Thursday, June 26, 2008

Memories are made of these!

Memories are made of these!

Here's a small montage of the many, many photos snapped by all while the big kiddos came to visit with the grandbabes. I've added music so turn up your speakers. Sit back. Enjoy the show. (grin)

Summer Fairy Juice

Summer Fairy Juice

She was eager to make this drink last week with her niece, the two of them constantly floating around the house while playing fairies together. However, the time flew by and poor grand-daughter must be back in the west remembering the "fairy party" wasn't able to take place at Nana's house. boohoo

I was presented with this...

"Nasturtium's fairy nectar", don't you know?

Today, our daughter froze various berries in the ice cube tray, and decided it was time to treat the rest of us to this lovely and most satisfying drink when we entered the house from spending the morning outdoors weeding in the gardens altogether.

Trimming and weeding in the back altogether,
we had to halt by noon due to the heat...

and oncoming storm, yet again!

Brotherly Influences

Brotherly Influences

Standing in the wings, observing well.

While our older son and his family visited with us the past few weeks, he carted his golf clubs out here fully determined to play daily at a golf course nearby. Yes he thought, it was a vacation after all, so why not? He hadn’t had time to golf for several years and used to be a “scratch player”, whatever that means for me, not sure, though something good I hear from others.

Each day our son would wake up and look at the summer sky, immersed in thought about shooting a bucket of balls and practicing on the putting green, or perhaps taking in a game. He seemed to hit the jackpot the first week, but was incredibly frustrated with our weather. It was highly unusual as I’ve mentioned on this blog all week long, not our fault it interrupted golfing times. Hee hee

Each day something significant occurred where the golf pro shop handed him either a free game pass for another day, or several coins for free buckets of balls. He would return home all smiles, thrilled at first with his good fortune, that is, until the following second week when game after game seemed to leave him and and his younger brother either trapped on the golf course when a severe storm hit hard, or the golf course staff commanded them to stop from weather concerns.

Back property golfing follies...

The day before he left, he purchased his two older children their own golf bags complete with a club set for more time together with the children on the golf course this summer. They already each had their own club to use while they were here, but a complete golf set was offered in the pro shop at a tremendous savings for them. The trick was getting them home on the plane, but all ended up just fine. But, I never got a photo of them, so Therese, please snapped one and send it to me with each of them and their clubs please. :-)

No cable, the computer worked just fine for watching the golf open and catching Tiger Woods in action.

I suppose one thing our older son never figured on was the influence he would have on his two younger brothers when living and breathing golf during his vacation. The computer was tuned into the golf open daily to watch Tiger Woods play. Our property was transposed into a golfing range for daily shooting and golfing fun, AND tag alongs followed him to the golf courses locally.

I decided to take the children to town to “window shop” for golf clubs this week, soon after everyone left town, just to check out pricing as our thrift shop golf clubs were either too big for some, or right handed when everyone seemed to be lefties. Perhaps it was meant to be I took the drive this week because we came upon a “doorcrasher” special and golf bag club sets prices were slashed half price. Maybe they weren't pro golfer type clubs, so what, they would suffice for the summer and until they entered the pro status ranks (wink) or outgrew them.

Can you believe that? Woohoo!

Our other daughter has exclaimed she is quite content with her horses. Thanks but no thanks to golf. But the other three have decided summer should be filled with golfing opportunies aplenty.

Not only did we purchase a set for our two boys, our young daughter got into the act and rightly so, for she could shoot the ball quite nicely like her siblings.

The three of them are very proud owners of their own sets now, and days since have been filled with pretend nine hole golfing round and round the backyard, range shooting before hand to warm up, and time at the golf course putting and getting out of sandpits. What fun they’ve had and how well they have slept all this week!

There is only one downfall to such a great sport opportunity, and hubby if you’re reading this, please don’t freak out (LOL). Just think of it as something akin to when our older son took out the bird feeder, amends were made during the visit when he performed an act of service for us right?

Making amends for the bird feeder golf ball blowout

One of the three children, when shooting on the family driving range out on the back of our property, smacked a ball hard which hit the clothesline pole, and then careened backwards towards the house, landing with a bullseye (!) directly onto the water tap handle in the back of the house, snapping it off at its base.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Me thinks I need to call a plumber now because we can’t turn the tap on. Sorry hubby. The children are deeply sorry too and said they’ll pay for the plumber... LOL So, when you return home from work, please think about paying extra attention to all their puppy dog eyes and sweet faces, okay? I would imagine this is your own saying thrown back to you when the bird feeder blew out, it's the cost of encouraging another great sport to flourish at home, huh? Ah, those darned golf balls anyway! (snicker)

Addendum to my last post....

Addendum to my last post!

After sleeping on it last night (smile), I realized I had forgotten to note several more items, thus the added additions within my last post below. I've noted them in red in case you've already read the blog for an easy find.

Okay, here's where YOU come in! If you can offer us any websites for easy downloads for those particular items mentioned in my last post, anything else helpful at all, any tips or hints on using this IPod device, please, please email us at ren_blk@ (at) (leave off the at in parenthesis for spam control here)

Thank you so much in advance...


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Father's Day Memories 2008

* I added a few other items postscript, noted below with an asterisk.

Father's Day Memories 2008

As each day unfolds, we know we are preparing for tougher times ahead from the medical prognosis my husband is facing. As a family we try each and every day to come to grips with the fact that there is nothing we can do to assist, carry, protect, rearrange, or change the path he must walk in due time. It's a very painful thing, a serious family issue often gripping our jugulars when least expected.

I didn’t want to share this special moment with anyone until now, not really because it’s so very emotional for me (tears fill my eyes just typing about it), but my hope is if it blesses someone else into action, thank you Lord for allowing me the courage to share it.

As Father's Day approached this year, thoughts on how we could offer a gift from the heart (we aren’t usually material gift givers on the Hallmark holidays the calendar days specify, just observe them well instead with great honor), one that would become cherished and even vital during a recovery period, something almost ...irreplaceable if you will. We wanted something tangible, something that would bless everyone in the end (big shoes to fill I know), and not just a material twaddle-like possession grown tired of with the passing of time.

From our son and his wife, they knew we love flowers!

As our family has come to terms with the future, and our move has taken us to eastern parts of our country at a strange time, or was it? God knows this walk we’re on already; we trust he knows what he’s doing. If anything else, the move has convinced all of us of the need to keep the communications alive, open, and plentiful.

Each adult family member for instance with a cell phone has chosen the option of adding Telus' Five Favs to their telephone plans, or subscribed to a telephone long distance plan for making telephone calls when a longer conversation is overdue. Technology today is incredible to allow a family to remain close at heart, although perhaps not in distance. Emailing of course is a no brainer, and our children gave us a webcam before moving so we could see one another while conversing together at appointed times.

Lunch/Brunch is served

Last Sunday, Father's Day became a fairly emotional and tender hearted day around here. After a nutritious brunch, all were summoned to the patio deck, where my husband was presented with new photos of the children in various poses. One of the chosen ones was framed; the other will be inserted into a frame he already possesses on his desk at work. That was a fun photo to have showing the family's enthusiastic love of ice hockey, all wearing their ice hockey jerseys of the Vancouver Canucks.

For the office desk and the barbeque cookouts

He was also gifted with a new barbeque marinade set and then he was handed a note with an explanation for the next gift. It was a tender moment for me, as emotions quickly overwhelmed me and I became unable to look his way any longer, hiding behind the lens of my camera instead. Wet tears smeared my mascara, I just couldn’t help it.

Emotions began to stir

What better things can there be than memories made within a family surrounded by the love of Christ, in fact the most cherished and purposeful legacy one can leave behind when their time is done here on this earth. I believe a family needs all these things to gather during the "harvest" over time, and then to treasure forever more. We chose a gift with huge possibilities for the future, that of an IPod touch for my husband and our children's daddy.

Realizing the value in his hands already

Each family member joined in this particular gift idea by contributing towards the cost, or the content. Teamwork will always be at the forefront and helm of such a gift, mostly because everyone can continue to contribute to it in a tangible way over time. Admittedly, this was an emotional gift filled with sincere sentiment and I know he will value and treasure the intentions of family members over the coming days, weeks and months, only HE just doesn’t know it yet like we do!! Of course our married son present announced to his wife he wanted one of those too! Cute.

And then, our daughter in law sneaked a few recipe ingredients into the house and carefully crafted the most delicious and super scrumptious tiramisu dessert and presented it to the fathers present, her husband (our son) and mine. What a sweetie, as it was my husband’s very favourite dessert ever!

She was so sweet to sneak in this special dessert this day.

It was a great day for all, a highlight for me to have everyone near. Emotions always begin to stir when loved ones are "seen", or "heard" and time stands still as the recollected details are remembered from those before us.

  • Photos are without doubt natural treasures with the heartfelt emotion evoked from them.
  • Kind and uplifting words of affection sent within an email can create major events in someone's life
  • Music can fill a soul with a peace that surpasses all understanding

A super HOT day, they opted for ice cream instead of the tiramisu.
MORE for us...hee hee


One might ask why such a thing was thought of, and it is here where I would encourage anyone in the cyberworld to think on the following reasons to pass along to someone that may benefit from such an individual or group intentional purchase, especially if you know of anyone who;

  • lay bedridden
  • a soldier overseas or away from family
  • someone who is very lonely with family far away
  • someone thick within a medical pre-surgical or eventual long term recovery mode
  • or perhaps some other reason such as a shut in
  • medically challenged
  • a pregnant women ordered off her feet.

An IPod touch can offer the following options to bless them;

  • Music galore. Make up folders and genres to suit mental and emotional outlook moments during any given day.
  • Photos, Photos, and more Photos! With screen savor mode, these handy and very personal sized devices can sit on the edge of a desk, a hospital rolling table, or in the hands of something valuing the moments watching their loves ones close to their hearts.
  • Program your screen saver to advance on your own timing settings along with music for a personal video whenever enjoyed. Add a shuffle mode to keep spice it up and keep it fresh.
  • Videos! Think "family videos" as more and more people have access or have purchased a digital camera. Instant video footage is possible for uploading onto these devices and can offer someone immediate voice and film footage recognition of loved ones to cherish.
  • Email! What better way to keep in touch with someone who is not within their own home or not near a computer? With email capabilities, anyone can "be there" with messages of love, or just pure conversation.
  • Podcasts! The sky is the limit here! Does your parish offer taped or internet uploaded sermons? Those conference talks not heard because someone was unable to attend, or favorite daily radio programs.
  • Books on tape -Dust off all your books on tape, load them onto your computer and get them onto your IPod, at least all those you have stored and haven't yet listened to. ITunes offers many assorted items to download for a fee, including podcasts, interviews, videos and more. Try doing a search for your particular area of interest. As an example, I could type in Catholic and find downloadable chaplets and so much more.
  • Other types of Photos or images! As we follow along with the Liturgical year month after month, why not remember to do so on the IPod as well. Gather photos, images or special programs off the internet, and upload to your device. Great idea for a screen saver change upon occasion.
  • YouTube / Catholic Tube / GodTube- (Did you know all of these existed? Take a look!) Does someone have a favorite hobby, something of interest, or a television program to catch up on? This website offers a plethora of items from crafts, cooking shows, sports, fun stories, you name it, it's probably there. Great resource for anything, especially apologetics and uplifting programming. How about watching daily mass in progress, or programs of interest spiritually. Archbishop Fulton Sheen is a favorite for me, as are conference talks from homeschooling weekends not in attendance for. I miss my Seattle education conferences!
  • Other valuable items? How about internet access, local weather, check business favorites such as stocks and bonds, watch movies downloaded from purchased websites, and so much more.

Best of all?

  • It's light, easy to hold, or use a stand to prop up on a nightstand, or on a hospital table.
  • When turning the item from vertical to horizontal, the screen actually rotates to offer a landscaped larger view.
  • There are no buttons or dials to figure out, just "touch".

As well, many other family members can assist by offering continued photos, music and/or videos to keep it fresh or increase the content. As well, when thinking of a gift idea, there's nothing easier than a gift card for ITunes, or some other place on the internet to purchase items of interest for the recipient. So, if you want to contribute, send along a disk of photos or other items of interest and I'll be sure to get it all uploaded for him to have forever.

The potential is limitless and even almost physically adrenalizing from the possibilities it offers, and when the lucky recipient becomes familiar with the possibilities themselves, they too become very excited when at one time or another; they used to humbug the whole idea of getting "plugged in". Rather than tuning someone out, they can bring them right to their ears, eyes and heart with the touch of a screen fitting securely in the palm of their hand. How sweet is that?

He was enjoying some of the music already uploaded

Happy Father's Day to my teenage boyfriend who still makes my heart skip a beat after all these years. Anyone can be a father - but only some know how to be a dad... YOU are most definitely a cherished daddy and granddad to all!

And to our fathers too, we love you!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Recovery and taking moments of solitude on purpose

and taking moments of solitude on purpose

This afternoon I thought I was on a roll, thrilled with the prospect of satisfying a few shoulder tappers within the family by updating the blog with more, more, more. And then, my blog host went down on maintenance hours. As I peaked back tonight however, I think I’ve lost my oomph a bit, so I’ll get another post up before heading off to bed. At least that’s the plan.

Between the hotel and vehicle air conditioning during our last road trip, back to back with our summer stormy heat and melting points having to render usage of the air conditioning in the home for many days in a row, I awoke over a week ago with a terrific wallop of bronchitis. There was no easy onset for me, just a BAM, hitting me hard.

Am I the only one who gets health issues resulting from too much canned air?

Golly, it was something else to wake up and suddenly feel like a huge infection had settled deep within during my dreamy slumber the night before, the overhead fan also working nonstop to keep us cool in the night on top of the continually humming air conditioning.

There have been times when I feared it might be contagious, but realize it’s just me and my body loathing summer’s canned air. I’ve encountered similar incidences when traveling from winter here to some summer location, canned air in hotels, rental vehicles and airplanes.

With no voice abilities upon occasion (like Father’s day when I called my dad to wish him a wonderful day!), recovery stages were sometimes necessary. In the middle of the night I would try to shake the coughing fits keeping me awake at night, or first thing in the morning.

I’m finally feeling the brunt of this is behind me, opting for keeping windows open as often as possible instead of the air conditioning unit blasting through the house. Comfort for me is one thing, health is quite another. When my hubby returns from work, he requires an air conditioning controlled environment, so we turn it on again at that time. Until then though, I suck back as much natural outdoor air as possible down deep within, continue to hydrate and drink lots of liquids, and douse my throat inside and out with wild oil of oregano.

"Viva Italiano"... hasn’t just been our cheer during soccer lately, I stink like oregano and everyone thinks pasta is being prepared in the kitchen.

NOPE, it’s moi!

“Eau de oregano” HERE or sometimes when required this hotter one HERE by Young Living has been giving me great relief. It works so well when rubbed externally down my neck for sore or dry throats or internally when necessary.

Oh, and my Chinese cough syrup I used to give to my son (he once claimed it was the only thing that gave him relief ever) with bronchial issues and allergy induced asthma. It does indeed work great, but when my patience began to run out in the wee hours of the morning trying not to arouse the other family members trying to sleep (babies included), I just held that dropper over my opened mouth and dropped several drips onto the very back of my tongue to get them dribbling down into the area requiring it. Within a few minutes I could once again take a deep breath without coughing, and begin to settle down for the rest of the night.

And in the vehicle, it’s so much better feeling the wind running through my hair with the windows down, though bad poufy/big hair days are visiting me with the humidity attached to the heat. Just ask my daughter in law, big hair syndrome was in top form while she clicked photos of me. *smile*

On that note, I’ll change to topic a bit, but actually it goes hand in hand with how I’ve been feeling lately.

A Quiet Place...

Everyone has a place of refuge, a place where they can obtain a bit of solitude when in dire need of recovering, even if it might be around others in the same area. My daughter in law and myself discussed this general topic while she was visiting with me, and both of us agreed we were people who recover well with chunks of solitude. Even Jesus went out into the desert to pray, so should we.

The photo below is one such place where favorite times of the day include the early morning, where I frequent with a hot cup of coffee. Later in the day I also find myself attracted and longing to sit yet again for a respite, where I seek a quiet corner, poised to watch the sun set before me. Better than any movie, it’s live and offers me such recovery moments.

A Quiet Place

Whispering winds that echo's in my mind
Stalking sea breezes
Trees, tall trees
towering above me
Manipulating my soul to be still
very still
In a Quiet place

I light two candles, one at a time
Standing between them both
hoping to find
A quiet place
Where I can indulge into complete style


A Quiet place, where there is no laughter
No pain, no noise, no hard rain
A quiet place, I'll sustain
A quiet place, I'll proclaim
A quiet place, just for me!

A quiet corner with a favorite chair, step or something to lean on gives a blessing to us, like a soothing balm to a busy lifestyle, even if we haven’t stepped foot out of the house all day long. As mothers, we seek it, we long for it, however brief, each day. It’s ours for the taking, do you take?

To give thanks in solitude is enough.
Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go.
Your prayer knows much more about it than you do.

~ Victor Hugo

I am so thankful for our family visit with everyone and rejoice for the memories made. It was most interesting to feel united to all our older children and their spouses during this visit although they were still out west. They called, and kept abreast of the visiting over here, our hearts turning toward one another for sure.

The morning after everyone flew up into the stormy skies, later answering a reassuring telephone call at 2am they had landed safely again, and consequently after a hearty bit of coughing, it was time to rise. I woke,dressed and then headed out on the road towards the airport once more to send my hubby off for a business trip shortly after 4:30am. Upon my return afterwards, I decided a warm blanket and cup of coffee would allow this weary soul moments of solitude before every else stirred. I glanced outdoors and became suddenly attracted to my chair on the back deck after I saw the first sign of the sun rising. The dew had kissed every surface with moisture, visually apparent on all of the deck furniture, so the blanket was an added benefit to sitting out there so early in the morning. Once I became settled, I became cozy warm and comfy, and it was then I began to sip my hot cuppa morning brew ever so gently.

Without too much prodding, it became apparent to me such a sight would be great to capture on my camera, snapping photos during timed intervals as it headed upward into the skies above.

I thought of the loved ones who had just departed the evening before, and the loved ones living in the west. This one is FOR YOU!

“May the road rise up to meet you,
may the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall softly on your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

~ Irish Blessing

"Morning has broken" I thought, and what a lovely morning it was this day! I sat spellbound in complete solitude, morning devotionals well on their way in thanksgiving for such a moment seized on impulse. I felt like this was my quiet place during these morning hours, and most definitely it was!

"If you truly want to bless others in your life,
you must seek out those experiences that
keep you motivated and inspired"

~ Thomas Kincaid

Just before this new morning was completely broken, a squirrel sauntered over to the bird feeders to find his treats (see right feeder below) before the birds came to peck at him in an attempt to scare him away again. And then, when my smile became even more pronounced over that simple scene, four sleepy headed children eventually rose to ask "what's for breakfast?"

It was then God had answered my prayers and continues to bless me over and over again. He knew I required this quiet solitude. He knew everything I was feeling emotionally during these wee hours. I am so thankful!

Tonight, I am also thankful for feeling a bit spryer just in time for our annual homeschooling trip to the waterslides. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee, and it’s supposed to be HOT, with another severe thunder storm warning in the afternoon. Here we go!

And guess what? This post wasn't intentionally meant to be long winded and super photo intensive, but I've just noted how late it has become, so I will see you all tomorrow. Goodnight my family and friends, God be with you!