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
© Flickr  
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.”
© Flickr  

“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.
© Flickr  
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.

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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!   

Monday, January 16, 2017


Isn't it time for all of us to come together as one?

Sunday, January 1, 2017




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