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Fun in Safety Harbor along with a “Happy Birthday” to Linda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow is a very special day. Two of my precious loved ones share a birthday: daughter Kate and sister-in-law Linda.

In celebration of Linda’s birthday, the hubster and I drove to St. Pete this past weekend where she and her hubby (Greg’s brother) have a winter residence. And part of our fun time together was spent in beautiful Safety Harbor.

This sweet little community sits right on the water. It hosts a giant oak tree estimated to be 300-500 years old as well as a very beautiful water feature. If you zoom in, you’ll see several large Florida water birds made of metal. It’s really something in person!

Walking past the fountain, we encountered a fishing pier where we watched a cormorant (snake fish) wrangling a fish for an afternoon snack.

And it got even better…

…because after our walking tour of charming Safety Harbor, we found a nearby Dairy Queen and enjoyed some of their yummy blizzards!

And this was one of those times where I didn’t think at all about carbs, sugar, calories, or the fact that it was close to supper time. Instead, I just went with it and thoroughly enjoyed my DQ visit.

Family is everything.

The older I get, the more I appreciate family time. Jim and Linda live most of the year in Ohio, so while they are here in Florida, we plan on taking full advantage of spending as much time with them as possible.

Even though Safety Harbor and Dairy Queen were great fun, it really isn’t about what we do as a family; instead it’s about who we do it with. Time with Jim and Linda is a joy. It’s a God-gift of love to us both. And it’s always a reminder of how blessed we are to be able to see each other as often as we do.

So, happy birthday sweet Sis. We sure do love you.

Mimi

p.s. As an added bonus (and surprise to Greg and me) Uncle Jim called up our Kate and invited her and the family to meet in Tampa for a fun-filled Fossil Fest. So that’s the whole gang in the photo above.

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Happy 40th to my first born.

This week I’m writing my story on Sunday because today is my son’s 40th birthday. We got to spend a wonderful weekend with him and my heart is overflowing with thankfulness to God for this precious gift to Greg and I. So, I thought I’d share a little about him with you.

Tim made me a mom.

Tim came along when I was 25. I thought I remembered how I felt during his pregnancy and birth, but after finding my handwritten journal notes from that time, I realize my memory had faded quite a bit.

Tim was our first. My only childcare experience came from having a much younger brother and doing a little babysitting as a teenager. So, I guess I felt ready and prepared. After all, back in those days, you took classes in “prepared childbirth.” Since I took the classes, I must have been ready. But it turns out I wasn’t at all prepared.

One journal entry a month before his birth mentions we had a crib and one or two onesies but that was it. There hadn’t yet been a baby shower and I hadn’t bought anything else including diapers. My notes mention wanting to meet this little one (didn’t know if the baby was a boy or girl in those days until out they came!), but they also mentioned we weren’t exactly set up for the new arrival.

And once he did arrive, the notes talk about being depressed and feeling inadequate. My heart aches for the 1979 me. I can’t remember how it was, but it must have been lonely. I know I was thoroughly in love with my new baby, but I also read about how much of a failure I felt.

Thankfully, the depression lifted and Greg and I fell into our new parental roles with great, great joy.

About Tim

Timmy, as we called him, was adventurous, fun-loving, a sweet friend and protector to his little sister, and a delight. He had his own sense of style and on any given day his over the knee sox were either pulled completely up or rolled perfectly down to his ankles.

As a man, he takes amazing care of his family, loves them fiercely, continues to enjoy a great sense of style (though his knee sox gave way to black no-see-um ones), thrives on workouts at the gym, probably knows the songs to every Disney movie as his own little princesses watch them over and over again, and all in all makes this mama very proud.

Don’t blink.

Really, don’t blink. The growing up years are so hard at times. You want to do everything right but often do it all wrong. As a mom, you lament your mistakes and hope and pray your kids will forgive you and turn out ok. Sometimes you wish ahead, wondering what they will be like in their teens or 20s. You imagine them finding a special someone to love, having a great job they like, and then having children of their own. But if you do too much of that, you can miss the special every day moments that are precious gifts from God.

So, to other young parents, be careful about wishing time away. Treasure “the now” each day. Love hard on your kids. Forgive yourself, knowing your kids have a great capacity to forgive, too. Enjoy their sticky hands and artwork…even on the walls. Be understanding and sympathetic. Enjoy silly times with them dancing like no one’s watching, telling stories in bed at night or making shadow shapes on the ceiling.

Go to their ball games and listen to them make music, even when they choose drums and play loudly! Smile at first dates and give plenty of limits when they learn to drive. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and have high expectations. But don’t let those expectations keep you from enjoying the smaller successes along the way.

There are no do-overs.

This mother, at times, wishes she could have raised her kids with the knowledge and experience she now possesses. But there are no do-overs…until you have grandkids. Then you have that opportunity to shower all your “I-love-you-no-matter-what” kind of love on them and on your adult kids as they navigate parenting.

Tim is one of my great joys in life and I’m cherishing the opportunity to spend his 40th birthday weekend with him. To hear about one of my other great joys, stay tuned…because my No. 2 turns 40 next year!

Love to all,

Mimi

The big 4-0 has arrived.

Well, the first 40th birthday has nearly arrived. Son-in-law Chris turns 40 on Tuesday and son Tim will follow two weeks later.

So far, I think Chris is enjoying the celebration.

This weekend he got to play paintball and have an evening on the town. Then his parents took he and his twin (along with their families) to dinner.

And on Sunday, his boys presented their gifts. Each had made something for him. Callan went to a ceramic studio and painted a football helmet in Florida Gator colors and Konnor created a broken-glass picture frame. Using a hammer (which was a HUGE hit…pun intended), he smashed up some colored glass tile, then glued the pieces on the frame. A little grout, and a carefully chosen picture and voila! A gift for his dad.

Best of all…

But most fun for the boys was planning a treasure hunt for their dad so he could find his goodies. They wrapped and hid their gifts along with ours around the house, then wrote clues for Chris to follow. Both boys were proud not only of their gifts but in the enjoyable time they created for their Dad in finding his gifts.

Chris came into our family in 2003. And though I call him my son-in-law, long ago my heart welcomed him as another son. Our family wouldn’t be complete without him!

Happy 40th Chris. We sure do love you. Here’s to a wonderful, wonderful year.

Mimi

Appearances can be deceiving.

We recently received a text from our daughter showing a picture of a shark her hubby had caught near New Smyrna Beach. To me, it was rather impressive.

Then I thought…hmm, wait a minute. That can’t be a real shark; it must be fake. I haven’t heard of anyone catching a shark with a surf rod and line. So, I texted my thoughts back and was assured it was definitely a live shark. And apparently, it put up quite a fight, too.

Of course, it needed to be returned to the sea. So, they opted for the safer method of cutting the line rather than trying to fight the creature to remove the hook from its mouth. (Smart move!)

Then came the next picture…

…and boy did I laugh. In the pic above, it looks like it could have been a 3- or 4-foot shark. I was imagining the strength it took to land the thing. But without anything else in the photo, my perspective was obviously skewed as you can tell with a quick look at the happy fisherman holding his catch!

Without anything else to add information to what I thought I was seeing, my perspective was off. Way off.

It’s just what happens in our everyday lives.

We may blow something out of proportion (like I did with the shark’s size) or we may not pay enough attention to something important. In my personal experience, I see this most often with my initial impressions or reactions. So, I’ve learned I need time to investigate, research, contemplate, etc. And I need time to look to God’s word and talk to Him to get His perspective rather than relying on my own.

This becomes imperative because often I don’t have the whole picture. But God does. If I remain close to Him, if we’re communicating with each other, there’s a better chance my eyes and understanding will see and know what He sees and knows. And that, is a good thing indeed.

Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds us:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Both pictures remind me about the importance of having the proper perspective. And today’s Bible verse reminds me that above all, God’s perspective is what really matters most.

Mimi

It’s the second most wonderful time of the year!

In the photo you can see hubby hard at work un-decorating the Christmas tree that we had outside this year on our lanai. I’m so grateful for him. He put most of the decorations up and was happy to take most of them down, repack, then get them up in the attic. With the two of us working side by side, it was down in about two hours, maybe less.

But I have to laugh…

…at how I’ve changed over the years. Our long-standing tradition has us putting the tree up and decorations out the day after Thanksgiving. But in years past, I would leave it all up into January, just enjoying the cozy, warm feelings. Especially on cold nights with a fire in the fireplace and a cup of cocoa in hand.

But not anymore. I think it all changed when we moved to Florida. While I still buy into “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” pre-Christmas and am delighted to pull down those attic stairs and bring out our assortment of decorations, I have to say that January 1 or 2 runs a close second because we get to put it all away…usually in shorts and tee shirts.

This year it was in the 80’s for nearly a week after Christmas, so you’d better believe we needed to pack things away until next November.

How about you?

What are your traditions for beginning the season and for ending it? I bet some, like a few of my friends, are taking things day on the 26th. But I just betcha there are a few who keep things in place for several more weeks.

In any case, stay tuned. Once the Christmas decorations have been returned to their resting places, it’s on to January reorganization. I’ll share a little about what I’ve been up to next week.

Until then…

Mimi

Family Love

Family means everything to me. It really does.

There’s not a gift in the world anyone can give me that compares to time spent with my loved ones.

So, I feel especially blessed that the past few weeks were overflowing with family time: Thanksgiving, the Saturday after for our annual Family Craft Day, and three days later a 10-day cruise with Dad, the hubster, and my brother and his wife.

After all that, I already feel like Christmas has already come and that I’ve been showered with more gifts than I know what to do with.

While my Dad, kids and grands live close enough to see frequently, it’s tough being away from my brother and his family as they live in cold country in New York State. That typically means annual or semi-annual visits. And to me, that’s simply not often enough.

Despite that…

I’m very grateful for each and every one of them.

Desmond Tuto said “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”

So, thank you, God. The beautiful gifts you have given me are not found under the tree. Rather, they are flesh and blood. They are the ones who raised me, the ones I grew up with, the one who married in and eventually birthed four more to love, the one I married 44 years ago, the ones I birthed, the ones they married, and the ones born to them. No matter how they arrived, they are my family. My loved ones.

And though I wish I could be with them in person every single day, it’s okay. After all, they really are with me…because I carry them in my heart.

I love you all.

Mimi

So very thankful.

November 19, 2018

 

With Thanksgiving upon us, I can honestly say I’m so very thankful for my wonderful Lord. His kindness to me and my family simply cannot be described in words. My heart is full not only for all He’s done in my life but for who He is.

Thankful, grateful, and truly blessed.

This wall art hangs in my kitchen where it is seen every single day. It’s a wonderful reminder to me that I am blessed…not because of anything I’ve done, not because of anything I have, but because I am in God’s family. I belong to Him. And that, my friends, is more than enough.

Some Favorite Verses

Here are just a few Bible passages about giving thanks and praise to God. Would love to read what your favorite ones are. Please comment below.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. (1 Chronicles 16:34)

 

I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High. (Psalm 7:17)

 

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.  For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. (Psalm 95:1-3)

 

Enter into His gates with Thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (Psalm 100:4)

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.  Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.  Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. To him who alone does great wonders; His love endures forever. Who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1-5)

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Mimi