Posts Tagged 'family time'

Making Memories

Sunday morning I had to locate my sweaters.  The temperature has been in the low fifties in the morning here in San Tan Valley, AZ.  Numbers like that require more than a T-shirt and shorts on my body!

Next to my ‘package of sweaters’ in the cedar chest was a ‘package of memories:’  rotated photoa very small  Cubs t-shirt (Nathan’s first favorite baseball team); a Dr Who Fan Club t-shirt (we were great Dr Who fans in the 80’s: the boys would ‘sneak’ into the family room after we had put them into bed to watch it- which of course meant we all watched it!); a t-shirt with a corn snake on it (Nathan successfully bred and hatched corn snakes as a 9-yr old); a blue turtleneck with trucks embroidered by Ed’s mom as well as two sweater vests she knitted; and an army shirt that Daniel wore as a 6 or 7 yr old in North Fort Myers.  (I’m sure that Daniel will correct me on the details!)

Since we have moved to Arizona, we have the opportunity to make new memories.  I connected with Erin on Thursday morning, and Greyson (age 3) and Sawyer (age 1) started on our day together.  Because we live where residential meets agriculture, we stopped at Schnepf”s Farm to visit the u-pick fields.  With Sawyer on my hip, and Greyson helping me with our wooden baskets, we slowly made our way to the fields (emphasis on slowly!).  We got to the squash row, put our basket at the end of the row, and carefully sat Sawyer next to it as the guardian.  Fortunately— he sat there very absorbed in simply watching us!  That attention lasted through our picking radishes, cucumbers, and spinach.  By the time we hit the lettuce rows, Sawyer was much more comfortable, and within a few minutes of being set down, he started crawling toward us!  Greyson and I looked at each other and knew that we were done!

We gathered everything, and proceeded to slowly make our way back to the check-out (emphasis on slowly).  On the way, we discovered a great photo op.  I took this one of Greyson—and he took the second one of Sawyer being held in place by me…

Greyson farm photo

Greyson

     Cost of the vegetables: about $2.00.

     Memories made: priceless!

Sawyer

Sawyer

We did much more on Thursday together: walked to the park with Grandpa; watched hummingbirds at the feeder cuddled under a blanket (because that’s how we did it the first time two weeks ago); listened to Christmas carols by Grandpa on the violin and me on the piano; and of course, the boys played with trains.  What a wonderful day!

Life is much too short.  Take the time to make memories!  You don’t have to break the bank to do it.  Gifts, gift cards, cash…all come and go.  The three keys to building relationships- any relationships- are time, truth, and trust. Invest in people- one of two things that last for eternity!

Today, spend some time with someone.  You might need him/her.  S/he might need you. Sometimes you can plan the details.  Sometimes you simply have to take the first step.  Start walking!

Drop me a note and let me know what kind of a memory you made this week!

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Plan B or C or D…

To say that we were totally surprised simply would not be true.  We knew there was a chance of this happening.  But to get the phone call that the kids were getting off the train was a reality check for sure— and more prayers immediately flowed upward.

We (that is Ed and I) seem to be living much of our lives in Plan B.  Does anyone out there identify?

Plan A was going to take place the first week of April. Hard to remember the details now, but the timing didn’t work for everyone. A plan was hatched for assisting Nathan (second son, recently discharged from the Army) and Erica his wife (due with their first child mid-May) relocate to Seattle, where Erica’s parents live.  The house is big enough for all of them, which will help out the kids tremendously.

My travel plans had included traveling to Ft. Worth and attending Mannatech’s International Conference, April 12-15, which I did, returning home at midnight on the 15th.  Amidst great excitement at the launch of our product NutriVerus, as well as a variety of business tools, I refocused and realized that I needed to drive to TN on Wednesday instead of Friday—so I did.

I got the kids packed up, moved all of their belongings into storage for the Army to move on April 30, and on Friday we three headed for Chicago.  After a great evening with family on Friday night, we got them to their Amtrak train and they left on Saturday afternoon due to arrive  46 hours later in Seattle, where they would be met by Erica’s parents.

Sunday night we got a call from Nathan that they were getting off the train in Whitefish, MT and heading for the hospital.  Jackson was not going to wait until they got settled in Seattle—he wanted his own story!

With much prayer, many stories of angels helping along the way, and healthcare professionals doing an excellent job, Jackson arrived into the world at 5:39 pm on Monday, April 23, about 3 weeks early.  He is little (just 4 pounds and 11 oz), but all systems are go!  Erica is in good spirits, Nathan is thoroughly enjoying the interaction he is having with his son, and Jackson is eating and sleeping!  Sounds like a family has been born!

Nathan expects that they will be able to continue their trip Friday (they have a sleeper compartment- yeah!), and plan to arrive in Seattle Saturday morning, ready to start a new life, in a new location, with a new baby.

Mari’s comments for living: My observation is that we are often living in Plan B or C or D…but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t write down Plan A!

Listen to some words of wisdom from Proverbs 16: 9- The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Life lesson: We are supposed to plan—but we have to realize that God is the director!

What is your experience? Do you live in your Plan A…or is it usually B or C or D?  How do you respond when plans change?

OR

What do you think of our newest addition to the family?

Would love to read your comments below.

customized gift from Greataunt Deb O.

Sporting a gift quilt from the Senior Center

Oh by the way, here are several photos of the newest star of the DeZago family! Yes, Jackson is our THIRD grandson!!!

Checking out his world!

To Plan or Not to Plan. Is That the Question? Part 2

I looked at my watch. I turned to my husband Ed and said, “It’s 4:30.  I think we are officially lost. What do you want to do?”

Ed’s response, “Whatever we do, we have to do quickly. There’s not much daylight left.”

We quickly took stock of our situation: we had followed the trail next to a wash, had crossed onto the rocks looking for the continuation of the trail, and ended up in the  corner  of a canyon, staring at two walls of sheer cliff about 300’ high.  There was no trail to continue forward; we figured we had 45 minutes to an hour left of daylight, and both of our cell phones were dead. Of course our cell phones had our GPS location, communication with the outside world, and a flashlight app.

How did we get here?

We PLANNED it!

Well, loosely speaking…we did.

Ed and I had decided a few days previously that we would take a hike in the desert on Monday, our last full day in Phoenix.  We planned accordingly.  Ed had purchased a book of loop hikes in Arizona, hikes where you start and finish at the same point.  He picked hike #44, called Garden Valley.  The trail was in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains, about 30 minutes from Gilbert where the kids live.  The description of the trail gave every indication that we would enjoy our time: the trail was 8.6 miles long, taking about 5 hours to complete, and was rated moderate- which is one notch up from easy.  We had snacks, PB and J sandwiches for lunch, water and my sports nutrition drink, binoculars for bird watching, and the hiking book. Most of these items were in the backpack that I carried.  Yes, I did feel a bit like a packmule, but because I carried the pack, I made sure we stopped for snacks and water as that lightened my load.   So that was a good thing.

These photos give you an idea of what we were hiking through.

Ed leading on the Dutchman's Trail

Weaver's Needle, an important landmark

A wash along the trail

Ed standing by a Saguaro Cactus gives perspective about size

Although I did periodically simply stop and look around to enjoy the beautiful setting of the trail, and Ed would stop to identify an unknown bird call- we kept moving at a good pace.  At one point, Ed commented, ‘This is taking us too long.  We should have been back by now.” A short time later, we found ourselves cornered in the canyon.

We prayed for signs, and as we backtracked, we did indeed see trail signs that we had not seen before.  I interpreted three stacked rocks as ‘This is the path, no turn here,’ remembering trailblazing signs from Girl Scouts. This week I discovered that there are other meanings for that particular trailblazing sign, so I am extremely thankful that the Lord gave us good direction in spite of my faulty memory!

We finally arrived at our car in the trailhead parking lot at 5:45 pm, and drove out of the park with the sun sinking quickly behind the mountains, very mindful of the Lord’s graciousness in giving us the signs that we needed when we needed them.

Bottom line: our PLAN was a simple 5-hour hike, and that’s what we prepared for. Reality was a 7-hour hike, including about three hours of being lost in the desert, and that’s what we were unprepared for!

PLANNING gave us a very unexpected result, which required a heightened dependence on the Lord Jesus. This hiking adventure  was a clear reminder that ‘A person plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).’

So did these two personal illustrations give any clarity to your own decision about planning for 2012?  To plan or not to plan?

Read Part 3 for my response.

To Plan or Not to Plan. Is That the Question? Part 1

Hard to believe that half of January is gone. You may be one of those people who has been hearing conversation, reading articles, listening to your own conscience…about setting goals, making plans for 2012—but you still haven’t written anything down.

You may have  done the typical New Year’s Resolutions in the past- and not succeeded…OK, you put a new practice into place for one day, and then forgot about doing it the second day. Sounds familiar.

It is possible that because of your previous experience, you may be hesitant- perhaps resistant?- to even think about planning.

Let me share a couple of experiences I have had in the past week to further confuse the issue.

Ed (husband) and I flew to Phoenix early  on Jan. 1 to share in Daniel’s  (oldest son) 30th birthday celebration.  THE PLAN for the evening was that Erin was going to surprise Daniel with a dinner reservation at a Brazilian restaurant in Scottsdale and we would watch the boys.  Great plan—except that Daniel didn’t feel real great, and food, especially a nice dinner, was not top of mind!

So THE PLAN was postponed until Thursday night, when everyone felt great, and the details worked out just fine.

Hurray for flexibility!

Saturday, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful 70-something sunshine of Phoenix and walk around the Phoenix Zoo.  THE PLAN was to walk around the zoo, simply enjoying the day together.

We eventually got to the elephant yard, only to discover that the three elephants were safely behind closed doors. However, feeding would take place shortly so we decided to wait. A zoo keeper came out and asked for volunteers to join her in ‘hiding carrots’ which the elephants would then look for and eat.  This activity is done daily to keep the elephants’ minds active. (Is there a clue here about challenging activity being necessary to keep OUR minds active?)

Greyson (age 2 1/2) was definitely up for the adventure, so he and I picked up two carrots, headed out into the yard, and Erin followed us with her camera.

Picking up our carrots

Looking for a hiding place

Finding a hiding spot

Completing the task

We couldn’t have planned it any better!

What about you? Have you had a recent serendipity happening that was unforgettable? Share it below!

PS Notice this is part 1.  Come back to read about another Phoenix adventure in part 2.

Only 4 more days!

Anticipation is escalating as Thanksgiving Day is almost here!

Anticipation may be the wrong word to describe your emotions depending on what side of the table you will be sitting…are you hosting, are you simply showing up (we are :), do you like your family (we do!) or not …

Just came across a great post on HealthyNet.org in which Dr. Stephen Boyd shares some healthy wisdom about Thanksgiving. Conversation about family members may include health tidbits that can be instructive for personal decisions: for example, realizing the number of relatives affected by cancer could propel you to make common-sense decisions about food and activity habits… starting now!

Dr. Boyd also shares a great reminder to include activity as part of your family time: get everyone moving!

A  post on HealthyScience by Nina Fuller, referenced in my previous post “4500 Calories on Thanksgiving Day?” gave great suggestions for healthy substitutions of traditional menu favorites.  If you are the one providing the majority of the food (or just bringing one dish), consider sharing a healthy alternative.  You will be pleasantly surprised at how good healthy can taste- and the raves you will get from everyone about how good it was.

I’m looking forward to excellent food and family time this week.  There is a special element of ‘tasting good’ when food is prepared in a healthy way to look and taste tremendous. However, our entire family is committed to enjoy our time together—and for us, that means moderation, self-control, healthy choices, a good walk outside, and maybe even a board game .

A coaching comment I heard early on in my business is a good one for closing:
Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Family Time and Focus, Part 2

Since my last post about family, much has happened in our lives here in Columbus, and with our extended family in Phoenix!

Let me back track to my time with the kids before I get into the news  (next post).

Here’s what else happened on that particular Sunday night after the van coasted to the curb (go back and read Part 1).  My son came home after a very long day of ministry- he does video production at Scottsdale Bible Church, and Sunday is a ‘work day’ with three services- looked at Erin and me as we sat at the table eating dinner and simply said, “How about if we do something different tonight, like play a board game?’

What a great idea! We all set aside our agendas, got Greyson into bed, and the kids introduced me to Settlers of Catan, a board game that, to my brain, wasn’t the easiest to jump into- but provided a couple of hours of family time…and surprise, surprise,  I won!

I so appreciated that Daniel was sensitive enough to suggest a different activity (no iphones, no texting, no laptops!) that occupied all three of us in an interactive way. We had not had any time together outside of packing, loading and unloading boxes, and cleaning. We had all been working very hard. We needed game time!

In this particular situation, although one of us made the suggestion, the other two had to make the commitment to set aside personal desires, and interact with a different activity.  Erin and I both chose to do that- and I’m glad we did.

Sometimes being together looks like this: everyone is in the same room, but we are each pursuing a different activity: someone is watching a movie, someone is editing photos on a laptop, someone is sending cards, etc.  Sometimes being together looks like this: everyone is participating in the same activity.

Seems like it is important for families to take time to do both. Good family activity should be a stress-reducer!

Do you keep your schedule open enough to allow for spontaneous suggestions of family time, whether it is a walk around the block with everyone in tow, or a board game, or reading a book to a little one with everyone listening?

OR is every evening filled with an out-of-house activity  by one or more family members?

OR does work (i.e., answering phone calls) spill over into the evening hours?

What does your family time look like?

If you need a different picture, give me a call, 614,804.0291, and let me give you a suggestion about an option.