In My Life

Kasteel; Oak Harbor, Washington

My friend Andy invited me to spend Thanksgiving with him and his family in Oak Harbor.   It was great to be able to spend the holiday with a family, since mine is 1800 miles away.

On the drive back to Bellingham, I was going over ideas for today’s blog when this Beatles song started playing on the radio.   It reminded me of all the places I’ve been, people I miss, and memories of holidays past.    None of those things will ever lose their meaning to me, but what’s right in front of me and what is to come I need to love more.   The way we celebrate and who we celebrate with evolves over time.  Sometimes the rooms overflow with people and other times we sit quietly alone.  

So today, I am humbly thankful for what is right in front of me.   I am grateful for my friends, my family, and the abundant blessings in my life.  I want for nothing, and I love this life more each day.

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

Little Children

Today I found myself thankful for my nieces and nephew.   I was blessed with the opportunity to spend some time with each of them this year, which seemed to simultaneously swell my heart and break it.  1,800 miles is too far.  I did my best to recruit my younger brother Chris and his wife to Pacific Northwest life, but I think they are set on staying in Minnesota.   It just makes me double, triple, quadruple appreciate every second I spend with these little ones.

Ella (Chris and Jess’s daughter) renamed herself Balto this past summer.    Each dog we saw became her “cousin”.  I adore her imagination and sweet spirit.  After talking with her for a few days, it wouldn’t surprise me if she grew up to be a doctor or award-winning journalist or if I find her climbing mountains and sailing oceans.  This girl is smart and adventurous.  She’ll do anything she sets her mind to.

“But I’m just throwing mud, Auntie Jojo!”  Isaac (Carole and Caleb’s son) pleaded with me when I threatened to take this oversized candy cane away from him last June after a piece of dirt hit my face.  100% BOY, this young man is afraid of absolutely nothing and has a mischievous grin that would melt any heart.   Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, Isaac will be the one climbing mountains and giving us all heart attacks.  Fearless.

Lilly (also Carole and Caleb’s) is a pensive child.  She could sit for hours and write stories and draw pictures.  Patient and calculating, she’ll be the one who watches the more impetuous kids get in trouble first and then sneak in under the radar.   She’s also a climber.  I found her standing on top of her bedroom dresser diving onto the bed when she was only two.  This past summer she could be found sitting on the kitchen counters eating cereal out of the box.   She’s my Lilly Bug

I finally got to meet Jillian (Matthew and Jenny’s daughter) this past June!  It was hard to get over how tall she was…and that red hair!   Having only a single afternoon to spend with her, we made the most of it – reading stories and visiting the local park.   I look forward to learning more about her over the years and to discover what her unique charms and abilities are.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 
I think we could all learn something from the little ones in our lives.  They aren’t yet burdened and jaded, still believing the best in people despite evidence to the contrary.  My nieces and nephew refresh my vision of life, and I would do absolutely anything for them.


As I’ve stated previously, 2010 has personally been a tough year.  Between learning how to study again and taking tests, a bad break-up, and discovering how much my property value dipped with the economy, I feel exhausted.  If that weren’t enough, the pre-election attack ads threatened my last nerve.  Following that political sepsis that poisoned the nation slowly throughout the past couple months, leaving me nauseated with click of the TV remote, I decided it was time for healing.

For the rest of this month, to celebrate Thanksgiving and all the blessings in my life, my daily post will be about something for which I am thankful.  I think healing can only come when we choose to see the positive and live our lives in a way that helps support each other rather than tear down. 

Because she is closest to home (literally), my first “thankful” post is dedicated to my roommate, Jessica. 

Jess is a strong, beautiful Italian woman who (as insiders know) obtained something our group calls “LUF” status.  I can’t share what that acronym means in this blog, but it has to do with her ability to be blatantly honest with everyone around her, telling it like it is.  You can trust Jess absolutely with anything, and I needed her positive energy in the house when she moved in last June.  Jess can power through any bad or uncomfortable situation in life and make the most of it.   For her unique outlook on life and her strength, I am thankful.  

These blue chairs are for you, Jess!  🙂