Friday, December 30, 2016

Ode To Joy!

I'm not talking about the song Ode to Joy by: Beethoven. Joy was my Word Of The Year for 2016! When I originally choose that word I knew Joy might be hard to come by. As 2016 had my Girls' Graduating from High School, which I realize is a Joyful occasion, but as a Mother, it's a sad reminder your kids are growing up! Especially when it's your youngest! Plus our best friends were moving out of the Country. It had the potential to be a year of sadness, so I thought I'd better seek out Joy! But I had no idea just how challenging this year would turn out to be.

 My Loving Husband, bought me a "Joy Journal" for Christmas last year! And I determined to find something every single day of the entire year that brings me Joy & document it. So on all 365 days (after tomorrow) of this year I have written down something that I find Joy in. There are big and Wonderful things, as well as little, simple things! Some days I had to look harder than others to find something, anything, to put in my Joy Journal! No one could have predicted just how much we would need a little Joy this year! With it's terrible election season, and heartbreaking outcome. Along with the number of great musicians, and beloved celebrities we have lost this year! (Doesn't it seem like more this year, than ever?!) We've also had personal tragedy, loosing my sweet Mother in Law. She was our kids' last remaining Grand Parent. Yes, 2016 was a heartbreaking year all around! Making Joy hard to find!

But find it I did. My greatest Joy in life is my Family! And how we stick together when times get hard. All my kids were able to be home for Christmas. I loved it. My Home and Heart Full! We took a walk up to the park & took this fun shot with my new Selfie Stick! :) Here in Arizona, this is as close to snow as we get! One thing I've learned this year is that Joy isn't what happens to, or around, you. It's something you Choose! And sometimes you have to look hard to find it. The key to Joy is found in Gratitude. No matter what kind of situation you may find yourself in, if you can find something, anything, to be Thankful for, you will find Joy! I have tried to cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude, looking for something, no matter how small, or hard it may be, everyday this entire year. Things like my Girls' are thriving in life after High School! Our friends are loving life in Aruba! My Year of Joy! And I hope you have found some Joy this year as well. And that we all remember to be Thankful, always. For in that, you may find Joy. Happy New Year to you and yours. And here's hoping 2017 is a little easier! :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Happy Holidays 2016

"Christmas, my child, is love in action. 
Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas."  
(Dale Evens Rogers)

Here's what I see as I look back on this year; John turned the Big Five-Oh! Oh, Believe it. And He was just promoted to Operations Supervisor at the Hospice company he works for. And he freely shares his love of food and drink. Next year will see our 30th Wedding Anniversary! My how times flies when you're having fun! I continue to enjoy my job as a Merchandiser, my Bookclub(s) and volunteering with Dress for Success.

Kyle & Katie celebrated their 2nd Wedding Anniversary, while Zach & Kendra have been Married a year already! Kyle is a Barista and Katie a Nurse at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Zach is now a Park Ranger at Lake Powell, and Kendra Teaches Preschool. All 4 are involved in leading Worship at their Churches. Both couples have taken several trips this year and are enjoying life as Newlyweds! No Grand Children for us yet, but, don't worry, I'm asking Santa!!

Our Girls Graduated from High School, and are now in their last year as Teenagers. (How am I the only one not getting any older?!) Erica is in the Honors Program at Phoenix College, studying to be a Sign Language Interpreter. Lexi is in Cosmetology School and doing really well. Both Girls are working as Receptionists while attending school, and both bought their first car this year. We are beyond Blessed and are so Proud of all our Kids!

2016 has seen much Joy & much Sorrow as well. In February we celebrated John's Moms 84th Birthday, and them we lost her in April. She was a sweet and wonderful woman, and our kids' last remaining grandparent. It's been very difficult. Though we are grateful for the time we had with her and that our children were blessed with the most amazing grandparents.

This was also our girls' first ever presidential election they could vote in. And what a terrible and heart breaking one at that! We still have not yet fully recovered. But all is not lost in the world, for we have been given the Gilmore Girls revival! So you see, there is always Hope! With all going on in the world, this year, more than ever, our wish is for Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.

"Christmas, Children, is not a date. It is a state of mind."
(Mary Ellen Chase) 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mamma Mia!

If you know anything about me, you know I love all things Broadway! And I have tried my best to impart that love onto my children.

Last night my girls and I got to see Mamma Mia! Touring as part of Broadway Across America, and it is sadly on it's farewell tour.

We all love the Movie version, but if you've seen it; not all the actor's are great singers. :0 (I can relate to that as I'm not a great singer myself! Though I don't usually let that stop me!) ;) But Broadway actors are amazing singers! And with the awesome songs of Abba, you know it's good!

 This is such a fun show! At any given moment, you can look around the audience and see patrons singing, clapping along, and dancing! You laugh and leave feeling happy and up beat!

 And Bonus! We got to see some old friends of ours; another mother with her two amazing daughters that we used to go to Church with. They are Finnish, and love Abba maybe even more than I do!

Sadly Mamma Mia! is on it's farewell tour. And as the "Dancing Queens" we are, we are so sad to see it go, but so happy that we got to see it together! And say along with everyone else; "Thank You For The Music!"