Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Years!

 I am going to start off by saying Happy New Years to everyone. Personally I don’t think it is a big deal and I know it has been going on for centuries. Every country and culture celebrates the New Years in their own way.

I think it is a good excuse for people to have another day to party. In some countries like the USA it is a good excuse to drink. I am sure other places they may be doing a eating as well as drinking.

I look at New Years as a time to reflect and see what changes can happen in the year ahead. Some may call it New Year’s Resolution while I call it more into self-improvement. The problem though is many of us fall flat on our backs to improve. One area I would like to improve in is dieting where I can lose fifty pounds this coming year. Other words if I can lose one pound a week it will be good. Whether I can accomplish it I will see. In fact throughout the year I will let you know how I am doing. I plan to do some additional exercising to help lose the weight. I do some walking however 2015 showed me that I have to do more than walk to lose the weight. I believe it begins with strong will to do so and that is not an easy thing to do. In the United States we have so many different places we can go to keep the pounds on. I will spend less time at those places this year. I go to the coffee shop almost every day so I am looking at drinking more tea or soda like sprite or seven-up. They are both good when you have a problem with kidney stones like I do.

In a week my church looks to go on a fast for week. It can be more than just food. It may include spending less time on the internet and the social media along with the television. The purpose is to spend a week on more spiritual things to find out what will happen for the year. This is actually another thing I want to do is spend more time spiritual things throughout the year. What I hope for is to be more enlightened that I can share with others including this blog.

I am not sure how this blog will be this year; however, I do want to see some changes or maybe improvements this year. I am not going to change it enough that this blog will be a lot different. The basics will stay the same and the style I expect as well. I hope that when 2016 comes to an end we will all be better people.

A friend on one of my social media sites says that she wants 2016 to be a year where we met and have more friends. I find that to be something good for all of us. What I want most though is that every day we can have more of a smile on our face than the day before. Also, I like us to be able to be less stressful and feel real healthy. I lost several classmates in 2015 and I hope not so many in 2016. Hopefully health will keep us all in fine condition.

Not only will I continue to write about my hometown of Gig Harbor some of the time I plan to write more of the cities in surrounding area of Washington State. We have so much to offer for people to see whether to visit or live. Also, I want to continue writing about encouraging each other over the year as well. I would like to write about news stories that are uplifting too. May write about towns that could use encouragement as well; whatever the case 2016 we can make it into a better year. So when we say Happy New Year let’s make it really happen everyone. Yes if we really can we can make a difference in this world. So let it begin today and everyday forward.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What’s Next?

Now that we are coming to the end of 2015 and moving into 2016 we have to ask ourselves what next going to happen in our lives.

For many they decide to have a new year’s resolution where they decide to diet or exercise. Most of them are done with the resolution before February. Instead we all need to decide what we want to do in 2016. Besides diet or exercise it maybe volunteering or going on a trip that you have thought about before but never did. Also, it could be something you may thought about doing in 2015 or before and never got around to it. If you are retiring you have decided this is the year I am going to do all the things I had wanted to do for many years. Whatever the case it is a good idea to put the plan into action. You do not have to do it right away; however, it would be nice to set a date to do so.

I know that in January 2015 my plan was to make the year an adventure. I believe I did so to some point; however, I plan to expand the adventure. I still have to think about what that expansion will be but I do want it to happen in 2016. My mother is now ninety-five years old and I look after her right now so I do have a limitation of what I can do. It is hard to know how much time left she has. Just before Christmas she cracked her head and was sent to emergency where they put in twelve stitches in. They may be taken out today. In other words I do have plans when she is no longer around but they maybe several years away to being done the ways things are going. Of course, I do not want to implement those plans until she is gone so the time could be down the road I hope.

When someone goes into a job interview usually the employer ask where the employee plans to be in five years. A five year plan should be applied to your personal life as well as your job life especially if you plan to retire within the five years. It is another problem when you reach your 50s and 60s the employer usually does not look to hire someone in that age because they figure the employee likely will not be there long term. The problem I see in this thinking is often the younger people most likely won’t be there in five years either depending on the type of job is. We now know that people not only changes jobs at least five times during their life but they change careers as well. In fact I believe a young person most likely will change their career within the first five years of employment. On the other hand the employer may feel a younger person is easier to find to replace. Depending on the industry the older employer will likely be replaced because the cost is less for a younger employee. I found that here in Washington State where the Boeing Company when they hire a new employee they do not get the same benefits the older ones have had for years. This happened recently where a local newspaper replaced an older employee with a younger one because the cost would be less. The older employee was given a buy out for six months of pay. Still saves the employee money with the younger employee who has more skills for technology as well.

I have to say these are a good reasons to make plans especially if you are in the retirement age; however, plans should be made regardless of how old you are. Life seems to be so stressful these days so there are some individuals who are dying younger. I believe it is good to make plans that will make your life less stressful over the long term. So again ask the question to yourself what is next?


Monday, December 28, 2015

Winter Means Snow?

I always look forward to winter because there is a chance that I will see snow in my hometown of Gig Harbor. Actually we do not get as much snow as people may think from other places. On Sunday we did have a little snow mixed in with the rain for a little while. The snow never did stick; however, some places nearby had around half an inch of snow or a little more. There was at least enough for the kids to get out and enjoy themselves. This was the first look of any snow this winter and I hope we do get some in the next few weeks.

I know that some may think it is just a story; however, we used to get a lot more snow when I was growing up. It was not like we were getting snow on a regular basis but at least we were able to play in the snow at least once a year.  I know I was always excited when school was let out because of the snow.

This year we have had twice as much rain then for a normal year so I have not been able to walk as much as I am accustomed to unless I do so indoors. Right now I have a cold so it is even harder to walk. So with this much rain our mountains are having a real good year of snow. Last year we had a very down year for snow so good to have a lot this year.

You see Gig Harbor is right in the middle of our two mountain ranges the Cascades and the Olympics. It is one of the reasons we do not have as much snow. For example, Portland Oregon usually has more snow though they are two and half hours south of Gig Harbor because they only have the Cascades to deal with and not the Olympics.

At least we can see snow from a distance on a regular basis since we see Mt. Rainier. The Cascades and Olympics we can drive in about two hours so some people do go skiing on a regular basis. When I was a kid our family would take at least one trip to Mt. Rainier a year to play in the snow and go sledding. The area we went to is called Paradise and it made for a lot of sledding. They do have some ski lifts but most of skiing is by some other ski resorts nearby. I recommend that you go to Paradise when you come to a visit to Mt. Rainer with small children. There is a visiting center that you can go into as well. Paradise has the best view of Mt. Rainier. Besides sledding they do have several areas where you can go on daily hikes. One year when my brothers and sister in-law were home for Christmas we went snow shoeing. It was a grand time especially I had never had snow shoed before. We had to watch our steps though because my brother Dick and I both got stuck where we were up to our waist. We were lucky where we did not get stuck at the same time so my other brother Jack along with either Dick or me got each other out. I enjoyed every bit of the experience.

Though Mt. Rainer does not have many ski lifts there are several ski resorts that are very popular to ski at. Most people I know ski at Crystal Mountain which is the largest in Washington state. My brother Jack and sister Barb did some skiing at Crystal Mountain. I never got into skiing because I enjoyed playing basketball and only a few of my friends skied. One year while I was in high school Jack saw a friend from elementary school Mike who was skiing at Crystal Mountain. He asked to bring me along some time however I declined because of basketball. You see one year Jack broke his leg and I did not want the same thing happening. Now looking back at it I should have gone who knows I may have been good at skiing. Even if I was not skiing one time would have been a nice experience. Maybe I should put in on my bucket list to try.

If you are in an area that snow does come down during winter or you have the chance to go visit I would enjoy the snow to the fullest. Anyway continue to have a wonderful holiday this week.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone

I know that not everyone celebrates December 25 as Christmas for various reasons however I still want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas anyway.

Whatever you are doing today whether celebrating Christmas or not I want you to know that I am thinking of you and that you have a really great day.

Here in Gig Harbor, Washington and the surrounding area December has been a wet month. In fact it is the wettest on record we have had over ten inches of rain this month compared to the average just over five inches. So if you know anything about math it means that we have had more than double the normal rainfall for the month with a week remaining. It is quite amazing to see the rain come down so hard. You see though we do have rain usually it drizzles or only rains part of the day unlike it has this month. Now we above the normal rainfall for the year as well; it is something because February through September we had unusual amount of sunshine and lack of rain. In fact so much that the governor of our fine state declared we were in a drought and needed federal assistance. Now we have so much rain that a drought will not be mentioned in 2016 at all.

With the rainfall means that our mountain passes are filled with a good amount of snow as well. You see last year we had below snow level for the winter season and the ski resorts were not open very long. This year the ski resorts were open on time so plenty of skiing can happen as long as you can get there anyway. This week Snoqualmie Pass that Interstate 90 runs through and many travel between western and eastern Washington was either closed or chains were required. In fact the pass was closed on the 23rd and 24th for avalanche warnings. The state department of transportation felt too dangerous to drive. So drivers had to make a choice to wait or find an alternate route which would take like nine or ten hours to drive depending where you were going. Anyway those that got up to the passes got to experience a White Christmas. You see here in Gig Harbor we continue to dream of a White Christmas. Maybe someday it will come true if we are lucky.

The main purpose of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of the Christ child Jesus. Most believe this is not really the time he was born however the Christian church picked the day about 400 A.D.  You see prior to that time Christians celebrated the death of Jesus which we call Easter only because that was the reason he came to die for the sins of the whole world. So the most important to celebrate Christmas is to remember his birth because he came for us because God loves us so much.

So whatever the case is whether you celebrate Christmas or not have a great and merry day. Love is very important not just today however every day of the year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Things Do Happen This Time of the Year

 Sometimes things happen that we don’t expect or hope will not happen. This year is no exception to it.

Growing up I often got a cold for a good week or longer during the Christmas season. I hated it because I wanted to enjoy the good times that happen. At least it happen more when I was in high school then the early years of grade school. I don’t remember all the good times however when I see pictures in those early years there is always a smile on my face. It showed me very much how this time of the year was special to me. Most of the time was spent with family and there is nothing else we can cherish is our family. Some of them are gone but not forgotten by those of us that are left behind. They are in my heart every day but I remember them especially during the Christmas season. I am sure everyone has that in their hearts about those close to them that are no longer around.

Right now I have a cold like I did back in high school. My mind because of the cold is in a weird place where I am having a hard time thinking at all. It is OK though because I do know that soon I will remember once again. What is so nice about this that I can share these thoughts with everyone who reads this and I hope that you remember those that made a big difference in your life especially this time of the year that no longer roams the earth. It can be sad in many ways however we can have joy in our hearts as well. This is what the Christmas season is all about peace and joy along with a whole lot of love.

This morning I woke up with my mother screaming because she fell over and hit her head in the bathroom. Without hesitation I moved her a few feet into her bathroom and I saw blood on the bathroom floor. I realized at that moment I could not and should not lift her up. This should be done by real professions. I did not know how much the fall affected her though she was conscience. So I called 911 to get the medics over and have her rushed to the hospital. I followed in my car to the hospital so she would have a ride hope later. Before leaving the place I called my brother Jack to let him know what had happened and I would update him later.

A couple hours later when I talked with him that she looked like she was going to be OK though she had twelve stitches planted in her head. Also, I text message some of my closest friends to pray for my mother. Also, I asked Jack to call our sister Barb to let her know what happened with mother. The whole thing is mother is now ninety-five years old and though she gets along pretty good for her age she does have to watch her balance when she gets around. She still is involved in bridge at least twice a week and goes to her church every Sunday morning. Also, she is involved in a couple other groups to so for someone her age she has a full life. With us living together helps her out to have this full and independent life. Before she was released five hours later there was a care professional from the hospital that came in to ask questions about her living situation. You see not every elderly person is lucky to have someone who loves and cares for her while she still lives in her apartment. This is the reason many are living in assistant living or nursing homes. I am not putting on any guilt trip however it is important that family take care of their love ones that are elderly if possible at all. I know sometimes this is impossible but if you can it important to do so. You see someday we may be put into the same situation and I know that I would not want to be forgotten especially those very close.

So this year Christmas will be a little different however I enjoy the fact that mother is still around. You see in our family she is the only remaining from her generation and we do not know how much longer we will have her.  In fact we do not know how much time any of us have to live. Enjoy those precious people that are close to us. I don’t feel too well right now because of the cold however I know what should be important to us. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Look at 2015

 Now with Christmas and the holidays it is important to think about how 2015 was for us going now into the New Year. I know that for us all we have had good times and some not so good. It is important to look back on the year so we can see what is ahead for us in the coming year as well.

Since this is our life we all likely have lost or known someone who died this year. The important thing is to remember them always in our hearts especially this time of the year. Some of these people likely were in our lives this time of the year and we are missing them now. Though we may be sad or still grieving for them in the future we will think of them in a good way this time of the year.

For some people they may have lost a job where they are still looking or have gone into a new job. I know by experience it is different not to see the same people we have been used to see on a regular basis and they became friends as well as co-workers. Hopefully for some the relationships will continue.

I find that in 2015 that my health has improved over the year. My heart is in better condition and I am in a good place as far as kidney stones go. It is possible some new ones could come along however I am feeling much better.

What I like most about 2015 is gaining new friends either meeting at the coffee shop or at church. I find them to be very special to me and I look forward to getting more acquainted in 2016. Also, I want to meet additional new friends along with doing more things in 2016.

In 2015 my brother and his family visited in early August. His middle son Ian and his girlfriend Helen moved to Seattle so I met her for the first time. In September they announced that they are engaged and will marry in August 2016. Look forward to meet her family along with seeing my brother’s family again. Plan on going to the wedding as long as my mother’s health continues to be OK; that is something else to hope for in 2016 that mother continues to be in good health in the coming year. She had some issues with her legs in early 2015; however, they are doing much better now.

My sister Barb came to Gig Harbor during Halloween. We had a good time including going to Seattle for a day and seeing my cousin Jennifer who happens to be moving soon to Oregon. Though she can retire Barb continues to work and enjoys her job very much. She has several close friends that she works with as well. She looks in really good shape as well. We hope to see her two sons Ken and Connor in 2016 as well.

Though life is not perfect I have to say things go along just fine and I look forward to 2016 to see how things go. I desire that each one of us will enjoy the New Year like no other we have in the past. We recognize our purpose and that our destiny becomes clearer. Enjoy the rest of your holiday season.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Week Before Christmas

It quite amazing to think that we have a week until Christmas; like many say time goes by faster the older we get and it seems very true.

I am sure some people are all set for Christmas while others still have work to do when it comes to getting Christmas presents. I know I still have some work to do.

There are some who prepare for Christmas away ahead of time while others wait until the last moment. Usually I get my presents done a couple weeks before Christmas; however, this year I am taking more time. Actually I don’t have many presents to get this year is part of the deal.

My mother has a friend that gets her presents in February because of sales. Even though it may be a good time to so I have no idea what someone would want that far ahead of time. Of course, it would depend on those who you are shopping for. If I were to buy presents in February it would be for a small percentage of people that is for sure. I have to say young children would be good to wait on especially buying clothes since many change sizes throughout the year depending on their age. For young children I may buy a boy a train set in February or a girl a doll; however, often things come in and out of style very quickly. I am sure if I were to buy something that is related to the new Star Wars getting it in February would have not made any sense.  I am not sure they would have been available last February. Buying presents would make more sense in February for adults I would say. I am sure most of us will disregard the advice to shop that early. Most likely if I shopped early it would be in September at the earliest.

Another area I am sure most have completed the task is for the Christmas Dinner. Like I have said before most people make Christmas a tradition so they know exactly what they will have this year. My mother and I will be spending Christmas dinner at friends of hers so our tradition will be different this year for sure. I look forward to see what will be served for Christmas this year.

Mom and I will be going out for what we think anyway is more of a tradition dinner at a restaurant the day after Christmas better known in Canada and England as Boxing Day. For many years my mother used to have friends over on Boxing Day for dinner. Usually she had a total of ten people since the dinner room table only held that many people. She put on quite a dinner every year; however she stopped doing it about four years ago because she is now in her 90s and she is not up to it any longer. I recommended to her when she decided to stop that she would invite people to bring their favorite dishes; however she felt it was her own thing. So another tradition that ended. My brother and sister live on the East Coast so we don’t see them at Christmas any longer. They have started their own traditions.

Whatever the traditions you have at Christmas the most important thing is to remember what Christmas is really about the birth of baby Jesus who God brought into this world to bring light into a very dark world. So enjoy the next week while you prepare for a wonderful and Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What are We Thinking?

 What I like so much this time of the year is what we can think about. I was out walking again yesterday morning thinking about this subject. I know that I have mentioned before how important it is what we think about in a given day. I think about this so often when I am walking because I find that often we have negative as well as positive things enter our minds and if we are to be great people it is so important to throw those things that we should not have in our minds out.

When I woke up a few minutes ago I started thinking about how are minds are like a computer and the bad as well as the good get stored in our minds. Whether we realize it or not I feel while we are sleeping God is updating our minds and throwing the bad out along with keeping the good things. I had to take my computer on Monday to my computer tech guy to clean it out because a virus was on it along with a lot of other junk so it would be all cleaned out. Now I am glad that everything is working again fine on the computer and in the same way the virus in our mind has to be cleaned out so we can function in a manner that it works in top tip shape.

Sometimes I wonder why we have to sleep eight hours a day and now I realize is that God needs to update our minds on a regular basis. We have so much clutter that enters this mind of ours each day. This is so true when reading a newspaper or social media along with television. Last night I realized that to when I was watching a television program that I had not seen before. I found my mind working in a different manner. I realized what I had been thinking about while walking made me more aware of what I wanted to think about and what to share here as well. Also, I read a little on line before going to bed last night about the Republican debate. I really realized I did not want to have those things go into my mind at all. After writing this post to the blog I want to forget about that television show and the debate. We all hear so many negative things throughout the date and I really want to hear more positive things put into my mind instead. How that works I figure is what we read and hear even from others. Also, it really works for us too. We really need to speak words of truth and positive affirmation to other people. Our conversation needs to be positive and not the negative things around us. I am sure that I say negative things to other people as well as positive things. I try to use humor as often as possible as well. Our world is made up of so many negative stories we hear each day and we must look to turn our lives more into positive stories. My encouragement for us all is to turn away from the negative and toward the positive. When I go for a walk my primary goal has been to get my body in shape; however, now I want my mind to get in shape as well. When I get into my car often I listen to sports radio; however, I find often they talk negative things as much as positive so now I am going to look to listen to more music primarily by cd. The music I like that will update my mind; so let us all whenever possible filter out the negative and bring in the positive while mediating our minds. I hope this helps us all.

Monday, December 14, 2015

What I Like About Christmas

When it comes to Christmas I figure that I am a lot like most people. At least those who celebrate Christmas that is. Also, I know those who do not confess to be Christians that many of them celebrate Christmas as well. I am sure some may only do certain things during Christmas season as well.

So here we go with what I like about Christmas. First of all I like the tradition of Christmas. Most people celebrate Christmas the same way every year. It starts with when they get their Christmas tree along with listening to Christmas music. Most of the time I prefer both of them about two weeks before December 25; there is only my mother and I so we haven’t had a Christmas Tree for the last couple years. Actually the apartment really doesn’t have room for a tree, and I have to be honest I don’t really like decorating Christmas trees any more. Growing up our family always had large Christmas trees probably about ten feet tall. It took a long time to decorate the tree though my brothers and I all did our parts. After so many years I have gotten tired in decorating the tree. Of course, if I had to decorate a tree I would but no longer a favorite thing to do. I am sure in a few years I will enjoy doing so again. I know I certainly like Christmas trees that I see all decked out. I am amazed by some of the pictures I have seen from friends on social media. They really go out of their way to do a great job and make the tree so beautiful. Along with the Christmas tree is those who put up lights and other things like snowmen in their yards. This is another tradition many people have done over the years. Our family never did much of that except put some lights out and having a Christmas reef up on the door. One of my classmates growing up his family always made and sold reefs so we would buy one from them every year. We do have a Christmas reef on our door to make it look a little like Christmas this year.

Christmas music I enjoy listening to for about two weeks though this year I decided to start listening to the music right after Thanksgiving. I primarily like the songs you hear at Church like Silent Night. It is nice though to hear the ones I seem to have listened to since I was a small boy. One of the local radio stations plays all Christmas songs throughout the month of December. Also, the stores and the coffee shops in town play the music as well.

Another thing I enjoy is going Christmas shopping. Mostly I enjoy seeing people doing their shopping. I am interested in seeing what they are getting for Christmas. Along with the shopping I enjoy seeing the children especially the small ones including the babies. I find them cute and adorable. I like them wearing their clothes for winter and Christmas season.

One thing I wish for and still dreaming is a White Christmas. We have had snow close to Christmas either just before or after but I don’t remember ever having any snow in Gig Harbor on Christmas day. I do remember very well in 1974 where we got snow the day after Christmas. At that time I was going to vocation school and working at the radio station. I had to get up early to do so and be on the air. I am not sure how much snow there was; however, I did have some trouble getting out of our yard. So I was late getting to the school but I did show up. I found it to be a great day. At least the kids were able to throw snow balls. Something I really enjoy doing when it snows.

I can dream again this year for a White Christmas; however, if the weather continues like it has been this December it will be a warm and wet Christmas. Oh well at least I can enjoy all the traditions of Christmas that I have over the years. I wish you all a Merry Christmas as well and have yourself a wonderful week.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Raising Hope!

This time of the year is so much about hope. The Christmas story is what hope is all about. No matter who we are hope comes and goes because of our circumstances. Now that 2015 is coming to a close and we look to 2016 we hope that the coming year will be good. Like 2015 and our prior years on this earth so far we have the ups and downs throughout the year. During the year things change some for good and some for bad; we can now say that is what life is all about. We may lose some lives that we know through death or relationships.

 This year like I have mentioned a few times a couple guys that I grew up died only a few days apart. The first Rex passed away in a drowning accident, and Howard died of cancer. Most of time with Rex and Howard was during our childhoods. I did not seem them as often as I like during our adulthood; however, it does not change that I miss them both equally. Both men were quite different from each other except they both enjoyed sports and each had great sense of humor. Rex was very outgoing and enjoyed the ladies very much. Like me he did a lot of talking and did not mind getting in a little trouble. Howard was more of a quiet man who loved music and theatre. In fact he was music director doing both band and choir. In their own ways though different made an impact on many lives. A toast to Rex and Howard! Your family and friends always remember you.

Another area like I said before is relationships. There are those who have gone through divorce or in a strain relationship at this time. Also, other things that you may have to deal with as well; people move away so the relationship changes, one or both of you take different jobs or lose a job.

Going into 2015 I was hoping that life would be an adventure. I have to say it is to some point but not as much as I would like it to be. I haven’t given up on life being an adventure though. It is what can make life so good and exciting. I hope to find a woman this coming year who will want to join me in this adventure. Other words, I hope to add a new relationship or more. Like I have said before the more friends the better; however, the most important is to have a few close friends too.

So the Christmas story is about a baby born in Bethlehem named Jesus. The wise men or three kings came because they heard that the Messiah was being born in Israel. Joseph and Mary the parents of Jesus found it hard to find a place to give birth to him until they found a place outside an Inn because the whole place was full. So King Herod heard that this baby being born and he asked to know the wise men where to find him because he wanted to worship Jesus too. Of course, he was not telling the truth, and he wanted to have the baby boy killed so Joseph and Mary left Bethlehem until word that Herod was dead. So Jesus being raised up as a Jewish boy started proclaiming himself as the Messiah; however, the Jews did not recognize him as the Messiah because they thought the Messiah was coming to rule the earth and bring down the bondage they had lived in for so many years. In their minds the Messiah was coming as a King and not as a servant like Jesus. So Jesus ended up being crucified on a Cross at around the age of thirty-two for the sins of the whole world. You could say the Jews of that time crucified him but in reality it was the reason he came into the world to give us all hope that live in the bondage of sin. So whatever circumstance you are living in right now Jesus is the answer to your hope. All you have to do is accept and believe in him. This is the Christmas story that we can live in each and every day. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

This is the Season

Here in the northwest we are getting a lot of rain this week. In fact Portland, Oregon had three inches on Monday and everywhere looked like a lake. We do get a lot of rain in November; however, this week the rain will be like what we have for a full month. Another weird thing is the temperature has risen up to 60 degrees. The last that happened in the 1960s; the temperatures though will go back into the 40s later in the week which will help the snow pack.

I do find it strange especially since we had so little rain and a lot of sun for six month. I thought back then maybe we will never have rain again and now maybe no sun again. I believe this is God’s sense of humor let us know that he is in charge as well.

For all of us it is the best season of the year in regards to having a good time and think of others. There are other times of the year I think about people but this time of the year I think about almost everyone that is real close to me. For example I think about my late brother and my dad on their birthdays as well as in early June. They both died a year apart from each other and of course Father’s Day is in June. Like other family members that are no longer with us in this life I think throughout the year; however, December is so very important for those I spent time with during this holiday season. I am speaking about Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins along with related in-laws. It is a strange feeling because I don’t think of them being dead in some respects they are just absent and I will see them again. I am sure most people feel the same way that I do in respect. I really do feel that I will see them all again.

Another thing that makes this time of the year so great is tradition. Every family has a tradition whether it has to do with getting a Christmas tree, whose place they may go for the holiday, where they buy presents, when presents are unwrapped, and what they eat for dinner. When the children get married those traditions will change to some degree or another; this is what makes the holiday season a great time of the year. I look back at all the years to see where I spent Christmas. So whatever the traditions you have enjoy them all and if necessary change them to fit the occasion. Most of all think of all the family members that are no longer around to enjoy. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Sweet Times

Going on social media this time of the year I read a lot of nice stories about families especially those who are no longer with us.

My cousin Bronwen who does not go on very often had a very nice message about Christmas and the holiday season. Though she doesn’t write often her messages are always very good.

This time she mentioned several people that she misses and someone recently passed away that she grew up with. She wrote about her mother my aunt Patricia, and how she was a big influence in her life. Of course, most of us have been influenced by our mothers because they gave us birth and was the very first person that cared and loved us; however, there was more Aunt Patricia. Besides being Bronwen’s mother she was mother to Jennifer and stepmother to Lorna. Also, she allowed another cousin Judy to live with her family during the high school years. The thing about Aunt Patricia was that she was a second mother to countless other young girls including my sister. In later years Aunt Patricia came down with some health issues but she was still a very strong woman within herself. Before she was my aunt and married my Uncle Bill she was very good friends with my mother. In fact, that is how Aunt Patricia and Uncle Bill met was through my mother. I am not sure how old Aunt Patricia was when she died; however, she died earlier than she should have aught too. Bronwen loved and respected her mother and so do I. Like my mother Aunt Patricia was a wonderful woman and many more people should have known her. She even helped run a business even when her health could have had her bow out. I could go on and on about her.

There are other people and events we can remember this time of the year. My thoughts are for sure with those who I have known over the year whether they are part of my natural family or those that I now consider family and friends.

I am sure most of us think about our loves this time of the year especially those that have passed away in the past year. I have been to several funerals and memorial services in 2015 of those who were classmates, grown up with, and older people that I have met on the way or were friends of my mother. My mother yesterday read in the obituaries about a dear friend who she spent time with at the Y and had taught all her daughters in high school French. My mother still remembers some of the students she taught either French or German for twenty years at Wilson High School in Tacoma Washington.

I still have the privilege of having my mother around at ninety-five years old. She has had quite extraordinary life. I can’t take her for granted because I know she has not very many years left. We can all say that for our loved ones that are still here. Of course, we have no idea how much time we have left either. We are like the wind here one minute and gone the next.

I know that this can be difficult times especially if you have lost a love one or close friend recently; however, enjoy those still around you and the sweet times.  

Friday, December 4, 2015

December in the Northwest!

Two things most people know about Seattle and the northwest is that we have plenty of coffee and rain. It is a very true statement especially in December. Coffee we have all the time and rain we have most of the time in December.

The last couple of years we did not have much rain during December as well as November, and January which are most rainy months; however, this year November was a pretty rainy month and December has started off in the right fashion too. I am not sure of the long term forecast of rain for December; however, the five day forecast is for rain and more rain. Right now I am fine with it but I hope it changes at some point. I do hope for some sunshine like we did have in November; however, I am hoping for some snow as well. The last three years we have had only a small amount of snow. We had a trace of snow last year for one day and the year before only a couple days of less than an inch. I can say the same for the year before that so I can say we are due for a good amount of snow.

Last year even the Cascade and Olympic Mountains had very little snow and the ski season was over as fast as it started. I am sure only a few diehards even skied at all last year. This year there is some snow and a couple of the ski resorts opened a few days early though they had to use a snow blower.  

With the amount of rain we have forecasted this week the mountains will have a good supply of snow. Those I know that are humbug about us having snow keep saying “ you can drive to the mountains” this is true; however, I find it fun to have snow in my backyard even if it is only for a few days.

I do not expect a lot of snow on the ground but it would be nice to have an inch or two for a few days. If nothing else snow looks so pretty. I know most people here have a problem driving in snow especially with high hills. Right here in Gig Harbor we have four hills that go directly down into the city so snow does keep people at home most of the time. What I say though what is wrong with that for a couple days. You get to miss work or school for a couple days and your children get to have fun playing outside. Also, you can throw a few snow balls around. Where I live is pretty flat so I can get around very easy in snow though I would stay away from downtown. I know that I am smart enough not only going down those high hills but going back up them as well. I know something others do not know, and that when you go up or down you drive slow and steady. I have learned by my experience you have to drive at least twenty-five miles an hour to make it especially going uphill.  Many drivers try going slower and you will never make it. I give plenty of distance between myself and the driver in front of me since I know most will not go twenty-five and get into trouble. When I am at the bottom I start up when I know that I will make it up all the way with any trouble. One of the hills does have a stop sign part of the way up so I avoid that one for sure.

During this month of December besides shopping for presents which I try to do at a minimum I will be spending a good deal of time indoors including drinking coffee. Since I do like walking I will find some time doing so though it won’t always be easy. Of course, when I am shopping I can get extra time in for walking. I will know everything in each isle.

Right now we have one grocery store open in town so there are a lot of people you can meet and run into. When it comes to grocery shopping I only buy a few items so I don’t have to wait in line very long. I know it means I may have to shop more often but I am by my favorite coffee shop so there is really no sacrifice for me. Also, I like seeing and talking with people at the grocery store especially those I know.

So keep yourself nice and warm. If you have snow I wish I was where you are right now. Enjoy your shopping and a good cup of coffee too. Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hello December!

It is really nice to see you December. For most of us it is our favorite month of the year. We are glad that you decided to show up for our pleasure.

I know there are those who have trouble in December with depression and loneliness. I know for sure because I have experienced both on many occasions. You can feel like being in a dark place. I know for some depression is a sickness; however, I know for me in some ways I have been selfish. I wish those who have been a part of my Christmas past would be still on the scene. Some of them are no longer with us in this life so I miss them especially in December and others are in another place. It is something I have to deal with; however, I have found myself making it through.

What makes December such a wonderful and likeable month is you can attend as many parties as you want. No other month has so many parties that you can go to. A big thing about December has to do with tradition. Every year in December we usually do the same things and parties are no different. We may have a family party before the big day of December 25 when we all may gather together again. Also, there are parties at work along with other sort of ones. Other words there is nothing better or a good excuse anyway go to a party. The ones I like are where you take an elephant gift. Sometimes you take the same gift you received last year. I find it interesting what gifts are passed around. I remember one party I attended where an old computer was passed around one year to the next. Sure got a lot of laughs out of that one. I wonder where that computer is today.

Another great thing about December is presents regardless when you receive them. I know that most people have a tradition when they buy the presents, where they buy them, and when they open them.

I remember those wonderful mornings on Christmas Day as a kid when I got up to open the presents. My brothers and I had to wait until 7 am to wake up our parents. Christmas Eve night seemed so long and I often had problems sleeping. I knew I had to be asleep when Santa came to our house. It was not easy and I kept my eyes closed just in case I was awake when he arrived. I am sure I was always asleep when he arrived because I never once remember hearing him come down the chimney. He was quiet possibly for such a big man and his reindeer were magical. I was a good kid because I always got the present I was looking for each year. Of course, I may have fooled him as well. I remember most of those years I went to the stockings first and I found candy in them along with a small toy like a truck. I was so excited to see what would come next for the gifts I received. Like many kids you wanted more gifts than you received. Other words we are all selfish. This is the reason we like December most of all because we can all be selfish.

Though we are selfish in December in so many ways we can give away at this time of the year to those who are in need as well. We can throw a dollar or more in the bucket for the Salvation Army while they ring their bells. We can give to our other organizations this time of the year as well. Another great tradition is to sing Christmas carols and hear songs on the radio, I pod, IPad, and around town. I am sure most of you have already gotten your Christmas tree and decorated it; nothing better than enjoy all the traditions of December. So everyone have a wonderful and grand December holiday season. If you see someone who looks depressed or alone be sure to wish them a Merry Christmas and holiday season especially.