Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday, February 5, 2018

"Get Out...Life Is Good"...by Jim Terry

Ok, so do I even need to ask? Who has been faithful to their commitments and New Year’s resolutions? It always seems to be about a month later when we all tend to fall off of the bandwagon and lose vision of what we wanted to do in order to change our lives for the better.  A lot of the resolutions I have heard from friends and family over the years are to lose weight, read more, spend more time with family, be more patient or even set a goal to go on a nice trip somewhere during that calendar year.  I know I have done all of those over the years but this year I decided to do something a little different from a lesson I learned this past year from a best friend. My commitment/resolution this year to myself, and to those around me, is to always remember and acknowledge each day of my life that, “LIFE IS GOOD.”

The last three months of this past year were really tough for me personally. I lost a beautiful loving stepmother, Kathi, on the 20th of November and the month prior to that on the 7th of October; I lost an amazing and wonderful best friend, Stephanie. Both succumbed to the effects of different types of cancer. 

Towards the end of March 2017, I was fortunate enough to fly out to Salt Lake City to see my best friend Stephanie.  She had arrived in the Salt Lake area only two months earlier, leaving her husband, family, and friends in Boise, to begin her journey in trying to fight her disease while being treated at the LDS Hospital. Her wonderful mother, Marcella, and father, Jim, who became her 24/7 support, accompanied her.  

The weekend started out really enjoyable and relaxing because I was able to spend time with her and her family in the condo they were renting.  I must say that the reality of what my friend had been going through really hit me when I glanced over at the kitchen counter as I entered their condo and easily saw at least twenty different types of medications she had to take on a daily basis. And even though she didn’t have a lot of stamina due to taking all of this medication and from a recent bone marrow transplant she had lovingly received from her Aunt Michele six weeks earlier, we caught up and joked around as best friends do…like we never had been apart.

March is also my birthday month and in light of me trying to give support to my friend Stephanie, by just being there for her, she insisted that we have a birthday party for me.  Knowing that her medical costs were a huge financial strain on her and her family and also maintaining two different residences in Boise and in Salt Lake City, I asked her if I could have some food delivered. She insisted that they would take care of everything and I just needed to be there. 

I arrived from my hotel on the evening she had set up for my party. The meal they provided was appetizingly great. The conversation that evening was invigorating, fun and even better than the meal they provided. And finally, what better way to compliment a birthday party than with a really tasty and mouthwatering dessert complimented by singing? This event, as it turned out, was also the last time I was able to physically hug my sweet friend, and have her hug me back, in a warm heart-felt embrace. When I think of this moment now, I really wished it was one of those times in my life where I wished I could freeze time in order to “savor the flavor” for just a bit longer.  

So after two to three hours of fun, it was time for me to leave for the evening so that my friend Stephanie could get some rest. Before I left, however, I was surprised to see my sweet fragile friend get up, walk around to the back of the chair she was sitting in, bend down and pick something up.  Unbeknownst to me, she had carefully hidden a gift she had purchased for me behind the chair she was sitting in.  I knew it would be something that I would like. She knew me so well and what I liked and loved. As she handed me the gift, I have to admit that I was indeed taken back and surprised by her sweet gesture.  So with a puzzled look on my face and my heart in my throat, I hesitated yet appreciatively accepted the gift she provided to me that day. 

Just so you all know, my friend Steph was always one of those people who always put the needs of others before her own. Here I observed her fighting for her life, yet in spite of this, not only did she insist it was essential to make me feel important on my day, but she also still thought it was necessary to give her friend, “Trashman,” a gift for his birthday. She knew of my love for nature.  There were several times during her medical treatments, that I would send her videos of my hikes to share my experiences with her to help give her a sense of hope and optimism and to take her mind off of things, if only for just a moment. 

As I slowly opened up the carefully wrapped gift, my friend Steph said, "now if you wear this while you are hiking, I can feel as though I am there with you." I couldn’t help but to break down and cry once I saw what she had given me.  It was something simple but had so much meaning to me even until this very day.  It was a matching hat and T-shirt both inscribed with the logo, “ GET OUT...LIFE IS GOOD.” I had to quietly ask myself in that moment, "How could someone going through what she was going through still be so optimistic and still think "life is good?" 

February is the birthday month for my friend Stephanie, on the 17th to be exact, and since this is the first time that I will not be able to call her and wish her a happy birthday, I wanted to make sure I let the world know what a positive example and influence she has been in my life by sharing the wonderful lesson she taught me that day. It's not too late for someone to do another resolution, is it? After all, New Year's day is just another day.  So my New Year's resolution, on this, the 5th day of February, and the lesson I learned from my dear sweet friend...”No matter what your circumstances are "GET OUT," have fun, look for the positives and remember that, YES, "LIFE IS GOOD!" 

***One more quick idea for a New Year's Resolution. It is never too late to do. SIGN UP and help someone save a life. 
https://bethematch.org/

In loving memory of my cherished best friend Stephanie Welty (1972-2017)

 ♦ Hope you'll let us share your stories and photos here at our residence "In a Nutshell." Email us at nutshellstories@gmail.com.  



Monday, January 1, 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018

May your new year be filled with much happiness, love and success!


♦ Hope you'll let us share your stories and photos here at our residence "In a Nutshell." Email us at nutshellstories@gmail.com. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Magic...by Jim Terry

Trying to get everything done before the holidays begin or end is really quite frustrating isn’t it? Busy streets for driving, busy stores for shopping, busy restaurants for eating, foul weather and internet failures with incorrect package delivery are all a part of the frustration that is a part of the holiday season. And with all the hustle and bustle of people around us, I sometimes find my Christmas cheer turning into Christmas irritation and anxiety in trying to make the perfect holiday–THE MAGIC–happen.

I remember so many times during the Christmas season where the hustling and bustling of my mother and father paid off and they always somehow, seemed to create the perfect setting that happens this time of year.

The quick trip to the mountains after Thanksgiving dinner to cut the perfect tree… The trips to the grocery store to buy the perfect ham or turkey for dinner… The aroma of Christmas with the simple warming of a pot of potpourri simmering on the stove.  The pot contained the welcoming scent of fresh cut apples and cinnamon sticks that floated and filled the air of our home with a sense of tranquility and peacefulness. (This is definitely something to be experienced at least once in one’s lifetime)… The stockings “all hung by the chimney with care”…The painstaking labor of splitting all that wood in the fall, that helped create a warm and a picture-perfect fire as we gathered round to open that one Christmas Eve gift. The Christmas Eve gift, you might ask? It was always a pair of homemade pajamas carefully fashioned and sewn by our sweet mother to, "help us sleep better," she would always say.  And then off to bed we would run to await, what felt like an eternity, the arrival of good ole St. Nick who would complete our Christmas by delivering toys and gifts to those of us kids who were naughty or nice.



(sigh)…Now I don’t want to take too much of your time away from your loved ones on this special day, but as I sit here staring at my Christmas tree with its bright lights and color being reflected in my window pane and my Christmas music playing quietly in the background, I am ever so reminded how lucky I am to have the family and friends I do…my greatest gifts. 

And with Christmas Day here and the hustle and bustle of getting ready for this day now behind us, we just wanted to take just a moment of your time to say “THANK YOU” for another great year. Your reading our blogs, your thoughts, your comments are something that we look forward to and cherish. Enjoy your family, enjoy your time together and continue to make those memories–THE MAGIC–that will last a lifetime. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!



♦ Hope you'll let us share your stories and photos here at our residence "In a Nutshell." Email us at nutshellstories@gmail.com.
 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Gift...by Jim Terry

It’s hard to imagine where the year has gone, but here we are, yet again, at the beginning of another holiday season.  I have been fortunate in my life to experience a lot of joy and happiness during this time of year. I often sit and reminisce about holidays past and those special times I have shared with friends and those around me, but definitely welcome and cherish those fun times, especially when I think of my family. 

Not long ago, actually just over four years ago in November 2013, our family experienced the passing of the matriarch of our family. This happened right before this holiday of thanks we call “Thanksgiving.”  I remember when I got the news and how this made me feel. I felt as though cellular death or necrosis of the tissues of my heart certainly had begun and that my heart would eventually stop from the hurt and ache I felt.  It was only through shedding many tears, looking through old handwritten cards, time passing, hearing her voice in voicemails, speaking with family and remembering her and her kindness towards me as my mother, that I was able to embrace a little bit of comfort for my aching heart.  

This incident was a big transition for me and for our family. We had been so fortunate for so many years because we had experienced so much happiness and joy in being together as a family during the holiday season. When the happiness and the familiar setting we knew turned to heartache and sadness because of the loss of our mother, we had to ask ourselves, “What were we to do? Where were we to go from here?”

Fast forwarding to January 2015, I found myself in a beautifully decorated clubhouse speaking with family while on the verge of adding another member to our family. My father, in his heartache and loneliness, had decided to remarry and we were on the verge of having to accept another in place of our mother by his side.

At first, I found myself a bit confused and angry with my father for, what was, in my perception anyway, moving on so quickly.  Through time, and because of the loving and kind person Kathi was, I found myself ever so grateful for her and coming into our lives.  Her charm, wit, and humor are unmatched. Her calling and singing to me on my birthday was always such a blessing. Her love and talent for music are priceless.  Her kind words and how she would make you feel so welcome and important are remarkable. And lastly, the warm embrace and the gentle kiss on the cheek that she would provide, when I would visit, always made a grown man feel like, well, a young boy coming home after being away for a long time only to experience the warmth, love and security that only a "home" can provide. It’s all of these things, amongst many others about Kathi, which I will always cherish and remember for the rest of my life.

So fast forwarding once again to this past weekend...I found myself on a plane headed to Boise to say one last goodbye to this sweet woman who had become a part of our family (only three short years earlier) before she passed from, what was diagnosed by her doctors as, “terminal cancer.”

As I sat by her bed and held her hand while she slept, being heavily sedated due to the pain she was experiencing, an array of thoughts and feelings went through my head. How could I express to her how much she really meant to me? How could I appropriately thank her for helping fill part of a void in our family? And how could I thank her for taking such good care of my Dad and helping fill his void as well?

So as I sat there with just Kathi and myself in the room, I decided to quietly verbalize all the reasons why I was so thankful for her and ended it with, “thank you, Kathi! I love you.”  It was just after I said this that Kathi, even though she was in the state she was in, slowly opened her eyes, squeezed my hand, and said, “I love you too” and then closed her eyes once again and drifted off back to sleep.  

It was after this experience, that if anyone else was in the room at that time, one might witness the gentle tick and tock of the clock on the wall...the peaceful sound of chirping crickets in the background from Kathi’s favorite sound machine on the nightstand next to the bed...or the quiet sniffling and whimpering of a grown man, now crying, realizing that he was provided with one last gift by hearing four simple words..."I love you too."

So during this holiday of thanks and giving, remember to value those times with your family and give thanks for everything you have.  Everything in this life can be gone in an instant. It is times like this that I personally am reminded to strive to be a better person.  I try to tell and show those around me, but especially my family and those I love, that I love them. And even though my heart aches once again due to the new void created by the loss of this amazing woman, I want to provide one last "thanks" to my second mother Kathi. “Thank you for coming into our lives. Thank you for all your love and support. And thank you for truly being A GIFT!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!  
We hope you all are safe, happy, healthy and, of course, spending time with FAMILY.

In loving memory of Kathi Kelly Nickell-Terry (1941-2017)


♦ Hope you'll let us share your stories and photos here at our residence "In a Nutshell." Email us at nutshellstories@gmail.com. 




Saturday, November 11, 2017

Happy Veterans Day

REMEMBERING ALL THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED AND DO SERVE.
HAPPY VETERANS DAY!


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Just say, "Konnichiwa!"...by Jim Terry

Think about that ONE pet, your favorite, that you had while growing up.  I know there may be some of you out there that may not have had a pet when you were younger, but for those of you that did, which one was your favorite?  I must say that I was lucky enough to be surrounded by animals while growing up. We had a few dogs, several cats, I loved having a fish tank in my room and we were also raising and breeding horses at one point during my childhood.

My favorite dog we owned when I was younger was named “Freckles.” She was one of the most loyal companions I have known to date. While playing Tonto and The Lone Ranger with my sister, Lora, in our youth, Freckles would always be there by our side to help destroy invading enemies.  Sometimes the invading enemy would be the local farmer with his combine because our fort would be set up in the wheat field adjacent to our home.

My favorite fish was a goldfish named Jabber Jaws. To this day and as a young boy, I swear I could speak goldfish.

My favorite horse was named Flicka. Each and every morning before school, I would go out to the corral, climb the fence and ride her bareback, just to hang out with my friend and tell her to, “have a good day.” And with a quick “whinny” back at me, as I dismounted her and headed on my way to catch the bus, she inevitably would tell me to do the same.

However, of all these memories and pets that I had in my youth and getting back to the initial question I posed, the ONE FAVORITE pet I had while growing up was a tomcat named “Panther.” His beautiful fur coat was where he got his name. His fur was pure black with not even a hint of white or a discolored strand of fur to be seen. His eyes were that of a pale, but beautiful, green that were more striking due to the dark background of his fur. And if you were to see him physically, there was no question that he was a cat NOT to be messed with.

Each and every summer, as most tomcats do, he literally would take off for three to four months at a time. I remember each and every fall when he would return home, that there would be some other scar on his body, another portion of his ears ripped off or another war wound that was inflicted while he was trying to enforce his dominance in the territory for which he claimed was his.   

I also remember a day while weeding one of our gardens, which was located closer to the road on our property, that he warned off an aggressive neighbor’s dog that was going to bite me.  He did this by literally jumping onto the dog’s back and ripped enough hair from him that one might be able to fill half of a pillow with.  To this day and up until the day that dog passed, that dog NEVER trespassed on our property again.  And why am I bringing up my cat Panther at this time of year? Simply because of all of the myths, legends, and superstitions that are associated with black cats especially during Halloween.

Since the Middle Ages, especially in Europe, it was believed that "the black cat was a witch's companion or the witch herself transformed into a cat and of course could be up to no good." This misconception was one of the things that lead to hunting “witches” and with that also the death of several thousand black cats. Interestingly enough, some now say that the more rapid spread of the Black Death, during that time, was because of the cat killings. Could it be because the rats, which carried Black Death on their backs in the form of a rat flea, could then proliferate and prosper and not be hunted by the very same cats the people were killing? 

 Other superstitions I could find about black cats are…
-       It is bad luck, in several countries including the USA, when a black cat crosses your path.
-       In Italy, “if a black cat sits on the bed of a sick person, death will shortly follow.”
-       In China, a black cat symbolizes “famine and poverty to come.”
-       In Ireland, “if a black cat crosses your path in the moonlight, it means there is going to be an epidemic of sickness.”
-       In some nations, they believe that if you “chase a black cat out of your house, then good luck will never reside there.”

With that being said, some superstitions also speak of good about black cats…
-       In Scotland, “A black cat sitting on your porch” means that wealth will be coming to you.
-       For those of you that are married and in some cultures believe that “if you find a white hair on a black cat and if you can pull it out without getting scratched, it means that you will have a long, happy and prosperous marriage.”
-       In Latvia: “If black kittens are found in the silo they believe that they will have a good harvest courtesy of a spirit called Rungis.”

In looking at the two lists above and knowing that omens and superstitions go back thousands of years at times, I still am more than likely and inclined to believe the good superstitions about black cats. In Japan, they believe that cats, but specifically black cats, ARE GOOD LUCK at all times when they cross your path. I can say no different from my favorite pet Panther that crossed my path several years ago during my childhood. He brought me only happiness, companionship, and good luck.

So during your Halloween celebrations if that black cat crosses your path, maybe simply do as the Japanese do and just say, “Konnichiwa!” Then continue going about your fun and your trick-or-treating knowing that you just had good luck cross your path...which in essence, per Japanese superstition, may last a lifetime!  

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

♦ Hope you'll let us share your stories and photos here at our residence "In a Nutshell." Email us at nutshellstories@gmail.com.