Monday, December 31, 2012

My Christmas Tamale Gift, by Annette Skarin

Steve and I put away most of our Christmas decorations today (though we still have plenty of work to do tomorrow to finish this task). “Putting away Christmas” is always a tiring job and involves so much after-Christmas clean-up. Yet it is a sweet time, in its own way. We listen to Christmas music for the last time of the season, and we remember the sweet and quirky moments from the last couple of weeks. We also give thanks for the gift of loved ones who have shared Christmases with us in the past – and some who have joined our family circle in recent years. So as we close out this season it is appropriate to post one more Christmas story. This one is a very special memory of someone who had a profound effect on Annette, an effect that continues to bless her many years later.

A few months before Christmas in 1996, I became close friends with a lady named Laurie. When I first met Laurie, she was wearing a halo, a metal one that held her neck together. She had two young sons, eight and eleven years old. Doctors discovered that she was in acute kidney failure from an inherited kidney disease. Laurie’s sister and mother had both died several years before.

Laurie smiled all the time. She expressed deep heart-felt thanks to God for her life, the eternal kind. She was thankful for her sons, thankful that she was on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, and thankful for our friendship. Eventually Laurie was completely wheelchair bound but that didn’t stop her from coming over to visit. She could push the wheels on her chair at first until she became too weak and then her son took over. We would laugh together and talk for hours.

As the Christmas season began slipping down the slope of the post -Thanksgiving hill, Laurie’s health began slipping into a painful slope of 4x weekly dialysis. I didn’t understand Laurie as she smiled and said, “I love you.” I would sit with her to help her make the process somewhat bearable. I went as often as I could.

On Christmas Day, Laurie was in the hospital.

A few days before Christmas, some Central American neighbors invited me to make tamales with them. Making tamales was a time of fun and laughter, steamy kitchens, sticky masa hands, and passing around bottles of vino, and cervaza. Multiple families and neighbors would crowd into the small spaces, dancing around one another, playfully elbowing each other – throwing back their heads in laughter and singing.

I had found a tamale recipe in a cookbook that involved making the ingredients from scratch. After placing a spoonful of the red or green sauce and chicken in the middle of the masa, Mexican cheese was placed on top. They were then enclosed in masa, blanketed with corn husks and finally steamed until all the flavors melded.

Laurie called me and said she would be hospitalized for a while. I took her some of the tamales. She hadn’t eaten real food for days. She was dying. Laurie’s mouth creased into a big shining smile. “I love you,” she said. I placed the tamales on her lap, and a fork in her hand.


I smiled. We talked and we laughed and she ate tamales.

A few days into the New Year, the hospital called to tell me she had just a few days left. I was the only visitor she ever had. She saw me coming and her face glowed with a heavenly smile.

“I love you. Don’t be sad. Thank you for the tamales, they were a heavenly gift.”

“I love you,” I said. I smiled an earthly smile.

Laurie now wears a different halo. I imagine it’s made of gold and she’s wiping tamale off her face.


Friday, December 28, 2012

At the end of the day, even the most wonderful Christmas sometimes leaves us feeling exhausted! Here is Gloria’s rendition of a mom’s experience when the Christmas festivities are over.




By Gloria Hannigan

It is the night of Christmas, and the house is a mess

Where to start cleaning, is anyone’s guess

I flop down in my new reclining chair

A snore from the bedroom signals, no help from there

The children are sound asleep in their beds

With cookies and candy canes alive in their heads

The mistletoe hangs by one wilted leaf

Having done its duty to encourage belief

The pine needles from the tree continue to drop

Where is the star that once shone at the top?

The eggnog is gone, not even a cherry

A sign that someone’s Christmas was merry

The stockings that once were hung with great care

Are scattered everywhere, the mantle is bare

I sit here alone feeling sorry for myself

I wish I’d asked Santa to lend me an elf

When in the back of my mind an image appears

Michael’s beaming face at his bike with 10 gears

I hear the squeal when Jenney unwraps her new doll

The kisses, the hugs, the excitement of it all!

You’ll hear me exclaim as the vacuum kicks in

Yes, I will be doing this again and again

Illustration from Peter Spier's Christmas!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Christmas to Remember, by Evelyn Watson

I hope you had a very special Christmas with your loved ones yesterday. Now that the celebration has passed, take a few minutes to relax and read about another Christmas from many years ago. Here is a story about a day that changed the lives of Evelyn and her husband Dwight forever. Those of us who are parents understand that having a child transforms your life like nothing else can. Evelyn’s experience is especially memorable because it happened on Christmas Eve.  
Children are a heritage of the Lord
Psalms 127:3
The tree was decorated and presents wrapped; I had done all to be ready. We were all waiting for that moment to happen when we would become parents and our parents would become grandparents. It was the time when no one knew the sex of their baby before being born, but somehow I knew the tiny life within me was a girl and chose only one name.

When the time came to go, a thick blanket of wet fog covered us in eerie silence as we inched our way to the hospital at 2:00 a.m. Dwight drove slowly with his door open to follow the street’s center line. We were on our way to parenthood, a challenge our young lives had not yet encountered, and we had no idea of life’s journey beyond that night. I was convinced we were ready when Tracy entered our lives the previous Christmas, yet she was not chosen in God’s plan to be part of our family.

St. Frances Hospital in Lynwood was an excellent one. I was secure in their care; not afraid of labor or delivery. I had been healthy the entire nine months and was able to work at the phone company seven of those months. I did not realize Dwight’s nervousness. When he left the labor room after appearing briefly and never coming back I had no idea what he was going through, involved in my own experience. For me time passed quickly and the pangs of a birth about to happen never raged as expected.

Arriving at 6:38a.m., on the moon change following her due date of December 14, Lori Lynnett, was born on December 21, weighing 8lb. 9oz. (“If a baby does not arrive on its due date, it will on the next moon change”, I was told, and she did) I was allowed to watch her entrance into the world coming through me but not from me. Her tiny body was perfect. My prayer during pregnancy was for my baby to have hair. She had more hair than I ever imagined. Giving birth was the most thrilling experience of my entire life and it started the first time I felt a movement of life within.

After three days Lori and I came home from the hospital. It was Christmas Eve morning. She was our gift to share with friends and family. She led the way into our parenthood. Our lives were forever changed. It truly was a Christmas to remember.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Christmas Memory, by Noemi Rabina

Christmas is a time for making memories. Sometimes the memories we make for someone else turn out to be our own best memories. Read Noemi’s story of a very special Christmas memory created by a very special group of nurses.

"Unto us a Child is born!" That was the message written on a lantern that adorned the lobby of the Mary Johnston Hospital in Manila one Christmas season. Everyone knows that the child is the Lord Jesus, born in a manger more than 2000. years ago who brought peace and goodwill towards all men.. It is His birthday that we now celebrate with great rejoicing.

I happened to be a part in this place many years ago. The institution was started by an American missionary who have seen the need for a health care facility for families living in poverty. It started as a small clinic and later expanded to be a general hospital, treating the patients' body, mind and spirit, following the ideals of the Great Physician.

On Christmas morn, at 5:00 AM, all students and graduate nurses in full uniforms, went through all the hospital wards in long procession, holding candles and singing Christmas carols. The patients waking up to the beautiful songs while their nurses greeting them  a Merry Christmas. Pain were alleviated, sorrow turned to joy and hope. Nobody would like to be in a hospital at this time of the year, but this was something that they will always remember and cherish.

During the day, the gate of the school was opened to let the children from the slum district come in for a Christmas celebration. They were seated and led in singing Christmas songs. Soon two trucks from the Clark Air Base came rolling in. American service men with their families and children added more joy and excitement. They brought some goodies for the children. Some men dressed as clowns entertained every one with magic. After the children have eaten to the fullest, they were given apples, oranges and candies. Then Santa Claus came down the fire escape with a loud "Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas !" carrying a big bag full of toys. Every one clapping their hands and screaming with joy to see a real Santa Claus. After every child was given a toy, they went home very happy this Christmas day.
That is the spirit of giving on Christmas day, a living tradition of the school and hospital for years.

For "Unto us a Child is born", the greatest gift of God to men.      

Merry Christmas !

Friday, December 21, 2012

A CHRISTMAS STORY, by Gloria Hannigan

Although I already published this piece on the blog a couple of years ago, it is SO worth repeating. If you have never read it, you will be delighted. And if you’ve read it before? Well, you will be delighted again. It shows off Gloria’s wonderful wit and writing style and gives a great glimpse into our class. And this time, it does something else. It is a sweet and poignant reminder of some precious souls who are no longer with us. Please take time to read and comment.

T’was the week before Christmas  and all through Memoir class
Not a person was missing, nary a lass.
The seniors were nestled snug in their seat
Waiting for the teacher,  Bonnie to greet.
When all through the classroom murmurs did sound.
Through the open doorway Bonnie did bound.
She opened her briefcase with a practiced ease
Turned to us all and said,”Quiet, Please.”
We went right to work our stories to read
We laughed and we cried whatever the need
Then promptly at the hour of three
A festive Christmas feast we did see
We arose from our chairs to eat our fill
Secretly hoarding that antacid pill
On Mina, On Judy, Randy, Kasey and all
Come Evelyn, Margaret, Dora don’t stall
Its time for this tale to come to a close
So from her chair, Bonnie arose
We heard her exclaim as she drove out of sight
“Merry Christmas to all, and remember to write!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My 1st Christmas Celebration in Holland, by Maria Zeeman

Here is a tiny glimpse into Maria’s early life. Makes you want to know more, doesn’t it?

In 1949 my whole family was in Holland. We all lived in Amsterdam. At that time my mother got a place on a canal. It was very small, with Just 2 bedrooms, a small kitchen, living room, and a toilet.
There wasn’t a shower or bath room. My mother put a BIG pot on the stove and we all used it to wash ourselves. We went to the bath house to take a good shower once a week. Back then this was normal.

I slept in one bedroom with my three sisters. Let and Trix had a double bed which had to be pulled out from the wall, and Claar and I had a single bed by the window. 

My parents slept in the living room and my brother Jan in the other bedroom with a partition to separate the bed from where my grandmother slept. It all was such a big difference from where we had come from.

In Surabaya, Indonesia, we had a big house, big rooms and big bathrooms. We took a shower every day and often twice a day. The food was made by our baboe (servant) and it was Indonesian food - delicious, with much fruit etc.  Now we ate potatoes and vegetables and very little meat or fish.

On December 5 we see St. Nicolas and his helpers coming on a boat through Amsterdam’s harbor. He looks very impressive with his stately hat and staff. The helpers are always full of soot because they have to go thru the chimneys to bring the presents.
St Nick gives the gifts to one of helpers and they deliver the gifts to the children. Each gift has to have a poem - sometimes sweet, sometime funny and sometimes not so nice if the child was not so good. It’s a fun and exciting time.
Then on Dec. 24, Christmas eve we all go to the special night mass. The next morning we visit our aunts & uncles and other family members. It’s customary for the younger generation to go out and visit the elders.
Everywhere we prayed and gave thanks for our life and they had special Dutch treats & drinks. My parents stayed home to cook our special Christmas meal. Most people make something like what we eat here. Turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables and pumpkin pie. 
Today, in the USA, we celebrate Christmas with a jolly happy Santa Claus and gifts for everybody. And in our family a unanimously chosen fantastic Indonesian meal, which still gives us a touch of Indonesia. We go to church or just pray at home. It’s also a very nice and happy time. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ghosts of Christmas Past, by Charlotte Boquist

Enjoy a family’s Christmas through the years. Charlotte concisely captures a sense of tradition and change, meeting together in her memories of a growing, changing family, remembering the past and celebrating the present.

December 2012
Snowflakes big and white, falling softly in the night.
Programs are presented at Church and school,
Stumbling recitations; partly forgotten as a rule.
Carols sung with children’s voices
Silent Night and Jingle Bells are favorite choices.
About the first week of December
Dad would let loose tiny reindeer one at a time
Mamma, busy sewing gifts, they loved Christmas and its secrets sublime.
Christmas Eve in Basin, Santa coming by;
Lovingly played by nephew Terry-what a guy.
Brother Bill reciting “Twas the Night”
With such feeling the young ones knew it was right.
Christmas has been celebrated in other places
With many new experiences and special faces
Phoenix, Long Beach, Basin, Colorado and North Dakota;
Our family has been growing way past our quota.
Now we decorate our little tree with a sock containing coal
A joke for Julie one year, and a crocheted angel brings a tear.
Rocky’s two pound box of Sees, always finds its way under our trees.
Oh wait, can I remember how to play “White Christmas” without dismay?
Celebrating Christmas past is the fabric of our Christmas Day.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Treasures of Darkness, by Evelyn Watson

Here is our first Christmas story for December 2012. It is powerful story of spiritual strength during a difficult time. Read, reflect, respond. Do you have a Christmas memory to share? A reflection? A poem? A pondering?  We would love to hear from you!

“I will give you the treasures of darkness”   Isaiah 45:3

It was Christmas 1973. My parents had both died that year during the summer, in June and July. This was my first Christmas without them. Plans were that we would spend that Christmas in Connecticut for the holiday. I wasn’t looking forward to it; in fact my heart was heavy with the idea. To be with Christian friends who had known my parents and who would support me during this devastating time of my life was what I longed for. Without my parents and friends, the approaching holiday loomed with magnifying sorrow. Dwight had no knowledge of the Lord’s involvement in our lives at that time so he was unable to offer me comfort.

Lost in a world of my own, days before the trip I found myself weighed down in sadness. The Lord had given me strength to be more than a conqueror at the time of my parents’ deaths, but now grief was waging war with strength, and I couldn’t fight. As each day approached closer to our departure, my spirit was declining, spiraling downward. I sensed darkness approaching, and relayed my concern to friends and to the Lord. I barely knew Dwight’s relatives but I knew their beliefs were with little or no knowledge of a personal relationship with Jesus. Without Jesus they were in darkness.

On the morning of December 13, I was pouring out my heart to the Lord in the shower. His voice interrupted me: “Read Streams in the Desert.” In my despair I had failed to read my devotional, “Streams in The Desert” for several days. It was a powerful message that sent a surging strength into my weakened spirit. The scripture, “I will give you the treasures of darkness,” with a beautiful story of how God works in the dark immediately lifted my spirit. The message’s last sentence, “God is watching, and He will bring good and beauty out of all your pain and tears,” was answer to my prayer, comforting words in a scripture I had never heard before.

As our plane rolled down the runway for takeoff, the song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” played in my head. It still seemed as though I was leaving my heart behind but that thought no longer weighed down. I had courage to go through the holiday knowing God heard me, was with me, and would bring good from this trip.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Life of Gratitude, by Barbara Sparks

Although we are now officially in the Christmas season, here is one more story of thanksgiving. Appropriately, as the title suggests, it is not about giving thanks one day of the year, but about living a “life of gratitude.” This tribute to Barbara’s mother helps us understand why Barbara is the woman she is today.
“God has blessed me with 80 years of life.  There’s a time to live and a time to die.  I’m ready to die.  I don’t want to be in pain.  I want to die in my sleep.”    “Mother, God has blessed me with fifty-five years of having you in my life.”  Two weeks later my mother died peacefully in her sleep.
 I don’t ever remember my mother complaining.  If she experienced rough spots or roadblocks in her life, she always found a way to bring humor into her discussion of the experience. 
My mother had many sad events in her life.  Her mother died when she was a sixteen.  She was left to raise Betty, her two-year-old sister.  Because she was so young, Mother had to defend her right  to raise Betty. In court, the judge asked Betty where she wanted to live. Betty, immediately exclaimed,  “With my sister!”  “Well young lady you can.”  the judge said with a smile.  My mother expressed then and throughout her life how grateful she was to be able to raise her sister.
 Mother was grateful for the ability and opportunity to achieve things that she could only dream of since so many obstacles stood in her way.  She repeated two quotes throughout her life.   ”Nothing beats a failure but a try. “  “For all things give thanks.”  The echoes of those quotes are a constant reminder of my mother’s life philosophy.
In 1960, at forty-two years old, she completed the two units she needed to graduate from high school and marched proudly across the stage to receive her high school diploma.    She went on to college and earned her Bachelor of Science Degree and  Masters of Science Degree.
Her lifetime dream of becoming a teacher was fulfilled when she was fifty years old.  She retired at seventy-four.
She took nothing for granted.  She expressed gratitude for the purchase of her first car, first home, and her ability to take road trips across the United States.  She reveled at the beauty of the sky at sunset, the forest and the power of the rapids.   She was grateful for all God’s creations.
The final trip of her dreams was to Israel.  Though she was loosing her sight and couldn’t walk with the energy she had had in the  past, she was still grateful that she could go. She experienced all that the tour provided which included a ride   on a camel.
My mother lived her life with zest and zeal and was always ready to experience each adventure and gift that God provided while happily expressing how grateful she was.  She taught me by example how wonderful it is to live a life of gratitude.
Today, Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012, on the anniversary of my mother’s death, November 22, 1998, I am grateful for all I learned about gratitude from my mother and the blessing of having her in my life for fifty-five years.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving in the Philippines, By Noemi Rabina

While our Thanksgiving holiday is now past, it is never too late to give thanks. This story from Noemi is a reminder that thankfulness is an encouraging  practice for people all over the world.


           Thanksgiving in November is not a public holiday. Only the Americans give their employees a day off. The main point is to thank the Lord for everything that He has done. People go to church with their gifts and prayers and have fellowship with friends.

           People celebrate Thanksgiving any time of the year when there is something special that happened in the family. It could be that somebody graduated from college. Passing the Board Exam. or Bar, is something to be thankful for. Success at work, safe travel of family member coming home from abroad calls for a thanksgiving celebration. To have a new house is also a good reason to celebrate with thanksgiving. A minister may bless the home to fill it with Christian love among the family members and friends. To have a new car is most exciting especially to the middle class. Having a car is not common among the Filipinos for there are lots of public transportations and people can go where ever they want. To have a car is only for the rich and the famous.

           It is good to be thankful always for whatever happens. When trouble comes, be thankful for God's precious presence is always available and sufficient to heal and to comfort.

           Over the years, as Filipinos came to the United States, they joined the Americans in celebrating Thanksgiving Day on the 4th Thursday in November. It is a big affair, and it should really be, considering all the blessings that most of the people enjoy. Families get together, feasting over the traditional roast turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potato, and pumpkin pie. To add the Filipino touch, we have our favorite dishes of pancit, egg rolls, and much more. But what is important is keeping the perpetual attitude of loving fellowship of kindred minds and hearts on Thanksgiving Day, not only among ourselves but also with others of different nationalities. We are all one big family under One God.

           What else is popular? It is the "After Thanksgiving Sale."  People lined up in the stores very early in the morning to avail themselves of the door busting sales, hoping to get the biggest discounts for their Christmas Holiday gift shopping. We stretch our hard earned dollar for more presents to put inside the "balikbayan" boxes to be sent to our loved ones in the Philippines for Christmas. "Freely we receive, freely we also shall give!"

           And to all people around the world, may your Thanksgiving last for more than a day, or week, or month, for the grace of God has no end!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving ABC's, by Jacqueline Smith

One of the things I love about our class is the endless variety of writers and thinkers. This is Jacqui’s ABC list – an expression of the way she thinks and lives.


Angels that are always watching over me.

Beauty of colorful trees and falling leaves in Autumn.

Compassionate and caring people in my life.

Doors of opportunity that God opens before me.

Experiences that have made me who I am today.

Friends and family members who I love and cherish.

Grace to accept all people just as they truly are.

Hope of a home on high when this life is finished.

Inspirational moments when my imagination soars.

Jesus, who is my Savior and the Lord of my life.

Kind and gentle words spoken at just the right time.

Love and laughter and time spent with special friends.

Many precious memories for which I am truly grateful.

New friends who are like jewels in my treasure chest.

Oh, "Nothing says lovin' like something from the oven".

Prayer, peaceful music, pumpkin pie and playful puppies.

Quiet evenings of serenity when my neighbors go to sleep.

Understanding others, and being understood as well.

Voices of my wonderful, chatty pals on the telephone.

Warm and cozy blankets on a cold, Winter's night.

Xcellent life that fills my heart with joy unspeakable.

Years spent with the best parents and siblings in the world.

Zeal for what lies ahead because "the best is yet to come".



Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving ABC's by Kacie Cooper

Thanksgiving is only 3 days away. Have you written down your thankfulness list yet? Here is Kacie’s.  Read and enjoy.

Anyone who will listen to me
Benny-Michael Benny, my 2nd born, beautiful son
Cool breezes on warm night and catsup-(didn't they used to spell it that way?)
Dill pickles, door knobs and daylight
Elijah Abraham-my 8th month old beautiful Grandson
Fingers, flushing toilets
God and girlfriends from "Memoirs"
Humor and hunger (sometimes) to remind me how blessed I am to live in America
Intuition, internet
Jokes, Jingle Bell songs, Justin Bieber (for my granddaughter Tiana)
Knowledge, know-it-alls
Love, laughter, life, I Love Lucy, leeks and Looney Toons
Mimi Marissa and Monique- my two beautiful daughters
Nieces and nephews, nails, new life, new experiences, new friendships and noodles
Oregon and my final trip there with my beautiful, late Brother Michael
Patti- my precious baby sister
Quirky friends and quick forgivings
Restoration of depressed and broken hearts
Sun light that leads our way
Tony-my beautiful 1st born son and Tiana Kathleen my beautiful Granddaughter
Underwater scuba divers who save lives underwater...somewhere
Violin I still have from childhood but can't play-will handdown to Tiana now
Wuzzy, the Fuzzy Wuzzy Bear- even though he truly wasn't
X-even though it's the least used alphabet we've got
Yolanda, my big sister- even though I think I'm older than her
Zilch-(just the word, not the real meaning)

Thank you and I thank God for each and everyone of you in our "Memoir" class-you make me smile!

Friday, November 16, 2012

I am From, by Peggy Knorr

Another guest writer this week – this “I am From” poem is from Peggy Knorr, writer extraordinaire ~ .

I am from…..

a thunderstorm; 

not an ordinary one,

but a ferocious Indian monsoonal cataclysm

that split the skies and drenched the earth 

and panicked my tiny body in its effort to escape claustrophobic devastation.


I was not ready to leave my private little heaven,

my mother's peaceful growing place, it wasn't time; 

I wanted more of that calm acceptance, 

but now the very muscles that had supported me 

were pushing me hard out into the world, 

and many frantic hands were puling at me 

to break the suction of its cavernous hold;     

each thunderous explosion dissolving one more strand of my insistence to stay behind,  

loosening my pain-wracked determination not to be born. 


"Look out, Here she comes" the storm was shouting

"We'll get that little bugger yet.

She needs to know what wakening to the world is like)

It is no small deal to prepare a life for stalwart strength.

We've gathered up our energies in all their immensity

so we can give her fitting start to weather the rough storms of living 

as she needs and as they come.. 


"Mis-shapen body, yes, because we are not soft, we did as little damage as we could,

but that will only add to her strength.

The trials she will encounter will be fashioned in the belly of disturbances of mighty forces

and she will have grown used to hard happenings when they come along 

and will welcome them from the beginning for her growth."


So spoke the mighty storm, and now since many years have passed 

I hold in honor those tremendous energies that chose to be the beginning of my worldly existence.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving ABC's by Bonnie Mansell

For the last few years my class has been sharing our Thanksgiving blessings in the form of an alphabetical list. It's a fun (and a little bit challenging) way to think about the things we are thankful for. Although I generally publish only one or two posts a week, if you send me your ABC list, I'll be happy to post them each day in the order I get them. I'd love to hear from you :)

This assignment allows for only VERY SHORT explanations, so you may not understand each item on someone’s list. That’s okay. Just enjoy the expression of gratitude.

Autumn ~ in California

Babysitting Adaya ~ What a precious gift!

Cousins and almost cousins ~ the blessing of reconnection

Date nights ~ with Steve

Eucharisteo ~ Ann Voskamp’s reminder to give thanks

Facebook ~Yes, I’m thankful for Facebook

Guarding the heart of your marriage ~ retreat planning and participation
Hospitable kids ~ what a joy to see them welcome others into their lives!

Ice cream ~ on Friday nights

Jury duty ~ inconvenient, but a reminder of our rights and responsibilities

Kids who love each other

Learning to golf

Mountain retreat ~ in Arrowhead with the family

New hearts ~ physical and spiritual

Outdoor music ~ in the park, Hollywood Bowl, Irvine, Downtown Disney

Pebble Beach ~ Golfing with Steve at Peter Haye across from the good golfers!

Quarters ~ (and nickels, dimes, and pennies) saved in our World Vision jar.

Renovations ~ Disrupting our lives, but bringing out the best in my family of hard workers.

Seventeen mile drive ~ breathtaking beauty and time together

Thursdays ~ my weekly blessing!

UCLA ~ Cardiac and Thoracic surgery gave us both a longer and better life

Volunteering~ opportunities with World vision

Walks ~ with my husband as he recovered from surgery. Sweet, tender times.

Xing ~ off my “to do list”

Young-at-heart friends and family ~  

Zzzzz’s ~ especially Sunday afternoon naps