so much to that group of girls (and guys). We don’t see each other often. We don’t talk on the phone or exchange letters like maybe we should. But the memories we share are worth gold. And when I need them, no matter how many years pass, I know they will always be there to help, no matter what.


Waiting for our dear friend to walk down the isle in her beautiful, white dress. Remember how she was over an HOUR late?? 🙂


These girls came to my rescue the morning of my wedding when I realized I hadn’t thought about how to do my hair. Thank goodness for amazing friends with that kind of talent!

I hope my little boys will have the opportunity to make friends like the ones I was fortunate to know through those good old days of elementary on up to high school. Friends that can lift them up, help them realize what amazing people they truly are, and support them in their goals and beliefs. I hope they realize that it really doesn’t matter if they follow the cool crowd or if they and all their friends are four-eyed, metal-mouthed, freckle-faced geeks. I hope that they can seek out those that encourage them to be better people, and be that friend in return. Because I know now from experience that when they look back, they will discover that they owe a great deal of who they are to the friends they had then. I hope they hang on to those friendships. No matter how far the distance, no matter what path life takes them down, no matter how many years pass.

Because good friends are hard to find, even harder to leave, and impossible to forget.


…the great thing about growing up in a small town is that some dear friends have been there for as long as I can remember!


Karaoke night. I wonder if we could find whatever Col is filming…that would be fun!


Back in the day when we could handle those crazy amusement park rides. Don’t know about the rest of you, but I do believe my days of roller coasters are over.



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