Category Archives: 2 Mi Familia

All things family-related. My husband and me, the children we made, the grandbebes that thrill us now. Our whole great big, loud, messy family. Love! *sigh…

My Memory-Keeper is Losing Hers…

Sometimes I feel sorry for myself about this, which is the most selfish thing ever!

She is the first human being on earth who knew anything at all about me, from that first tinge of morning sickness. The longing of her heart, and lucky me! God chose her for me.

My mom delighted in me, her first child, after losing other babies, “miscarriages,” not sure she would ever carry to term. But she did. Then she delighted again in my brother Joe when he came along 18 months later, then Tim, then Tami and finally Danny. She had 5 babies in slightly more than 7 years. And it has been her heart’s joy to love us and ponder all the things about us.

“I have the greatest kids in any city or state. That’s the honest truth. I love my kids and I want to tell everybody and I don’t care who it is. I have the best kids and now I have grandkids and greats and I love it. I love every single one of them! It might take me awhile to remember all their names, but if I had time I could…” -my mamala, today on the phone

More than all the “adopted” spiritual sons and daughters and  the thousands of devoted and treasured friends she has amassed along her life’s journey as a pastor’s wife, she has delighted and reveled in loving her five children, her babies more than anything.

There are boxes in her closet filled with scraps of paper, journals, and backs of church bulletins where she has scribbled notes, a story about one of us or a scripture she felt was meant for me or a sibling. There are lined pages with our names at the top documenting the funny things we said or did, cute quotes, all the things she thought were so brilliant she never wanted to forget. All through our lives, she has loved to tell and retell our stories. She’ll say, “Remember when you thought eyelashes  were ‘eye-blashes?’ Or when you didn’t like sour foods because you felt they were ‘screamy?'”

She kept record that my little brother, Joe, called hub caps “cupstacks,” and referred to his pant legs as “pant sleeves.”  And she wrote down that our baby sister, Tami, called cow’s milk “wet whip cream” and freckles “sparkles” because it was cute. Danny, the baby of the family, referred to yesterday as “last morrow,” which is pretty astute, actually. And what do these silly moments have in common? Nothing but a mom who thought they were amazing enough to save them.

june 4 mamala and me 2016

And because her attention to us and love for us are grooved so deeply in her heart and brain, many times she can still access these same memories as if nothing is wrong, as if this form of dementia  isn’t reaching in and stealing from her. But other times, she can’t.

The person who has carried the memory of me longer than anyone, who has documented and celebrated every day of my existence, the woman who has cried with me in hard times, paced the floor praying with me during crisis, danced and rejoiced over my victories, encouraged me to do things that scared me because she thought absolutely no one could do it better than me, the one who has believed that I was heaven-sent and wonderful in every way and has oohed and aahed over even the insipid mundanity of my life and days – she is living with Alzheimer’s.

This woman, who has catalogued our lives, collected the bits and pieces of us, set herself to create and then commemorate each memory, and share it with enthusiasm and joy across the years, she is battling a memory thief.

She is living with the disease, and she is working hard to hold on. She says to me, “It’s like I’m going backwards. What is happening to me?”

But here I am, feeling sorry for myself.

Who will remember my first solid food and be able to tell the story with such glory? Or how fantastically I navigated those concrete stairs when I first saw them and how even though she wanted to stop me so I wouldn’t get hurt, she let me try anyway? She tells the story with great tension and animation, as if I am the only baby ever to have climbed stairs, and she tells me how she cheered for me as I reached the top and turned around and sat down, satisfied with my victory. She was so proud. Who will remember or care about those things? In the scope of everything, what does that story matter anyway? But still. She was keeping it for me, periodically encouraging me with a glorified vision of myself as a baby…

No one else will ever know me like my mama does.

It’s what we do as moms. Like Jesus’s mother, Mary, she “pondered these things and held them in her heart.”

Today, when we spoke on the phone, as if everything were as it has always been, she blessed my future, she gave me a message for Dave and said I needed to get a dog, both for protection and to avoid loneliness. Such wisdom, such good advice.

Then she started telling me about a most wonderful day she had experienced ” a week or two ago,” about going downtown to a coffee place and eating outdoors at a sidewalk table and then going across the street to “that big, beautiful building” and how she so wished I could have been there and hopes she gets to do it again and I can come along. She forgot that I was there, I took her to those places.

It made me feel sorry for myself.

But it’s my turn to keep her memories for her now.

– – – -#endalz- – – –

Important information

June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and it is my mom’s birth month. I am talking openly about a disease that kills people because I want to raise awareness and say we need to act. There is no one less deserving of Alzheimer’s than my mom, no one. But it doesn’t care who you are.  The Alzheimer’s Association will say anyone with a brain is at risk, as this disease is set to reach epidemic proportions in our lifetime, according to researchers.

I want our generation to set themselves to stopping this disease before it reaches predicted, staggering numbers which will be visited upon our children and theirs. Let’s spread the word!

#endalz  #igopurpletoendalz  #someoneilovehasalzheimers

Here are the facts:


Watch this 1 minute and 45 seconds to hear more:

I hope all your memories are in a safe place.


“It’s snowing!” she squealed with sheer delight, lifting her dazzling smile to the sky and throwing her hands into the air.

Look, mommy, it’s snowing,” three-year old grandbebe, Bailey, declared as the cottonwood seed-fluff nearly white-out blizzarded on our picnic at the beach the other day.

Bailey's Day at the Beach #family #colorado

We were grabbing covers for food and waving it away from our faces with frowns of aggravation. But Bailey saw the fun in it. Right here in the summer sunlight, while she was wearing her cute new swimming suit and playing in the sand: snow.

Sometimes, in an effort to grow up, be mature, represent our religion by “putting away childish things,” we forget that Jesus wants us, for all times, to remain childlike: full of wonder, hope springing eternal, looking for the good in everything around us. “Unless you become as little children,” He said. The path into the Kingdom of heaven starts with that premise.

Jesus: “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Amplified

family beach day eva #colorado

Do you remember? Can you recall when life was an invitation to joy, to experience whatever happened, to see a complication as an adventure to explore? Remember innocence? Whatever will be, will be…

Oliver at the beach

Oliver recently visited the beaches of Florida. This was old hat to him.

Childishness? No. Put that away. Don’t be a selfish, self-centered booger demanding your own way.

But childlike in spirit, in hope, in wonder, like a little one full of innocence and trust, pure-hearted and content in what comes?  Oh yes. Be that.

Even though we all had cottonwood fuzz in our hair, probably ate some in our S’mores and had it stuck to our skin with sunscreen (and I nearly choked on a breath-full walking to our shady picnic area from the beach), it didn’t hurt our day in any way that mattered. Like so many things, tiny annoyances we have come to barely tolerate in life, we should just let the fuzzies float by against the blue of the sky on a sunny June day, like a sweet child would. Like Bailey did.


#colorado #beachday #family #statepark

Played all day

Matthew 18. 1-3 NIV   “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'”

Kai setting sun #beach #colorado

Oh, we stayed until that sun set.

PS- Don’t make fun of colorful Colorado for DIY beaches on homemade lakes. It’s our can-do attitude! We’ve got the Rocky Mountains already. You can’t replicate that.  :)

May I?

I love these things in May {a list}

  • I’ve got pieces of April, I keep them in memory bouquet. I’ve got pieces of April, but it’s a morning in May.“* All the hopes that sprang in April now blossom in May. Remember what your Kindergarten teacher told you, because it is true: April showers bring May flowers!  {*Pieces of April, a song by Three Dog Night, naturally}
  • Tara Jean, Stephanie May and Gemma May: all born in springs’ most surprising and spirited month. They’ve each taken on those characteristics!

steph and her cake

Stephanie let me make her a 4-layer, wedding-white cake with buttercream icing, topped with baby’s breath and scattered caramel macchiato macarons from Happy Bakeshop in Longmont (Cake design inspired by the amazing Constellation Inspiration).

  • Fully leafed trees, that bright, light, spring-green thing that happens. And carpets of lush green grass, chlorophyl all around!
  • I love these bright, sunny days that give way to sudden, dark, thundery showers, then perk right back up to sunlight and a spring song. The sunsets are more colorful, the air is cleaner, and the grass even greener.
  • Memory: splashing in curbside puddles after a spring rain as a kid. Wish I’d done that more. I wonder what the neighbors might think if I…
  • Store-bought tomatoes (at the best markets) are beginning to have some flavor again while my heirlooms are settling in their soil, gearing up to give me brag-worthy homegrowns come July.
  •  I painted my nails with purple polish to match my pansies and freshly potted petunias, but it didn’t last, not even 2 days, because it’s May! Yes, of course I have very pretty sky-blue gardening gloves. But sometimes, you must sink your hands into the soil, to really understand the essence of living. I came from the dust of the earth. Plunging my hands deep as I plant, I am home…
  • It is the anniversary of our very first date, Dave and I. He said today, on Facebook, “The beginning of my life…” I melt.  I didn’t know it was a date (I hoped), he did. It involved a Rock Hudson movie and Barry Manilow. And it has worked out for us, I am happy to report. Dave is the one. :)

The world’s favorite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May.
Edwin Way Teale

I love the month of May and wish we could have another 3 weeks of it, at least. And I love making lists. May all things seems possible for you today! In May… :)  xoxo

Ode to My Sandy, the Junkyard Dog

sandy old-sandy-1024x702

03.28.15. Saturday.

On a bright, warm, sunny Saturday morning, just minutes after she arrived home, she just sort of sat down and collapsed and gasped a few times and she was gone, her hair shimmering like silver diamonds in the morning light on a soft bed of fresh spring-green growth.

Dave was with her. “It’s ok, you’re home now,” he said. Then he told her it was ok for her to go. And so she did.

She came.

We got Sandy almost exactly 14 years before she died.

Steph was a college student working part time at the BFI landfill office near Denver International Airport. Some one had abandoned this woolly, frightened mutt there and she was running wild, looking for food and afraid of everyone and her own shadow. Stephanie spotted her and started working on becoming friends. She mentioned maybe bringing the pup-dog home and did not get an enthusiastic response from me. Not at all.

But for some reason, Dave went to see Steph one day and he returned with this crazy-looking, fuzz-exploding full-grown dog.

She was afraid of her shadow, this canine, afraid of us, afraid of the freak spring-snow we’d just gotten; she was afraid to move off the oval rug, her feet planted firmly as though she were hoping Scotty would indeed beam her up and away from our staring eyes. Her little spirit had been broken, somehow, by the completely stupid idiots who had dumped her at the landfill. Their loss was our total, joyful, utter gain!

We always joked that we found a junk-yard dog and she never quit looking like she was fresh from the junkyard. She loathed baths and thought any sort of grooming was pure torture. She was a trembling, hairy mess, but we quickly saw the rich sweetness of her, the deep pools of love and loyalty behind those brown eyes.

What shall we name her, we wondered? We toyed with Chewbacca (“Chewie,” for short), for she was similarly furry and gentle. But we couldn’t resist the name of the dog from the Annie movie the kids had grown up watching and since her hair was a millions shades of beige and brown, gold and copper, silver and cool grey, plus black and brown – “Sandy” seemed appropriate.

Ever heard the song from the musical, Annie, “Sandy?”

True he ain’t pedigreed, Sandy, there ain’t no better breed.
And he really comes in handy,
‘Specially when you’re all alone in the night
and you’re small and terribly frightened it’s
Sandy, Sandy who’ll always be there!

Well, our Sandy was a girl. But those very words could have been written of our dog, “it’s Sandy, Sandy who’ll always be there…”

sandy in annie

She actually got to play Sandy in a community theater production of Annie. This was a publicity shot in 2010.

She won our hearts

So we had this wild mutt. She became one of us immediately. She fit. She was born for us, for our family, I am completely certain. Sandy-the-dog was perfect for us.

We didn’t know her age, but she was full-grown. An early vet visit declared she was “4,” but another one several years later also declared her “4.” So, we know she was probably 1-2 years old when we got her fourteen years ago.

But she was an old soul, right out of the gate. She was able to navigate our huge family (5 kids, high school and college age) and  our loud house full of friends and visitors. She was wise and deep in her devotion, love-filled and loyal, generous in adoration of her people and affectionate, loving those belly rubs and declaring anyone who would take the time to pet her to be her best friend for life! She just made sure you knew she was right there if you needed her.

mom and sandy 2009

My mom and Sandy, summer 2009. They’re like sisters from different mothers, personality-wise. It was as if they’d always been close.

She was Steph’s dog, then Steph got married and she became Rocky’s dog. Then he got married and she was Stormie’s dog. Then Stormie bought a house and she became my dog and I didn’t even really want that, but good grief, how had I lived without that? She was my buddy, my friend, my shadow. She worked with me in the garden, or she napped lazily there while I worked, but we loved spring and sunny days together.

She sat as close to me as possible at all times and was my most trusted confidante during hard times and when I cried, she would move in close, place her paw and her face on my knees and look me straight in the face, as if to say, “There, there – everything will be ok. I’m right here.” She caught my tears when they fell.

I once wrote of her, on a blog way back when {click here} and said

She lives for love and lives to love.  The slightest kindness or gentle word from me and Sandy thumps a Morse-Code message of affection back to me with her ample tail.

Sandy was totally undisciplined, as “good” dogs go, never really trained for “show.” She lived her life with us sort of free–form and relaxed.  She feigned deafness when it suited her, but could hear the crackling of a bag of chips from miles away. Her breed, German Wire-Haired Pointer, hunts birds, so she’d bark her head off at a bird flying overhead, then just lie quietly, her head on her paws and watch little birds bathe in her water dish on sunny days on the patio. She’d even welcome them to her food, gentle spirit that she was. Or fraidy-cat, whichever. :)

But she was a good dog. Because a good dog teaches us so much about love and loyalty and forgiveness. Sandy did that for me. She was affectionate and humble, sweet and protective, saving me from many a solicitor at the front door. Her bark could scare, but we always laughed that had a burglar just reached out to her, she’d have given them anything and everything they wanted.

I loved her stretch, her behind in the air, back-back-back, then forward lunge, with her face to the sky, all the while making a loud old-man stretching sigh. Or how she’d grab a dryer sheet and waller all over it, so she’d smell nice for us, I assume.

sandy and me 12 27 14

A few months before “the day”

My old Sandy-girl, she was faithful and loving and loyal to all of us, the whole tribe of us, including each new grandchild as they came. Once she learned on the first grandchild, how to love and protect, she always understood, new baby by baby. They trusted her, too. She was our dog and we were her people.

sandy oct 2014

Sandy with my grandson Kai. He was 1 3/4. About 6 months before Sandy died.She patently waits, hoping he’ll send chicken her way.

Sandy never met a human being she didn’t want to love zealously with her whole heart and to forgive if they didn’t like dogs or just couldn’t return her affection.

Oh, she was a lover.

me and sandy 2004

The end.

We were planning to put her down soon, as ailments of old-age were taking a toll, but on that Saturday morning, when my husband took her into the backyard on the brightest and loveliest of spring days, she just dropped and gasped a few times and he gently gave her the ok to go.

I wasn’t ready…

And even though I ran out, dropped to the ground and called to her, Sandy-girl, hey girl, are you ok?, Hey Sandy, come here, girl...trying to woo her back, gently jostling and petting my old dog to awaken her, she kept on going.

The birds were singing in the blue, blue sky, and the old trees were filled with youthful, green buds for a new season, a new life; and the day was alive, humming its spring melody, so perfectly beautiful – just like every day Sandy gave us for 14 years.

Hey, Sandy-girl, dear old devoted dog. You are not forgotten. Your people still love you…

The Family Table

PARENTHOOD -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: (l-r) Monica Potter as Kristina Braverman, Erika Christensen as Julia Braverman-Graham, Joy Bryant as Jasmine Trussell, Tyree Brown as Jabbar Trussell, Dax Shepard as Crosby Braverman, Sarah Ramos as Haddie Braverman, Lauren Graham as Sarah Braverman, Bonnie Bedelia as Camille Braverman, Max Burkholder as Max Braverman, Craig T. Nelson as Zeek Braverman, Peter Krause as Adam Braverman, Mae Whitman as Amber Holt, Miles Heizer as Drew Holt, Sam Jaeger as Joel Graham, Savannah Paige Rae as Sydney Graham -- Photo by: Florian Schneider/NBC

{source} Parenthood cast, from season 2 NBC

While I was sick last month with the winter-crud, I binge-watched the final season of Parenthood. My favorite scenes were always where the whole family came together to share a meal. Dave loves the show Blue Bloods for the same reason – those Reagan-family Sunday dinners.

blue bloods family dinner

{source} Blue Bloods, CBS

At exactly 5 o’clock pm while I was growing up, every night of the week (except Sunday, when we’d wait to eat until after Sunday night church service), my mom had dinner on the table. Like all families, we were busy with life, mostly school and church. And since my dad was the pastor of the church, he was preaching mid-week services, or visiting the sick, or leading board meetings a lot of the evenings. He worked hard all day and continued his ministry in the evenings. So that 5 o’clock suppertime was our family time. Ross-the-Boss, Mrs Moss and all the Little Landers.

Though I couldn’t have realized then the power of the connectivity of those simple meals, usually always served with white bread and butter on the side, I cherish those people and those nightly meals in the halls of my heart. I cannot imagine a simpler, nor safer time, than around that table.

gather restaurant


When Dave and I were raising our kids, we ate around the table, too,  though the hour could be anywhere from 6 to 8 o’clock, even later (which my parents found mortifying). We ate at the table until life got really hectic as the kids got older and we let up. As the first of our kids became busy teens, we drifted from the table. We still hung out together as often as possible, had “family days” with just us, sometimes eating on the back deck or at a local eatery, but often it was a pizza while watching a movie. Together, but not talking, not having “face time.”

These days, 4 added-on children by marriage plus the ten grandbebes they have blessed us with, it’s hard to find a table big enough. But each time we can make it happen, find a few hours to get together and share a meal in a crowded room or at a park, our hearts nearly explode with love.

We’re a big group now. 21 of us, so far. If we thought the late nineties were a challenge with 7 of us, we could not have comprehended these days.

Christmas afternoon 2015

The Dave & Jeanie Rhoades Tribe, Christmas afternoon, 2015

Last night we all came together. We gathered for the first time, the whole bunch of us in one place, since Christmas. It was “Italian night,” with pastas in cream sauce and paleo variations, too. We topped it off with the seriously sweet “Fruit Pizza” in celebrating Averi’s 8th birthday. And some of us ate in the kitchen and we popped up a table in the living room and some ate seated on the floor or sprawled on the couch.

And I am fully aware, in a way I didn’t understand 20 years ago, that these moments together are not promised, and they’re not easy to come by, but they’re worth the work to make happen.

Whenever I get the chance to nose in and disperse advice, I tell young families:

“Eat together. Eat supper (or dinner, or whatever you want to call it) around a table together. Make it a deal to set the table and cook the food. And don’t make my my mistake and let that go too early. Turn off the TV and talk. Talk about your highs and lows or how your day went or any number of mundane topics. Just look at each other and talk.” -this advice brought to you by an older and wiser woman

And I mean that. No matter how hard it is to establish the routine. or how many complaints you hear, this will be the most impactful hour of each day for your familia. I truly believe this: this is where family magic happens – breaking bread together, sharing daily life, being comfortable with “just us.”

I came across this commercial today and wanted to share it with you. It is what instigated this post.

Who Would You Most Like to Have Dinner With? By Masterfoods, Australia

“Let’s make time for the people who matter the most.”

Gather  –  Cook  –  Eat  –  Repeat

Face time your family. But for real, in person, around the table. Have dinner together. It will be the most powerful hour of your day. These are your people, they need your face, your words, your time and your love. Gather ’round the table and eat. Listen and share, give and receive. The family table is where it all begins…

magnolia market they broke bread

{source}  They broke bread in their houses and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” Acts 2.26, Those Fixer Upper people do the coolest things – like that scripture on this wall!

He is my Valentine


he's my valentine30-umpteen years ago he stood at an altar and made an awful lot of promises to me about faithfulness and love in sickness and in health, through good times and bad. There is no way either of us could ever actually have comprehended the bends and twists and bumps in life’s roads. But those made-in-innocence-and-passion proclamations are turning out, one day at a time.

It isn’t so much that he promised me then, on a day of breathless anticipation, but that he keeps making promises, writing our future with the words he says to me, the things he does for me. And I know I can believe him because of all the years and all the love and all the ways he has quietly, but oh-so-faithfully held my heart, covered my brokenness, cheered me on to my best successes and been so very true in love.

There were obstacles. Things could have gone differently. But…He chose me. He married me. He keeps choosing me and the embers glow with white hot love, stronger as the years increase. He is my lover, my husband, my truest and most trusted friend. He is my heart and he is my home.

He is my Valentine.

My Dave, I am yours and you are mine.

“Place me like a seal over your heart,
    like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy as enduring as the grave.
Love flashes like fire,
    the brightest kind of flame.” Song of Solomon 8.6 NLT

May you love and be loved so, my friends and family. <3

Snow Babies, part two

The weekend following Thanksgiving, I hung out with 5 giggly girls – and a bunch of snow ever-so-fortuitously dumped on us. A great excuse for hats and boots and mittens and Nonna snapping some pics!

snow babies

How perfect is this? Then…

snow babies amelie

Yesterday I shared Snow Babies, part one, with snapshots of 5 of my cherished grandbebes (Gavin, Hunter, Malakai, Evangeline and Oliver). Today the rest: Guinivere, Gemma, Averi, Amelie, and Bailey.   All pics snapped on the iPhone 6+

And as fate would have it, today is a major ***Snow Day***


Guini texted that she wanted to spend her snow day with me. How sweet is that? She’s 10. She came over for a few minutes, but actually formed a band with her brother and sister. Their dad posted a few seconds of their performance on Instagram and  3 hours later, it has 1100 likes. 


Guinivere looking so grown up and so much like her mommy. Wasn’t that just yesterday?

Bailey Bailey

Bailey-Baby, 2. She’s the little, but oh-so-powerful one.

Gemma Gemma  gemma

Gemma May is 8 1/2. She is all the colors!

Averi  averi averi

Averi. She turns 8 tomorrow! 


Amelie sent me voice memos saying, “FaceTime us, Nonna, we’re having a snow day!” That melts my heart!

amelie amelie

Amelie is 5 and was the ornery one. Snow was flying very which way. And she couldn’t quit giggling and incriminating herself.


bailey baby

A bonus picture of Bailey from craft time. We made Saint Lucia crowns.

It is a white out in the Denver area. I texted all my grandbebes and said, “Look out at that white, white snow. See how pure it looks? Well, that’s what Jesus’ blood does to our messy, ugly sin. He covers it and then we are WHITER, even, that this snow! Can you believe it?! Whiter than snow!

Psalm 51.7 “…wash me, and I will be whiter than snow”

Promise I’ll go easy on the grand-kid pictures for awhile.  But I am a Nonna. What are you gonna do? :)

Snow Babies, part one

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned I have 10 grandchildren?

Haha! Just kidding. I know I have mentioned it.

FB collage

Our FB header recently

They are so much fun, these grandbebes of mine. They let me kiss their heads and squish their cheeks. They let me hug them tight and call them by many silly names of endearment. They call me Nonna. And that is enough to melt me all the way.

IMG_0346Gav 12 1/2  Gavin, 12 1/2Hunter 11 Hunter hands raised Hunter, 11
the boys Hunter and Gavin, cousins and buddies

What is it about grandkids? Why on earth do they turn us upside down in the most dazzling and deliriously happy way?

When Gavin came along, my very first grand-boy, almost 13 years ago, I wasn’t really seeing myself as a grandmother at all. I sure wasn’t going to be one of those people bragging about them, pulling out a stack of photos and gushing with pride. Yeah, right.

But this thing happens. I looked at my daughter just having had a baby and thought, “Wow – she is amazing, look what she did.” And in short order, I tumbled head-over-heels for this little red-headed guy.


Evangeline is 2. And always looking for a reason to smile. Here, we had tossed some snow her way.

eva in snow

Evangeline and Oliver

The snow was so deep this day, we had Oliver on a little chair. I decided to re-do their a shoot a week later to make him more comfortable. But we got some great ones this snowy day!

Then came Hunter and it happened again. By the time Guini came along, a grand-girl, I knew to clear my schedule for falling in love.

Each time a grandbebe comes in to my life, I know it will never be the same. My heart gets bigger. It gets expanded and beats hotter with love, stronger love than I knew existed. It beats with wild joy and passion for another little human being, something of me, a part of me I’ll leave to the world. I will never get over these ten…and anymore who may come along. :)

Oliver happy Oliver, 10 months. He liked sitting on the ground a lot more  (especially since I covered it with a sheet)eva and oliver

IMG_0872_2oliver 10 months

On 5 different days, each with snow falling or on the ground or still around from a previous snow, my sweet grands let me snap some shots of them with a tree-on-fabric thing I got from IKEA a couple of years back. All snapped on the iPhone6+.

kai kai

Malakai, almost 3 here, just wanted to lob snowballs at his Nonna.

kai throwing snow at nonna kai smile

I live in Colorado. There will be snow. We need the snow. I certainly long for snow every single Christmas. After that – not as much snow zeal here. But these pictures of ten little human beings who love me like I love them? Well, they make the snow oh-so-much-more enjoyable. Oh yes, they do.

Let it blister and bluster and blow…Let it snow!

Lucky you…I’ll share 5 more of my sweet snow babies tomorrow, when I’ll likely be snowed all the way in!

Snow Babies, part two


Family, Food and Good TV – must be Thanksgiving Week!

True story: Within 45 minutes this morning, Stef from the Holyoke homestead contacted me for my Broccoli Soup for a crowd recipe, my dad called from rural Indiana to have me help him “make up” a chicken-veggie-and-rice casserole, and my son Rocky texted from northern Colorado asking for the ingredients and recipe for his Aunt Julie’s famous Corn Casserole so he can make it for Thanksgiving dinner this week! Ahhh, the fam!  :)

Dave and I with the ten little grandbebes, ages 6 months-12 years

It’s in the air, excitement around the year’s biggest meal. All of my best day dreams and plans for the future include being surrounded by the people I love the most, sharing some kind of amazing meal together. Sometimes that is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich under a tree at a park with little grandbebes. Once a year, it includes a turkey and all the trimmings – enough to induce a food coma. But at least we get to do it together. Food + Family = JOY!

Which brings me to the television part!

Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke

Affiliated links (below) provided for your convenience.  :)

As the holidays approach and it gets colder outside and darker earlier, I start looking for those great shows and holiday specials that warm you inside and out. So I was totally excited when Feeln asked me to preview their new series, Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke!

Feeln is the movie subscription service of the Hallmark Hall of Fame (Hallmark cards) and you know they have got what you want to see, especially around the holidays!

episode 1 with florence henderson

“Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke” is a food-oriented lifestyle talk-show that “celebrates the joyous interplay between family and food.” It features celebrity guests and in the first episode, Brooke meets with Mrs. Brady herself (Florence Henderson)! They share memories centered around special meals Florence has enjoyed with her family at a neighborhood Italian restaurant and get some amazing recipes from the chef .

I totally loved the episode I watched! It felt warm and inviting, the conversation was interesting and authentic, and Brooke fairly sparkles as she extends genuine hospitality and enthusiasm for her guests. I have one thing against Brooke Burke and it is that there are no visible physical effects on her from her passion for pasta. I want to know how that happens!

Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke

To help get the word out on the new series, Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke has launched a tongue-twister challenge. You HAVE to try this – you could win prizes!

  1. Just grab your phone and create a video of yourself saying BREAKING-BREAD-with-BROOKE-BURKE 5 times really fast!
  2. Submit your video on Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo or Facebook
  3. Then, tag your video with #BBwBBchallenge @BBBreaksBread. And be sure to submit it online here too.

I tried the tongue-twister. It didn’t go well. I have my pride. I didn’t submit it. But I got Hunter and his friends to give it a go. {see here}

Hunter and Friends doing the #BBwBBchallenge

It’s all in good fun! I hope you’re having a fantastic week. Here is the link for viewing the first episode of Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke {CLICK}.  If you’re like me, you’ll really enjoy it and want to see more!

Blessings, friends and familia!

God’s Pleasure, A Prayer for Mi Familia

Before I forget ~ I love you, mi familia. That has been my heart motivation towards you from the beginning. Some days my motivations were obvious. Some days, I am certain, they were a total mystery, and had you scrambling to understand.

But if I could exchange, in your mind, the times you got the “mom look,” which made you squirm or feel anything less than the true brilliance I saw in you, if I could trade that out for the gazes you didn’t see, for the times I was pondering you in my heart and I was beaming out of sight when you were singing at the top of your lungs in your bedroom or being nice to that rascal-of-a-neighborhood-kid who needed a friend and I just thought, wowmy children are the most amazing ones ever...Yes, if I could trade some of those moments so you would know the depth of my admiration, my respect, and my abiding love for you (still, more than ever), so that there would never be a way for you to doubt how proud I am of you, well, then, I would. I would do it in a flash.

Meanwhile, this is true: your dad and I pray for you and we pray for your {JOY} because the JOY of the LORD will be your daily, ever-present, help-in-time-of-need, STRENGTH for all the life and living ahead! If you’re choosing between utilizing your own gifts, talents and abilities to achieve successful living, life and love (which you could do, because you have so much in you), versus living a Holy-Spirit-empowered joy-strengthened life, and an abundant joy-strengthened life at that, well, please, my darlings – choose the JOY-strengthened life for sure!

A & G, summer 14

What does that look like? It looks like when Averi and Gemma start doing cartwheels all over the lawn. Here they are, sweet littles and they just start going. And it takes all their arms and legs and gravity and muscle-control and trust and having their hearts and arms opened wide. But when they start and we clap and cheer, those two girls just keep going and going and going like it is nothing at all. They are filled with joy in the moment and the only reason they usually stop is that it’s time to leave or night has fallen. There is no worry about how they will feel tomorrow, for they know tomorrow, they will more joy-strength for many more cartwheels! That is some joy-strengthened living!

Let’s plan to get more {joy}. We are praying that for YOU!


“Since we first heard about you, we’ve kept you always in our prayers that you would be filled to overflowing with the revelation of God’s pleasure over your lives. This will make you reservoirs of all wisdom and spiritual understanding. We pray that you would walk in the ways of true righteousness, pleasing God in every good thing you do. Then you’ll become fruit-bearing branches, yielding to his life, and maturing in the rich experience of knowing God in his fullness! And we pray that you would be energized with all his explosive power from the realm of his magnificent glory, filling you with great hope and {JOY} in the Holy Spirit!”
Colossians 1:9-11 The Passion Translation

AMEN! Oh, yes – Amen!!!

Before I forget to tell you ~ God is pleased with you.

And so am I. {mom}