Great Father, Great Man, Great Teacher, Great Person

I only had 18 years with my father. The 18 years that I had, taught me the basis of everything I needed to succeed in this world. He truly was a great father. He crammed a lot of living and a beautiful family into 47 years – 18 of those I was blessed enough to share. The basic things my father taught us, I passed on to my kids. Last week, my beautiful granddaughter was with me and I caught her doing the things I had learned from my father, passed on to her father and now she is learning from her dad – my son.

Laugh and smile a lot. Smile when you greet people. Laugh – no belly laugh. The laughter of children and adults is contagious. I’ve heard that experiments have been done on the outcome of laughter with the result being that laughter releases something in your brain making you feel better. I don’t think experiments were necessary. My dad laughed a lot – we laughed a lot and we all felt pretty good.

Take some risks. Don’t be stupid – but don’t live in fear of your shadow. Life is pretty exciting. Risks – calculated risks – can just make life that much better.

Look people in the eyes when you talk to them. Looking people in the eyes makes them know that they are important to you. You are focused on them. You are listening. Watching TV, talking on the phone or texting sends the message that you aren’t interested.

Greet everyone when they come into your home or office, and when they leave. My dad always made us hug everyone. I didn’t love it, but I do now. My dad made us love each other and let them know that they were important immediately after walking through our door – even when they didn’t smell very good.

Ask for forgiveness. We had to do more than say we were sorry. We had to then ask for forgiveness and hug each other in love. Ask for forgiveness. It makes the person you are apologizing to pause and respond to your apology. It is a step in healing – the hug is just reinforcing your love and importance to the person.

Take time for your family. Play games. Laugh. Take a ride. Write them a note. Honor the dead and the alive. My dad did all of this. He taught us to honor each other and to honor our descendants. Every night we played a game after dinner. Every night he tickled us or let us sit on his lap. Every night we knew we were secure and we knew we were loved. Every night we knew we were important.

My dad was a great man. My dad was a great man that became a father. My dad was a father that was a great teacher. My dad molded his girls and mentored many friends into great people. My dad was on this earth a very short time, but he’s smiling and laughing in heaven. In fact, I bet he’s playing games and hugging everyone with great love.

Happy Father’s Day!

My father’s girls. Happy Father’s Day from all of us.

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Simply – Stop and Smell the Roses

I don’t know why, but first thing this morning I decided I better take a few minutes a day and enjoy the world around me. I think we all can get wound up in the busyness of life and forget to take a look around and enjoy the beauty. I’ve spent so much time reading and studying the past few years that I forgot about the simple things I enjoy.

My family.  The laughter and love are endless. I’ve spent so much time missing my dad but really I’ve always had him with me. I can look into my sister’s eyes and he is there. He is all around us with the love and generosity he taught us.

My children. They are grown now and quite wonderful. I can finally enjoy each day with them without stress or worry. When they are with me, these are endless times of joy. Watching your child grow into an excited, positive adult is pretty rewarding.

My granddaughters. Perfect love.

My friends – my chosen family.

My family room. This is my room of total peace and family gatherings. I love all the memories and I love how it reminds me of being at home with my mom and dad.

My flower pots – my yard. I love to create them. I love to nourish them. I love to watch them grow and I love to watch the work of art and color in my yard. As my son said last night, “this is so peaceful back here mom.” He’s right. It is.

Myself. I simply need to learn to take care of myself better. I simply need to let myself take a walk with the dog – let myself sit and enjoy all that life gives us each day.

Tonight I walked through Meijer and bought items to do home and office projects. I can’t believe how excited I am to clean and enjoy the sunshine. I bought a bike for my husband so that we could actively spend time together.

Life is so good. This lady is going to learn to simply stop and smell the roses.

Life Isn’t Always Fair, But It’s Still Really Good

As my odometer continues to roll over, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on good times and times that haven’t been in my top five. What I have learned is that no matter how many times minutes of the day may let you down; life is really still very good. I’ve been blessed with a family and friends that are second to none.

There has been many times where I catch myself planning a pity party. It’s not worth it. Nobody wants to participate – not even me. Buck up little Buckaroo – the sky is blue. When in doubt, cry it out – but remind yourself that there are plenty of people that love you and the bumps we go through in life are meant to make it interesting. Even though these minutes aren’t really worth the tears or the time lost, sometimes they are necessary in order to move to the next square of life.

So, whenever you think that life isn’t fair, remember, life is short – enjoy as many of those minutes that you can. It’s a beautiful world, with a bunch of beautiful people with beautiful hearts. Keep trying to ignore the negative and start fresh every minute. Let those close to you hold your heart, even when it is hard to keep it smiling. Life really is good.

If all else fails, eat some fudge from Mackinac Island. Chocolate cures all.

Taking Down Fences

We all have them. Before you read further, you should take a moment and think. What have your fences done for you? Have you advanced on this earth because you have erected fences? Have you been able to try new things and new risks because of fences? I wouldn’t hesitate to say that I doubt it. Fences hold things or people out. Fences hold you in. Fences are harder to climb as we age – not to imply that I am too old to climb them. I would have to say that as I age, I choose to avoid them. It took me quite a few years to start tearing my fences down. About five years ago, I shredded the last few panels and set myself free. I recognize the limitations that my fences made for me.  Hurt and disappointment were not kept out because of my fence. I’m afraid to think of the joy that may have not been realized due to my fences. I thank God – as often as I remember – for the removal of my fence. I love the feeling of freedom and the experiences – good and bad – that I get every day.

Enjoy life!

The picture below is of the fence in my back yard. Fresh snow is falling.

Puppy Love

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Do you remember talking to your friends in elementary school and telling them your boyfriend’s name? Riding bikes together? Do you remember giggling when they passed you in the hall or having your heart go pitter patter? It’s something you should try to remember. Remember the feeling of excitement of new-found love – or not so new but great love. It is possible. I was blessed to see this with my mom and dad and now with my beautiful daughter and her husband.

Today I felt the pitter patter of baby feet – actually puppy feet. I’m in puppy love. Daisy puppy love. My beautiful daughter and her husband just adopted their first baby – an Airedale puppy. She is absolutely beautiful. That same beautiful feeling comes over you like a blanket and warms your heart. Puppy love. Unconditional excitement to see you. Just the sound of your voice or the gentle pet of your skin warms your heart. Simplicity.

Try and embrace the beauty of puppy love and Enjoy Life! Below is a watercolor of the new member of our family – Daisy.

Daddy-O

I believe that we are all surrounded by angels. Some we know and some we don’t. I am blessed with many immediate family members who are angels. Most importantly, I have my dad. My dad watches over me and watches out for me – that’s my belief. I believe that loved ones go to heaven. We don’t pray to them – but I ask them to pray for me.

My father was my guiding post – my best friend. Today is his birthday and I honor him today as if he were alive. I honor him by trying to celebrate life the way he taught us to celebrate life. I can honor him by trying to give to others the way he gave. By giving  constant and steady love to people that I don’t know. By giving myself through service and gift. I hope to honor my father’s life by laughing loud and often and by sharing with my family all that he taught us through action and story.

We miss our family members when they leave this earth, but we can honor them by living the life they wanted for us. My father was truly a great man. He was the man I will never forget.

Below is an old polaroid of my father and his best friend Mike. Here, he is laughing like we remember him.

Frozen in Time

We all heard our mom mention something about walking to school as a child. I’ve actually caught myself wondering how different my kid’s childhood was versus mine. However, would we want to be frozen in time?

The Washington Post recently reported that teenage plastic surgery has increased from more than 3,500 to more than 11,000 in a year. People purchase creams, facials, resurfacing, augmentation, tucks, etc., so that they can be frozen in time. We wouldn’t think of living without a cell phone – in fact it is hard for me to remember how I went out at night – when my kids were young – without having a cell phone. How did I ever live without e-mail. When did the fax machine die? Life changes so fast and rushes by without us ever freezing it, for a moment in time, to enjoy. Enjoy the people around you. Enjoy the quiet. Enjoy the love. Enjoy the company. Enjoy, and then maybe in that frozen moment in time, appreciate.

Enjoy life!

Below is a moment frozen.