Category Archives: Philip

Forever 39

My best friend, Connie, died a few months before her 40th birthday.  Today would have been her 47th birthday.

I think she would have disliked getting older, and eventually old.

She would have loved seeing her oldest son becoming homecoming king at his college, and having even more fun in college than she did.  She would have loved seeing her oldest daughter get married, and loved having a son-in-law.  She would have loved seeing her youngest son working along side her dad making and fixing stuff.  And she would have loved seeing her youngest daughter become the quintessential young lady.  She would have loved hearing her kids laugh together as nearly grown ups.  She would have loved looking forward to grandchildren.  She would have loved being able to celebrate all the wedding anniversaries she has missed.  I and her husband (my brother) have toasted to her with a bottle of Dom on their anniversary every year since she left.  She would have loved all that great champagne that I got drink instead.

But she would have hated having to wear reading glasses just to be able to read her watch.  She would have been frustrated with her hands losing strength and her fingers getting crooked and stiff.  She would have hated that sometimes hopping out of bed would be more like groaning and rolling out.  She would NOT have been on board with the whole “the spirit is willing, but the body is weak” thing that happens with age.  She would have not liked anything about aging that would have slowed her down.

She’s missed all that good stuff and will miss a lot more…but she has missed the bad stuff, too, including the creaky parts of aging.  I know that she is likely laughing at me wearing readers and pushing ever closer to 50 every time her birthday rolls around and she still gets to be 39…forever 39.


The List of Fifty – White Water Rafting

“Go white water rafting” has been on The List of Fifty since its inception.  And finally this past week, I was able to check it off!  Woo Hoooo!  And it was a Woo Hoo adventure!  My brother Phil is in town with his kids and we decided to take the two oldest up to Buena Vista for a little WW Rafting on the Arkansas.

We went with an outfit called “Noah’s Ark” and it was GREAT!  Having never gone before I really had no idea what to expect.  We chose to go on the kind of raft where the guide does the lion’s share of the rowing and steering and to do a half day trip on a class II and III stretch of the river.

Once an item on “The List” has been checked off, a new item needs to be added to keep the list at fifty.  After this little adventure, I’m putting “go white water rafting” BACK on the list, only this time it will be to go on a trip that includes class IV rapids.  AND next time I want to do more of the rowing and maybe make it an all day sort of trip.  Good times.  If you are keeping your own “list”, and it doesn’t have “go white water rafting” on it, may I recommend that you add it????

Here we are, going through the “Seven Steps” rapids!  (I’m in the far back where you can’t really see me!)

Time Does Not Heal All Wounds

Eighteen years ago today I was at work.  I called to check on my best friend/sister-in-law who was ready to give birth to her first child any day.  She was doing great but was experiencing an uncontrollable urge to, well, to put it as delicately as possible, have a bowel movement.  “DON’T PUSH, and get to the hospital!!” I told her.  Not long after that Richard arrived.  WHAT a cutie.  He was named in honor of his two grandfathers, Richard and Daniel.  A first grandchild and grandson for the both of them.  I was a very excited and proud first-time auntie.

Four years ago today I was working my last, and for the most part, rather uneventful shift in the ER.  I had turned in my resignation and was planning my move from Los Angeles to Colorado which was to take place in just a month.  I was excited about the new life which awaited me and all the adventures I was to have.  And I was thinking of my oldest nephew, Richard, who was on vacation with friends but was turning 14.

Just a couple of hours before my last shift was to end I got the phone call that didn’t change any of that, but changed absolutely everything.

Instead of long and tearful good-byes with my co-workers, I started the longest and most tearful good-bye of my life.  One that, as of today, has lasted four years.

I no longer count the time Connie has been gone in minutes, or hours, or days, or weeks, or even in months, but in years.  It’s still surreal to me.  I miss her every minute.

Congratulations on your 18th birthday Dicky Dan.  Your mother would have loved to see you and the man you have become.

I love you both, to the ends of the earth and to the highest heaven.

Trail Canyon Trail

A redunant name for a beautiful hiking trail in the foothills of Los Angeles.  “A place so beautiful, they named it twice”.  I went back “home” to the L.A. area for the Easter weekend.  Phil and the kids and I headed out on Monday morning to find the trailhead.  The trail we were seeking leads to a waterfall, as all of the hikes I go on with them do.  This waterfall was along the Gold Creek.

The book we were using as our guide was published in the 80’s, so sometimes the directions are hit or miss.  This one was a HIT!  The only “glitch” was that the sign we were looking for which would lead to the trailhead was missing on the way.  When we turned around to look from the other direction, there it was, and once we found it the directions were spot on.

We hiked in about 2 1/2 miles up (and 2 1/2 miles back, which is good, it’s always good to hike out as far as you’ve hiked in!) on a well maintained trail which completely lacked any evidence of human presence…no trash, no graffiti, no dog poop….barely even shoeprints in the softer areas.

We forded the stream a number of the times on the way there, but didn’t even get our feet wet.  I was a bit worried to be hiking since I jacked my right knee up back in December, but it held up nicely.  I was very careful about foot placement and avoiding any pivoting on it.  I tell you this just to show that the hike, though not totally easy, was doable even for the gimp in the group.  (So you could do it, too!)  The hike took us through lush green woods along paths liberally decorated with itty bitty wildflowers.  This purple beauty measured less than an inch across.  Didn’t even see the teensy weensy red bugs crawling around until I uploaded my pictures!

Purple Flower, Red Bugs by you.

And it took us through more poison oak than any of us had ever seen in our lives!  Phil and at least a couple of his kids are really prone to getting horrific rashes from it and warnings rang out frequently about avoiding touching it!  (And upon arriving home, all clothes were stripped and washed, and showers were taken, it was that bad!)  I haven’t heard if any of them broke out or not, but Richard was already sporting some nasty rashes from his LAST excursion into the wilderness.

Back to the hike.  We came around one bend and found ourselves in a manzanita forest.  Manzanita is a bush that is found in the chaparrel biome.  Manzanita is spanish for “little apple”, I guess because the seeds look alot like little apples.  The trunk and branches are a deep rosey red, and they are smooooooooth and satiny.  Any way, these were huge TREES!  Never seen anything like it.  Phil shows how tall the bushes usually are.  The trunks were so thick you couldn’t get your arms around them.

Phil and the Manzanitas by you.

The trail led us to something I can only describe as a CLIFF.  Rocks jutting out high over a small canyon.  Richard loves to rock climb.  I am afraid of heights.  He decided to pick his way down to the canyon.  I wanted to take a picture of him doing it, but couldn’t get close enough to the edge to do that, so I took a picture of him disappearing through a crack in the CLIFF.  Bye Richard.  I hope I see you again!

Richard Gives Me the Heebies By Rock Climbing... by you.

He took the short way down, we took the long way down, and we met back up at the bottom.

The last bit of the hike was a little steep and the dirt a bit loose, but when when we rounded the last corner before the waterfall, we entered a little bitty paradise!  The cataract measured about 50 feet tall and tumbled into a small, clear pool.

The Gold Creek Falls (Real name?  Dunno!) by you.

There was a large sycamore tree at the edge of the pool which had a high green and lacy canopy.  The canopy provided shade and showed off a brilliant blue sky above it.  Off came shoes and socks!  The bottom of the pool was firm and sandy/pebbly.  But boy oh, the water was cold!  Of course I orchestrated one of my famous foot pictures, but I couldn’t stand being in the water for more than a minute or so.

Foot Picture in the Basin Pool by you.

My feet are wimpy because they have spent all winter in shoes (and I just got a pedicure further removing any protective toughened skin!).  But Jonathan’s feet suffered no such wimpiness.  This kid was swimming in that cold water!

Jonathan Braves the Cold Water and Gets Soaked Through! by you.

Head to toe wet.  Brrrrr.

Alaska and Avie Get Cold by you.

We played and laughed for a time and decided this would be a great place for a picnic.  Plenty of large flat rocks to serve as a picnic table. I don’t know if we got lucky that day having the place to ourselves, or if it is a little visited place.  I wonder if we went back in the summer for that picnic if there would be a horde of people vying for the best seats on the rocks!

Time to put our shoes back on and go.

Playing in the Basin by you.

A hidden place which seemed to have been created, at least for that day, just for us!

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills…Deuteronomy 8:7 (NIV)

Some of the best times of my life are spent exploring God’s creation with my big brother and his kids.

Certain Things Just Make You Feel Old

I feel old when I walk down the stairs and I can HEAR my left knee cap grinding.  (And that’s my GOOD knee!)

I feel old when I realize that I have been a nurse for TWENTY YEARS.

I feel old knowing that my 30th high school reunion is in only four years…if we have one, that is.

I feel old when clerks at stores and waitresses and such call me m’am, and they’ve never been in the military.

But the thing that is making me feel old (but very excited and proud!) today, is that my oldest nephew will be going off to college in August.  I just heard that he got into Hillsdale College in Michigan.   Way to go Richie!!!!  Well done. 

Yeah, I’ll be up to see you, you know it!  🙂

This One is For Karine

Okay, so my nephew e-mailed me today and asked me a favor.  He apparently recently ran into a woman named Karine (spelling is in question…afterall it IS my nephew we’re talking about) who wanted the information on the Los Angeles regional robotics competition.  Richard asked me to send the info to Karine as he didn’t have her info BUT she reads my blog.  I can’t find a Karine as ever having left a comment (thus providing me with an e-mail address) SO I am posting that information here, in a post, for Karine, and anyone else who would like to go and support the Beach Bot/Team 330.  (I have added a permanent link to my nephew’s blog in my blogroll).

The competition is March 13th and 14th at the Long Beach Convention Center.

Gee, I wish I could go…

Happy Birthday, Alaska! :-)

 A different kind of fifteen! 

 Hope you have a great birthday!

(Posted in absentia)

Happy Birthday, Jonathan




(Posted in absentia)

“Re: Essay and other such rubbish” – Part III

Since I’m gone I thought I’d have my nephew, Richard, in again as a guest blogger!  Here’s another offering from my nephew’s collection of essays.  That’s my nephew!  Putting the positive slant on yet another “negative” personality trait!

This one is on Sarcasm..

Sarcasm as a Second Language


“Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.”

                        -Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, 19th century Russian fictional writer.


Did you know that I am multi-lingual? Not only do I speak English, pig-Latin, and New Zealandish, I also speak sarcasm. This wonderful language serves as a happy medium between the polite refutation and outright condemnation we are forced to shovel upon the idiocy that envelops us. Through sarcasm, we are able to eviscerate our moronic contemporaries, as opposed to politely and gently correcting their blatant and unforgivable lack of intelligence, without crossing over the boundary of downright meanness. We save our mean comments about the person for our close friends and family. The beauty of sarcasm lies in the fact that the people subject to your wit generally are too dense and slow to understand your true feelings.

            Another facet of the language of sarcasm is its use between two or more native speakers. Those fluent in this tongue can often carry on entire conversations with each other about their peers without these unwashed masses of idiots realizing what is going on around them. The difficulty in this resides in the fact that one must sift through the maddening crowd of morons to find one truly intelligent person who shares this gift, no easy task, for, as I have come to conclude, only one out of every thirty people or so qualifies. That is why the best alternative for we intellectuals is solitary, urban hermitage.

            There are several dialects of sarcasm. The first, traditional sarcasm, is most prevalent in the middle-aged, and tends to tread between the boundaries of politeness and meanness fairly evenly, reflecting neither too much softness nor too much open harshness. The second, reactionary sarcasm, is spoken almost exclusively by the old, and generally borderlines on razor sharp meanness. This dialect tends to focus more on teaching its subject didactic elements and improving its subject’s behavior as opposed to just openly mocking him. The final dialect, post modern ridicule, resounds both loudly and irritatingly from the youngest sect of the species. This dialect does not even try to mask itself, crossing over the line of nastiness in almost every instance, and rarely, if ever, reflects either intellect in presentation, or discretion in subject. It is because of this final dialect that we who speak sarcasm are looked upon as disrespectful little cretins, when in reality, we simply use sarcasm as a tool to prevent use from slapping senseless the halfwits around us.

(Posted in absentia)

Wagons Ho!!

Today (or maybe tomorrow, I’m not exactly sure!) my sister Whitney and her son Mitchell have packed up her truck and a U-Haul and will be heading out for Colorado to start their new life.

And my brother Phil has packed up his Suburban with his four kids and my sister Liz’ two kids and has hitched that U-Haul up and is heading out to take Whitney and Mitchell to Colorado. 

There’s a little part of me that feels bad that I miss so much of my family’s “happenings” because of my involvement with Teen Missions over the years.  Like I have missed nine of my mother’s birthdays, for example.  And I’ll miss having nearly all my family together in Colorado this summer while I’m gone.  BUT, sometime very late this evening my team will be leaving Boot Camp for Malawi, and what a blessing God has given me to be able to spend the summer with a group of teenagers who have given their summers up in order to minister to African children.  I’m glad that my family understands that I miss things not because I want to, but because the Lord has called me to do something else.

Whitney and her son are going to take over taking care of Mew Ling from my Dad when they get to Colorado.  I’m sure my Dad will be glad about that!  🙂 

Please pray for my team as we “pack-out”, and embark on our 8,200 mile journey from Orlando to Lilongwe (Malawi), and beyond.  Please pray that all of us, and all of our luggage, arrive safely.

You can’t even imagine how excited we all are to get to Malawi and get to work…

(Posted in absentia) 

Water Lily

Every once in awhile I take a picture that really amazes me.  Other than brightening the photo, I did nothing else to it, and yet, it looks like a watercolor painting.  At least it does to me.

Click HERE if you want to see the unbrightened version. 

This lily was growing in the pond in my brother Phil’s backyard.

And I’d like to also present this flower to Doris on her 80th birthday!!!  Happy Birthday, Doris!!!

(Posted in absentia

Lots Happened Today!

Today was a busy day!  Today was my big brother’s birthday – “Happy Birthday Phil”!

And today was my mother’s surprise 70th birthday party, kept secret by using the veil of it being my bro’s birthday to hide behind!  Her birthday isn’t until the 16th, but “Happy Birthday, Mom!”.

I hope that both parties were fun and full of laughter and friends…

And congratulations MUST go out to Dan Gould as he graduates today with his PhD!

And this is my first “Posted in absentia” posts for the summer (I have a number of posts set to publish at varying times while I am gone).  Today is my last day at home.  I have turned off my computer for the last time, I have finished the final bits of packing, and I leave very early tomorrow morning for Florida and “The Lord’s Boot Camp” in Merritt Island, FL. 

My back has been giving me some increased problems lately and I just hope I am not going to be struggling too much with my 50 pound duffel bag and two really heavy carry-ons!  Just not as young and strong as I used to be…but very excited about the summer God has in store for me and my team!

I have posted my addresses for this summer in my sidebar.  Sure, they’re a jumbled mess, but I couldn’t fix it!  If you’re of a mind, I’d love to get “snail mail” from you, even if I don’t really know you!  No e-mail or computers where I’m going!

(Posted in absentia)

Photo Friday – “Emotion”

I am very late posting my entry for this week’s Photo Friday, but I have a good reason.  I had company from California here for the past few days and I wanted to spend my time with her.  Thanks for visiting Shawn!  It was a gooooood time!  🙂  Safe travels, my friend!

And so, without any further ado…

Today’s Photo Friday is entitled: Emotion

chosen by: Julie

Follow the links below for other entries (I will add links as entries come in!):

Tall chick tales 

 Idea jump! 

 Just for fun

 A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

A Curious State of Affairs

It’s always “fun” to conquer, even if just a little bit, one’s fears, don’t you think?  I am quite the acrophobe.  I fear heights.  Not ALL heights mind you.  My fear of heights is rather specific.  I’m fine with being at the top of very tall buildings, I LOVE roller coasters and other rides that include heights, and I have no problem with flying (planes of ANY size and helicopters are all just fine with me).  I don’t even mind hiking upwards.  What bothers me are things like being on bridges, hiking DOWN, driving next to drop offs, snow skiing, that sort of thing.  I don’t like being in high places where there is, at least to me, a perceived or actual lack of control in the situation.  I can’t stand having people anywhere near me if I am standing in a place where they could startle me, or end up close behind me without my having seen them come up on me.  My fear is more of a fear of falling from any sort of height, even if from a small height.

I used to be able to climb trees, climb up onto roofs, and climb ladders without any problem whatsoever.  I was rather fearless, in fact.  But I was startled twice, once when I was 16 and once when I was in my twenties, which resulted in my developing fear.  The first startling occured when I was laying concrete blocks on a less than sturdy scaffolding on the second story of a building.  When I was deep in  concentration and hard at work, a guy reached up from the ground and grabbed my ankles and shook me.  And that was the start of it.  I got so fearful of heights that I had a problem using the second step of a stepladder!  I worked on desensitizing myself and was almost over my fear.  But then, at the top of the Hancock center in Chicago I got my second startling.  While I was deeply in thought and looking down, my brother came up behind me and shook my shoulders and gave me one of those “Bahahahahha” shouts in my ear.  I again spiraled into my old fear pattern.  And I’ve been working on overcoming it, or at least occasionally temporarily conquering it, since. 

Yesterday my visiting friend, Shawn, and I took a hike up to some abandoned train tracks and tunnels.  The hike up to the location was really more like a loose gravel scramble!  Staying well ahead of Shawn (for my mental sanity) we climbed quite a distance at a very steep incline on a very slippery slope and it wasn’t until we reached the top that I thought “Gee, I just HOPE I’m going to be able to get down!”.  Putting that thought aside until I HAD to deal with it, I threw myself into enjoying the view from “up there”.  And I carefully picked my way around the washed out areas along the trail.  With the sound of the highway and river far below us, we worked our way through each of five tunnels and enjoyed the rock formations, the plant life, the insects, the sky and the feeling of relative solitude that being far away from civilization invokes. 

My emotion is “exhilaration”. 


Lou and Shawn, a self-portrait in front of the entrance to one of the tunnels

I didn’t do a Rocky sort of dance when I arrived at the top, nor did I shout with glee.  But inside I had this exhilarated “Whew!!!  I am DOING this!” sort of response.

Shawn also has her own heights issues, so we were quite the pair.  When our hike had to be over as we had a reservation for some horsebacking riding and HAD to get going, we found our way back to where we climbed up, and boy, did it look even more steep and slippery from up there.  We pretty much just slid down on our backsides holding onto anything at all that would give us a sense of security!  We were dusty, filthy, hot and sweaty, and our hearts were pounding when we got to the bottom, but get to the bottom we did!  Yay us!!!

(I will have to conquer my fear to get back up to this location again, as there is a geocache hidden in one of those tunnels that I failed to locate this time around!)

If you fear heights/falling, you might want to (or maybe not!  I could hardly watch it!) check out this link e-mailed to me by a friend, and also seen on “A Curious State of Affairs”.  This gave me the biggest case of the willies I’ve had in a loooooong time!  🙂

Please visit the links to the other participants work using the links at the beginning of this post and leave them a comment!

Friday 30th May : Title by CordieB: Phantasmagoria

Next Friday’s challenge will be my last for awhile.  I leave June First and won’t be home for two months!  Yikes!

Help Me Choose!

I am thinking of entering a photo in a local photography contest.  The subject matter is “Pollenators” and we are to show them in the process of doing their thing.

I have a few pictures I am considering and would love your feedback!

There are three.  The third picture is simply a “brighter” version of the second.

Which do I enter?  Help me choose!!!!  🙂

Or are none of them even good enough to enter.  Dunno!

Your thoughts?

(I took these pictures in my brother’s yard this past week in California…he has a most wonderful garden.  The entire southern wall of his home sports rose bushes — many taller than I — simply loaded with roses of many colors.  The bees on this day seemed partial to these vermillon blooms)

Dodger Blue!

Yesterday my niece Alaska got out the hair dye.  Her subject?  My niece Avalon.  Avie has dark hair so Alaska gave her some deep red highlights.  My nephew, their cousin, Mitchell, wanted in on the action.  He has blonde blonde blonde hair and wanted it blue.  His mom, my sister Whitney, okayed the color change…

First of all, look at the face.  Isn’t it perfection?  He is about the most gorgeous child I’ve ever seen.  Whitney took this picture with her cell phone and texted it to me.  I e-mailed her text from MY phone to my e-mail and then downloaded the picture.  Then I uploaded it on Flickr as I had to share it all with you.  (Don’t you just love technology and the internet???) 

Mitchell is six.  The hair color is semi-permanent!!  He plays baseball and is on the Dodger’s.  He has a game tomorrow where his new hair will be revealed.  Whitney warned him that it’s possible that some won’t find this new “do” as delightful as we do, but he was willing to take the chance!  🙂

Whitney says this picture doesn’t really do the blue justice.  Better pictures with a “real” camera have been promised. 

I wish they would have done this when I was visiting!  I would have loved to see this in real life and in technicolor!

I wonder if his school has any rules about this sort of thing.  I know some schools do.  If his does, I see a buzz cut in this boy’s future!  🙂

“Religion” – Photo Friday

Today’s Photo Friday is entitled: “Religion″

I have lots of pictures for this particular entry. Why? Not because I had my choice of so many great photos and just couldn’t pick, or anything like that AT ALL! 🙂 Nope. My pictures are a set of photos taken on a little walkabout I took through my old neighborhood in California this past week while visiting my family.

I had decided that I wanted to see if I could get a good picture of St. Matthew Greek Orthodox church which is about a half a mile from my brother’s house. We, my niece Avalon and I, set off one afternoon with our cameras in hand…she’s nine. My original plan was simply to take a picture of that particular church. About a tenth of a mile into our journey we walked past St. Andrew Episcopal Church:

and the idea hit me that I should share ALL of the churches I came across in our walkabout! Across from the Episcopal church is Nativity Catholic Church:

which is a particular neighborhood favorite of mine.

Almost to our intended destination I came across these lovely flowers which (to steal from last week’s challenge!) grew in lovely and unexpected juxtaposition to a fire hydrant:

And these fantastic morning glories winding their way up a telephone pole:

Finally we reach St. Matthew. It, like the other churches we’ve past, is situated in between homes on these old city streets:

We walked some more. Avalon, despite her youth, began to flag and wished to return home, so we headed off that direction, but before we reached the house, we passed the United Methodist Church:

the First Baptist Church:

AND finally, the First Samoan United Methodist Church:

Finally tally? SIX churches tucked into one small neighborhood, all passed while walking just a little bit over a mile…and only one of them has a parking lot!

Let’s just say this little part of town has got religion!

But where DOES everyone park??

It was a beeeeuuuuuutiful day!

Please take the time to visit the other participants’ entries!  I will post additional links as they come in

Sky Windows

A Curious State of Affairs 

Just For Fun

Looking in the Mirror

Idea jump!

Next week’s challenge comes to us from Jan of “A Curious State of Affairs” and it is “Self-Portrait”.  Click HERE to see the particulars!  It’s another FUN one!

One more picture, because what is a mini-adventure without one of my foot pictures?  Incomplete!  So, then, here it is!  A curb picture with a friendly reminder of where it ends up when you dump it!

The Beach Bot Update

My nephew Richard’s robotics team took second in their division, and 8th overall in the FIRST nationals in last week’s competition in Atlanta.  Not bad for a little team of homeschooled kids from the beach cities of Los Angeles!

Congrats team 330!  Well done!

The Prom – Something I’ve Learned From Teenagers About Love

“If he really wanted to be with you, he’d be with you” — Phil

This was pretty much the only thing my brother had to say about the struggles I was having in my last serious relationship.  The guy lived a thousand miles away, and had only come to visit me a single time.  I had visited him a couple of times and we had made plans for him to come and visit me again on Valentine’s Day last year.  Things were getting very serious between us.  At least I thought they were.

It didn’t take long after my getting back home after my last visit for him to back away from his plan to come on Valentine’s Day.  He was going to come some other time in February, after all “It doesn’t need to actually be ON Valentine’s Day”.  And shortly after determining that a Valentine’s Day visit wasn’t in fact necessary, he backed off from the visit entirely.  At the same time professing his love!  I didn’t get it.  I believed he wanted to be with me, but his actions certainly didn’t back that up.  I kept making excuses for him.  I soooo wanted to believe he wanted to be with me, but that there was something about him and his unknown struggle that seemed to make it difficult for him.  So I excused his behavior and lamented what seemed to be an insurmountable chasm between us.  And, my brother quietly and matter-of-factly said “if he wanted to be with you, he’d be with you”.  When the guy decided to bail from the relationship pretty much without any warning, and with a set of very odd explanations as to why, and after having done this to me already a number of times in the past, I finally decided I’d had enough and said, fine, you want to walk away, walk away.  To myself I finally admitted that I was tired of the games he seemed to be playing with me and that I couldn’t take his inconsistency and the incongruities of his words and his actions any more. 

As the days turned into weeks and months, I kept making excuses for him.  And Phil’s words kept coming back to me….If he had wanted to have been with me, he would have been with me.  If he loved me enough and there truly WAS some unknown struggle that was keeping him from me, he would have addressed that issue…

Then “Colin and Stephanie” and “Clare and John” happened, and I realized that not only were Phil’s words true, but that I NEEDED to have a guy show his intent by pursuing me…by wanting to be with me.

At sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen years old, these four teenagers have shown me that love does what it takes.  Colin, who lives in Northern California, has worked and saved and has traveled to Colorado to visit Stephanie three times since November!  Clare’s John also lives in Northern California.  Both John and Colin have flown in this weekend to take Stephanie and Clare to their prom.  What fun!  And what message does their coming here send to these girls?  That they are valued.  That the boys recognize the importance of things like the prom and that if the girls think its important, so do they.  It tells these girls that they want to be with them.  That they want to spend time with them.  And that they will do what it takes to make that happen, even though they have no idea what the future holds for them.

Don’t they look amazing??  Thanks for the love lesson, kiddos.  I needed that.  Have a GREAT time at the prom!  🙂

“Joy!” – Photo Friday


(click above for more information)

Photo Friday

Today’s Photo Friday entry is entitled: Joy! © Jan Marshall 

My computer has been out of commission for a week.  I have it back, and it seems to be working just fine.  I missed having it GREATLY!  Seems it was “killing” AC adapter/chargers.  The connection inside had come loose fromt the mother board and so it was arcing electricity and causing power spikes.  The man who fixed it checked my two adapters and confirmed that they were completely dead.  I put an order in from Dell for a new one and was anxiously awaiting its delivery, but when I tried my old adapters one last time before throwing them away, I found that one of them, despite having been declared legally dead, worked!  I wasn’t sure I’d have my laptop back and in working in order in time to post something for this Friday’s Photo Friday.  But I do.  Happy happy joy joy!  🙂

Despite my morose, loner, pessimistic leanings, ;-), I manage to find much to be joyful about in life.  It has taken practice and work, let me tell you!  I have made it part of my personal life plan to find joy where it can be found, and to embrace it as fully as I know how to do so.  There’s a verse in the Bible that says “do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).  If I enjoy the things that bring joy to the Lord, I find strength to endure the things that cause grief.  I think children are one of those things.

One of my brothers and two of my sisters have given to me the gift of nieces and nephews.  Children inately find joy in unexpected places.  We can learn much about joy just by watching children.  On one of my visits to California to visit my family, I took one of my nieces and two of my nephews to the park.  We happened upon pigeons while we were there and the chase began.  I know this is a photo meme, but I’m posting a video this week.  The quality is horrible as my old digital camera had limited video capabilities.  When I played it back, it shocked me a little to hear my own voice and laughter…I enjoyed their chasing the birds more than they enjoyed their own chasing of the birds. 

Now, although the whole point of chasing pigeons would be to catch one, when my nephew Mitchell actually did, it stunned him!  The lesson I took away from this pigeon chasing escapade?  Don’t chase what you aren’t prepared to catch!  🙂  And if laughter is the best medicine, then this little trip to the park cured what might have ailed me.

I had to make a choice between the nurse in me that screamed “PIGEONS ARE FILTHY, DON’T TOUCH THEM!!!” and the person in me who wanted to experience the potential joy of the moment.  I guess you can see and hear that I picked the joy option…

Please visit Lady Luck’s blog “A Curious State of Affairs” to see her entry, and for links to the other entries for this week.

Next week’s topic?  Friends.

“Re: Essay and other such rubbish” – PART II

Here is the second installment from my 16 year old nephew Richard’s ‘Essays on the benefits and Wonders of what Society Deems as “Negative Traits”‘.  (Click HERE to read the first).  Enjoy! 

Part 1: The Joy of Pessimism

PESSIMISM, n. A philosophy forced upon the convictions of the observer by the disheartening prevalence of the optimist

with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
US author & satirist (1842 – 1914)

            The average member of a society, when hearing the word “Pessimism”, conjures up images of sour-faced, ill tempered individuals who darken those around them with their morose countenance. This is but an atypical example.

            True Pessimists, myself included, have simply experienced enough of life’s trials and difficulties to conclude that things rarely, if ever, go as planned, and, more often than not, drown in the slough of inadequacy and disappointment. A true pessimist realizes that any hope in the things of this world will eventual succumb, suffocated by the festering miasma of time, dissatisfaction, and extraneous, albeit not unpredicted, circumstances.

            There is a certain joy, however, reserved only for we true pessimists. Our mindset tends for us to set low expectations of life around us. The truth of the matter is, however, that in our civilized life, with our inexhaustible supply of resources, pursuits, and possibilities, things never fall too far into disarray. We pessimists, by keeping our expectations low, often see them fulfilled, despite the fact that all does not go to plan. Moreover, should everything go as planned, our expectations are fulfilled above and beyond what we had hoped for. This constant fulfilling, as a result, makes us happier individuals, for our lives progress far better than we expect. In this, optimism seems to the observing pessimist not only absurd, but oxymoronic. An optimist always has high expectations and hopes, which are rarely if ever fulfilled, yet they remain happy. A Calvin and Hobbes comic strip emphasizes the credo of we true pessimists best:

Calvin and Hobbes are walking in the woods. Calvin turns to Hobbes and asks, “If  you could have one wish, what would it be?” Hobbes ponders this for while and replies, “A sandwich”. Calvin proceeds to condemn Hobbes as a fool for using his wish as such, listing all the things he could have wished for. At the end of their walk, Hobbes goes to the kitchen, makes himself a sandwich, and says, “I got my wish”.

            In the end, true pessimists see their low expectations fulfilled all the time, and we are happier as a result, whereas optimists rarely see their high expectations fulfilled, but are still happy because they are optimists, always looking forward to the future.

If “40 is the new 30”, and “pink is the new black”, then it appears that “pessimism is the new optimism”!  🙂

What do you suppose his NEXT essay will be about???


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