Saturday, January 20, 2018

Treasures and Values

Saturday is Coffee and Donuts at the South Hall! It is an opportunity to meet new neighbors and to plan the week ahead. It is also our day of adventure.

 It was a rare day in Arizona as it turned into a cool rainy day. In place of our planned hike we chose to check out some shops in a nearby community. After touring a consignment shop I found a corner Antique Store with a sign in the window  'Sale: 50% Off" . Well, I couldn't pass up an Antique Store but when you add the possibility of finding a sale it is even more enticing.
I was amazed at the quality and quantity it held. I had enjoyed chatting with the the lady who owned the store as I took a leisurely walk through her treasures. She spoke with a beautiful accent, though I couldn't quite place it.

 The door opened and she welcomed a couple who had come in from the cold to take a look around.

The owner announced to them that most everything in the store was on sale 50% off and for them to "Let me know if you want to look closer at something." The lady stopped almost immediately and said, "Yes, I would like to look at this silver compact." The owner graciously unlocked the showcase and while handing the item to the customer said "Now it it 1/2 off of  the ticketed one hundred and twenty five dollars but it could be yours for fifty dollars!!" The lady opened it up, looked it over and said, "No, thanks" to which the owner not wanting to lose a sale, asked, "What would you pay me for it today?"
After a short pause the lady answered, "Well, I was thinking fifteen dollars."
I turned around thinking, Wow that took guts, and didn't know whether to be impressed with her initiative or embarrassed at the insult the owner must have felt!
The owner, without a moment hesitation, casually took the compact back, opened the showcase and while setting it down responded, "It is not "used" it is a collectible....Starbucks, a cup of coffee and piece of pumpkin bread, you could get for $15.00. It is a collectible you know and I have investment. Thank you anyway."

I continued to walk through the shop and had to smile at the response. She had quite cleverly declined the offer of the customer while at the same time declaring the value of; and reason she had placed that value on the item.

Later in the day as I thought back on the incident I realized that each of us have "treasures" in our lives that we value highly. Some are tangible items, those we have on our in our homes, on our walls and shelves. Others are intangible.  As an example a few of my personal treasures would include : my time, energy and my family.

There are times we offer to share those treasures with others, only to find that they don't understand our value system.  We then choose our response to what we may interpret as lack of appreciation of that treasure by others .
 It is my hope that my choice would be to be gracious but strong. That I would be able to convey that the value I place on my 'treasure' is due to my investment and my investment is equal to the value I place on it.  At the same time I hope to accept that others may not appreciate my investment and we are both free to walk away.
May the experience of rejection never stop me from offering to share one more time.

The door opened, a new customer arrived, and the voice once again repeated,"Most everything in the store is 50% off. Please let me know if there is anything I can show you up close."

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

"The Apple of his Eye"

While perusing the internet for InstaPot recipes  (because I may be a bit obsessed -oh, now I digress, that is a story for later! )I came on one for making applesauce. As I was reading through it the poster had listed all the best varieties of apples to be used. This sparked a memory of a story my Dad used to tell. Join me for a moment as I share a memory.

My Dad and Mom celebrated their 40th anniversary on the third day of February 1964 just 15 days before my 16th birthday and the day my Dad would pass away unexpectedly. My sisters had planned a celebration for them that would include the fellowship of friends and family covering those 40 years. Life had been filled with it's share of challenges during those years but many stories of laughter and love were woven among the sad and tragic. Being the youngest of 8 children, separated by as many as 23 years life was pretty different by the time I arrived, and certainly by the time I was old enough to remember. As a result I have only a smattering of stories to cover those early years.
My Dad and oldest brother and sister worked in the shipyards during the war. Daddy was older with a family to care for and Charlie was not accepted due to health issues. (He died at 21 of cancer) Betty was a welder. The stories were rarely shared of this time but Betty told me of forgetting to take her boots one Sunday. She had to wear her 'Sunday shoes' on her shift and got a terrible burn on her foot when slag fell in her open shoe. "I didn't ever forget my boots after that," she said.

Dad farmed with horses and Mom fed the crews in the early years. Later in their marriage Dad walked the logs on the pond of the saw mill, guiding the logs up the chain to be made into lumber. The family was always rewarded by Mom's gardening and cooking skills and the Sunday Dinner table was rarely set for 'family only.' Even tho the money was sparse the love and hospitality in our home never was. Our table welcomed family, friends, and strangers alike.

In those 40 years they lost 3 children. One to disease, one after only 3 days of life and one to a tragic accident. They lived through the war and the "Great Depression". But the story that everyone of us kids would remember and love the most was how they met.

Daddy was working as a farm hand in the apple orchards of western Washington and Momma was picking apples for that same farmer. Daddy would tell how he saw this pretty girl in the tree, and would continue to embellish the story. But he would always declare "I met your Mom when I shook her out of the apple tree." To which Mom would never disappoint him with her response of "Roy Selby you quit telling that story!" much to our delight.

It is one of my favorite tales as I remember his laugh, the twinkle in his eye as he waited expectantly for Mom's inevitable response.

To this day when I think of the fruit in the apple tree I know that without a doubt my Dad got the "apple of his eye" and the  "cream of the crop!!"

Keep your eyes open you never know where you might find a treasure!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Walking in the storm....

While scanning through my former blogs I found this 'draft' that I had never completed. It was started as I was in training for one of my 3Day walks for breast cancer. At the moment I am living in Arizona,  the 'land of sunshine' but am very aware of the clouds that can creep over our lives.  This spoke to my heart as I re-read it and recalled the day.  The concept of being a "Parter of  the Clouds' has been stirring in my heart the past few weeks so I thought maybe it would bring a challenge to another  heart out there! So here it is.....

I have made the commitment in my training to take my walking to the 'outdoors' as much as possible. There is something about breathing in the fresh air that wakes my mind and puts a spring in my step.  In the last couple days I have been reminded of the changes that can take place so quickly in Montana and I was reminded how it reflects life.

Yesterday I started out in cloudy overcast skies. As I continued to walk, the sun broke through.  An hour later I came out from lunch to rain. My commitment to the walk was made and the weather that lay ahead was was not a factor. Commitment is not determined by circumstances, RIGHT??  As I walked and the rain began to fall I had no place to hide. The chill of the storm had found it’s way deep inside my bones. When I arrived home the warmth of fire began to melt the ice.  
This morning the sky was blue, the sun was shining and my anticipation of a day to enjoy Gods' beautiful creation put a smile on my face.I quickly learned that although the sun was out and  the sky was blue that the thermometer showed little hope of a 'WARM sunshiny day.'
It is amazing the difference sunshine and blue skies have on the attitude and strength of resolve.

Isn't that how life goes? We can wake up to an 'overcast' day...something is nagging at our heart or head and the day seems a bit cloudy. As the day goes on we may find ourselves walking through a storm of blizzard proportions...the bank called to say your account is short, a loved one is going to be fighting a battle for life, your child is demanding an extra dose of know what I mean.
The chill of that storm makes its' way to the bone and stays with you for hours, day or weeks.

Then one day you awake to the sunshine. The clouds have scattered but the frost is still in the air. With the sunshine comes HOPE and the strength to press on. The boss offers an extra hour of overtime...a friend calls to offer love and support....or maybe you are just reminded of a scripture that promises understanding and hope.

Many times it is the touch or maybe just a word from family, friend, or a complete stranger that parts the clouds and allows that first ray of sun. Are YOU a “parter” of the clouds?? When your heart is nudged to contact a friend or speak to that stranger..JUST DO IT! The time it takes will be repaid in the joy renewed and hope restored that a simple gesture of caring can bring. A smile, a word, a hug, a phone call or a card sent are all tools to bring forth the sunshine from behind the clouds!

Listen to your heart and bless and be blessed!!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

INSPIRATION is my word....

IT'S OFFICIAL...2018 has begun!

Three years ago as I was preparing for a 3Day 60 mile walk for breast cancer, my heart kept stressing the word HOPE to me. My commitment to the walk became based on that word. The research done as a result of  the monies raised for that walk brings HOPE to those diagnosed. It then became a goal throughout my year to share HOPE with as many people as possible. What fun it turned out to be.

Since that year; at the beginning of each new year I search for a "word" to become my theme for the year to come...I have carried HOPE and JOY in the years past and I begin this new year with 'INSPIRATION' as my word for the next 365 days! Do you notice they build on each other?

INSPIRATION: "The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative " ( a new body, attitude or lifestyle could be seen as creative )

Inspiration is something I will look for from others and something I will strive to give. There are many means of inspiration for all avenues of life. I am excited to look for people, words, slogans, and stories that will 'spur me on' to become a stronger, healthier more "creative" person. To learn a new skill or to complete a goal I have never accomplished and to become a source of INSPIRATION to others, in 2018!!


What is YOUR word??

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas with Sunshine and Palm Trees

Christmas 2017 found us in Arizona with sunshine and palm trees. No snow to be found but instead the twinkle of Christmas lights on palm trees filled the air! New friends, new experiences and new traditions, mixed with the old became my reality.

The holiday away from all that is familiar and traditional brought with it the opportunity to "do it differently." If there is one thing I have learned in my nearly 70 years, it is that Flexibility is the key to happiness on many occasions. So this year our tree was small (to match our home) and the gifts under it had come in boxes of love sent from the kids far away. Instead of 'hugs at the door" we did love through phone calls and Face Time and kisses thrown through the air.

Christmas dinner was spent at the Community Center with a crowd of other retirees in place of family. There was no turkey nor pumpkin pie. In its' place was ham  and chocolate cake.  Even with those traditions missing  I found that the 'SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS' was in the air.

Through the week different ones had shared their 'memories past' creating opportunity for us to be  reminded how blessed we have been throughout the years.  A story of tremendous sacrifice by parents so one little girl could have a doll to cherish.  A Dad who made Santa come to life, while another read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" story and shared the precious  memories it carries with it only to be revisited every Christmas season. The beauty of  these stories shared is that they come from souls who have lived through some of the most difficult times of this country. The incredible truth is that the love of families and friends, and for many, little miracles along the way, carried them through those times with memories wrapped as gifts, in thankfulness and awe.

As our Christmas cards have arrived this year the recurring message for the season has been "JOY."
I am reminded that  HAPPINESS is something I choose; but JOY comes through knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So this year I have CHOSEN  happiness in this our new setting: but my JOY has come from deep within, as I spend time in the PRESENCE of Jesus!!

I hope your Christmas was filled with happy times and that you found your JOY wrapped in the PRESENCE of Jesus!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Never To Old for Adventure

The Moody's have begun a new chapter in life!  Does that sound like a mantra you have heard before??
 In nearly 51 years of marriage there have been very few moments when 'boring' would have described my life. I walked down the isle to a begin a new life filled with more adventures and challenges than I could have ever imagined, and blessings beyond measure.
Life as a new wife began on the budget of a college student. Thankful for a Mom who taught me to cook, bake and share the bounty, creative casseroles and 'wonders' found their way to the table as new friends pulled up a chair. Living away from home with no telephone to call home, gave us a great opportunity to begin to build a foundation of strength, important to all marriages.
After a couple years, our first 'bundle of joy' entered the world and has lived up to that description for 49 years! The old adage of a baby slowing life down? We didn't get the memo!! A logging camp in Alaska, the addition of our first daughter (joy #2), living on an island, learning to order and receive food by mail, no radio or TV, leaning on one another for support, left us with another brick.
"And now there are 30"
 The  Oregon coast was home for a short time where twin boys (joys 3 & 4) brought a whole new level of life and fun into our family.
Then to a farm in the Willamette Valley and on to southern Oregon to a little bigger ranch and the welcoming of our youngest daughter (Joy #5). God only, could have planned the love, and Joy that  we have felt as each of these gifts were sent to us and the blessing of FAMILY they have made real. Amazing is the reality of variety in personalities and that special place in the heart that they each individually fill.
Montana was our next move, far away from friends and family and all things familiar. New opportunities and challenges for the entire crew became reality.  Each of us discovered that with all the moves and changes we had experienced in life the gift of flexibility had taken root. In the years following that move it has been amazing to see that gift at work in our lives and lives of each of children.
Welcome to AZ
Jim retired 5 years ago and we sold our home, bought a motor home and  have traveled the states, acquiring new friends and chiseling down that 'bucket list."
Following Thanksgiving this year we packed the car with feelings of anticipation of a new chapter in our lives. Nearly 2000 miles later, visits and hugs with family along the way, we arrived in Mesa, AZ.
The past couple weeks we have spent making a little house into HOME! Our first Christmas in many years without family hugs.  UPS, FED EX and USPS have done their best to deliver the love of our children in packages to be unwrapped.
As we again, open our door to new found friends and old cherished friends and family. As we make a place in our hearts for what God has in store for us in AZ. , we rejoice in this NEWEST opportunity for adventure!!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Open Heart Open Home

Several years ago I read a book by that title and the title has always stuck with me. Partly because I was taught to make that the goal of my life....

Some of my earliest memories of growing up are the many visitors my parents welcomed to our home. From family, to church friends and missionaries those sharing a meal or staying a while, ran the gamut. Some of my fondest and fun filled memories were created around the dining table, stretched to its limits, filled with a home cooked meal and ending with one of Mom's "made from scratch" deserts. Oh, the stories, tears and laughter that were shared over those meals!
Our home was never the fanciest but the love, warm welcome and smell of food in the oven overshadowed any dust and "clutter" those who entered might have seen. Living in a busy house, Momma always said, "If you wait for things to be perfect you will never have someone in!" :) I have reminded myself of that often in the 50 years I have had my own home to share.

When Jim and I began our lifetime adventure it immediately became apparent that we would carry on the example my parents had set. Jim was in college and although our budget was MINIMUM there was always enough for a few more. 
Oh, the memories we made as I learned to make a pound of hamburger stretch to four meals :) Homemade rolls assured no one left hungry!
As time went on, and our family grew, the door swung open even wider and our home became the base for gatherings of neighborhood kids and the 'safe spot' for many who needed it. 

There was the homeless traveler who Jim brought home. He set with us for a meal, took a shower, told stories, and sang Spanish melodies by the fire. He left the next morning with clean clothes, a full stomach and a 'lunch to go.' He left behind a family with grateful hearts. Four young kids warned of the dangers in the world, and a prayer for "Henry" and his safety on our lips.

Or the 16 year old who lived with us until she felt safe again at home.

The teens who lived with us through the summer, 'working in the mill' to pay for school the following year. The family who needed a home away from home so they could care for a sick parent...and the list goes on. 

In the past few years since Jim retired and we have found the joy of Motor Home travels we have added guests  we have met whose homes were far from ours. "Stop by if you are ever in MT." 
Last Summer we had a chance encounter with a couple from Delaware. They were camped at the local Walmart and were missing their family far away. They joined us for a family Bar-B-Que where hugs were abundant.  What a joyful day it turned out to be for all. With the assistance of email we have kept in touch through out the year and next week we will travel to Delaware to enjoy a gift of love returned. 

There is not a need for gourmet food, a fancy house, or a table set with fine linen. Hot dogs, and paper plates will do just fine.  Spontaneous is sometimes the most fun!

It is the hug at the door, the welcoming smile; a meal seasoned with love and shared with joy that creates a refuge for a weary soul. 

Open your heart, swing wide the door of your home and bask in the joy of sharing!