Some wonderful people …

I’m not sure if it’s the holidays but I have been thinking a lot about how much life changes … and DOESN’T change. Change is not something I see, day to day, as anything HUGE. It is most visible to me when I look back across time. People age, we move, we get married, we get divorced, we change careers, we have babies and grand children, we get sick, we get well, we have losses and we have moments of joy. Life keeps moving. Things CHANGE over time and that is just a part of life. But what I’ve been thinking about most is what DOESN’T change. And specifically those relationships that have remained a constant in my life. I am SO THANKFUL for them. These are the relationships that have withstood the test of time and have weathered significant trials. These are meaningful connections with good people that have profoundly effected my quality of life. They give me strength, courage and support. These souls make me feel loved and wanted. There are no hidden agendas with them. They are genuine and I am blessed to live life with them. Sharing moments with them all year is a gift, but around the holidays am reminded of how much life changes and how much I appreciate their loyalty and love.

Well, I hope you all have a day that is shared with some wonderful people!!!

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The sound of four …

This morning I woke up in another hotel room. It's been too many to count this summer. I'm not complaining, it's been fun. But there is an unfamiliarity you must overcome each and every time you travel. You look for ways to make it feel like home. For me, it's in the little things.

When you travel with kids it can be challenging. When you travel with 4 kids, it's REALLY challenging. But I love it. I love doing anything with my kids. They make life fun. And they give a familiarity to these very unfamiliar places. As a mom I know their every sound. I can tell who-is-who in the dead of night just by the sound of their breathing and moving. It is the sound of my life for almost twenty years now.

This morning I woke up before everyone else, as usual. As I wandered around quietly from room to room, getting myself ready, I could hear my children sleeping. And while these sounds were familiar, I got a little sad. These sounds will change soon. Very soon. Two will be gone. They will be off to college and sleeping in their new rooms away from home. I know this. Heck, this is the whole purpose of this trip. But it hit me all at once … even the sound of our lives is changing. I took a minute to sit and listen. To take it all in so I can remember what it sounds like to have them all together with me. Again, as they get older, I know that moments like these will soon be a thing of the past. And that's OK. It's life how it should be. And I wouldn't want it any other way. I can't deny that it hurts. There is pain in this process, but for them, I'll endure it. And for one more morning, I'll just be thankful for what life sounds like now.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you hear the sweet sound of family!!!

Here goes nothing …

Have you ever been so excited you wanted to SQUEAK?!?! Or is that just a girl thing? Oh wait … is that just a me thing? HA!

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was feeling pretty poopy. I had a fairly unpleasant experience and I got knocked down pretty hard. Again. But as time passed, things changed and friends and family rallied, I was able to make some decisions that really have made me quite happy. I’ve put myself on some new roads. On which I am TOTALLY clueless. EEEK! But ya know what? That’s OK. I’m figuring things out and it’s kind of exciting. Um … at least on days I’m not completely overwhelmed. OY!

This is quite a journey for me. HUGE and kinda scary at times. And it won’t be over anytime soon. But I’m OK with that. I’m ready and determined. I’ve adopted an attitude where trying means courage to me. Failure is a fixable. And happiness is worth the risk.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you say HERE GOES NOTHING!!!

Gladly taking the good with the bad …

As I took my morning walk this morning I couldn’t help but reflect on 2015.

So. Much. Change.

Most of it good, thankfully. But no less stressful. And if I just focused on the “highlights” (as I usually do), the good parts of all that change, then I can honestly say that 2015 was a great year.

BUT … there were moments when I was experiencing those “good” times when I don’t think I could say that I actually felt “good”. Like the day we left San Francisco after dropping Sid off at school. That was great, but it felt awful. For days!

There were so many events like this that happened in 2015 that I couldn’t count them even if I wanted to. But what I do want to do, is learn from them. And I think I did.

Life is a balancing act. If I chose to focus on the pain I experience I fear that I will lose sight of all the happiness in my life. And I refuse to let that happen. So this is my motivator.

If there is one thing my mother taught me in her short life, it is this: you can find laughter and joy even in your darkest moments. It is her legacy. And it is how I chose to life my life. TRUST ME, it’s not always easy … but it is possible. And if any year proved that to me, it is 2015. In fact, by not feeling the pain that I did, I would have never been able to feel and experience the joys that went along with them … and who am I if I chose to rob myself of that? Not the me I want to be, that’s for sure. 

Change. Good or bad. It’s a DOOZEY.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you gladly take the good with the bad!!!

A trip down memory lane …

I somehow signed up to receive daily “Memories” on Facebook. When I originally agreed to it I thought it was just a one time thing. It actually has turned out to be every day … AND I LOVE IT! It is a review of all of my posts and pictures that occurred on that day since I created my Facebook account. It has been such a treasure to me to be able to revisit those memories, that I literally can’t wait to see them when I wake up in the morning. I have to say that my favorite part is seeing my H-Crew grow up over the years. Goodness they were such cute little peanuts!

It is also a daily reminder that our lives are full of wonderful change. Yes we have our hard times. But if given an opportunity to literally look back in time, we can’t help but see so much growth. That life is full of new adventures and relationships. That passions only get stronger if they were real and our own to nurture. That dreams do come true with a whole lot of hard work. That true friends (and family) stick around. That love is all that REALLY matters. And that life happens … in the blink of an eye.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get to take a trip down memory lane!!!

Creating some beautiful memories …

Hello, my name is Jen and I’m a pumpkin-aholic.

No really. I love all things pumpkin. OK, wait … everything but pumpkin pie. I’m not sure why, but that pumpkin thing I don’t care for much.

OK anyway, come the end of summer I usually mourn until I realize all the pumpkin products I love are coming out. This is a fairly new luxury for me too. In my early 20’s I came across a fairly large amount of pumpkin recipes in a magazine. I cut them all out and made them my own, tweaking them here and there, over the next two plus decades (YIKES, that makes me sound old). Back then, you couldn’t just buy the pumpkin products you can today, and certainly not to my chemical and preservative free standards. But now, places like Trader Joe’s and Sprouts have a huge selection of tasty pumpkin foods. You can find pumpkin cookies, bagels, cereal, yogurt, tortilla chips, tea, coffee, waffles, muffins, and ravioli! HECK, YOU NAME IT, and it’s probably out there!

But early on in my adulthood, I had to “work” to feed my pumpkin addiction. It definitely didn’t come easily packaged. I had to shop for individual ingredients, wait for seasonal items, create and bake my own pumpkin treats … and I enjoyed every bit of it. Many of the recipes I found all those years ago are tradition for us now … and THAT brings me to my point.

It’s amazing how one year of trying something new can turn into 5 … 10 … 15 … 20 years of traditions. Who knew that something so simple, as cutting out fall recipes, could turn into things my own children would grow up on. Things that they have come to expect at holiday celebrations. Things that they too may bring into their own families.

I remember the first time Sidney asked to make our pumpkin coffee cake that I serve every Thanksgiving morning. I cried. I know it sounds silly, but it meant something to me. I remember the first time I baked it with her. She was just a baby … and then years later … she asked to be the one to make it. Goodness, I’m crying now!

But I guess all traditions are like that. The good ones are anyway. They evoke emotions and fill your heart and head with tender thoughts of times past. Traditions allow us to look back but also allow us to look forward into our unknown future with a sense of something constant. No matter how much life changes around us, no matter what directions it may pull us in, we will always have the wonderful traditions that we’ve shared together as a family. And for this, I am truly grateful.

Well, I hope you all had a day where you created some beautiful memories!!!