Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘California’

Funny Birthday Memories Of Greg

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My husband Greg turns 53 today.  An age that makes him proud.  He is living his dream the last 4 years – doing what he loves to do.  It just took him many years to find out what exactly that is.  Doing wedding and funeral services make him happy and fulfill his purpose – especially memorial services.  And I am happy that he is now free to do this full-time.

But what a time to have a birthday!!  5 days before Christmas – it’s tucked in the middle of other events and holiday activities.  He has never known a birthday without a Christmas tree, concerts, parties, dinners and other numerous things.  I’m sure that as a child, his parents made sure that Greg had presents separate from those that were under the tree.  But as he got older – it was so much easier to combine gifts.  And many in the family have done that over the years – even our own children.  He doesn’t mind – it makes sense to him.   As long as there is good food and something yummy for dessert (especially chocolate) he’s just fine.  Today he will get lunch AND dinner at restaurants and tomorrow and special dessert from out daughter Ashlee as she and her husband Drew come and have an early Christmas with us before we head to California to spend Christmas with our son, Shawn.   

When Greg came home late last night he was humming a “Happy Birthday” tune after working his “moonlighting” job.  It was the middle of the night and I had already been asleep.  And when I heard this I suddenly remembered, “that’s right!  Today is the DAY!”  This morning we were reminiscing over the many years of birthday celebrations.  There are two memories I have of this day – and I just HAD to share them with you.  Both of them are humorous.  What else?  Life with Greg is hilarious – we laugh EVERY day about very random things – each other and life in general.  So here goes.

My first fond memory is 25 years ago today.  I had just found out I was going to have Ashlee.  I was less than 2 months pregnant and felt icky.  I was in bed trying to fight the nausea.   We were living in New Castle, PA – in a 2 story rental.  The master bedroom was up the stairs and to the left.  I remember Greg walking downstairs and singing a sad little tune, “Happy Birthday to ME”  It was so funny that I laughed in spite of myself.  It helped to break up an otherwise very unpleasant day for both of us – and I’m sure we celebrated his birthday later when I wasn’t so sick.  We even flew to Seattle that year for Christmas!  Good times – being pregnant and sick everywhere we went that year.

My second fondest memory happened about 8 years ago.  We were having lunch with Greg’s parents.  A tradition that has lasted even until this year.  For some reason Greg’s mom (and probably me) needed to finish up some Christmas shopping.  Greg said there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAY he was going to the mall.  He has a standing rule:  NO MALL IN DECEMBER.  Now you have to understand – Greg’s HATES the mall.  No, I mean he REALLY hates it.  Now just add the holiday shopping, traffic going in and out of the mall AND the parking – and you have what possibly could be what Greg loathes the most in life.  But for some reason his sweet mother talked him into going “just for a few minutes”.  She told him, “Greg – you won’t even have to get out of the car – you and dad can just drop us off”  She understands his hatred of all things “mall” or “shopping”  especially in December and so tried to appeal to him in that way.  Somehow – I don’t know how, we were taken to the mall that day.  We quickly did our errands and returned to the car.  All the time, Greg muttering to himself – “I can’t believe it’s MY birthday and we’re AT THE MALL!!”  We were leaving the parking lot and onto the main road when all of a sudden Greg’s mom said, “Oh no!”.  That could not be good.  We were like, “what happened?”  She said, “I left my credit card at the last store”.  Silence.  Greg said, “There’s NO WAY I’m going back in there, mom”  But there was no way around it – we had to go back and retrieve her lost credit card.  It was sad but also HILARIOUS!  I told Greg that he would find the humor in it some day.  But somehow when I brought it up again this morning – he still groans and sighs.  Good times!

Happy Birthday, Greg!  You deserve a wonderful day all to yourself – something that is not just tucked into Christmas.  I hope all your birthday memories are sweet (except maybe the two above) and that you will have MANY MORE in the years to come!

You are loved!  Here’s a special song just for you on your birthday – enjoy!

http://www.jibjab.com/view/ZhR-KktWRuqJLWHEEQGdJA?mt=1

 

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Are You Present?

Queen of the day

Queen of the day (Photo credit: simon.hucko)

 

Last weekend I was invited to go with Greg as he officiated a wedding.  The venue was the Columbia Winery nestled in a scenic part of Woodinville, Washington.

 

This was a unique gathering – most were relatives of ours, although we had never met the bride and I can’t remember meeting the groom either.   Greg has a long history with the step father of the groom – it is his Uncle (just 2 years older than himself)  and had in fact also officiated this Uncle’s wedding just 10 years ago.

The young couple was married on a romantic beach in Lake Tahoe last summer so this ceremony was simply a formality for the relatives and friends who live here in Seattle.

 

What I observed was something I usually do not see at a wedding.  I was watching the bride throughout the ceremony.  She was having fun!  She would look around the room and notice all those in attendance and smile in recognition.  She was present in the moment.  She did not have tunnel vision – she saw everyone.

 

How nice not to be tired, nervous, hyper focused and mentally absent – like most brides are on their wedding day.  The pressure was off for this bride – since she was already married – she could enjoy herself fully – nothing to worry about – just have fun and enjoy her guests.  What a concept.

 

I wonder how many of us actually enjoy events that are a BIG DEAL.  Like our wedding day?  How many of us can say we are present in the moment of important days?  Most of us get so caught up in things being a certain way that we can’t enjoy the moment when it happens.

 

This year I plan to be present in the moment for all the upcoming festivities.  Thanksgiving is next week – and so what if my house isn’t perfect.  I will not wear myself out in planning and preparing – and lose sight of what really is important.  I will get my proper rest and be able to enjoy the day.  Christmas is looming ever closer with gatherings, a recital and a trip to California to see Shawn.  I am going to enjoy each one of those things – concentrate on being present for each one of them.  I will not be robbed of what is really important and be too tired physically and emotionally drained.

 

When I am relaxed in mind and body I am able to take in and give out.  Like a bride already married on her wedding day – I will be ready, relaxed and at peace.

 

 

 

God Bless

 

Let Them Wait! I’m A Klutz.

I didn’t fall. The floor just needed a hug.

Hatha Yoga Standing Balance Pose - Warrior 3

Hatha Yoga Standing Balance Pose – Warrior 3 (Photo credit: myyogaonline)

Tripping, stumbling and a little off-balance.  That’s me.  I have always been a little on the clumsy side – ok  – so I’m a klutz.   This could be why I was always picked last at  baseball when I was a kid.

 

That’s ok.  I was never going to be a serious athlete.  Playing a little recreational tennis and par 3 golf were more my speed anyway.  I just wanted to feel athletic.

 

But I have always had trouble keeping my balance.  Even when doing some yoga and Pilates, it was always a challenge for me to balance on one leg.  And I have lost my balance when getting dressed or undressed in my own closet.  I have done some weight training and core strengthening exercises – but they don’t help.

 

Years ago I had a couple of bad falls.  Once in California when goofing around with family on the rocks at the ocean, I fell and sprained my right thumb – leaving me unable to write or play the piano for about 6 weeks.  Then later I fell down cement steps at the church where my husband was on staff – and broke my right foot.  I had to wear a “boot” cast for 6 weeks and could not drive.

 

It was during this time that Greg was installing new stairs in our 2-story home.  The bannister was torn out and the only way for me to go up and down the stairs was to walk very close and hug the wall while being careful not to fall again.  It must have been hilarious to watch.  Wouldn’t you have just loved to be a fly on our wall during those days?

 

I remember riding to the store with Greg and then having to walk the short distance from the parking lot to the store.  Because it was also an intersection for other cars to drive on – Greg did not want the cars to have to wait for us – so he did what any sensible guy in his position would do – he dragged me across the road.

 

I remember feeling indignant.  I mean – good grief, I was the handicapped one!  “Let them wait”, I said.  Was I wrong to feel like that?  Shouldn’t we make allowances for the ones that are slower?  Less capable?  Visibly not able?  Are people really that much in a hurry?  Can’t we slow down for all the klutzy people – like me?

 

Here’s my prayer today:  That we will all remember to slow down – look around and give others much grace and allowance.  That we will use love as a guide as we prefer others above ourselves.

 

Remember – inside everyone – is a klutz waiting to have great balance who needs understanding and a wide berth.

 

God Bless

 

Home

1992

The other day I got a “blast from the past” as my daughter and son-in-law on a recent road trip to California sent pictures back to me from a life of ours 20 years ago when we lived in Fortuna. Greg was the pastor of a small church for 3 1/2 years, our daughter was 14 months old when we moved there – and our son was born there 3 years later. Consequently, we have many good memories of our time in that place. I think everyone would agree with me – the best times of your life are when your children are small – and it is no different for us, however the humble beginnings and places we’ve lived while raising them.

After visiting that town that Ashlee hardly remembers because she was only 4 years old when we moved away – she called me that night and said, “Mom – how did you live there?  There’s nothing there!”  So true – and yet – we were happy.  We did not have cell phones, computers or any way of social networking.  I went to the park with Ashlee and worked on crafts during the day.  A stress break for me back then was baking.  Life was incredibly simple as we lived in the parsonage right next to the church – so we hardly ever needed the car except to go to the store and on occasion to the mall in a nearby larger town.  Fortuna was small – with one or two grocery stores – but they did have a Papa Murphy’s pizza which was called “Murphy’s” back then.  And you should see the one story hospital where Shawn was born!  The town and circumstances did not dictate to us if we would be content and full of joy in our “job” – we simply were.  Home is and always has been where our heart is.  How fortunate for us in our many moves throughout our ministry life – that we have always rested and relied on that fact.  It doesn’t matter that our children are now grown-up and live away from our home – we established our family home many years ago with them – and they still remember and forever keep it in their hearts.

This song from the recent winner of American Idol, Phillip Phillips – says it all.  I wanted to share it with you today.

Enjoy and God Bless!

Can You Smell The Fall?

Soarin' Over California

Years ago we took our children to Universal Studios and California Adventure in California.  We decided to hit these theme parks and Knotts berry Farm because a few years before this we had done Disney Land and only Disney Land.

On this special trip (the last where we would share a room with our two children in a hotel)  we found the ride “Soarin’ over California“.  If you have been on this – you will immediately know of what I am referring.  Those of you that have not – this is similar to an IMAX experience – only you are strapped into seats that move up and down – high in the air, giving the feeling of actually being a part of the action on the HUGE screen in front.

What’s so special about this ride is this:  To enhance the enjoyment of all the senses they spray things into the air to make you feel like you are there smelling them in person.  On this particular trip they sprayed pine into the air during the part where we were soaring over pine trees.  It was an AMAZING sensory experience and like a wide-eyed little kid – I excitedly said to my kids, husband – and yes everyone around me, “Do you smell the PINE?”

I loved that ride so much – we did it again that afternoon.  It wasn’t until later in the day, on our way back to our hotel room that my own dear SWEET children decided to have a good time (at my expense) and tease me UNMERCIFULLY about my, “Do you smell the PINE?”  – imitating my voice in a much higher pitch than their own, all the while collapsing into fits of giggles.

Needless to say, they have NEVER let me forget about that trip – even though it’s been at LEAST 10 years since we took it.  And I’m so glad to be able to offer amusement to my now GROWN-UP children, every time they remember that trip to California.

I must admit though, I’m pretty much like a kid again when the leaves turn in the fall and when the first snow of the season happens.  If I have students here – I will be the one to stop what we’re doing and look outside, saying, “Look at the weather!  It’s SNOWING!!!”  And even though it has not happened yet – the fall weather reminds me that the seasons change and it will come around again – just like last year.

And like that trip where I smelled the pine – I can tell by the smell of the air that it’s going to rain, breathe in the cold, crisp air of fall and feel something else is coming – and LOVE the smell of snow in the air.

What do you love about this time of year?

Can YOU smell the Fall?

God Bless

20 Years Ago

20 years tomorrow, bring back many memories for me.  Our younger child, Shawn Tyler was born, October 5th, 1991.

Like those of you with children, either young – or grown, you can’t even hardly remember what your life looked like without them in your life.  We are no different.  To us – it feels like both Ashlee, now 24 and Shawn – have been with us forever.

But they weren’t.  We lived a whole lifetime before we knew them.  Hard to imagine it now.

20 years ago we were living in Fortuna, CA where my husband Greg was lead (and only) pastor at a very small church.  We lived next door in the church owned parsonage with our 4-year-old daughter, Ashlee.

Both my children are gifts – I did not have the easiest time becoming pregnant – and with Shawn it took 18 months to conceive.

I remember walking around a park nearby to our home and praying for another child. The memory is so clear in my mind – even all these years later.

The Lord said, “yes” and some months later I discovered that I was expecting again.  I took the home pregnancy test – it turned light blue and Greg’s first response was this:  “It’s NOT blue enough”!  Can you imagine?  But indeed it WAS.  And I WAS!

Both my pregnancies and deliveries were pretty text-book – I did get to walk around more with Shawn – was in a much more progressive hospital this time around – even though we were in a very small town in northern California.

But Shawn was much bigger than Ashlee’s little 7′-10″ – He was 8′-13 1/2″ and a few inches longer than Ashlee too.

He was late – where Ashlee was right on time.  And Shawn has been late for everything since that day – Laid back and peaceful.  He has not changed much since he was a child.

I remember holding him after he was born and humming the “Brahms Lullaby”  to him.  It was a true “bonding moment” that stands frozen in time – in my memory.

Fearful and carefully guarded as a child – he has grown up to be a great listener and warm and compassionate with others.  He has an easy peaceful and laid back spirit, makes friends easily and is fun to be around – bringing energy to an entire room.

We knew that Shawn was musical from the time he was a little boy – had incredible pitch even as a child – and adapted well to many instruments – leaning toward the drums and guitar while still quite young.  He was also a very good student and athlete – playing both baseball and basketball for several teams – but in the end when he had to make a choice – music won out.

He played lead drums in his church for several years – and now has made a move to Burbank, CA to attend Musician’s Institute in Hollywood – a dream of his – for years now.  He is down there living the dream and we couldn’t be happier for him or think of anyone who deserves it more.

Shawn was a normal child and teenager – but always had that invisible “X-Factor” growing up.  He made normal mistakes while growing – but learned some valuable lessons about himself, others and the grace of God.

And so I remember with fondness – our almost 20 years with an incredible human being – who is out on his own to follow his dream.

I love you Shawn – Happy Birthday tomorrow to my sweet son 🙂

All my love,

Mom

Priceless “In The Moment” Moments

The city of Burbank, CA looking east from Univ...

Image via Wikipedia

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the last time I was single and living at home.  I went right from my parent’s home at 20 years of age to another way of life – without ever have lived on my own.

And although it worked out for me – I also see great benefits to living on your own before being married.

Both of my children have had opportunities to live on their own after finishing high school.  And although this can be hard, financially – I believe the lessons learned while living on your own are very valuable.  Some things just can’t be taught while living at home.

With our daughter – she was so determined that she would make it – and it took two jobs for her to do so – she’s been very proud of herself that she was completely self sufficient by the time she was 20 years old.  She learned a lot of about room-mates and finances that she’s never forgotten – and when it came time for her to get married – she was already very disciplined with money and her work ethic.  She’s one of the hardest working young women I know.

Shawn, who will be 20 in October – has moved to California to pursue a music education and hopefully a career with his music training.  He lives with room-mates in Burbank and has struggled to maintain his rent with only a part-time job.  We are grateful he got a job, when so few are available.  And we’re also thankful that his loan money will cover his tuition AND his housing this fall.  But it’s still tough to make the rent and pay for things like food – until then.

Experiences like this are so valuable.  And he will look back on these times as “the good old days” before real bills, a wife and children to support.  All of this – priceless in the big scheme of things to come.

As I chatted on the phone with him last night – I reminded him that this too shall pass – and his present circumstance is what great songs and writings are made of  🙂  Maybe not while he’s struggling – but sometime after as he looks back…

Living “in the moment” – trying to be present – even during hard times of struggle. Being available in the mind.  On purpose and on task.  Learning to get by on very little – to be engaged and still positive about life.  This is what living “in the moment” is all about.

Are you alway “in the moment”?  Does your mind wander to “better times” either in the past – or somewhere in the future?  Can you be content and very present?  Now – today?  Especially when things are not ideal?  And you may be struggling?  Can you find the priceless of the here and now?  Knowing this moment will pass you by – and be no more?

Did you live on your own before you were married?  What did you do without during those years?  What’s your story?

 

God Bless

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