Saturday, December 15, 2012


*To honor the memories of Glenna, Denzil, Cassandra and especially Ginny, I am once again putting Ginny's Story here on this, the anniversary of the Silver Bridge tragedy.*

~The following story isn't a happy little Christmas vignette. What it is, in fact, is a true and rather long tale based on conversations with Ginny, the daily journals in which she wrote, and the cards and letters she treasured for so many years. It is a story of love and loss, and a lesson in humanity. You never know for certain what life is truly like for another person until you take the time to listen to (and really hear) them. It is very important to me that it be told, especially on this day. I think that if you'll do me the honor of taking a few minutes to read it you'll understand why.~

It was December 15, 1967. The Christmas card arrived that morning, Glenna’s familiar handwriting gracing the envelope. A short note was included, asking about Mom, Daddy and Gramma, and saying that she and Denzil would be traveling to Gallipolis Friday evening after work to finish up their Christmas shopping. It was signed “Merry Christmas! With love, Denzil, Glenna and Baby”. This was Friday and the card had been mailed two days before. Ginny read the card aloud to her husband and her mother that morning, not knowing what the rest of the day would hold for them all.

Denzil and Glenna did head out to Gallipolis that evening, just as the Christmas card had foretold. Ginny knew they would because Glenna had been having some problems with swelling and, with the baby due in January, she needed to finish her shopping before she was unable to do so. Ginny, Ginny’s mother and Buck were even going to make the long drive to Denzil and Glenna’s small mobile home to celebrate this year because they knew the trip would be too much on Glenna. That’s why Ginny had no doubt that her daughter and son-in-law would do just as they said.

That’s why, when she heard that the Silver Bridge crossing the Ohio River between Pt. Pleasant, WV and Gallipolis, OH had collapsed, taking with it all of the rush hour travelers who were crossing it at the time, she knew in her heart that Denzil and Glenna were gone. In her mother’s heart, she knew that her precious daughter, her unborn grandchild, and her son-in-law had fallen to their deaths in the icy waters of the Ohio River.

She knew.


Glenna’s childhood bedroom still sat much the way it had before she married Denzil some 4 years earlier. In the days following the accident, while Buck and Ginny awaited word on the recovery of bodies, they gathered Glenna’s belongings from her new home and took them back to that childhood bedroom, tucking them neatly into the cedar chest that sat by the foot of the bed. There were dresses, skirts and blouses; maternity tops and coats; and, saddest of all, there were the tiny, embroidered gowns and the hand pieced crib quilt that had been lovingly crafted for the baby. They were just sure it would be a girl. Her name was going to be Cassandra.

Ginny eventually went on with her life, but things were never the same for her. There was always that missing piece, that hole that couldn’t be filled. She and Buck traveled extensively throughout the U.S., pulling their camper from state to state and taking pictures all along the way. They had photos, reels and slides that recorded every trip they took over the years. Buck would set up the projector on the weekends and they would relive their travels, sharing them with friends and family. Ginny’s sister and brother-in-law, Peanut and Howard, sometimes joined them on their journeys. They had never had children themselves, so Glenna had been like a daughter to them as well. They felt the sting of her death just as surely as if she’d been their own. Ginny and Peanut were already as close as two sisters could be, but this shared grief somehow drew them even closer.

In 1970, their mother passed away. She had resided in a house right next to Ginny’s and again, Ginny had an added grief to bear. In the early 1980s Peanut became very ill with cancer. Before she was able to come home from an extended hospital visit, Howard fell ill, too. They soon discovered that he had cancer as well and Ginny brought them both home to care for them in their last days. They passed away within weeks of each other. Then in 1987, Ginny lost the last of the loves of her life, Buck. He, too, was taken by cancer. Ginny had never been more alone.

My in-laws had become friends with Ginny and Buck in the early 60s. My husband, born in 1965 and only 2 when the Silver Bridge collapsed, had been a comfort to them to have around over the years. I can’t help but think that he helped to ease the pain of the loss of the only grandchild they would ever have, the one they never got a chance to meet. Since three of his four grandparents had already passed away, Buck and Ginny were very important figures in Phil’s life. Before long his family began taking vacations with Buck and Ginny, traveling to state parks and visiting popular sightseeing destinations. Even now he talks about how they got together most weeknights to play Pinochle and Pollyanna, and the Saturday morning trips into Harrisville with Buck and Ginny to do their banking and visit the five and dime where Buck always allowed Phil to pick out a comic book to take home. These are the threads that were woven together over the years, forming the fabric that is Phil’s past and foundation. Precious memories, indeed.

In the last few years, we watched Ginny’s health fail remarkably. Her diabetes was out of control and she refused to eat the way the doctor said she should. She would have ‘spells’ when her sugar dropped too drastically and she sometimes was unable to even remember what happened. She had an aneurysm in her stomach that caused her frequent pain. The doctor warned that it could rupture at any time, but there was nothing they could do because Ginny wasn’t strong enough to withstand surgery. Her kidney function declined rapidly but she adamantly refused dialysis. “I don’t even know why I’m still here” she’d say, always wishing that she would just die. She wanted to be with Buck and Glenna, Peanut and Howard. She always asked her doctor how she was going to die, wanting details so she would know if it was happening. He kept telling her he couldn’t give her those kinds of answers, but because he had once told her it was a possibility, she convinced herself that she would simply fall asleep and not awaken. That was somehow comforting to her.

Through it all, Ginny stayed as busy as she could. Still driving long after she should have had her license taken away, she would play Bingo several nights a week. She would tell you that she didn’t really even enjoy the game so much. It was the company. Ginny made a whole new set of friends when she started playing and they became very important to her. Bingo gave her a reason to look forward to getting up in the mornings. When she wasn’t at Bingo, chances are she was sitting in her lounge chair or stretched out on her couch sleeping. She slept several hours a day because congestive heart failure left her unable to take in enough oxygen.

Ginny always said that when she was gone, there would be no one to remember Glenna. She just knew that Glenna’s short life was all for naught, that she was the only one left to keep her memory alive. When Ginny gave us an old wash stand that had been her mother’s, my husband did a beautiful job refinishing it. He sanded away an aged, dark finish and restored the beauty it had originally held. When it was done and we had brought it to our bedroom, Ginny came for a visit and we asked her to come upstairs to see what we had. Needless to say, she was stunned at how lovely it had become! And then she saw what we had placed upon it. Two double picture frames, one on each side of the bowl and pitcher, holding pictures of Buck and Ginny, Denzil and Glenna. I told her that day that we wanted those pictures there so she would know that none of them would ever be forgotten, that I would see to it that they were always remembered.

On April 5, 2009 Ginny passed away. I hope and pray that she has now found the peace that she could not find in life. When I think of her, I see her sitting with Buck, Peanut, Howard, Denzil and Glenna, and she’s holding a beautiful pink-cheeked cherub named Cassandra. And Ginny is smiling, a smile that reaches all the way to her heart.

Glenna Grose Taylor
Never to be forgotten.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Those Pesky Dark Spots

 My tree has 1600 lights.
Or maybe it's 1700.  I don't remember at this point, but what I do know is that at least 4 sections (50 lights each) of those lights have gone out since I turned them on a couple of weeks ago.  So now I have four pesky dark spots on this 7.5' monument to Christmas cheer.  The first section went out the very night I put it up and it happened within an hour of hanging the final ornament.  
True story.  

If I don't seem terribly upset over this,'s because I'm not terribly upset over this.  
Perhaps a bit out of character for me, but that's just the way it is.  
And I'm good with that.  

I've simply found that it's tough to be upset over a few failing miniature lights when there are so many other beautiful, memory-filled things hanging from those less-than-perfectly-illuminated branches.  For instance...

Pictures and homemade gingerbread houses.
 Salt dough ornaments made by sweet little hands.
 Ornaments that speak of our personalities.
 FUN things we've had for a long, long time.
 And the ones I've received from friends over the years.

And so many others...I can't possibly post pics of them all,
but every single one of them means so much to me.
Decorating the tree each year is a trip down memory lane
and a very sweet trip, too.

To those of you who have contributed to my 
treasure trove of Christmas remembrances,
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
This has always been my favorite time of year
and what better way to celebrate dear friends
and family than by thinking of them at Christmas,
remembering and appreciating all they've added to my life?

I hope Christmas brings to you
as many treasured memories as it does to me.
 Right now, even with the dark spots, 
my Christmas is looking pretty bright.  : )

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I need to be...


I need to treat others more the way I want to be treated by them.

More thoughtful.

I need to be purposeful in utilizing the lessons I've learned through the years.  I want to think before I act and I especially want to think before I speak. 


I need to spend more time working on me...the real me.  Not this aging body, but what's inside.


I need to stress less, relax more.

A better wife.

I owe it to The Hubster to be the partner he deserves. 

A better mom.

My kids deserve the best and I need to be more 'in the moment'


I need to view my physical well-being as a necessity and not an option.  After all, without good health I can't be a good wife; a good mom; a good me.  

More focused.

In the beginning I'm as determined as anyone could possibly be.  But as time passes I become distracted, easily sidetracked, and I veer off course.  No matter what I'm trying to accomplish, I need to focus.

*Just a few things that have been on my mind lately.  Thought that seeing them in black and white might help.  :)  And sharing them with you?  Well, that's just my way of holding myself accountable.  

Sorry there have been no pics of my Christmas decor (as I mentioned in previous posts) but I have to say I'm not that impressed with the outcome.  I have two trees up and they both have sections of lights out.  The outside decorations need...well, they just need.  And trust me when I tell you I'm not whining or complaining.  I'm simply stating facts.  It isn't going to be a storybook Christmas here at my house, but that's okay.  My family is healthy and we are spending this holiday season celebrating the important things.  I'm as happy as if I had good sense!  :)  So basically what I'm saying is...
I hope you are having a wonderful December and that life is treating you well.  I'll be back again soon.  :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gettin' 'er Done!

My days have been pretty busy since the kids' Thanksgiving break.  
First with planning and preparing Thanksgiving dinner, 
plus the kids being out of school.
Thanksgiving came and went,
as did their break from school,
and now I'm settling into Christmas mode!
This is my view as I write to you this morning:
This is my family room tree, complete with 1600 lights
and dozens of memories in the form of ornaments.

Today's plans (along with finishing up the laundry, cooking dinner
and cleaning the hardwood)
include putting up the parlor tree
and also decking out the rest of the house with the 
odds and ends of Christmas decor I've accumulated
over the years.

I still have to hang the stockings!  : )

I'm attempting something a little different with my outside decorating
this year and if I'm successful, I'll be posting pics later this week.
Cross your fingers for me!  ; )

I'm also trying to organize my reading list
and baking plans for the month of December.
If you recall, the kids and I read a Christmas story
With the exception of a particular story or two,
Perri has pretty much outgrown this tradition
(and this makes me very sad)
so I intend to take full advantage of the fact that
Tucker still enjoys it with me.
I'm going to attempt to type up a complete list of 
the books and stories we enjoy the most
so I can share them with you.
If you have a favorite, tell me about it!
I love adding to my list and try to find something new
to read each year.  Many nights we read two or three
shorter stories or poems.

I consider the entire time between Thanksgiving and Christmas
to be the very best part of the whole year!
I hope all of you are enjoying it as much as I am!  : )

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's Me Again

And I want to tell you about it.

Me Again is this really terrific novel I just finished reading.
I'm always looking for well written, engaging tales and I particularly love 
discovering talented new authors. 

(I found this one thanks to Pixel of Ink
If you have a Kindle and you aren't familiar with PoI, you must check it out!
It's a great way to find deals on books, both old and new.)

And let me tell you, this Mr. Cronin....he has my full attention.
I'll be on the lookout for whatever is next from him, that's for sure.
This dude is Good.
(That's with a capital G.)
From the very first paragraph I was hooked,
thanks to not only his quirky and captivating prose
(he doesn't write at you; he speaks to you)
but also the beautifully crafted characters 
who populate this tale of second chances.

It opens on the day Jonathan Hooper awakens 
from a 6-year coma brought on by a stroke.
And even though that sounds like some pretty heavy
subject matter, fear not.
This is no dark, depressing tale.
I confess to laughing out loud more than once
within the first half-dozen pages.
I will also confess to getting a bit teary-eyed 
a time or two as well.

I just adore a writer who can manipulate me in that way!

I don't want to give away too much of the storyline,
but let it suffice to say that even when you think
you know exactly where it's leading,
you probably don't.
Much of my life has been dedicated to good reads.
I've been known to brag a little when
I have it all figured out 1/3 of the way in.
And while I'm not gonna tell you I didn't have some idea
where things were going,
I will tell you this:

Jonathan's journey is as pleasurably eye-opening for the reader
as it is for Jonathan himself,
and it's one journey you'll definitely be glad you took.

Please do give this one a try.  It's definitely worth your time,
plus 25% of the sales profit is being donated to the
American Stroke Association.

Very cool, Mr. Cronin.
Very cool, indeed.
: )

Friday, November 16, 2012

Odds and Ends, Bits and Pieces, This and That...

It seems I've been fighting a sinus headache for weeks and it isn't much fun at all.  :(  I've downed so much ibuprofen, acetaminophen and various combinations of those along with decongestants...I can practically hear my kidneys and liver begging for mercy.  I even had to cancel a dental appointment this week because I was feeling that bad.  I refuse to be sick for Thanksgiving this year, so I think I might bring out the big guns this weekend.  (I'm referring to antibiotics, folks. ;) Need to kick this now!) 
Even with the headache, it's been pretty busy. Even with the end of band competition season and football game halftime performances, as well as cheering at the final football game of the season, winter softball practices and indoor games have filled Perri's schedule.  Tucker is hard at work learning (in band class at school) and practicing (a BUNCH at home) on his new percussion set, as well as taking private drum lessons on Tuesdays after school.  Phil is working his usual hours but with the time change, it seems he leaves the house while it's still dark and then it's nearly dark again when he gets home.  I've been doing the usual stuff around the house, driving the Mom Taxi, etc.  PLUS making plans for the coming holidays, but that's the fun part!  : )  Thanksgiving (for which I will NOT be sick this year!) is just around the corner and I'm hosting.  Then comes.........CHRISTMAS!!! 
Yesterday I read to Tucker's fifth grade class.  It was Read to Me Day and I had a terrible time finding something age appropriate that I could read to them in under 30 minutes!  Ended up choosing a short story from a book titled Haunted Teachers.  Incredibly cheesy story, but they loved it!  : ) 


Last night was girls' night out for my daughters, a couple of friends and me.  We went to see the final installment in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Part 2.  I confess to being a little disappointed in some of the special effects.  In this day and age I think it's pretty crazy that the baby is computer generated or whatever it was they did that made her appearance so...peculiar? I guess that's as good a word as any.  But I will also admit to being completely enthralled during the BIG SCENE!  (I will not elaborate further because I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but those of you who have seen it will know what I mean!)  Completely unexpected and it really made the movie!  The entire theater was so into it that there were collective gasps, oohs, aahs and then APPLAUSE!!!  : )  And quite honestly, I'm sort of expecting more.  I can't imagine Stephenie Meyer letting this story die when there are so many possibilities.  


I'd say that's about it for now.  Not much else to report for now but I will try to be back soon with a more captivating post.  Promise.  : )

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

And that's all I'm gonna say about THAT.

It's over.  Thank goodness it is, too.  I'm so very tired of the ugliness that has come with this election.  And guess what.  The rude and condescending comments, the hateful name calling, the derogatory remarks...those things were very bipartisan.  They came rolling off the tongues of people on both sides of the fence.  The most ridiculous part of it all is that none of it changes any political opinions. It only changes your opinion of the person spewing the hatred.  When is the last time that my stance on a subject was changed by rantings and ravings?  Never. 

There are two things I don't typically discuss outside of my comfort zone:  politics and religion.  (And today's post is regarding the former, not the latter.)  Like everyone else, I have my opinions.  But I'm incredibly cautious about expressing those opinions for two reasons.  One is that I do not feel that I am well enough educated on the subject of politics to be able to have the kind of conversation most are looking to have.  Typically most folks are looking for a good argument and I don't argue well.  I'm too emotional.  I do have my beliefs and convictions and if asked, I will sometimes express the right company.  But as a general rule, I avoid those situations as much as possible. 

The second reason is that I've come to discover that much of the time I simply do not want to know.  Thanks to Facebook I now know precisely what many of my friends think about the various topics that were important in this election.  I agree with some of them.  I disagree with others.  I also know that if some of them knew my opinions they would call me the same names they were calling others who were willing to put their thoughts and feelings out there for all the world to see.  Everyone claims their 'side' isn't judging or condemning...but they are.  Friendships have been altered and even lost over these topics.

There is a point to this post.  We have to live with each other, folks.  We need to understand that we aren't all the same and that's not a terrible thing.  If we disagree with something, we need to pray about it and do what we can to make a change without resorting to ugliness.  Think about it.  Those folks from THAT church (which I will not only gives them fuel for their fire) go around defending their beliefs, but they do it in such an ugly and hateful way.  I know that's an extreme case, but I could easily compare it to some of what I've seen on Facebook over the last few weeks.  A point can be made through civilized conversation, particularly when you're dealing with friends. 

I will also say that some of my Facebook friends handled it all very respectfully, offering proof that it CAN be done.  They expressed their opinions and made their stances known without degrading the opposition.  It IS possible to support your candidate or your cause without mention of the opposing viewpoint.  But hey, we all know that's not what politics in America is all about these days.  How sad. 

The one good thing to come of all this is that a passion for our country has been reignited.  That could also end up being a bad thing unless people begin to understand how to use that passion to do good rather than to fan the flames of hatred. 

Now enough of that.  It's time to move on.   


Friday, November 2, 2012

Five Years Ago Today... beautiful daughter married her handsome prince.

Happy Anniversary, Brie and Josh!

In this month of gratitude
I have to say that I'm extremely grateful
for these two and the two beautiful baby boys
they've brought into our family.  : )
How blessed we are!

Monday, October 29, 2012


I think that's an appropriate title for today.  My mind is wandering here, there and yonder and I'm sure that's how this post will read.  

We had a long, wet weekend.  A system moved in on Saturday bringing us rain (and plenty of  it!) and now, before this one has a chance to fizzle out or move on, we're awaiting the arrival of Frankenstorm Sandy.  We're already pretty well saturated and with high winds coming, I'm expecting to see downed trees.  That, of course, brings the possibility of no electricity.  It could get ugly around here. 

But even with all the rain we still managed to celebrate Mom's 85th birthday on Saturday evening.  Thirty-four family members got together at the local Olive Garden and a great time was had by all!  Well, all but the other diners who had to share a dining room with us.  Poor folks probably had no idea what hit 'em!  ;)  We're a loud, happy group!  It is impossible to have a quiet and sedate gathering of my family and really....who'd want that?  Not me!  :)  We have FUN!  I just know that some of those folks went out to dinner expecting a nice, quiet evening.  If we had been drinking and rowdy in a rude and obnoxious way, I'd feel a lot worse about it, but that's not how we roll.  ;)  Hopefully Brie will send me some of the pics she took and I'll try to post them later. 

Yesterday we did NOTHING.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Zero.  Not. One. Thing. 

It was WONDERFUL!  :)

I can't tell you the last time we had a Sunday afternoon to do with as we pleased.  Fall softball was cancelled due to the weather and this coming Sunday is the start of winter (indoor) softball, so the break was short lived.  Still, it was a terrific afternoon of nothingness.  :)

Not sure what this day will bring, but I'm about to get off this computer and find out!  Tons of things I could/should be doing, I'm sure.  Hope all of you have a fabulous Monday!  If you're in Sandy's path, please heed the warnings and stay safe. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thank you, Mr. Hickam!

My boy was all smiles last night.
You see, he'd been waiting for this 
author of Rocket Boys 
(the book on which the film
October Sky was based)
came to our neck of the woods yesterday,
spending the day speaking to and with
area high school kids,
then speaking at a fundraising 
dinner put on by our local
community association.
It was a wonderful evening
and we were very fortunate to
be able to attend.
(THANK YOU to Brie for 
getting us tickets!)
 This was Tucker's first time attending
such a function and he was in awe.
The setting was lovely,
the food was wonderful,
and the mood was jubilant.
But the highlight for my little guy
was having the opportunity 
to meet a man whose life story
is so very inspiring.
If you don't know Mr. Hickam's story,
you absolutely MUST read 
Rocket Boys.
What a story it is!

 After such a great evening, 
I'm now back to reality.
Today I'm feeling a little sluggish
as the result of a pretty bad migraine 
last night.  :(
I felt it coming on just before the dinner,
but there wasn't much I could do.
I had hurriedly changed purses 
just before walking out the door 
and had no meds in my bag.
I wasn't about to leave the dinner early,
but the second Mr. Hickam walked off the stage,
we headed out the door.
The drive home was...
interesting, to say the least.
Bright headlights are not my friend
when a migraine is hanging around.
I took meds and was in bed 
with an ice pack on my head 
at 9:38 p.m.
The only way I can get a migraine to go away
is to go to sleep.
That's tough when you're hurting so.
It finally happened and now
I'm suffering with the
'migraine hangover'.
Those of you who have them will
 know exactly what I mean.
And best of all?
Today is our wedding anniversary!
And The Hubster will probably be 
working a little late this evening.
So between that and this sluggishness...
to me!  ; )

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Something New in the Kitchen

I just posted a new recipe in Kelli's Kitchen.  
Check it out when you have a minute!  : )

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our Road Trip in Pictures

 The Anna Jarvis House
in Grafton, WV.
Don't know who she is? 
She's the reason you celebrate
Mother's Day.

 Some wetlands along the way.

 The covered bridge in Philippi.
Heavily traveled daily
since it's smack-dab in the middle of town.

A couple of shots as we drove through
some of the most gorgeous

 A lovely farm we came across
as we drove along a 15 mile stretch
of narrow, winding blacktop.

 A path that leads you to
Blackwater Falls.

 We were up high enough that there
were few trees other than pines.

 A lovely walkway leading to
the falls.

214 steps, in case you were wondering.  ;)

 Blackwater Falls.
Stunningly beautiful.
I could sit there all day
drinking in the scenery
and listening to the powerful 
rushing of the water.

 Ferns growing along the path
on the way back from the falls.
This pic just doesn't capture 
the beauty of that shady area.

 Seneca Rocks.
There are actually people standing
on top of those peaks,
though they're difficult to see
in these pics.

 A lovely picnic area just
outside of Seneca Caverns.

 A little more of the colorful
German Valley surrounding
Seneca Caverns.

 The entrance to the Caverns.
We walked through 3/4 of a mile
of underground caverns.

 The view we enjoyed on our walk back
from the caverns' exit.

These next pics are of 
Weston State Mental Hospital,
sometimes referred to as
Transallegheny Lunatic Asylum.
This is one of the most fascinating 
places and we plan to go back 
when we can take a tour of
the building and the grounds.
This is the largest cut stone building
in the United States.

 This brick building below is one of the
annexes to the main hospital.
At one time the hospital included
666 acres of ground,
had 3 cemeteries,
a water treatment facility,
greenhouses and gardens.

I can't wait to go back there to
tour the grounds and the
inside of the building,
which closed down in the 90s.
This month they are hosting 
haunted house tours
and even haunted overnight stays.
Not interested in that, TYVM.

All in all, we drove 500 miles that day 
and saw parts of the state I'd never seen before.
A trip to the WV mountains 
in the fall of the year
is highly recommended.
It is indeed

Friday, October 19, 2012

What's it worth? Let me tell ya...

Easy-Fold WV State Map = $7.95

Gasoline to last the entire day = $60

The autumn scenery,
 a much-needed day away from the craziness 
that is real life
time to reconnect with my spouse:


A more detailed and picture laden post
is soon to come.
We spent a gorgeous and relaxing day
in the mountains of eastern West Virginia.

There's a reason this great state is known as 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What Goes Around, Comes Around: Two Tales Tied Together

Tale #1:

The Hubster and I were taking Tucker to the high school for a chance to try out band instruments.  Perri had stayed after school for band and then cheer practice, so she met us there.  While we stood in the long line of parents patiently awaiting our turn to speak with the powers that be, Perri sat down on the risers to talk to a fellow band member.  I walked over to them to ask Perri a question and that young man also joined in the conversation.  He was very friendly and personable, had a good sense of humor and impressed me with the fact that he was willing to carry on a conversation with a... *gasp*... PARENT!  ; )

I knew this young man's family but had never met him.  I used to see his parents during Little League season when his younger brother played baseball with Tucker and always thought they were very nice folks.  So a few days later when I ran into his mom at a high school football game, I made sure to tell her what a polite young man she was raising.  I told her how refreshing it was to meet a high school student who is willing and able to carry on a conversation with an adult, and that he seemed to be a very bright young  man.

And then a few days later...

Tale #2:
Tucker moved down off the bleachers to stand by the fence where he could watch the band more closely.  We were only 4 or 5 rows up the bleachers and it's a small-town high school stadium.  I wasn't afraid for him to be down there alone, even with the large crowd in attendance.  He was always within my line of sight.

And then suddenly, so was a whirling dervish of a little boy who had been running wildly all evening.   He appeared out of nowhere and went barreling directly into the side of a large garbage can that was overflowing.  The little guy hit the ground rolling, got himself up and was acting silly, as if it had made him dizzy.  He laughed and then continued making his way through the crowd, never even pretending to pick up any of the garbage he had spilled. 

Tucker looked at the kid as he ran off and then looked at the garbage littering the walkway along the fence where he was standing.  Then he did something that made this momma very proud.

He started picking up the empty paper plates, the dirty napkins and the smashed cups.  He kept at it for a as long as it took him to get the area clean and all the trash returned to the can.  Then he turned, leaned on the fence and started watching the band's performance once again.  He truly thought nothing of it.  He saw something that needed done and he did it.  Simple as that.

The next thing I know, there is a lady standing beside Tucker, leaning down to talk to him so he could hear her over the crowd.  I saw him turn and point to me and the lady walked to where we were seated.  She told Tucker and then us how she appreciated what he had done, cleaning up after that little boy ran off and left such a mess, and that she admired him for doing it without even being asked.

Yes, it was a very proud momma moment.  : )


Now I suppose you're wondering what Tale #1 really has to do with Tale #2.  Well, let me tell ya all about it.

Just before that football game had gotten started, my friend Kevin and I were discussing the way things have changed; the way that people have changed.  We talked about good people who perform good deeds. We talked about good people who don't really try all that hard.  We talked about how the common courtesies we were taught as kids are no longer quite so common.  We also talked about how many of today's kids have never witnessed that type of behavior and will very likely never learn it on their own.  And we talked about how truly sad that makes us.  We are both trying hard to raise our own kids to be courteous and friendly.  We teach them the value of giving back to their communities and reaching out to those less fortunate.  And we mostly try to teach them these things by example.  It's easy enough to talk the talk, but much more effective to walk the walk.

I related Tale #1 to Kevin.  I told him that I think it is just as important to praise the good we see
in today's kids as it is to call them out on poor judgement.  In the last few years I have tried very hard to look for the good in even the most rotten of kids, and to then make mention of it.  You never know when a kind word from you may be the only kind word that child hears.  Also, to a struggling parent, such comments may bring a great deal of comfort when they're doubting their effectiveness.  As a mom I know how much I like to be informed of the good my kids do.  And honestly, if you aren't doing or saying something to make a positive difference in someone's day....well, what's the point?

So an hour and a half after Kevin and I had this conversation there is a lady I don't know taking the time to praise my child,  to tell me how much she appreciates his actions, and that I should be proud of him. 

Just exactly how cool is that?  : )

We can make a difference, folks.  It isn't going to happen all at once and there are going to be times when we don't see results right away....or even at all.  But we can't let that stop us from trying to do what's right, especially when it comes to today's youth.  They need encouragement.  They crave positive attention. 
So many of them don't get that at home.  And you may even find that you are struggling for something good to say to or about a kid who seems to be doing all he can to make life difficult.  But please hang in there.  Keep looking for the good and be sure you point it out when you find it.  Just a little praise can make a kid realize that doing the right thing is not so hard after all.  And it makes parents like me realize that all the effort we put into raising our kids to be kind, caring, productive members of society....well, it's all very worthwhile.  : )

Friday, October 5, 2012

5QF Fun

Linking up at My Little Life for 5QF.  You should, too!  : )

1. What album/cd/download are you embarrassed to admit you have?
Hmmmm.....I'm not sure that I have one that actually embarrasses me, but I have one or two that my family would just as soon forget! LOL!  I love My Best Friend's Wedding and my older daughter has the CD.  I borrowed it (like, for a really loooooong time, I'm afraid...actually, I might still have it.  OOPS!) and I put it on my iPhone.  So when things are getting boring on a long drive, I simply hook up my phone and turn on this song:
If You Wanna Be Happy

Believe me when I tell you that they like to complain that I'm playing it, but they sure do end up singing along before it's over!  ; ) 

2. What's the one thing your spouse does better than you?

One thing?  Pffffffttt.  He has a better sense of direction.  He provides for our family in ways I never could.  He can maintain a calm facade much better than I can...meaning that when we're facing a situation that causes me to fly off the handle, he just kind of stands there and takes it all in before reacting. 

This list could get long.

But I was much better at breastfeeding than he ever could be.  ; )


3. When do you start buying Halloween Candy?

At the last possible minute.  We never have trick-or-treaters (I live in a cow pasture, remember?) so I don't really have to worry about it.  But I do worry about it because what if I expect no trick-or-treaters but then there comes that knock on the door and I find an adorable little person standing there awaiting a treat?  (That has happened maybe 3 times in the 18 years I've lived here...) So the day before or (more typically) the day of, I usually pick up a bag of something or other just in case.  Of course, I have to make sure that it's something we like because we're probably going to be the ones stuck eating it.  

4. Family closets - Yay or nay?

I think I would love this.  I think.  Maybe.  Having one room-sized closet would mean that organization would be key, but I also think it would be easier than trying to organize the much smaller space in an ordinary sized closet.  Also how cool would it be to have the laundry room adjacent to this family closet?  Open a door and put away everyone's everything without walking from room to room to room!  Yes, I'm sure I would like that.  

5. Which home/cleaning chore do you hate the most? Why?

I can sum this up in one word:  

 Don't mind doing laundry.
Dusting and vacuuming are tedious
but not terrible.
Washing dishes?
Not my fave but far from dreadful.
But scrubbing toilets?

So I'll tell you what:  I'll come over and do your laundry if you'll come over and scrub my toilets.  Deal?  ; ) 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Junque

The Hubster calls it junk
but he couldn't be more wrong.
If it were junk,
I would trash it.
No, the only occasionally necessary
and I might need this someday
items that are stashed here, 
there and yonder
are much better than simply junk.
They most definitely qualify for the
 more dignified classification of
(A  'que' on the end
gives it a certain elegance.
Don't you think?)

(No, this is not my junk.  I found this pic on the Internet.
I just wanted The Hubster
to see a pic of a junk drawer that's even worse
than our own.
Hey, at least I didn't find a rubber hand!)

I should be embarrassed by the fact 
that I have not one... not two...
but THREE junque drawers.
In my kitchen alone.
(Don't judge me.  And we'll not be discussing 
the ones UPstairs, TYVM.)
However, the fact that I can typically come up 
with a needed item that no one else seems
to have on hand is enough to quell my shame
to a certain extent.

You need to move a heavy desk 
and could use a set of furniture slides?
Don't run to the hardware store. 
There's a set in that end drawer, under the
spare nightlight bulbs.

What's that?
You found that mini Simon game 
the kids misplaced 3 years ago
and you'd like to play it but can't find the little 
knobs they removed?
I can handle that.
They're right there in the second drawer
beside the battery charger for the 
RC truck that was trashed last spring.

(Okay, so that charger can go now.
Consider it history!)

Yesterday I cleaned out and organized
the closet that goes under the stairs,
then decided to attack the junque drawers.
After purging and reorganizing,
this is what one of them looks like now:
Pens, pencils, markers, highlighters...
a place for everything 
and everything in its place.
 Feels pretty good.  : )

Know what feels even better?
An empty drawer!
My mind is running a mile a minute
considering all the possibilities!
Once I cleared out the things that 
actually have a home elsewhere
(but someone was simply too lazy to 
put them where they belong)
I managed to consolidate 
the remaining items and free up
an entire drawer.

You have no idea how happy this makes me!

Bet you already know my focus for today.
What to use to refill this beautifully empty space!
Around here, the possibilities are endless,
but I can assure you one thing:
No rubber hands will be involved!  ; )

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Tumpin on My Door

I'm sure you're familiar with tumpins,
though you may not realize it 
at the moment.
You see, when my kids were small
and unable to pronounce some of the
simplest of words,
'tumpin' is the best they could do
when attempting to say 'pumpkin'.
 So, see?
You do know tumpins!
Those lovely orange fruits 
whose flesh we love to carve,
whose seeds we love to roast
and whose meat makes the most
delicious and traditional of 
Thanksgiving pies.
I made this one last year.

Anyway, I was looking 
for something a little different 
to hang on my front door this fall.
I didn't have anything specific in mind.
In fact, it was just the opposite.
I really had no idea what I wanted.
I needed inspiration and 
spent hours combing through Pinterest,
all to no avail.

Then I took a trip to Crafts 2000 
with Brie and our friend Amanda
and lo and behold,
I found just the thing.
You see, not only did it catch my eye...
it was also super inexpensive.
I had only about $12 in the entire thing.
Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about.  ; )

I started with this:
Spent about twenty minutes with 
a pair of wire cutters and a hot glue gun
and ended up with this:
I'm pleased with it because it's different,
it was inexpensive,
and even though it doesn't have
the typical red/orange/yellow
color scheme
(which clashes terribly with 
my faded coral door)
it still looks plenty autumnal to me.

Now, your next vocabulary lesson
will come late next month 
when we discuss 'tippa tees'.

Come on.
I'm sure you can figure out that one on your own.


; )