Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year 2009!

From the Westra World to your World we wish you a Happy and Healthy 2009!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Like father like son.

Colton came home from the lake with Grandpa and Grandma today. We sure missed him and he "tiny-bit" missed us. Santa brought him his very own shovel. Dad's shovels are too heavy. So Santa got a smaller one for Colton. But he has been gone and hasn't had a chance to use it. We did get a dusting of new snow overnight, just enough for him to go and try it out. I don't know how much snow actually made it onto his shovel but he sure copied every movement that his daddy made. I treasure these little things. I'm saying good-bye to so many small boy things, the goodbyes come quicker and quicker as they rapidly acquire each new skill. But he still wanted his "bluey" puppy before bed. Ahhhh, good. Not so fast on everything, much to my relief. Just enough.

We're leaving for a hockey tournament tomorrow. We'll be back Wednesday or Thursday. For the coming New Year I thought I'd share with you this poem that I love. And if anyone knows the author of it I'd love to know to give him or her credit for it.

I Wish You Enough...

Recently I overheard a mother & daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure.

Standing near the security gate, they hugged & the mother said, 'I love you, & I wish you enough.'

The daughter replied, 'Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom.'

They kissed & the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see she wanted & needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?'

'Yes, I have,' I replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?'.

'I am old, & she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead & the reality is - the next trip back will be for my funeral,' she said.

'When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough.' May I ask what that means?'

She began to smile. 'That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.' She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, & she smiled even more. 'When we said, 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.' Then turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive & everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

She then began to cry & walked away.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them; but then an entire life to forget them.

Here's to wishing you all "enough" for 2009!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Saying our thank you's

Thank you Madi and Alex! from Vicky Westra on Vimeo.

The boys were thrilled to find some money in a card from Rick's younger brother and his wife. Thank you Westra family!

Mom and Dad want to say a special thank you for the "Christmas SNAKE", that we each got from Nolan... yeah, you read that right... snake. Although, it sure beats the "spider" plate Nolan made for mother's day when he was 3... at least now I have the appropriate expectations and am largely unscathed by the "sentiment" these tiny treasures exude. Rick got a coiled snake painted in yellow and black. I got the longer green and red snake on the table behind Rick.

We wanted to enjoy church. So we allowed the boys to open one gift each before we got ready to go. Nolan has seriously wanted this for two years. As dramatic as Nolan can be when he is unhappy, he does equally as well expressing his joy :)

So, do you like it? from Vicky Westra on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Day 2008!

Instead of over the river and through the woods like the song, its more like in-between the lakes and through the trees to Grandmother's house we go... It could not have been a more picture perfect day. It warmed to 16 degrees and I was hot in the car with all my layers on. We feasted on duck and wild rice and laughed at Grandpa's joke that the duck was tame, but the rice was wild : ) Nolan bundled up and went with Grandpa and daddy for a ride on the snowmobile. While Colton stayed inside and made up games with the few toys he had brought along. And grandma and I curled up on the couch to watch and enjoy "Mamma Mia." It was serene and peaceful. We missed all of our family that wasn't able to be with us for the holiday but we shared remembrances of all of them. We left with the car a little lighter leaving Colton behind to take care of grandpa and grandma for a couple of days, but with our stomachs and hearts a lot fuller! I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday! Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snapshots of our weekend.

"Let it snow."  Pretty soon we'll start to change our minds.  Please don't let it... snow.   As much as we embrace it for awhile, the reality of too much snow is too much water with no place to go except for where we don't want it to in the spring.  Two storms just weeks apart are hopefully not indicative of the kind of winter we will have.  

But the newspaper today reported that 45,ooo people walked the floors of the mall yesterday.  A few snow-clogged streets were not going to deter them from last minute holiday shopping.  And we weren't deterred in our plans either.  Nolan had an early hockey game and Colton and I stayed home to get ready for our afternoon project.  The boys assembled and decorated this gingerbread train.  I'd love to say it was a joyous occasion.  I'd be lying.  I wonder if they'll remember the bickering and quarrelling someday if they see pictures of this?  They were pleased with their outcome when it was finished.  I wonder if that is the part they will carry with them?  Hmmm.  Maybe I should be asking IF they will remember at all?

Lat night we had our annual cousin's party.  My cousin Rob and his wife Jana have welcomed all of us cousins into their home for many years now.  There are 19 first cousins and we are all married with our own children.  Its a big crowd.  But the weather kept some of our cousins from traveling.  Others had different plans last night.  It was a smaller than usual group.  But we have a good time no matter.  We mix in the new stories with a sprinkling of the old.  My Aunt Marlene had to tell the "Guhlke" story.  My aunts last name was Bye before my uncle passed away.  So in her ever so witty way she said to my cousin Pam and her husband Scott (Guhlke)when their son was born "Well if theres one thing I am sure of,  your kid will learn MY last name before he learns his own!  Every time he goes to say Good Bye you know he'll be talking about me!"  Don't you know it.  Pam and Scott worked extra hard with Tyler.  Came time after some family gathering to say good bye.  Marlene says without missing a beat Tyler looked up, waved and proclaimed "Guhlke- Guhlke!"    Insert much laughter here.    

The other thing we do at the cousin's party is take lots of pictures.  Usually.  I went to grab my camera last night and barely eeked out the near to the bottom two pictures you see.  It seems in my attempt to remember the camera the thought of changing the batteries got lost in my head somewhere.  

And today was hockey game day for both boys.  With the below zero temps and a little sun today we were treated to a sun dog.  I stood in snow up to my knees just outside of the rink and took my mittens off for a few seconds to get this photo.  The sun dog forms when the sun reflects on ice crystals in the air.  I wasn't in the best place to capture it, but I spent a few extra seconds enjoying the beauty of it and the quiet in the moment.  It set just the right tone for ending the weekend.  


Friday, December 19, 2008

The present you don't expect.

Its the unanticipated gifts that sometimes are the best.  Not because they are big or expensive, they're just so UNEXPECTED.  Intangible really.  You can't articulate them or dream them up.  Just one day they show up, and gleefully you accept them. 

It was crazyville at our house after school. Colton had Ethan over.  Nolan had Isaac over and then Caleb came to join in.  While it was LOUD, and CHAOTIC, it was still mostly laughter and shouts by boys... well ... being boys.  They played wildly for almost two hours and then abruptly, I heard Nolan start getting worked up.  The boys were running and getting too close to his backpack.  He was adamant the boys not get too close.  When Dakota came careening around the corner and her paws skidded on the slippery floor within inches of his backpack, his last bit of composure escaped him.  His precise words, "everyone needs to leave NOW!"  He grabbed his backpack and headed for the other room. The other boys left as we sat down to eat dinner.  Nolan came from the other room.  "There are two important presents under the tree." he said.  "Don't anybody touch them.  They're fragile and I made them for you dad and one for you mom." "And", his voice getting stern now, "no PEEKING."  "Cuz I worked hard on those."  

Rick, not missing a beat, piped up.  "Please, can't I just take a little look, just for a second?"  "NO, dad." "Aw c'mon, just one shake, please?"  Nolan getting a little put out now.  "DAD, they could break!"  "You'll have to wait for Christmas."  They continued going back and forth.  Finally Rick threw out the final threat "If I can't have it now I'M CANCELLING CHRISTMAS!"  By now both boys are grinning.  Colton calmly says, "thats okay, Christmas isn't about presents."  "Colton? What IS it about then?" I asked.   "Baby Jesus' Birthday!"  he proudly proclaimed.  "DUH."  And Nolan chimed in, "Besides mom.  Its about GIVING. Not what you and dad get."  Insert eyeroll here.  Picture parents leaping for joy here!  We so often wonder if we're heard. Or when we've said something for the 1000th time, is 1001 really going to be any different? And yet we repeat the same words and lessons constantly. And it appears that, maybe, just maybe, it happens one day. Maybe its the 768th time we've said something and it sinks in.  Maybe its the first time and they just love to see us squirm.  But what we as parents know, its a gift nonetheless.  

Apparently Dakota was the only one unphased by all the hoopla.  After Nolan scolded her she sought refuge.  Could you blame her?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Yep, thats me! Winner. I think today just became my favorite day! For some reason I broke all the rules. I logged on early this morning which isn't the norm. And knowing full well that with one click I run the risk of getting sucked into the vast bloggy vortex where hours pass like mere minutes at times, well I clicked anyway and look at what I discovered !  

That is the equivalence of seeing your name in lights in my world! Gitz has been doing a daily contest in which she gives away one of her handmade canvases. Answer her question by leaving her a comment and you're in.  Its oh so "Easy, Peasy, lemon squeezy!"  And then if you're lucky like apparently I am, (who knew?) and the random number generator picks you, you are also a "winner winner chicken dinner!" ( Seriously, I am referring to the disney movie, "The Greatest Game Ever Played."  If you've never seen it I highly recommend it, and you don't even have to love golf!)  

But I digress, I was speaking of Gitz.  This is a little well-kept secret, but I have longed for one of her beautiful canvases.  I have loved each and every one, but when the red one showed up with this message "Its not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of life you have lived,"  it spoke to me on more than one level.  I instantly visualized the place on my computer desk where it would stand out.  And yet, I was still so surprised to see my name.  I started yelling excitedly.  Nolan chimed right in when he heard me say that I'd won.  He shouted and jumped around and then he asked, "But mom, what is a canvas?" 

But the excitement didn't end there.   I then ran out to the mail box and found all kinds of treasures inside.  I love receiving Christmas cards!  Really.  And mixed in with them was a special package from another blog friend.  She knew the exact things to send to a Minnesota gal who shivers in the cold.  Her joy tickles you even from half way across the country! Thank you Robin!  

I don't quite know what to make out of all of this good fortune today.   Its rendered me a little speechless.  Some things touch us so deeply that no earthly words can be used to express them. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Legend of the Christmas Spider

The Christmas Spider:  A Folk Legend from Germany and the Ukraine.

Once upon a time, long ago, a gentle mother was busily cleaning the house for the most wonderful day of the year.... The day on which the Christ child came to bless the house. Not a speck of dust was left. Even the spiders had been banished from their cozy corner in the ceiling to avoid the housewife's busy cleaning. They finally fled to the farthest corner of the attic.

T'was the Christmas eve at last! The tree was decorated and waiting for the children to see it. But the poor spiders were frantic, for they could not see the tree, nor be present for the Christ child's visit. But the oldest and wisest spider suggested that perhaps they could peep through the crack in the door to see him. Silently they crept out of their attic, down the stairs, and across the floor to wait in the crack in the threshold. Suddenly, the door opened a wee bit and quickly the spiders scurried into the room. They must see the tree closely, since their eyes weren't accustomed to the brightness of the room... so the crept all over the tree, up and down, over every branch and twig and saw every one of the pretty things. At last they satisfied themselves completely of the Christmas tree beauty.

But alas!! Everywhere they went they had left their webs, and when the little Christ child came to bless the house he was dismayed. He loved the little spiders, for they were God's creatures too, but he knew the mother, who had trimmed the tree for the little children, wouldn't feel the same, so He touched the webs and they all turned to sparkling, shimmering, silver and gold!
Ever since that time, we have hung tinsel on our christmas trees, and according to the legend, it has been a custom to include a spider among the decorations on the tree.

Aunt Alice made this for our tree years ago. Its another unique holiday tradition passed down from Rick's side of the family. She typed up a copy of the story on red paper and then glued together small ornaments with silvery pipe cleaner. Voila, Christmas spider who hides in our tree every year, the one spider allowed to live in the house!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Good Old-Fashioned Minnesota Blizzard

This is the view out our front door this morning. The drift must have been 4 to 5 feet deep!

This is our "angel" neighbor, otherwise known as Darla, who lent us her snowblower this morning.

This is looking down the street to the right of us.

This is looking down the street to the left of us.

Finally, we found the front door.

Robin, this post is for you!  Most of us who live here won't find this terribly out of the ordinary.  But for a Southern gal who longs for snow, I hope you enjoy :)  

We haven't had a blizzard of this magnitude for several years.  In preparation for it I actually went to the grocery store and kept one eye on the sky at the same time.  For this storm to qualify as a blizzard, it required 3 conditions.  It had to have significant snow, strong gusts of wind and mighty cold temps.  Check, check, and check!  

There were times yesterday when we couldn't see across the street.  And for the first time in a long time everything shut down.  No church or hockey yesterday, no school or work today!  The highways even closed.  That doesn't happen often.  And now we're left with the aftermath, lots of snow (officially 10 inches) and very cold temps.  On the weather last night the warned that with these cold temps (-15 currently) exposed skin can freeze within minutes.  Hence all the gear you see everyone wear outside.  If you've ever wondered about the words "it stings your toes and bites your nose,"  in the song "Over the River and Through the Woods...",  I assure you they are accurate!  And after the stinging you tend to go numb and then you are in trouble.  

None of this will be terribly out of the ordinary for anyone from the Midwest or further North.  But to a Southern gal longing for snow, this is for you.  And I have to agree with you, it IS beautiful, isn't it?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jordy at the Ralph

Jordy Christian with a shot that is just deflected by the goalie's shoulder (puck is green circle on goalie's shoulder)... so close to being a goal!

That is me in the white coat trying to keep up with the action and keep track of the boys in the black sweatshirts at the same time.

Chris Vande Velde, in the white and green, getting positioned for the puck coming his way.

When Rick called from the rink Thursday night he had an offer I just couldn't refuse.  Jordy's mom was at the rink and said they had extra tickets for The Huskies vs. The Sioux on Friday night, would we like to have them?  And maybe Rick could bring his camera and shoot some photos?  He would indeed.  We knew it would make for a long day.  We had the funeral in the morning and Rick had an appointment scheduled with a school in the afternoon.  The school was right on the way up to Grand Forks.  Plus, we didn't have early morning skating the next day.  So we went for it.  If we've been reminded of anything from our past week's  funerals, its too live life now!  

I know I've blogged about Jordy before.   (Click here)  The Jordy worship by our boys just doesn't end.  The boys would go to see him skate just about anywhere.  But the Ralph?  Versus the Sioux?  C'mon.  It doesn't get much better than this if you're a hockey fan.  The Ralph Engelstad Arena is named after the man that donated the 100 million dollars to the University of North Dakota for the constuction of the arena.  You can see some more photos of this amazing facility here (Yes, those are real marble floors!)  Tickets are not easy to come by.  We felt so honored and lucky for this experience.  

Rick was granted a press pass and it enabled us access to places other than just our ticketed seats.  The photographers tend to sit in the handicapped section (if it isn't full), as they don't block the view of someone watching from behind and they get an unobstructed view in front of them.  The boys were thrilled as it enabled them to stand behind the Huskie's bench and be near Jordy.  

We were a little conflicted over which team to cheer for I'll admit.  Typically we'd cheer for the Sioux.  In honor of Jordy and the two other teammates that hail from Moorhead, John Ammerman and Brett Barta,  we cheered for the Huskies this night.  But we couldn't ignore the fact that the Sioux also have one of our Moorhead alumni who used to skate alongside Jordy, Chris VandeVelde.  It was fun to see Jordy  "go in the corner" with Vande.  Jordy is 5'10 or so and Vande is easily 6'2 or 6'3.  

The Huskies ended up losing 3-2 but it was a close game.  After the game Jordy's dad showed us where to wait for the players to come up from the locker room.  But Rick's press pass enabled all of the men and boys to go down to the locker room.  Nolan and Colton got to meet the head coach of the Huskies, Bob Motzko,  who generously came over and shook hands with both boys.  And they got to walk up with Jordy who had a horde of peolpe waiting for him.  

He said goodbye to us and offered this gift.  "I'll be in Moorhead next week.   I'll come watch you play, tell me which color team you are on."  He already remembered that Nolan is a second year Mite and a Colton is a second year Rookie.  And that is not an empty comment form him.  He will be there.  He will go out of his way to ensure that all the young kids who idolize him get his attention.  That is why he remains so special to us.  He still embodies the young man you want your little boys to grow up and be someday.  

It was a late night.  We got home well after midnight with two very sleepy boys and two exhausted parents.  And we would do it all over again in a heartbeat.  It was so worth it.  

One day soon I will do another post about the Christian family hockey legacy.  It goes way back and includes several Olympic medals including a gold medal won by Jordy's uncle Dave affectionately referred to as the 1980's Miracle on Ice.  

Friday, December 12, 2008

Uncle Jack


i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

ee cummings

Rick's Uncle Jack passed away earlier this week. We named Colton Jack after him. He was the oldest of the 8 kids in Rick's dad's family. He told everyone at Thanksgiving he wouldn't be here for his 83rd birthday. He would have been 83 next week. We knew he hadn't been well for awhile now.  We're leaving shortly for the funeral.  Exactly one week from Grandma's funeral, we could never have predicted we'd be attending another Friday funeral.  

I've loved this poem for so long now. And every time we lose yet another loved one, I carry them in my heart. It wouldn't surprise if a doctor ever told me my heart was enlarged. I'd tell him or her the truth. Its big because its filled with a lot of hearts I've carrried with me for years.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"I Hope You Dance."

I've heard these are overdone. But don't try telling my kids that. For their viewing pleasure, and perhaps yours, follow the link, and wait for it to load:  Boogie Down

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas lessons.

Our family holiday traditions have come down from both sides of our family. This one came from my mom, otherwise known as Grandma Mary Ann to my boys. The first year we celebrated Christmas in our house in Minnesota after moving from Idaho, my Aunt Carol generously gave us a brand new artificial tree that someone had asked her to find a home for. Its been our tree ever since.

As we went about setting it up for the first time, Nolan either 2 or 3 at the time kept climbing in the box. He rattled on and on about Grandma and something about the box. We tried to distract him. But then he'd start taking out the glass ornaments. He unwrapped the lights while we tried to protect the ornaments. We repeatedly tried to discourage him from undoing our efforts while including him in the process. We were also fairly focused on figuring out how this tree went together. Our frustration grew. Nolan persisted, raising his voice now to get our attention, "Thats NOT how Grandma does it." he insisted. I remember thinking, great, now my two year old is giving me tree decorating advice! Finally, I called for reinforcements. Grandma laughed when she heard the exasperation in my voice. She teased me with "why, he was just as content as could be at my house when we put up our tree!" "Fine, I said. Put up the white flag, I surrender. Just please come help." Wanna know what her secret was? She grabbed a marker and got busy with the tree box. She helped Nolan draw the steering wheel and the levers. Next they got to work on the pedals. Voila. Through the magic of Grandma, one tree box transformed into a two year old dream car. I bet he sat in there for the next 30 minutes straight, which in toddler time is extremely long.

The tradition has stood the test of time. This year there were two boys jammed into the tree box, and the arms in the air was an homage to their cousins for teaching them how to ride the rollercoasters this summer at Hershey Park. I laugh at the things they choose to remember. I'm just glad I'm learning to watch for the things they choose to love. And mother always knows best. Without her thinking "out of the box", we would have missed the magic of "inside the box."

Monday, December 8, 2008

One of my favorite Christmas presents.

I think I received this present either last Christmas or the Christmas before. I feel bad sometimes. I focus so much on helping the kids open their gifts and remembering who sent what and who needs a thank-you, that I don't really feel my own delight in my presents is expressed very well.

This is a recipe-keeper. Let me just tell you what a treasure this homemade gift has been! If you're looking for a heartfelt, memory making and preserving gift, that is also inexpensive, consider one like this. My mother-in-law, Carole put this one together. Its more than just a place to keep recipes. The special part, is that she photocopied family recipes and put them inside. There are recipes from both sides of the family, and they are copies of original handwritten recipes. They go way back, to Great Aunt Tillie's recipe for powdered sugar cookies. And Carole then added her own comments in places. On several she wrote "This recipe was Uncle Jack's favorite." Not only do you get a sense for the families special dishes, but who prepared them and who loved to eat them! Its a very unique and clever way to tell a family's story, preserve a little history and give a great gift from the heart.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rudolph, is that you?

The funeral service for Rick's grandmother, Ethelyn, was yesterday. I think we were all in agreement that it was a beautiful service. The pastor performing the service was the pastor at the chapel where Ethelyn and her husband Harold both attended daily chapel services while living at Elim. It was obvious the pastor knew them well. The stories he told revolved around how much they adored their family, as well as each other. And that even though Grandma couldn't communicate as well with her words these past couple of years, you could always tell when you spoke of a topic close to her heart because her eyes would light up and she would get the biggest smile.

Grandma was laid to rest next to Grandpa at the cemetery in Valley City. There was a fresh blanket of snow we trudged through as we gathered under the tent. It was quiet, serene, and peaceful. I couldn't help but think it was comforting to think of them together again, even though we miss them both. We each gathered a couple of flowers, white spider mums and green holly leaves with red berries, to add to the now dried flowers we saved from the day Harold was buried. I couldn't help but notice the irony of the freshly sprinkled white snow gathered on the flowers, adding to the beauty on this day.

Afterwards, we drove to the farm. We took turns photographing our families. I am choosing not to share these yet as they may very well end up as our Christmas photos. But what I will share was the delight down the road that Rick's sister Missy had told us about. Some of the neighbors are raising deer. The boys got a chance to view some really big bucks pretty close up. Rick's camera helped too when they were startled and ran. It also helped to get close in on what might have looked like a snow covered deer... but was truly an albino deer. I also loved the vintage old truck parked in front of the deer pen. But you'll have to wait to see what we used that for!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Do you see that? That button over there to the right? Yes, that. "Be intentional." My sweet friend Sara, made that. She figured out how to write the code and she made the artwork! And If you click on it, it'll take you to her blog. And not just her blog, but the very post that inspired that piece of artwork. You'll have to click to see what I mean.

This is why it means something to me. When I worked at the inpatient psychiatric hospital in Idaho, part of "our" job was to help people. By people, I mean specifically the age group I worked with was kids between the ages of 11 and 18. Our patients came to us broken, hurting, empty, functioning poorly in their lives. Most were in crisis and had already attempted suicide or had thoughts of homicide. Often times they were poor, hungry, tired, and abused or abusing on many levels.

My job, while falling under the umbrella of "education" director, was to see that really all of their needs were assessed and met. And we had a great team of people to do this. Part of what I loved about working at the hospital was that nobody ever said, "That isn't my job." It didn't matter what your title was, you were often encouraged to step outside of your job title and pitch in. On any given day I may be not only a "teacher", but a counselor, an RT, a group facilitator, etc.

My learning curve was huge what with so many hats to wear! Plus I'll be the first to admit, I've lived a fortunate life. I can't say most of the things my patients endured ever happened to me. But my peers were always so encouraging. It wasn't long and my spongelike ability to glean their bits of wisdom and food for thought truly rubbed off on me. The only drawback was how closed some of our patients were to hearing the message. My bag of tools, kind words, inspiring messages, etc., weren't always accepted or embraced by our teenage clientele. I fully understand why "burnout" is such a major factor. You have to care enough for you to come across as compassionate, but not so much that it eats you up. Its a fine balance. I am not sure I ever found it. I worked until the day before I was induced with Nolan. I've been a SAHM ever since.

Back to the button. What I love about Sara is that she embraces every little bit of inspiration that I have ever espoused. In fact she doesn't just embrace it, she LIVES it. She talks about Joy, and she is joyful. She talks of living intentionally, as only someone who lives intentionally can do. And she certainly didn't get this from me! But she lives the message I tried so hard to instill in others. And what she isn't quick to point out, is just how challenging her life is. She has been given circumstances that would humble most of us. But instead, she chooses to live the best life she can, regardless.

But don't just take my word for it. Go ahead. Click the button. You'll see just what I mean. She gets it. She really gets it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Three generations.

The above photo is one of Rick's favorite family photo to date. He says there are hundreds of slides to go through. It took him 7 minutes per scan just to get these few he took. (I have to admit, I am longing for a scanner, maybe one of those all-in-one types that prints photos too. But this is a little extravagant for my Christmas list). If I did have a scanner however, I would have a picture to share with you of 4 generations taken a few years back. Back to this photo. On the left is Rick's mom, Carole, in the middle is his Great Grandma, and seated to the right is Rick's Grandma Ethelyn. Rick thinks its his mother's younger brother Don, sitting in between them.

This photo is one of Rick's uncles and the two Noeske brothers. The Noeske family now cash rents the farm land from the Ravelings. What a prophetic picture this was in some ways.

This last one is Grandpa Harold on the big tractor. Notice the little toy tractor parked alongside it. Rick has fond memories of that toy. I would imagine it helped foster his desire to drive tractor when he was older. He talks to our boys all the time about learning to drive the farm machinery when he was about 10 as he recalls.

I hope I have been a better historian this time : ) Please feel free to set me straight if I've muddled something or misidentified someone!

Speaking of Herbie the Dentist...

This chuckle comes to you compliments of Colton. Last night as he was getting ready for bed he showed me his wiggly front tooth. Its a hangin by a thread, if even that. He didn't want me to pull it and so I sent him to bed. A few minutes passed and he quietly came and stood in the hallway. When I looked up and saw him he broke into tears...

"Mom, I'm so afraid!"

"Bubba, come here, what is scaring you?" I asked.

"My tooth"... sob, sob. Hysterical crying now.

"Oh Coltie, it will be okay, you already know it doesn't hurt when it comes out and then the tooth fairy will come." I tried to reassure him.

"But mom, remember what Grandma said? She said you SWALLOWED your tooth and what if when I fall asleep, the tooth comes out? What if it comes out and I don't know it and I swallow my tooth in my sleep!" I could choke! I could die!"

Now I am the one hysterical, laughing of course! Its true. When my mother went to pull my front tooth we were camping with all of my older cousins. Boys, who were trying to tease me. They taunted me with "Just don't swallow your tooth no matter what... or the ambulance has to come and they take you to the hospital and rip open your stomach to get it out!"

I am listening to my cousins as my mother tries to "flick" my tooth to see which way to grasp and pull it and oops, she flicks it down the back of my throat and I swallow it! I'll never forget my mother shrieking above my sobs "Marlene, get over here now! Look what your boys have done! Now what do I do?" I learned that day that the tooth fairy comes even for missing teeth, and she pays way more for the ones that have such dramatic stories attached to them. Plus instead of the hospital, I got to go to Ralphs for ice cream, accompanied by my cousins.

I managed to convince Colton he would be fine and the tooth would wait until it had some help to come out. He woke this morning, his tooth still hanging, but he assured me he slept on his side, just in case!

When you get lucky

When you get lucky

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