Lobster and Friends

IMG_1162What could be better than meandering through six New England states, in all its splendor, except sharing it with special and dear friends?   Not only were we side-by-side every step of the way but each turn in the road brought a new experience and memory to be cherished forever.

As we trekked together through Boston, Hyannis, Martha’s Vineyard, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, IMG_9608Maine and back to Boston there was beauty and history everywhere.  It was like taking Paul Revere’s ride but with different side trips…..checking out the site of John F. Kennedy’s White House, sailing IMG_9984over to Martha’s Vineyard, visiting “The Vanderbilt’s estate,  touring Mystic Seaport then on to experience Norman Rockwell’s Museum and Calvin Coolidge’s IMG_0073birthplace. IMG_0133 As we wound through the White Mountains and tasted pure maple sugar and on to the seashore of Maine, seafood was on the menu everywhere.   We were told that Maine’s rocky coast, strong wave action, and cold, nutrient-rich watersIMG_1158 help create the world’s sweetest and best-tasting IMG_9660lobsters.  We got to taste lobster rolls, which were popular everywhere, and even had our own fresh lobster dinner before we headed home.  For a seafood girl like me, this was heaven on earth!

It was like a continuous picture postcard everywhere we went. IMG_9734 The lush green, the gorgeous IMG_9767flowers, when combined with so many profound destinations, made our journey one to cherish for sure.  Yes, I knew much of our country’s heritage IMG_0223and foundation was rooted in New England but to experience it up close and personal….well, this was beyond words.  And, when surrounded by picturesque landscapes, just punctuated it all.

Of course, the best of all, was the memories IMG_1138we made with such dear friends.  The happy hours in our rooms at the end of each day…..all IMG_9633cramming into the family pew at the Old Church…….seeking out the Cheers watering hole…….sharing the Blah Ba Blah Ba Blah of Greg, our tour guide………ourIMG_9688 lime-green girls’ day on the water……..getting lost in the Casino….Clare’s maple cookies…….and theIMG_0155 sing-a-longs on the bus……..and of course the numerous photo opportunities, these we remember fondly as they celebrated the special bond we all have with each other.

This is was a time that will be tucked away in our hearts as most precious because of the personal connections we had that were already in place.  What a gift to one another…..and to ourselves!IMG_9795

 

 

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Aloha, Mom!!

Geezers 123Once in a very great while there passes someone through your life that makes a lasting impression.  They may not command center stage and prefer to be in the background, but they make a profound and lasting  difference in one’s life.  Such was the case with our mother.  She stood strong as the wind but gentle as a breeze.  She never complained.  She was always “there” to lend a hand, never wanting anything in return.  Even in her last days she worried about her six “very adult” children taking time out of their lives for her.  That is just the way she was.

As we were removing the last of her things from her house my sister found a significant amount of cash that had been stashed in her bathroom vanity……I am sure stowed there in case of an emergency,  which was so in line with her thinking.   Now, we were faced with a dilemma….what should we do with it?    I called a meeting and presented three scenarios.  We could “divide and go”……….we could allot a chunk toward our annual beach getaways for the next several years…….or we could all jump in, applying it toward a trip as a family to Hawaii.   To my surprise…….it was voted to “go for the gusto” by celebrating Mom through an Hawaiian memory.

I believe Mom was cheering us on from afar.   I think she was secretly wanting this for us……as was evident once it played out.  She loved the ocean and seafood……. and had traveled to Hawaii with some of us years ago and we remember how much she enjoyed it.  Our Beach WalkIt wasn’t by coincidence that I had traveled to Maui the previous year with my daughter and family to find the perfect location.  A small condominium complex my Kathy and Mehusband and I had stayed in many years ago had been beautifully remodeled with ocean front units side-by-side.  The water was no Turtles and Sunsetmore than 35-40 feet from our patios, making it easy to interact and “simply breathe”.  The added bonus was the turtles!  These amazing and massive creatures would greet us in the afternoons as they would “beach” themselves for a rest in the sun.  What an unbelievable experience to be a part of it all!!

As the six of us, along with our spouses, ventured outHula Grill guys here and there throughout the day…….or just hung around ….we felt this is where we were meant to be. Flower Girls It was confirmed when we decided to celebrate Mom with a Hawaiian  feast one night.  The twelve of us took over the barbecue area steps from the water, pulled together a seafood feast (that was her preferred choice of food always) for kings, and saluted our Mom.  Don's MessageDon, my brother-in-law shared a poem he wrote, “Hat’s Off to You”, Mom's Sunsetwhich brought us all to tears as Mom was toasted.  We knew she was in our midst when the most beautiful sunset of sunsets culminated our gathering.  It was a moment in time that will never be forgotten by each of us.   We had no doubt that she was there!

How fortunate we are to have had Mom for as long as we did.  In her 97 years she reared us, she formed us, she was there for each of us and she was an example for us all….always taking the “hind seat”.  Ah the sunsetShe was the “Salt of the Earth” for sure but now hovers forever just beyond the horizon.  Never will I look at a sunset the same as she will be smiling at us as it so vibrantly glows then quietly rests as the light is extinguished to burst into light again the next day.

We thank you, Mom, for this treasured and most precious memory.   We feel your presence each day and hold your essence within.  We promise to hold you close and stay forever connected to one another.  May we each pass it on and keep your spirit going.  Aloha !!

Humpert Clan

 

“Wrapsody”

Never did I realize how much fun I would have making custom wrap bracelets!!  What started out as a hobby to support my creative nature has evolved into branching out in all directions.  As I explore and attempt new designs I realize I  have simply tapped the edges of what could be.  Each time I pull out my leather and beads and come up with something new, I want to try yet another application.

Wrap Necklace          Silver Ring Necklace Carmel         LariatRing Black Bracelet       Green Wrap Bracelet       Stretch Bracelets

As the requests come in it meanders me in so many Childrens Braceletsnew and exciting directions.  I love it when someone says, “Can you add a personalized initial or charm.”  It is then that I feel I am really producing something special and meaningful.   When I made the favorite color of a little girl for a mom soon I was making more children’s designs.

Ducks and Seahawks (3)And, when someone asked, “Can you make something for an Oregon Ducks or Seahawks fan?”  away I went with new ideas 3 Strandsbouncing around in my head.  When I received pictures of new bracelet or necklace ideas from my daughters and friends,  I immediately searched for new applications.   That just spurred me on to push my boundaries!

Who knows where this will lead, but so far it fills my head with new and fun ideas each day.  It feeds my “artistic gene” as well as brings a sense of accomplishment.   Sharing my creations, and realizing they provide something special for others as well, is what it is all about.  I would be happy to be a part of your vision if you are looking for a unique and personalized gift…….or just want something for yourself!

Wrapsody (3)

What Makes Christmas so Special?

Christmas tree with presents and fireplace with stockingsEvery year as the holidays approach I wonder, “Why is everything such a big deal?  Why do I scurry around finding the most perfect special gift for those that I hold most dear?   And, why does tradition play such an important part?”  After the dust settles and things slowly return to what is normally routine I find myself reflecting on this whole process.  

Christmas 2017

As the layers are peeled back within our own identities what stands alone and becomes most vulnerable is who we are and what we stand for. Since the holidays are a time to connect with our loved ones, I believe therein lies the reason we bring things to a new level.    It is a time to celebrate the importance of our relationships and the “reason for the season”!   Not only is it a time of spiritual affirmation of our beliefs and values, it is intertwined with the emotional foundation and connections in our lives.

When things are good, this time of year can soar to ecstatic heights but if things are unstable or hitting a “rough patch” things can be even more stressful and gut wrenching for those who are struggling.  We need to be aware that not everyone looks forward to the emotion of the season…..it can be a reminder of personal disappointment or heartache.  As  more focus is put upon the personal side of life and emotional levels are revealed, vulnerability can be simply waiting to engage and spring to attention.  Also, there seems to be an urgency during this time, driving our lives to decorate, shop, bake and connect with each other.  Adding these tasks to our daily duties, along with the heightened focus all around us can be exhilarating, but can also add to the mix when we are stretched to the max.  As we extend ourselves we must also continue to be reminded of our own emotional barometer……. and of others as well.   

For sure, we learn as youngsters about Christmas from what came before us, ……and then it evolves into repetition……or not!!  Sometimes traditions can emerge out of new relationships as well, or part of a transition or shift in our lives.  But, at the  core remains the same motivation…….who and what is most important to us personally!  Whether meeting new people down the street or family is extended what doesn’t change is “change”…..it is ever constant and the way it was meant to be.  

 

My goal is to keep everything in prospective and embrace each day in a positive manner.  I savor each moment that the holidays bring as it provides an opportunity to honor precious and invaluable relationships…..or open the door to new connections.   Christmas 2017It warms my heart to watch my grandkids continually thumb through all my endless photos, Uglay Sweater winners 2017recalling special memories that have been made, which I hope adds another layer to cement their foundation.  And, for me, there is also an exhilaration when paths cross during this time and a new friend is made.  Christmas time will always be most special and treasured to me as memorable moments are captured while we reconnect and interact with those that we hold most dear, but also the possibility to welcome into our circle another player as a neighbor, friend or family member.    This is life as it is meant to be……..how fortunate we are!!

And Then They are Gone !!

In this crazy busy world that we lead one doesn’t realize how quickly it flies by, sometimes missing opportunities to savor precious moments and times with the ones who have been the foundation of who we have become.

Recently my Mom passed away and now, as I reflect on her last years, I know that she savored every moment we were able to carve out of the whirlwind we live in day to day. I know there is a predestined cycle that we all are apart of and it sometimes seems like it is roaring past us faster and faster each day.  But what I think we don’t stop to think about is that when you are unable to care for yourself and must depend on others, days drag on and on with every day looking the same as the day before.  The highlights come randomly as extended family and friends stop by to share a few moments…..or even more basically, simply looking forward to the next meal.

IMG_7447As I would visit Mom each week it became apparent as I walked the halls of the care facility that very few had regular visitors, which broke my heart.  Residents were just watching the world go by as they sat is their recliners, sitting in the hall, or even confined to their beds.  These were people who were vital and played an important role in society earlier in their lives.  As I would stop and greet them on my way through I could see a spark that emerged just to be recognized. Becky and Mom It became obvious to me that the caregivers became their family in so many ways as they had the most personal contact with them on a regular basis.  So many were drawn to the caregiver field just to make a difference in these people’s lives…..and I admire them so much.   The difference they made in my Mom’s life was so huge, and I will never forget the way they touched her life.

It is inevitable that someday there will come a time when we will be unable to take care of ourselves and we will be the ones sitting in those recliners and wheelchairs awaiting for someone to interact with us.  My hope is that we can keep our interests going as long as possible and fill our time now with something that feeds us so our quality of life stretches as far as possible.  Also, we need to work a little harder on taking time to visit those who are special to us and need it the most right here and now…..!!   Where else can you receive such a high sense of reward for a few special moments that mean so much to someone?   Before a blink of an eye it could be too late….don’t let that happen!!

I know what it meant for Mom to see her family and take part in it in any way.  She loved just spending a few hours with her kids at their houses even if it was just watching my Geezers 453sister make cookies, be present as she babysat her little granddaughters or took part in a family function.   She would just say, “I just love to sit and watch everyone”!  It simply made her day.   She was always ready to GO whenever anyone asked her.  Mom and ReunionShe told me that you should always go if you can…….the alternative was more of the same over and over.  Her gratitude was steady and solid…….and she appreciated every effort anyone made.   What impressed me the most is that she took hold and made the best of the situation she was in.  Sometimes when I would visit her she and her walker were not to be found as she was well known for walking all the hallways, working on finding the fit for the right puzzle piece, playing cards, working on a craft project or participating in whatever the activity of the day was.  She was one amazing lady.

I wished I could have spent more time with her but I treasure in my heart all the wonderful conversations we shared and know she loved every moment as well.  She was always quick to thank me for taking the time I did but it was pure joy.  I pray that I will be able to live as she did…..with grace and gratitude.  I just know that we all need to take those extra little efforts to enjoy those who are in their twilight years as their time becomes shorter and shorter and more limited…….and it cannot be taken for granted.  I miss Mom every day…….and am reminded of her every time I turn around and in all I do. Because of our special bond and the time we spent together she has become a part of me……..and that brings me comfort. Family 2013 006

 

“I Choose Joy”

A few months ago I ran into a lady from the Canadian East coast while vacationing with some of my family.   We were staying in the condo next to her and her husband’s.    For several days we just said hello as we came and went, crossing paths, but I could feel myself responding to her genuine smile.  There was just “something” there!!

One evening I was sitting on the ledge in front of my condo talking to my 15 year old grandson.  He was sharing some of his frustrations in life. I did not realize this lady was observing our interaction.  After my grandson wandered off she approached me saying what a great grandma I was.  I was surprised by her comment but I will never forget our conversation. She was a retired school teacher and had seen so many kids struggle and she relayed that so often they shut down when family try to talk to them.  Because I was asking my grandson questions and taking the time to respect what was important to him it must have resonated with her.   She went on to share that so many of the young adults she taught so often did not feel heard and acted out because of it.  Her philosophy in life was very simply…….”just choose joy” every morning!   Everything else will fall in line.

We were drawn together like magnets and got together and chatted often after that first contact.  I learned she had been battling many physical and medical challenges but refused to dwell on them.  She was so grateful for each day no matter what…….and she never sat still very much.  It seemed like she was always on a walk, playing in the surf or talking and laughing with someone. I loved her effervesence and the way she embraced each day, even with her own challenges.  She always had a smile whenever I saw her. She was out living life to the fullest and recognized the good in others……….and her sense of humor was infectious.  

I wished we had had more time to get to know each other better but in that short time the impact was huge.   Since I was making bracelets while I was there I gifted her one and we exchanged email addresses.  I was so excited after I returned home to find something in my inbox from “The Kanuck”!  It is not often you meet someone with which you find an instant connection and a message that sticks like glue. I have a hunch that our paths will cross again someday.  This did not randomly happen……. it was part of a bigger plan!  What a gift!  

“It’s All About the Climb !”

As I watch from the sidelines my grandkids slug through one level after another I am reminded of the twists and turns during new discoveries and challenges when I was their age.  There may be a different face on the struggles and hurdles but the overall drive and goals are more or less the same.  There is that ever present pull toward self management and independence.  What a joy to watch each one emerge into beautiful human beings!

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Alex has now graduated from the University of Oregon and is on his way toward a career in medicine.  He is clocking the practical hours toward his entrance into medical school and truly assuming the responsibility of his future more each day.  He communicates with more assurance but continues to sleep as late as possible on his “off” days…..conserving his energy for the ride ahead I am sure.  His confidence and “can-do” is evident in everything he does as he trudges ahead…..and his caring ways just overflows.

IMG_7410Ashtin is definitely blazing her own trail with true grit, scratching and clawing her way through her talents while maintaining a solid sense of values.  Her faith is her rock that guides her through the hills and valleys.  As she approaches Sacramento State and her five year commitment to the volleyball program there this fall it will be exciting to follow her journey.  Her love of life is reflective in her fun loving spontaneity that is infectious and embraces everyone in her path…..but understands it is all part of God’s plan.

photo (11)As Dylan prepares for his giant step forward this fall attending Western Oregon University, his plan to pursue his interest in computer forensics is leading the way.  He has already conquered the working world and made a name for himself through “slinging burgers” for Burgerville these past few years…..and hopes to continue this sideline through his coming expedition.   His adventuresome demeanor as well as his uncanny sense of humor will follow him, I am sure, and become even more part of his trademark.  His heart is big and I know it will be a drawing card for many.

Growth comes through learning and struggles but backed by love and support.  In this crazy busy world it is difficult to take the time to stop and just listen and interact when schedules and fatigue is ever present.   However, I believe that is when the most sorting occurs, values are cemented and growth emerges.  Without the disappointments, mistakes and blind siding “hiccups” in life there would be less to learn from.  It is during this transitional time is when we discover who we are and how we handle life as it comes flying toward us.  This is called “The Climb”…and it is crucial in our development.

I guess, the thing I am most proud of is the way in which each of these kids carry themselves. They openly communicate their love and respect….and that means the world to me.  They are good people who will make their mark in this world.  They will do it with a good sense of conscience and follow their hearts, always taking into consideration the impact on others.  They are not perfect, for sure, but their intentions are pure and will make a difference!  As they insert their toe into the masses I am positive the ripples they will create will reach far and wide and be felt by many. lgi01a201407020500[1]