Seasons In Life

As we grow older and hopefully wiser, we realize that over the course of our lives a diverse group of people have come and gone.  Some staying briefly, others for a season and on that rare occasion we’ve met someone who has stuck with us for a large part of our lives.

Ahh, the Memories

Recently while thinking about simple times, memories of my childhood came to mind.  My friends who made junior high fun, crazy and sometimes naughty, like kissing boys under the bleachers (yes, I did that a time or two…who didn’t?)

My youth was spent in the 1970’s and for the most part I cannot recall a dull moment (okay, well maybe when I had to babysit my younger sisters.) mendy-circa-late-70s If I wasn’t cheering for our recreation club’s football team (my mom sewed my cheerleading outfit as most did back then) my friends Sheri, Karla, Kim, and Amber and I were deciding whose house we’d be sleeping at on Friday night. We would spend those nights talking about boys (as they were never far from our minds), listen to the radio and have pillow fights.  We all attended Sligh Junior High in Tampa, Florida which at the time was a 7th grade center designed for cultural integration in the community; it is now called Sligh Middle School (named after the street it faces) and is home to middle school kids in grades 5th – 7th.

In the late 70s, we would play 4-square in the school’s courtyard after lunch and talk about boys (again..we were 7th grade girls) and on rare occasion other topics which ran the gamut. We wore the hairstyles of the day, one side straight down and the other clipped back tight against the head (a bit of a bizarre style if you ask me) or a long and feathered look, such as in my picture. School offered home economics class, shop and typing, I took all three not remembering what I made in either home eco or shop, but I do recall standing at an ironing board (who knew back then we’d have was and wear clothing in the 21st century?) We wore dresses that were at or below our knees, pantyhose and black baby doll (flat) shoes. We had “patrols” (with the orange patrol belt) who patrolled the halls making sure we didn’t run and kept order on buses during the rides to/from school. Oh yeah, an on the rare occasion we would go to the mall…there would always be a line at the photo booth, you know…where you would go in, sit down, draw the curtain and start making goofy faces, then step out and wait a minute or two for your four shots to magically appear!  The picture above is a photo booth sitting.

I remember quite well my time in junior high and physical education class, pfft! (rolling eyes!)  Oh how I hated P.E.!  I still believe the only form of exercise our Phy. Ed. teachers knew were laps; everyday without fail and as soon as we hit the basketball courts (after dressing out) we ran laps.  I ran around that basketball court so many times one year I could tell you the location of every divot, crack and dip. I was determined not to have P.E. the following year so I got a part-time job at McDonald’s on Busch Blvd across the street from Busch Gardens and signed up for the school’s early work release program which allowed student to work in the afternoons on school days, usually reporting to work around noon. When a student was on early release P.E., home economics or shop were the classes of choice to drop from our class schedule; all the kids in this program thought it was the best thing in life, especially if we had the day off from work we still left school early.

GrandbabiesAlthough Karla, Sheri, Kim, and Amber are not part of my life on a daily basis, a few of us still keep in touch via social media and texting. We are spread across the U.S. with Sheri in New Mexico, I am in Northern Kentucky and Karla, Kim and Amber are all in Florida. It’s hard to believe some of us are grannies and these are my four precious ones.

Ahh, the memories are a nice escape from the hectic life most of us lead in adulthood. Just writing this article has conjured up some really great visions of years gone too soon. Wow its so hard to grasp that I turned 50 in February of this year, W-O-W…where has the time gone?

As I grow older by the day I’ve found that its the simple things in life that make L-I-F-E an adventure. As a Nona (grandmother/grandma in Italian), I love that I can love on my grandchildren and when they get cranky… I hand them back to mom and dad. I love that I don’t have to put up with other people’s drama and there’s no law telling me I have to keep them in my life. I love that because of where I’ve been…I know where I’m going and planning my future has never been so much fun. I love that my “lifetime” friends love me for who I am and accept me completely, without question, ridicule or judgement.  They just love me! And lastly, I love walking down MEMORY LANE and bringing all those great memories into the present. Thank you for letting me share a smidge of my past with you.

Consistent: My One Word for 2014

Wow, great idea!

I was watching the @Today show this morning and they did a segment on picking “One Word” that you will strive to use and blend into your life to inspire, define, motivate, enhance YOU in 2014.

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While researching the topic of One Word, I found it is not a new concept, yet somehow over the years it has eluded me.  Perhaps it was while my head was shoved in college books studying and little else mattered (besides family/friends.)

My Word

Deciding this exercise it was a great way to make a difference in my personal life, I selected my #OneWord.

Consistent

  1. I will be consistent in daily prayer, not only to hear and learn what blessings God has in store for my life, but also in Thanksgiving to Him for what He is doing/has done in my life!
  2. I will be consistent in health & fitness.  Fitness is something that is conveniently (and easily) pushed out of my schedule when something more interesting, fun, daunting, or out right boring comes into play.  This year I will strive to be more consistent in my health and fitness regimen; realizing I’m not getting any younger and the effort of keeping my bosom from sagging to my waist, I need to be in the gym or incorporating outdoor exercise in my life.  Lord I pray my efforts keep my “stuff” from sagging “more.”
  3. I will strive to be consistent in blogging. While in college and forced to write term papers on a variety of topics, it hit me that I really enjoy writing, spilling my guts, sharing adventures, or simply ranting about something that doesn’t seem right or just right out irks me.  So with that, I started this blog and although I knew at the time it would take dedication, and effort to support and keep the blog current, I did not pay as much attention to it as I would have liked and even though I posted 50+ times in 2013, overall I feel I’ve done an meh job on the consistency part.

Your turn, pick one.

If you take a few minutes and research the phrase “One Word,” you will find many bloggers have blogged about their word (and why they’ve selected it), tweeters have tweeted, while others are still contemplating what their “Word” will be.

Have you picked one? If so, please link your post/blog/tweet in the comments below, I would love to read about your word.  If not, what’s holding you back? I hope this blog will inspire you to pick a word, just one word, one very important word for 2014.  Once you have your “Word,” won’t you please share?

Make a difference in YOUR life with YOUR “Word”

Oh how excited I am to be consistent this year in prayer, fitness, and blogging.  I’ll be sharing my 2014 adventures with you and how consistency has (changed, affected, bruised, impeded, pushed, endured, shamed, and reminded) my efforts, thoughts, choices, decisions, and actions this year.

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New Year, Adventures, and Memories

Happy New Year

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The time has arrive, we have crossed into the year of our Lord, TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN.  I am ever so excited about what the new year holds for my family and I.  We are all looking forward to the adventures in store and the stories to be shared (blogged).

2014 will be a year of changes, additions, high expectations for us as The Boy graduates from high school in the summer and a couple of months after that, my fourth grandchild will make their arrival.  Sometime during the year I am hoping to get out to Seattle and visit with my oldest son and his family.

I hope you take time for adventures; making sure to include family and friends. From our home to yours, we wish you all a blessed, fulfilled, happy, and adventurous year!

Christmas Trivia

For many around the globe December 25th marks a religious holiday in which we celebrate Jesus’ birth.  Over the centuries, it has been marked with fictional characters such as Santa and his famous reindeer of nine. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer from memorizing them in your childhood? Go ahead, sing the song “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” it will help you.

Since I am always interested in holiday traditions, how and where they originated, and why we practice them, I have compiled a list of Christmas facts from many outside sources (to which the original creator is unknown and proper credit cannot be acknowledged nor verified.)

Fun Facts

  1. Santa Claus was a real Saint (German: Sankt Nikolaus). He lived in what is now known as Turkey but was referred to as Myra in the 300s.
  2. Merry Christmas has name translations around the world.  Here are just a few of the more popular locations.  Sheng Tan Kuai Loh (China), Hauskaa Joulua (Finland), Joyeux Noel (France), Nadolig Llawen (Wales), and God Jul (Sweden).
  3. The Candy Cane is one of the most familiar symbols of Christmas. It dates back to 1670 in Europe but did not appear in the United States until the 1800s. The treat we see today, where the shape is Jesus’s hook to shepherd his lambs and the color and stripes hold significance for purity and Christ’s sacrifice, became common in the mid 1900s.
  4. The Christmas Stocking got its start when three unmarried girls did their laundry and hung their stockings on the chimney to dry. Because they had no dowry, they could not marry; however St. Nicholas knew of their plight and put a sack of gold in each stocking and in the morning the girls awoke to discover they had dowry’s and could now marry.

  5. Of the estimated 7,201,398,000 people in the world today, it is estimated that one out of 3 people celebrate Christmas worldwide, including 2.2-billion Christians. 
  6. The most popular Christmas Song ever is We Wish You a Merry Christmas. The song can be traced back to England, but its author and composer remains unknown.

  7. US scientists calculated that Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all the world’s presents on Christmas Eve, travelling at 650 miles a second.
  8. The tradition of putting tangerines in stockings comes from 12th-century French nuns who left socks full of fruit, nuts and tangerines at the houses of the poor.

  9. Carols began as an old English custom called wassailing, toasting neighbors to a long life and were not 

    sung in churches until they were introduced by St Francis of Assisi in the 13th century.

  10. Hanging stockings comes from the Dutch custom of leaving shoes packed with food for St Nicholas’s donkeys. He would leave small gifts in return.
  11. Nearly 60-million Christmas trees are grown each year in Europe.
  12. The word Noel derives from the French expression “les bonnes nouvelles” or “the good news.”
  13. Many theologians estimate that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th but sometime in September between 6BC and 30AD and that December 25th is a unison day for the World to celebrate His birth.
  14. James Pierpont’s 1857 song Jingle Bells was first called One Horse Open Sleigh and was originally written for Thanksgiving.
  15. Before turkey, the traditional Christmas meal in England was a pig’s head and mustard.

  16. 530960_412511475489183_1847731354_nIn 1999, residents of the state of Maine in America built the world’s biggest ever snowman. He stood at 113 ft 7 inches tall and was called Angus, King of the Mountain.
  17. The Greeks celebrate Christmas on January 7, according to the old Julian calendar, while Christmas presents are opened on New Year’s Day.

  18. The holly in a wreath symbolizes Christ’s crown of thorns while the red berries are drops of his blood.
  19. The long shopping season before Christmas began in America when relatives of soldiers stationed overseas in the Second World War were encouraged to mail gifts early.

  20. Jingle Bells was the first song broadcast from space when Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra sang it on December 16, 1965.
  21. The first artificial Christmas Tree was not a tree at all. It was created out of goose feathers that were dyed.

  22. Santa has different names around the world – Kris Kringle (Germany), Le Befana (Italy), Pere Noel (France), and Deushka Moroz meaning Grandfather Frost (Russia).
  23. The word Christmas comes from the Old English “Cristes maesse” meaning “Christ’s Mass”.

  24. The bestselling Christmas single ever is Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, selling over 50-million copies worldwide since 1942.
  25. Christmas pudding was originally a soup made with raisins and wine.

  26. Kissing under the mistletoe is thought to spring from Frigga, the Norse goddess of love, who was associated with the plant.
  27. The Beatles hold the record for the most #1 Christmas singles, topping the charts in 1963, 65 and 67.

  28. Electric tree lights were invented by Edward Johnson in the US in 1882.
  29. Rudolph red-nosed reindeer was invented for US firm “Montgomery Ward”  children’s Christmas book promotion in 1939 to drive traffic into the stores.
  30. Gold wrapped chocolate coins commemorate St Nicholas who gave bags of gold coins to the poor.
  31. The first Christmas celebrated in Britain is thought to have been in York in 521AD.
  32. In Greece, Italy, Spain and Germany, workers get a Christmas bonus of one month’s salary by law.
  33. 486342_409895365750794_1953333469_nIn the Czech Republic they enjoy dinners of fish soup, eggs and carp. The number of people at the table must be even, or the one without a partner will die next year.
  34. Each year more than 3 billion Christmas cards are mailed in the United States.
  35. All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 gifts.
  36. The “true love” mentioned in the song “Twelve Days of Christmas” does not refer to a romantic couple, but the Catholic Church’s code for God. The person who receives the gifts represents someone who has accepted that code. For example, the “partridge in a pear tree” represents Christ. The “two turtledoves” represent the Old and New Testaments.
  37. Most of Santa’s reindeer have male-sounding names, such as Blitzen, Comet, and Cupid. However, male reindeers shed their antlers around Christmas, so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are likely not male, but female.
  38. In 350AD Pope Julius I, bishop of Rome, proclaimed December 25 the official celebration date for the birthday of Christ.
  39. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.
  40. The traditional three colors of Christmas are green, red, and gold. Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth; red symbolizes the blood of Christ, and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.
  41. The world’s largest Christmas stocking measured 106 feet and 9 inches (32.56 m) long and 49 feet and 1 inch (14.97 m) wide. It weighed as much as five reindeer and held almost 1,000 presents. It was made by the Children’s Society in London on December 14, 2007.
  42. Christmas trees have been sold in the United States since 1850.
  43. Christmas trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are cut and sold.
  44. Many European countries believed that spirits, both good and evil, were active during the Twelve Days of Christmas. These spirits eventually evolved into Santa’s elves, especially under the influence of Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas(1779-1863) illustrated by Thomas Nast (1840-1902).
  45. The British wear paper crowns while they eat Christmas dinner. The crowns are stored in a tube called a “Christmas cracker.
  46. Alabama was the first state in the United States to officially recognize Christmas in 1836.
  47. Christmas was not declared an official holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.
  48. 215884_412134998860164_555310391_nOklahoma was the last U.S. state to declare Christmas a legal holiday, in 1907.
  49. Mistletoe (Viscum album) is from the Anglo-Saxon word misteltan, which means “little dung twig” because the plant spreads though bird droppings.
  50. Because they viewed Christmas as a decadent Catholic holiday, the Puritans in America banned all Christmas celebrations from 1659-1681 with a penalty of five shillings for each offense. Some Puritan leaders condemned those who favored Christmas as enemies of the Christian religion.
  51. A Yule log is an enormous log that is typically burned during the Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25-January 6). 
  52. Early illustrations of St. Nicholas depict him as stern, commanding, and holding a birch rod. He was more a symbol of discipline and punishment than the jolly, overweight elf children know today.
  53. Puritan Oliver Cromwell outlawed Christmas celebrations and carols in England from 1649-1660. The only celebrations allowed were sermons and prayers.
  54. There are two competing claims as to which U.S. President was the first to place a Christmas tree in the White House. Some scholars say President Franklin Pierce did in 1856; others say President Benjamin Harrison brought in the first tree in 1889. President Coolidge started the White House lighting ceremony in 1923.
  55. President Teddy Roosevelt, an environmentalist, banned Christmas trees from the White House in 1912.
  56. There are approximately 21,000 Christmas tree farms in the United States. In 2008, nearly 45 million Christmas trees were planted, adding to the existing 400 million trees.
  57. The first printed reference to a Christmas tree was in 1531 in Germany.
  58. In 1962, the first Christmas postage stamp was issued in the United States.
  59. Using small candles to light a Christmas tree dates back to the middle of the 17th century.
  60. The official Christmas tree tradition at Rockefeller Center began in 1933. Since 2004 the tree has been topped with a 550-pound Swarovski Crystal star. And since 2007, the tree has been lit with 30,000 energy-efficient LED’s which are powered by solar panels.
  61. President Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the White House lawn in 1923.
  62. In 1963, the National Christmas Tree was not lit until December 22nd, because of a national 30-day period of mourning following the assassination of President Kennedy.

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Flashback: Family Breakfast in the 1970s

Silly stuff that stands out in our memories

As I was thinking about my childhood years and what stood the test of time in this old flashback maker brain of mine.  I distinctly remember living in South Tampa (close to MacDill Air Force Base) and we had cousins staying with us.  Mom had five kids mouths to feed in addition to three cousins who were staying the summer.

Saturday morning breakfast

One Saturday morning I remember waking up and shuffling into the kitchen.  Mom was there as well as a sibling or two and a cousin thrown in the mix.

1960s kitchen table

Our table was an old 1960s style aluminum with a decorated top.

They were preparing breakfast for the house of ten.  I asked what I could do to help, mom’s reply was to get plates and napkins on the table (we ate buffet style as our table would not accommodate the number of people.)

So as I stood by the table I’m watching my female cousin make and butter toast.  I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing.

burnt toast and butter

The toast was burnt with a huge glop of butter smeared on it (much like this pic.)  I stood there thinking, if I did something like that I would be scolded and told to remake the toast.  I probably would have received some sort of mild punishment as feeding a family of 7 on a limited income was somewhat challenging and wasting food was unacceptable.  But nothing like that took place.  Mom instructed cousin Teresa to scrape off the burnt as best she could and not to use so much butter.

In the end, I don’t really remember what the food tasted like, nor can I recall any snippets of time spent with the cousins that year.  It’s just that dang burnt toast and heaping blob of butter that stands out in one of my memory flashbacks.