Thursday, September 25, 2014

Broken Down

So all within two weeks, my washing machine broke and my vacuum broke. Luckily, I have a spare washing machine in our shop, which I'm trying to be grateful for in the midst of carrying my laundry back and forth from the house. I am pretty sure it can be repaired, but I can't lift the dang thing to get it out in order to be repaired, and neither can my husband with the fragile leg. And although our repairman is affordable and excellent, he is not superman and does require some assistance. So it may be a bit longer before I get my washer fixed. The vacuum I have had for nearly two decades, and I was thinking I might need to upgrade someday, anyway.

I had thought to myself, "Okay then! There are our "three" broken things!" The three being Brady's broken leg, the washer and the vacuum. I mean, one would think, right? Wouldn't YOU if you were in my shoes? That is, if you were in my shoes and you subscribe to the notion that "bad" things come in threes.

Nope! No such luck for us! Within the last week, my front door lock broke, which thankfully was broken so badly I couldn't even open it - better than not being able to lock it, right? Next on the list? My kitchen faucet. But the broken spell didn't stop there. The end of my favorite lawn hose broke right off the faucet! No big deal, I suppose, for most folks. For me, though? I loved that hose! It has been the best one we've ever had, and I used it for nine years! Dang. Yes, I was attached to a hose.

So three more broken things, which brings our total to an even six. I am hoping this will be "it" for a while. Brady was able to fix the lock on the door, and now it works better than ever, because it turns out the idiots who installed it put it in wrong to begin with, which is why it broke in the first place. It has been nice to be able to lock and open the door so easily, I must say! Brady thinks he can fix our faucet, as well - I am really, really hoping so. He said he can fix my favorite hose, too, by putting a new end on it. I've seen this done before, and it didn't go so well, so I will have to wait and see on that one.

What can we say? It seems like everything always happens at once! That's life, isn't it? Like my favorite band Train says on their new album, "Just like the bad times, good times, too, shall pass." True, that. And a sobering thought. Life - there's just nothing like it to keep us humble, is there?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fear Creates Walls

Fear creates walls. Oh yes it does. This is my mantra, lately. I remind myself of it over and over again - fear creates walls, be brave! Have you ever thought about that, before? I would bet you a dollar fear has created walls in your life.

My mom ran across a daily devotional about fear creating walls, which she shared with me, and I'm so glad she did! I see it every day in so many things, I am astounded.

Fear creeps in. It creeps into my life all the time, and many times I don't even realize it. Every time I feel fearful of something, I try to ignore it and push it out of my mind. I am talking about the simplest things - the fear of doing the dishes, because I don't want to do them. This then creates an even bigger feeling inside me that I don't want to do the dishes, and then it becomes a nearly overwhelming task (a wall in my mind), on my To Do List. I am fearful it will be a pain, and then it is. So I create a wall within myself by not wanting to do them. This is just a tiny example... But fear creeps into my life in much bigger ways, too.

This summer, Brady and I were talking about how easy it is to talk ourselves out of being successful. He had a buyer he wanted me to call, but I was afraid to call her, because what if she said no?! So my fear was creating a wall to my future success. I kept telling myself I would call her the next day, but somehow it never got done. Finally, Brady forced me to call her. I was almost angry with him for making me do it. But I did, and guess what? That phone call led to the biggest sale I have had so far. Why did I let my fear keep my from being successful in the first place? I don't know.

But I do know I am more aware of fear and the role it plays in my life. And since this awareness has come into my life, it seems to be a theme. I recently listened to Jim Carrey's commencement address, and guess what one of the things he talked about was? Fear! He said there are two choices in this world - fear or love, and to always choose love. He is so right. It may sound simple, but it is much harder to put into practice and do, isn't it?

I am feeling fear in the biggest possible way in my life, right now. I am fearful of my precious daughter becoming a teenager and not loving me. I am fearful she is going to move away the second she turns 18. I am fearful for both of my children, that they won't be "perfect" or make the "right" decisions, which leads me to be too harsh on them, at times, thus creating a wall between myself and them when in fact, the truth of the matter is that I am trying to guide them and help them and become closer to them. In other words, I am terrified of my babies growing up and scared to death of what their lives will throw at them and will they be prepared? I have so many issues, just like every single person I know, in my extended family that I have found myself casting those fears into my immediate family. My kiddos, who have never, ever fought, have started having minor arguments. They seem to be growing a bit apart, and I am so worried they will end up like my brother and I, who sadly don't have a relationship to speak of (even though I love him very much). I am so fearful of this happening, I sometimes create walls between my little B's while trying to help. When I am not fearful, it is easy to look at them and see that they will never be what my brother and I are to each other - they have a deep and abiding love for one another, a protective armor of respect. Nonetheless, I find myself panicking at moments when I shouldn't. And the biggest fear comes from issues surrounding the people I love the most. Interesting, that. But it is always the ones who mean the most to us that we hurt the most.

Fear, I think, is the Devil himself. How else could something so evil be so powerful? And so I am grateful to at least be aware and I am finding more refuge in my prayers and I am doing my best to be brave. And to believe. I am trying to believe in myself, in my love, in the people who mean the most to me. I don't want to create walls, I want to tear them down. I could name a million ways fear tries to work in my life, but I am working hard to give it the boot. I aim to choose love over fear. And I hope, after reading this, you will, too.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dear Old Dad Turns Seventy Years Young

I can't believe my Dad is seventy! He is in amazing shape and still as ornery and opinionated and funny as ever. We love him so! He wouldn't let us throw him a party, although in retrospect, I wish we would have just done it anyway, because he would have enjoyed it. But he's nothing if not hard-headed, and with weddings and broken legs and high blood pressure (not mine!) in the mix, we let him have his way... Dang it! But! When The 4 B's headed over a few weekends ago, we had an impromptu surprise mini celebration, decorated Veteran style. And it was fun! And he enjoyed it, just like we knew he would. I don't care who you are - everyone needs to feel special on their birthday! I couldn't think of anything to get him for his birthday, though, so I did some research and came up with a different kind of present. With the help of my mother, I sent out seventy letters with seventy pre-stamped postcards I special ordered, and asked people to write their favorite memory him on there and to pop it in the mail to him. So far, he has really loved getting the postcards! Some people have still not sent theirs, yet, but I am hoping they will pull through. If they do, he will have 70 memories to commemorate his 70 years!
While we were there, he brought out some old walkie talkies he had, with super long antennas, and the little B's tested them out. They work GREAT! They took them camping that week, and they worked great up in the forest, too. Super clear! We had some great laughs watching them try them out.
Dad's elk was finally brought to Harney County, and then displayed for a couple of days on the highway at the Taxidermist's station. It looked magnificent! I talked Dad into going down and posing by it. The next morning, we brought it back to his house, which was quite the ordeal, because it is so HUGE! And with Brady's leg being out of commission, I helped Dad carry it in, and holy smokes! Let's just say it is not light, and on top of that, it is an awkward shape and did I mention it is quite large? Anyway, we got it in, and he and Mom just finished making a beautiful custom stand for it to be displayed on, and although I don't have a picture of it to put on the blog, trust me - it looks amazing! I'm so happy for my parents to have this to enjoy. They deserve it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First Day of Fifth and Seventh Grades

First Britt, last Wednesday, then Brailey on Thursday. Next year, they will both be in the same school - what a luxury that will be! But until then, we are still in fifth grade and seventh grade, and I just can't believe it! Summer flew by, literally, in the blink of an eye. I was able to get lots of pictures of Britt, because I'm still "allowed" in his school. But I had to drop Brailey off, of course, and I was lucky to get the pictures I did of her by the school sign.
Britt and his dear best friend, Daniel. Sadly, they are not in the same classroom, but their friendship prevails!
His last first day of school picture by this sign...
Britt and his other best friend, who thankfully IS in his classroom, Nicholas. These two were inseperable last year.
Britt and Ian, another one of his good buddies. Britt has always wanted to be in a classroom with Ian, but so far it hasn't happened. They still manage to be great friends.
Brailey had the same teacher for fifth grade, Sra. Bradley, and she loved her! Now Britt is in her "old" classroom.
And he got his mama's lucky number 13! I was so tickled to see that!
Well you CAN, but then again, you can't... Love that John Cena character... You'll be seeing him again in the future. Can you guess what for?
The big seventh grader... I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW FAST SHE IS GROWING UP! Lord have mercy...!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Making Time for Memories - Let 'Er Buck! Wedding and Hall of Fame Weekend

As Brady and I reflected on our weekend in Pendleton, we had a hallmark moment and realized something big - it is important to make time for memories. And this means making time for friends. We are so glad we made the trip to Pendleton for an incredible weekend with wonderful people and special occasions! It wasn't easy - Brady had an unexpected trip to Pendleton the very week of the wedding - he literally drove home from Pendleton on Friday, all to get me for a return trip on Saturday. For my part, I made arrangements with a babysitter, who is amazing in every way (thank you Terra!), so I could go with Brady for Clint and Beverly Corey's wedding and then Clint's induction into the Pendleton Hall of Fame. If you know me at all, then you know I live for my children and Brady, and it wasn't easy to leave them, even though I knew they were in good hands. Add to the mix the beginning of the school year, and I will admit I was doubting my decision to go with Brady. But I'm so glad I did! We had a wonderful time, which I will give you the highlights of below...
Right when we got to the motel, the owners of the establishment were taking Clint's picture. Brady offered to take a picture of all of them together. Clint said, "Thanks, Brady! Brady's an old picture taker from way back!" It was a fun moment and a perfect start to the weekend!
The next exciting thing for Brady and I was that I got to meet his buddy and co-worker, Brad Tucker! Brad is a fellow Montana Silversmiths Rep - he trained Brady and they became fast friends. The two of them have a blast together and talk on the phone nearly every single day. It was fun for me to experience him in real life, even though I felt like I already knew him. They are both super salesmen and kindred spirits!
Some of the male guests were asked to wear white shirts and black vests to the wedding. We picked Brad's vest up for him, and he and Brady looked dapper in their matching wedding finery. But first, Brad hammed it up for his wife, who also came on the trip and it was super fun to meet her, as well. He donned his vest without the shirt, all for her benefit.
Just as we were leaving the motel for the wedding, we ran into Joe and Bailey, Clint's daughter, and newlyweds themselves. You may remember their ceremony from earlier in the summer - I am still talking about their wedding! It was wonderful to see them and to hang out with them at her dad's wedding. They are so cute!
Have you noticed anything special about Brady? NO CRUTCHES! He has been hobbling around crutch-free for just over a week, now! He has quite a limp, and he doesn't move very fast, but it is so nice for him to be able to walk around a bit. Walking is a blessing!
Brady and Mark Garrett, another PRCA World Champion! These two became fast friends last spring when they helped Clint move to Colorado. They were so happy to see each other again!

Mr. Montana and Mr. Silversmiths. Brad forgot about Brady's leg and nearly took him down a mere second after the moment captured above. He's a rowdy one, that Brad Tucker! And we love him - he fits right in with our style.
Brady and Zane, Clint's youngest son. He was such a star at this wedding! He took care of all the music, and did it well.
Brady and Clint's oldest son, Blaine. He was recently married, as well! Newlyweds everywhere! We love Blaine and are so glad we got to see him. 
Yes, he arrived at the wedding horseback! And Beverly arrived in a fancy old car - 1920's meets Tombstone. It was darling! Hence, all the fine fellows in their white shirts and black vests. Beverly was a stunning bride!
Bailey and Joe with the Talburts, Jack and Kerri Jo! We had so much fun with them at the reception - we all got to sit together. It was a darn good time - lots of laughter! I think we had the happiest and rowdiest table there...!
You can see the car Beverly arrived in behind us... So much fun!
Everyone followed the bride and groom down the street with a live marching band, playing "When the Saints Go Marching In." Brady and his wife, Meredith, were a bit behind, but I got this super cool shot of them. Brady and I drove to the reception, since he isn't fully recovered from his broken leg, yet.
We ran into these two fine fellows on our way to the reception - their boot shop is directly across the street from Hamleys! Joe Meling and ? They have a wonderful new shop!
And here we are, with the newlyweds! So much fun!
The three amigos - Clint and Brad met when he worked for Montana Silversmiths. They are a dapper looking trio, aren't they? Montana Silversmiths knows how to pick their reps! Love them all!
The newlyweds with the newlywed!
Here is a great picture of all the guys in their Tombstone attire. So cool!
 And a fun candid of them with their wives (thank you Kerri Jo for taking this picture for us!).
Clint and his family...Theada, Blaine, Joe, Bailey, Clint, Beverly and Zane. 
And then it was the next day! Clint was inducted into the Pendleton Hall of Fame, and we were so honored to attend his induction ceremony. It was wonderful! Above, Brady, Brad and his wife, Meredith. They were just married last October, so they are newlyweds, also! It was so fun to spend some time with them.
Look who I got to meet! This is Kimberly Maus, and she is an anchor for Good Morning Oregon! She is married to one of Clint's best friends, and after I found out she was a news lady, I approached her to see if she new one of my dear friends who is on the news in Eugene. Then we started talking, and I fell right in love with her! She is my kind of gal. And she's super pretty, too!
Clint and Beverly at their table (see above for a brighter picture of the stage). It was such an honor to see him inducted. Flint Rasmussen was the emcee, and he did an amazing job. The food was delicious! Another fun memory for the books - we are so grateful we were able to attend this special weekend of celebrations. Clint is one of Brady's dearest friends, and we were thrilled to be able to experience the weekend with everyone. And the moral of the story? Don't let everyday life get in the way of the special occasions - make time for making memories.

April - Here and Gone in the Blink of an Eye

It seems crazy to think Easter Sunday was on April Fool's Day this year, but it totally was. We started our Easter at mass with our fa...