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My Life Monday | Just keep swimming…

Ever have that feeling like….ya just gotta keep swimming?  Ever have that feeling so much that you actually start dreaming of swimming?  That was my dream last night – with a cameo appearance of a cliff and a computer.  lol!  Dreams fascinate me…always have.  Back in the day when I would get scholastic in school, I ordered a dream analysis book.  I don’t have that book anymore, but there is a website, with a corresponding app, if you’re fascinated like me!

Here’s the deal, we only add to our plates what we put on them, what we say yes to and what we make the time to add to our lives.  This month has just kinda been one of those months.  Add all the sickies going around, two of my three being home from school a few days, wrestling tournaments, the never-ending dust-bunnies, and just the hustle and bustle of life….March has just called for wine, making time to decompress with friends and spending time with family.  Those moments have made the craziness of March all worth it and so I (and probably you too) just keep on swimming.

I had the realization yesterday that in approximately 7 weeks or so, school will be out for summer.  WHOAH!  Hello!!  Where the heck did the school year go and seriously glad I realized it now so I can prep (weekly summer night dates with friends and all our kids requires s’mores & refreshments, ya know)!  I have an ounce of guilt, a shot of shame and I know I’m not alone when I share the thought of….ugh…soon the kids will be out of school.  I probably wouldn’t have the dread lack of enthusiasm that I do if they wouldn’t look to me every second of their waking summer lives to entertain them.  Summer is a reminder, every single year, how times have sure changed.  Gone are the days when mama’s would send their kids off to play on their bikes, never to see them again until dusk, when they finally come home for supper.  Sigh……so, maybe I should just start planning now, for the sake of my own sanity.  Who’s with me?

Business News

Onto other news, this past Saturday I photographed high school sweethearts, as they plan to say their “I Do’s” later this year.  It was a “Pinterest” inspired session and I will share sneak peeks on my Facebook page and on my blog sometime this week.

Also, working on finishing up grad card designs and just finished up this video that I will be embedding on the home page of this website.  I’ve been working on it off and on over the past few weeks.  Check it out – you might just see you or someone you love making an appearance! :)

Sterling Spring Fling Vendor Fair

This Saturday there is a Spring Vendor Fair in Sterling, right off Hwy 83 at Flash’s Place from 1-6pm.  I, along with two other local gals, will have booths set up for our businesses.  From the list, there is quite the variety and several I had never heard of, so hopefully you can make it!

Well, I will close for now and I wish you a blessed, sunshine-filled and not-so-crazy of a week!

“In dwelling, live close to the ground.

In thinking, keep to the simple.

In conflict, be fair and generous.

In governing, don’t try to control.

In work, do what you enjoy.

In family life, be completely present.”

- Tao Te Ching

 

My Life Monday | Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know?

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects people in all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people age 50 and older.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month!  Have you had your colonoscopy?

I’m only 36 but I’ve already had one and am due for my second this year due to a polyp being discovered and removed during my first exam three years ago.  When you lose a parent from colon cancer at a young age (my dad was 44 when he passed away – March 31st will be 28 years) and also have an uncle and grandparents on the same side who also had a colon cancer diagnosis, it automatically puts you in the category of being at higher risk.  And, since I’ve already had one polyp removed, I’m now to be screened every three years as opposed to every five.  Someone as young as myself, I was told, should not already be having polyps.  Polyps aren’t uncommon, however, in the elderly population.

For the general population, regular screenings (typically every 10 years) should begin at age 50.  Trust me, anyone over 50, in mine or my husband’s family have heard my colon cancer screening shpeel.  There’s simply just no good reason not to.  If you have people who you love and who love you, the hours of discomfort to “clean” yourself out and the best sleep you’ll ever have (with the help of sedation) are totally worth it.  And with colon cancer screenings being a preventative procedure, I imagine most healthcare plans cover it.

So, consider this your public service announcement that, despite your age, polyps can happen to you.  And, if you have a family history, it’s even more critical you be screened.  Had my dad been screened, he may still be alive today and that is probably the hardest pill for me to swallow.

Colon cancer can be beat, if caught early enough.

Share this information with someone you love who should be screened.  And if you’re reading this and you know you should be screened, make your appointment asap.  There is no time like the present, because if you wait, you may not get to say “I’ll just do it next year.”

SYMPTOMS OF COLON CANCER AND RECTAL CANCER

Although the signs can vary, common symptoms of colorectal cancer may include:

  • No signs or symptoms at all
  • A change of bowel habits
  • Blood (either bright red or very dark) in the stool
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, or cramps
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Feeling very tired

Check with your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms, regardless of your age. Remember colorectal cancer is preventable!

Are you a survivor of breast, colorectal or prostate cancer – completing treatment recently, within the last two years, six years, or beyond?  Shawna Hudson, PhD and her research team are looking for women and men who have completed breast, prostate or colorectal cancer treatment to take part in a survivorship study. The purpose is to learn about their needs to help design a new program to help set long-term wellness goals and manage side effects and other life issues that are common after cancer treatment.  For more information or to share your story to help others, click HERE.

For more facts on colon cancer and general information, this is a great resource: http://fightcolorectalcancer.org/

“Never cut what you can untie.”

- Joseph Joubert (1754-1824)

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My Life Monday | late thirties

I was reminded by my sweet sister-in-law, in a birthday card, that I am now officially in my late thirties (36 this past Thursday).  How sweet of her!  lol!  Tony is getting creative with the candles, since we’re getting old(er).  He makes my favorite cake (angel food with strawberries and whipped topping).  On the top are six candles, then “H” on the left side (happy), “B” on the right (birthday), then “+30″ because after you hit 30, it’s just a pain in the ass to put that many candles on a cake!  ha!  I’ll have to start thinking of a clever idea for his cake….. :)
birthday family selfie

The kids also had their winter music concert this past Tuesday.  I had a moment – sitting there as we were waiting for the program to start.  It had hit me that in 10 years nearly all the kids will be out of the house.  At least I hope they will be.  If you were to ask my hubby though, he’d be happy with the kids being with us forever.  I, on the otherhand, hope they want to be independent and care for themselves at that point.

In that moment though, I would have stopped time, if I could have.

Also on my birthday was the kids’ Napoleon wrestling tourney (first photo).  I was told there were 280 kids participating.  And I would believe it!  It was craziness in there!  For the most part it was pretty well organized, considering the amount of kids.  Last year, at All-State in New Salem there were about 400, so that’s quite a big tourney for Napoleon.

Saturday we headed to Ellendale, where the kids had a wrestling tournament.  All the kids had a pretty good day, with most kids from Zeeland, placing first, second or third.  Xavier had a couple really good matches and Jozlyn was pretty excited when she (sorta, by accident) pinned a kid.  Alexandra wrestled really well – she’s come a long way in two years.  She ended up with second, and with a little more smarts on the mat, I think she can defeat this one opponent that she always ends up wrestling and always ends up losing to.  She’s a good sport about it though.  I would love to see her win one match against this girl though – I know what a boost it would be to her confidence.

Until my kids wrestled, I never realized how much of a mental game wrestling is.  It’s also a game of opportunity – and knowing an opportunity when you see it.  It’s just been fun watching the kids improve with every match.  And it’s amazing how many older girls go out for wrestling.  It takes a lot of courage for those girls to go out and wrestle boys.  I think it’s great when schools support and encourage that too.  It teaches them so much, that goes beyond the mat, in my opinion.

ND Pee Wee Wrestling

pee wee wrestling

I think we’ll all be seeing happier faces, with the warmer weather that is fnally here!  Unfortunately, in Hague, with Spring – we get mud….and lots of it! :/  And it’s probably the worst season for indoor dog owners in a town without paved roads.  We only let Gizmo out on a tie-out, but I wish I could take him for a walk without having to give him a bath when we get home.  BUT, we gotta get through the mud and the muck to get to the drier (and much warmer) days of Summer.

Enjoy your week and this beautiful Spring weather in the forecast, everyone!  It’s also a great time to get a family/senior session scheduled….before the mosquitoes and ticks pay us a visit once again!

“Behold the turtle.

He makes progress only when

he sticks his neck out.”

- James Bryant Conant (1893-1978)

 

 

My Life Monday | Change is good

Goodbye February, hello March!  We’re one month closer to spring and if you’re like me, you’re over the deep-freeze cold we’ve been having lately! But, on the other hand, without the cold of winter, we wouldn’t savor the sweetness of summer, right?

A photographer-friend who lives in Hawaii once shared an article representing those who live in Hawaii year-round.  This article was referencing what it’s really like living in Hawaii that, as a main-lander, we wouldn’t even give thought to.  The one that stuck out to me, and that I still remember, was the one that those living in year-round warm climates, such as Hawaii, often experience feelings of guilt.  Guilt that they’re not being active enough or living each day to the fullest, and therefore, have feelings of laziness.  I can totally see that because, if it were 70-80 degrees on a daily basis here, I too, would likely feel like I should be outside doing something.  Winter gives us a reprieve;  an excuse, if you will, to stay in.  All that being said, would I trade my gloves and winter coat for flip-flops year-round?  Heck yes, in a heartbeat!  If even just for a few years.

Moving on…..wrestling is full-speed ahead with daily practice for the kids and tournaments throughout March, followed by All-State Pee-Wee’s in New Salem in early April.  This Saturday we’ll get to see Jozlyn wrestle for the first time.  The tournament we went to in SD didn’t have a girl in her weight class to wrestle, so we’re excited to see how she handles herself.

In other news (and what the title is about), I chopped off 10″ of my hair.  It’s quite a change to get used to but I’m loving the reduced maintenance, less product needed, reduced static, and knowing I did something positive for a child!  I was going to have my hair 3″ longer than it is now;  however, the past three haircuts I’ve had, I’ve been wanting to donate to “Locks of Love.”  When I would see how short my hair would be, I decided to wait until hopefully the next time around, when it would’t be so short. Well, this time, it was to my shoulders (after the 10″) and figured since I was cutting it anyway, I might as well help a great cause.  I was ready for a change.  I can go to bed and wake up and seriously look like I never went to bed.  I can blow dry a bit and since I have some natural curl that isn’t weighed down, I don’t have to curl it if I don’t want to.  For so long, I would throw my hair in a messy ponytail and call it good.  I rarely did anything with it and I think, in a way, my hair was weighing me down too.  It seems weird to say or to describe it that way, but it’s just amazing how something so simple can make you feel.  I really only loved my long hair when I actually put the time into it, which was on a rare occasion.  And even then, I think it aged me because it was so long.  I’ve been told I look much longer now…..considering my birthday is coming up, I accept that compliment wholeheartedly! ;)  I have to share too, how little I really understood about “Locks of love.”  I was under the impression that the hair was processed into wigs for adults.  The truth is, the hair is used for those 21 or younger.  Either way, it wouldn’t matter to me – either way, it feels good that a change I made for myself also creates some joy in the life of a child.  Maybe sharing my story will inspire you to do the same.  And thanks to my stylist, Missy of Unique Attractions, whom I’ve gone to for 5 years now, who cut my hair! :)

locks of love

If you’re looking for something to do this week, Zeeland Public School will be having a concert tomorrow night at 7:30 at the school gym.  Thursday, the pee-wee wrestler’s head to Napoleon for a tournament, as well as a tournament Saturday in Ellendale.  And mark your calendar’s for March 28th, as myself, along with a couple other vendors, will be having booths at the Spring Fling Vendor Show in Sterling from 1-6!  If you’re heading to Bismarck that day, stop in – there are many vendors I’ve never seen before, so I’m excited to see what others in the area offer as well!

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

And perfect timing for this quote as last night we watched “Rescue Dawn” via Netflix Streaming, based on a true story.

“Optimism and humor are the grease and glue of life.  

Without both of them we would never 

have survived our captivity.”

 – Philip Butler, American Vietnam P.O.W.

My Life Monday | Taste the Rainbow

“Taste the Rainbow.”  We all know that slogan well.  At the end of this post I share a little take-away I got from this slogan, but in a more personal way.  But first……

Trivia Crack – seriously, the game is named appropriately.  I don’t know what it’s like to be on crack, but since being introduced to this game app, I’ve been hooked!  My oldest two have since followed suit as well.

It’s the one game I don’t mind them playing.  I’ve been learning by playing it as well.  What I don’t like is the waiting…..waiting for someone else to take their turn.  Patience, grasshopper.  Bah!!

If you’re unfamiliar with this game, basicly, the object is to collect 6 characters, each representing a category;  the categories being:  geography, science, history, sports, art, and entertainment – before your opponent does.

There are 25 rounds and within each round you and your opponent have a turn.  You spin the wheel, get a random category and you can answer from the category or spin again if you have spin to use (which you earn).  You continue to spin and answer questions until you either answer incorrectly (at that point it’s your opponents turn) or until you answer three in a row correctly, then you get the chance to earn a crown (or character from a category you choose that you have not yet won).  You can also choose to challenge your opponent in a “draw” of sorts, where you both answer the same questions in a certain amount of time and as the challenger, if you get more correct, you choose which character, belonging to your opponent, you want to steal.

It’s a game of luck, strategy and smarts.  Certainly if you retain a lot of information and can answer more correctly, you have an upper-hand.  However, you may not be very good at challenges, so it can be a game of strategy too….as well as when to use tokens (that you earn) to skip a question, add more time, or just use a spin to hopefully get a category you know more about.

I think it’s a great game for kids and mine are certainly enjoying it!  My son has it on his kindle and my daughter has it on her “generic” tablet that uses the jellybean operating system.  So, since it’s an app, I’m guessing you can put it on most devices.  A great way to pass the time while waiting at the doctor’s office or friendly competition to have with family/friends!

Not too much has been happening in our world….which is fine with me.  I love quiet.  I love when not much is going on.  I took our girls to bingo Friday night, where Alexandra won a little cash.  Yesterday, we took the kids rollerskating in Herreid.  It’s seriously the cheapest and best entertainment around here for the winter.  Afterwards, they were treated to strawberry malts.

You just can’t do much else, as a family, for $2 per person anymore.  What a blessing it is, that the couple running the facility gives every single Sunday through March, their time to their community.  I wonder if they really know what they are giving kids and families in the area?  They certainly aren’t doing it for the money.  Today, I just give my gratitude to them and the joy they bring to so many faces every Sunday and throughout the year, where people can rent the facility for birthday parties.

I have to share a random joy moment today as well, as referenced at the beginning of today’s post.  I entered, via text, a Super Bowl prize pack giveaway from Skittles.  Although I didn’t win the grand prize or even the runner-up prize, I did win the final prize – a free bag of skittles. ;)

A reminder, that on the cloudy, cold days – we can always find joy in the little things…skating days, strawberry malts, lazy Sundays….ya just gotta taste the rainbow!  Sure, I’ll have to wait 8-10 weeks to receive my coupon to actually get the free skittles….just fitting as this very morning I read a passage about how God put a rainbow in the sky as a reminder that there will be no more world-destroying floods.  Kinda ironic that I win a bag of skittles today too.  Don’t ya think?

There’s always hope…..for a rainbow in the sky.

“Joy exists only in self-acceptance.  Seek perfect acceptance, not a perfect life.”

- Unknown

 

My Life Monday | A lesson-filled weekend

Happy President’s Day!  Everyone have a good Valentine’s weekend?  It’s also a long weekend, with the kiddos at home today due to President’s Day.  I got interrupted during my shower today with the girls coming in and tattling on one another.  A family member recently asked if our kids always fight like cats and dogs.  They seem very well-behaved in public, but don’t be fooled.  At home, it’s often a battle between strong personalities and they all do have strong personalities…meaning, none of them will back down from a fight.  I think I may move to the tree-house once we have teenagers.

A lesson in compassion…

It was a busy weekend that taught me a few things.  First of all, I had the pleasure of photographing the coronation at the Strasburg Care Center this past Friday.  And I left there feeling as though I need to do something more.  Over the years, through high school and adulthood, I had worked as a certified nursing assistant in nursing homes, as well has home health.  Fast-forward several years to Friday, as I stood there listening to the backgrounds of each of the contestants, I found myself feeling a greater appreciation for them, as humans – longing for connection and understanding.  I saw one of them wipe away a tear and it deeply saddened me.

The experience sure made me think.  I drove home in silence contemplating what it is I could do.  I then thought of my mom and her love of reading the newspaper and how sad it would make her to not be able to read the paper anymore.  And in all honestly, I’m not sure how much longer she will be able to as she has cataracts and just is not taking the initiative to do something about it.  I also enjoy reading the paper and it’s such a simple thing we take for granted.  Imagine though, not being able to read anymore because you can’t see.  Ultimately, you use a lot of your independence not being able to see as well.  Then I realized that I could do that for residents of the Strasburg Care Center.  So, reading to the residents is something I’m going to check into doing, if even just once a month.

A lesson in money…

Money….a hot topic that will either upset, sadden, excite, inspire…you name it.  People love money.  People hate money.  People don’t like to talk about their relationship with money.  And yes, it is a relationship.  At least, that’s how I view it.

Usually, about this time of year, I start to hang my head in shame as I prepare for our tax appointment.  This year, hubby said to schedule it for Valentine’s Day.  He’s such a romantic!  lol!  Anyway, that meant I had exactly a week to get several months of bookkeeping caught up.  Every year I tell myself I’m going to be better prepared than the last.  Every year, that never happens.  And every year, I’m usually quite frazzled and somewhat jaded of the previous year’s progress, or lack there of.  Until recently, my relationship to money was like a one-night stand – there one moment, gone the next.  I’ve since tweaked my relationship to money and my view of it and honestly, things have shifted for me.

Having any kind of business is hard.  Truly the hardest thing I’ve ever done, aside from parenthood – no joke…and they’re honestly pretty neck-in-neck as to which is the most emotion-filled.  lol!  Anyway, what I learned this year from last, is that it’s not about how much money you make, but rather how much you don’t spend.  I actually grossed less but made more.  I actually worked far less, but gained so much more in other areas of my life.  Why do I share such intimate details of my money matters?  Because I’m sure you’re sitting there reading this and thinking about your own tax appointment coming up.  Maybe feeling frazzled and maybe even looking at your upcoming appointment like it’s the “walk of shame” as I always did.  In all honesty, I’m more proud of last year than all the past years put together.  I may have made much less, but I gained more than I ever imagined – that’s for another post.  When you think about your previous year, be proud of the hard work and effort.  Be proud that you’re providing….regardless of how much it says in that little box.  And really take heart to any struggles you may have experienced, as an opportunity to learn and grow.

A lesson on the mat…

This really wasn’t my lesson as much as it was my son’s lesson.  The kids had their first wrestling tournament in Mobridge yesterday.  Needless to say, Xavier got schooled on the mat and I’m thankful for it.  He had some tough matches with some kids he’d never previously wrestled and he was challenged.  He has talked about this one move this kid did on him several times since and he’s just amazed what this kid did.  He said he was looking for him after they got their trophy’s because he wanted to find him and ask him how he did it, he was so impressed.  lol!  But really, he grew as a wrestler over the weekend, I think.  Also, Alexandra got schooled, then she got her game face on and it was a night and day difference with her next match and she ended up taking second.  Alexandra is entertaining to watch – she cries when she wins, she cries when she loses, and she even starts to cry before the match even starts.  That girl….I can so wait for her first broken heart.  Oh vey…..

Jozlyn ended up taking first place.  They didn’t combine boys and girls, as is most often done, so there weren’t any girls in her weight class to wrestle.  I’m not sure who made that decision, but I know the girls that wrestle for Junior, their coach, sure wouldn’t have been intimidated to do so.  So, it was a bummer we didn’t get to see Jozlyn wrestle….soon enough.  Zeeland boys’ points were used towards South Border Mustangs and as a team they took 2nd only by 2 points.  Great first tournament!  The bottom right is their weight, for those that don’t know….I should really feed my kids some protein shakes.  Seriously though, I do feed them. ;)

ND pee-wee wrestling

Well, I hope this post finds you well and that your week ahead is a wonderful one!

“When the heart weeps for what it has lost,

the spirit laughs

for what it has found.”

- Anonymous

 

My Life Monday | Opportunity Knocks

I remember blogging about how I couldn’t wait for spring.  Now, I think I find myself saying more often how quickly it feels like spring is coming.  Maybe it’s because I feel like there’s so much I feel like I need to get done in all areas of life and business.  I don’t feel stress though, more so anxiousness.  I’m anxious to see what the next six months bring.

A few things have come into my life recently and it was only until I really was open to them.  If you’ve been reading my newsletters or my blog, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been beating around the bush.  And I have….and will for just a while longer.  If tax season wouldn’t have reared its ugly head, I could be working on my “other thing.”  Instead, for Valentine’s Day my sweetie is taking me to get our taxes done.  We’re big on the romance, can’t you tell?  Maybe I’ll get lunch outta the deal.  lol!  I’m not mad – I think it’s funny.  That’s just how we roll.

Anyway, I will say though that my writing has finally paid off and later this month I will have a blog post and another snippet published on a well-known women’s entrepreneur blog!  To say I am stoked about it is an understatement!  And the content surrounding the feature is very raw for me to share.

Another opportunity recently came my way in the form of additional income that is very flexible with hours, which is very important and necessary for me.  I have gotten to learn new things and will continue to learn and really just look at it as an opportunity.

For me, 2015 has started as the year of opportunity.  Everywhere I go and everyone I meet is an opportunity to learn something new, create another connection, develop on an idea, grow as an individual, share what I know, etc..  When I have been given an opportunity this year, so far, I have taken it – to give and to take.  As a result, I have felt more fulfilled than I have in a long time.  I can’t explain it now and eventually I will but if you were to get anything from today’s post – take this:  everywhere you go, everyone you meet…is an opportunity.  And I don’t mean to take advantage of – but an opportunity to create, make, do, feel, be, serve – for the better and with the right intentions.

This will be cut short today – I have a hot Valentine tax deadline date to meet!  Say that 10x fast! lol!  In the meantime, I’m feeling the love so thought I would share some love too.  E-news subscribers got first dibs, when I shared these specials in this month’s e-news that went out (interested in being in the know and learn some tips/tricks on a hodge-podge of topics? – sign up HERE).  If you’re interested in being on the ball this year with booking your HS Senior or family Christmas cards, I’d love to hear from you!  Deadline to book is FEBRUARY 28TH!

ND Family photographer ND Senior Photographer

“Develop interest in life as you see it;

in people, things, literature, music – 

the world is so rich, simply throbbing 

with rich treasures, beautiful souls and

interesting people.  Forget yourself.

- Henry Miller

My Life Monday | Letting Go…

Letting go…..

It is not always an easy thing to do – to let go.

Let go of anger, frustration, hurt, stress, false “truths,” emotional baggage, etc..

When you let go, it leaves room for you to expand.  Expansion of your heart, your love, mind, ideas…..

I’ve been working on a personal project and I am excited to share it once it’s ready.  It is a product of, me personally, letting go and expanding.

In the meantime, let this post help you recognize an area of your life where you’re not “letting go.”  I will ask you then:  what is the best thing that could happen if you did?

I’m going to close this post with the fact my baby is turning 6 tomorrow.  Thats just plain crazy to me.

Have a wonderful week!

My Life Monday | My Favorite Muffin Recipe

Two weeks left and then we head into February.  And with this beautiful weather, I have gotten the itch for spring.  Flip-flops, anyone?  I so can’t wait for bonfires, warm sunsets, the smell of fresh-cut grass, and seeing birds frolic in the ponds of water that collect in our driveway.

Sigh…..

Oh, snap;  back to reality!  I really can’t complain though.  We’ve been pretty fortunate with a mild winter this year.  Sure, we’ve had some really cold snaps;  however, these warmer days sprinkled in-between have made up for it.  I’ll take all that I can get, despite the fact our entire town turns into a mud mess.  lol!  Let’s just say the dog has been getting a lot more baths lately!  What a beautiful sight though, even in the middle of winter.

nd winter sunset

Quick re-cap of my last two weeks.  Hubby and I had gone to his company’s Christmas party earlier this month.  We rarely get to the movies and as a Christmas gift, he added on a night’s stay to the hotel we were staying at for the Christmas party, dinner out, and a movie.  So, it was something we were both looking forward to, as we also rarely get away alone.  Well, we had decided to see “Take 3.”  We would have preferred “American Sniper” but ti wasn’t out yet.  Anyway, with 15 minutes left in the movie, the smoke alarms went off.  Everyone in our movie stayed seated, including us, as the movie kept playing.  I think we were all thinking the same thing – some kid playing a prank.  Well, it didn’t take too long and a worker came in and told us we needed to get out.  Well, we go out and everyone, from our movie and others, are just standing in the commons area.  No one is actually instructed to actually exit the building.  I’m not sure what their procedure is for this type of thing, but I’m pretty sure it was revisited after this incident.  Supposedly, someone asked and apparently someone did supposedly smell something.  But that area of the mall itself was never shut down, so who knows!?  Needless to say, we missed just the very end of the movie, received a ticket to come back for a free movie in the future, and ended the experience with a fire truck self-us. :)  One for the memory books, that’s for sure!

me and hubby

I just wanted to share this sweet gesture from my family.  While my family came over New Year’s to celebrate our Christmas, I took family pictures for everyone and finally got some of my siblings and I with our mom.  I received this in the mail not long ago and what a nice surprise.  :)  Once I get the images all finished, I think I will add them to the session I did previously with my mom.  I’m so.behind.on.blogging. Oh vey!

Maurices is my store – my sister knows me so well.  I can always walk in there knowing I’ll find something that fits me just right and that I will love.  Actually, on mine and my hubby’s trip out of town, I went into Maurices and got a “Stay Calm and Drink Wine” shirt for $6!  Woohoo!

wonderful family gesture

Also, not long ago I came across this recipe on Pinterest.  It’s a weight watcher’s recipe and these little muffins sure pack a lot of goodness for only about 100 calories each.  My son LOVES them.  I think this will be my go-to snack for wrestling tourneys and practice for the kids.  Easiest recipe ever – just a cake mix (dry, not prepared) and a can of pumpkin and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar!  You can vary this too, by using a chocolate cake mix, add in some mini chocolate chips, or use carrot cake mix and throw in some raisins.  You can read about this recipe HERE.

weight watchers pumpkin muffins

Well, that about catches up what’s been going on in our neck of the woods.  Oh, and wrestling practice started.  Excited to watch all three of our kiddos this year.  Jozlyn was so excited to start, she was using my exercise bands as a jump-rope, saying she was working on getting in shape for wrestling.  That girl is a card!  :)

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

“The threads of friendship embroider our lives with patterns of joy.”

My Life Monday | a torch of joy

Hello, and welcome to another edition of My Life Monday.  This past week is kind of a blur.  That happens a lot though, since I often have to look back on the calendar to see what all went on, in preparation for these Monday blog posts.  My memory just isn’t as sharp as it used to be!  lol!

One day that will stick with myself and many, from this past week, is January 10th, 2015.  A dear friend texted me, while my husband and I were out of town, asking if we had heard the news about Tom Scherr.  And in dumb-founded shock, I sat there staring at that text, reading it over again in disbelief.  All I could think of the rest of the day, were the loved ones he left behind – much too soon.

I’m really at a loss for words.  One thing I know though, is there will be a lot of people showing up for Tom.  To me, he was the type of guy that commanded attention when he walked into a room.  But not in a self-centered, egotistical way – very much the opposite.  He commanded to share his joy with the room;  to shake and exchange words with someone on every table as he walked by.  And as I shared with his daughter Emily, on Facebook, he always made me think to myself “I bet he is the funnest dad and grandpa.”  I can’t hold back my own tears as I write that because, what a blessing he was – WHO he was, to those he loved and those around him.  It makes me think of all the memories and laughter I missed out on with my own father.  To have those moments of joy with someone, those are the moments you cherish.

The pursuit of happiness…

When you ask people what they truly want in life, many will reply with “to be happy.”  People seek happiness in all walks of life, in all social classes, in all age brackets, and in all ethnicities.  There are likely thousands of books out there on the topic.

Some people look for joy/happiness their entire lives but never truly find it.  Then there are those that find it (or, more importantly, choose to create it) and make it a life’s mission to share it – to share their joy.  I don’t know if that was a conscious choice Tom made, but I think it is pretty safe to say it was one thing he did and did well.  A life’s purpose well-served, in my opinion, intended or not.  And I would add, that that characteristic about Tom, is something we all should strive to possess.  Young and old, and everyone in-between benefited from his presence and will miss the smile/laugh he would bring to every conversation.  Imagine a world full of more Tom’s all over the place.  There wouldn’t be a corner of life where you couldn’t get a good laugh, a smile or a solid handshake.

So, as the day approaches (this Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.), where we must say goodbye, let’s continue to carry Tom’s torch of joy and strive to make 2015 a year where we create more of it in our own lives.

I had intended to share more in this post from our weekend getaway, but as has happened before, when we lost someone in our community too soon, it just doesn’t feel right.  So, I will close with this very fitting quote from my calendar, on the day Tom went to be with our Lord.  My thoughts and prayers to all those near and dear to Tom’s heart.  I have no doubt Tom made sure you know who you are.

“The sound of laughter has always seemed to me the most civilized music in the universe.”

- Sir Peter Ustinov

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