Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Letter 2016

It is that time of year when we each share our hearts and our lives with those we love through our Christmas cards and letters. With technology, most of us stay connected throughout the year liking each other's posts and praying when a need arises. I am more than grateful for the connections that online has given us. But I still am thrilled to receive beautiful cards with a recap of the lives of those loved ones in my life. So from Ron and I to you and yours~Merry Christmas and a glorious 2017.

This has been a busy year for Ron and I. I left teaching at the middle school a week before we left for Peru on a mission trip. We were so blessed that our Natalie and Ron's sister, Debbie were able to come along. Her pink hair was a big hit with the locals. This trip opened our eyes to the need for sanitation in the poorest of places. At home we condemn people who litter but littering is the only option when their are no garbage cans and no one to pick up the garbage. There are so many little things we take for granted. We were able to go to Machu Picchu for a couple of days at the end of the trip. What an incredible place!

Our summer was filled with a road trip to see all the kids along the Pacific Coast Highway. We picked up Elissa and started in San Diego visiting Natalie, spent time around the pool with Tanner and Bethany in Los Angeles and ended up just south of Seattle with Cameron and Brittney and their three cuties Makcnzie, Makayla, and Timmy. The highlight of the trip had to be going to the animal park in Washington. We had zebras, yaks, buffalo, deer and even elk eating bread out of our hands. The idea was for us to hand it out the car windows but believe me they stuck their heads inside the car to snatch their treats. I don't think we have ever laughed and screamed more in our lives. Brittney was extremely patient with me as I dropped bread on her seat when I got a bit scared of the massive tongue coming at me. Of course, this meant that buffalo used his tongue to grab the bread off her car seat. Oops!

This fall we checked a couple off our bucket list. We spent a week on a houseboat on Lake Powell and Ron and his brother Paul delivered a 44 foot sailboat from Rhode Island to the Bahamas. The houseboat was the perfect mixture of relaxing, swimming and exploring on jet skis. The guys adventure on the Atlantic was more of a survival trip. From the videos and stories it is clear they learned a lot and had an incredible time.

Ron continues to work part time in retirement at the lab and I started a new journey this fall. I am loving working with the FIT program. Families, Infants and Toddlers. This is a federally funded support program that works with wee ones with developmental, environmental or at risk concerns. My role is to go into homes and encourage and support families as they encourage and support their children. It still feels like I am skipping school as I drive into remote communities singing along to the radio. They are paying me to play with adorable kiddos. I have found the right FIT in this FIT program.

Our prayers are that each of you has a peaceful 2017 and that each of us keeps building connections with those that mean the most to us. Life can be so busy but our family and friends are what truly matter. Guess I had a moment. Ron and I both reached our 60th birthday this year and next June will celebrate our 40th anniversary. More and more we are recognizing how working to stay connected to each of you is our most important gift.

In Him,
Joyful

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dr. Jim, Yes I Am 3 Days Older!

You know you have the right doctor when you have to get out the Kleenex box at least once during your physical. No, he wasn't scolding me for my pudge. After 20 years of being his patient, teaching with his wife, and raising our kids in the same community, we have shared each other's lives. Our boys wrestled together. Dr. Jim came up to check on Tanner when he fell 80 feet off the cliff just to check for himself that Ron and I were okay too. When we lost our son, Ryan, to suicide Jim called us and told us to send someone to pick up a RX for anxiety. He just knew what we needed. When Ron had an appointment that was right after I got misdiagnosed with macular degeneration Jim assured him I was way too young and diagnosed it as droozen. He was right even though I wasn't even in his office.

The first time I went to see him was just over 20 years ago. I know this for a fact because the first thing he ever said to me was, "You will be 40 three days before me." Well we both turned 60 this year. Our kids are all grown and starting families of their own. Along with going over health concerns we share how our families are doing. There have been tears in most of my physicals over the loss of my son or the concern for my family. Jim listens and hands me the Kleenex. After years of avoiding it I was ready this year to try something for depression. Life is hard. I find myself more and more avoiding social situations. There is a trust that has built over two decades and he assures me I can get back to who I was. He called it getting back to my base. This first step was hard for me and it won't be the last. We will get together more often now to make sure dosage and drugs are the right fit. One thing I know is this man I trust. Not just as my doctor but as a caring friend. I came out of his office after an hour or more had passed with a new hope that I can go back to a better place. There's hope too that he will find the answer to my old, creaky knee. Glad Ron and I are growing old with Dr. Jim leading the way. Okay, I know. I am leading~by 3 days. Geesh!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

For These And So Much More~I Am Grateful

I have not posted thankful days. But I am thankful Ronnie B. is enjoying an adventure of a lifetime. I am enjoying Marco Polo with Cam and Britt and their kiddos. Natalie is moving forward in life and chasing her purpose and dreams. I connected with Tanner in a wonderful, lengthy conversation last night. Bethany loves my son. Dorothy celebrated her 30th birthday with her incredible family. God has given me a family through my years at Los Alamos schools and Young Life. My new path with Las Cumbres touching the lives of families with wee ones. Work families that support and nurture each other. The love and support of my mom and sister. Phone calls over coffee early in the morning. The generous hearts of each of you who share hearts in every form and your hearts with me.
Faith that I never have to face the heartaches or gifts of life alone. Friends that are my family and have just come into my life and those of you who have shared my path for a lifetime. Kylie dog who stays beside me while I blog and share my stories. Los Alamos for being my home and my family. Living on a park where happy noises of children, teens and families waft into my home and fill it with life and joy. Jesus who is always just a whisper away. Ronnie B. my best friend and hubby. Water to swim in, to float in, to pour into my soul. Lissa for her adventurous spirit and heart. Kenzie for her drive and empathy. Kayla for her dancing, style and kindness. Timmy for his adorable smile and Lego passion.  Amalia for her toothless grin and joy. For God allowing me to be a mom and Noni in a life where adoption was the fulfillment of my heart. For birth moms who generously shared their most precious gifts with me. I am so thankful for my relationships and connection with my nieces and nephews. You all make my smile. I am so thankful for my relationships and connection with my nieces and nephews. You all make me smile.I am grateful.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Sunshine and Cloudy Days

Oh what a day, oh what a day.
My baby brother ran away.
And now my tuba will not play.
I'm eight years old and turning grey. 
Oh what a day, oh what a day.
Shel Silverstein

We all have days like that. Days where just about everything seems to go wrong. Our thought is that it would have been so much better if we would have just stayed in bed. But facing life with all the bumps in the road is what keeps our journey moving forward. There is also the idea that we can look at the bright side, silver lining of even the toughest days. Hmmmm.

The thing that gets us through those dark, cloudy days is the hope for the sunshine and everything is going right times in our lives. Letting the warmth spill onto our faces as we stand in the light head held high. It can't be all sunshine and rainbows. Life has seasons, disappointments, wrong turns. But how we react to and move past the gloom gets us through. 

Last week was dark and disappointing for me. This weekend was filled with hope and light. Will everything work out as I hope? Perhaps. Or perhaps life will take a different path that is so much better than I imagined. There is also the real possibility that disappointment will come. Whatever the outcomes, heartbreaks, fears in life, it is best to remember that it is not all about us. It is not all dependent on us and our choices. Somethings are in our control and others simply unfold. 

I am determined to enjoy the sun and grab a warm blanket, cup of hot coffee and get through the storms. 

In Him,
Joyful
11-7-16




Saturday, November 5, 2016

Half Full to Overflowing

One of my greatest gifts is the hearts of so many who share a multitude of hearts with me. That I come to mind when they see a heart in a strawberry, rain puddle or sand is one of such love. How honored I feel to be thought of. My Ryan gave me my first heart rock when he was four. Since he took his life from us over 6 years ago I have been reminded over and over of his unending love by the continued love of others.

Yesterday I found the perfect Christmas card of a pair of red gloved hands holding a heart shaped snowball. Even the saying inside is precious. "May the wonder of Christmas live in your heart always." It is pretty early for Christmas cards on November 4th but I came right home and began addressing envelopes.

 My heart ached at the thought of writing our family letter this year. It has not been an easy year for a few in my family. But when I showed my friend the card she commented that I must be excited to write my letter this year with so many blessings. What? I had been looking at life half empty rather than seeing that it is half full. Heck it is more than half full it is overflowing with joy. Are there hard situations in my life and in the live's of those I love. Yep. But the positives far outweigh the negatives. Even the negatives have the potential to shift old, wrong ruts into learning and living experiences.

So now I am looking forward to writing about our year. Don't judge me when you get your card before Thanksgiving this year. My heart is to share my life with you as you share yours with me. Our connection is the true wonder that we live with always.

In Him,
Joyful
11-5-16

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Buyers Beware

Is it possible to sift through the money making schemes to get down to the programs in life that are there to help with life's struggles? Whether it is weight loss, quit smoking, sober up, or just 'Be Happy' plans, there are those that move us forward and those that simply take our money. This is so frustrating. Who to believe? Which ones to invest in? Being vulnerable, broken and wanting to move in a new direction away from the darkness and into the light is the way most of us feel for ourselves or for a loved one. The trouble is getting them or us the answer not throwing money down a shister's hole.

It is hard to know others prey on those suffering and trying to begin a new lease on life. But that is the world we live in. Buyer beware even in matters of changing our lives.

In Him,
Joyful
10-30-16

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Praying Away Their Boo Boos

Oh how I wish I could make everything better
for my grown kids
with just a kiss, a hug and a bandaid.

Don't believe parenting toddlers
is the hardest part.
It isn't.

There are sleepless nights
for a lifetime with families.
Not all boo boos can be fixed.
Life gets messy.
The world can be cruel.
Illness happens.
Choices aren't always good ones.

Praying helps.
I may too far away to 
wrap my arms around my kids.
But I can get on my knees
and pray.
I still have power
in protecting them
sometimes from themselves.

In Him,
Joyful
10-29-16