Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It's The Simple Things...by Jim Terry

To our dear readers of "In A Nutshell"...Please stay tuned as our posting schedule is changing! Our new schedule for posts will be on Mondays with a few special holidays, birthdays and events on the days that they fall on.  

We have come to realize that the amazing talent of our Mother far surpasses the time and the talent that us children have to do her justice.  So in allocating more time for posts, we hope to continue to bring you the quality that she shared with you and the quality that you deserve. 

However, I did want to share one quick thought with you today though...While I was on vacation in Cancun, I saw this young boy on an old broken down couch as HAPPY as can be. If you look at the couch it has several holes in it, his shoes are worn and the small toy car in his hand was missing a wheel as I watched this young boy "drive" his car along the ground.  

As I witnessed the complacency of this young boy and his surroundings in his simple life, it made me think of so many things I am blessed to have in my life and am so grateful for...my family, my home, my job, my friends and my life...Funny how witnessing one small boy's satisfaction and happiness in his life can make a grown man think...isn't it? 

So as the great Confucius said..."Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated!"

My advice to you this week....don't sweat the small stuff and keep it "SIMPLE"!  It may turn out to be one of the best weeks you have had all year...Go out and PLAY! 

Happy Tuesday! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Can't imagine life without Mike...by Gina Waite and Mary Hazlett

I really don't remember my life without Mike!  I do wish  I could remember something about the day Mom and Dad brought him home from the hospital ... but as an eighteen-month-old toddler, I was probably more concerned about putting something in my mouth and drooling all over it!  What I do know, is that I can't imagine my life without him!  Mike's an amazing brother, friend and uncle!  I'd like to address the amazing brother and friend!  Mary will do us the honor of relating Mike's amazing uncle-ing skills!  

Sometimes brothers get a bad wrap!  Often they are stereotypified as teasers and taunters to their siblings...most especially their sisters!  Instead, Mike harnessed his brother-ing energy into things like: 
*making sure he opened the door for me as I'd get in and out of the car OR run ahead of me so he could open the door before I got to a building, 
*writing notes and posting them on my bedroom door to "wake him up after I'd got home from a date so we could talk," 
*exercising his amazing musical skills by becoming D.J. extraordinaire on vacations or long drives (cannot tell you how many artists I've come to love because of Mike) and last but certainly NOT least,
*my most loyal, Friday, movie-watching buddy!  I almost ALWAYS fell asleep first...but he was always ready to watch another movie with me the following Friday!  Mike eventually initiated an activity called the "afghan-dance" as a way to prevent me from falling asleep before the end of a movie.  The afghan dance was an extremely entertaining dance that would be performed with the afghan blanket my Grandmother crocheted!  Unfortunately, I still fell asleep during every Friday movie night!

As my brother and friend, Mike has always been there for me!   Someone who may not necessarily agree with all my shenanigans BUT will always have my back!  I wish I could say I was a model child and that I always made the correct choices ... but I don't ... and therefore have always appreciated the advocate I have in Mike!   Always there for me ... doing his best to make me feel recognized, loved and understood!  A quality I feel is invaluable and touches me to my very soul!  Like I said before, Mike is an amazing brother and friend!  Now Mary will tell you about his skills at being the World's BEST Uncle!

UNCLE MIKE... the kid Magnet!  It is true...if you are a kid under the age of 99 then you will love Mike.  The reasons Uncle Mike is soo cool are as follows:
 *He adores all little creatures, so in return they all adore him back.
 *He is creative in story telling, teaching, and in food... he once              named chicken nuggets "Yoda Chunks"... and how could any kid resist the temptation of something from Star Wars?
 *He is as patient as Job.  Once I watched him sit in a chair with a sleeping baby for nearly 3 hours....YIKES...my arm is numb.
 *He laughs at nearly everything that those little nieces and nephews do.
 *He can out do anyone in a cartwheel contest!!  Yes...16 in a row.
 *He compliments them and supports their activities.
 *He is their number one photographer.
 *He loves them NO MATTER WHAT... funny story here:  I remember in my young twenties going to a movie with Mike, Jordan, Gina and her new baby Paris.  Gina had just fed Paris and Mike wanted to hold her...and what do babies do after being fed?? They burp and spit up and that Paris did... all over Mike!  I remember saying something immature like, "How do you like having breast milk all over your clothes...HA, HA?"  It did not even seem to bother Mike as he continued to hold her, "I have never thought of it that way."

And with that Uncle Mike you are loved so very much by all those who are around you !!!  Happy Birthday Big Brother!!!!  Know how proud we ALL are to call you brother and friend ... can't imagine life without you!

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

Friday, July 25, 2014

Honor...by Mary Hazlett


I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"There's No Place Like Home"...by Gina Waite

Driving up with a friend to my daughter's annual "Girl's Camp" last week,  I grasped firmly to the pan I was balancing on my lap!  It's not often I travel into the mountains with a pan full of WICKED-inspired cupcakes, but I guess there's a first for everything!  As we drove away from the city and continued further and deeper into God's green country, I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty all around me!

"Look at this," I said to my friend, "just look at the beauty all around us!"  As the storm from the evening before had freshened the color and smell of the heavily wooded country, we looked at our surroundings in a sort of reverenced awe and lowered our windows to breathe in the crisp smell of freshly-moistened pine trees!  I've not ALWAYS been this appreciative of the beautiful surroundings I live in,  but I must say, I've come to terms with how lucky I am!

Living in Idaho, it's not often that we have to draw parallels to how it would be to live out in the country!  We do have samplings of city life but we have vast amounts of beautiful country that can be visited within a relatively short amount of time!  Basically...that drive to girl's camp, all whilst balancing the Wizard of Oz prequeled cupcakes on my lap...helped me to realize that I live in the best place on EARTH...you don't believe me...just watch this VIDEO!  Now I've seen a lot of beautiful places, and been amazed at man-made things, BUT I've definitely come to realize, "there's no place like home!"

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

Monday, July 21, 2014

Left-side PADDLE!...by Ben Hazlett

Rafting is one of my favorite things to do.  Maybe its the thrill of it or perhaps it is the beauty of canyons you can only access by river.  Whatever the reason, some of my best memories during college were the 2 summers I spent in Moab, Utah working for my uncle's company World Wide River Expeditions.  They actually paid us to go rafting all summer!  Not only was it fun, but I really feel like I learned a lot of great things.  I got to know my uncle Steve, my aunt Nikki and my cousins and I was able to spend a lot of time with my Grandpa & Grandma.  Not to mention that it was the "magic of Moab" that brought Mary and me together.
 Back to the "great things" I mentioned learning... there were lots of skills I acquired and life lessons from parallels such as always being prepare, staying in the current to make the fastest progress, learning to read the water for danger, and always remember that if you are the guide and you fall out... get back in before any of your passengers notice or you will not get a tip!  Believe it or not, rafting has even taught me to be a better parent. 

For instance, as a guide you knew that there were dangers to be found in even the small rapids and you also knew that some rapids needed to be taken head on, while others were only safe if by going around the huge life sucking hole. Yet, some times, you could only do so much if your passengers didn't do their job. There were many times when I would scream "left-side PADDLE" only to have the right-side paddle harder and the left-side give up entirely.  This would of course send us spinning into the rapids.  Often, at that point most of the passengers would dive into the bottom of the raft while those left on the sides would involuntarily go swimming.  
I often look at my kids and think "why can't you just listen to me!"  They really are good kids, but all to often I forget that sometimes you have to fall out of the raft to learn how to stay in and sometimes you have to get stuck on the rocks so you realize why to avoid them in the future.  And yet, so many times I feel like I'm right back on the river screaming PADDLE! while watching as the boat begins to spin out of control. Almost always, though, little hands reach up and say "daddy, I love you" and suddenly I jump back in the guide position and keep on rowing. 

Often I wonder to, if God thinks that about us.  How many times do we know what is right and choose not to do it only to be surprised by the perverbial wall of water the smacks us in the face.  I can just see God yelling at us "Left-side, PADDLE!"  I hope I can learn to listen more and trust in the most qualified Guide ever so that I can not only navigate the rivers of life, but enjoy the trip too! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Camping anyone...by Mary Hazlett

Summer is the time to go to the hills and feel the cold crisp air, see the beautiful stars, and smell like bug spray.  I have done a little camping in my day.  I cannot say that I am ready to live on nature though.  I like my conveniences.  

Many a year ago now, I was telling my husband that I would like to go on vacation.  He pipes up, "Let's go camping".  Sure I thought in my head this will be great and fun.  Just like the good ole' days of running around the camp, getting dirty and going swimming.  Fun....right?

Little did I understand all the work that went into camping:  food preparation, sleeping accommodations ( a roof and what we were going to sleep in), toilet paper, equipment for food preparation, clothes, sunscreen, coolers, water, (and heaven forbid that I might be having one of those awesome female cycles that brings its own beauty to camping), bug spray, bug spray, and bug spray.  

So after about a week preparation to go camping, we left...for Lake Alturas.  The ride was fun with no radio in the truck that we borrowed, so we sang together (okay, I sang)  and we got in the middle of a horse parade (not sure how that happened).  Nevertheless, we arrived late at our destination and found a wonderful spot to camp and finally get some sleep (after all, it is a vacation).

The next morning, it was time to apply the bug spray.  Ben always gauges how abundant the mosquitoes are by how many bites I get.  Them dang bugs are attracted to me...anywhere from a five mile radius....So, it is DEET for me.  The ironic thing of this trip was that it was not the mosquitoes...it was the dang horse flies.  OUCH!  Have you ever been bitten by those buggers.  YIKES it hurts.  

Here I am thinking really this is a vacation?  I hated to cook.  So, it did not take me very long to realize that I REALLY hated cooking outdoors.  Sure the food was good, but the preparation, the cooking, the cleanup, and the storage of the food is about 9000 times harder than it is at home. 

Returning home from that trip I was eager to have running water, a shower, a toilet that flushed, a restaurant,  and a movie (with no bugs)!  We cleaned up all the mess of camping, which also takes another three weeks,  got clean ourselves and I vowed NEVER to go camping again!!!

So, as you might remember from previous blogs, I was called to serve with the Young Women's as camp director.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Funny thing is.... I LOVED THE WHOLE THING!!  Even the sleepless nights and bugs.  With this great success in camping... my family is planning a get away weekend of camping, bugs, dirt, and flushless toilets.  Just goes to show you that you might not want to give up something with a bad experience or two, it just might be the REST you need!!!

Favorite quote: "A truly Happy person, finds beauty even along the detour"!

Have a wonderful Friday!!!

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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rain and Rainbows...by Dolly Parton and Mike Terry

"If you want the rainbow...you gotta put up with the rain!"
~Dolly Parton (photo Mike Terry)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer...by Henry James and Mike Terry

"Summer afternoon - Summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” 
~Henry James (photo Mike Terry)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Family Vacation...by Jim Terry

Summer is now officially in full swing. The fourth of July is over, heat indices in most areas of the country are easily into the nineties everyday (minus the bay area…this is our wintertime due to the fog), kids are in swim lessons, the local icee stands are packed and of course the best part of summer…FAMILY VACATION.  

I remember so many fun times with family over the years…places like Redfish Lake in Central Idaho was always one of my favorite. As a child, I would always run to the shoreline in my excitement and take out my snorkeling mask and dive in the cool--alright the waters here are just darn right COLD--clear waters of the lake in hopes of seeing the red fish that the lake was named after. Year after year, I was disheartened in the fact that I never did see any red fish.  

As I became older and wiser, it was apparent why I wasn’t seeing the red fish.  The rapid population decline of the sockeye Salmon that initially returned in such massive quantities that made the lake shimmer red during spawning season just wasn’t happening any longer.  Though I was disappointed as a kid, it wasn’t hard to still enjoy our vacation. I simply had to refocus my attention to the brilliantly clear water, the sandy beaches, the majesty of the sawtooth mountains, the warm summer air and of course my amazing family that was there with me.   

Palisades Lake, Yellowstone National Park, Craters of the Moon, Grand Teton National Park, Glacier National Park, Vancouver Island, Mt. Wheeler and the list goes on of such fond memories, fun places and such great times with my family while on our summer family vacations.  

About a month ago, my flight was cancelled to return home so I could spend some time with my family and friends there.  They--the airline--could not get me up there until two days later because all of their flights were full.  I was going up for a total of a five-day trip which kind of defeats the purpose of taking some time off to go home if the airline takes away two of those days doesn’t it?  So I had to reschedule for a month later. 

So as this month long wait to go home comes to an end so I can go on "vacation" and enjoy my family and friends there, I find myself as excited as I was as that young boy. That very same one that would run to the water’s edge at Redfish Lake as quickly as he could just so he could dive in the cold waters to find the secretive and elusive “red” fish. 

I have seen a picture floating around on the internet that made me chuckle and gave me a mischievous idea.  I just wanted to issue a forewarning to my family members that will be putting me up and have become known as the “Terry Hotels"…I “MAY” or “MAY NOT” do exactly what this man is doing in the photo! You may want to put me in the room with the old mattress and the old bed frame just in case the child in me takes over and says…’WHAAAA  HOOOOO!” 

Happy Tuesday and I hope you enjoy or have enjoyed your Summer Vacations!  What have you been up to this summer? 

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

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer's winter...by Mary Hazlett

So most of us are experiencing that dreaded HOT summer.  Triple digits is to be expected and is in fact fairly normal for this time of year.  I have often thought that I was a lizard and the more heat the better...that was until I moved to Chandler, Arizona.

Dad, Mom, Ryan and me lived in Arizona which by the calendar was a short summer, but in reality  seemed extraordinarily long.  I often heard the "locals" telling me that we moved down just in time for the summer's winter.  I would smile and whisper under my breath, "They don't know winter....come to Idaho".  

June soon rounded the corner and the temperatures were reaching upper 90's.  I was loving it.  I tried to convince my parents that this was the best place in all America to be for the summer.   Some of the most odd features in Arizona are the small patches of lawn around the houses (which we had a mower with an electric cord... would have been ridiculous is our lawn was not just 3 feet by 6 feet).  Everything...I mean everything has thorns or horns.  I tried to prune a small palm tree in our backyard and I looked liked I had chicken pox all over again.  Golf carts are a regular mode of transportation.  There are Walgreens on every corner and you are just plain weird if you don't have a pool.

Well, the 90 degree days turned into 100 degree days which then turned into 115 degree days.  We had our air conditioner break down on a weekend and so most of the evening we spent outside in the 105 degree air because it was cooler out there than in the house.  YIKES...okay Mom and Dad you win!  This is getting miserable. It wasn't until the beginning of August that I realized what a summer's winter meant.  

Although we spent only a short time there, I gained a great appreciation for Idaho and its summers.   While living down there, we all got the opportunity to visit the museum for the Superstition Mountains and the legend about the Dutchman and his gold.   It was there that I found in the souvenir shop the perfect shirt to epitomize Arizona:   On it there is a Papa Devil and a Little Devil standing in the fires of Hell and the Papa is pointing to the little one with these words written in his quote bubble. "You better shape up son or I will send you to Arizona".   

On this hot Monday, just remember...you could be in Arizona!

**Hope you share your stories with us at nutshellstories@gmail.com

Friday, July 11, 2014

You are what you... Do... by Ben Hazlett

I think it was about a little over a year ago on Valentine's Day, I took Mary to Tucanos, which is an awesome restuarant in Boise.  Since I was not super prepared we didn't have a reservation and ended up waiting for a table. I used to be so annoyed at having to wait... however, now I'm so happy to have a night alone with my wife it doesn't matter how long we have to wait. 

As I waited, I began looking around the room at all of other people who, like me, had no foresight whatsoever and didn't have reservations. There were some families and some groups of friends, but the large majority were, as you might guess given the holiday, couples.   What I observed next was almost humorous.  Without exception, everyone in the room had their cell phone out.  Some were playing games, others were texting, and so forth.  The crazy thing was that though they were all there to be together, most of them weren't actually talking to the person they came to spend time with.  

Isn't it amazing how we can become so engrossed in silly things that don't really matter while at the same time neglecting the things that should matter the most.  Yet we tell our kids things like "practice makes perfect," "stop wasting time," or "you are what you eat."  If those things are true then all of those people want to become professional Angry Bird players, Facebook Stalkers, and Fantasy Football fanatics. Many others appeared to be more engaged in working on their relationships with people who weren't even their, while neglecting the person they are paying to have dinner with.  

I do think it's true that we largely become the things we do the most.  So where some would say that an example of time wasted is sitting on the floor with my kids crawling all over me, while neglecting the 10 text messages and 18 friend requests... (okay, lets be honest its more like 1 request).  Since I have decided I want to be a good husband and father, there's no better way to use my time! So next time your inner child screams "I'm bored, we should see if I have any tweets from total strangers," ask you self if that's what you want to be when you grow up.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"It's a Doggie-Dog World"...by Angie Terry

As I was sitting on my couch this morning with my furry little Athena, the goddess of the house, and looking into her beautiful big eyes and petting her tummy...she wagged her tail and licked my hand in thanks!  I sat there thinking that I should write about these wonderful additions to our life’s if we are so lucky to have, and love, a dog! 

I will never forget the experience I had choosing my last dog, Athena. I visited the humane society almost daily until I chose the dog for me...but wait I mean the dog chose me. I will explain. My daughter and I walked around the cages to look at the different dogs and I remember one such dog we fell in love with at first glance. 

He seemed happy to see us and moved slowly toward the cage to let us get closer and pet his head. He seemed content with us but just as we were thinking we might want this dog for our own, another mother and her son walked in looking for their next family member. As the dog caught a glimpse of the Mother, and her son, the dog started wagging his tail so excitedly!   

As I watched the exchange,  I thought for a moment and wondered, hmmmmm…… do dogs choose us?  My daughter and I stayed with the dog and his head followed the mother and son as they walked around the room. As they came back around toward the cage where this little dog was, he displayed the same reaction toward this other family. I felt I should tell the mother about it. I told her what I had witnessed and that this dog had chose them .I don’t know if they took that sweet friend home that day but I know that is where he wanted to be. 

After a few days of going back to look for a dog, it finally happened! The cutest little Westie just happened to be turned into The Humane Society, while I was there. I went to her and she wagged her tail so excitedly, just as I had witnessed the little dog with the Mother and son a few days before!  Even though she was shaking with excitement, she walked towards me and laid her little head in my hand. It was the sweetest gesture and immediately, I was in total love with this little girl. 

I did not realize how important that little dog would be to me on that very day we when we brought Athena to her new home. Every day since, a day has not gone by that each one of us, at some point throughout the day, has not said how cute she is and how much we love her! Athena has been there for us both especially in hard times. 

There was a point is my daughters teen years that she lived away for a few months and the only link that brought my daughter back home, was our ATHENA!  Oh my....how my daughter loves this little dog!   I thank my Athena from the bottom of my heart for loving us and  keeping my daughter and I bonded through the rough times. I could go on and on about Athena...the patience and unconditional  love ,the excitement when we come home even if I just walk to my car and come right back.  

I wish I was so happy to see a leash and as excited to go for a walk as a dog. I do believe most dogs are the closest thing to what our Father in Heaven expects for us to become. So willing to obey and love everyone!  Dogs don't discriminate and love regardless of race and socioeconomic status!  All they need to be happy is a blanket, water, food, and some love...Ahhhhh to be like a dog! 

Here are a few quotes I found that illustrate my feelings about my dog:

Gilda Radner:
I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love .For me they are the role model for being Alive.”

Anatole France:
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

Marley and Me …John Crogan:
“Such short Lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.”

Andy Rooney:
“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person”

Josh Billings:
“A dog is the only creature on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

One of my favorite quotes:

“Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend never owned a dog.”

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

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sacrifice...by Jim Terry

What does the word sacrifice mean to you?  In my life, I could name several things or circumstances that could be attributed to the word sacrifice…

My Dad was and is a homebuilder and there were those times that were tough when the housing market wasn't doing so well. I remember experiences when Mom and Dad would go without in order for their kids to have “stuff” they wanted or the medical services they needed. One of those experiences I am going to tell you about relates to my dental health.

I was about ten or eleven at the time and I remember my Mom taking me to my dental appointment with Dr. Johnson.  Before we left home that day, and months prior to this occasion, my Mom would remind me time and time again to “brush” at least two times a day.  As kids do—and I now know this from working in dentistry—kids never brush their teeth correctly. As kids we satisfy Mom’s wishes of brushing our teeth by simply wetting down the brush, put a little toothpaste on the brush, quickly do a couple of strokes ONLY on the front teeth and then suck the rest of the bubblegum flavored toothpaste off of the brush to enjoy the flavor. Does this sound familiar to those of you with kids out there?

So as I went into Dr. Johnson’s office that day, I was confident that I was going to “show my Mom” by having no cavities because as I kept telling her...“nothing hurt.”  Well to my dismay, I was awarded not with one but six cavities that were diagnosed that day.  I will never forget the smile on my Mom’s face when the Doctor told her “the news.” She then proceeded to tell me “I would have to work hard to pay for all of that dental work.”

She never told me until later in my life, because I pressured her to tell me the truth, that she sacrificed going to the dentist that summer herself because of the costly  mistake of her DUMB—my adjective for myself not my Mom's—little blue-eyed boy. 

Moms seem to sacrifice all the time for their kids but sacrifice can also be recognized in several different areas of life and in everyday life situations in the world…

  -   Have you ever seen someone give up a seat for someone else on a train, in   
       a bus or on a flight? To the person receiving that seat, that can be viewed as a sacrifice.

-       Did you know that over 600,000 people died in the civil war alone, either from combat or disease, to provide our freedom? 

-       Fifty to eighty million people died in World War II from combat, famine or war-related
    disease. Truly an incomprehensible sacrifice.

-       Have you ever seen a child share a toy?  To the child doing the sharing, that may be a BIG

-       The cost of the Statue of Liberty was funded by contributions from both
                 the French and the Americans. In 1885, a New York newspaper entitled
                 “World” announced that $102,000 had been raised from donors, and that
                 80 per cent of this total had been received in sums of less than one

-       In November 1930 a bond passed where people put up their own properties as collateral to
    construct the Golden Gate Bridge.  During the construction of the bridge, eleven men died.

I could go on and on about sacrifice but it made me recognize, as another week starts and another fourth of July ends,  that there are all types of sacrifices that are all around us everyday. They don't have to or need to be as large as some of the examples listed above either. Try to remember to look a little deeper into every structure, situation or setting you might be in and be grateful and recognize the sacrifice that may be happening right in front of your eyes. 

The most recent "sacrifice" in my life, which happened only a little over a week ago, was when a sister came to California.  She was here for a seminar but sacrificed part of her time at the seminar to see her brother. We were able to spend some time together and experience one of the sacrifices mentioned above while we took a stroll over the Golden Gate Bridge..."Thanks Lor and come back soon." 

Oh and one more sacrifice and getting back to my before mentioned dental “issues”…I ended up having to sacrifice most of my summer that year by working hard to help pay off the bill to Dr. Johnson’s dental office...So for those of you who claim to be a math whizz out there, how many hours of shoveling horse poop, weeding gardens and cleaning up construction sites does one have to put in to pay off a $600 bill at $2.50 an hour?  J

Happy Tuesday and what sacrifices have you noticed in your life?

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

Monday, July 7, 2014

Bubbles...by Mary Hazlett

When I say the word, "Bubbles" what comes to your mind?  I think of bubbles that you blow, bubbles that are made in the dishwasher, bubbles in the washer, and bubbles in the tub.  I love all those kinds of bubbles.  It seems to just make me smile because something is either getting clean or relaxing in it.     Now, most of you know my son...yep, the getter upper at 5:30 am despite his late night, and run you around until you fall on the ground one.  Well, he has always loved his bath time especially with bubbles.  There were times that he was a grumpy mess and I would just start the tub water running and put him in it and soon he would emerge an entirely different person.  Even at four years old this trick works for Benson.

This last week was a time for an emergency bath,  because life was just too hard for him and he needed a break.... well look at the result....

Wouldn't it be great if we all had something so magical that could just take all our cares away like those bubbles do for Benson?  (Mine is a quiet room and a cold Diet Mountain Dew!)

Happy Monday everyone!! Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July and that today you can find some BUBBLES for relief!

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

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Home of the Brave...by Mary Hazlett

I thank my teachers for so much that I have been taught by them.  Why am I mentioning teachers on this amazing day of United States patriotism...well, because I will never forget Mrs. Hill.  She was my outstanding 8th grade World History teacher.  She would start every class with this, "Before I teach you of World History, I have to teach you about this wonderful country you live in".  Mrs. Hill would then deliver a most patriotic story of a hero or heroes in the United States history, usually she finished her stories with at least a tear or two and with a permeating love of her country.  After her amazing story told to us, the class would stand and sing all four verses of The Star Spangled Banner.

I still know all the words to our beautiful national anthem.  What a beautiful story it unfolds.  Do you know all the verses?  Well, take a minute and read them.  

The first verse asks a question:

O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
The second verse answers the question:
On the shore, dimly seen thro’ the mist of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep.
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream
‘Tis the star-spangled banner. Oh! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
The third verse is about the siege of the English failing and our home constantly being threaten to return to English rule:
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The fourth and final verse....says it all!  It has the perfect mix of patriotism, piety, and honor.  
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation,
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n – rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,
And this be our motto–”In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

So, now that I am a grown woman with children of my own, I LOVE my country.  With tears in my eyes, I salute all the service men and women of this country.  Thank you for protecting my home, my family, my faith, and my future.  And some of you may wonder how I begin my Fourth? ...  Well, with this awe inspiring presentation of "The Star Spangled Banner" blaring through my speakers with windows and doors open!!!

"Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just, and this be our motto- 'In God is our trust'."

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    Thursday, July 3, 2014

    "Let Them Eat Cake"...by Gina Waite

    Friday is the 4th of July and at my house we will be busily readying all the food for our family get together!  Of course we will have already dressed ourselves (and even our dog) in hand-picked patriotic t-shirts sporting our beloved and revered, "Old Glory!"  Now, I'm not certain how big a deal the 4th of July is at your house, but at ours...the celebration and traditions that have been passed on, and created, make for one of our favorite, and most memorable holidays...but it's our BBQ...that "takes the cake"...let me explain!

    About ten years ago most of my brothers and sisters traveled to my house to celebrate the 4th together!  As I wanted our time to be enjoyable and memorable, I busied myself with ideas of fun activities, food and fireworks!  As the day neared when my family would arrive, I finalized little details of what would be on our 4th of July menu!  Knowing my Mom would be in attendance, I quickly determined brownies needed to be an option as a treat...but still looked over magazines (remember...pre-pinterest days) and books to find the coup de gras of ALL 4th of July desserts!  Then, I found it...a colored picture of a perfectly recreated flag...all encompassed in the sugary goodness of yellow-butter, cream cheese frosted, fruit-lined cake!

    The rest of the 4th of July BBQ, as good as it would be, would pale in comparison to this butter-infused behemoth and as the stars and stripes would be recreated by using fruit, and in keeping the fruit fresh, I realized I would need to make it on the 4th of July!  Hoping my time in the kitchen would not consume the fun-filled day...I baked the cake on the eve of the 3rd and planned to decorate the cake mid-morning while most everyone would be engaged in activities and set-up!  

     As I started to spread the cream cheese frosting as a base-layer for the stars and stripes, I realized that a small audience of family onlookers had begun to form!  My brother Richard recommended that I try to have thirteen stripes of red raspberries.  My sister Mary asked if she could count out the fifty pre-made star sprinkles...and before I knew it, I realized that creating the flag cake would become a memorable 4th of July activity, for ALL of us!  ...And much to my delight, it tasted great too!

    Fast forward ten years...almost the same people, planning the same details:  the food...will be fantastic, the family...missing our amazing Mother but most of us will be together, the fireworks...incredible to behold, but it's our flag-cake-decorator that may surprise most of you!  For with tradition, the transmission of this most beloved activity is being passed on from my generation to the next!  ...And I must say, she's a pretty fantastic little cake decorator!  Happy 4th of July everyone...enjoy your family and "let them eat cake!"  

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