Monday, July 16, 2018

Thoughts on Life and Living

Today is Monday and I am recovering from a girls weekend out of town. We gathered to help prepare for our dear friends wedding in two months. It’s possible there was dancing, laughter, late nights and a bit of liquid courage shared by all. It was a great time!!

As you can imagine, we stayed up late talking about a variety of topics including life and children, religion, marriage, death and even money.

I’m thinking today how easy it is to forget that life goes on for some more easily than for others. Our small town suffered a pretty big loss almost two weeks ago as a young boy’s life suddenly ended while hiking with his family. I did not know this boy or his parents, but I did grow up with one of his great uncles and I know his grandparents. Everyone knows everyone in small towns at least in some way.

While I cannot even begin to imagine how his parents are dealing with this tragedy, I do remember the shock I felt when Alan passed. And it lasted for weeks. Multiple weeks. And then weeks turned into months, and my shock slowly faded as the minute by minute events of life brought me back to reality. Children still needed to eat and be bathed … I did in fact have a job where I was needed by clients … bills needed to be paid … garbage taken out … snow needed shoveling … and then spring and summer came with grass growing and flowers blooming.

I still have moments even today when I look around at people living and feel a sense of being on the outside of reality looking in at all the activities of other peoples lives. Do we all do this? Or is this only felt by people who have encountered loss? I’m not sure.

What I do know is this: I am still alive and I have choices to make each and every day. I hope I choose love and kindness most often. And I also hope that people who struggle with pain find a way through it and to become better for having experienced it.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Rain Rain Go Away

Yes it's raining again today in Valdez.
Yes rain showers bring flowers.
Blah-dy Blah-dy Blah-dy Blahhhhh .....

It's possible I could be done with this weather.
And yet I must remember that it's only weather.

Here’s the view from my deck.
This is the only color I have seen in the sky for days.
And days.
And days.

All of this rain will make for a very green summer here.
I can live with that.

Here’s to welcoming a new month starting tomorrow!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Living in Valdez

This post draft was created in August 2017 … I just noticed that I never posted it. I can’t delete it … this is a wonderful memory, so I’ll share it.

We are now living in Valdez.
My hometown.
This is where I was born and raised.
Mom still lives in the house my dad built for us.

And my children get to grow up in this place!

I am thrilled!!!!!!!

The week our belongings were delivered, Payton told me that when he looks outside, he sees what before he would only find in a National Geographic magazine. He even said it’s more green than he had ever seen before!

Yes it is son. This is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth.


photo taken 08/15/2017 from my deck – baby eagle

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Another year has gone by

Today marks the 8th anniversary of the avalanche that took Alan's life and that of Jim Bowles. It doesn't seem possible that 8 full years have gone by, but there have definitely been moments that have felt like a lifetime in a few short seconds.

The weather in Anchorage that morning started out sunny and clear. After enjoying a Saturday morning of "jammie time" with the boys, breakfast and play (I even did some scrapbooking), we ventured out for a few errands.

Accomplishment - documented memories:

This photo was taken about noon near Potter's Marsh on Saturday, February 13, 2010:

This was the view Alan captured on his cell phone that day:


It was simply beautiful. Much like the weather I'm experiencing today in Valdez:

Alan left early that Saturday morning headed to Moose Pass to enjoy a ride in the back country with friends. No one suspected how this day would change all of our lives.

As I sit at my desk and type (when I should be working instead), I think of all of the many friends Alan had - the people he loved and cherished - and I am sad for them. I hurt knowing that they miss him too. Their lives are changed just as ours did.

Alan was one to pick up the phone at odd times to follow through on a thought of a friend. He would call and just check in to say "What's going on?" and hear their voice. He always wanted people to know that he cared. His friends aren't getting those calls any more. Their lives are very different because of his passing.

The boys are learning and growing and living every day just as he would want I believe. They look like him and often remind me of him in the way they walk and talk. For many years the boys and I would laugh about something funny and imagine what Alan would have said about it. We would enjoy looking at photos and sharing our memories of him in our lives.

Recently Payton made a comment that he really didn't know his dad because he was so young when Alan passed. Jarrett has said many times that he doesn't remember things like Payton does. This is all understandable.

What's most difficult for me is that I can't do much about it.

Today is just another day. And life goes on. It really does. Even when grief slams us to a screeching halt, life goes on. We often feel that life goes on for everyone else and it seems it has stopped for us. But life goes on for us too.

And for this I am grateful.

Because life goes on, I have met someone to share my life with. I have met someone worth going through the ups and downs of emotions - the challenges of living with another person when you don't always agree - and the opportunity to share the good and the not so good. All of this because life really does go on.

I try smile and greet every new day with a positive outlook because I am truly grateful for the life I am living ... but today I'm sad.

It is my wish that those who miss Alan will think of him and remember something funny he did or said and enjoy that memory.

It is my wish that you remember the legacy Alan left behind and live life to the fullest.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

So much in such a short time

I imagine that for many people the days go by, one after the other, and we stop every now and then to catch our breath. To examine where we are. To try and smell some roses. Hopefully, we notice and enjoy the special small moments that really do make up this big amazing life. It can be easy to let these slip by unnoticed.

In a Huffington Post article dated November 4, 2010, Wendy Strgar wrote:

"We reveal ourselves most honestly and intimately in the smallest of interactions and the tiny incidents of daily routines."

I agree with her statement. These small moments are the stuff life is made of ... the bits and pieces that are the big picture. If we don't pay attention to them, we miss out on the incredible journey. And isn't the journey more important than the destination???

I am paying more attention to the details lately. I am using my big camera more to take photos with instead of just my phone. I am driving in the car without the radio turned on. And we are trying to get more "wind down" time in the evenings in our house.

Because these details are our lives.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Missing my Blog

Time is flying by!
I know ... many people say that.
But really ...

"The days are long, but the years are short."
(quote courtesy Gretchen Rubin - spot on!!)

Each day we go to school, go to work, do homework, pay bills, eat, clean up, do laundry, play basketball, write notes to friends, shop for groceries, and somewhere in there try to rest and sleep and daydream.  Then the next day we wake and do it all again.  And while I understand this is how most people's lives roll with children similar in age to mine ...

... this is not enough for me ...

I am not documenting the daily moments that make up the big picture.
And I miss it.

So where to go from here???

Today is a brand new day.  There may be clouds.  It may look dark when you walk outside.  But look up! The sky really is the limit!!!! You've never seen this day before so go out and get in it!!!!!!!!!!!!

And decide that you ARE MORE THAN worth it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Alaska Observations

We arrived in Anchorage very early on Saturday morning, July 16th.  Since then we have seen a bunch of friends, started getting settled in our new home, had friends visit even, traveled to a few places, and attended the wedding of the year.

We have much to be thankful for …



We have done a fair amount of driving over the past few weeks.  During this time I’ve noticed some things that I may have (slightly) forgotten while living out of state for the past three years …

First, even though it’s pouring down rain outside and you can barely see neighbors across the street because it’s so socked in, the water hitting the roof is a beautiful sound.

Also, people often drive slower than the speed limit up here in the summer because of the beauty that is Alaska. While I totally understand that, I still curse the rubber-neckers.

The mosquitos did not relocate despite my wishing this with all of my might. And apparently the yellow jackets have over-produced.  (major understatement)

Being on the water (the ocean, the harbor, the river) is just as wonderful as I remember.  Even better now.

Summer in Alaska is warm.  Comfortable. Even hot some days.  And the air is fresh.  And the rain is beautiful!

The love that is family – and friends that are family – lives on despite years or miles or even experiences. My ties in Alaska run deep. Even though not all ties have been cultivated, they still exist.


Before I forget, here are some photos showing where our travels have taken us:

Uncle Brian’s on Horseshoe Lake


DSC_0874 (2)
Moose Pass / Tern Lake – Hall Wedding


Portage side of Whittier Tunnel

IMG_2273 (2)
My home – Valdez! And Grandma Rhoden!!!


It’s interesting to be able to say this even though we don’t yet have furniture in our new home … and we’re floating along the water in Prince William Sound …
but I feel grounded.

And it feels fantastic!