Friday, October 31, 2014


                               MAY IT BE A FUN, EXCITING and MEMORABLE HALLOWEEN!!!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Boo!" Jim Terry

It’s here…well almost. Another Halloween is just around the corner…Friday to be exact.  So what is it that you are going to be dressing up as or doing this year?

As a young child, I could hardly wait for this once a year holiday. Mom and Dad would always make it so special and fun. We would grow pumpkins each and every year in our garden and if luck would have it—most years anyhow if it didn’t freeze too early­­—we would have enough pumpkins for all of us kids to pick out our very favorite pumpkin so we could carve them.  Generally this family tradition and get together would take place the weekend before the holiday. 

Once all the pumpkins were completed, we would then start what we called the “SET UP.”  The set up involved about a week’s time and immense planning to set up and to do our annual spook alley we had at our house.  We had a long driveway and what better way to spook the heck out of our visitors by making them walk the entire length of the driveway? On Halloween, we would block the entrance to our home by roping it off.  We would also have very special guides there, THE GRIM REAPER or a MUMMY, waiting to take you to your destination where you could get your trick or treats. 

While walking down the path to the “Haunted Mansion”, you would be frightened by more goblins, ghosts, mummies and zombies jumping from the tree-lined corridor.  At the entrance of the mansion there was always our famous graveyard with the “RIP” headstones laced in blood and several bones of skeletons laying on the ground.  Spiders, spider webs, bats, the pumpkins we carved, a strobe light and of course a witch on the roof cackling and waving her broom down at you were all apart of the eerie atmosphere.

Once inside the mansion several different characters would greet you over the years but Dracula was always one of the best and the scariest.  The entrance to the mansion was also filled with scary sounds playing on the stereo, dry ice placed inside of cauldrons which were strategically placed to help create an indistinct atmosphere in the foyer, a two story entrance with a winding staircase laced in spider webs, a moving hand in the cauldron that you had to reach in to get your treats and the finishing touch was a black light…Looking back on it now, it really was a lot of work but it was always a lot of fun.

Going back to the scary sounds on the stereo...Mom had a record that had "scary sounds" on one side and a "scary story" on the other.  The "scary sound" side of the record is what we would play all night on Halloween to enhance the chilling environment of our spook alley.  I do remember several times sitting by the stereo as a young boy with my siblings while my Mom would light a candle, turn down the lights and play the "scary story" side of the record right before Halloween. As she placed the needle on the the spinning record and you heard the common crackle and pops that were created from the dust and the imperfections on the surfaces of the vinyl as the story began, there was always utter silence from the Terry kids in the room. I think we were all so terrified that we didn't know what to do but to freeze and to listen.  TO THIS DAY and because of childhood fears coming to the surface, the "scary story" side of the record still unnerves me just a bit.  It all begins when I hear the creaking doors, the wind, the echoes in the hallways and finally the apparition beckoning to the listener through the dimly lit hallways of the mansion, "My baby...have you seen my baby?" 

So as you listen to this clip from “Halloween Horrors 1977” that we used to listen to in the Terry household as kids—IF YOU DARE—remember to have a WONDERFUL, FUN and a SAFE HALLOWEEN...BOO!!!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Welcome Least I Mary Hazlett

With 80 degree weather here it hardly feels like fall. Nevertheless, the calendar and the leaves are telling me different! Every year about this time I think about why I LOVE Fall!!! 

Well...pumpkin bread, colorful trees, cool nights, family time, sweaters, and YES oh YES.... HALLOWEEN!! I thank my mom for that one! With each Halloween, we would spend hours decorating with webs, gravestones, spiders, coffins, pumpkins, and then don our scariest garb that would be sure to scare even the bravest of child. Yes, those were the good ol' days! 

Speaking about my Mom and Halloween also reminds me of her talent to tell stories.  We have all enjoyed those...

Don't you admire the people that can make a story out of anything... I do!  My mother was one of the greatest story tellers in HISTORY.  She would take things as simple as a hole in a rock and elaborate on how "little people" lived there with their grand celebrations and adventures.  It seemed that each road trip we would take, my family could hardly wait to hear more when Mom would tell her stories of rocks, houses, and villages that we passed.  My son had to be one of my mom's greatest admirers for her ability to make magic out of a simple object.  (They nearly spent one entire afternoon swinging on the swing set, telling stories of flying around the galaxy, attacking aliens, and throwing poop at the intruders in their space station.....yep, she was a magical story teller!)

One of my favorite story telling session happened just last year.  Here at Mom's house she had set up all her Halloween decorations:  the pumpkins along the walkway, the ghost in the tree, and the witch's hat and broom next to the rocking chair.  As my son, Benson, and I opened the front door Benson asked, "Is there a witch in the house?"  Laughing, Mom replied with, "You bet..." and she began this epic story of Helga the witch and how she loved candy so much that she began Halloween.

Yes, that ability to capture an audience, especially that of a 4 year old, is AMAZING!  So of course when, Benson asked, "Are we putting out the witch's hat and broom this year"... It was done!!!

Welcome Fall! Welcome Family Traditions!  Welcome New Memories to share for years to come!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

"Thank Heaven...for Little Girls" ... by Gina Waite

Almost seventeen years ago now…my life took a drastic change for the good and I became a Mother!  I was not completely prepared for the life-altering experience Motherhood would be.  Oh, believe me…I read ALL the books that I could on the subject and listened intently to my teachers when lecturing on “how to be a good Mother.”   It was only when I actually became a parent that I fully understood the STUFF it takes!  My immediate reaction after becoming a parent: complete respect for my parents and their efforts in raising me! 

In recognizing how overwhelmed I initially felt in having just one little baby, I was amazed that any two people would agree to having more than one…let alone eight!  Becoming a parent is a crash course in selflessness!  By Divine Intervention parents, in that last trimester, learn to exist on less sleep than they ever thought possible!  …And as much as I felt sleep deprived in my last trimester…NO ONE could have prepared me for the zombie-like state I would enter in, after actually delivering my baby!  

I remember the day I found out I was expecting a second baby!  I had ALWAYS wanted at least four children!  I was so hopeful that I would have at least two girls and two boys…companions of the same gender that each child could commiserate with!  I also hoped they would come sequentially…two boys then two girls!  Imagine my shock and joy when I found out our second was to be a girl…one that would be greatly protected (and was predicted) by her eldest brother! 

Flash forward to today…I was not able to have my four…but of one thing I am completely certain, I am so happy my second child was a little girl!  The joy she has brought to her family is far beyond anything I could comprehend!  A dear friend and cohort to her older brother, a sweet helper and craft enthusiast for her mother, and a willing golf participant for her father…our little Paris has been a joy to have around!  As we remembered together, over this past weekend, the one year anniversary of a fun-filled, Girl’s Only Weekend with my Mom and sisters…I am filled with gratitude!  Gratitude at having been a daughter to a wonderful Mother AND the pure joy of having a daughter of my very own, ”Thank Heaven…for little girls!”

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Monday, October 6, 2014

"No One Is Alone" Jim Terry

The title of today’s blog is certainly something that I NEVER experienced while growing up. For those of you who know the Terry family, or those who have been following our posts and blogs, will know that in our family, there were eight children…we were the Brady bunch minus the maid…plus two.  We also had an even amount of boys and girls…four and four.  So any time you had alone was a valuable commodity.

As we all grow up and move out and have our own lives and families, it’s really easy to loose touch at times with friends, but sometimes, even family.  It is in those times when we endure life’s challenges and trials that we may feel alone.  Several people—namely family and friends—that have been experiencing some “rough seas” in their lives recently, have inspired today’s blog.  

The Reilly family, who has taken me in as one of their own, just lost a family member from an aneurysm. He was in his mid-fifties. A dear friend of mine just finished her last chemo treatment for breast cancer.  She is a married mother of three young kids.  Another young couple's daughter was diagnosed and treated for a brain tumor this year. A cousin of mine was in a serious motorcycle accident and has a long road of recovery. An uncle just suffered an accident that broke five ribs and just underwent surgery for a "broken upper jaw." An amazing patient whom I have grown to love in her early sixties was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer that has originated in her jaw causing tooth mobility and numbness. The long term prognosis here is "not good." Open heart surgery, divorce and depression are also some of the trials that are affecting those I care about.

So in response to this, because I do care about each and everyone of you, I wanted to offer a powerful example that we can all learn from.  This is an instance of how support from those around you can make you feel accomplished, help you succeed, make you feel loved and make you feel as though you are not alone.

Is anyone familiar with Hawaii?  Well it was one of their many magical late spring days in 2006 that encompass bright blue skies, billowy white clouds overhead and a gentle warm breeze off of the Pacific Ocean.  We met at the Outrigger Resort on the Kona side of the big island. On this particular day it was the beginning of a half marathon, or a thirteen and a half mile trek, for a young woman in her seventies…actually seventy-three to be exact.  Her name was Caryl Reilly.   

Side note here…WHO in their RIGHT MIND runs marathons in there forties or fifties let alone in there seventies? ;) Surely to compete and complete a marathon at half that age is an achievement but there is some more information you need to know about this particular competitor. 

She suffered a stroke when she was only thirty-five years old and slipped into a coma for over a week.  She had lost some of her motor skills because of this and had to relearn how to speak, to eat, to write and to do the simplest of tasks that you and I may take for granted on a day-to-day basis.   She said she was running in this marathon because she “still could” and because she was raising money for the American Stroke Association to help others in need that had faced the same affliction she did.  She also was a mother of five children, a wife of fifty-four years at that time, served as the president of the Dekalb Stroke Club for several years in her local community and ran a successful property management/realtor business.

The race began and spirits were high. Most of her immediate family that was there to support her, including myself, were captivated by the marathon spirit.  I hadn’t planned on it, nor did the Reilly family that were there to support her, but we all ended up walking and running the whole way with this fierce competitor.  Her spirit that day was intoxicating. 

It was about mile number eleven when you could see the fatigue start to set in.   The dismal look of failure in her eyes began to be displayed.   She would have to stop and rest, quite frequently now, and find a place to sit down for a minute to help ease the pain of blisters on her feet, chronic arthritis throughout her joints and the first stages of restless leg she was experiencing that would last throughout the rest of her life.  Would this be the end of her journey that she worked so diligently to accomplish? ...Months of training down the drain?  It was at that moment when she felt all alone and defeated that her family, still by her side, gave her the encouragement and strength she needed.   

Have you ever seen a wilted plant?  If so, have you ever taken that same plant and then watered it?  Generally within minutes, you can see a difference in the strength of the stem of the plant and can easily witness the vitality that returns to the plant’s extremities and allows it to go on.  Caryl was no different this day.  She not only completed her half marathon due to the strength of her family that supported her, but in the last quarter mile, she left us all in the dust.  She could see that her end goal was within reach and embraced the warmth and the cheers of encouragement from the crowds that lined the streets to welcome her home.

I firmly believe in the power of music.  So to those of my family and friends—you know who you are—that have shared with me some hard times you have been experiencing, listen to the words of this video I made for you and remember to look around in those times when you are feeling defeated or in those times of sorrow and despair and realize…that “No One Is Alone.”  

In loving memory of Caryl M. Reilly 1932-2010 and Tim R. Reilly 1957-2014.

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