Sunday, December 7, 2008

T is for Teddy Bear

It's heartwrenching to think that there are so many children in this affluent community who will not be celebrating the holidays as most of us are blessed enough to do. These precious little ones cannot count on having a glorious feast on their dining room table on Christmas Eve. These precious little ones cannot count on having an abundance of gifts awaiting them on Christmas morn under the tree.

But these precious little ones will have a teddy bear filled with love and whispered blessings from our hearts to give them a glimmer of magic and kindness when they need it the most. As a small gesture of hope offered from a police officer when removing a child from a chaotic and dangerous household. As a tiny token of goodness for a teen entering a place of safety while his life is reassembled. I love these bears. But mostly, I love the arms that will soon hold them close.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I probably shouldn't post when I'm feeling like this...grumpy, frustrated, disenchanted. But the true reason I started this blog was to release those feelings in a healthier unfetter myself from their bondage. So, let me begin...parenting can be just plain hard and parenting teenagers can be downright impossible. There are so many aspects of this age that I truly adore...the heart to heart conversations, the intense wistfulness, and the innocent yearning. But there are also many aspects of this age that I truly detest...the nasty attitudes, the sense of entitlement, and the irrational demands! Without giving specifics (because I do have to allot a certain amount of privacy and respect regardless of how much I want to spill) lets just say that if she survives to sixteen I will be shocked! Enough said!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Do you feel it?

During this magical and heart-warming season I must confess that there are moments in which I find myself feeling exhausted...even downright stressed! (Maybe I need to clarify that right now my home is essentially quarrantined as I have two young girls spiking fevers and leaving trails of puke behind and, of course, my husband is currently on call!!!!)

So, in order to make certain that I successfully alleviated these unwanted nudges from affecting my holiday cheer, I decided to take action. I thumbed through my favorite "stress reduction" book (thanks Stevie) and settled upon an idea that I immediately fell in love with. Thankfully, the suggestion was so simple. There is such beauty and freedom in simplicity! The words leapt at me as I savored their perfect conciseness..."READ A POEM EVERY DAY!"

I plucked the book (Falling Up) from its spot of safety on Alissa's bedroom shelf noticing the dust jacket had been removed and the pages were dog-eared and worn. This simple act of retrieving this obviously adored book, in and of itself, immediately reduced my anxiety.

I hope by sharing this little gem you will feel a child-like smile (along with some stress relief) take over your face! I sure did!

I made myself a snowball
As perfect as could be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for its head.
Then last night it ran away,
But first - it wet the bed.
by Shel Silverstein

Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

I didn't take pictures of the Thanksgiving feast...the tender turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, or butter-soaked broccoli. Instead I chose to document those things that I was thankful for that day. Such as...

Visiting my dad's Salvation Army toy drive bins...reminding me to be thankful for the clothing on my back, the roof over my head and the food in my belly.

Noticing the way in which the Spanish moss wraps each central Florida tree with such a gentle touch reminding me to be thankful for all the beauty that fills our world.

Witnessing an alligator crossing the road while cruising around on the golf cart reminding me to be thankful for all of the surprises life brings me each and every day.

Catching a kaleidoscope of colors during sunset reminding me to be thankful for the manner in which each of my family members and their uniqueness enriches my experiences.

Feeling very, very thankful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Land Down Under

Who isn't intrigued by Australia? One particularly interesting aspect of this island continent that I tend to think of this time of year is how their seasons are completely reversed from ours. I often wonder if the folks in Australia find it strange to prepare for Christmas when the mercury begins climbing rather than plummeting.

Which makes me think about myself here basking in the temperate climate of Florida. I never quite feel totally engaged with the holiday season since moving 1,500 miles...probably because I am a product of the north...unexpected snowstorms, frosted windowpanes, and the like were and still are part of my Christmas mindset.

So, this year as I witness annual flowers being planted, ducklings paddling across the pond and mild breezes moving the palm fronds amidst the boughs of pine and twinkly lights...I'm going to adopt an accent like the aussies and think, Happy Christmas, Mate!

one of the good guys

our relationship is far from perfect. we quibble. we annoy one another. we have power struggles. but at the end of the day...there is no other person i would prefer to spend my life with. he's romantic. he's thoughtful. he's passionate. for sure...he's one of the good guys. and he's always surprising me.

this past bithday was no exception. he went from store to store all over town to get me a collection of books he knew i wanted. he planned a night out that was so fantastic knowing i never would have planned it for myself. he loves me. and i love good, good guy.

“It is not what they profess but what they practice that makes them good."~Greek Proverb

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

K is for Kinsey

One of the many, many things I love about my quirky little gal is her enduring adoration of the seaside. Even though she has happily and fully entered the world of preteendom (and all that it encompasses), whenever she steps foot onto the sandy shores of the gulf it's as if the years melt away and she's my sunny little toddler once again. Sitting on the edge of the surf...she plays and plays...allowing the sand to dwindle between her fingers...collecting coquinas left behind by their previous tenants. It's those moments...and so many more that make her just who she is...Kinsey with a capital K!

Monday, November 17, 2008

he puts a smile on my face and peace in my heart

i know nothing about buddah. i probably will never know much more than i already do. but i know for sure that this portly little fella who is always reaching for the sky is a happy part of my daily travels through the neighborhood...and for that i'm grateful.

"It is better to travel well than to arrive."~Buddah

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lovin' the S'more Weather

Snuggly and love-worn sweatshirts...along with gooey and sweet s'mores...while perched in front of a crackling fire...a fool-proof recipe for making a chilly Sunday evening sensational!

"S'more appears to be a contraction of the phrase, "some more", as in "Please, give me some more of that delicious treat."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I can (and will) wait!

Alissa and I had this discussion just yesterday...after a commercial had popped on the screen about the upcoming Christmas season and we are both in total agreement on this fact...DECORATING FOR CHRISTMAS BEFORE THANKSGIVING IS NOT ALLOWED! In fact, she even said..."How can you receive gifts, or even prepare for the holiday if you haven't given thanks first?" AMEN baby girl!

Now, I don't believe I'm a Scrooge...but c'mon...give Thanksgiving its due! Enjoy the funky cornicopia, pull out those cute little Publix pilgrim salt and pepper shakers, and sit together on the couch watching the Macy's day parade...remembering all the while what you have to be thankful for.

I totally understand and relish the magic of Christmas...the decked-out tree filled with homemade ornaments adorned with Alissa and Kinsey's preschool pictures, cards with notes from familiy and friends far (and not so far) away, Larry's unbelievable from scratch pound cake and so much more. But, until Black Friday...I can wait.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Loads of Miles Left

I was thrilled to have my camera and my daughter in the truck to capture and chronicle the moment. 100,000 miles and the "Exploder" still looks great. 100,000 miles and this fiesty little truck continues to run like a champ. Strangely, this little vehicle gives me hope! I truly believe there are at least 100,000 more miles in our future!

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”~Robert Frost

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

thank you veterans

on my way out the door yesterday morning, something in the news captured my attention. i wasn't sure i would be able to fit it into my jam-packed day...especially since it was scheduled to end at 5 p.m. and i had to work until 4:30. so, immediately after work i hustled home as fast as legally possible, asked alissa to snatch my camera from my bureau and together we headed to the naples pier.

after witnessing the sight of those crosses on the beach...we were both moved beyond words and felt so grateful that we arrived in the nick of time.

and that was like god presented our veterans with a special thank-you of his own.

Monday, November 10, 2008


If you have a high schooler or middle schooler, you must check out this incredible say they care about kids is such an understatement. I cannot adequately put into words the positive impact this club has had on both of my daughters and our family! If you have an inkling of interest, visit their website. Zack (pictured with the guitar) is the most compassionate, hysterical and selfless young girls are so priviledged to have him as their youth leader! The dessert banquet on Monday only deepened my appreciation and awe for all this club is able to accomplish with our youth...building relationships, caring for our kids, and helping to direct them in the most positive direction possible. We LOVE Young Life!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Please Pray Tonight

"There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were."~Dwight D. Eisenhower

We received the news today. Please keep the Ryerson family in your prayers...Donna, Ed, Michael, Melanie, Eddie, Amber and Angie. They have lost Matthew...a son, a brother, a friend...and their lives will never be the same.

the best $30 bucks i've spent in a while

alissa and her girls made shirts for tomorrow's game.
they planned.
they plotted.
they giggled.
they painted.
they created.
they giggled some more.
i love these girls.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

full of pride...for my forever friend

dawn and i first met many years ago. in fact, she was my first official naples friend. and she remains a close friend today. i hope she will for the rest of our days...and i suspect she will. there are so many things i admire about her. her positive nature. her creativity. her faith. her love for her husband. her dedication to her children. her admiration for her mother. her devotion to her friends. and the list goes on and on. but today, i am in awe of her passion...which took her so outside of her comfort zone and placed her front and center. i admire you dawn...and i'm proud to call you my forever friend.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Yearning for solitude...and yes, I'm a bit of a loner...and that's a good thing.

I used to make apologies for my intense need to be alone...blame it on my being an only child...or whatever. Now, I know it's just one aspect of what makes me...well, me...and that's okay.

Not so long ago, I believed there was something wrong with me when I would hide away in my bedroom at the end of the work week for a few hours or take long walks alone each afternoon to regroup and recharge. Now, I've learned that my solitude is precious to me...and those who know me and love me know it as well...and that is just perfect...for me.

"I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude." –Henry David Thoreau, Walden

"Solitude is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it." –Deepak Chopra

"We do not require company. The opposite: in varying degrees, it bores us, drains us, makes our eyes glaze over. Overcomes us like a steamroller. Of course, the rest of the world doesn’t understand." -Unknown

"Being a loner is not about hate, but need: We need what others dread. We dread what others need." -Unknown

"They say isolation drives you crazy. Sure it does—when you can’t get enough of it." -Unknown

Cast YOUR Ballot

“Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.”~Franklin Pierce Adams

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Hair...Happy Heart.

I could never be a hair stylist...I was NOT that girl who loved to play with my little friend's hair...braiding it, applying the curling iron to the ends just so....but, I truly LOVE having my hair done by someone else. There is something so relaxing and indulgent about having someone else work on my head...even the uncomfortable bowl sink is fun for me. It's the one time that I don't dread small talk!

Recently, I have been led to a new hairdresser who is from my home state and she feels like a long lost friend. Her quirky little shop doesn't fit the Naples image...and for that I'm grateful. I brought along my camera this Saturday and took some shots of the awesome antique hairdryers lined lovingly on her shelf. (Note the turquoise walls in the background!!) I can't wait to return in six weeks!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Creepy? Cool?

“"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the Spider to the Fly; "'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.”~Mary Howitt

Kinsey felt very much like the fly today. After exploding through the doorway this afternoon, she nervously pulled me outside to photograph this awe-inspiring arachnid. I thought it was totally cool... while she clearly expressed her feelings about it's creepiness. Does that make me the Spider?

an invitation

this invitation was attached to alissa's report card yesterday...and to say i'm proud is an understatement...i'm glowing...and her accomplishments never cease to amaze me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Little Boys Just Grow Bigger...not older

As we sat side by side on the wicker porch seat and looked out at the magnificent sights of a perfect Michigan autumn all around us, I noticed the softly humming wind chimes dancing in the breeze, snapped a few quick shots of my honey, contemplated my good fortune...and simply savored the moment. He, however, vigorously kicked at the dying leaves on the porch, threw several sticks towards the huge rock several feet away and glanced up to notice...and announce, "Wow, that's one great climbing tree!" little boy.


i'm not ashamed to admit that there are times in which my daughters and i battle, ignore, irritate or simply annoy each other. three women under one roof. c''s gonna happen. and honestly...working through those moments, maddening as they may be at the time, actually brings us closer together. our dynamic with one another seems to be built on shared mistakes, learning and growing with each misstep. they know i'm not perfect and in turn, i would never expect perfection from them.

somehow with daddy it's different. at one point in time, i am slightly ashamed to admit, i actually felt envious of the special bond shared between my daughters and their daddy...the obvious adoration and desire to gain his attention and approval, hoping to appear perfect in his eyes. i'm eternally grateful that i have found a man who so carefully caresses his daughter's emotions, strengthening their self-esteem and ensuring their success in the world as women capable of standing on their own one day. reminding them that they are perfect just because they are his girls.

and what's more perfect than that?

Monday, October 20, 2008

autumn in michigan

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all." Stanley Horowitz