Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Holidays and a Bountiful 2012

Denise, Celeste and Mushroom
Wish you Happy Holidays and 
a Bountiful New Year.

This photo is in memory of Denise's 84 year old mom, Eda Bea who died in January. She retired from teaching, and became a LBFD Fire Ambassador. This photo is from her favorite fire station No. 17.

After three years of taking care of Eda Bea, we finally got to go on a real vacation this year. Denise flew up to San Francisco to meet our friend, Debi. They drove down to Long Beach. I joined them on the next leg to Albuquerque. We went to Santa Fe, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon where Denise got up close and personal with a crow.
We continued our journey through Arizona and took a detour through the Land of the Giants, and Canyon de Chelly while listening to a Tony Hillerman book on CD. We got to a hotel in Springdale, Utah, the entrance to Zion National Park. We hiked the following days with Jim, Jenny and their kids. We also visited with Aunt Dolores and Adrian. After a couple of days, we headed north, enjoyed a tasty meal with cousin Audra, and spent the night in Bountiful, Utah at Aunt Mickey's. We got up early, Mickey made breakfast for us. Thanks Mickey.

We traversed the highways through Utah and Idaho making our way to Washington where we got to see our newest grandson, Keegan Eric Valentino Montoya for the first time.
He was born on Valentine's day. He looks the way Orlando and I did when we were babies.

My brother John and I went on a 90 mile bicycle ride from Costa Mesa to San Diego. It took us nine hours, with breaks for coffee, lunch and other stuff. I rode Jeremy's bike. Jeremy would've been 42 years old this year. 

Denise and I went to the Sedona and the Grand Canyon with Nanc and Ed. Denise got off the
trail to take some photos.

For many years Denise has dreamed of being the Bride of Frankenstein for Halloween. She and Bonnie did an amazing makeup job. She looked terrifyingly real.

Celeste, Denise and I helped Barbara test the ski patrolers on their rescue and first aid skills. In this photo Denise simulated having a broken arm.

The Yoons came to visit from Korea. We all had fun burying grandchildren Edan & Isis up to their necks in the sand.

We honor our wonderful friend, Donna Clauss (shown here with daughter SooJee and son, Joshua) in this season's letter. Donna, former Director of Rainbow House, Int., has made it possible for hundreds of orphaned children to have their “forever families”. We will be forever grateful for Donna's expertise and support during the adoption processes of our daughters, Bonnie and Celeste. Our hearts go out to the Clauss family, who recently lost their son, Joshua. We pray that their faith and love of family and friends will sustain them as they grieve their loss.

We wish you Joy filled 2012, 
surrounded by those who love you.

Denise, Mushroom & Celeste

Monday, December 19, 2011

Return To Sender from 1985

Yesterday, 18 December 2011, I opened a box and found a letter that I wrote on 3 March1985. A red hand with the words "return to sender" was stamped on the envelope. I had addressed it to Gardy and Isabel, in Fort Worth, Texas. The pointing hand with its “return to sender” message caught my eye. Wondering what I had written, I opened the letter and found a photo next to it. The photo shows, Denise, Orlando and me standing in the Bosque del Apache nature preserve with our son, Jeremy. He was 14 years old in the photo. He died when he was 22. Yesterday was his 42nd birthday. That red pointing hand was an omen, directing me to open the letter and see that it was Jeremy's way of saying hi. I sure do miss him.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Autumn is the season for shedding

Autumn is the season for shedding. Mother Nature changes out of her summer greens and brilliant blooming colors into her autumn wardrobe of browns, yellows, oranges and reds. She offers up the last fruits of her bountiful harvest. We picked oranges and squeezed fresh juice for this morning's breakfast. Our guava tree gifted us with an abundance of sweet fruit. The sunny days sneak out early, leaving a brisk darkness which urges me indoors to make hot chocolate.

Autumn is the season for shedding metaphorically as well. It is the time when I slow down and take an inventory of things that no longer suit me.

It is a time to:

  1. Shed old habits that deprive me of living fully in the moment.
  2. Shed old thought patterns than dampen my ability to see life as wonder filled.
  3. Shed my persona of "clothing" that is too tight to hold that which is divine with me.
  4. Shed the “clothing” of being hyper responsible, and give myself permission to play more.
  5. Shed the “clothing”of being overly frugal, and give myself permission to spend a little more.

It is a time to be grateful for not only all that I have, but for all that I don't.

I am grateful for:

  1. All those people who enhance my life.
  2. The good fortune to live in a house with electricity and running water.
  3. A healthy body that swims and bikes each day.
  4. A voice that allows me to tell people that I love them.
  5. Ears that allow me to hear music, and the laughter of my grandchildren.
  6. Those painful moments that, in time, expand my capacity to give and receive joy.

Autumn is a time to shed those things to no longer serve us and to be grateful for what life has given us.