Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13
On this Memorial Day I would like to honor ALL that have served our country.
But in particular I would like to honor those I know personally.
My Brother Steve served you and me during the Vietnam war
He was 11 years older than me and I thought he was such a "man" now I see he was just a boy!

 This is one of my brother's friends/shipmates John in front of their ship
  This is another of my brother's friends/shipmates Rocky on the flight deck
 Lower left, Rich Kramer with his arm on Steve Vandeschraff, then, counter-clockwise, Stever Tiller (my brother's best friend, also named Steve), Mike Schmidtman, and Pete Kazura.
This picture was taken on the "Connie" in the offices
I salute you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Not just for serving our country but for introducing me to my big brother. I would never have known him without you all!
My brother was hurt in a motorcycle accident when he came home on leave. He spent the next 30 months in a coma before he died. A few years ago I set out on an adventure to get to know my big brother. These men and more came to my rescue and shared stories and photos that no one in my family had ever seen. They became "big brothers" to me
 This was "his" ship - the US Constellation CVA-64 (those are all cars on the flight deck)
The "Connie" as they called it has now been retired and is being parted out in Northern California and will eventually be sunk.
Thank you . . .
Steve Peterson - Brother - Vietnam
Steve Tiller  - Friend - Vietnam
Rich Kramer - Friend - Vietnam
John Winther - Friend - Vietnam
Rocky - Friend - Vietnam
Bob Jackson - Friend - Vietnam
Allen Mikeska - Nephew - Peacetime
Winford Schell - Uncle - WWII
Gaylord (Al) Schell - Cousin - Vietnam
Titto Ferrera - Brother to my SIL - Present

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Big Lesson I learned from a Two Year Old on a Merry-Go-Round

Tonight's post is part vacation story and part inspiration.
I hope you will get a chuckle out of the vacation part and  be blessed by the inspirational part. 
The first day we were at Disneyland it was very hot and of course the kids were really amped up. My Bug wanted to ride the carousel and Monkey wanted to go shopping (and I really wanted a cold drink and some food), but we did the carousel first. I was in charge of Bug and Bryanna was in charge of Monkey and Gary was in charge of the camera. I strapped Bug on to the pony of her choice but she is so tiny that the strap didn't really fit her that well. She is also not the type of child that sits still AT ALL so I put my arm around her to keep her safe. I wasn't holding on tightly and was not interfering with her riding pleasure at all. But she was getting so upset with me and kept pushing my hand away. With each push she got more and more angry. I tried to explain that I was just trying to keep her safe. But she insisted that I take my hand away. I of course did not listen to her because I needed to know she wouldn't fall off and if she did I could quickly grab her. But with each push of her hand and each angry plea to leave her alone I got a little more frustrated. After all, all I was trying to do was protect her. I have to admit by the time the ride was over I was feeling really hurt. Why couldn't she just be nice? Why couldn't this just be fun for both of us? Gary did manage to get pictures of her smiling on the carousel and I was thankful that she managed a smile each time we came around to where he was standing with the camera. When we got off the carousel Gary and I headed off for that cold drink and lunch that I wanted and a little break from the kiddos.

Once we arrived home I was sitting on the patio and I was listening to the radio (I listen to KLOVE a Christian station) when this song came on, I had heard it before but never really listened that closely to the words. But on this day I did. I wish I knew the title of the song but I don't remember. The song was talking about how God is always right there with us in the good and the bad times. And how He just wants to protect us and provide for us not hinder us and stifle us. He is not trying to stop us from enjoying our life, instead He is poised and ready to catch us when we fall. But we think we can do it on our own, that we don't need His help (until things are really bad).
As I listened to this song, my mind went right back to Bug on that carousel. This is how we treat God sometimes. We keep pushing Him away and getting angry with Him. We think we don't need His presence in every moment of our life. But I not only saw how we react, I saw how He must feel each time we push Him away. He must get so frustrated with us,  knowing that it is only because He loves us so much and wants us to be safe. He must get so hurt thinking of how He just wants to enjoy being with us and He must wish we would just be nice sometimes.  
I have thought of this lesson each day and tonight while sitting on the patio, listening to the radio and chatting with Gary before he went to bed, I told Gary about the song and the lesson I had learned from my two year old granddaughter on the carousel. I was very surprised by his reaction to my little story (he doesn't always "get" my little stories and analogies). He told me he wanted me to write it down so that we would both remember it. He said it had touched him. So, here I am writing it down so we can remember this lesson about how much God loves us and wants to protect us.
I hope this little story of mine will remind you also about how much God loves you and wants to be part of your life.
till we meet again. . .

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Disney and More. . .

Just thought I'd share a little more about our trip with you all tonight.
First off I have to tell you how thankful I am that we all got home safely from our trip. Lizzy & Richard opted to stay until Sunday even though the rest of us came home on Thursday. About 5pm on Sunday evening I get a call from Lizzy, she and Richard had just been in a terrible accident! The car was totaled, all of the air bags deployed and the axle snapped in two on Richard's BMW! They had been hit by a car they never saw - literally, it was a hit and run! They were pushed off of the I-10 about 19th ave (thank God it happened in Phx!) and with no power to the car and no ability to steer (because of the snapped axle) they sailed down the off ramp barely missing the gore! Thankfully they were not hurt at all - just stiff and sore and headachey. God is so good - if they had been in Lizzy's Civic I think this would not have turned out as well!
Okay - now some trip highlights. . .
Since our trip was Lizzy's graduation present I let her pick something "special" for us to do at Disneyland. She picked the "Walk in Walt's Footstep" tour. We didn't all go - it was just under $100 per person and was 3 hours long. I knew that Monkey and Bug would never hang for that and so Gary stayed at the hotel pool with the girls while I headed out with the "BIG" kids for the tour.
 We had to be there early, before the park even opened and as you can see in the picture above it was already super hot and bright out. It ended up being 102 degrees with 80% humidity that day - it was nasty HOT!!!!
 As part of the tour we got to go into the famous Club 33. Lizzy and Richard have actually gotten to eat there. They have made friends with some members so they have been invited a few times. And of course they always take their friends up on the invitation!
 We also got to go "backstage" and then up to Walt's personal apartment that he kept at the park. It really wasn't a big "WOW" for me, but the man behind me whispered to me as we walked up the stairs "It's like seeing the holy grail". He is certainly a bigger Disney fan than I will ever be!
 After the tour they had a nice lunch for us and we each got a limited edition Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour pin. It is a really nice pin and of course it made me want to start collecting Disney trading pins (which I did). It was a nice tour and the kids really enjoyed it.
I also wanted to let you know that if you don't have big holiday plans for this weekend there are still 2 spots left in my Antiquities Art Journal class this Saturday. Just call the store I you are interested.
Well , it's getting late and I still have a list of "to-do's" to do
till we meet again. . .

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I'm Back. . .

Well we are back home now - Just wanted to share a couple of pictures from our PhotoPass
 This is all of us, minus Darwin who was in the hotel room napping.
I never did get a picture of ALL of us!
This is Lizzy & Me - my big ASU graduate with her "fear the fork" tee on. She got a lot of strange looks in this shirt - some men asked her if she was on a competitive eating team! Silly men!!!

I will be back with more pictures and stories later.
Till we meet again. . .

Thursday, May 9, 2013

It's Official. . .

My Baby Girl is an ASU Graduate!
It's late and we just got home but I wanted to post a few pictures
I am chronically late for everything (except my classes) but I was not going to be late to Lizzy's graduation! So I made sure everyone in my house was in the car by 4pm to drive the 50 miles in rush hour traffic to the other side of town. We made it in great time - early not late.
The doors open at 6:30 and graduation starts at 7:30. At 6pm we hear from Liz that she is still 30 miles away (did I mention it is rush hour)!!!! I had visions of all of us sitting through my daughter's graduation with out her being there!
Everyone was starting to stress so I removed myself and said a little prayer and God is good - she got there, safe and on time!
 So this is our group waiting and hoping we would see Liz walk across the stage

You can't see her, but in the last row of those white chairs sits my daughter. At this moment everyone was able to really relax and enjoy the night.
She even had time to run up to our seats and give us her sunglasses to hold for her. I was so thrilled I jumped over everyone and ran to her for a pre-graduation hug and kiss. I tried to take a picture and my camera froze and she is telling me she needs to hurry back to her seat. Just as luck would have it she scratches the side of her nose right as my camera decides to shoot! No time for another shot - but I didn't care, I got to hug my baby!
Once things got started it was too dark to get a picture of her receiving her diploma on stage, so I just sat back and soaked it all in.
This is the whole group outside after the ceremony - God bless the kindness of strangers so that we could get this picture of all of us!
Of course this is Lizzy with her proud parents!
 Ya gotta love sisters!!!!
This pose of Lizzys is making fun of how I was standing in the photo above.
 Add in the Brother-in-law and the picture gets a little more dignified

 And a sweet picture with Lizzy and her Grandmas
 Last but definitely not least - Lizzy and her Man Richard
 And one last picture without the gown so we can see her new dress.
This last one I stole off of Lizzy's FB wall. Lizzy is in the center
 Thanks for sharing my joy with me
till we meet again. . .

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I am Overflowing Today!

That's right - Overflowing!
I am overflowing with. . .
and even Tears
Today is the day my Baby graduates from University.
Today is the day she has worked so hard for.
Today is the day she has dreamed of since she was a little girl.
Today is the day she starts a new chapter in her life.
Today is the day I get to celebrate all of this with her.
Today is the day I get to be that sappy, embarrassing Mom.
Today is the day that I will spend in pure joy and gratitude for all of the amazing things that God has given me and my family.
Today is the day that I hope and pray that all of YOU, my blog friends will be blessed as much as I have been!
Till we meet again. . .

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Creativity is Running Rampid in my Family!

I just thought I'd pop in today and share with you all of the FUN projects that have been going on in my house this past week or so. It seems that I am not the only one feeling creative these days.
This is my Lizzy working on wedding shower invites for a girlfriend. Lizzy is in the wedding and had to volunteer to help out with putting the shower together. She chose to do the invites (because she knew her Mom was a paper hoarder). She had to make 30 invites that day. Her time is limited so I got everything all cut and ready for her and she and one of the other bridesmaids sat at my kitchen counter or about 4 hours putting them all together.
I really think they turned out nice and the girls really seemed to have fun while they worked on them.
 Then the other day Liz called to see if I would help her decorate her cap for graduation. So the two of us ran out to Joann's and bought ALL the black & red rhinestones they had and then came back and got working.
 I used the cricut to cut out the mickey head and the apple and she traced them on the cap and then one by one glued each of those rhinestones on! It took a couple of hours but she did a great job!
 Look at how stinkin' cute it turned out!
 Friday Bryanna and the Girls went with me to Joann's so I could get supplies for my travel book I wanted to make. While we were there we got these Disney shirts that you color in yourself. This weekend the girls both colored their shirts. Monkey did her's all by herself! She is getting so good at staying in the lines and picking colors!
 Bug did a lot her's too but her Mommy had to help her out a little. They are gonna look so cute in their night shirts while we are on vacation!
 While the Girls were busy coloring their shirts and I was busy with my travel journal, Gary was working in the garage on another cornhole game he sold. He custom makes these games for people and hand paints the logos and everything! This one is for a Bike Club (this is the first non-sports one he has made). He makes 2 boards for each game - usually they are 2 different teams but this time they were exactly the same.
 It took him 2 full days to get them done but they turned out fantastic! He was not super excited about me taking his picture as he worked!
 As many of you know Lizzy is graduating tomorrow from ASU and we are having a grad party for her on Friday (the night before we leave on our trip) One of my jobs was to make signs for the food table. We are having a hot dog bar, a popcorn bar and a root beer float station. The party theme is of course Disney, with ASU colors.
 So ya gotta love the dollar bin at Target or little white buckets, the cricut machine for mickey heads and left over Disney stickers. I even had the right colors of curling ribbon in my stash!
 This is the Travel journal for our Disney trip this coming week. Ya know I HAVE to have a travel journal! This is a line of Disney paper I had not seen before it is very cute. It's a little bit retro and has some glitter on it (I am not a glitter fan but Lizzy LOVES glitter!). I hand made the book and added a 3 ring binder mechanism (that I yanked out of an old binder).
  Each day has a black chipboard divider page with an index tab on the edge
 The front has a vellum pocket (thanks Cherry for the pockets!) that I embellished and has a pull out journal card for me to write on each night.
The back side of the dividers are just embellished and ready for some memorabilia that we will collect along the way. On the backs of the dividers for the days we will actually be at Disney there is a bigger embellished pocket to keep maps etc in.   
After each divider are a couple of pages (I did not photograph all of them) to put more of our treasures on. It is the same layout throughout the book so I am just adding small pictures of all of the pages here for you to see.
I must say that I think I really like the traditional black/red/yellow Disney color scheme better, but this turned out kinda cute and it is different than all of the other Disney travel books I have in my collection!
I hope you have enjoyed seeing all of the creativity that is happening around here. I probably wont be adding much else on the blog until after we get back home. I hope you all have a Fantastic 2 weeks!
till we meet again. . .