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farewell-dear-opa

Hello, New Year; Goodbye, Friend and Father

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Fabulous New Year celebration. We had my entire family in from out of town and it was wonderful. We shared New Year’s Eve with some old friends and that was glorious, too.

But this New Year started off with a great loss to our family. My husband’s Father passed away from pancreatic cancer on Saturday, January 4th.

Oh, he was a fighter. He was given 3 months to live, yet lived well for another TWO YEARS! He was no stranger to cancer, actually. Over the past three years, he battled 3 types of cancer and he beat them all…until this one.

I write this with a heavy heart because it happened so recently and I’m still feeling much sadness. But I hold the hope of a lighter heart because I know he is free from the pain, and I know that we will someday see him again.

He worked hard all the way up until November 2013…you see, he was a HARD WORKER and he taught his kids the value of hard work. He was an example of dedication, loyalty, compassion, honesty, integrity, and creativity. He was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright and an amazing architect. I love that he taught his son (my husband) how to build, create and fix things!

His dream was to purchase a home he built many, many years ago and fix it up again. He did that. He wanted a comfortable place for his sweetheart to live and he had dreams of changing a few things. Over the last year, my in-laws began working on the house and moving their belongings over. But he was not able to finish…and I know he lasted this long because he desperately wanted to know that his wife would be ok.

Well, Opa…we will continue to help her in finishing the dream. We love you and we will miss you!  Thank you for your influence in my life.

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I imagine that he is now seeing far more beautiful scenery than these flower fields we visited together just last April 2013 (and before his last fight with pancreatic cancer).

For any of you who have seen cancer at work…I am sorry. It is not an easy challenge.
My wish for you, dear readers, is a year filled with wonder and beauty. I know it can be so, if we just look around. Hugs.

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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whole-bunch-of-halloween-sacks

Dose of Sunshine Monday: Happiness is…

“Happiness is not so much in having as in sharing.”

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I agree with that statement. Do you?

I had such a great time handing out my Halloween Treat Sacks to my neighbor kids and my nephews over the weekend. In no time flat, they had those things torn apart and the candy devoured! But it was all worth it because I had a great time and I sure do love those kids. :)

For this Monday, ponder on that statement and see if sharing something DOES make you happy.

Tonight, I’m off to share some {Halloween} Peach jam! See you next time.

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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10-13-good-timber-does-not-come-with-ease

Dose of Sunshine Monday — Good Timber

Let’s talk about adversity. Everyone has it at sometime in their life, right? It has been said that adversity makes us stronger…it shapes us into the glorious person we ultimately can be! Do you agree?

This weekend we got a nice reminder of enduring our trials and coping with adversity in General Conference, a world-wide church conference which is televised twice a year. I created a sketch/watercolor to share with you today:

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Thomas Monson was actually quoting a poem

        by Douglas Malloch

The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.

_____
That is the complete poem; now that I shared it with you, see if you can find my mistake in my sketch. Sigh.

So if you are facing a trial, think about strength; think about reaching sun and sky and light and air; think about holding counsel with the stars. Someday. When you have conquered and made it through!

I hope these images brought a smile to you today! Have a wonderful week.

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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9-13-life-goes-on

Dose of Sunshine Monday — It goes on

Today I combined one of my favorite quotes with one of my favorite pictures to share with you. These are some amazing Aspen trees in Northern Arizona. My husband and I were hiking with some friends and came upon an entire forest of Aspen trees with their leaves changing color to a bright yellow. It’s almost that time of year again! I just LOVE fall.

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Take a look at this picture and take a deep breath. Life goes on! No matter what you are going through, you can find amazing life all around. That is simply amazing, isn’t it?

Here in my city, we don’t experience changing leaves…nothing as amazing as these Aspen trees. We have to travel a ways to see beautiful, color-changing trees like this. Do you have changing seasons where you live?

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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9-13-what-if-we-are-here-to-learn-to-listen

Dose of Sunshine Monday — What if listening

Yesterday at church we discussed helping people, “rescuing” them…and someone brought up the idea that maybe we could help people by simply listening.

I think that there is definitely something to that. I know that just a little listening, understanding, discussing, and encouraging can go miles to helping someone (or even saving a life).

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What if our only real assignment is to listen carefully?

But not just listening for others; Listening for OURSELVES. When we stop to hear God’s plan for us, we can see miracles unfold. Take some time to listen today…you decide what to listen to. What do you hear?

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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9-13-what-are-fears-for

Dose of Sunshine Monday — Think Positive to Be Positive

Hello again, Monday. How’s YOUR Monday going? I’ve been thinking about the bad wrap that Monday has:

Another work week
Rainy Days and Mondays always Get Me Down
Just Another Manic Monday
Waiting for the Weekend

But how about some POSITIVE thoughts for Monday? Let’s think about all the times you have been successful. Or achieved something great! Can you think of any?

I can. Just today, actually. My Monday started out with some things I had to take care of that I wasn’t very happy about. Problems, fires, you know how Mondays can be… (oops, another bad Monday thought)
But I DID THEM! I GOT THROUGH THEM! And now there’s a little twinkle in my eye and a skip to my step.

And just last weekend I went to a large group gathering (that many times I’m not too fond of…I don’t like big groups and I often get claustrophobic…sigh), but I DID IT! (Que the Rocky theme song music!)

So what have you done lately that has you feeling happy, successful, proud or ecstatic?

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This sign is a little quote from my husband. He is so brave and is constantly cheering me on when I have to do things I’d rather not do. When I hold onto that happy moment, I feel much more positive!

So take a moment to think positive thoughts and feel more positive about your day. Then go and conquer your work! And if you need to, go ahead and turn on that Rocky theme song “Gonna Fly Now” or “Eye of the Tiger” and feel great about yourself. 😉

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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3-13-gonna-be-a-great-day

Dose of Sunshine Monday — It’s gonna be a great day!

Today I am sharing an oldie, but a goodie! I created this sign to remind myself to enjoy the days, to focus on good things and practice faith and hope! Enjoy YOUR day (and week)! I’ll be back to share some fun fall ideas later this week.

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May your days be filled with sunshine,
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9-13-life-is-really-fun

Dose of Sunshine Monday — Life is fun

Happy Monday! It’s a nice long weekend…and I hope you are having fun. Speaking of fun, sometimes it seems that life is NOT fun. To everything there is a season, right? So if you’re not having fun, just wait for a bit for the fun to come back around.

I’m not going to talk too much about this today; my husband is recuperating from a bicycle accident, my daughter is in the hospital. Things are not very fun right now, BUT I’m hopeful and I know that the time will come back around when we are smiling and laughing again.

Enjoy your days and fill them with gratitude, laughter, smiles and love.

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May your days be filled with sunshine,
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8-13-love-the-way-it-is

Dose of Sunshine: Love the way it is

Hello! You may not have noticed, but this “Dose of Sunshine” is usually posted on Monday, and here it is Tuesday! We had a busy weekend. And my husband was in a bicycle accident during a race in Flagstaff this weekend. It was quite the accident: the handlebars on his bike broke right off! This was such a surprise and it happened so fast that he didn’t have time to react and he lost his balance.

He came home with battlewounds, road rash, pain. But the good news is, the doctor said his collarbone is NOT broken (it is quite common for cyclists to break their collarbone). But it’s still going to be a while in recovery and physical therapy for him.

So, I am late in posting this. It is a good reminder for me. I hate to see my husband in pain. I was not meant to be a nurse…I’m not great at changing the bandages, blood makes me queasy and seeing him in pain is not fun.

But I’m sure there is a lesson in all of this.

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We will continue down the road to recovery. As we go through tubes of neosporin and boxes of first aid bandages and gauze, we will get closer to learning to love what is, right?

Have a day of blessings!

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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8-13-brokenhearted-one

Dose of Sunshine Monday — 6 Steps to Mending a Broken Heart

A few weeks ago I had a friend tell me that her heart was broken. I’ve been wanting to write a bit about broken hearts for quite a while now. Do you remember that song with the words: “how can you mend a broken heart?” I don’t believe they even tell us how to mend a heart in that song! So today, I’m sharing  6 Steps to Mend a Broken Heart.

{First let me tell you that I’m not a therapist or a doctor, but I do know a thing or two (or twelve) about broken hearts and I’ve found all these tips helpful.}

1) Be kind to yourself! If you are broken, take it easy. No guilt, no judgements, just LOVE yourself by treating yourself to any (or all) of the following: bubble bath, pedicure, read a happy book, meditate, deep breathing. Repeat as necessary.

2) Talk it out. Gather a friend or two who will let you share your feelings. It helps to just get these feelings out and friends can be invaluable in helping you to get over it, see it in a new light, or just give hugs. (sisters, moms, and spouses work, too!)

3) Journal. Writing things down can also be very healing. Even if you write it down and then rip it up, throw it out, stomp on it, destroy it. Sometimes a broken heart comes with some angry or sad feelings, too…and journaling is SO good for releasing those. If you keep those feelings bottled up inside, it will just get worse.

4) Pray. Kneel down and really pour out your heart. You might be amazed at how this can change things for you. I keep a sign on my nightstand that says: “Prayer Changes Things.” And it does. It may not change the situation, but I’ve seen it change feelings, attitudes, outcomes, and more. I do believe that you can ask for your own miracle; miracles happen every day. Why not for you?

5) Chocolate. Nothing is better than friends, except friends who have chocolate. I’m going to share a secret: I ALWAYS have a chocolate stash at the ready for times I need it. This stash may not be good for my waist-line, but it sure is soothing for a broken heart! If chocolate is not readily available, sometimes maple donuts are the next best thing. :)

6) Exercise. It’s well known that exercise raises seratonin, which makes you feel happy. Find a form of exercise that you like and spend some time at it. Running, walking, weight lifting, yoga, cycling, sports. (AND This will help with #5 above!)

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I hope this helps you or someone you love in a small way. Have you ever had a broken heart? What did you do that helped your heart? Sending hugs to all my virtual friends and family!

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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