What a Great Idea

Just when I needed it most,  I found this beautiful FaceBook page:

26 Acts of Kindness

 

The premise…so simple…

Do 26 acts of kindness in honor of the 26 taken from us at Sandy Creek:

What might you do as a random act of kindness?

I’d love your ideas as I begin to think of what mine might be:

 

McDonald’s cards for the police who are providing a presence at our schools this week

 

Small boxes of candy for pleasant cashiers during this stressful time of year

 

Leave money at a restaurant where the elderly often eat

 

Flowers to pass out to people you think could use them

 

Books for classes of children

 

I’m trying to find simple things to pass out with a note telling folks why….although…this would be a special thing to be doing all the time!!

hold your 'babies' close no matter how old they are!

Happy Parenting!

D and C

 

Late, but Joyful Thursdays #43

What brings you joy, makes you happy, gives you peace? Here are some photos, quotes, and thoughts that make me joyful.

 

Joyful Thursdays #43

 

After a very stressful and surprising ‘vacation’ in Florida, I will still find things that make me happy and bring me joy!  After 2 days there, my stepdad had a slight fall which we used as an excuse to head to the ER. He has been having some balance issues, memory problems, and other things we were concerned about. He was admitted to the hospital for tests and diagnosed with dementia. We had some very scary days there with over-the-top strange behavior for him…doctors said an infection was making the dementia worse. So, anyway, now he is in a rehab facility…lots of decisions and paperwork for my mom. Stress, exhaustion, scheduling!!

But, looking for the positive, which is what I try to do, here are three things that make me happy and bring me joy:

 

1) I was actually there at the perfect time for my mom…he would not have gone to the ER for her and she would have been more overwhelmed than she is now…

2) We have a blended family that works wonders!! We all get along so well and always have. This week has been nonstop phone calls and text messages between all of us, trying to stay on top of things. Thanks to all of you for being a loving family:)

3) Having support from my ‘extended’ family and friends has meant more than I can say. You are all the best!!

my stepdad, Carl

long ago with my boys


 

I am home now…Carl’s son and grandson are there for a few days. Then, we’ll see how Mom does for a few weeks before more folks are down to visit and support her. She has lots of friends to help her there, so we’re hoping all goes well:))

 

Thanks again for all of your support for me. It is so much appreciated!

 

Happy Parenting! Yikes!

D and C

My Love

Gone, but definitely not forgotten…

F2        12/45 – 11/96

 

Still, and always, my love!!

I love this quote:   “I can’t promise that I’ll be here for the rest of your life, but I can promise that I’ll love you for the rest of mine.”    That, in a nutshell, is how I feel. Overpowering, never ending love…and though some may disagree…I KNOW that he is still here with me, bringing my joy in so many ways, sending me messages if I choose to hear them, enveloping me with his love. Life is good!!

You may have seen some of these photos before, but here I am sharing them again…can’t help it…it brings me peace!

Having photos give me so much happiness…we had a great life together….absolutely wonderful boys…and he left behind a legacy of love! I love you, my one and only:)

 

Happy Parenting!

D and C

Finally, My Christmas Share – Day 17

“Finding Joy and Happiness in Family Traditions”

 

Christmas is a time of joy and happiness, right? Now, don’t go all ‘Bah! Humbug!’ on me!  Concentrating on what makes the holiday special for your family does take some work – mostly mental!  Do you know what traditions are important in your family? Can you find and share your own joy and happiness with those closest to you?

the best traditions start here!!

Here are some of the things that our family has come to value and love over time….

pj's and colored sugar, perfect companions!

FOOD! – making cookies together, messy or not..usually sugar cookies, Russian teacakes, and our special chocolate chip cookies…if the kids are not involved it doesn’t really count as a family tradition. At least let them help part of the time! Then, preparing for good food of any kind…special cutlery, get the bar ready, and then delicious food! Yum!!


DECORATIONS! – we had an artificial tree from the time Chad (older son) was a toddler — you know, overprotective parents worried about those sharp needles and pulling it over on the little guy:)  We asked when the boys were about 10 and 12 if they would like to get a real tree and they said, “Noooo, we have to put our tree together, like always!”  I guess that made our fake tree a tradition!  On the tree — ornaments given by friends, by parents and kids from our schools, and delightful ornaments made by or given to our boys. Every year, even now, they look for their special ornaments on the tree.

Add in the angels that I love, music boxes, and snow globes..the Christmas album where I keep all of our family Christmas photo cards (32 years of them)…decorations for the holidays that we love to see come out of hiding!

SCHEDULE! – Christmas Eve…out to eat, just the four of us! Years ago the only place to go that was open was Pizza Hut. The boys loved it! After chowing down on pizza we traveled through our suburban neighborhoods looking at the lights and the luminarios. Then back home for eggnog, plain or spiked, depending on age:) The kids got to open one present, usually from their grandparents who lived in Alabama. Then off to sleep to wait for Santa!

On Christmas morning, the boys called to us from their room when they woke up. They had to wait for Dad to get the camera ready and the lights on downstairs by the fireplace where the stockings were – no peeking as they passed the Christmas tree and presents! Slow, appreciative process – one at a time, check out each thing in the stocking – take the time to be excited! After stockings are emptied, on to the Christmas tree, Santa gifts, parent gifts, brother gifts: all, one at a time, being thankful and happy no matter what the gift! Sometimes that was hard…but even joyful, kid-friendly holidays are learning occasions, one way or the other!

TRAGEDY! – We had a major break in happy holiday traditions when my hubby and the boys’ dad died suddenly in an accident in Nov. of ’96. What an awful holiday season for us! We had to get away from the normal, so for the next 7 or 8 years we spent Christmas Eve and Day up north at ski lodges – just the 3 of us. Chad worked at some of the resorts so we would go join him. Getting away helped us get through the holidays.

I gradually added the decorations and tree back, and then we decided to add our Christmas Eve dinner…but, oops! Pizza Hit no longer stayed open on that night, so we wandered down the street and found an actual, favorite restaurant open. So, now that is our go-to spot for Christmas Eve and when we get home we can all imbibe with the spiked eggnog:)

Times will continue changing since the ‘boys’ are now 33 and 30 and have girlfriends – but we have our wonderful memories from the past to bring us joy and happiness.

 

Remember to appreciate your families and those traditions that continue to bring you joy over time! The holidays should be filled with joy and happiness. Go for it!

here we are...finding joy and happiness :)

Happy Parenting and Merry Christmas Sharing,

D and C

Holding on to Memories

      After F2 and I had been married for about 7 years we were clearing out some old clothing and decided we had way too many old t-shirts. But they all really meant something to us, whether sweet, silly, or downright gross. So F2 cut out the fronts or backs of the shirts and put them into this collage-ish collection, glued onto foam core. It has hung out in the garage since that time…about 35 years. It always makes me smile:)



     After F2 died when the boys were in high school, I could not part with any of his stuff for years…see grief during the holidays. F2 had always collected t-shirts. He loved them, all kinds…from trips, from establishments, for cars, for beer, anything was fair game. When he died he had TONS of t-shirts that I couldn’t and wouldn’t let go of. After 14 years I decided to put these shirts into memory quilts for the boys. Considering that I don’t sew…hate it, and don’t own a sewing machine…these are definitely a labor of love for my guys. A lovely neighbor sewed the fronts together from my patterns, but the rest was done completely by hand…with sore fingers, but a full heart to show for it.
     This one is Scott’s:

     This is Chad’s:

     Each quilt is 7′ by 7′ which means that each one has well over 49 t-shirts in it….you can tell some of the squares have 2 or 4 smaller squares in them.  I still have enough to make a quilt for myself, but I can take a lot more time for that. Did you think I was kidding when I said F2 loved t-shirts??? What do you think now??


    I hope you always decide for yourself what is an important memory to keep. Other people may have what they think is your best interest in mind….but if I had gotten rid of all of F2′s things all those years ago, I wouldn’t be able to share these great memory quilts with Scott and Chad.


Happy Parenting!
D and C

Grief during the holidays

For those of you going through a tragedy or grief of any kind..
This blog is for you….


The holidays can suck .. I know!! When the boys were a senior and a sophomore in high school, their dad – my husband – was killed in a motorcycle accident in our neighborhood. It happened on November 10th, fourteen years ago……What to do!?! … for Thanksgiving, his birthday (Dec. 4), Christmas, New Year’s Eve (surprisingly traumatic), New Year’s Day, my birthday (Feb. 6), and Valentine’s Day….all within 3 months after his death. Ughhhh!


Fred and I had both worked in the same school district for 28 years, so the kids and I had tons of support from our school families. We were supported and cared for by family and our everloving Torch Lake group.  BUT – how does that help the huge hole in your heart? How do I learn to help my boys grow up to be good men without their wonderful dad??


Lots of questions and, as it turns out, –really no answers! But for the intermediate, just now answers, here are some personal tips from me to you:


Change up the holidays -  Do something different!! A friend gave us tickets to the Lions Thanksgiving Day game, so we went, just the 3 of us – different was necessary. I took the boys up north skiing for Christmas. We had to get away from what had been our normal. It was very strange, not exactly happy, but at least together.
Let your friends help – We got together with our friends for any and all occasions,  cried together and laughed a lot together. We continued family vacations together with friends that have been there for us forever. But also, learn to be strong on your own.
Take your time - Do not let others influence you on what to do with your loved one’s stuff – clothes, papers, items of any kind. Take your time! Other people sometimes think it helps to get “reminders” out of the house. Sorry…but you need to decide that for yourself. I took well over 10 years to remove some of Fred’s clothes and actually decided this year to make quilts for the boys from their dad’s t-shirts. For me, I love him and his spirit around me constantly. Keep your mind and heart open to what works for you.
Encourage your children - Let your kids talk often about memories of their loved one with you and those who care about them, but don’t push them. Our group continues to tell “Fred” stories, have dinners every year celebrating him, and hold him dear to our hearts.


The holidays are no longer sad – we do stay home now. We have full hearts and tons of happy memories to keep us going through changing holiday plans.  It’s all good if you embrace the joy of where you are now because of where you were then.


Peace to those of you struggling through this holiday season. Our thoughts are with you.


Happy Parenting!
D and C