Valentine’s Day: The Gift of Time

Recently, I have fought winter snark. A prevalent symptom for this condition includes increased cynicism in the way I view things I read, hear and see. So, here I sit. It’s Valentine’s Day; the holiday when my heart is overflowing with the love I feel for family and friends. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and friends more than words could ever express. And, I do believe it’s important to express those feelings often.

My cynicism about this holiday is mostly directed at the push to give stuff. I love receiving candy, cards, trinkets and flowers as much as any other human. But, to me, the greatest expression of love or affection is the gift of time; quality time. If I had to choose, I would skip the candy, bottle of Barbera (maybe not), and jewelry in exchange for some extra hours of fun with my husband, children, parents, sister, extended family, and friends.

What about you?

My “A” Team: At the Helm With Mom

Remember my post, Good People Find Good People? I just can’t stop reflecting on these words. Maybe it has something to do with how blessed I am to be surrounded with family, friends, neighbors, teachers, therapists, medical experts, and creative forces who love, nurture, help, care, and inspire. Collectively, I call them my “A” Team. All contribute — or have contributed — significantly to the person I am and strive to be.

My mom and dad with Issa at her First Holy Communion.

The person at the helm of my “A” Team is without a doubt my mother. I believe anyone who truly knows her would define her as a loyal, helpful, outspoken, classy, friendly,  organized, willful, persistent, caring, selfless, generous lady who demonstrates — through action and words — love for her faith, family, friends, Irish heritage, football, the Detroit Tigers, travel, playing cards, Neil Diamond, Tony Bennett, Cheez-Itz and ice cream.

My mom’s helpful, organized and outspoken nature are the three traits I admire most. She helps so many in need — me, my children, my sister, my niece and nephew, her older sister, my dad, my husband, friends, and neighbors — no matter what — with great sacrifice to herself at times. I cannot name one other person who is a more willing, committed helper than my mom. Organization is a trait brought to the US from her Duris and Gehringer family members who migrated from various counties of Ireland nearly a century ago. I have not met a Duris or Gehringer who has not been recognized for attention to detail, hard work or willingness to question. Finally, I consider my mom to be very brave due to her willingness to speak up — even when she knows the words needed might anger or hurt. Her points are often valid and worth considering.

Related posts …

In Honor of All Mothers

7 at 12:25: Things to Know About Me and New Kreativ Blogs I Love

Being Irish and the First Day of Spring

KISS: Keep it Simply Sweet

It’s funny. I sat down to write this post at 8:30 am. At first, I thought it would be a breeze. It is Valentine’s Day after all; and it’s my day for posting about parenting, marital bliss, friendship and things that happen at home.

But, despite a couple venti-size cups of coffee, the words just wouldn’t  flow. My brain wasn’t formulating any thoughts. It was stuck. I couldn’t even squeeze out some lines that might work in a Hallmark or American Greetings card.

Then, I remembered an adage — KISS — Keep It Simple Stupid — often applied while plotting to make my employers’ new business wishes come true. However, in keeping with the romance theme associated with this holiday, I changed the acronyms.

For today KISS is Keep It Simply Sweet. So …

Happy Valentine’s Day. I wish you love. Not just for today. But, each day of the year. Cherish your spouse, partner, children, parents, sisters, brothers, extended family, friends, neighbors, pets and circles of social media friends.

Oh! And, don’t forget to treat yourself to something special. That’s what today is about. Simple indulgences make life beautiful.

My Love Affairs with Technology: The XBox Kinect

Where would you be without technology advances? I would probably be lounging on my couch watching subpar television.

As 2012 moves into its fifth day, I am feeling the love for a number of  technology advances. But, the devotion I have for my new XBox Kinect has penetrated deep into my heart. The other three — Kindle, social media, and my-time entertainment — will just have take  numbers. Perhaps, I will give them blog space later in the week.

My connection with the XBox Kinect all began on Christmas Eve when Santa plugged the device into my family’s entertainment system. He had good intentions. The XBox Kinect was requested to promote active family bonding and to rekindle the passion I once had for daily exercise.

Kinect Adventures  and Your Shape programs are just two of the four Santa left for us to try. Each time a session ends with either, I want more. Every muscle in my body feels my inability to just turn off the box and watch a movie.

I can truly appreciate why Microsoft had to post the following question/suggestion every 10 minutes or so, “Feel tired or sore? Take a break.” But, a permanent break from this new love, would probably result in posts about hiding in some closet while eating Hershey’s Special Dark bars.

Happy Birthday: Riff Celebrates Five Years

Five years and 2 hours ago, my husband and I welcomed Riff to the world. There are not words to express the joy I experienced at that moment nor the joy I continue to experience every moment he spends with me.

There is no other exactly like him. He is a blessing; a precious miracle gift. His beautiful heart shows in wide smiles and infectious giggles. As he continues to grow his personality evolves. Today, his interests include dancing, watching and playing sports, music, police cars and anything with buttons.

He is still too young to appreciate the words I string together in his birthday cards declaring my unconditional love. I didn’t appreciate the depth of this love from my own mom until I became one myself.

As I continue in the triumphs and challenges of parenthood, I realize there are no others that have taught me so much about life, love, people, and myself. Both of my children enrich me.

At some point, the rest of the world will see and know what I already do. Riff is exceptional. He is love and so very special.

Related previous posts …

Just Say It

Thoughts About Children and Multiple Choice

Charming the People

Time to Fly

Just Say It

Just say it. Today could be like any other. Your family and friends — the people you love — are happy and healthy. They’re at the top of their game.

Just say it. Even though, you have said the words millions of times. None of us know when those we love will be gone from this world. None of us know when our time will be done.

Just say it. Rather than wait, shout it loud when you feel the urge to share. Your words might be the last ones they hear; or that you say. Speak with purpose; speak with love.

Related posts …

Healing from Loss

Love to My Big Beautiful Family

 

The Love Continues

My love for football and the Detroit Lions burns deep in my soul. Five weeks, five wins, and no losses. The tradition of having to select an alternate team to carry me to the Superbowl is on indefinite pause.

I am hopeful. My fingers are crossed that this is the Lions’ year to make that turn so many are longing to witness. Going further, perhaps the Lions’ continued success will inspire the city of Detroit to make its turn toward better days.

Related Posts

I Love Football

Related articles

Healing From Loss

How do I help when the loss is so tragic; understand when the pain is beyond comprehension; comfort when the hurt is so deep; answer when there are none?

Death is tough. I have been touched — often and recently — from the passing of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends, a sweet angel baby, and even a stuntman I didn’t know.

Tragedy happens. No one knows why. It calls upon me to find words — I am still looking for — to explain its finality to my children and to comfort those with closer proximity to the loss. But, there are times when words, explanations and answers allude me. There is just an empty abyss; a black hole; a void.

Here’s what I do know. Life on this planet is short. None of us know when our time will be done. Some of us continue on this life journey for decades. We learn, laugh, love, cry, scream, fight, hurt, heal, play, work, overcome, battle, travel, sleep, eat, watch, listen, talk, lead, follow, invent, investigate, judge, ignore, pray, give, take, share, begrudge, fornicate, nurture, care, grow, enlighten, guide, lie, pretend, run, cower, scam, cheat, etc., etc.

Others only join us for mere seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years. Then, their journey is complete. Why? No one knows. All I know is that I’m here along with my big beautiful family, friends and neighbors. Love is all around. I have my mind that thinks, creates, pushes; a heart that loves; a soul that cares; eyes that see good in others; ears that hear meaning in music and wisdom spoken with well-intended words; and senses that allow me to smell, taste and touch all things wonderful.

Related posts:

Love to My Big Beautiful Family

In the Middle of Beautiful

Live Your Dash

Doggy Love: A Heart-Stopping Morning Without Buddy

kateschannel -- Heart-stopping cuteness

What is it about pets? My dog Buddy stole my heart 13 years ago when my husband and I bought him. He was so little, warm and fluffy. Today, he is still an irreplaceable family member who provides plenty of entertainment and heart-stopping moments . . .

 6:30 am: Riff ousts me from a cozy slumber. One of his eyes was almost completely sealed shut with oozy gunk from a worsening eye infection. He is not cooperating with my assertive, but gentle attempts to remove it.

7:00 am: I let Buddy, my 13-year-old Pekingese out to take a leak. Normally, he does not leave our yard. So, I was lax and did not put his leash on. Bad decision.

Issa wakes and was pumped. The ear infection she started with on Sunday cleared up. She had a date with her grandparents. In a couple hours they would pick her up from my home and take her to the Detroit Science Center.

My kitchen was a busy place this morning. Issa and Riff both needed breakfast. But, my husband was in the blocking access to the coffee pot and moving way too slow. But, instead of releasing my inner witch and checking him into the cupboards, I gave him a glare and a barely-audible snarl. He picked up the pace and scrambled out the door.

 7:30 am: Kids have happy tummies from breakfast and are watching Mickey Mouse. I am still waiting for Buddy to come back from his pee session. I was not yet alarmed. But, I stepped outside and looked around for him. Where was he? He was not in the yard and was nowhere to be seen. Why didn’t I just put him on the leash?

8:00 am: Issa was ready for her date. Riff seemed content despite his infected eye. But, there is still no sign of Buddy. I am p*ssed. Why this morning? Couldn’t Buddy see Riff had an eye infection? Wasn’t he paying attention last night when Issa and I talked about the plan of being dressed and out the door by 9 am? Why does he pull this sh*t?

8:30 am: Still no Buddy. It looked like rain any minute. I felt anxious and sad. But, I kept a calm exterior for the sake of my children. I called neighbors. There was hope for a positive outcome. They started looking for Buddy.

9:00 am: Issa’s grandparents picked her up. I strapped Riff in the car and put his favorite song on repeat. We drove up and down streets looking for Buddy. We weren’t having any luck. But, then, we saw him. Buddy was with a friend’s daughter walking on the sidewalk. When he spotted me, a sheepish look appeared on his mug. If I could read his doggy brain, I am 99.5% sure he was debating flight – to escape the impending timeout I would issue for his misbehavior – or surrender to the safety of my car, which would then take him to safety in his dry comfortable home. He surrendered.

9:30 am: I didn’t have it in me to stay mad with Buddy. A thorough check of his physical condition revealed no injuries. He was just panting from being frightened and from thirst. After letting him get some healthy drinks from his water bowl, I towel dried and petted him. He was safe and unharmed. Just like my husband and children, my love for Buddy is unconditional. He can still count on me to care for and love him even if he runs away a gazillion more times, yaks all over my just-cleaned carpet, or knocks me out with his noxious doggy breath during thunderstorms.

Thoughts About Jobs and Parenting

Last night, my husband and I helped my daughter prepare a show-and-tell presentation for her first grade class. The presentation was about the jobs we have, how these jobs help our community, and the tools we most often use to perform our job functions.

About The Jobs. First, we are parents. Secondly, my husband is also an electrical manufacturing engineer for GM and I am a writer. As parents, we love, teach, nurture, comfort, cook, clean, organize, play, discipline, and help our children explore their world. As a dad, my husband teaches our children how to build model cars and how to launch rockets. He also wakes on Saturdays at 7:00 am to make pancakes and watch movies with them. As a mom, I comfort our children when they’re puking pizza or having nightmares. Also, I host play dates and go on magic quests. At GM, my husband researches and develops advanced technology, parts and processes for passenger cars and trucks. I have written hundreds of new business development proposals as well as copy for marketing materials, which helped small and large business owners gain new clients.

Helping Our Community. As parents, we help our children participate as positive, active, and informed members of our local, state, national and global communities. We do this by encouraging interests, fostering strengths, and practicing what is learned in school. My husband’s contributions at GM help the automaker develop affordable, energy-efficient vehicles to reduce oil dependence and to save the planet. Writing enables me to inform, to advocate, and to share with the goal of helping others.

The Tools. As parents, our tool is a TLC-kit, which is at the ready at ALL times. It contains a phone, calendar, tasty health food, good books, music, toys, a computer, camera, pen, money, car keys, and adventure plans. The tools my husband uses at GM are innovation, a solid work ethic, a love for technology, intelligence, adaptability, eagerness for learning, and top-notch social skills. My writer tools mirror many of those in the TLC-kit; and a brain that does not have an off-switch.