Monday, June 30, 2014

She Certainly Caught A Whopper!

This old car stopped at our breakfast stop.
Yes, grandtwin Brianna caught a whopper Saturday evening, right from her family's riverside campsite, but we didn't get word of this mighty catch until we returned home from our pleasant one day road trip on some of the backroads of central Pennsylvania.

The husband/lover/driver and I set out Saturday morning to just simply spend the day together, enjoy each other, and head in the direction of a local fruit and vegetable farm and cafe we had read about somewhere.  Mapquest was telling us it was about an hour's drive, so we first stopped to try breakfast at Panera Bread (because I only recently realized they even served breakfast.)

Apparently every time I entered Panera Bread in the past, I was so enthralled by the luscious looking baked goods they display right there in the foyer, that I never even noticed the sign boards indicating breakfast is available.  Eh, it was nothing to write home about, and in no time, we buckled up and headed out to find the farm market.

Apple display at the market
The Way Cafe and Fruit Farm is located in the boonies but somewhere sorta on the outskirts of Port Matilda, Pennsylvania.  The market area had a very nice display of locally grown fruits and vegetables and we stocked up a bit.  Numerous varieties of apples were in abundance, and lots of folks were showing up to pick their own strawberries in the adjacent fields.  A special kids area was available in the market where kids could use small farm vehicles and dig and play in a large vat of corn kernels.

Twins Tori and Brianna recently did some of their own strawberry picking at a local farm, and we heard that strawberry shortcake was their dinner that evening.  Doesn't get any better than that.

After leaving the farm market, we realized we were not all that far from a Corps of Engineers campground at Raystown Lake that we had camped at several years ago.  We decided to drive there and take a look again at the camping options now that we have a larger camper.

Raystown Lake
Although the views of the lake are beautiful and lots of campers and boaters are enjoying the campground and lake, we were disappointed to find that none of the campsites have full hook-ups yet.  Electric is available at each site, but that is all.  I'm more luxury minded than that, I guess.

So, we kept driving.  And, my driver missed a key turn that would get us home in a timely manner.  Sometimes he overestimates my ability to stay happy and content in a car.

Anyway, we saw these interesting patterns and colors in a rock cutout along the way,

and this very cute tiny house.  I've always been fascinated with the growing tiny house movement.

And now for the whopper.  It wasn't long after we arrived home that this photo came in of Brianna's humongous catch.  Apparently it nearly bent her kiddie fishing rod in half.  I think the smile on her face tells the tale best of all.

Meanwhile, down the bank a ways, apparently her sister Tori was fishing like a madwoman, not to be outdone by Brianna.  Tori had success and another whopper was caught - a very large snapping turtle - but before a picture could be taken it broke the line and was gone.

Or, such is the story we were told.

But we all know how those fishing tales go.......

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Beautiful Beautician

Lindsay (center back, with Ellie)
Oops, I missed it.  I only learned late last evening that yesterday was National Beautician's Day.  As my Lindsay, daughter #2, is a beautician, I quickly shot off a message to her before bedtime.

So, today I want to honor her with this blog post, and highlight just a few of her many beautiful facets.

We are so blessed Lindsay is our daughter.  She is the daughter any parents would yearn to have - a true dream come true.  So loving and generous, kind and pleasant.

Her siblings can verify that she is a great sister.  For her, life is all about the family.  Even as a little girl, she was a tiny mother to her siblings.  For Lindsay, it is not uncommon to put the needs of her siblings before her own, and she is generous almost to a fault with her nieces and nephew.

Lindsay with sister Sarah and grandfather "Happy"
Lindsay married young, at 19, and may I just say for the record that her husband Todd is one lucky guy.  She grew up always wanting some day a husband who would love her and a happy home with children.  God has answered her prayers and she has both a man who is crazy about her and two wonderful children, Jarrod and Ellie, that are the joys of her life.

Husband Todd with Ellie
There is nothing Lindsay loves more than spending time in the evenings and weekends with her family, whether it be a short walk to the park to feed the ducks, or a trip to a distant amusement park.  Every birthday and holiday is another occasion for her to make somebody's day special.

Jarrod and Ellie

Lindsay and Ellie, at Ellie's first birthday shindig

And finally, although there's so much more I could say about our beloved Lindsay, I'll close by saying she's a superb employee in the retail store of our family's business and at the hair salon where she works part time.  Her creative capabilities always keep the seasonal displays in the retail store looking fantastic, and anyone looking at Ellie's little hairstyles can see that there has been a very capable beautician at work.

Lindsay, we love you!  Happy National Beautician's Day!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Eating My Vegetables

I am not the best person to be talking about eating vegetables.  I was never fond of them, with several exceptions, and I probably never will be, either.

Oh, I have my favorites.  Corn, broccoli, corn, red beets, and corn.

Just don't even come near me with lima beans.  Putting one of those monsters into my mouth sets off a gagging event that is just nasty at the dinner table.  As a child, I'd pass my limas one by one from my plate under the table to my brother Bruce.  He seemed to like them and I thought I was getting away with something.

So when I think about those nutritionists and their recommendations as to how many servings of vegetables I should be eating each day, I end up with the conclusion that they must simply be mad.  Crazy.  Loonies.

If I ate all the vegetables in one day that they say I should eat in one day, why that'd be about the size of the pile up there in the header picture.  That's definitely not gonna happen for this gal.

However, I do try.

For example, I know I'm never gonna just gulp down zucchini.  Maaaaaaaybe I could eat some plain zucchini pieces if I had a good dip to slather them in.  But that tastes good and then it's not healthy.

So, I'm on a constant hunt for recipes that help me to eat more vegetables; recipes that are mostly healthy.

Last night I tried a recipe I had found for oven baked zucchini.  I modified it a bit and came up with a tasty way to eat green and yellow zucchini.  This recipe takes a little bit of work, but I knew it was a keeper when I found myself telling myself NOT to keep eating any more.

Baked Zucchini Medallions

In a small bowl, combine the following:

1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
bit of freshly ground black pepper

In another small bowl, put 1/2 cup milk.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and cover a baking sheet with foil.  Spray it with Pam.

Slice up one or two zucchinis into 1/4 inch pieces, dip them in milk, then cover them, both sides, in the crumb mix.

Place in single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes until nicely browned and crisp.

I could've eaten the whole plate of these tasty little morsels.  I had used both a green and a yellow zucchini, and both were delicious.  If I ate the whole plateful, would that count as my 27 daily servings?

I can even imagine this recipe extending (with modifications) to the use of those later-in-the-summer-five-inch-in-diameter whopper zucchinis that your gardening neighbors always seem to have in excess. I'd slice them, coat them as above, then top them with some pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.  Zucchini pizzas.  Would we call them Zucc-izzas?  Note to self:  remember this idea.

Oh yeah.  Eatin' my vegetables.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Body Maintenance

I went in to the Body Shop yesterday, for what I thought was going to be just a little bit of routine maintenance.

No, not THAT body shop, the body shop for MY body.  I went to see my family doctor.

I am one of those people that believes in preventative health care.

I go to the eye doctor faithfully once a year.
I go to the dentist regularly twice a year.
I go to the gynecologist routinely once a year.
I have a physical exam with my family doctor every year.
I have all needed vaccinations and follow up appointments as scheduled.
I have a dermatologist check me once each year.
I endure a mammogram every year.
I survive a colonoscopy every five years like a good girl.
I take all prescribed medicines and vitamins on a precise and regular schedule.

You see, I've always felt it's better to be proactive and prevent health catastrophes than to try and clean up the messes and treat them after they have had a chance to happen.

Of course, ultimately some health happenings are simply beyond our control, and that's a given.

So.  Yesterday I went in for my annual physical exam.  I was feeling pretty good about my state of maintenance in general when I went in.

Recently I had seen the eye doctor, had a favorable eye exam, and ordered new glasses.  I was liking the way they looked on my face every time I looked in the mirror.

Recently I had been to the dentist, again receiving a positive report and needing no cavities filled.

Recently I had passed the one year mark following my achilles surgery, and feeling pretty good down there in my heel, I had started a workout program again.  Finally.

But.  After an hour that included peeing in a cup, giving numerous vials of blood, having both my ears experience a tsunami-like flushing, and being poked and prodded in and on every other part of my body, I have come home feeling like one sick puppy.

That one office appointment spawned FIVE other medical appointments, just "to check on things."  These other specialists are now added to the team of my current Body Maintenance crew.


I don't know whether to think I am healthy, or perhaps very sick, indeed.

I suppose I could imagine the whole deal is a money making scam by the health industry, but I have to blame this all on my self.  When the doctor asked if I have "any other concerns," there I went and asked some questions.  And, lo and behold, I'm being sent all over tarnation now.  My fault.  Perhaps I must just learn to ignore those little health issues that niggle at me and make me worry that something could possibly be wrong.

The hubby has quite a whole different perspective on it all.  His comment to me, after my detailed report of my experience:  "Wow, and all that for just $10.  What a deal!"  (We have great medical insurance.)

I wanted to kill him.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Unexpected

The husband/lover/best friend and I expected to have an empty nest for one week.  Son Caleb was out in Las Vegas, Nevada at Coach Summit 2014, the yearly convention for Beachbody, the fitness and nutrition company he works for.

Although we were taking care of his puppy Sheila, we were mostly assuming we'd have an uneventful week with Caleb gone.

All reports coming from Caleb from Vegas early in the week indicated that he was having a ball, meeting a lot of people, and having educational and motivational experiences throughout each minute of the day.

At a program celebrating the top Beachbody coach, Lindsay Matway, a video Caleb created was shown as the program's finale.  The theme of her celebration was "Shine," and so Caleb's video reflects the same message.  It's a short video but well worth watching.  And, of course, I'm just the proud mom here.

The venue for the showing of this little video was the MGM Grand Hotel's Grand Ballroom.  With six large jumbotron movie screens and over 2500 people in attendance,.... well let's just say apparently Caleb got some very good exposure.  It will be interesting to see how his business grows over the next year.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the nest did not stay very empty for long.  I got a call from our local hospital very early Wednesday morning.  It was my emergency room nurse/daughter Rachel telling me that my father had brought himself in during the night with severe pain in his lower back.  Mom and Dad had been vacationing 1 1/2 hours north of us at our family lodge when his pain became unbearable.  Because Mom has never driven Dad's big Ford 350 truck, somehow Dad drove them himself and made it to our hospital.

After a battery of tests, it was found that he had blood clots in both of his lungs and in one of his legs.

I read a number of blogs each day, and if there's one thing I read in them often, it's to expect the unexpected, and to keep your plans as firm as jello.

So, my mother stayed here at our home with us over the next four days while dad was in the hospital.  We visited him twice a day and tried to keep his spirits up.

He was happy to be discharged on Saturday, and we brought him home to our place to rest here for the rest of the day and overnight to Sunday.

He was certainly glad to be out of the hospital, get a decent shave and shower, and relax on our patio to the sounds of our waterfalls and birds.

Happy to be feeling better
Sunday we made the two hour drive to take him home.  Bob drove Dad's truck, and I took Mom and Dad in my car.  After a brief lunch together, we drove ourselves back home.

The phone rang first thing this morning, and again it was news that was unexpected.  Dad had returned to his local emergency room again last night.  The pain from the blood clots had escalated to the point that his medications weren't handling it.

Hopefully the blood thinners and pain relievers will do their work today and over the next several weeks.  In the meantime, I'll be asking the Great Physician for a total healing for my Dad.  

Today Caleb is making his way home from the Baltimore airport.  This little gal is eagerly watching and waiting for his return.

Something tells me Caleb's gonna get some very big, very sloppy kisses.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What Happens In Vegas...

...helps the people of the world get healthier and happier.  At least in the case of this week's Beachbody Summit event in Vegas, it will.

Caleb's first view of Las Vegas after a late Sunday evening arrival
Son Caleb is spending the week in Las Vegas, Nevada with the purpose of attending the 2014 Team Beachbody convention.  At least 8000 of the 180,000 Beachbody fitness and nutrition coaches will be staying at the MGM Grand Hotel and attending the four day long event.

Daytime view of Vegas from his MGM Grand Hotel window
Coaches from all over the United States will be arriving throughout the week to attend this yearly event.  Classes will be offered to educate the coaches on many different facets of being a part of this fast growing business.  Large group events will serve to provide inspiration and motivation throughout the next year.  Several sessions are scheduled to recognize those coaches that have been highly successful in the past year.  There will be large scale workouts, led by those fitness celebrities like Tony Horton and Chalene, the creators of some of the most popular exercise programs in the world.

And, while all this is going on in Vegas, back in each coach's hometown are small groups of people, organized by these coaches, that are faithfully plugging away day by day, exercising and eating healthy and attempting to turn their lives around.

The fountains and entrance to Caesar's Palace on the strip
Caleb has arrived a few days earlier than the start of the convention, allowing himself some time to do a bit of sightseeing, meet up for mentoring by some of the other elite coaches from around the country, and work on a video presentation that will be part of a celebration highlighting the story of the #1 top Beachbody coach, Lindsay Matway, later this week.  

Working on the video in his hotel room
She has asked him to create a 3 to 5 minute video highlighting her story and her passion for helping others become healthy and fit.  Because she has been active in mentoring Caleb in this business, he is very glad to return the favor and is honored that his work will be shared at her program.

We urged him not to come home from Las Vegas without seeing any of the spectacular shows that are available there to see, and so he has purchased tickets to three shows.  Last night he saw the always popular Blue Man Group perform their highly entertaining and awesomely chaotic show, which he thoroughly enjoyed.  Tonight he will see the "Zarkana" Cirque show, and tomorrow evening he will take in the "Ka" Cirque show there in the MGM where the convention is hosted.  

With a gathering of more than 8000 Beachbody coaches all in one place at the same time, and all them fanatical about fitness, friends, and fun, I feel certain that what happens in Vegas this time will be coming home.

Caleb's gonna have some experiences and tales to tell, for sure.

And I can't wait to hear them.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Child's Dress Up Wardrobe

Granddaughter Ellie's most favorite thing to do is dress up as and pretend to be one of her favorite princesses.  She is at that age (3) where, like many other little girls, princesses and long fancy gowns with all the accessories send her into a bit of a swoon.

Every day in the car on the way home from day care, she begins preparing for her daily transformation. The shoes and socks come off.  She walks into her house and immediately strips down to her underwear.   Then she goes straight to her drawer full of dress ups and transforms into one of any number of characters.

One day she will be Snow White, while another evening she may be Elsa from "Frozen," and another night she may be Cinderella wearing a sheriff's vest and carrying a pirate's sword.  (Sometimes she builds a hybrid.)

Most child psychologists would say pretending in this way is healthy.  No matter what the experts would say, Ellie simply loves to dress up.

The problem is, her drawer of dress ups got too full.  And, since Ellie just recently had a birthday at which numerous gifts to her were of the dress ups variety, that drawer just got too full.

Ellie's parents, my daughter Lindsay and SIL Todd, came up with an awesome solution.  In lieu of filling her toy box with more toys, they decided to build her her own little dress up wardrobe.  Because it was such a simple but meaningful gift, I decided to show it here.  I'm more than sure lots of little kids would be happy to play with a wardrobe like this one.

They started with a simple book shelf unit and removed the shelves.

Next, a simple shower tension bar was inserted for hanging the outfits.  The size of the unit and the height of the bar placement were chosen so that Ellie can easily select a hanger and remove it from the bar.

Finally, hats can be placed on the top of the unit, and several baskets placed in the bottom of the bookshelf are convenient for holding accessories and dress up shoes.

Yes, Ellie is only just three, and she does need a little help rehanging her outfits at the end of the day, but at least her special wardrobe has a place for them all.

If you're looking for dress ups for your little boys or girls, may I recommend those by a toy company called Melissa and Doug.  I'm not being paid anything for endorsing this company, but I've had good experience with their toys for my children and grandchildren over the years.

Ellie will be receiving a Melissa and Doug bride dress up set and a backyard explorer set from this grandma the next time I see her.  (Good thing she can't read this blog yet!)  Chef, doctor, fireman, astronaut, veterinarian - the future options are many.

Now that I take another look, that role play wardrobe is getting pretty full already.  Hopefully two more outfits can fit in there.

"Alpaca lunch, if you bring the tablecloth..."

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Best Dad Ever

My mom and dad
My dad turned 80 this year, and today on this Fathers' Day, I write this blog post in honor of him .

My dad has been the best father a little girl, an adolescent girl, a teenage girl, a young newlywed girl, a young wife, a mother, and a mature woman could have ever wished for.  I cannot even imagine how I got so blessed and hit the JACKPOT when it comes to fathers.

My daddy taught me as a tiny girl to love eating strawberries.

My daddy watched the cartoon "Clutch Cargo" every night with me in our first apartment.

My daddy taught me the joy of catching fish while wearing two pairs of pants.  (He always tirelessly wormed the hooks for me.)

My daddy showed me how to find tadpole globs around the edges of ponds.

My daddy grew fresh vegetables for us in his summer gardens and showed us the "good" worms.

My daddy was agreeable when we wanted a pet raccoon and two ducks and some African clawed frogs.

My daddy paid those whopper bills to Santa, always guaranteeing Christmas was special.

My daddy always griped about the Easter bunny trashing the house with that cellophane grass, but somehow there always was an abundance of candy in my basket in spite of "that darn rabbit."

My dad took us on wonderful memory-making family vacations to the beach, to our cabin in the mountains, and to plenty of other interesting places around our country and the world.

My dad taught me how to spot wildlife, and cultivated my love of the outdoors.

My father trusted me with the car keys when I turned sixteen, but he really taught me how to drive way before then.

My dad always helped me with my math and science homework throughout my schooling, whenever I needed help.

My dad showed me by his example that it's cool to have an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

My dad challenged me, still does, with new words.  To this day, I love finding and learning new ones.

My dad taught me to have perseverance when faced with difficult problems, both in school and in life.

My dad assured me that if I always did my very best, then that was enough.

My father, when I told him I was engaged, expressed joy at gaining another son, rather than sadness at losing a daughter.

My dad showed me by his lifelong example how to love my spouse and my children, unconditionally and forever.  He continues to love the next generations, being involved in the lives of my children and my grandchildren.

My dad is the most generous man I know, and I can only hope to be the same throughout the rest of my life.

My dad taught me how to be a hard worker and to be financially responsible for my family.

My dad lives a life of kindness and forgiveness toward others that I want to follow.

My father, in his own quiet and faithful way, has demonstrated the depth of his relationship with God.

I have always known that there are no limits on my father's love for me, and for that I am so grateful.

Dad, you are the best father I could ever imagine having, and I want you to know that.

I love you, Dad.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Every Home Should Have One of These

Somebody put a vise on my head during the night, and at 4:00 in the AM I woke up with a killer migraine headache.

What to do?  Head down to the kitchen and dig out THE BOWL.  Doesn't every household have one of these?

There's a lot of history associated with this bowl of ours.  I don't even know really where it came from, but I do know I never purchased it anywhere.  I think it may have been found in the cellar of this home way back when we purchased it in 1981.

Regardless of all the names it's been called over the years, we all know its purpose.

The bowl
The puke bowl
The spit up bowl
The barf bowl
The throw up bowl
That bowl
The vomitorium
The barfarama

I'm almost sentimentally attached to it.  It'll never be one of those items eliminated in my decluttering adventures.

 It has seen its way through many illnesses of our four children down through the years.  And, it has been the collection receptacle for the debris following the many massive nighttime nosebleeds that my kids were plagued with.  In more recent years, my migraines have kept it in regular use.

As par for the course with my very bad migraines, that bowl and the other porcelain bowl got several rounds of use this morning, and then I took my migraine medicine and went back to bed.

My migraine prescription allows me to take up to a maximum of five pills over the course of several hours.  Today was a 3* migraine, meaning I started getting relief after 3 pills.  With a 5* migraine, I start thinking about a trip to the emergency room.

Typically I need to be in a completely dark, completely quiet environment.  Eyes closed and a pillow over my head.

In the throes of the worst of one of these migraines, I sometimes imagine Jesus kneeling by my bedside, comforting me and stroking my hair off my face.  When the pain feels like I cannot bear it for one more minute, I consider bargaining with him, offering him my firstborn if he will just take away this headache.  Then I always hear him kindly and gently say to me, "You've already given me your heart.  What more could I want from you?"

So I use THE BOWL again, and eventually drift off into a deep, drug-induced sleep.  The rest of my day will be wrecked, as the after effects of the medicine wear off.

Why do I get these headaches?  I don't know.  Concerning this latest one, I could guess I ate a perfect mix of foods yesterday that are migraine triggers - cheese, too many onions on my hoagie, and a bowl of chocolate ice cream.  A virtual migraine casserole.

Now back to THE BOWL.

I've learned one sure thing over the years:  serve popcorn in THE BOWL on family movie night and you'll have it all to yourself.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Back in the Saddle

Learning to sit properly
I don't know where it came from, but there are two young girls that have a great love of horses.

Granddaughters Tori and Brianna have been fascinated with horses ever since they were wee little.

Just put a book in front of them having colorful pictures of horses, and they will swoon.

Just drive by a farm with horses grazing out in the fields, and two little hearts will palpitate.

Just buy them "real" cowgirl boots for Christmas, and they will nearly gallop into orbit.

And just take them to a horseback riding lesson or two (or more), and they will think they have just trotted into Heaven.

Learning to walk
So we did.  In lieu of buying them silly, soon-to-be-forgotten toys for their recent 8th birthday, we and other relatives gifted them with a summer of riding lessons.  No, there's nothing really there to wrap up in pretty paper with a fancy bow, but if you ask them how they feel about this "gift," they will most likely tell you they've HIT THE JACKPOT.

Two summers ago they had one trial lesson.  At that lesson they had an absolute ball.  If you missed that blog post, you can read about it here.  Looking back at that post, I was stunned by how much the girls have grown since then, and now they are even missing teeth, too!

Learning to hold the leashes properly
So yesterday, they went back.  They will have lessons throughout this summer, approximately every other week.

Yesterday was a review day.  Learning how to lead a horse, saddle it up, walk the horse, sit properly, whoa, turn, stand up and sit down on the horse, and brush it before returning it to its corral.

Can you tell by looking at those faces that some very big dreams are coming true?

Ahhhh, yes.  Life is mighty good for those two little girls.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I Can Practically Do It With My Eyes Closed

Drive back to my home town, that is.  I've been making that exact same drive for almost forty years now, counting back to the first day I drove to college from home.  I ended up settling in my college town and have been here ever since.  So if you see me heading out of town with my eyes closed, don't worry, I know where I'm going.

I left home early this morning to attend a family business meeting in my home town with my family.

The best thing about the day was that both my parents and both my brothers were there.  There together with me in the same room.  At the same time.  That does not happen very often, just due to the fact of where we live and work and raise our families.

After our meeting we enjoyed a rare lunch together which was a nice treat and a chance to catch up a bit.

Other than that, the one mistake of the day was leaving home without an audio book.  Five hours of driving while listening to an audio book seem to pass like maybe one hour.  However, without the audio book, my five hours seemed like a very long day.

Add to that some crazy fog, and it made the driving to and from the meeting a challenge for me.

It's at times like these that I become bored.  And then when I'm bored, I switch into a hyper-observant mode, just to amuse myself.  I make myself see and think about things that I've never paid much attention to at other times.

Like reading the signs.  I noticed a bazillion signs of this sort:  "Congratulations to the Class of 2014."  I also took note of quite a few business signs that had words spelled wrong.

I wondered why so many businesses feel the need to put some big item up on the roof or stuck onto a wall.  I saw a plane, several cars, a horse, and a few other big items up on the buildings.  Do folks think this is neat?  I think it's generally kind of tacky, unless the big item is some claim to fame.

Paying special attention also to private yards, I was taken aback, again as always, by the variety of weird stuff people see fit to place in their yards.  What I saw ran the gamut from chain saw sculptures, to Catholic shrines, to life-sized coal miners and their coal cars.  Some properties have so much junk in their yards, one would have difficulty making their way to the door.  Others appear to be junkyards full of old cars and the parts that have spewed out of them.

yard decor
Road kill is a whole 'nother fascination for me.  I saw one smashed snake, numerous squirrels, several red foxes, and a bazillion or so porcupines.  Add to that all the unidentifiable piles of guts, and well, you can imagine that kept me interested for at least a good five minutes or so.

As usual, I spent plenty of time thinking about my loved ones.  Car time is praying time.  I try to discuss them all, because I know He is listening and loves the chat.

I thought about little Gabriel, who obviously needs some help with getting his shoes on the right feet.

I said thanks for cutie Ellie, who was miraculously cured on her birthday of a belly ache, right about the time her birthday cupcakes were passed out.

And I expressed my excitement about the twins and their upcoming horseback riding lessons.  Oh, how they love horses!

Finally, I said a prayer for grandson Jarrod, who will soon be applying for his driver's permit.

It was a low-key day, but I arrived at my destination and then home again, safe and sound.

For that, I'm grateful.