Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Slice of Life Tuesday: Meron Turns Six


Six years ago our family welcomed a new little girl to join our lives.  She came all the way from Ethiopia.  We loved her as soon as we saw her.  She has brightened our lives and been a wonderful addition.  So, tomorrow she is celebrating her sixth birthday!
She was so adorable and alert to everything going on around her. We just couldn't get enough of her!
She brings us so many smiles and laughter. She isn't afraid of anything. She puts her whole self into what ever she is doing.
Last year, I had the chance to work with her twice a  month in what we called: Gramma Preschool.  She was always eager to learn anything new.
I think her favorite subject was science because she could explore things and try to figure out what things were made of.
As she celebrates these past six years, we look forward to seeing what she will accomplish in her future. We are so proud of her and wish her the best happy birthday ever!
Have a great birthday, Meron!   We love you bunches!
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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday Celebration: Tapestry

 For my celebration of the week, I am focusing on my adventure yesterday.  I was fortunate to have been invited by a friend to go with her to the event Tapestry: A Day for You.  This was the 13th annual day. There were loads of vendors to visit and shop. We got makeup tips, samples of cookies, and even some treats for Dave, my dog!
The highlight of the day was the keynote speaker, Marilu Henner.  I knew she was a great actress, but I didn't know she was a health guru.  I watched 60 Minutes and saw that she id one of 12 people documented with highly superior autobiographical memory. Her enthusiasm for life and her energy for people made her the perfect speaker.
We all listened intently as she gave us her alphabet of a better life. She is full of positive reinforcements to just make you feel better by listening to her.  I went right home and got online to purchase one of her nine books. The one I chose was: Total Memory Makeover: Uncover You Past, Take Care of Your Future. It was released in 2012 and became an instant New York Times bestseller.
I am so thankful that I was able to enjoy this wonderful day and be blessed and encouraged by the speaker.  They already have next year's date set for April 24, 2015.  I wouldn't be surprised if I make this an annual event for me, too!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Slice of Life Tuesday: Boston Inspiration

Yesterday was the running of the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Being a runner and having my husband run that race many years ago, I was watching everything I could in relations to the race. All the stories of the people running it this year, were amazing and heart warming.
As I watched the news releases, I began to think about my own running.  I always take time off of running in the winter. This year the winter was even worse than normal. The roads are just too tricky and the air is just too cold to try it. I even fell this year just walking! I spend my winters on the elliptical machine and crack out the miles there.  But, always, in the back of my mind is the running on neighborhood roads and the future races.
We are already registered for the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta on July 4th. That is our favorite 10K race. It is a tradition to go to Atlanta, run the race and also see a Braves game. July 4th seems like a long way off, but actually it is only about two months away. So, let the training begin.
 am planning on officially starting the training sessions on May 1st.  My schedule will be to run at least every other day, doing a long run on Saturday. I like to run a two-three mile course through our neighborhood during the week and then on the weekend, run with my husband on other streets. We have courses that take us three miles, four miles or even longer, so we are ready for the 10K in July.
Watching the Boston runners was inspiring!  I'm done with marathons, but hope to never be done with running!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Celebrate Easter

Be sure to check out more blogs of Celebration on Ruth Ayres website.
 It is Easter Weekend. As I watch television and see all the commercials for Easter, I am saddened to think that most people relate Easter with bunnies, chicks and chocolate. Not that I am against any of those things, but this is not what I think of when I think of Easter.
I think back to the Easters I have in my past.  I remember how my mother would slave over the sewing machine for hours in the weeks before Easter Sunday.  She would pick out patterns that would work for both my sister and me. She would buy material, thread and zippers that all matched. We even went shopping for new shoes. Easter meant getting to wear our new spring outfits. I have pictures somewhere of my sister and me in matching outfits grinning at the camera as we stood in our front yard on Easter Sunday.

Easter always meant getting up VERY early and going to the sunrise service at church. There we would see our friends in their new outfits. We sang the songs that were popular for Easter morning. We then would eat the most wonderful food set out by the women. The day was for worshipping and thinking of what Christ had done for us. It seemed like a new beginning with the new growth in the yards and fresh smell of spring and HOPE in the air.
Come join us at the Creek!
Tomorrow, I will don an outfit that looks as springy as I can make it in these still cool mornings.  I will turn on the radio as I head to church listening to that beautiful music. I will join my friends at Cedar Creek Church and worship. The real reason for this day.  I am celebrating with thankfulness for what Christ has done.  We would love to have you join us.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday With Dave

We have started a tradition for every Good Friday. It all started many years ago with our golden retriever, Murphy.  We would take him to Pokagon Park for a morning of walking the trails. He loved to go near the water as we got close to Lake James. We would usually let him run free since there weren't many people around. However, as soon as we would see someone coming we would call him and get him on his leash.

Now we have Dave, another golden retriever. We went to Pokagon with him one year, but lately the weather has not been good enough to travel the half hour to get there and then try to walk the trails. So, last year we took Dave to Reike Park's Walkway. It is paved and easier to walk, not to mention closer!
Today we waited until in the afternoon to make our trip. The weather was looking sunny and it was warmer. We loaded him into the car with his leash, treats, and poop bags!  He is not a fan of the ride over, but he is getting used to it.  We walked from one end to the other...about a three mile walk.
He would be off leash and run ahead of us or stop and sniff. He never gets out of our sight or should I say we never get out of his sight. He is a "pack dog" and wants to be with his pack!

We had a great time and so did Dave. He is spending the rest of the day taking naps. Walking in new territory and smelling new smells seems to wear him out!
Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thankful For My Sister!

As I've been thinking of things in life that are important to me, I thought about my baby sister. Today we spent the day together in her hometown of Noblesville along with our aunt.  We try to get together at least once a month. Sometimes she comes up north and we go shopping or just hang out but always go out to eat.
Sometimes, I go to the Indy area and we meet at a mall and we shop, and shop, and shop! Yes, of course, we go out to eat!
I am so thankful that she is living near enough for us to spend time together!  Love you, Kris!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Slice of Life: Make Every Moment Count

On Monday morning, I was going over plans for the day in my head. I was moving on to the plans for the rest of the week. It seemed like everything I had planned was changing. Appointments and outings were being switched from one day to another. It didn't really bother me, just challenged me to still fit everything into my "busy" retired life. My calendar was beginning to look a bit messy with all the cross-outs and arrows.

Then I got a text from one of my retirement buddies. On it she said: "Just heard that Karen Nagel died on Saturday." I stopped in my tracks. She was a building coach I worked with when I was a district coach. She was someone I looked forward to meeting with and discussing how to make her school even better. She was younger than me! How could that happen? So sudden. So shocking. So sad.

All day I received updates about details. I heard from other friends and I contacted still others. Each time we talked about the suddenness of her death. No one was prepared for that. Not her family, not her school, not her friends.

Since receiving the news, I have been thinking a lot about it. To think one moment you are fine and then gone. I think about things in my life that are important, family and friends. Once more I am reminded to take each day as a gift and make it better than the day before. I don't take being with grandkids for granted. I don't take moments of playing with my golden retriever as a bother. I take every opportunity to travel.

I have begun remembering little things my grandmother used to tell me...."Don't wish your life away." or "Time waits for no man."  Or even the quote on one of my hoodies: "Life is short, Play with your dog!"

Every day I need to remember what is important and make time for it. I think William W. Purkey said it well:

You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.”
William W. Purkey

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Celebration: Vera and Friendshop

This week I am celebrating   FRIENDSHIP. 

My week consisted spending time with close friends on two different days.  Both of these women have been part of my life's journey for many years.  The time together has always been special, but as I think about celebrating important things in my life, these two friendships are at the top of my list.

On Tuesday, I got to spend part of my day with Alecia. I have known her as a student, mentored teacher, co-teacher, and friend. We have grown together professionally and personally. She is always there to listen to my celebrations and heartaches.  We consult each other professionally and ask for advise personally. She is much younger, but our values and outlook on life is very similar.

This day we just got to catch up. She was on Spring Break and when she asked me if I wanted to get together one day, I said, "Of course!"  We had a great time looking at pictures, talking about school, family and friends we had in common. We went out to eat at a local restaurant and we sat and talked long after the salad and bread sticks were gone. I am certainly celebrating our friendship today!
My second celebration of friendship is with my best friend.  We try to get together once a month since we are now both retired. We have been friends since we started teaching...first across the hall from each other, then next door to each other and then her in the room right above me. I was in her wedding and she was the friend who stood up with me at my second wedding. She has helped me through parenting years and now grand parenting years. We have had many adventures together.

Today we went to our second Vera Bradley sale together. We went last year and decided we wanted to do it again. This one was a little different since we had to stand in line to get in to something we already had special tickets for. That didn't stop us. We made it into the sale, browsed the aisles, bought things we thought we needed, and checked out before they kicked us out!

We then headed to a restaurant to sit and talk and look at pictures! What a special day it was. I am so thankful to be able to celebrate this friendship of over 40 years!  I look forward to seeing what adventures we have ahead of us!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Slice of Life Tuesday: Signs of Spring

A Slice of Life for this Tuesday. Check out more blogs on Two Writing Teachers' blog.
 The day is sunny and just perfect for a walk with Dave, my golden retriever. As we walk I can't help but notice little signs of spring.  I began noticing the tulips are peeking their heads up from the ground. There a bunches of them in my flower bed under the living room windows. There are a few in the side yard, too.  They really aren't supposed to be there. When we dug up the yard last summer, we thought we got all the bulbs. I replanted them in the flower bed. I certainly wasn't going to throw them away!  But they had a surprise for me. There they are in odd places. Places where the bulbs hid until the sun was warm enough for them to peek out. Now I love them where they are. It is like a surprise party every time I look at them.

Last night it rained and rained. I suppose that is a sign of spring, too. "April showers bring May flowers." So even though Dave was not happy about the little bits of thunder or the rain beating down on the bedroom windows, it did tell us spring was coming.

I took the last of the dead leaves off of the day lilies in front by the sidewalk. Under those leaves were little green shoots pushing their way up. I just wanted to get in there and dig around them to help them out.  However, I knew I would probably do  more damage than help. I must take a hint from nature...every thing in its time...have patience.

I did try to help spring come though. Yesterday, I went to Wal-Mart and bought some artificial tulips, pussy willows and snapdragons. I just had to change the pots on the front porch. The evergreen boughs just had to go. They had lasted through many snow storms and shoveling around them, but it was time!  I replaced them with these "fake" flowers until I can get the real thing.
So, for now...this is my touch of spring.  Fake it until you make it!!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Fourth Birthday, Bam!

Everyone should have a Bam in their family!  We are so fortunate to have this little boy call us Grandpa and Grandma. He is a joy to have around. We never know what he is going to do or say next. This is the day we celebrate his fourth birthday!
His goofy smile. His way of saying things  His wonderful way of teasing! He is just a crazy kid.
One of his loves is: HORSES.  He knows so much about them. He can give you details that we never knew ourselves.
This past Halloween, he was Mr. T.  What a perfect costume for him. He was so funny!
Happy 4th Birthday, Bam!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Memories: Las Vegas and CMA Awards

We are sitting here watching the CMA Awards. We are making comments about songs, singers and outfits. We are enjoying the show. But most of all we are reminiscing about when we were right there in Las Vegas a year ago.
We had eaten supper and walked on down to the MGM Grand.  We walked inside and just kept looking for famous singers. We really had no idea where we were going. Finally, we found the entrance to the auditorium.  We stood outside the doors along with many other onlookers.  It was exciting watching all those people in fancy dresses walk past us. We kept watching for famous singers.

Once, someone in a suit came up to us and wanted to know if we wanted some cheap tickets.  We looked at each other.  Did we?  Well, we weren't exactly dressed for a big show. We said no. We continued to watch and wait. The lines of people going through the big doors was slowing down. 

We moved across to the other side of the hallway. There was an ice cream place and we found an outside table and ordered a couple bowls.  We were still watching knowing that by now there would be no famous people. The guy in the suit came by again and said he had the tickets for a really good price now. Did we want to go in and be part of all this?  We decided sitting WAY up in the top of the bleachers didn't sound that great.  So we said no.

Later, due to having to wait until the show was over for it to be on television, we watched the actual show from our room.  "Just think," we said, "we could have been right there." Well, we were, sort of.  This year we can laugh and think back to the fun we had that night when we almost saw a famous singer.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

It's Saturday, Let's Celebrate!

As I was reading through some blogs today, I came across one that was joining Ruth Ayres Writes.  The idea is to write on Saturdays about what you have to celebrate in your life. This is a quote from Ruth:

What's this all about?
We only get one shot at this life. One chance to make the most of it. One chance to live in the moment. If we aren't careful, it is easy to become tattered and worn and even a little undone.

I liked that idea. So, I began to think of what I really wanted to celebrate today. I finally decided to celebrate my life as a retired teacher/coach. Some days it is tough for me to celebrate retirement. I loved my job. I loved working with kids and teachers. I miss that. But, thinking of it all in a different way, I need to celebrate what I have.

I now have time to do other things I enjoy, too.  I love my days filled with exercise like bike rides and long walks and hard runs. I love the chance to take care of grandchildren whenever I am needed. I also love working in classrooms. That is where I get my "fix" for working with kids.

When I look at my days in this way, I know I have a lot to celebrate.  I like this idea of taking one day a week to celebrate large and small things in my life. So glad Ruth took the opportunity to challenge me in this way!  Thanks, Ruth!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Summing Up Vacation: A Photo Journal

As I was downloading the pictures I had taken on  my recent vacation, I looked at a few of the examples of photo books.  One of them caught my eye.  The writer had made the book as a photo journal of a trip.  My thinking was: Yes, that is exactly why I take so many pictures on vacation.  I want to keep those memories alive as long as I can. I want to be able to look back and experience the sights, sounds and feelings over and over again.
I began putting my pictures into the book in the order that they happened. I gave my audience a snapshot of what we did on our trip to Arizona. I would write along side the pictures explaining what was going on at that time.
 I went from the first day at the Tempe Art Festival to walks in the morning through ASU to visiting the cowboy town of Gilbert to afternoons at the pool and finally the side of Scottsdale known as Old Town.
What a fun way to keep track of our adventures!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vacation Day 4: Author Visit in Scottsdale

It was a perfect spring day with the temperature at about 77 degrees and the sun high in the cloudless, blue sky.  We took off for a trip to Scottsdale's Old Town. The day turned out to be an exciting, fun day.
We decided we would simply walk up and down the streets in Old Town.  We knew we would be taking pictures to help journal our experience. We knew we would find a good restaurant to try. We didn't know we would even meet an author.

Outside one of the stores there was a display set up of books.  There was a sign on the table that said: Author will be right back. Before we had a chance to even look at the books, a voice behind us said, "Hi! I'm the author." There he was bigger than life...a John Wayne look alike. He proceeded to tell us about his books: the Brazos Series. He asked, "Do you like to read?" (Can you imagine someone asking ME that?)
After him explaining how his books were like the westerns of Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour
He entertained us with book talks of each of his books in this series. Yes, we did buy one of the books: Across The Brazos, which is an overview of all the books.
What a fun way to start our adventure of exploring the Old Town of Scottsdale..

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Vacation Day 3: Gilbert, AZ

Every Tuesday the Two Writing Teachers blog hosts a Slice of Life. Since I got hooked on blogging and sharing last month with their challenge, I decided to continue on with the SOL Tuesdays. Check out more blogs on their blog site

My sister told me that one of her favorite cities was Gilbert, Arizona.  Today I had the chance to spend some time there. We first had to find out how to get there. We had a map in the car and drove until we found the little town.  It looked like an old cowboy town. We parked the car and went to find somewhere to eat.
We saw a very busy restaurant across the street from where we parked.  It was Postinos Wine CafĂ©.  Not something you would see in an old cowtown. It was full, but we found a table outside on the patio.  Our server was amazing. She was cheerful and helpful. We ordered our food...half a turkey Panini and salad for me.  It was wonderful and just the right amount of food. After we were done eating, we just had to walk up and down the street. I even took a picture of the town's water tower for my sister.
That evening we were trying to decide where to go for supper.  I also wanted to stop by a Barnes and Noble for a new book since I had finished mine by the pool this afternoon!  We headed back to Gilbert. This time we went to an outside mall. We had not eaten Mexican all week, so that is what we looked for.  We were not disappointed when we found Cantina Laredo, a modern Mexican restaurant. We again were seated outside. The food was wonderful.  I had a cheese enchilada with refried beans and Mexican rice.
After eating, we walked around the corner to the Barnes and Noble.  It had two levels and looked so clean and new.  I could have just curled up in a corner with one of their books for the night. We couldn't find the Michael Connelly books we wanted to buy so we asked a clerk. She told us the mysteries were up stairs.  When we got off the escalator, there was another clerk who simply said, "So you want the mysteries, What exactly are you looking for?"  We told her and she directed us to the fiction work where all of his books were located. We spent several minutes browsing and came up with one of  his we did not have along with a John Grisham book we never read.  I was a happy camper!
Now I see why my sister likes this town so much!