Friday, October 9, 2015

Thirty One Years

Thirty one. Where on earth did the time go?


October 10, 1984.
She's been reminding us for months. :)
Earlier today we were singing 'Tomorrow' From Annie -

Tomorrow, tomorrow.
Your birthday's tomorrow.
It's only a day away!
Happy Birthday Beth!

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Raya. That's what we called her when she was a toddler. Her cousin couldn't say her full name and his nickname for her stuck. The whole family called her that until she started Kindergarten.

We had walked up to the school to see where her classroom would be and that's when she told Chuck and I that she wanted to be called Shara. We thought, "Who is Shara?" But Shara is what we called her. Friends, family, everyone called her Shara. (Some still do!)

In high school she decided to go by her full name, Sharaya. Shuh-ray-uh. And she still goes by Sharaya today. We originally planned to name her Sarah but then we heard the name Sharaya on an album by Amy Grant. We both loved it!

What a joy she's been to Chuck and I, and the perfect sister for Beth and Diana. She's calm, patient, faithful, creative. She was the easiest of my kids to raise! She's happy and so funny! She has the most amazing sense of humor!

October 6, 1986 is when she came into this world. God truly blessed us when he gave her to us.

We love you Sharaya!
Happy Birthday!




Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Back In Time

I got to take Allie to school this week. Yep, my granddaughter started Kindergarten! I went with Sharaya on Monday so I'd know where to park and how to get to her class.

We get out of the car and the crossing guards (5th & 6th Graders) blow their whistles and all the cars  stop as we cross from the parking lot to the school. (Awwe! I remember when Sharaya was a crossing guard!)

As we walk in, Allie points over to a room, "That's the library." She had a bounce in her step and you could tell she was proud of her school.

Allie stood against the wall with the other 5-6 year olds to wait for the teacher to open the door. More and more kids arrived and the sound of little voices was everywhere. Teachers walking back and forth, carrying supplies, giving hi-fives to the kids.

I'd never been there before. I didn't recognize anyone, but it was all so familiar.

It's been 13 years since I was last at an elementary school. Diana, my youngest, left 6th Grade 13 years ago! Oh my word! I remember helping at Sharaya's school when she was in the 2nd grade. Every Friday, my mom or Chuck's mom would watch Diana and I would spend the day in Sharaya's class, reading to the students, helping the teacher with whatever she needed.

I remember one year they had a fun basketball tournament, letting the kids shoot hoops and whoever got the most points would move on to the next round. Well, Sharaya was one of the kids who kept moving up and one of the bigger tournaments was held at a different school. The whole family came to cheer her on! I think she was in the 3rd or 4th grade.

Seems like it was just last year.

And now, her daughter is in school. Her daughter will ask to order books from the Scholastic catalog. Her daughter will come home excited because she got picked to be a crossing guard! Sharaya will get to hear stories about what happened on the playground and all the funny things the teacher does.

Sharaya - 2nd grade

Allie - Kindergarten

It was a very strange feeling to be walking beside my daughter, watching her daughter walk to class. I can't really describe it, being in this foreign place, but feeling so at home there. Being surrounded by familiar sites and sounds but not recognizing anything.

My granddaughter is in Kindergarten. I pray she makes friends and has fun and leads her class in ways that unite them and points them toward...exceptional...! Okay, so maybe I'm getting a little carried away. I expect she'll mainly be learning simple math and how to work in a team and how to organize a backpack. But still, my daughter's daughter is in elementary school. That's a pretty big deal! I have a bounce in my step and I'm proud of them both!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Her First Kiss!

A few weeks ago Beth came home and I asked her, "How did it go at bowling today?"

With a sly little smile she said, "Awesome. I got two strikes and a spare."

Then she threw her arms in the air, "And I got my first kiss!!" 

And she squealed!

"What?!? N kissed you?!?"


"On the lips?"


Oh my. This is getting serious. 
They've been sitting next to each other in art class and they sometimes hold hands.

Then she says, "I think he's the one for me."

(Deep breath, Cindy! Keep breathing!)

Today during karaoke she sang an Austin & Ally song called Me And You.

Me and you
Ooh ooh
So glad I got a guy like you
Me and you
Ooh ooh 

N went up front and they swayed together while she sang.

I'm thinking maybe it's time we meet 'Mr Right''.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Our church has been unsettled.

Our worship pastor changed the style of music we're all used to. There have been so many staff members and pastors that have left recently; one felt called to another church, one retired, another left to take care of a family member... the reasons have been good ones but all this change has caused pain and confusion among the congregation.

Our pastor has been receiving texts, emails and letters filled with suggestions on how to get this person back or how to fix this situation. He could tell we were 'unsettled'. When he used that word, it resonated within each of us. It's exactly how we feel.

This nation seems unsettled. In fact, the whole world seems to be in a place of turmoil.When you go to church, you expect to find a place of peace and joy. But that wasn't the case at our church.

When the old testament church was feeling unsettled, the priests tore their robes and called for all of Israel to fast and pray. So our pastor called us to a week of prayer and fasting. Except for our food and clothing bank, all other activities were cancelled. He felt led to have prayer twice a day, once at 6AM and again at 7PM. He told us later that he would be happy if 50 people showed up that first morning.

 Some people fasted food the entire week. Others turned off the TV. For me, I fasted social media. I can spend hours scrolling through Facebook posts or looking through Pinterest ideas for my house or yard. For that week, when I would usually be on the computer, I would go into my bedroom (often called your Prayer Closet or, taking from the new movie, the War Room) and I would pray. For me, for my family, our church, for this nation.

As our senior pastor pulled into the left turn lane that first morning, he waited. And waited. As car after car after car pulled into the parking lot. He was overwhelmed when he walked into the Sanctuary and saw 200-300 people ready to call on the name of the Lord! At 6 in the morning!

We cried out to God, confessing our sins and asking His forgiveness. People would go to the microphone and pray whatever was on their hearts. We prayed for families, for the youth of America, for teachers and for our government. Our hearts were softened to our sin, our grumbling and our lack of trust. People wept and they changed.

After a few days, the prayers began to change from repentance to gratefulness. We began to thank the Lord for all He's done for us. For His grace and mercy. We thanked Him for our church and for the freedom we have in this nation to worship Him freely and without fear.

I can truly say we are a changed people. We realize that through all the changes our church has been through - God is still on the Throne. None of the things happening at our church have taken Him by surprise. We still have a calling to pray, to worship and to serve the community. That hasn't changed. God has a plan for each of us - that hasn't changed. We need to trust Him, and remember that He loves us with an everlasting love.

That will never change.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Has It Only Been A Week??

What a crazy week.

A friend and co-worker is on vacation so I'm filling in for her, doing her job as well as my own job. Working a lot more hours than usual. It's been busy, that's for sure but the biggest issue is my back. My co-workers chair is very different from mine and I've been using both of them this week. I think that's why I've been having muscle spasms in my lower back. Over the years I've learned to be so careful about what shoes I wear, how I move, to almost eliminate all back pain and this chair thing is the only thing I can think of that would be causing these spasms.  I'm glad she'll be gone only a couple more days!

Diana is dog sitting for a friend. We now have a boxer living at our house. She trimmed his nails this morning and cut one too close so he's been bleeding all over. She's tried a four/water paste on the nail and that's helped a lot. She also put one of her blankets on the couch and we're trying to keep him there. It's not working well though. As soon as he hops down, the nail starts bleeding again. Diana's shopping right now so he wants to be with me in our office area. I finally got the bleeding stopped again after he went outside to go potty. Ugh, dogs. I'm done with having pets. For 25 years we've had dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish... I'm done with pets for a while. It may be selfish but I want a break from all the work that comes with having pets.

I was out mowing the lawn last weekend and hit a rock. The rock hit the back of my van and shattered the window. I just stood there in shock as I listened to the crackling of the window as it cracked into a million tiny pieces.

I called one place and gave them all the info: make and model, window tinting, wiper... they gave me a quote. I called a few days later to make the appointment and was told they gave me the wrong quote. It was actually going to be more than the original quote. Fine, it's still cheaper than the other places I called. We set up the appointment. The night before they were to come out, they call and say they don't have my particular glass in stock and they have to order it. It will take longer than expected and oh yea, the price will go up. No thank you. I now have an appointment for next weekend with a different company. In the meantime I'm driving around with white plastic duct taped to my car.

We got a call from Beth's doctor telling us the biopsy results are positive for Scarring Alopecia. Her doctor is sending off tissue samples for a second opinion and I should hear from them in a few days. The Nurses Assistant for the 'second opinion doctor' calls and tells me they don't have any appointments available until 2016. Oh. "But I thought our doctor was just sending tissue samples for your opinion?" The NA was just as confused as I was. I called our doctor back (and you know how it goes, they're with a patient or have gone home for the day and will be in touch... it's never quick and easy!) So a couple days later our NA calls and says, "Yes, take the 2016 appointment." But, but I thought you were just getting an opinion on the sample. "No, doctor T does want Beth seen by the 'second opinion doctor'". And while we wait, the alopecia continues to spread and Beth continues to lose her hair. Arrgh!

So, how was your week? :)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Burlap Daisys

This picture was taken in 1971 at our home in San Diego. I was about 10 years old. That's me on the right. Next to me is my mom, then my oldest sister, (she had blonde hair down to the middle of her back, not sure why she's wearing a wig) then the two guys my parents invited for Thanksgiving dinner. (There was a program where you could open your home to military personnel for the holidays.) My dad and middle sister aren't in the picture, but they were there too.

But I'm not showing you this to necessarily talk about my family. What I want to do is draw your attention to the picture that's hanging on the wall.

My sisters say my mom bought this as a kit and would work on it in the evenings. It hung in our various homes as I was growing up. It's like a green burlap background and the flowers are made with stitches of yarn. 

Fast forward 30 years. My husband and I are living in Seattle and my mom has recently passed away. My heart was aching from missing her. I wanted to surround myself with things that reminded me of her so I decided to go to an antique store near our house. It's quiet and always brings back memories of my childhood. I hoped it would help ease the pain of my broken heart. I'm wandering through the store when I see this:

The EXACT picture that hung in our home all those years ago! There's a glass frame on it now, but it's the same picture! I just froze and immediately emotions bubbled up from deep inside. I called Chuck and through my tears I told him, "I don't care how much it costs, I'm buying it!" (It turns out it really wasn't that much, I just knew I had to have it!)

Over the years I've tried to figure out how this picture made it's way from San Diego to Washington State. Of course, it could very well be that my mom wasn't the only person who purchased this kit all those years ago. Second, after Chuck and I moved to Seattle, my mom followed us two years later. Maybe she brought this with her and got rid of it while she lived here? (But, we helped my mom move and I don't ever remember seeing it among all of her things. It never once hung in any of the homes she lived in while she was here.)

There is a very good chance this is just another random picture from the thousands that were bought and made back then. But in my heart, I want to believe the Lord put the exact picture in my path that my mom lovingly created, stitch by stitch. I want to believe that her hands held this exact burlap, her fingers gingerly moved the needles back and forth to create these very flowers. This picture now hangs in my living room.

My mom passed away in 2005 and I miss her every day. Her birthday was August 31. She would have been 80 this year.

Friday, August 28, 2015


A few months ago I received an email from Mutual of Omaha. You know, the insurance people? They had read my blog. Wait, what??

Mutual of Omaha has an Aha Moment campaign, where they tour the U.S. and record people telling of an aha moment. They read my blog and wondered if I'd want to record a session while they were here in Seattle? Uh, no! Well, maybe. You know, let me think about it. :)

After a few days, I decided I would do it. Terrified, Chuck and I made the drive into downtown Seattle and we found the Aha Moment Tour area. I should have taken a picture, but I didn't. They have a streamliner set up as a recording studio of sorts, with lights and cameras and monitors. This wasn't it, but it looks like this one.

I signed in and waited nervously for my turn. (Even as I'm typing this I'm starting to shake! I've never done anything like this in my life!) They had a monitor outside so anyone walking by could stop and watch you. The girl inside wore a denim jacket and colorful scarf and was joyful and animated. You could tell she was comfortable in front of the camera.

My turn. I walked inside and was ushered to the back of the trailer. I sat on this tiny stool with no back and was handed a Clapper.

She asked me to say, "My name is Cindy and this is my Aha Moment." How hard can that be? So I said it and she asked me to say it again. And again. I guess I never did it well because it doesn't appear in the final cut! :)

So I'm sitting there with 4 very bright lights in my face and she steps behind them and stands right next to the camera. (I think her cheek was touching it) and she tells me to look at her but NOT at the camera. Both her and the camera are in the dark shadows of the trailer and I know I looked at the camera once or twice!

Now for days I had practiced what I was going to say. What I wanted to tell 'the audience', what I wanted people to know about Special Connections and people with special needs. Then I learned that they would be asking me questions. So I tossed out my paper and decided to go with the flow! Bad idea. I was more nervous than I thought. We stopped once because Seattle Center personnel were emptying the trash right outside the trailer. We stopped again for a plane flying overhead. Finally, I was done. The more I thought about everything, the worse it got! So, I decided to just let it go and not think about it again until I saw it.

Chuck and I left Seattle Center (where the Space Needle is located) and headed down to the waterfront. We went to Red Robin for lunch and had a gorgeous view from our table.

 We also watched this bad boy pull up and begin to unload supplies from the dock.

Then we drove around enjoying the sites of this beautiful city. We ended up at a small park south of downtown, right at the end of the runway to Boeing Field. You know me and my love of planes! Chuck sat in the car reading his nook while I walked around the park and took pictures. It was such a beautiful day!

If you'd like to see it, here is the link to my Aha Moment. You might have to copy and paste:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Suddenly Obsessed

A few months ago Beth began cleaning out her room. She took down a huge poster that had all the Disney Princesses on it. Allie was more than happy to take it off her hands!

Then Beth decided to get rid of all of her big Disney books. The whole time she was growing up, she collected these books. We'd buy them while on vacation; family members would get them for her on her birthday or Christmas. She must have more than 30 of them!

She wants all of them gone.

(I just can't bring myself to get rid of them yet, plus I did put a few aside for Allie.) 

I still think Beth loves everything Disney but she's going to be 31 in a couple months and she's kind of outgrowing the whole princess thing. Kind of.

See, she has a friend at bowling who loves the Frozen movie. I guess she has a lot of merchandise from Frozen and her enthusiasm is rubbing off on Beth. Since school is starting and every store is filled with back-to-school stuff, Beth has been anxious to go shopping. I teased her recently and told her that she's been out of school for a long time! "What do you want with back-to-school stuff?" 

"I don't know. I jus wan it."

Diana, Beth and I were at Target the other day and Beth literally ran to the back-to-school section. She held up a backpack. "This the one I want!" "To hol my stuff." So this is the backpack she bought.

She has also recently purchased a Frozen tote bag, a bedroom rug, the CD... She has decided she wants a Frozen themed birthday party this year. And she wants to invite the friend from bowling who loves Frozen. She's also now regularly reminding me that "her birthday comeen up!" (It's in October.)  

So, Disney is out. Well, some Disney. Okay, just a few Disney items are out. Very few.

Except Frozen. Frozen is in. Waaay in. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2015


We took Beth to the doctor to get a biopsy for the bump on the top of her head. They really did take a piece out it, leaving a hole right in the middle of it! It bled a little so the doctor put some silver on it. 

First they put on some gauze tape to help keep her hair out of the way

 You can tell by the look on the MA's face, it wasn't pleasant!
But Beth never flinched. It didn't faze her at all.

 Then the band aid and we were on our way.

It only took a few minutes and I think the hardest part for Beth was when they removed the tape. I helped her wash her hair that night because I wasn't sure if she should get it wet. But she slept fine and never once complained that her head hurt or anything. I had asked Chuck to come with us for support and told him part way through that I realized he was only there for me! I could have dropped Beth off and she would have been fine! This girl deals with medical procedures SO much better than I do.

And now we wait for the results.