Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Winter...by Mary Hazlett

Okay...bring on the Sunshine!!!  I am so ready for it!  I believe that New Year's Resolutions might be a bit easier with a little more sun and heat.  So, yes it is that dreaded time again of resolutions to make our lives better.  A time to reminisce about the past 12 months and think.....Did I do what I wanted too?  

I almost feel a four letter word coming to surface now merely because I remember my goals last January and I didn't think they were that lofty...but somehow...NOW they seem like Mount Everest....what the heck was I thinking.  Yikes, I am more in debt than I have ever been with the purchase of my father's home, an addition, another car.......and another addition on its way (baby #3).  With the third addition to our family I definitely did not meet my fitness and weight loss goals...YIKES......(I am just going to shoot for 10 pounds this next year and come March 19th that will be taken care of).  I believe my siblings know how much I love them...and I think, at least most days, I am enjoying watching my kids grow.

So, what am I to do in 2015 to boost my moral of life and goal setting?  Well, thanks for asking....I do have a plan to SIMPLIFY my life and be a little more gentle with myself!!

1.  Repeat the mantra every morning, " I am good enough, smart enough, and doggone it people like me...and that does not include your children."
2.  Adopt the motto, "Just make it!"
3.  Colorful metaphors are not a good way to express yourself unless you pretend you are Spock and can tell Captain Kirk off.

And finally...

4.  Be grateful everyday that you have a family to love, a God in Heaven, and food to eat (even though.... mine will mostly be chocolate, Mountain Dew, and cereal).

That pretty much wraps it up!  Some years can seem like a marathon of ups, downs, sways, and swoops....but the trick is to just enjoy the ride.  My resolutions for 2015 summed up is "Enjoy life".

Share your stories with us at nutshellstories@gmail.com

" What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. "~Author Unknown

Thursday, December 25, 2014

"MERRY CHRISTMAS"...by Jim and Marlene Terry

Funny how quickly time flies and how we are here, once again, at Christmas.  Everyone seems to have their favorite Christmas stories, but there is not one of them that is more special or dear to my heart than my Mother's reflection of her Christmas' as a child. 

With that being said, I wanted to share her final post from last year entitled, "Inhale Deeply" and say that I hope that all of you have, as my Mother put it, a "beautiful and magical"...CHRISTMAS.  


Inhale deeply ...by Marlene Terry

Marlene Terry
Tried to wave an old friend down who passed by me in her car outside a local grocery store recently. But it was obvious that she was intent on traveling to the temporary business set up on the other side of the parking lot. ... A Christmas tree lot, of all things. 

By the time I caught up, was somewhere inside, looking through the hundreds of evergreens that were being displayed for sale.

... I'll just say "Hello" I thought as I followed suit and entered the lot myself.

Then it hit me. That smell, fresh and mountainy, the scent of a REAL tree, multiplied exponentially. And immediately I was beset with the memory of browsing through one of those tree lots with my family when I was young.

Back then EVERYBODY had a real tree or no tree at all. And the aroma, although normal for that time, always had an affect.

We (my sisters and I) could hardly wait for my dad to get the tree we'd picked out and secure it on top of our car. Then after we arrived home, he'd bring it into the house to sit for the night and "warm up," Mom would say. ... That way it would be ready to decorate the next day. 

Sleeping for me on that night was almost as difficult as on Christmas Eve, what with that wonderful odor permeating our house and maybe not visions of "sugarplums" dancing through MY head to keep me wide awake, but certainly the  anticipation of whether or not Grandma's Christmas tree light would turn on again that year.
... That old light, in the shape of a cluster of grapes, was already decades old when we got it. But it never failed to blaze forth for the several decades more that we used it.

... Bubble lights, the old-fashioned kind that heated up, boiled and exploded at times, were also a favorite.
... And then there were the icicles. 

Most people don't use them anymore, those silvery strings that my mom insisted be placed on the tree "one at a time," and hung barely by the tip. That way they would stream down the tree in a continuous shiny cover.

... And the results?

We'd start at the bottom of the tree and work up. And after hours ... and I'm not exaggerating the time it took at all ... of painstaking work, Dad would finally top the tree with the star. ... And then we'd turn off all the regular lights in the house and plug in the tree.

I honestly don't have the words to describe how beautiful and magical everything became, when with the scent of that wonderful tree in our home, and after the electrical cord sparked slightly from the overload, the lights on the Christmas tree would come on and it was suddenly Christmas. ... So I'll just offer a quote that I think says it pretty well.

"... freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin — Inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night."  — John Geddes

(inhale deeply)...Ahhhhh!

♦ Hope you'll let me share YOUR stories and photos here at my residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at nutshellstories@gmail.com. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

"I'll Be Home For Christmas"...by Gina Waite

Looking outside my window...it's difficult to believe it's the week of Christmas!  The usual mono-chromatic shade of winter is lacking in my neck of the woods this year.  It's been raining instead of snowing, the temperatures are about 10 degrees above normal and the view outside seems to shout spring rather than the beginnings of winter!  ...And yet, no matter where I am or how dismal the prospects of a white Christmas seem to be...If I close my eyes…I can relive the sounds and excitement I felt as a child at Christmas!

My mom (the most magical Christmas elf I've EVER known) was the BEST at making even the most pragmatic child, giddy with Christmas cheer!  She would start, mid-November or sometimes in October at the first sight of snow, playing her large assortment of Holiday tunes…from Christmas Crooners to fine orchestral opuses.  The house was filled with aromas of pumpkin, cinnamon and perfectly spiced cider!  The fire was always lit and crackling for spectators nearby!  …And all of this was lovely…but it was the tree and mantel that held the most magic for me!

When I say, tree…I actually meant…trees!  My mom would decorate a tree in the upstairs front room that represented the accurate artistry that filled her being!  Usually flocked and neatly color coordinated, neighbors would come and ask to look closely at the neatly-trimmed tree as even they had to closely marvel at its perfection!  The downstairs family Christmas tree…usually freshly cut and filled with the aroma of the outdoors…would be perfected in shape by our in-house carpenter (Dad) who would cut off an errant branch and screw it into the trunk where proper placement allowed.  There were the bubble-lights, the familiar child-made ornaments AND the lighted angel that sat atop as sentinel for all who gathered below!

The stocking-lined mantel above our fireplace was neatly decorated with a Dickens-inspired village to rival ANY collection I've ever seen.  Before setting the village atop the mantel, my mom would string white lights back and forth and up into the rock above the mantel.  This would allow a back light for the snow (quilt batting) my mom would set on top of the lights.  Then she would place miniature trees, working light posts, ice-skating rinks and houses in proportionate alignment that filled even my mind with awe at the idea of living in such an idealistic village!  I remember one miniature house that, when filled with water, obtained a realistic-looking chimney as it would send up a puff of smoke every-so-often….absolute magic!

Obviously, the pictures I've posted today are not what I've described above.  These are some of my favorite memories too!  Ones of my own children on Christmas morning, my Mom with Christmas excitement in her eyes, my Dad holding his sweet little granddaughter, the family-tree minus the bubble-lights!  …But I so desperately  wish I could find pictures of everything I've described and I’m certain they exist somewhere amongst all eight of us…but for now I’ll just have to find my “NBC Sounds of the Season” CD…turn on my spruce-scented wax warmer…close my eyes and…I’ll be there…I’ll be home for Christmas!

♦ Hope you'll share YOUR stories and photos with us at: nutshellstories@gmail.com.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gifts... by Ben Hazlett

I just finished ordering the last of my Christmas presents online.  Between family obligations, work, our huge remodel project, and church obligations, I just never find time to shop the traditional way.  Enter Amazon.  I can get almost anything I want... and usually for cheaper... and they'll even wrap it for me.  Of course I have to add a few more things for myself to qualify for the "super saver shipping."  

As I hit the "one click" ordering, a thought occurred to me.  My biggest worry in preparing for Christmas this year (other then our house being torn apart, of course) was whether or not I qualified for free shipping.  What must Joseph and Mary have worried about as they prepared for the first Christmas?  Joseph was most likely fearing he would not find a place for his wife to give birth and with those fears must have come thoughts of inadequacy and failure. Christ, the Son of God was coming to Joseph's family and he had no palace to receive him.  There was no great hospital with jacuzzi tubs and celebration dinners.  There was only a stable.   

Mary likely got to experience much the same fear combined with the pain of giving life which only those who have gone through it can understand.  Doing all of this in a stable with cows and horses for nurses and midwives.  

And I know they worried if they would ever be able to provide for Him, teach Him, and protect Him.  I know because that's exactly what I worry about everyday with my own children and though they are also children of God, Jesus was The Son of God.  It was in those circumstances that Joseph and Mary were sent the greatest Christmas gift of all time: Jesus Christ.  

That is the Gift I need to remember every time I worry about our house never getting finished, never having enough time for work or church responsibilities, or my beautiful wife struggling with being pregnant and the mother of two small lively children in the midst of everything.  This because God's Gift and Christ's Gift is the only Gift that has the power to lift burdens, give joy, provide healing, enlighten the way, and bestow eternal happiness with Christ and all our loved ones.  And we don't have to worry about shipping or even making "one click."  It is given to all.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Christmas Story all Grown Up ...by Mary Hazlett

My family has great traditions this time of year...doesn't yours?  One of our favorite traditions is watching every Christmas show that we own and perhaps a few more on our Netflix.  Just a few among our favorites are...Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase, A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott, Scrooged with Bill Murray, and finally A Christmas Story with the infamous leg lamp and Ralphie as the hero.  

I just love A Christmas Story.  I have grown up watching that movie.  Amazing how that movie has transformed for me over the years.  One of the first times I recall watching that movie was when I was eight years old.  This was a great time of rivalry for me.  In the house that we lived in at the time, it was in a very country spot on a hill with lots of snow and wind.  Around us were a few homes which inevitably were filled with young boys...I really don't remember a girl that was my age on my street till later in life.  We had one spot that was designated our bus stop in which we all, the ten of us, gathered there...and me, being the only girl, was often the target for these young boys to tease and taunt. 

There was a specific threesome that loved to watch me scream.   I held my own though... as one day coming home from school it was a slushy, snowy kind of day and one of the three had been shaping and molding an ice ball all the way from school to our bus stop just so he could launch it at me.   I remember that day very clearly...getting off the bus and the polite call of ,"Mary" with a splat right to my eyeball.  Enraged I ran after him like Ralphie did to Scott Farkus.  But instead of hitting him repeatedly after the tackle, I pushed his face over and over into the snow until he had tears running down his face.  I believed that Ralph and I had something very much in common then.

Then came the teenage years...still loved that movie and loved the humor found in family life.  Relating very well to some of the mishaps.  More especially though, I love it now.  Having two kids of my own, I love that mother.  I can empathize with her over dressing Randy for the cold, as frustrated as her to not having children that eat,  nearly always getting a cold meal, laughing with her as they all sing Christmas songs, elated that a son can help Dad with something, disappointed when they make a poor choice, crying with them as they go through the hard knocks of growing up, feeling overjoyed when my babies get the very things they wanted, crying when the dinner gets fed to the dogs, loving a man with a great heart, but most importantly...at the end...you know when the mom and dad are sitting together watching the snow gently fall, knowing their children are warm, safe, and content...that sense that all is right with the world and that there is no way that you want to let any of it go...yeah, that is what I love about this story.

This month goes awfully fast so take time to embrace, enjoy, and  love those who are around you!  

**Share your stories with us at nutshellstories@gmail.com

Monday, December 8, 2014

Count Your Blessings...by Mike Terry

Have you counted your blessings today?
~picture courtesy of Mike Terry

In A Nutshell will return tomorrow due to some technical difficulty

Monday, December 1, 2014

Things Happen In "3's"...by Jim Terry

Have you ever noticed how things—good or bad—seem to happen in “3’s”? And as sure as life would have it…the experiences I’m going to share with you happened in “3.”   

About two weeks ago was the year anniversary of my Mother’s passing.  And just prior to that time I was having a hard time believing that I was approaching a year of not being able to speak with her, go to a movie with her, or hold her near me in a warm and loving embrace of a hug.  I had said many prayers for strength and support to get me through this time and wanted somehow, in my mind, to freeze time.  I thought, maybe just maybe, it wouldn’t make my heart feel the pain of her loss so much if I could say it was still less than a year ago that I lost her.  And then I realized, that what might be the true underlying reason for my thought process and anxiety is simply facing my fear.  Which is...I feel like the longer I go without her here, that my memories of her may fade or even disappear with time.  So in this moment of contemplation in trying to figure out how I could freeze time, I had some experiences recently that I will never forget.

At one point or another in one’s lifetime, everyone will wake up in the middle of the night for one reason or another.  One of the FIRST things I always do when this happens is to check what time it is…don’t you?  I personally do this so I know how much more time I have before I need to get up and go to work, or how much more time I have to sleep in, if on a weekend.  

The first night, in this sequence of three I am going to tell you about, I glanced over at the clock and noticed it was 3:33 am.  Thinking nothing of it, I went back to sleep and woke up about three hours later in order to get ready go to work.  On that same day, I had one of my favorite patients come in for her dental appointment.  She remembered that it had been almost a year since my Mother’s passing and with her thoughtfulness and kindness, reached over and gave me a big hug, handed me some of her homemade Irish soda bread and then said, “I’m sure your Mother is near you during this difficult time.” 

 The next night as I woke up and again glanced over at the clock, “3:33 am” was once again displayed. I remember thinking at that moment how weird it was that I would wake up again at exactly the same time.   I mean it’s not often that I would wake up at this time…actually I can’t say as I have ever been awakened at 3:33 am.

Later this same day, I received a phone call mid morning. It was from a dear friend I have not heard from in almost a year’s time.  He was calling to let me know he would be thinking of my family and me during this difficult time that was rapidly approaching.  As the conversation continued, I told him about my “weird” experiences of waking up now two nights in a row at exactly 3:33 am.  He immediately said, “you know your Mom is near, don’t you?”  With I’m sure what was a confused look on my face, and because I had not told him yet about the hard time I was having accepting the fact that it had almost been a year since Mom’s passing, I proceeded to ask him what he was referring to?  He explained to me that numbers like “333” and “444” are known as “angel numbers” and allows the person experiencing these numbers in their lives to know that angels are near for comfort and support. 

After our conversation had ended and with my friend’s recommendation, I then Googled—mortal man’s way of receiving answers J— “333.”  The first thing that came up when I hit the return key was “Angel number 333.”  Intrigued and a bit captivated at this point, I clicked on the link and began to read. If you scroll halfway down the page, you will find this short but meaningful paragraph…

When Angel Number 333 appears consistently it implies that the Ascended Masters”…(Angels)...“are near you.  They have responded to your prayers and wish to help and assist you in your endeavors…they will give you guidance along your path…call upon the angels…to assist.  They are waiting for your call.”

I thought long and hard that day about the conversation I had with my friend, what I had read on the Internet and the recent awakenings I had experienced at 3:33 am.  As I went to bed later this same day, I finally came to the conclusion that all of this was happening to me for a reason. So before I began to nod off, I called “upon the angels to assist” me once again and I said another short but sweet prayer in my heart and in my mind.  I asked God to allow me to know for sure that my Mother was near me so that I could handle this dreaded year mark and another holiday season that was swiftly approaching without her here…I can humbly say that, “my prayer was answered.”

As I drifted off to sleep on this third and final night, I could feel a certain amount of calmness and peace I had not experienced but maybe once or twice before in my life.  It was very similar to the peace you feel as a child on
Christmas night after a fun filled day of joy and cheer while opening presents and then finally falling to sleep, while embracing that favorite toy you received from Santa, in total happiness knowing that you were not naughty but nice. And that joy and peace, I am speaking of, was not only enhanced that night for me, but was also intensified when I was once again awakened, rolled over in my bed, opened my eyes, and glanced over at the clock for the third night in a row and saw “3:33 am” on the display…my “angel number’…my Mom was indeed near!

So in this magical season of angels and miracles, I hope that your holiday season is filled with fun, family and friends…with generosity, gratefulness and guidance…with harmony, hope and happiness…or anything that just so happens to be good and "Happens In “3’s”!   

 ♦ Hope you'll share YOUR stories and photos with us at:nutshellstories@gmail.com.

*Thank you so much to the readers once again for another great year and for your support. 

**Just a quick mention of something else that is great and comes in “3”. All designed and made from a “Simple mom” just in time for the holidays…I have mine placed by my tree and it simply looks wonderful.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

"Projects, Pumpkin Pie and (quite possibly) Prozac"...by Gina Waite

This picture is of me…me thinking…me thinking of every project and pumpkin-inspired recipe I’ve pinned on Pinterest in the last year! Me…recognizing I fall into the same trap EVERY Holiday Season! The closer and closer it gets to the SEASON…the further and further my mind gets from REASON! I always start off November with a conservative list of “to do” and “to buy” and faster than Martha Stewart can say, “it’s a good thing,” my mind loses all sense of reason while “visions of Sugar Plums dance in my head!” Don’t get me wrong, I am a most devoted project/provisions enthusiast! I just recognize that sometimes we get so involved in the fuss and muss we forget about OUR family and OUR sanity! We need to be kind to ourselves and lower those expectations!

This time of year can also be a time of remembering...which is wonderful...BUT can become increasingly difficult when you experience extreme loss (like the death of someone you love.) The Holiday Season can then become a painful reminder of the absence of that person! I’ve ALWAYS loved Thanksgiving and Christmas and more often than not, have had my decorations up for Christmas…by Thanksgiving! After losing my Mom last year, it was difficult for me to decorate the Christmas tree in…well...the second week of December! …And that’s where this helpful little article came in extremely handy!

The Mayo Clinic Staff has done a little research and listed ten ways to help prevent holiday stress and depression. I’m listing it today in hopes that it may help a few of you…the same few who are up to their eyeballs in projects, pumpkin pie and may possibly need a little Prozac! Be kind to yourself and others AND enjoy this Blessed Season with your family! As always...hope you'll share YOUR stories and photos with us at: nutshellstories@gmail.com!

Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression:

1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.

2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.

3. Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.

4. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.

5. Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
Try these alternatives:
*Donate to a charity in someone's name.
*Give homemade gifts.
*Start a family gift exchange.

6. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That'll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.

7. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If it's not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.

8. Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
Try these suggestions:
*Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
*Get plenty of sleep.
*Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.

9. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
Some options may include:
*Taking a walk at night and stargazing.
*Listening to soothing music.
*Getting a massage.
*Reading a book.

10. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Nicknames...by Jim Terry

How many of us have had or do have a nickname in our life?

When I was growing up, I had several different names I went by.  The obvious one, when I was a young boy, would have been “Jimmy.”  As I grew up, and for certain friends in high school who were “copycatting” a national BBQ sauce commercial, I would be known as “Jimmy Joe”.  “Flipper”, “Dude”, “Jimbay” and “Jimbobs” were also a part of the tags I had and do have throughout my life. Each and every name was distinctive, unique and always draws a smile when I think of them.

However, I did not want to talk about my nicknames today but the nicknames of another very important person in my life who just so happened to have her fiftieth birthday earlier this week.  She is known to most of us as “Lor” which has been shortened from her given name of Lora.

One of my favorite nicknames that evolved over the years for my sister was “Lo-lo”.  If memory serves me correctly, this particular nickname began due to the younger siblings in our family.  When children are young, as all of us know, it takes time for the tongue and the lips to develop the precise movement of the muscles to form the correct sound of the word they are trying to express…so Lora or even Lor can easily become “Lo-lo.”  It was just much easier for a young child to say “Lo-lo” and somehow that just stuck with her.

Another fun nickname that she had was “Slugger.”  For those of you who do not know my sister, she was one of the best softball players I have ever seen.  Her ability to hit, throw and run is something I STILL brag about to my friends, acquaintances and my patients.  I remember several years playing co-ed softball with her.  She would play left-center field and I was always on the infield at third base and/or shortstop…Not to be chauvinistic with this next comment, but in a man’s world and especially in coed softball, we immediately assess in our mind when we get up to bat..."where  are the girls located on the field?" We then proceed to the notion that it’s an easy way to get on base if we, as men, place hit the ball to a girl, especially in the outfield.  And just so you know, it is also a calculated way we stroke our egos, show our testosterone levels and finally exhibit our strength so we not only get on base but can “easily” get a double, a triple or even a home run.  

I would always chuckle to myself when a man would try to “stroke his ego” by hitting towards my sister in the outfield. Not only would he be so quickly and shamelessly humbled by her talent, but he would leave the field with his head down saying to himself, “What in the heck just happened?”…To this day, and probably never again in my lifetime, will I see a GIRL with the ability to throw a ball all the way from the center field fence to home plate without skipping the ball at least once! 

 “Aunt Swearer” was also another funny nickname given to her. Lor has NEVER had a problem expressing herself.  And in doing so, she has always had this amazing ability to use colorful metaphors like “shoot”, “darn” and “heck.”  Of course if you take these metaphors and switch them into other four letter words of similar meaning, then you will understand how and why certain nieces and nephews would name her for this miraculous and mind-blowing talent. J

I could go on and on about several other nicknames I can think of and could discuss concerning my sister Lora over the years, but NONE of them are as important as the ones I feel in my heart…She’s my “confidant”, an “amazing person” and my best “friend.” These are the nicknames that accurately and justly express who you really are “SIS”! (another nickname) J


Monday, November 17, 2014

My Perspective...by Mary Hazlett

You know it is really hard to write a blog when you just really don't want to.  All I would really like to do is complain about my life...for starters...I am pregnant.  Which is complicated by the fact that I have a cold that has lingered for 3 weeks and every time I cough...I usually fart or pee my pants... which is quite a gas to my 5 year old especially when we are grocery shopping.  My entire body from my chin to my knees are swollen and my fingers and toes are getting more numb the longer I am typing.

Which all this complaining reminds me of a time in college.  I was living with my sweet Aunt Sue and Uncle Rick.  My Aunt Sue was and is quite industrious and social.  She had a Bunco group once a month and it just so happened it was her month to host. On the day of the big Bunco party, one of the players could not be there due to illness and my aunt asked me to substitute for her.  So, of course I relented because I loved my aunt and it really did sound like fun.  The night began with all kinds of laughter, rolling dice, and eating treats.  I was really enjoying myself amongst all this wonderful women.  As the games came to a close,  all of the ladies gathered round on the couch and began to discuss life.  Not wanting to be rude, I sat on the floor in the living area just listening... and listening... about gout, diabetes, lumps, hair removal, calluses, stretch marks... all things that seemed quite foreign to a girl barely 20.  This is when my aunt looked at me and said, "Mar what you thinking?'.  I replied with, "Just thinking about all I have to look forward too."  Sure this is a funny event but also amazing how an event like this can give you a little perspective.

Today marks exactly one year since I did my very first post on my mother's blog...announcing the passing of my beautiful wonderful mother.   I remember when my mom first started writing this blog she would call me on occasion and ask me why it was again that she was doing this... and I would go on about how her readers needed her and her words....her perspective.

So to gather a little more perspective of what to write today, I scoured all of Mom's nutshell blogs she had written.  Of course the morning was spent with tears, laughter, and with an even greater bond to my mother as she reminisced about her childhood, teenage-hood, motherhood, and grandma..hood.  I got to travel with her to California, Utah, and outer space, eat her Mom's apple pie,  giggle with her and her little sister, open her cedar chest, blow bubbles with her in the backyard, see my dad as a hero, watch her give her hard earned money to someone in need, laugh at the silly owl decoy in the garden, and put on her old purple socks.......all of her stories carried a single theme that no matter what... life is PRECIOUS!  Life should be enjoyed not just endured.  Love those you serve and serve those you love.

Thank you Mom for cheering up my perspective!  Once again, you have made my day a little brighter!

**Share your stories with us at nutshellstories@gmail.com.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Thanks Just Isn't Enough"...by Gina Waite

“You never judge a book by its cover”… at least that’s what my Mom always taught me!  You have to crack that sucker open and read through the first 50 pages BEFORE you decide whether or not to finish the book!  Mostly because you don’t want to invest your time into something you don’t find of any value…whether it be educational or entertaining!    I think this same idea applies to people…you can’t fully value a person until you've invested time in their story.  …And if their story is ANYTHING like George Quinton…believe you me…you’ll be happy to invest your time!

My friend, George Quinton, born December 18, 1921 grew up to be an avid adventurer in the 20 acre farm off East River Road in Idaho Falls.  His growing up years passed quickly and realizing that he would most likely be drafted into the armed services, George made his way to Boise, Idaho to enlist for the Navy in June 1942!   He was accepted and inducted into The United States Navy then traveled to San Diego for military training.  After the completion of Boot Camp, George made his way to Pearl Harbor (just months after the infamous Pearl Harbor bombing) by way of former luxury-liner-turned-military-transport ship.   George recalls witnessing the aftermath of the horrific events of December 7, 1941…he told me, “as much as those good ol' boys had tried to clean up after the bombings…I could still see the destruction of Pearl Harbor…including the four inches of oil that had seeped out of destroyed vessels that sat atop the water’s edge.” 

George was a dedicated petty officer third class!  His scope through the entirety of his naval career found him as boatswain for 35 and 50 foot boats running to and from surface vessels with much needed supplies...to...2nd division detail making sure the exterior structure of the Makin Island (converted escort carrier) surface vessel was in working order.  George would refuel, transport supplies and shoot the gunnery on the ship which made his time in the military pass quickly!  Like many great American Soldiers George found great passion for boxing and while serving in the Navy (and unbeknownst to him) was elected to box someone against his will…his opponent breaking George’s nose in the process.  That was all it took for George to get up off the ground and knock out his opponent…winning in front of his fellow shipmates!  George was revered, respected and noted for his ability, just as in his boxing match, to pick himself up off the ground and succeed in the face of defeat!  I think I would call that extreme resiliency!  This same resiliency that would be necessary, much later in George’s life, in aiding him to lovingly care for his wife while she battled Alzheimer’s disease.  The same disease that accelerated her graduation into the spirit world…for which George patiently waits to be with her again! 

As my family and I have had the good fortune of visiting with George frequently and the possibility of his presence at Thanksgiving Dinner…we decided to write him a note of thanks!  These are some of the sentiments we've included in our letter that writer, Cathy Maxwell, offers ALL Veterans’ on this, our Veteran’s Day:

*Thank you for enlisting and stepping forward when so many step back.

*Thank you for playing mediator between us and danger.

*Thank you for delaying plans for college, marriage, and other opportunities and choosing to serve.

*Thank you for braving the horrific and unspeakable horrors of war.

*Thank you for sacrificing time with your families and missing those significant milestones the rest of us take for granted.

*Thank you to spouses who live nomadic lives, often far away from the comforts and traditions of extended family.

*Thank you to your children who live most of their lives without your presence recognizing they must share you with the rest of the nation.

*Thank you to your parents who can only prayer for your safety and hope for the willingness of the citizens of our country to offer the best we have for you.

*Thank you for giving our country a conscience.

*Thank you for showing us who we are and what we have the opportunity to become.

*Thank you!!!!  Knowing that thanks…just isn't enough!!!!

♦ Hope you'll Honor our Veterans AND share YOUR stories and photos with us at: nutshellstories@gmail.com.