Monthly Archives: November 2012

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Life list: Attend a Greek Festival

This is where my love of dance started… The Greek Festival. When I was in fifth grade, my dad took me to the Greek Festival in Tucson, AZ. My dad and I jumped in during the open call for Greek dance lessons mid-afternoon and we were the last two to leave the dance floor at closing time.

Greece holds a special place in my family’s history. My parents met at Athens Community High School in Athens, Greece when both of my grandfathers were stationed at Athenai Air Force Base. My parents and grandparents have fond memories of Athens, and I love hearing the stories of the Greek culture, music, food, and of my parents falling in love. My mother even won Miss Teenage America while living in Greece and sang a medley from The Sound of Music for her talent portion of the competition.
 

 
So when I saw the Facebook announcement for the local Greek Festival, I marked it on my calendar. I was so excited to take the kids and dance. Unfortunately, we waited until the last night and so there wasn’t an opportunity to dance with the kids. Instead, we ate amazing food and then ate some more. Then I soaked in the joy of the dancers and their relatives who were so proud shouting ‘Opa!’, while taking pictures and throwing dollar bills on the tops of their favorite dancer’s heads.
 

 
All the dance groups from Kindergarten to young adults danced separately and then together for an impressive finale. The costumes were magnificent and the music and dancing just made me smile. I felt as if I was in fifth grade all over again wishing I could just pull my dad onto the floor to dance to one more song.
 

 
Next year, I am dancing. Nothing is stopping me. And perhaps, just perhaps I might consider converting to the Greek Orthodox church just so I can jump on top of this pyramid.

This past weekend, my family celebrated my maternal grandmother’s 80th birthday. I loved hearing her stories and her advice for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

My hope is that in the next couple of years, my family makes it a priority to travel to Greece together. Oh how I would treasure seeing Greece along side of my parents and three grandparents. And better yet, just one more dance with my dad.

Blessings sweet friends,
Jenny

Attending the Greek Festival was a part of my 39 list -> I’m 39 now but am determined to complete that list in addition to completing my 40 list this year before November 20, 2013.

My 40 list

My first day of 39 was terrific. I spent the day buying fabric for my December Daily album, talking to good friends and family, and eating a cupcake. After the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m going to be having all sorts of fun checking items off from this new list as well as completing my 39 list.

I can’t begin to tell you how much fun it was reading through my original life list (only part is on this website) and feeling energized and excited about the next year. I still remember writing my first 100 list items with Bud. He was my chemo buddy that I based my 52 cupcake series on. His words continue to be an inspiration to me almost eight years later. Boy do I ever wish he was here to dance with me.

As I was going through pictures in my Project Life album, I came across this picture of Ben and his friends at an amusement park. I printed an extra picture off for my refrigerator to remind me to live my life with this same childlike joy and laughter. It’s hard for me not to smile remembering their infectious giggles.
 

 
So here are the 40 items I hope to learn and experience over the next year before I turn 40 on November 20, 2013.

Knit a blanket
Complete my dining room table project
Take a ceramic class
Go see the Beach Blanket Babylon show in San Francisco
Complete the Phoenix Summit in November 2013
Participate in the Color Run with the family
Run a 10K
Run a 5K in under 30 minutes
Go tubing in the Salt River
Hot Air Ballooning
Plant a garden
Experiment with healthy school lunches
Go on a girl’s retreat
Visit the winter Olympic Training Park
Make the kids their birthday cakes
Take a letterpress class
Watch a Diamondbacks game from Friday Front Row with Julie & Chris
Complete a sprint triathlon
Make our porch a sukkah and host Sukkot dinners
Take kids to Slide Rock
Brew beer
Host a Halloween costume party
Take a food photography workshop
Take a woodworking class
Get season tickets to the theater
Ride a mechanical bull
Teach kids how to snow ski
Make 3 versions of homemade ice cream
Make a catapult with Ben
Host a monthly Project Life group
Teach kids how to cook and bake
Host a Friendsgiving
Visit Mount Rushmore
Learn three new book binding techniques
Go boating and tubing as a family
Stay at an Ace Hotel
Take on the trapeze
Make fresh pasta
Go on a white river rafting trip
Make homemade stacked enchiladas with Sam

As my children say, the next 363 days are going to “Ah-mazing”, “Boss”, and “Amazeballs”. I’m excited for the possibilities. Life is good.

Blessings sweet friends,
Jenny

-> As always, feel free to follow along and leave a link to your list you are working on in the comments.

40 minus 364

I’ve added another candle. I probably shouldn’t light them all as a smoke detector might be set off as my family is sleeping. All joking aside, I am pretty thrilled about it.

Yes, I am a year older. Yes, I am 364 days away from turning 40. But, I am alive. This year started off with a bang. I had never lived so intentionally. Piano lessons, dancing with the family at Disneyland, and baking cupcakes like never before. As life would have it though, several curveballs were thrown my way.
 

 
Double feature with Rebecca- gotta love movie theater light
 
I completed over half of my items on my 39 list this year. I still need to post several items including the Greek Festival and Young Life camp (and those are coming). Normally, I am a task master and someone who likes to follow through with their goals, especially when voiced out loud. One might think that I am disappointed, but that would be far from the truth.

You see, I still lived intentionally the last half of the year as well. It just wasn’t as visible on this site. I continued marking items off my list, but I also spent a lot of time being still, resting, recovering, and listening. I also learned to accept help from others. This about killed me at times as I prefer to be self sufficient, move, and do things with my hands and feet. Yet I’ve changed through the process. I can look back at my year and see growth, bruises, and a heart that is thirsty for God and all things real.

I only have 61+ years left so that means I don’t have any time to mess around. I want to surround myself and my thoughts on things that are real.

I plan on completing my 39 list. And yes, I’ll share my 40 list tomorrow. It’s going to be an epic year friends.

I woke up this morning energized and grateful. Grateful for life. Grateful for my family. Grateful for you.

Hello 39. Let’s make it an amazing year.

Perhaps I’ll start by eating a cupcake and then dancing with a stranger.

Blessings sweet friends,
Jenny

Inadequacy

I have several posts ready for you this morning, but felt a nudge on my heart to lay my words at your feet.
Just two days after I wrote this post, I took Samantha to her sweet little soccer game. I was feeling a bit frazzled as I was rushing to get the kids to their practices, when selfishly I wanted to stay curled up in my warm sheets. As I was getting out of the car, I whispered to God, “Lord, I’m depleted. I need your encouragement and energy. I feel so inadequate. Why am I supposed to be here today?”
 

 
As I was setting up my chair, a dear friend hugged me and said, “I hope you don’t mind me telling you this but you were on my mind all day yesterday. I got your email about your two new blog posts”… and that’s when the lump in her throat became obvious. “Well, I just love it when you are real, raw, and well, just you. You see, a while back I had to stop reading your blog because it made me feel inadequate. You seemed to have it all together and doing all these things while working and having four kids.” And that’s when the lump in my throat formed and the tears started flowing. (more…)

Project Health – November Edition

Bottom line – Steroids and many medications make you gain weight. I am no exception. I’m not complaining, because I’m above ground. And complaining gets me no where except idleness and a box of cookies. Which doesn’t help matters, I promise.
 

 
As of Halloween, I was off all medication and had 80 pounds to lose. As of this morning, I have 66 pounds to lose.

My goal is simple. Eat well. Move more. Actually move alot. It’s pure rocket science I tell you.

When I exercise in the morning, I find my eating is really, really good. I don’t want to waste all the effort that I put in.
 

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Lesson Learned: My Dad and President Bill Clinton

Growing up my father led by example. He was a Colonel in the Air Force, a devout christian, and a registered Democrat. Although I didn’t even know he was a Democrat until my early 20s, as my dad never discussed which party he belonged to or which Presidential candidates he was voting for. My dad merely discussed the importance of character and social responsibility and then lived it.
 

 
This is one of my favorite pictures that hangs in my dad’s office. President Clinton had come to visit Patrick Air Force Base and my dad had the pleasure of meeting his Commander in Chief. President Clinton visited in June 1996 to attend the memorial service for the 19 Airman that were killed when a gasoline truck exploded outside the Khobar Towers housing area on King Abdul Aziz Air Base in Saudi Arabia. I remember my dad calling me in Tucson to tell me how the President was personable, compassionate, and very engaging, just as he came across on my 19″ color TV during his speeches.

What is interesting to me about this picture 16 years later is that my dad did not vote for President Clinton, yet he has an enormous amount of respect for him. This picture is treasured and hangs just above his desk. My father never said a foul word about him or any other elected official (or candidate) to my recollection.

I called my dad and asked him to send me this picture. I then asked him about the elections and if he had any wise words for me. He stated, “My advice has not changed. I still believe in respecting our President and Presidential candidates and their families. I genuinely desire our elected officials to succeed, even if I didn’t vote for them, because that is what is best for our family and country. I will also continue to encourage you and others to never miss an opportunity to vote.” Yes.

I have nothing to add. My dad said it all.

Today I will vote. And despite the outcome, President Obama or Governor Romney, you have my full support. Our country needs you to succeed.

So get out and vote and then have a terrific day!

Blessings sweet friends,
Jenny

Life list – Attend Round Top Antique Fair

Last month, I flew to Austin, rented a 16 foot moving truck, and drove 75 miles southeast to Round Top, Texas.
 

 
Twice a year, Round Top, population of 90 people, hosts a large vintage and antique fair. I read about this fair years ago on a blog and then was reminded last year when my friend, Nancy, posted some pictures of her adventures on Facebook. Then the owner of my favorite local furniture store, Found, told me that he purchased many items in his store from Round Top, so I knew I had to go. I planted the seed in Jeff’s ear of our need to travel to Texas to purchase some treasures. (more…)

Detox

Mom, You have a problem so listen up!
 

 
While I was silent on this blog, I still spent plenty of time on other social media sites – possibly more than ever before. First thing in the morning, I would read a couple of my favorite blogs. I would check my personal Facebook site and respond to messages and ‘like’ the pictures and status updates of my friends from all walks of life. I’m a people pleaser and very easily pleased, so I tend to like pretty much everything. This has annoyed people because Facebook then decided to display your likes/comments for all the world to see.

Before Facebook, I would have had my quiet time, write in my journal, and headed out the door to exercise before the kids woke up. Instead I’ve been more concerned with what a casual acquaintance has voiced about current events, parenting styles, or social injustices. I voiced that I was tired of reading about it on status updates, yet I continued to spend time clicking on links that only led to me being unproductive and ultimately frustrated at myself for wasting time. Political and religious debates have brought out the passion in people like never before. This spirit of the unknown and fear of the future that election years can bring only heightened the uneasy feeling in my stomach and soul.

I love stories and seeing pictures of my friend’s families, but at what expense?
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A Reflection of Gratitude

I’m so very thankful this morning as I reflect on the past six months. I’ve been rather quiet on this site and I’m so thankful for your kind emails and your patience.
 

 
You see, I promised myself that this blog would never be a place of illness, cancer, or ungratefulness. And it NEVER will be. So when life happened and we were faced with some scary scenarios unfolding, Jeff and I were suddenly stopped in our tracks. I’m not going to get into details because I’m ok now. And we haven’t shared much with others because we have a teenager, who is very aware, sensitive to our feelings, and involved in social media. Jeff and I have wanted as much normalcy for her as possible as she has adjusted beautifully to her transition as a freshman in high school.

We are great now. I am just working hard to lose additional weight from the side effects of idleness, medication, etc. I have a long road ahead of me with losing weight, but Jeff and the kids are cheering me on and I will see a strong, athletic self again in the future. I will. I must.
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  • 52 Cupcakes

  • Project Life

  • 39 Before I am 39

  • Jeff's Story