Tag Archive | spirit

Happy 80th Birthday, Mom.

Happy birthday to a wonderful woman. Mom.
A grand day to celebrate, today would have been your 80th birthday.

Today, I choose to think of the joyful life events in our family over the last eleven years that you would have been so happy to see and take part in.

Your grandchildren all graduating and going off to college, graduations from college, the weddings of three granddaughters (getting to know the wonderful men they married).

The birth of three great-granddaughters and the addition of another – playing with them, teaching them silly songs, cuddling and hugging them and enjoying their energy and personalities.

Also meeting Jeff in person – you  would had fun helping us plan and prep for our wedding. I know would have loved celebrating our wedding and being a part of our relationship.

I can see you reveling in our family gatherings and having a good time seeing family and friends. You and Dad would have shared retirement and been happy to travel to see both familiar places and discover new ones.

You would have liked being on Facebook and Pinterest.

BTW… the Oregon State Beavers baseball team won two national championships. I know you would have cheered them on. OH…. and I must mention that during those eleven years, your Seattle Seahawks went to the Superbowl and now have a chance to go again. I remember that you LOVED football at all levels – I think your favorite was Touchet High School Football and then any college football. And you truly loved the Seattle Seahawks from the beginning. I did not understand the attraction until I was older, now I get it. Just ask Jeff, I get it. And, oh Yes, I am a big DUCKS football fan….. but, you really do know all this, that I am sure of. 😉

You are with us, guiding us everyday. I miss you physically being here, but thankfully, I don’t have to miss your spirit.

I love you Mom. And, based on all the comments on my Facebook page today, many others do to. 🙂

I am still oh so proud and happy to be your daughter. HUGS.


Remembering Aunt Shirley

On a warm morning in July, the call came. My cousin, Delbert, had called to let us know his mom had passed away.

Like with other families and extended families dealing with the uncertainty of Alzheimer’s disease, we knew this day would come. Aunt Shirley had battled dementia and Alzheimer’s. Now, her battle over, she was free. Free of the ravages of Alzheimer’s; how it stole her memory and how it stole Shirley away from her family.

A celebration honoring Shirley’s life was to be held on a Saturday in August. Followed by a luncheon.

While making plans to attend the memorial service I thought of the many times our families had been together. Great family times, with a great family. Warm, friendly, FUN, humorous and supportive. Love encircled each of us. The vast amount of love came from Aunt Shirley and Mom. Sure our respective dads loved us…. but love was in everything these women did…. the hugs, smiles, cooking, laughs and discipline. All of it let us kids know we were deeply loved and oh-so-cared for.

Whenever we had the chance to get together with their family there was great anticipation of seeing our “cousins” again. “Cousins” because actually our dads were the cousins. Considering that we were second and third cousins, however this technically works out, we were family. We had no other relatives in our area so when this family moved within 50 miles of us we were elated. We had COUSINS nearby.

Remembering all the fun times we had when our families were together and the wonderful food our moms fixed for us compelled me to make something to take to the luncheon. I instantly knew what I would take. A cake…. but oh, not just any cake. “Cheap Cake.” Some recipes call it “Economical Cake,” “Wacky Cake,” “Crazy Cake,” or “Depression Cake.” In our collective family it was called “Cheap Cake” because is was economical and “cheap” was faster to say. 🙂

I made a “Cheap Cake” using the same recipe that Mom had gotten from Aunt Shirley. I had never had that wonderfully dark chocolate cake before knowing Aunt Shirley. Now, I can never see a recipe for it, mix one up and bake it, or eat a decadent slice of it without thinking of her. She and Mom put together some fabulous meals for our families. And trust me, each of us loved to eat. A total of six growing boys and me, along with our dads and themselves to feed, those two women were busy.

Thankfully, they were great cooks too.

Just as they were great cooks, they were even better Moms.

Moms who loved their children with all their heart and soul. Each of them happy, strong, intelligent women. They wanted good things for their children and expected good from them in return. We knew we were loved.

Each time I make or eat a slice of “Cheap Cake” I will always remember Aunt Shirley. Her love for her family and her love of life.

Thank you and rest well, Aunt Shirley.

Recipe for “Cheap Cake”

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Helen Blessings…

WOW……………. I totally got a “Helen” Blessing the other day.

I’d had another crappy day and another headache. Yes, I was at work… at a job where we’re short-handed and unfortunately at one of the two busiest times of the year… fiscal year end. I left for lunch to get away from the office and run an errand at Home Depot…along the way I saw a Swallowtail Butterfly…. aka Mom…. At Home Depot, I got the paint I wanted (NEEDED) and saw my friend’s husband Carl… Carl told me that Sue was in the Garden Center… so I went to surprise her and soak up some laughter and healing vibes…

AHHHHHHHHH, turned around my day…………….
all I have to say is..
“Thanks Mom!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Just had to share … I was so in need and I received.

You see, my Mom, Helen, loved butterflies, dearly loved them. So much so that they are a fond reminder of her gentle spirit. I think that she may have had them as a guardian… now, I do. My husband Jeff also sees them as a guardian spirit and counts them as “Helen blessings” too.

The first actual “Helen blessing” I remember experiencing was when I had taken one of my nieces over to the Oregon Coast. This was in summer, after Mom passed away in January 2003. We had stopped at a lighthouse to take a tour. While taking photos, out front, a butterfly – a swallowtail butterfly – followed us around. She even landed on the seed head of some tall grass, pausing just long enough for me to take a good photo. Then she floated away, yet never far from us. I had a calm feeling as if Mom was right there enjoying our day with us. I still get these feelings ….  a great calm …. such a peaceful feeling that all will be okay, things will get better. Mom is nearby not about to let anything bad happen. And thankfully, more often she’s just floating by to say “Hi” and enjoy some time with me.

Regardless of why, I am always happy to receive a “Helen blessing.”

This particular day, what felt like a lousy day, ended to be a good day… thanks to the “Helen blessing” and the opportunity for me to see my long-time friend Sue.

Mom always knew exactly what I needed and she still does. I know I was directed to Home Depot on that day and so was Sue…. seeing the “Helen blessing” on the way is proof enough.

Catching a Rainbow

I should say….

Catching a Mother’s Day Rainbow at Palouse Falls

On Mother’s Day, my husband was ready for an adventure. So, he chose a day-trip from our Northeast Oregon home to Palouse Falls in Southeastern Washington. We had the time. Why not. So, he packed up a picnic and off we went.

We drove north and northeast through rolling wheat fields for miles and miles. The terrain did not seem to change much.

Then it did.

The road took us up and over and down larger hills. The terrain finally changed. Basalt rock outcroppings.

We found our turn-off. Other vehicles found it also. They had the same idea. Go figure. Mother’s Day, warm sunny weather and families were out exploring. Jeff had thought there would be only 2-5 cars there…. I laughed. We got to Palouse Falls State Park just as everyone else and their picnics had.

We had our picnic and went off exploring the overlook of the falls.


We gazed at the waterfall, watching vast amounts of water cascading over the basalt cliff and falling down into the pool below….. sharing some water droplets with the sunshine to make a rainbow. Made me think that Mom was with us, enjoying her Mother’s Day.

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The Payoff

Through example, Mom instilled in me a faith that “things will get better.”  She taught me that not all will be gloomy or be bad, even though it may seem as if.

Mom helped me to see the good side of things. To look on the bright side.

When Jeff and I left for our ‘second honeymoon’ in mid-March celebrating our six-month wedding anniversary the skies seemed gloomy and the Blue Mountains donned a new blanket of snow. The mountains were absolutely beautiful, yet the day before had been a sunny, glorious day. We headed south to catch the freeway. To the east was snow….. to the west… SUN. Luckily, we were ready to head west. Off to the Oregon Coast.

Pulled Pork Sandwich and a Session Black at Full Sail Brew Pub

Amidst sunshine, clouds and rain and after three hours of driving we arrived in Hood River for lunch. A much anticipated lunch at Full Sail Brewery. The three hours plus of a few days of anticipation I endured for their pulled pork sandwich and a Session Black had paid off. Ahhh Bliss. Well worth the anticipation.

We traveled on and arrived in Portland, got checked in to our hotel and made arrangements to meet cousins from my side of the family for dinner. We had a great time. Lots of catching up and laughing. After driving in more late winter inclement weather we were having some wonderful family time.

The next day we made a trek to a local mall so I could make another anticipated stop… this time at Teavana, to accommodate one of my favorite habits, tea drinking. Again, it was raining, but now after a quick and early lunch in the car we were headed to the coast.

More rain. Well, this is Oregon. 🙂

Snow in the Coast Range on March 12Driving out Highway 26 we experienced a variety of weather. Clouds, overcast skies and rain, then more rain. Yet it was a pleasant drive with scenery I don’t remember seeing before. Maybe, I had not been on this highway.

Then, while driving over the Coast Range the rain got thick. Then thicker. Then turned to snow. SNOW in the Coast Range on March 12th. No worries, both Jeff and I had driven through plenty of snow before.

Be careful. Be aware. Drive on.

I had not personally seen snow in the Coast Range for several years when my brother and I had driven to the coast early one May. I knew it snowed in the Coast Range, I’d seen it on the news from Portland.

Through all the variations of weather, mostly winter-like, we made it to our destination … Cannon Beach.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, Oregon... from inside Mo's Restaurant

We sat inside Mo’s Restaurant anticipating our first seafood of our Oregon Coast trip, watching the stormy, almost angry surf. As you already know, the rain was falling. There were also lots of clouds and some wind. The tide was high and the ocean seemed as if it wanted to come inside to get out of the weather too. As we waited for our food we watched as some travelers were getting soaked in the rain. Some were even on the beach taunting the waves. I was nearly certain that someone would be overtaken by the crashing waves. The waves did not really seem to want to play.

Ahhhhh…. our food had arrived. Another payoff for enduring something less than delightful. I had anticipated CRAB — in the form of a crab melt. Jeff was rewarded with a bread bowl filled with chowder. We were about to eat while watching the storm from inside, not being out in it. Now, after driving through all that rain and snow and slush, our payoff had arrived.

A greatly anticipated lunch at Mo's, Cannon Beach, Oregon

Nearly a “Spring” break.

Well…. I have taken a break… a “Spring” break, from writing my blog.

I say “Spring” because Mother Nature is taking her time getting Old Man Winter into his hibernation. Sure, we’ve been teased with some ‘spring-like’ days, but the rainy, snowy, cold, wet days are not over. They seem to alternate, these ‘spring’ and ‘winter’ days.

I took a break when my husband and I took off for a trip to the Oregon Coast. We began our second honeymoon on our six-month wedding anniversary. Yes, we already had our second honeymoon, even though we’ve only been married six months. Where is it written that we wait and wait and wait for our second honeymoon? Nowhere, that we know of. Besides, we don’t have to pay attention to such a rule anyway.

We had made reservations to stay one night in Portland, then head to Seaside and Cannon Beach, then to Astoria to tour the northern coast, on to Vancouver and Camas, then back home. Just us. A lovely way to celebrate our marriage.

Weather made our trip even more interesting. Seems like Mother Nature and Old Man Winter had conspired to offer up some variety for us. Again alternating from Spring to Winter and back again. Over and over and over.

However, Jeff and I took this all in stride…. just as my Mom would have. This is Oregon, this was the middle of March… the midst of the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. We had no control over the weather… but we did have control of if we’d let the alternating seasons dampen our spirits. We chose to thoroughly enjoy our trip no matter what.

For our positive perseverance we were treated to some glorious weather… each type enhancing the scenery and the memories we were making of our second honeymoon. Our “Spring” break.