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!"

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thankful Thursday: Building A Family!

Today and Everyday, 
I am Most Thankful for this Family we have built . . . 

 We are so Blessed to have our 4 Great Kids!
I look at them with Awe and Amazement!

 Plus our 2 Wonderful Daughter in Laws!
I am my most happy when we are all together!

 And to think It all started with a Blind Date 
that led to a Wedding;

 And we're still going strong! 
I Love Us! I Love Our Family!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thankful Thursday: EmPOWERed Women

Last week I had the Honor of attending the Dress For Success Gala. For over the past year and a half I've been volunteering, every month at my local chapter of Dress For Success here in Phoenix. I first heard about it when the company I work for, Vanity Fair Brands, held events to promote donating to this great organization. This year alone, Vanity Fair will donate up to 50,000 Bra's to Dress For Success! I am so proud of that fact.

If you are unfamiliar with Dress For Success they help disadvantaged Women get back into the work force. They teach them how to find and apply for jobs, how to build a Resume', Interview Skills, and more! When they get a job interview we Suit them, they receive an entire outfit; Pants or Skirt, a Top & Jacket, Shoes, handbag & Accessories, make-up and more. Then when they get the job, they came back in and are given a weeks worth of work clothes. I, as a Personal Shopper, get to dress them. It's fun to see the change in some of these Women, when they change their attire!

The Gala is their biggest event and fund raiser of the year. Held at a Resort in Scottsdale, you enter by walking the Red Carpet! There was a cocktail reception with silent auctions, raffles and more.

I found this picture on Arizona Foothills Magazine. My dress looks black in some pictures and really bright here, it's actually Navy Blue! :) The Lady I was talking to here I believe was there with GoDaddy. Many companies donated items or hosted a table. I love talking about Dress For Success, sharing how I'm affiliated with them and how they can get involved.

During Dinner and the Program, we heard from Vice Mayor Kate Gallego and her husband Congressman Ruben Gallego, about how grateful they are for all the work Dress For Success does in our community. Sharing how when you elevate a woman's position, you elevate the community! 

We had a Fashion Show of Women's Work Wear, and pay through the Decades. It was so Interesting! Arizona is better than most States as far as Equal Pay for Equal Work, but we still don't make the same as Men (Yet!) Then we got to see and hear Success Stories from the Women pictured above, who some came out of abusive relationships, poverty, or hard times, with little or no education. And with some Support from Dress For Success, found work and the confidence to get an education and turn their lives around! Some are now CEO's, Teachers, some work in Health Care, one fulfilled a life long dream of becoming a Pilot, after being told girls couldn't do that! It's Women like these who made this election so important to me. But it's also Women like these who are so unstoppable, I know there is Always Hope for the future of this Country! 

After dinner we received donations for this incredible organization. The Volunteers wore these light up bracelets, and anyone who donated $50.00 or more received one. It was exciting to "Light Up the Ballroom!"

 At the After Party, we had local R&B Artist Cece Peniston perform her Billboard #1 hit "Finally" & more. A good time was had by all, it was such a fun night!

These are some of the Amazing Women I have met through Dress For Success. I volunteer each month with Courtney, who's on the left. And Pat, who's in the middle, runs the Boutique. You too can help out your local chapter of Dress For Success by Volunteering or Donating: Clothing, Shoes, Handbags, Jewelry, Etc. They accept all donations, including Monetary! :) And if the clothing isn't necessarily Business appropriate, that's okay, they hold warehouse sales, where all the proceeds go back into Dress For Success! I truly believe Empowered Women, Empower Women! And am so Thankful they do!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Thankful Thursday: Girl Power!

Yes, It's that time of year again! When Every Thursday of the Month becomes Thankful Thursday! A day set aside to remember to be Grateful for all we've been given. It can be anything! From the silly to the serious, the mundane to the meaningful. And I encourage you, at this Thanksgiving Season, and Always, to voice what you are Thankful for. And please share it with me here as well. Because as always, I am so Thankful for you, my Readers . . . 

 To kick start my month of Thankful Thursdays, I have to start with last night; The Election is next week, and Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton made a stop here in the great state of Arizona. Political Rallies are free, you just have to be willing to stand in line. There were more than 10,000 people there! 

 I along with my Daughters were among the 10.000 plus. It was fun and exciting to be there, and even better to get to share it with my girls, and to see it all through their eyes.

We heard a few speakers, including Representative Gabby Giffords, who was shot at a Rally here in Tucson, AZ.

My Brave little Girl, Erica, fought her way toward the front, where she stood (in Thigh High Boots mind you!) for 2 hours, to get pictures of Hillary entering! While Lexi and I danced, and sat in the bleachers. And she did get some really great shots and video! And when she finally joined us, she did take off her boots for a bit! :)

 There were people of all ages, races, sexes, etc. there. We heard many chants, and saw a vast array of signs & shirts. I saw 3 others with my DVF shirt! Great Taste! :) We saw a T-Shirt that stated "A Woman's Place is in the Kitchen!" :0 We also saw one that said "A Woman's Place is in the White House!" ;) On a personal note here; I believe a woman's place is wherever she wants it to be!!

 Here we are, with Hillary speaking behind us! And after the rally, as we were making our way out among the crowd, (which went surprisingly smoothly, there were protesters, but from our vantage point, everyone was civil, the entire time we saw 1 person being escorted out in handcuffs) a man asked me what I thought of the rally, my answer was "I am excited to be here with my daughters, as this is the first Presidential Election they are able to vote in, and how thrilled I am that they have a Woman on the ballot!" Let us not forget, It wasn't all that long ago, women weren't even able to vote at all! And weather or not you agree with her, weather or not you vote for her, weather or not she wins, this is a great thing for all of us! And for that I'm Thankful!

Monday, October 17, 2016

29 Years!!

 To Have and to Hold, 

from this day, Forward

 For Better, or for Worse

For Richer, for Poorer

 In Sickness, and in Health

 To Love and to Cherish

 Till death do Us part

 according to God's Holy Ordinance

 thereto I pledge thee my Faith

29 Years!! 

Happy Anniversary My Love