Saturday, January 31, 2015

Guest Post From The Coffee Cottage ~

 Momma to FIVE and a step son to boot! Jeane` is a blogger I follow and love her writing style. I found her via her Mom's blog which is one of the first I started following and I love!!. Jeane` is an incredible writer, young Mom's will especially love her posts.  I hope you love this one as much as I did.  After reading it I just felt that many others would appreciate her insight and wisdom.
Enjoy ~

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Losing My Marbles

Our children are very marble-conscience. They can earn one or five by making good choices and loose just as many (or all) by making poor ones. There are certain chores that have a marble-attached value to them, but mostly they are dispensed as we observe kindness, selflessness and obedience, letting them know when we've taken note (if they haven't already heard the clink of glass on glass). If their marbles reach a certain number at week's end, they get to participate in a family fun event. For all the incentives/chore charts/house rules posters that lay in the wastelands of my parental efforts at civilizing our "energetic" crew, this system has, generally speaking, been effective. Until recently, we've been satisfied by it's ability to motivate.

There has been an increase of traffic to where ever we are at, reporting a kind deed or completed-chore-without-being asked by the do-gooder him/herself. We will heartily commend them. And then after a slight pause, it comes:

"So. Do I get a marble for that?"

Now we are reviewing this system as we need to work out the more complicated part of addressing motivation, of explaining that each of us are contributors to this household, and our acts of selflessness should not be done to be bragged over or begging of reward for.

"Mom, will you give me five dollars if I do all the wash right now?"

The older ones are now moving on to money. Marbles for currency are no longer enough.

With either marbles or money, it would be far easier to stick with the "you do this, you get that" mentality of this marble system, yet the hard work of explemlifying and explaining doing what needs to be done because we are many members learning to live with and love each other the best we can is worthy of the messy work that comes beyond cause-and-effect.


Talking to friends last night over aged cheese and wine (feeling aged ourselves), we spoke of the pendulum that swings between generations. Growing up in the height of 1980's evangelical movement, full of (mostly) well-intentioned messages emulating faith-based behaviors (abstinence, church attendance, Bible study, clean living for clear testimonies), it seems many of our generation-and those just behind us-have swung from faith to works. The new look of the Christian woman of today is one of ethnically made jewelry and tee-shirts declaring a "heart" for adoption/anti-slavery/eradicating disease. We are invited to parties/seminars/movements /missions trips/service projects/sponsor marathons that seek to change the world in multiple ways. We ink our bodies with love, peace and hope--or at least wear them etched in silver pendants around our necks. There are more men and women willing to go to dark places, exposing to many the desperate plights of those caught in unimaginable circumstances. In many ways, it is a truly exciting movement of feet on the ground, of people discontent to merely fill their heads with more knowledge and who desire to bring Light into the dark.

In other ways, it has become very easy to jump on bandwagons and play the part by pasting our Facebook walls, Instagrams and conversations with our intentions in order to gain attention for being part of a generation who seeks to step out of the old and into the new. It CAN be a part that is tempting to play without much sacrifice or deep-hearted participation.

I write this only because it is true for me. I much prefer to present myself as a humble person, mostly because I am precisely the opposite. God has very quietly awakened something in my heart as He's nudged me in closer contact with those of whom I have little in common (only because I didn't chose who I was born to). I somehow feel closer to Jesus being with those who have little status, image or reputation to lean on. There is so much to learn, so little I know. Yet, it is humiliating to admit, I was tempted on my FIRST VISIT to take a picture with one of the individuals and post it to my Instagram and Facebook...for the sake of "exposure to their need", or so I told myself. But I knew. I knew that if, on the very first foray into the fray I was wanting to photograph myself doing it, it was for the sake of my name only. I wanted to hear the clink  of good opinion falling in my favor.

I mean, YUCK.

How quickly the feet of those who bring good news (me) can be revealed to be on a mission of self-promotion.


A few words have recently offered themselves as a mirror to my attention-seeking tendencies.

"Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding."

"When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it--quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out."

-Matthew 6:1&4

So there is that.

Then there is this. My friend, Peter Greer writes in his thought-provoking and timely book, The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good:

"Breaking free of our inflated view of ourselves comes when we ruminate on the amazing story told in scripture. When we orient our view towards God's glory, we get a glimpse of the grand story, one of redemption of wholeness and hope from a very big God. As another songwriter wrote many years ago:

"When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, 
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?"

When we turn our eyes away from ourselves, we see that we're not the superheroes-but we're part of a much bigger story than we could have dreamed. 

You and I make lousy superheroes and lousier saviors. And we probably don't look too good in full-body spandex either".

A-to-the-MEN on that (including the Spandex).


I am thankful to be part of a generation who is waking up to the need to do good. The prayer must be that our left hands aren't preoccupied with pointing out what our right is doing and for our faith to be happily married to our actions. Those of us who have grown up memorizing the tenants of our faith know that faith without works is dead, useless, without lasting effect (James 2:14-26).

These are the thoughts before me as I consider how to approach my offspring doing good for the sake earning a marble. The truth is, I can struggle in a similar way and considering what my "marbles" are, I would do well to lose them. Only God and I know what's in my jar and why. Only He matters and only from Him, can fulfillment come. Because I am human, there will always be the struggle. Yet, He is patient...and He knows that the reward comes from seeking after Him.

{For anyone reading this who prefers blog posts with neat-and-tidy endings with bullet point suggestions, my deepest apologies. God and I are still working on this and I am a slow learner, which should make me a more patient parent. But it doesn't always}.

You can check out her blog here...
Special thanks to Jeane` for allowing me to share!
Hope you all have a safe Super Bowl weekend!
It's what echos from my heart today    ~

Friday, January 30, 2015

Fresh On Friday~ Be Encouraged!

I love the thought I might really encourage someone in a way they really need it.
It is my hope ~

I just finished copying several recipes to my. I want to make it file.
After doing so I had to ask myself, really? I've been eating well since the New Year, no it was not a resolution, just something I attempt every year, sad huh?
So our body is a temple, so if we know that why do some of us not treat it as such?
 I drank a gazillion gallons of water, ate small but satisfactory amounts for meals all this time.......
...and then, I copied a recipe for peanut butter cookies, and something that had a gazzillion types of  melted cheese in it....What!!! NO!

Then there's this........

The goal........
I'm a serious Biggest Loser fan, these people inspire me. Every season I think the same thing, if they can do it at their weight, I have no excuse! Yes they have trainers and work out several hours a day...but they also have hundreds to loose.The most interesting thing is how nearly all that are on medications come off those medications prior to even leaving the show. Imagine the prescriptions you may not need to ever fill again? Diabetics no longer having to give themselves injections, blood pressure changed cholesterol levels dropped! I could go on but you get the possibilities.....

So if your with me on this journey, and I have a long way to go to healthy and fit... notice I did not say skinny or thin.  Healthy and fit does not have to mean either.
I personally don't have a lot more to loose, but to consider myself healthy and fit will take time and discipline.

Repeat after me....

The biggest struggle for me is to keep moving, big dislike exercise is.... Yet even just walking daily provides the results I'm looking for. I need a walking buddy, someone depending on me as I do them, just the way it is for me. If it's raining or cold, walk the mall (just don't take money with you). Keeping in motion is key...if nothing else start with walking around your house during commercials, drink the water! Something beats nothing.  I know that when I stick to the healthy eating, and walking at least 5 times per week,  I do feel better health wise and my mental outlook is much brighter as well!

Using a smaller dinner plate it's psychological and it works. Sandwiches without bread,? Yes, the same inside stuff is good with out the bread, try it!
For me because I have little willpower, ....if it's in the house I will eat it. So, don't bring it home if you know it's going to be a with a list and only get whats on it.

Repeat daily......

We can do this, we can feel better

One day at a time, it's never to late to begin again!

Healthier me, it's what echos from my heart today.
Encourage someone today!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thankful Thursday !

Linking up once again with Rebecca Jo over at Knit by God's Hand. I love her name, Rebecca Jo roles off the tongue much like my beloved Dorthy Gale...... 
"If you can't find what you're looking for in your own backyard, maybe you never really lost it at all."

So today I'm thankful for a being part of the generation first to see The Wizard of Oz.  In our house it was a big event every year.  I'm talking bigger than the Rose parade, for me right up there with Christmas! I love watching it with our oldest grands, Julia and Aubrie. Khloe keeps asking when we will watch it I told her maybe when she is 5 or 6. We don't need any monkey dreams.


I'm also thankful for my love of reading. Never really became a reader until 25.  Currently finishing a book by Enuma Okoro. 

 "Okoro's search for a community where she can embrace both her turbulent love of God and her passion for gorgeous shoes. It's a story of longing and promise-and God's persistent presence."

I love her humor, and how she goes about figuring it all out. I'm half way through it and at this point 5 stars!!


What are you thankful for today? Hoping you take some to to consider all there is!
It's what echos from my heart today!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

For Momma's and Daddy's of Little Ones!

I posted this blog entry December of 2009.  I re-read it this morning and found it as true today as it was then. Hope you enjoy it!

A Child is Born

The other day I was out to breakfast with my husband. As I sit across from him I notice a Grandmother holding a fairly new baby, "a boy" she says as she looks a me, "he's a month old". I watch the new Mother look across the table into the eyes of her baby boy and I try and I felt when my first was new, what did I think as I looked into his tiny little eyes.
I know I couldn't imagine that I could love as much and as big as I did this little baby that I had only known a short time. I was relieved he was healthy, I knew the joy he brought his Father and I as well as our families. He was the new big thing, the topic of every conversation, the reason to own a camera! I recall the excitement I felt to pick him up everyday, to kiss him at every opportunity, to hold him close and cause him to feel safe and secure.
As I looked at this young Mother and at her tiny son my thoughts went to what she is yet to learn about being a Mom. I think of the panic she will experience when his fever is 105 and she is waiting for it to be their turn in the emergency room. What she doesn't know is how hard it is to walk away from him that first day of school. She has no idea how her heart will melt with every treasure he brings home from school as he, full of pride tells her, "I made it just for you Mommy".
This new Mom doesn't know the pain she will feel when he isn't picked for the basketball team and all of his friends were. She doesn't think about the fact that one day a girl will break his heart and it will break his Mother's as well. She hasn't yet worried when he drives off without her in the car the first time,and think, will he make it home safe?...every time.. he leaves the house. This Mother will worry when she hears a siren and her son is five minutes late.
 I hope she will experience what it means for her son, regardless of his age, that he never hesitated to hug her in public :-)
This new Mother has yet to experience the pride in him when she sees him wearing a cap and gown. This Mother can't imagine her child could ever hurt her feelings and that generally when he does, she won't say a word.
What she doesn't know is how happy she will be when he marries the love of his life. What she doesn't know is how different it feels to be the Mother in Law and no longer just his Mom. This new Mother can't know is the joy that one day, she will be waiting for her son and his wife's baby to make her a Grandmother. A new baby she can hold and love, all the while knowing just how fast this baby will grow...she will think back and wish she had taken more time just being a mom herself. She will look at her son and his wife and she will know what lies ahead for them as parents.
This new Mother will one day have a greater respect for the love and happiness her own parents brought her. The sacrifices made for her, the pain they felt when she felt pain. She will then understand why her parents worried when she was late........and how they never stopped regardless of age.
I shared this with my husband and his first response was, "imagine what Mary would have felt had she known the purpose of her Son's birth, that He would one day die on a cross for the sins of the world".
I guess when A Child is Born we never really know what to expect beyond the next picture we take in yet another new outfit!

This is what Echo's from My Heart today.......

Friday, January 23, 2015

Fresh On Friday ~ Be Encouraged

Fresh on Friday ~ A word of encouragement !

The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.   ~  Ivy Baker Priest

 Encourage someone, its what echos from my heart today.....

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thankful Thursday!

 Linking up again with Rebecca Jo at

It's thankful Thursday and for the record I find things to be thankful for in every day, but it's fun to link up with other thankful folks on a set date!

 I am thankful for many things far greater than today's list, but I'm thankful none the less.

I'm thankful for Netflix, I just signed up a couple days ago.  Fun to look through all the movies we've missed.  We rarely go to movies, for me the price is insane!! I go only if it's a movie best seen on the big screen, such as The Wizard of Oz, Titanic etc...The first Movie we watched was Catching Fire, the sequel to Hunger Games. Thumbs up!

Also new to be thankful for, Amazon Prime. Free shipping on any orders (which are many in a years time), and most importantly, something Netflix is lacking, Donton Abbey!! I'm very excited to find out what I've missed that so many have enjoyed for several seasons now. I've watch only two episodes but I was hooked after the the first one.

I am most thankful for my friend Jane, we have been out of touch for almost 10 months.  The sad thing is she lives near by, and attends my church (different service). We wave and exchange hugs and continue on. Really!
Life will get in the way of whats important if we let it.  I am making a conscious effort to be a better friend this year and Jane was where I needed to start.  She is wise, loving, and best of all she serves me tea out of  beautiful ceramic tea pots!! Thankful to have her back in my routine.

Thankful I have started  following a blog called Mundane Faithfulness. A beautifully written blog that is the journey of Kara Tippets battle with cancer. It's a battle she is nearing the end of but so inspiring.  She is an amazing example of faithfulness and thankfulness in the midst of the hard times. She has put living into perspective to say the least. Looking for grace in the hard! I just finished her book "the hardest peace".  This is a book for everyone in need of grace, especially if you have fought the fight of cancer. Really love her writing style, her faith, her willingness to share her journey authentically. I can't recommend it strongly enough, there is much to be gleaned from it. My hope is you don't let the subject matter keep you from it.

That's my current thoughts on thankfulness! What are you thankful for today?

Thankfulness is what echos from my heart today ~

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Doubts, Worry, Fear ~

So if God is in control, why would I worry, be fearful or doubt Him?

Recent events that are occurring around me began to worry me as to what the result of these events would be.  I stopped in my tracks and recalled that I had been through a weekend of teaching several months ago as to the Sovereignty of God.. I was reminded He knows what is ahead for me, and regardless of the outcome I will trust God with it.  He knows the outcome, and He he knows what will result because of the outcome. It's the place where my faith is to remain it's strongest, trusting Him with it all. So if God wants what is best for me, why would I worry....worry is a lack of faith. I'm to have faith that He has "this" whatever the "this" may be on a given day.

The sovereignty of God is a big stumbling block for many. If God is really in control why does He allow bad things to happen, why does cancer still exist, why all the suffering?  The answer for me as a Christian is that there is no way to truly grasp the why's this side of heaven...instead I need to continue to have faith in God's goodness, His promises and His love for me.

Is there something you need to let go of?  Let go and really trust He has the best for you in mind? There is always something to learn from the tough times, though we may not see it at the time. Many times we attempt to maneuver situations rather than trusting God with them.  Word of advice, stay out of His way. It's possible the situation is close to being resolved and then you step in trying to fix, only to set it back again.

Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

It's comforting to remind myself, God has only good things in store for my life.  The bad is from the enemy, or of my own free will I've made bad choices. We live in a fallen world, our heavenly Father does not do things to harm us.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
 Deuteronomy 30:19

I know that God has a perfect plan for all of us, however He doesn't force any to walk the path He has chosen. His Word tells us what are the best choices, but He will not make the choices for us.
He has left the choices to each one of us, it's called free will.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

God has a reason for allowing things to happen. We may not understand His wisdom.
We simply have to trust His Will for each of us. 

Regardless of all I don't understand right now; regardless of how hard or uncomfortable it may seem, God is with me. The God who spoke life into each of us, I have to ask myself, what can stand against me If God is for me? 

Trusting God in all things, it is possible for those who believe He is a Sovereign God.
He's got "this"!

Its what echos from my heart today...

No matter how much you don’t understand life as it is right now; no matter how uncomfortable it may seem or how hard it gets, don’t give up.  If God is with you -  the same God who spoke life into you, the same God who IS and knows the beginning and the end, the same God who knew you before the foundation of this world -is with you, then ask yourself who or WHAT can stand against you. - See more at:
No matter how much you don’t understand life as it is right now; no matter how uncomfortable it may seem or how hard it gets, don’t give up.  If God is with you -  the same God who spoke life into you, the same God who IS and knows the beginning and the end, the same God who knew you before the foundation of this world -is with you, then ask yourself who or WHAT can stand against you. - See more at:

No matter how much you don’t understand life as it is right now; no matter how uncomfortable it may seem or how hard it gets, don’t give up.  If God is with you -  the same God who spoke life into you, the same God who IS and knows the beginning and the end, the same God who knew you before the foundation of this world -is with you, then ask yourself who or WHAT can stand against you. - See more at:
No matter how much you don’t understand life as it is right now; no matter how uncomfortable it may seem or how hard it gets, don’t give up.  If God is with you -  the same God who spoke life into you, the same God who IS and knows the beginning and the end, the same God who knew you before the foundation of this world -is with you, then ask yourself who or WHAT can stand against you. - See more at:
No matter how much you don’t understand life as it is right now; no matter how uncomfortable it may seem or how hard it gets, don’t give up.  If God is with you -  the same God who spoke life into you, the same God who IS and knows the beginning and the end, the same God who knew you before the foundation of this world -is with you, then ask yourself who or WHAT can stand against you. - See more at:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thankful Thursday!

I linked up with Rebecca at Knit by God's Hand, love her blog!
Thursdays are now Thankful Thursdays, love the idea.
Some days I may just post one thing I'm truly thankful for, today the most important!

Family ~ so thankful for my family, as we get older we become friends with the same bloodline.

Grandkids~ They fit in as family only way better, nuff said.

Faith ~ I'm forever thankful for my faith, I often wonder how others manage without it.

Friends ~ I think as I've grown older I've realized I have a lot of acquaintances whom I truly care about and in fact love, and not as many true, trust you with my story, count on you no matter what, friends. I treasure my friendships, still have a couple from kindergarten ( love you Maria, Vickie and Gail Suzane). I'm not low on friendships, I've just learned not all acquaintances fit the bill of true through and through friendships. Hope this is coming across as I intend it? Bottom line I am thankful for all!!

I think it's going to be healthy reminding myself more regularly of that which I'm thankful for.

It's what echos from my heart today......

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Time 2015 ~ Seriously!

I have known for a long time that I need to better manage my time.
I often ask God to show me the areas I need to work on. Warning, if you ask, He'll tell you!
For me it was how I spend my time and how it was prioritized.
The topic of time and how we spend it goes hand in hand with our spouses, family and friends.

Knowing my first priority is to know God and to serve God, it's my starting point.
To know Him well is important and like any strong relationship we need to put in the time.
Time in His Word, time in fellowship with other believers. Then,time in our marriage and family, time with non-believers is also important..

If I want more quality time with my spouse, I need to show him he matters. When our needs are unmet it's possible one or the other is not willing to put in the time to show the other that they matter? Or, you maybe you've quit trying?  Another reminder once again it's not about me, it's about us, or it should be. Spending time with our spouse/family shows them that they matter, it keeps the relationships fresh, it allows us to know each other and what is going on with each other, in thoughts and individual lives. What are we telling them about their worth, when we're squeezing them in our over committed schedules...? Hmmm. How many over commit at the expense of a spouse or children, friendships?.

Spending time with a spouse's is an expression of love. Be it sitting in the same room without words, it still speaks to them, "this is where I want to be, alongside you!" Ideally, time without distraction of the electronic world, i pads, phones etc.... They kinda speak your not worthy of my full attention, ouch!  We don't want to miss the moments....Imagine if you put the time into your relationship you do outside the home. I believe it could be very powerful to be the recipient at  the other end of that investment.

I hope  in 2015 to share more meals with friends, more moments to cherish with my husband and our family.
At the risk of sounding cliche, on my death bed I don't think I'll be wishing I had more commitments that took me away from my family and friends. I don't want to squeeze either into my schedule. I hope to be what I need to be to them.  If I am doing that in an unhurried manner, and they know I'm making them a priority, then I can consider saying yes to more commitments.

I've been  reading  "the Best yes" by Lysa Terkeurst, I highly recommend it to those that have a hard time with saying no, and are over committing. She puts commitment and saying yes or no into perspective based on Biblical verses.

If I focus solely on myself and doing just what makes me happy, rarely considering those closest to me day in and day out, how are they to know they matter? Even with the flaws and things that may drive us crazy about them, we need to show them our love. Show them in ways other than, placing a meal before them and doing their laundry. Really, one could go to a restaurant if it were only about the meal, right? It's about doing more than the minimum for our spouses, and in our friendships. If it's solely about self, how are we to ever empathize and connect with them? Both  important factors in a marriage,and other relationships, go figure.

1 Corinthians 13:4 New International Version

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

If we could just focus on the loving part it would make the being kind, being patient part much easier. (however, no one said it would be easy) Take our focus off past hurts, what they don't do, what they do wrong and just love them today. God never said quit trying, quit loving when it gets hard. He said to LOVE!
Love today because there is no promise of tomorrow.
Proverbs 27:1 New International Version
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

Psalm 90:12 
Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom.

As a believer, it behooves us ask, Is God pleased with how I spend my time? Have I prioritized my life and those in it correctly? When we use our gifts and abilities to help others it's called our ministry or service.
Ministry or service both inside our homes and out! If it's about love, God's greatest commandment, shouldn't our spouse/families be just under God on that list? Before we volunteer for yet another thing that takes us away from our families/spouses I believe we need to first make sure we taking the needed time with them, loving them as God does? That requires changing the I to Us.

I read these recently and they really grabbed my attention.

I prefer to think of 'time management' as 'Personal Leadership' because when a leader 'leads' themselves then the events (time) in his / her life works out properly and she/he impacts his target zone properly. When a wannabe leader squanders time or uses it frivolously she may also fritter away the chance to have the impact that God has in mind.

Being busy does not wear us out – in fact if we’re doing what we’re ‘wired to do’ it charges us up.  

 (Jeff Fuson)
I'm wired to study God's Word and live it out in action and deed. I'm wired to be a wife to my husband, mother to my children and Namaw to my 7 little gifts. Time is my word for this year, and managing it better is my goal. Time is mentioned more times than I knew in the Bible, that makes it  important to Him. My life needs a better balance of how I spend my time and my first ministry will start at home. After all, it was very much apart of our wedding vows...... I promise to_______!
Taking the time to remember them all. 

Time, and tomorrows not promised are what echo from my heart today..... 


Monday, January 5, 2015

One Long Christmas Holiday!

Happy New Year to all of you!

Goodness, that was a very long December. So long...I've posted photos to prove it :-)
Thankful for a new month in a new year.
Christmas Eve was quiet. Bob, Khloe and I attended a beautiful Christmas Eve service at Church, followed by an early dinner of lasagna and warm bread...with two of the kids and two of the Grands. Khloe and Ellery got to check out their stocking stuffers...Namaw felt they should open something!

 Sweet Bean's posing with her Beep known as birds :-)

Pa and Bean's heading to church.

Namaw and the Sweet Beans

Happy to be in the big Church!

Christmas Day at my eldest son Mike and wife Katie's home.  We had a wonderful time with Mike, Katie and kids, Katie's family, my son Brian and girlfriend Brittany, and Mike and Brian's Dad and his wife.  Enjoyed a lovely dinner, lots of conversation and lots of gifts....for the kiddos!  Always a day we look forward to.

Ellery Grace...she was happy sitting in her new chair....

Love this of Khloe and her Auntie

Son Brian, Brittany and Ellery with her new hat :-)

DIL Katie....she and Mike make it such a great day!

The morning after Christmas we drove north about an hour an 15 minutes to pick up our oldest grand daughters Julia and Aubrie. We traditionally head to Coronado Island, tour the Hotel Del to see the Christmas decorations, dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, a short walk to our favorite spot for hot chocolate on a very cold winters eve, wrapping our evening up with The Festival of Christmas for a fabulous play. Our seats were second row center stage and the play was awesome.  We enjoy every second with these beautiful girls.  They truly are so well behaved, and well mannered young ladies.  We just beam with pride when it comes to how they have grown...kudos to daughter Jackie and hubby Ev on a job well done!

Pa, Aubrie, Julia and myself....happy old people......

Traditional photo on the bench while we await our table....

Hotel Del

Aubrie and Julia

Tradition that they pick out a new glass turtle every year.  Aubrie named this one Coronado :-)

The twenty seventh, Jackie, Ev and Grandson Gavin caravan-ed down with our son Joseph and his wife Angel and our two grandson's Dominic and Calib. We celebrated Christmas again with them. Mike and Katie joined us with Khloe and Ellery. First time in four years we had all seven grands in one spot...Can you believe I didn't get a photo of all 7 together??  Uggh! the most in a photo is five ;-(

Dominic and Ellery

Oldest Julia with youngest Ellery

Aunt Jackie and Ellery

Son Mike (posing) DIL Katie

Son, Uncle Joseph meets Ellery for the first time. Juila in background Calib on right.

Calib and Khloe bonded as cousins :-)

Ellery and Julia

She's a cute little gift!

Grandson Gavin with Daddy Ev.

Katie and Calib

Aubrie, Khloe and Calib

Gavin, Ellery and Dominic

Joseph, Angel and the boys stayed with us for five nights....lots of time to get reunited with those young boys! We are thankful we had that opportunity to do so, thankful for the miracle of Joseph  and for his wife Angel.  All have had a very long past eleven months to say the least.  Hats off to Angel who has just totally amazed me at all she does in a 24 hour period!! She is amazing and I can tell you I will pray for her to have energy to carry on each and every day. Joseph has a long road ahead and prayers are always appreciated!!
Son Joseph, DIL Angel, Dominic and Calib :-)

 I still thank God and all who prayed every time I see a photo of Joseph, thankful for his life is and understatement. He looks great!

January 2nd we were once again two under one roof.  We managed to deconstruct the Christmas decor and pack it away for another year. I found myself thinking I need to thin out the decor, it's just become an exhausting thing....I want it to return to simple ......and focus on family more.

Looking forward to a new year of blessings, we are indeed so blessed by our friends and family...that includes each of my blog readers. Striving to be a blessing to others this year!
It's what echos from my heart in the new year.....