Friday, December 28, 2018

Jump Around #FunnyFriday

Welcome to December's Funny Friday. Can you believe it is already the last Funny Friday of 2018?! I feel like this year has flown by. In case you have never seen a Funny Friday post before, here is how it works... A group of bloggers get together, and we caption a picture, with five captions or thoughts, the picture put into our heads. We try to make them funny, but sometimes that is easier said that done. Admittedly, I am one of the people who struggles with the funny at times. My blogger friends are definitely funnier than I am, but it is a fun experience nonetheless. Hopefully, we can all bring some laughter into your Friday. 

Each month, a different blogger submits the picture that we caption. This month's picture was submitted by me. The star of the photo, as usual, is none other than Gigi herself. I snapped it during one of our Mommy Daughter dates, at our favorite Boba Tea cafe. It is a place that we love to spend time at together, and just thinking about it right now, makes me thing we may need to end our week, with a Boba date. 

So, without further delay, check out this awesome (if I do say so myself) picture, and my not so awesome (but I tried my hardest) captions!

1. Jumping for joy! Jumping for Boba!

2. I believe I can flyyyyyy....

3. I'll have whatever she's having!

4. I scream for ice scream, and I jump for Boba!

5. This picture is so Gigi. This is who she is... a beautiful, wonderful, loving, fun bundle of joy. I love that phrase, "dance like nobody is watching", and Gigi takes it to heart. She does not care that others are watching, she just loves to dance and exude joy. It is contagious. Her smile, her laughter, her joy. She shares them all freely. I wish you could all meet her in person. Even if just to wave, as you walk past her in a store. Something tells me, that your day will be better just because of it. I know I am her mom, and I am biased, but I do not think I am wrong. She gives compliments to everyone. Genuine compliments. She sees beauty in everyone, and she happily lets them know. If she likes your hair, clothes, smile, shoes, etc... She will tell you. She will tell her sincerely. I feel like we could all learn a thing or two from her. Most people are quick to offer criticism or judgment to people they meet, but never share anything positive. This is so sad to me, and something I try very hard not to do. Gigi makes me a better person, and I am so grateful she is my daughter. I wish I could take credit for how wonderful she is, but the truth is, she comes by it naturally. I have started complimenting others more. I doubt it makes people as happy, as Gigi's compliments make people, but I am just happy to be putting some good out into the world. Whenever we go through a drive thru, she always requests her window be rolled down. She insists on saying high to the employees, and to give them compliments. She tells them they are gorgeous or handsome, or that they have a beautiful voice, or that their hair is wonderful, or maybe it is that their smile is super awesome. I have seen her bring genuine joy to so many people, and I am a better person because of it. I hope she never changes. I hope she never stops dancing like nobody is watching. 

I know I am lacking in the funny this week. I do apologize. You would think, since it is my own picture, I would have an overabundance of funny captions, but I definitely failed. My funny is absolutely not working this week. So, I don't know about you, but I cannot wait to see what funny captions my fellow bloggers came up with. Head on over, and I will meet you there, right after I get Gigi to come look with me. 

Feel free to leave me any captions you think of in the comment section!! Gigi and I would love to read them!! I hope you have a funny Friday and a fantastic weekend!! The last weekend of 2018. I will see you in 2019, for our next Funny Friday!!

Check out the rest of the Funny Friday posts here: 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Whole New Light #UseYourWords

Welcome to December's Use Your Words post. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked four to six words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: 
holiday ~ celebrate ~ bittersweet ~ heavy ~ love

It was submitted by: (You rock, Karen!!)

So, the moment I saw these words, I was like wow. I mean, if you think about my life these past few months, and you look at these words, you cannot help but see they are perfect for me. I normally like to have some plan for Use Your Words posts, and occasionally, I just kind of wing it. I am not necessarily going to wing this, but I am just going to write whatever comes to mind. These words really are perfect, for me to just write.

This holiday season, has been very bittersweet, but my desire to celebrate is at an all time high. I normally love this time of year, and this year is no different. What is different is me, and my heart, and my thoughts about life. My heart is still heavy, with the pain of losing my dad. I am already crying as I type this, and I am sure I will cry even more, as I go on. 

I got a tattoo today, and as I was talking to the artist, I really got deep into my thoughts on the whole losing my dad thing. I told him that my dad and I had an unusual relationship. It was good and bad, all at once, and it was one of deep love, and at times some anger and hate. I never realized how deeply losing him would hurt. I never realized how deeply losing a parent could hurt. It makes me wonder what others experience, when they have even closer relationships than my dad and I. It must just be purely unbearable. I told him I have always felt deep sympathy for anyone who loses a parent, but I don't think I have felt enough sympathy. It is a worse pain, than I could have imagined.

As part of my faith, I believe there is an afterlife. My dad was far from perfect, but after much reflection over the past few months, I have to believe he is in a good place, and he is happy. He was at his core a good man. I wish I had spent the years focused on that, and not on grudges I held to so tightly. Losing him, made me realize the truly important things. Spoiler alert, the important things were all the things I did not focus on. Total missed opportunity. 

I have always been stubborn and strong willed and a wild child. I like to live life on my own terms, and that has really led to me being far away from the people I love most. I am definitely a nomad. When I think about all these things about me, it is so obvious, that I get those from my dad. He was stubborn and a nomad and he lived life on his terms. I think us being so similar, led to us having many of the issues we had. Another part of it, was I born in the eighties and my dad was born in the forties. The life he grew up to and lived, was so vastly different that life in the eighties and nineties. I could not understand that, and I took thing more personally than I should have. 

I think many of my dad's actions, were misunderstood by me. I genuinely think he did the best he could, with what life had taught him. He was from a different era entirely. His actions made perfect sense for that, and just did not fit into what I grew up learning from life, about how it should be. By the time I was born, my dad had nieces and nephews, that were grown. I did not grow up with my first cousins. I grew up with my second and third cousins. There was quite a gap between my dad and I. I understand things so different now. Being faced with the loss of him, really opened my eyes.

My dad always told me he loved me, but he was a man of few words. I guess, that led me to fill in the gaps myself, and honestly, I think I filled them in so wrong. I wish I had asked my dad so many more questions, than just thinking I knew what he was thinking and feeling. Lucky for me, though he was a man of few spoken words, he wrote quite a few. I have found every card and letter I ever wrote him. Though, he never mentioned them to me, or really replied ever, he actually took the time to write notes to me on them. Notes I found after he passed away, and I had to go through his stuff.

They really showed me my dad in a completely different light. A light I wish more than anything, I had seen while he was still here. I really failed him as a daughter. So badly failed him. He deserved so much better and so much more. I left miscommunication and misunderstandings guide our relationship. I wish I had spoken to him more. Asked more questions. I mean, we spoke constantly, but I always kept it very surface level. I have so many questions I wish I had asked. 

It is funny, because if you had asked me where my dad stood, while he was alive, I would have said that he was my dad, and he gave me life, and things were complicated. Now, knowing what I do now, looking back, I would answer totally different. I would tell you he was my biggest fan. He was always there for me, whether I wanted it or not. He always had my back, even when I did not realize it. He loved me deeply, and he did the very best he could, with what he had.

It really stinks that I know all this now, and he is gone. I wish I knew it when he was still here, even if just long enough to have one conversation with him. One conversation, spoken with the knowledge I have now. The one really good thing that has come from this, is it has shown me the mistakes that can happen, between children and their parents. I am aware, and will do everything in my power, to make sure these same misunderstandings never happen with Gigi and I. 

It just sucks, y'all. I wish I had better words to explain it, but I don't. This loss has been one of the biggest of my life, and it has hit me deeper than I knew possible. I am handling it as best I can. It is complicated and hard and frustrating and confusing and it hurts. I have really had to dig deep inside myself, and I am doing my best to cope. I have pulled very much back. As you probably noticed, I stopped interacting on my Facebook page. I miss everyone, but I just need some time. Time to process. Time to heal. Time to understand. 

I guess if there is anything I can say.... Talk. Talk to your parents. Talk to your kids. REALLY talk. Communicate clearly. Ask the questions. Explain the feelings. Be open. Be honest.

There is going to be good times. There will be bad times. Yes, the bad times matter, but please don't get so focused on them, you forget the good times. When they are gone, suddenly the bad times don't matter as much. You see things more clearly, and you remember the good times. In the end, that is what matters most. Never stop making the good times. 

Are you all ready for the holidays?! I feel ready and yet totally NOT ready, all at once. I am excited for next week. Chad is on vacation, and we will be getting a lot done. We will also be spending time together, just us. Gigi will be in school, and I will get to hang out with my best friend. Just us. Well, just us and the TV. I am hoping we can catch up on the shows we love to watch together, but never seem to have the opportunity to do so. 

I hope you all have a wonderful end of 2018. I am excited for 2019. I hope it is my best year yet. 

Don't forget to check out the rest of December's Use Your Words posts!! I will meet you there. I just need to grab a refill of coffee, and get snuggled in my heated blanket (California seems extra cold this Winter!).


Monday, December 10, 2018

Spread the Jolly #BlogWithFriends

Welcome to December's Blog with Friends. Can you believe this is the last Blog with Friends round-up of 2018?! It all went by so quickly. If you have not seen a BWF before, here is how it works: Each month, a group of bloggers chooses a topic, and then they all create individual blog posts based on that month's theme. Each post will be different, and can cover pretty much any type of post. There could be short stories, DIY projects, recipes, lists, poetry, craft projects, and any number of other things. This month's theme is Jolly. I hope you enjoy all the posts we have in store for you.

When I first heard the topic jolly, my first thought was Santa. My second thought was making others jolly. So, that is what I am giving y'all today. Ideas on how to make other people jolly!! If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Leave them in the comment section for me.

1. This entry on the list, is inspired by Gigi. One of the most amazing things about her, is her ability to make those around her Jolly. One of the biggest ways she does this, is compliments. She gives basically everyone she sees a compliment. The best part, is that her compliments are genuine. She sees goodness and beauty in everyone she meets, and she is not afraid to tell them. I think if we all went around, giving other people compliments, we would definitely being making those around us Jolly. I have seen it first hand, and it works. I have actually made myself commit to giving out way more compliments, than I normally do. I do not know, if I will ever get on Gigi's level, of giving compliments to everyone, but I will definitely increase the number of compliments I give.

2. I have spoke on this next one a lot, and it definitely works, to make people around you Jolly. Four words: Random Acts of Kindness. Seriously, these are amazing little ways to make people happy. Give a compliment. Buy someone a cup of coffee. Hold the door. Help someone pick up stuff they dropped. Bring someone a meal or snack. Give someone flowers just because. Yield, and let the car that has been waiting for ages pull in front of you. Give the waitress a larger than necessary tip. Send someone a just because card. The possibilities are endless, and you will spread so much joy. You will be surrounded by Jolly people.

3. This is one that I strongly recommend, and I plan on doing, if I ever win the lottery, or strike it rich. I am secretly hoping that one of you who reads this, does it, because that would be amazing. I can also guarantee you will make people Jolly. Be a layaway Santa. Go to a store who offers layaway, and pay off some random person's layaway. Do more than one, if you can. It is best to do this at Christmas time. You will be ensuring that some people have a wonderful Christmas. This is on my bucket list, and I really hope I get to cross it off.

4. Buy some books or supplies for a classroom. It can be your kid's classroom, or a random classroom. Trust me, you will not only make the teacher Jolly, but all the kids too. It will make you just a Jolly as them. I actually got to do this one, and I promise, it is a great feeling!!

5. Buy a bunch of ready to eat food, and deliver it to homeless people. Give them bags of toiletries or blankets, and you will make them Jolly. Jolly and grateful. This is another one, where you will be just as jolly, or possibly more jolly, than the people you made jolly.

6. What really matters to you?! Animals? Children? Old people? Figure out what matters to you, and then find a charity or two or four, that help with what matters most to you, and donate some money to them. You will make them jolly and the people/animals they help, will be jolly. If you want to spread even more jolly, to others and yourself, then volunteer with the charity. I swear volunteering will definitely spread jolly to those around, but I think you will get the most jolly, all on your own.

7. Organize a party for all of your friends/family. You know what makes people jolly?! A party. It can be any type of party. A potluck, a dance party, or even a game night party. Just do it. It doesn't have to be at the holidays. You could even just organize a party in the middle of January, just because. Pick a month, any month, and plan a party. I honestly feel like the world needs more just because parties.

8. Be courteous. I cannot tell you how jolly it makes me, when I encounter a courteous person. Someone who says hello, asks how I am, holds the door, or even just smiles at me. You can do any of those things, or something of your own choosing. Maybe you put shopping carts into the cart stall. Maybe you stop, and let the people in the crosswalk cross, rather than them having to wait for no traffic (I don't mean crosswalks at traffic lights, those are controlled. The random crosswalks in the middle of blocks). Maybe you put cash in a parking meter you see, that has expired, to prevent someone from getting a ticket. Let someone cut in front of you in line, when they are in a hurry, and you have plenty of time. Just practice being a polite person, every chance you get. Guaranteed, it will make others jolly.

9. This may sound weird, but this is something I plan on doing. You can go to the Dollar Store, and buy a pack of cute cards, that are blank inside. Then write a positive message in there. Maybe tell them to have a good day, or encourage them to find their happiness and live it. Just fill them with positive messages and/or quotes. Then buy some $5 or $10 gift cards... Places like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Target, Walmart, Amazon, Baskin Robbins, McDonald's, etc... Put a gift card inside each card, and hand them out to people you see, who look like they are having a bad day.

10. Pay it backwards. Occasionally, when you are in a drive-thru, pay for the person behind you. Trust me, you will definitely make them jolly.

So, there you go, ten mostly simple ways you can make other people jolly. What are other ways to make people jolly? Let me know in the comments.

Check out the rest of this month's jolly Blog with Friends posts.

Dawn of Spatulas on Parade 

Tamara of Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Lydia of Cluttered Genius

Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments

Karen of Baking in a Tornado

Friday, December 7, 2018

Right to Remain Silent #SecretSubjectSwap

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 8 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 

My “Secret Subject” is:
The proverbial good girl from next door who was a girl scouts leader and worked for the municipal administration. (INSERT NAME) was arrested by police last night. What happened?

It was submitted by: (Thank you, T!)

What?! You did not hear what happened to Marlee?! Well, let me fill you in... So, she heard that there was a huge crowd of people outside of the Immigration office, and they were protesting against the horrible treatment of the detained children. So, of course she went over there and joined in. She understands that this country was founded by immigrants, and that our ancestors, for most of us, were immigrants. She understands that the children and adults being detained are human beings, and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. She understands that these people are fleeing from conditions, we have never experienced ourselves. She understand they are seeking safety and the opportunity to have a good life. She understands that they are desperate, need help, and don't know what else to do. She understands that the majority of them are wonderful people, who would help to make our country better. She understands compassion and empathy. She understands that this situation needs to be handled much better. She understand love and kindness and gratefulness and doing the right thing.

So, she was right there, side by side with other compassionate citizens, begging the people in charge to stop being cruel and unjust. She was demanding that the human beings in the detention center, be treated as human beings. She was begging for the children to be reunited with their parents. She was requesting that the government come up with a way to help the people come here legally. That we stop forgetting that we were founded by Immigrants, who did the same thing these people have done. They came here to have a better life, and to enjoy freedom and avoid persecution in their country of origin. She stood for what is right and good. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!! We have a busy weekend ahead. Tonight, we are attending the yearly showing of Polar Express, at a local church. We wear our jammies and cuddle up in blankets, while watching the movie. Then we enjoy cocoa and cookies, and visit Santa. I will try to remember to post our picture with Santa on my Facebook page. Then the weekend will be spent cleaning the house, finishing up decorating, and wrapping gifts. Chad will be volunteering at the Food Bank, Saturday night, and I think Gigi and I will cuddle up and watch some Christmas movies. 

Don't forget to check out the rest of this month's Secret Subject Swap posts!! I will meet you there, after I get home from dropping Gigi off at school. It is Ugly Sweater day today, and she looks adorable in her sweater. We also attended an Ugly Sweater volunteering night, at the Food Bank last night. I got her three Ugly sweaters. I ordered them online. Her unicorn one is just way too big. Her shark one is too big, but still wearable. Her sequin one fits well. I guess one out of three isn't too bad. I am tempted to buy her another unicorn one, that will actually fit her. I saw some at Walmart. We shall see. I will post pics for you guys to see!! Just keep an eye out on my Facebook page. So, for now, go read all of the Secret Subject Posts. For later, check my page for pictures!!

Have a fantastic weekend!!

Here are the links for the rest of December's Secret Subject Swap posts:

Baking In A Tornado                 
The Lieber Family Blog              
The Blogging 911                      
Cognitive Script                     
Never Ever Give Up Hope       
Part-Time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, November 30, 2018

Xtraordinary #FunnyFriday

Welcome to November's Funny Friday!! Every month, a blogger submits a photo, with no explanation or back story, and the participating bloggers create captions or thoughts, the picture brings to mind. It's all done in hopes of bringing some laughter your way. 

Funny Friday  150 X 150.jpg
Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Dawn of Cognitive Script.
1. Husband to Wife: Well, if that isn't a sign from God that you're a terrible driver I don't know what is. 
Wife to Husband: It's a sign that I'm an excellent driver. 
Husband: Uh huh. 
Wife: An extraordinary driver, to be exactly. 
Husband: Uh huh. 
Wife: An exceptionally great driver, if you will. 
Husband: Uh huh. 
Wife: One could even say, I'm an exemplary driver. 
Husband: Alright. You planned this, didn't you?! 
Wife: Shrugs and smiles. 

2. Passenger: Why are you getting over?! The lane is exed out. 
Driver: Dude, x marks the spot. 
Passenger: That's not how this works. 

3. Son to mom: Mom! Mom! Get over into that lane! 
Mom: Why would I do that?! 
Son: There's an x marking it. That has to be where the treasure is. 
Mom: There's no treasure there. 
Son: We'll never know, unless we look. 
Mom: I can't really argue with that logic. 

4. GPS: Merge right. 
Driver: Don't think that's possible. 
GPS: Recalculating. Please take the next left in two hundred feet. 
Driver, looking: Into the lake? I don't think so buddy. 
5. Anyone else see signs saying not to do something or not to go somewhere ,and your first reaction, is to want to live on the wild side?! No?! Just me?! 
Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:
Baking In A Tornado  
The Bergham Chronicles            
Cognitive Script       

Friday, November 16, 2018

Turkey Turkey Goose #UseYourWords

Welcome to November's Use Your Words challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked four to six words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That is the challenge, here is a fun twist; no one who is participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: 
turkey ~ indian corn ~ traditions ~ packages ~ family

It was submitted by: 

So, when I opened the e-mail with my words, I instantly knew what I was going to write about, the very moment I saw turkey. I just needed to figure how to fit them all in. So, bear with me...

This time of year is magical for me. I think it is partially because of the weather, but it also the holidays. As you know from other posts, I don't have a ton of traditions, so we are making our own traditions, as each holiday passes. 

One tradition that my dad and I did have, was delivering packages of food to families in need, at the holidays. We volunteered with the local food bank, and we would box the food up, and deliver them. I loved it. So, I have carried that tradition into our own family traditions. We don't deliver the packages, but we do man the turkey drive location, and help gather up donations. Local churches and organizations handle the deliveries. Though, I am sure if my dad were here, he would jump right in and start deliveries. 

This year, is going to be extra special for me. I am sure it will also be extra hard. It is my first Thanksgiving without my Dad being alive. We are going to be out on Saturday and Sunday, collecting donations, so the can be handed out next week. This year, I have the great honor of being able to donate money to the Food Bank. I know my Dad would absolutely approve of me spending the "extra" insurance money this way. It is something he would do. Plus, I am hoping to make an even bigger impact, and Gigi and I issued a challenge, and have offered to match donations dollar for dollar, up to $2500. Fingers crossed we reach that goal amount! 

Far be it from me to tell anyone how to live their life. I promise you, I am truly just winging it. I am clueless, and just do what feels right in the moment, because I have no clue what I am doing. There is one thing I have discovered over the course of my life.... Helping others, helps you more than it ever helps the people you help. The happiness I feel inside, when I am helping in some way, is amazing. It is one of my biggest sources of happiness in life. So, if you can, and are willing... Volunteer at a Turkey Drive. You will feel so uplifted, it will make up for the craziness of this world. It will soothe your soul. Every turkey drive I work, I have numerous moments, where something is said by someone donating food, or by someone who will be receiving the food, that literally heals my soul a bit. These moments of just pure love for humans and acts of good. I restores my faith in the world, and renews my hope, that in the end, kindness and love will defeat hate. 

Also, if you don't want to volunteer. I totally understand. We all make our own impacts on the world. If working a turkey drive isn't for you, I am sure you have some other way you make the world better, and I thank you for that. I am so grateful for every good deed that is done in this world. It is those good deeds that help love and goodness win. 

So, if you are keeping track, I only need to use Indian Corn. There, done. I kid. I kid. So, when I read it, I instantly remembered a story from my childhood, and I decided if I could not work the words into my post, I would just add the story to the end, and here we are.

When I was young, I called Indian Corn by the name Painted Corn. If I had to guess, I would say it is because it was colorful. Well, I remember telling a lady at our church one Sunday, before Thanksgiving, I hoped I could help paint the corn for the decorations one day. She commented that a painting of corn would be a lovely decoration. So, I told her I did not want to paint a picture of corn, I wanted to paint the painted corn. She eventually figured out what I meant. She then told me how people do not paint the corn, that it actually grows that way. I was amazed. I did not know corn could grow any color other than yellow. I really thought people painted the corn kernel by kernel. 

I honestly do not know if Gigi has ever seen Indian Corn. I am now on a mission to find some, and show it to her. I want to see her reaction. I wonderful if she will think it is painted?! I will let you guys know over on my Facebook page

I hope you all have a beautiful week, and a very happy Thanksgiving, if you are celebrating it next week. I hope you all have an over abundance of things to be grateful for!! Don't forget to check out the rest of the Use Your Words posts. I will meet you there!!

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Monday, November 12, 2018

Dear Gigi: Family Gatherings #BlogWithFriends

Welcome to November's Blog with Friends round-up!! (Full disclosure, I almost typed September instead of November. Can you believe it is already November?!) This month, a group of us chose the theme of Family Gatherings, to create posts based on. The posts can be any type of post. You may get recipes, short stories, shopping advice, poetry, crafts, DIY projects, and any number of other things.

As many of you know, my father passed away in September. I am just starting to feel okay again. It has been a very hard journey, losing in, and trying to grieve, while still going on. I think having to help Gigi handle the loss, has made it a bit harder on me. She loved her Papa Charlie. It is weird how when people are alive, things seem important, and then once they are gone, those things do not even matter at all. 

When I think about family gatherings, I mostly think about my childhood. Primarily Thanksgivings and Christmases, spent with my Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. They are some of my greatest memories. When I was still fairly young, we moved away from my family, and holidays were never the same after that.

I never seemed to get quite as close to my mom's family, as I was with my dad's. I regret that a bit. Family is important to me. Even my family I have only met once or twice, and even the family I have never met. At the end of the day, they are my family, and that matters to me. 

I am a firm believer that people have two types of family. The family that shares the blood connection with you, and the family you choose. Whether you choose them through friendship or marriage, they become your family. I think it is entirely possible to have a stronger bond with the family you choose, than with the family you are born into. There is nothing wrong with that.

I just want my Gigi to know, that all family is important. Your blood family and your chosen family. Life is short, and even if you are blessed with a long life, it is still short. I think it is important to live life fully, and make as many memories as you can. One of the best ways to make memories, with your family, is to have gatherings. Holiday gatherings, Summer gatherings, birthday gatherings, just because gatherings. Just make sure you get together.

Gigi, once you are older, and you go back an read the blogs I have written, I hope you pay close attention to this post. I am going to share with you, so recent revelations I have had, thanks to the clarity Papa Charlie's death gave me.

1. Holidays are important. You will have some holidays you love more than others, but any of them can (and should) be a reason to get together with your family and friends. Don't always expect other people to organize gatherings. Organize some yourself. Communicate with your family. Let them know you want to get together. Potlucks are awesome, and often that can solve the food part of a gathering, and food is a great thing to have. Pick a holiday, and make it yours. Maybe you can host the yearly Fourth of July gatherings. July 4th is a week after your birthday. So, do a combination birthday celebration and July 4th celebration. 

This advice goes for everyone. I  know hosting a get together can be stressful. Just trust me on this, once the planning is over, and the actual get together starts, the stress will most likely vanish. I doubt you will ever regret getting those you love together. I can tell you for a fact, if someone you love dies, you will regret all the family gatherings you could have organized, but never did. I wish I had had so many more celebrations with my dad. So many missed opportunities to make memories.

2. Say you are taking my advice, and you are hosting a family gathering, and the stress is becoming overwhelming.... Ask for help, delegate, keep it simple. A family gathering does not need to be a major event, to be wonderful. Just getting together with those you love, catching up, and enjoying food, makes for a wonderful get together. Of course, if you are able to go a bit big, and not stress over it or go broke, then go big. For as long as I am alive, I will happily help you in any way.

I think this is important for all of us to remember... If the stress of organizing a get together, is becoming too much, as for help. That is what family and friends are for. I know, I personally, would be happy to help our with a family gathering. Just the reward of making memories with my loved ones, would be worth it. Sometimes, we tend to take on too much, and we let ourselves stress out, rather than asking for help. So,  next time... Ask for the help. We live in a tiny house, and having a bunch of people over, just isn't possible. If another family member, were willing to host at their home, I would happily help with getting all the details to fall into place.

3. Family is everything, but not every family member is a healthy influence. So, you have to be wise. Keep the family that positively affects your life, close, and keep the rest at arm's length. I have realized that just because you are related to someone, does not make them good for you. I have also realized, that you don't turn your back on family. You just get wise about how you treat them. Follow your heart, and when in doubt talk to your parents. Gigi, no matter what, your father and I will always have your back.

Just remember, people change. Sometimes, the changes are for the better, and other times they changes are bad. Keep your heart open. Also, keep in mind what I said... Some family is by blood, and other family is by love. Both are important. Both will shape your life. Both should be included in gathering.

4. Not all family gatherings need to be planned out in advance. Sometimes, you will find that some of your best memories, are from gatherings that happened at the spur of the moment. Embrace those gatherings, just as much as you embrace the gatherings that are planned to the tiniest of details.

I strongly recommend embracing opportunities to make memories with your family, whether they are impromptu or planned, whether they are small are large, and whether they are for specific events/holidays, or simply just because.

5. Drama. It happens. My best advice is to not fuel fires. Let drama die. It may seem important now, but the biggest likelihood, is that you will come to a time when you realize it was pointless drama. Do not let pointless drama, keep you from having the best possible relationships and memories with your family.

I cannot stress this one enough. One thing I did learn from my Daddy passing away, is that I spent way too much time, dwelling on things that did not even matter. Focus on the love. Focus on the positives. Spend your energy on making good memories. Don't sweat the small stuff.

6. Do not just make memories, but make traditions. Traditions you can enjoy, and traditions you can pass down to your younger family memories, and maybe even to your own kids one day. Traditions are awesome and they are fun. So, make them. 

I wish I had more traditions to hand down to Gigi. The good thing is, I can start making them now. We can create them together, and she can keep them going with the future generations. 

If you take nothing else from this, take this.... Family gatherings. Have them, enjoy them, and make memories.

There you have it, my take on Family Gatherings. Now, go see what the rest of my fabulous blogging friends have created for you. 

Find the rest of this month's Blog with Friends posts here:

Karen of Baking In A Tornado

Dawn of Spatulas On Parade

Melissa Robinson of My Heartfelt Sentiments

Lydia of Cluttered Genius


Welcome to June's Blog with Friends!! Each month a theme is chosen and then participating bloggers use the theme, to create their own un...