Monday, September 4, 2017


HAPPY LABOR DAY! "IN A NUTSHELL" will return in October with more fun, laughs and COOLER WEATHER! Enjoy your holiday!

Friday, August 11, 2017

"E" is For ETERNITY ... by Gina Waite

So family and friends of "In a Nutshell," today happens to celebrate the day we discuss the letter "E" in our 5th consecutive day of posting memories associated with the letters in "F-A-T-H-E-R." I made the realization about two days ago that I would EVENTUALLY have to EXPLAIN memories that start with the letter "E". This is an ENORMOUS task to my fried EGG-type of brain, this week. I promise, I have no real EXCUSE EXCEPT the letter "E" is EXCEPTIONALLY hard to think of nouns associated with it! We may have to start off with EASTER EGGS as there were never more creative EXCITEMENT at our home than that of decorating our un-EQUALED EGGS:

EVERY one of my siblings and parents are artistically talented. In our own way we EACH shine in different areas of art and artistry. My Mom and Dad really EXAMINED and creatively came up with EVERY opportunity they could to include productivity and tradition with artistic EXCELLENCE. Going back to an EARLIER EXPLANATION, this week, my Mom showed her own artistic EXCELLENCE when she ENGAGED herself in sewing Christmas jammies with an individual style that suited EACH of us, almost EVERY year for Christmas. As excited as we were to open our Christmas jammies, we were EAGER for our annual EASTER EGG dying and decorating! I think EVERYONE in my household, growing up and the final EXTENSION of my own little family, was ENTHUSIASTIC and ENERGETIC about this annual EXERCISE. Wax crayons, vinegar and all sorts of added accessories were used in EXECUTING creative EGG dominance. I think once, one of my siblings used ELASTICS to cover certain parts of a hardboiled EGG in order to cover and EXPOSE different areas of the shell in order to create a pattern. EGG contests always ENSUED and my Mom did her absolute best to recognize EACH and EVERYONE of us.

I think of ENVELOPES. Before her graduation into the Spirit World, my Mom wrote me the most EXCELLENT birthday letter filled with EXPRESSIONS of love and admiration for my EXAMPLE. My Mom was so talented in EXPRESSING her love through letter writing. Similarly, I have never known a person to be more EXCEPTIONAL in EXPRESSING ideas and stories off the top of their head than that of my, EXCELLENT Mother. 

One EXAMPLE was a time she had several of her grandchildren gathered together in a room at my brother, Richard's house, to EXPLAIN details of a story about EACH one of them in her imagination. There was so much EXCITEMENT and ENERGY involved that when the ENEMY of her story approached the un-EXPECTING heroes ... the ENGAGED grandchildren were involved to the point that one of them EXTRACTED their lunch in front of EVERYONE. The EXCELLENCE of story-telling to create such EMOTIONAL involvement that the audience may be physically ill ... is a gift ... and one my Mom gave to EACH one of her grandchildren that EXTREMELY ENJOYABLE, and memorable, night! I'm so grateful to have an EXCELLENT memory ... my Mom's contributions to our family and ETERNAL and un-ENDING love with never be ERASEDfrom my mind.

Hmmmm...I'm realizing how EXCITING and EMOTIONAL writing about memories associated with the letter "E" have been for me! I'm so ETERNALLY grateful for my family and the fact I got to EXPERIENCE writing about it, this week!

Stay TUNED TOMORROW for the letter "R"! The wrap-up and RESOLVE to our week-filled posts of our REWARDING family REALTIONSHIP!

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"H" is For HOLIDAYS ... by Gina Waite

Just to review what is happening with "In A Nutshell" this week, we are on day four of six, reviewing thoughts and memories associated with each letter in the word, "FATHER" as we celebrate my Dad's birthday this week! Consequently, we ALSO celebrate birthdays in AUGUST for: Andrew (my brother Richard's baby boy) Savahnna (my sister, Angel Angie's gorgeous girl) and our VERY OWN TERRIFICALLY TALENTED TWINS (Richard and Ryan my twin brothers.) So far we've already reviewed the letters "F"... "A" ... AND "T" ... today is the day of the letter "H":

HAIR ... as a family ... we HAPPEN to HAVE a HEALTHY, HECK of a lot!!!! At one time in HER life, my Mom HAPPILY sported the bee-HIVE (and tried to make that work for my sisters as pictured) as well as my daughter, Paris, used to refer to her little todder-tried half-ponytail as HER "HELICOCK-CO (helicopter) HAIR!" As a child, I thought I could HELP Mike with a HAIRCUT and butchered his in the bangs while HACKING off my HIGHLY-LOVED blonde ponytails underneath the elastics. My HEAVENS ... I'm so glad to be ALIVE today!!! Our resident, HAIR-GICIAN, Angel Angie kept us all on point and HEALTHY, in the HAIR department. She did HAVE HER experiment-with-my-own-HAIR-through-HAIR-school days ... but HAPPILY moved out of that stage as she HEALED HER own by wearing HATS! 

Speaking of HATS ... there are memories of a day when Lora, my HILARIOUS sister, decided to take HER HILARIOUS antics to new levels by sporting a wicker chicken basket on her HEAD. The basket, itself, was a replica of a life-sized chicken and split HORIZONTALLY to open HALF-way down. Perfect for my sister to place the top, atop HER HALF-COCKED HEAD. Lora HEADED out to the backyard to entertain HER family, who were HAZY with HUGE amounts of HOMEWORK, without HEARING or realizing that all my Dad's HIRED-HANDS were in full view of her HILARIOUS chicken dance. Upon completion, HOOTS and HOLLERS went up and now the dance is of legend and HISTORY!

HARDLY ever do I remember a HOLIDAY without the magical effort and resources of my now, HEAVENLY-HAPPY Mother, and HER HANDSOME, HANDY , HELPMEET of a HUSBAND! New Years, Valentine's, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween and ESPECIALLY CHRISTMAS were HYPED-UP and HONORED! My Mom and Dad arranged for HORSE-drawn sleigh and HAY rides and the previously mentioned HALLOWEEN HOUSE OF HORRORS (family spook alley.) Through all the memories, my parents were many HATS and I can HONESTLY say ... I HAD a very HAPPY childHOOD!
Stay TUNED TOMORROW for the letter "E"! It's EVERYTHING EVERYONE has been EXCITED for!

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"T" is For Terry ... by Gina Waite

Just to review what is happening with "In A Nutshell" this week, we are on day three of six reviewing thoughts and memories associated with each letter in the word, "FATHER" as we celebrate my Dad's birthday and so many family birthday's in August (if you haven't already been keenly aware...we've got a couple to celebrate and remember.) We've already reviewed "F" and "A" so that brings us up to speed with the letter, "T":
I'm calling it the TERRIFIC letter "T" as it clearly has so many associations with our family ... starting with our last name, "TERRY" and the fact our family claims TWINS. From what I understood of the TUMULTUOUS years that the TWINS experiencing their TWOS ... my Mom had to TAKEOFF to the TROPICS in order to have a TIME out and much needed THINKING TIME. Having the TWINS in our TRIBE has been a TOTAL TREAT. Ryan TICKLES our funny bone with his incredible comedic TIMING and Richard keeps us up-to-date in the latest and greatest, TECHNOLOGY! They both TIED-the-knot with TROPHY wives and Richard's son's, Gabriel and Andrew, constantly TEACH us that to be happy we just need to be, TOGETHER ... and frequently to play with TRAINS and TYRANNOSAURUS rexes!

Our beautiful neice Savahnna, Angie's daughter, and her TITANIC bearded dragons are quite the TEAM of TRAINER and TRAINEE but when TWO male dragons are close enough to see each other, the TECHNIQUE of TRYING to dominate each other just about brought her Aunt Gina to TEARS! Mary, our baby sister, and her husband BEN, are amazing TEAMMATES and parents to the THREE of the smartest, most adorable TRIBE I've ever seen. Ben's amazing ability of TEACHING people to TALK again also incorporates his capability of TRANSLATING everything he TEACHES into Spanish.
I think of all the TREES we planted over the years and the hours and hours of TIME spent on the TRAMP perfecting games like Add-On and TANNING on TOP of it all Summer long! The Touch-downs thrown in our backyard, the TENDENCY of our TROOP to spend TIME playing pinball on our very own pinball machine enTITLED, "TILT!" The Summer afternoon THUNDERSTORMS and the TEMPTATION to spend a lot of TIME overlooking the valley from the TERRIFICALLY positioned TERRITORY of the TERRY home makes me THANKFUL to remember the letter "T"!
Stay TUNED TOMORROW for the letter "H"! That Nutshell HIGHLIGHTS the HILARIOUS HAPPENINGS of the Terry HOME!

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"A" is For Apples & Angles ... by Gina Waite

If you didn't catch my "In A Nutshell" post, yesterday, you may be wondering why I would use the letter "A" in the title of my post! That's simply because we are on day two of a consecutive 6 day post ... sharing memories that coordinate with each letter in the word "Father." Why, you ask? Well TODAY of ALL days is the highly ANTICIPATED, AUGUST 8th ... IT'S MY FATHER'S BIRTHDAY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TODAY, DAD! I know I speak for everyone of your children when I say we LOVE you and wish you health and happiness in the years to come. I genuinely hope you'll sit down for ten minutes, today, and ENJOY a cup of ice-cold water (the only way you drink it) AND hopefully enjoy yesterday's post about the memories I have associated with the letter "F" in "Father" and maybe even follow that up with today's post which is dedicated to the memories I have that are associated with the letter "A" in "Father."

Now onto my thoughts and family memories associated with the Angelic letter "A":
I have ALWAYS been AWARE that it was an AWESOME experience to be raised with eight siblings. ALTHOUGH, it never occurred to me that A LOT of those memories would come to me associated with my siblings would be revisited when smelling APPLES. APPLE cider and dehydrating APPLES especially heightens my awareness of our APPLE orchard and my happiness in feeding the horses through the fence. The AMBITION my parents had to purchase ACERAGE to build a beautiful home, horse barn and cabinet shop then ADDING an orchard, raspberry patch and garden! As children, we received AWARDS for our ABILITY to garden!

My Dad's ATHLETICISM AND ANTICIPATION of ALL things competitive spilled over into ARM and leg wrestling matches that left most of us sore and in need of an ASPIRIN! I must ADMIT ... my Dad's endless energy and AGELESS APPROACH at life lead the family on many ADVENTURES! My Mom's talent and ARTISTRY in ABSOLUTELY everything she did! Even ACQUIRING enough coordinating fabric that she could make ANNUAL Christmas jammies for ALL eight of her children. In thinking about it ... ARTISTIC ABILITY rubbed off on ALL my eight siblings, except me (I was tempted to use ACCEPT...but my Mom might be AGAINST that word choice ... wink, wink); ALTHOUGH, I did ARRANGE for ALL my siblings to be ACTORS and ACTRESSES in my AWESOME, self-proclaimed, AWARD-winning days of AUTHORING, producing and directing Summer screenplays!
So many memories of backyard and trampoline ACROBATICS that kept ALL of us busy through AUTUMN! Oh AUTUMN ... that glorious time of AUTUMNAL coloring that my ANGEL of a Mother loved with ALL of her heart! ANGELS remind me of my Mother and Grandmothers, ALONG with my sister, ANGIE (who is aptly nicknamed, "Angel') ... my nephew Andrew (who will be talked about in length TOMORROW during the TWINS post) ... my besutiful neice, Savahnna who ALSO shares an AUGUST birthday and my darling Paris who was born in APRIL AND longed to be an ANIMAL doctor. AHHHH ... I love remembering the letter "A"!
Stay tuned tomorrow for the TERRIFIC letter "T"!

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"F" is For Family ... by Gina Waite

I know I've said this before but days seem to fly by now! I remember thinking how quickly the Summer went by as a kid-but now, Shazam ... it's GONE! It's how I felt in June when my good intentions to write daily posts leading up to Father's Day completely flopped as my brain had a disconnect with the fact that I WOULD BE GONE on a ballroom tour with my children that would keep me completely occupied and busy the entire TWO WEEKS BEFORE! What ... I double-booked myself???? How can that be???? That's NEVER happened before (here's where I wish I could insert a sarcastic, side-sneer emoji as it seems the closer to 50 years old I get ... the MORE these things are HAPPENING!)

So let me catch everyone up to speed. In June, starting with the Monday BEFORE Father's Day, I had anticipated coordinating each day with a letter in the word, Father, that would also combine a flood of memories of my Dad. As I started writing those Father's Day week posts (I emphasize "started" as it's difficult to prepare your house, garden, yourself, hubs, two children, a father-in-law and a darling but crazy blonde golden doodle for ten days of vacation and be well rested enough you don't completely pass out at some point on the tour bus #ithappened) I realized that to talk about the memories of my childhood and my Dad would ACTUALLY integrate my ENTIRE family ... ESPECIALLY my Mom! She made life MAGICAL! So to expound and revisit an idea I was EXTREMELY EXCITED ABOUT, I'd love to remember my dad on the week of his birthday by sharing memories of my family while using the word, "FATHER." This has inspired and conjured FABULOUS memories for me that I'd love to share with ALL of you in hopes ... you may want to reply and share some of your memories, too!

Let's start today with the letter "F"!
My Fabulous Family was/is extremely Friendly! I cannot remember a time that my parents hosted a nightly dinner without a Friend of one of the eight children there to enjoy with us, too. The Funds that it must have required to Feed the ten of us at home and then Frequently adding extras to Feast with us was as Fiercely loyal Friendship as one could Find. My brother Ryan got the nickname of "Fred" and his twin sported a beautifully curly, Fro ... For which my son, also Fancied at Fifteen!
My Fam was also Frighteningly Fun! The time and effort that went into our annual Halloween Spook Alley Frequently approached Fifty or more Families every Halloween! The handmade costumes and gravestones along with Fog machines and Flashing strobe lights seem to Fit In with even the BEST effects of the day! Finally, there were lots of Summer Bon Fires, and Few Fall evenings or chilly Winter mornings, without the crackle and pop of the Fiery Flames in our beautiful Fireplace.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the letter "A" and please think of Any Additional "A" memories you can Add!
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Monday, July 3, 2017

"Those Things That Go Pop" Jim Terry

Tis the month of July and you know what that means don’t you?  FIREWORKS!  Don’t you just love fireworks?  Even now, when I see the firework stands being set up around the city, I can’t help but to smile and chuckle to myself while reminiscing about some really fun times with my family especially as a young boy.  

I remember saving all the money I could just so I could go buy fireworks.  I would even ask my Mom and Dad for extra jobs around the house just so I could spend it on–what I would call with my five year old jargon–"those things that go pop.” It’s hard for me to describe the excitement I would experience as a young boy. Probably the closest thing to lighting and watching fireworks for me, would be the same excitement one feels as a child at Christmastime.

 Some of my favorite fireworks were actually some of the most simple. The “poppers“, the “snaps” or “pop-its” are what I knew them by.  It truly is one of the only fireworks you can buy that doesn’t incorporate a lit match or lighter in order to have some fun.  You simply take one out of the bag and throw it on the ground and it creates a really loud "pop!"

 I remember several times driving into the city of Idaho Falls from the east foothills to purchase fireworks, but specifically the poppers. Generally, it was my sister Lora who would be my chauffeur because I was too young at the time to drive myself. And I hate to admit it–sorry Lor,  I have to let the cat out of the bag–that I would pick random victims, per the initial advice of my sister which later became a barrage of attacks per my own accord, and toss pop-its out of the window. Any person or sometimes animals standing, running or walking on the side of the road, minus mothers with babies, young children or other vehicles–even as a kids and with our mischievous behavior, we did have exclusions–could become a target. Once I would identify my target, I would then toss at least two to five pop-its out the window and have them land, perfectly placed of course, just close enough to the person or thing I was intending to startle or frighten.  

I will never forget that my first victim was a woman in a light blue dress and wearing glasses who was standing at the corner of Broadway and Yellowstone in my hometown of Idaho Falls. If I remember correctly, I think I was about twelve years old at the time, which would place us in the early eighties with this particular memory.  My sister and I were very stealth in the planning of our attack. It was the plan, since this was our first attack, to wait until the traffic light turned green to allow us to proceed through the intersection without getting caught and fire the artillery as we slowly passed the lady on the corner. 

As the light turned green and as we proceeded forward, the beads of sweat running down my brow from the anticipation of the woman’s reaction and the laughter we were going to experience, got the best of me.    I had grabbed five snap-its out of the bag and as I was about to throw them out of the window, two out of the five dropped down inside of the vehicle I was in and popped as I simultaneously tossed the remaining three out of the window. 

If there was such a thing as slow motion video back then and if I had been fortunate enough to have captured this moment in time, I’m sure I would have at least twenty million views on YouTube due to the level of hilarity that accompanied this action. Needless to say, I screamed, my sister screamed and the woman on the sidewalk screamed and jumped. To this day, I am not sure the woman screamed and jumped because I screamed while I was passing her or if it was my pop-its that did the trick?  I certainly wasn't going to turn around and ask her.  So as we continued to drive on, it was my own mistake that provided the entertainment for my sister and I this day. This was definitely another fun moment in my life in which I had to just laugh at my stupidity, yet creative and curious nature as a young boy.

But putting all kidding and reminiscing aside, and while you are experiencing all the fun with family, the parades, the picnics and yes, the amazing firework displays that you, your family or the cities you live in put on every 4th of July, don’t forget WHY we are able to have the freedoms we do. I saw a VIDEO recently that I would HIGHLY recommended you watch. If you have just one minute of your life to watch this, you will find yourself not being able to turn away during the remaining five minutes. In the video, there is a young North Korean woman who explains what her life was like under a dictator's rule. She literally risked and lost everything, including her family during her journey thus far in life, but finally gained a simple thing that she always wanted that most of us, including me, take for granted at times–her freedom!  I cannot corroborate the validity or the veracity of this video, but if even a fraction of what she says is true, we are indeed a lucky nation and people. 

So as I said before, while you are watching your local firework displays this 4th of July with your family make sure to remember "the rocket's red glare" and "the bombs bursting in air." It is because of this longing for freedom of our ancestors and those that did give, and continue to give us this privilege, that we have the right to say we are a free nation.  So enjoy sitting under the stars tomorrow night in the warm summer's night air, next to a river, in an open field, near an ocean or wherever your firework displays are located and make sure to have fun all the while watching "those things that go pop." 


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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Join Me In Gina Waite

Photo courtesy of Mike Terry and Brighter Side Art
I'm always glad when June comes around. The warmer, longer, sun-filled hours urge me to sit back, drink the lemonade and ENJOY the blooming beauty all around me. June also causes awareness of days gone by...just the smell of fresh-cut grass transports my senses and memory back to the time when I was a child.

If I close my eyes, I can still feel the sensation of slightly damp grass across the bottom of my feet as I played games in my backyard on Rimrock Drive. My younger siblings and I played for hours and hours in our backyard ... only stopping for lunch, bathroom breaks and the sound of my Dad's truck as he pulled around the house to park in back near his cabinetry shop. I'd run out to greet him almost every day! He'd swing me up to his shoulder, kiss me on the cheek and tell me that I was his little, "sweetheart of the hills." One of my FAVORITE things to do then, and remember now!

As June is here and Father's Day approaching on June 18th, I'd like to do something to encourage not only my mind ... but yours, too! June is ALSO the month of my parents' anniversary so I'd really like to do something fun to remember them. Starting June 12th, and everyday leading up to June 18th, I will assign a letter in the word "F-A-T-H-E-R" that corresponds with each day of the Father's Day week. I will share, and hope readers will do the same, a memory associated with my Father/Mother/Family that corresponds with EACH of those letters! I'm excited to share my memories and REALLY look forward to you, sharing yours! Start thinking of memories associated with those letters...this is going to be FUN!

Just to recap here's the schedule for the upcoming Father's Day week of memories:

*June12th - Memories associated with the letter "F"
*June 13th- Memories associated with the letter "A"
*June 14th- Memories associated with the letter "T"
*June 15th- Memories associated with the letter "H"
*June 16th- Memories associated with the letter "E"
*June 17th- Memories associated with the letter "R"
*June 18th- Father's Day!

Have a wonderful week and PLEASE ... Join me in June!

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day

We hope your day is filled with joy in remembering loved ones lost and honoring those that are still here. To celebrate and honor those who "courageously gave their lives...and those that bravely fight today" is so important. 

It was a quote by General George S. Patton that rings true of this day of remembrance and is definitely something we can all learn from..."It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived."  

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Sunday, May 14, 2017


HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the Moms out there! May your day be filled with gratitude and love! Always remember..."To the world you are a Mother, but to your family

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Monday, May 1, 2017

A Mother's Jim Terry

Here it is…already the month of May. Can you believe it?...Me either!  It’s the month where we know that the showers from the previous month bring May’s flowers. It’s also a month where we, or at least I, start feeling like old man winter may be loosening his grasp, and may finally be "on his way." Simply put, the snowstorms we experienced throughout the winter and spring, rapidly fade into memories past. With the lack of snow, we then begin to see plants leap from the earth, tree buds burst to form leaves which provide shade in the summer sun and grasses that really start to grow. And with the continuation of spring rain, what once was a dingy, dead, brown backdrop that filled our lives throughout the winter, quickly becomes a landscape that is replenished in a beautiful Technicolor hue.  And although all of these points I mentioned about the month of May are wonderful and exciting, I cannot help, but think of, and mention one more very important reason why May is so important to me.

My Mother, Marlene, and I in 1971. 
Some might jump to the conclusion that my heart felt warmth towards the month of May might be because it's my birthday month, an anniversary of a great accomplishment like a graduation, or even the month with which I completed my first marathon...but no!  The one thing that makes this month so special to me is also one of the most important things we all have and can experience in this life, our mothers.

This is definitely a time of year, especially now that I am older, when I take time to pause in my busy life. During that pause, I take a deep breath, put some quiet music on and I get out the old pictures and the hand written cards I received, over my lifetime, from that one very important person.  While reading the cards, I embrace some of the things that belonged to her and quietly gaze at the pictures that stir up feelings of nostalgia. I then realize that this person has been my FOUNDATION. The one person, next to my father, that has given me the most love and support in my life. That one person that tucked me into bed, sang the bedtime songs, kissed the “owies” better and the same person that helped shape me into the person I am, my mother.

Left to Right...Me, Marlene (Mom), Angie and Lora
It was not in May but March 31st of 1970, in which I came into this world.  I can’t say as I can remember anything from that first day, but I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to be a fly on the wall during that moment of my first breaths of life? To see a young mother, barely 27 years old at the time, hold her third child, but her first son, and experience and feel the warmth that only a mother’s smile can give…To hear my first cry, only to be subdued and quieted by the gentle whisper and peaceful humming of a mother’s voice…To witness the warm embrace and joy of an innocent mother, completely exhausted, still able to hold and cuddle her child as they fall to sleep…to witness a mother’s love.

When I was about twelve years old, I read a quote about mothers that I wanted to share with you that really impressed me. It impressed me so much that even as a young boy, I cut out that portion of the article and saved it for over thirty years in order to share it at special occasions such as this. I can’t remember exactly where it came from, but I feel it is one of the best-written expressions of what mothers should be and mean to all of us. 

“To my mind, mothers are the closest things to heaven there is. Even in their humanness they give us a glimpse of what heavenly parents must be like. I honor them for their courage; I praise them for their sacrifice: I love them for their ability to laugh and cry (and to do both at the same time). If ever there were a sacred title, to me at least, it would be that of Mother.”

My beautiful Mother who started this blog.
So even though I don’t have my mother here on earth to tell her I love her, I will do my best to ponder in my mind and in my heart how much I do care for and love her. And I hope with enough meditation and thought, that my message will be carried on the gentle breezes aloft all the way to heaven to let her know I will be thinking of her on her special day. 

The message, you might ask, is really quite simple…”I love and miss you Mom! Please thank God for allowing me to have you for forty-three and a half years as a mother. And even though it still hurts to not have you here with me, I understand and realize that there must be a much greater purpose for which God needed you by calling you home…Oh, and P.S., THANK YOU, from the WHOLE of my heart, for allowing me to experience a mother’s love!!! OXOX”

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, on the 14th, to all the Moms out there. And for those of you that have your mothers still here with you, make sure to show them you care because, “A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place NO ONE else can take.”

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

"I HATE THAT GINA WAITE" the aforementioned, Gina Waite

I love long drives in the car during Sunny, Spring weather…the car windows down, recently-rained-on-grass smell and the feeling of HOPE for things to come almost tangible, in the air. I think Spring is pretty aptly named, don't you? It's a season of awakening that puts a spring in my step and a desire to be a happier person. I wonder, friends, if I'm the only one who feels this way in Spring? I feel like I'm normally a pretty happy person, anyway, but I definitely think there HAVE been times where my attitude toward happiness has been called into question. The more I think of it, the first time I really invested time in thinking about my happiness was after eavesdropping on a conversation between my son and daughter.

Eleven years ago this month I was preparing to throw a birthday party for my then, four-year old daughter. With both children in tow throughout the day, we ran errands, baked and wrapped to the point that after the birthday party was over…ALL three of us had over-extended what was left of our energy storage, patience and pancreas. Over-sugared, freshly bathed and beyond exhausted, I ordered my kids to bed to get some sleep so that in turn, I could get rest, too. Pleading with me to stay up longer and allow them the chance to show me just how good they could be, my children utilized the BEST mediation skills they had by teaming up to say,

“Mommy…please. Please make a good choice; please let us stay up with you!”

Unable to appreciate the talented, negotiation skills of my small children, I responded,

“Kids look. I’m not your Mommy, right now. Do you see the clock? It’s ten-o-clock. That means Mommy is OFF duty and Gina Waite is here to take her place.”

Now as this scenario had been repeated multiple times previously, my children knew that when Gina Waite was “in the house,” there wasn’t much negotiating for them. When the ALIAS
"Gina" was there, it was ALL business and, at that point, NO exceptions to a bed time hour would be happening...and most of the time, this method worked so well there wasn't a thing the kids would say about it! It was magic!

After laying down the law and walking out of the room I quickly became aware on that particular day, that the kids were really taking the idea of the grumpy, no nonsense "Gina Waite" to heart. Normally, after the pleading of their bunk bed release, together...and the obvious snub to their plea...I would hear little giggles and discussions about how they would work it the next time. This time...the room was completely quiet. I snuck back down the hall and hugged the corner of the children’s room. As I looked through the crack of the slightly opened door, I could see the two kids looking at each other from around the railings of their bunk beds...completely disgusted and deflated. About 5 seconds passed and my daughter grabbed her well-used, night time pacifier, put it in her mouth and forced out the following, muted statement, 

"Jordan...I HATE that Gina Waite!”

Now, I realize as well as the next Mom…you can’t laugh OUT LOUD at that statement. It would only encourage weeks and weeks of my daughter saying the phrase over and over, just to get the desired response…LAUGHTER. I held it in and tried to walk back down the hall to the kitchen as quickly as I could…that is until a loud sound, similar to that of a whale blowing air up through it’s blowhole...left my mouth and I burst into laughter. At that point the gig was up, the kids started laughing and my time as grouchy, evening-rule-enforcer, Gina Waite, was up.

It was in that moment of walking down the hall, laughing with my children in their room...that I contemplated how I wanted Gina Waite to be known. Just like most, she was a generally happy person, at least I thought she was...but apparently the only side my kids had witnessed was someone who was grouchy. I decided from that day forward "Gina Waite" would be a happy person to her children. How'd I go about doing that you ask, "decide every morning to be in a good mood" whether it's Spring or any other season of the year. 

*Hope you'll let us share your stories and photos at our residence "In a Nutshell." Email us at

Monday, March 6, 2017

“A Day Without A Friend Is Like A Pot Without A Single Drop Of Honey Left Inside.’’…by Jim Terry

Spring is just around the corner!  Thanks goodness…right?  I know most of the nation has had a “terrible winter” and I think, for most of us, the breathe of spring will be a welcome relief.  As I was surfing the Internet about a month ago with a little bit of the winter blues myself, I saw a share from someone I know, directing another someone I know to her Facebook page. The share was entitled “20 profoundly important things we learned from Winnie the Pooh.” Being a bit of a fan of Winnie the Pooh myself, I clicked on the link. Also, and just so you know, the person
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that was directed to read this article is an avid fan of Winnie the Pooh herself. Even her email address reflects her love and admiration of this childhood character. 

I have found that as we go through life, we will all have the blues or trials at one point or another in our lives. I truly believe this is why we are all here together; Which is to help each other out in times of need. This is why I thought that this article that was shared and recommended to read for this certain someone was a well-timed post because of its positive nature.  It was from an aunt to her niece who is currently going through treatment for leukemia. 

I have been lucky enough to know the niece, aka Stephanie, since the spring of 2002.  We initially met through a job announcement. She was an office manager for a dental office in Boise, Idaho, and had the duty of weeding out the “bad” candidates’ resumes from the “good” candidates’ resumes to then call them for an interview.

On the day that I went in for my interview, I was nervous like anyone else might be for a job that they really wanted to have. It was better pay, a better location and a much better commute. As I entered the newly established office, I noticed a young woman behind the counter with long sandy brown hair, a pair of sharp looking glasses on, professionally dressed and displayed a beautiful smile that one might expect in a dental setting. As I approached the front desk, I’m sure I looked nervous that day.

She said, “Welcome to our office. How may I help you?”

In letting my nerves get the best of me and with a subtle crack in my voice I responded, “I am here for the open job position you have.”

In the dental world, you find out quickly how to read a person’s body language so that you can help your patient or patron feel at ease by redirecting their attention to something else. I think Stephanie recognized my nervousness as a potential employee this day and said, “You know why we asked you to come in don’t you?” 

“No, I don’t?” I replied with a puzzled look on my face.

“It was from one of the credentials you listed on your resume that made us interested in speaking with you.”
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“Which credential was that?” I replied after swallowing really hard.

“Your title of the Shah of Iran!” She said with an even bigger smile and chuckle. Once I finally figured out what she was doing and laughed out loud myself, we then continued on with our conversation and the interview only to be joined later by the doctor himself.  

This is how our relationship began between Stephanie and I…always fun…always positive…and always looking out for the needs of others besides herself. Now that I can look back on that experience, nearly 15 years ago now, I never realized what an impact she has had on me and how she has changed my life...for the better. Not only did she become a best friend and make me a part of her family, but she has also allowed me to meet several other people that I have worked with–you all know who you are–that have also become incredible influences, confidants and best friends in my life.

So even as she is still recovering today from a recent bone marrow transplant on the 14th of February, generously given to her by the same aunt that directed her to the before mentioned article from Winnie the Pooh, I want to say, “weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.” So thank you for giving me, a weed, a chance to be a part of your life.
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Friends, but especially best friends, are definitely important people in our lives. Think about one of your best friends in your life, past or present, and how they have affected you. The one that kept the secret the best. The one that listened as you cried. The one that was able to, and maybe still is able to, complete all of your sentences before you do. Because before I end this blog today, I want to point out a couple of "profound" things from the article that definitely rings true of all best friends but especially my friend Steph.

     The first item is #6..."As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen.”

     Secondly is item #2...“You are braver than you believe. Stronger than you seem. And smarter than you think.’’

     Finally, and always remember item #16 of best friends...“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.’’  

So, "Thank you" to all of my friends but especially my best friend Steph during this difficult time you are going through. After all of these years and knowing that this is way overdue, I want to say, "Thank you for being a part of my life and allowing me to be a part of yours. Love you and get well soon! Oh and by the way, my last little secret I want to share with real credential is not Shah of Iran but KING OF ENGLAND!!!" 😀😂

If you would like to help my friend Stephanie you can do it one of two ways. Sign up here to be a donor and possibly help someone save a life...  Or here with a simple donation  

Also, if you want more information about Stephanie, her illness and her story, you can see it in her own words here.

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

Monday, February 6, 2017

"You'll Be Coming Back For More" Gina Waite

It may be a HUGE understatement when I say that parenting is a job I wasn't completely prepared for. I remember reading the "what to expects" and how to apply "love and logic" when parenting, books and boastfully thinking, "I got this!" ... In reality, what "I got" after becoming a parent was a healthy dose of sleep deprivation, the ability to speed dial my Mom in one-point-two seconds and a BRAND NEW RESPECT for my own parents. Yep, within the short time frame of nine months my level of understanding about parenting, AND THE REASON MY OWN PARENTS ACTED THE WAY THEY DID, deepened with every passing day. I completely understood why my parents did what they did for me! Without question or hesitation, my parents would risk life and limb to bend over backwards for a worthy cause to help anyone of their children out. EVEN if that meant staying up into the wee hours of the morning to help a sick, somewhat mentally deranged, daughter with a Creative Writing Story that she had to finish for school while recovering from the flu...true story.

My health as a child was relatively sound. I had issues with the joints of my skeletal system (easy dislocation of my shoulders, knees and several sprained ankles) but for the most part...I was a very healthy child. That is...UNTIL the fourth grade! 1982-1983 offered me the loveliest of it's Ammon Elementary teachers. Miss Jensen was beautiful, trendy and single...all qualities that aided in her occupational creativity and devotion...and aided in my desire to wanting to be just like her. I loved going to school that year, most especially for story time. In Miss Jensen's class we each had one of those carpet rectangles. You know the ones... acted as consumer carpet samples for Carpet Stores to loan out UNTIL carpeting styles changed...only to be turned over to educators as free story time pads. Teachers would then assign each one of their young charges a carpet pad to take with them into story time. I was excited the times I'd get the more high piled carpet pads, as for the most part, I don't think the carpet pad offered much PADDING. It was noted that the confines of the rectangular carpet pad you sat on were, in fact, the boundary of an invisible force field keeping your arms and legs tightly kempt so that everyone could enjoy the story....except for that one sugar-sensitive child that everyone experienced in one of their classes while growing up.

I sat on my carpet rectangle, wide-eyed, rounded back and slightly slack-jawed listening to stories like, "Where the Red Fern Grows," and "James & The Giant Peach." I grew to love literature that year and with it, grew to love creative writing. They say avid readers are the BEST writers...and though I concur with that idea, I ONLY wish it would also apply to viewing art. I cannot illustrate worth a darn! Miss Jensen encouraged each of us to begin a Creative Writing Notebook. One that she could offer a writing prompt on the chalkboard in hopes of letting our pens flow with fun ideas and story lines. I remember her writing the prompt, "Today it rained..." on the chalkboard one morning. I'm certain I had an incredulous look on my face when I first read the writing prompt. "What else would it rain but water....or is that the only option from a cumulonimbus cloud," I thought to myself. Hmmmmm... Cumulonimbus Cloud...could easily become a Cotton Candy Cloud, and a Cotton Candy Cloud could definitely produce Orange Soda Pop. The creative juices started to flow and the four walls of my classroom gave way to the Candy-themed World I was beginning to create in my mind. The only distraction, that day, in the designated 20-30 minutes of Creative Writing Time, was a sharp pain in my stomach which resulted in repeated, hard swallows to keep gastric acid out of my esophagus and mouth.

When the flu hits hard, fast and furious! I left school early that day, saddened at the prospect my body had succumbed to the flu. If I hadn't been writhing in SUCH dire gastrointestinal pain...I could have stayed and finished that fantastic beginning of a story. As I had finished my writing prompt time with the unpopular mishap of throwing up in the classmates were happy to say goodbye to me and allow my angel-of-a-mother to take me home and hopefully, rid myself of the unpopular mishap before returning. Driving home with my Mom, EVERYTHING SEEMED TO HURT, I think even my eyes hurt in the happy and bright surroundings of the day. I consoled myself with the idea that if I could just make it through the day...surely I'd be able to return to school and finish my story the next day! ...TWO WEEKS LATER...I was still spiking fevers and finding it difficult to do much other than vegitate in my cozy jammies, Don King-inspired hairdo and flannel blanket that had replaced my colorful and wonderfully coordinated school clothes and accessories. Now that I think of may have been the first time I knew what it felt like to have depression. I also think my Mom realized this as she walked in and sat next to me on the couch and suggested we finish my Orange Soda Pop Story! "NAH," I grumbled under the blanket that I pulled tightly to my chest...pretty sure a virus-induced, green cloud floated from lips as I uttered the grunt.

My Mother was a loving and determined woman. In fact, you're currently reading this story from a fb page and blog my Mother created...writing wonderful memories and ideas that she shared with her readers EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. of the work week for five solid months. She was planning to complete a year's worth of daily writings but that goal was cut short by her graduation into the Spirit World. (Now that I think of it...her blog might be her encouraging her children to continue her fb page and blog from the other side...Clever Girl!) Back to my story...she sat next to me in silence for several minutes. My Mom then got up off the couch, went over to her little desk in the kitchen and brought back a pen, notebook and a Diet Pepsi...all tools of a talented writer...and recited while she wrote, "The Day It Rained Orange Soda Pop," by Gina Terry. My glance toward her was indifferent as in that moment I had no idea who Gina Terry even was! The silence continued as my Mom looked my way and rested her pen on the tablet. I'm pretty sure I tried to avoid making eye contact with my Mom in that moment as there was some magical softening of my resolve when my green eyes met my Mom's, chestnut browns'. I think I took a deep breath and uttered the words, "One day I stayed home from school..." and the rest, as they say, is history! We finished that story in the wee hours of the following morning and I was able to take a completed copy back to school with me...ONE WEEK LATER! I missed a consecutive month of school that year....but attended class in the creative corners of my mind. Now I'd love to share my story with you but in honor of my Mom's legacy, I plan to post it on her Blog so you'll have to take the link below to the, "In a Nutshell' blog to read the rest of my story! Like my Mom, I'm a very determined lady and I hope you enjoy our, "The Day it Rained Orange Soda Pop." ...Yep, I predict you'll like it! So'll come back here in the future, for more!

"One day I stayed home from school because I was sick and it was one of those days you don't want to stay in bed.  No great t.v. shows were on, no little brothers to tease just a really boring day!  The weather didn't help, either!  It was even worse than I had originally looked as if it might begin to rain.  

Just at that moment, the lightning started crackling (but PINK lightning?) ...And the thunder clapped (but with a beat?)  Then it began to rain.  As I looked out my window I could hardly believe my eyes.  For instead of the silvery mirror-like drops of water I was used to seeing I watched as huge, round, orange-colored rain drops hit the ground running together to make rivers of Orange Soda, everywhere!  I watched from my window as children shot off the bus like bullets with their mouths, wide-opened, to catch as much of the sticky goodness as they could. 

What a dream come true...better than Christmas, Easter and the fourth of July rolled up into one!  No One could stay in one place too long as their feet started to stick to the ground. Laughingly, the children bumped into one another, screaming with joy, gurgling and taking this orange colored miracle in stride.

All too soon it passed and a peppermint stripped sun peeked out behind a pink, cotton candy cloud.  Did I say, boring day?  Silly me!!!!!"

See...Told you!  I'm a no-talent artist!