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IMG_6816Home. A simple four letter word that is absolutely emotionally charged. Don’t believe me? Ask any parent of a college kid. “Home” is home, the house and family that you grew up with, the parents that worry about you and provide you with everything…or at least  did until you left for college.

Home is defined by Merriam Webster as:

1a one’s place of residence domicile 
b house 
2the social unit formed by a family living together 
3a a familiar or usual setting congenial environment; also the focus of one’s domestic attention 
b habitat 
4a a place of origin

I remember quite clearly when the my boys first returned home from college for a long weekend or break and referred to that place where they reside when they are not with me, as “home” as in “when I get home…..”. No. No. NO! You cannot call that “place” home. This is “home”. WE are “home”. Not some place with thrown together furnishings, decorated with beer cans, sorely in need of a good mom cleaning, a place that those other than college folk would find unworthy of being called a home. And yet there in lies the rub. “Home” is not so much a place as a state of mind.

Houses, apartments, condos, dorm rooms – these are all physical spaces that accommodate us and keep us out of the elements, provide a sleeping space and a place to store all our stuff. Home is where you are gathered with those that you care about, whom you care you about, those you support and those that support you – in short, a place where you feel safe, cared for and loved. A place you are happy to spend your time.

It took a while and a lot of fervent wrangling before this college mom came to the non-emotional realization that home means a lot of things to different people at different ages and stages, but boils down to those essentials – happiness, safety, friendship and love. For me, I am more than happy that my kids have found “homes” where they are surrounded by laughter, friendship, safety and love. I know that our home is the foundation of all that and will always hold a special place in their hearts.

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The end of the year we are taught is always a time to take stock of your life, your world, your body. Explore what you like, vow to discard or improve what you don’t. It is a time of hope, promise, a blank slate. Honestly, though, isn’t each day a chance to do all those things?

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Last night, we were fortunate to spend some wonderful, quality time with friends, sharing food and laughter. Grateful always for my family, dear friends who share the bonds of many years, tears and laughter with us and those that have touched our lives and become an important part of our world here in Vermont. Most of all, grateful for the men in my life, who are my personal reason for living each day.

Instead of wishing our lives away, be thankful for what was and enjoy what will be and live each moment you are blessed to have. Mindful of your blessings and with a heart full of gratitude, welcome the new page on the calendar. Happy 2017!

Yesterday, Easter Sunday was a beautiful day. The weather was absolutely wonderfully spring-like and warm. It was made better because I was able to spend it with my sweetie, two of my three boys, my youngest nephew, my sister and my brother-in-law.

We were able to celebrate Tyler’s birthday on Saturday after the Easter Vigil mass where Tim did the readings.

 Sunday afternoon I went for a nice long walk with my dog, getting a nice dose of sunshine and endorphins. All in all, a good day, a nice weekend and a chance to do some community service with my Rotary club.

Since I have moved here, I have been truly blessed to have some wonderful people come into my life. People who inspire me to make our world a better place and give me the faith that there really are good souls in the world despite how our mass media constantly blankets us in the ugly and the horrific nature of our fellow humans.

A group of community members and teenagers came together to help make our town a better place, to instill some beauty into our little corner of the world. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Most of these folks I met as members of my Rotary club, which I will proudly assume the reins of president for in a few months. These folks, like many others in the community where I live, try to make the world a better place and truly embody the Rotary motto of “service above self”. I am proud to be counted among their ranks.

To perfectly top off the wonderful weekend that it was, I noticed that spring has truly come to the hill. My first crocus not only sprouted forth from the depths of its winter slumber but found the warm of the sun sufficient to bloom – sharing its beautiful colors with me.

 I hope you find the time to make your world a better place, “do good and so good will come to you.” Happy Monday. 

Every once in a while, you get a whole lot of good all at one time. This weekend was one of those times. We were very fortunate to share a very special weekend with our families and our very dear friends. It really doesn’t get any better than that. Every year the high school’s music department puts forth a Bistro evening where the honors ensembles perform during a three course dinner and then perform an evening concert. It is a wonderful night, filled with lots of good food and great music. This was Tim’s last year to perform in Bistro and I was privileged to share it with those folks that I hold close to my heart. Then, we all were able to celebrate Easter together on Sunday. I know I have said it before, but I am very lucky to have such wonderful people in my life and I am so very, very proud of my son, Tim and his wonderful performance.

Here are some pictures from the weekend and the show.

My handsome nephews

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My handsome boys

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My dearest friends who came quite the distance to share the weekend with us._DSC0029 _DSC0103_DSC0092 IMG_4255

My in-laws and my mom with the grandsons

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 Our family picture

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Yesterday was considerably colder and windier than the same day 23 years ago when a certain someone got married. I remember how much I fretted over the fact that I was sure that our big day was going to be snowed out due to some horrific, world ending blizzard. If I asked the banquet manager once, I probably asked the poor guy at least a dozen times how things would be handled if the weather was less than cooperative. I know, several of you probably ask, ‘then why the hell did you decide to get married in January?’ Good question. We decided after 11 years of dating that our wedding day should be close to the date of our first date. Since Friday and Saturday evenings were considerably more expensive than a Sunday evening and we were paying for our own wedding, January 5th was the date we decided upon. Turns out in the end, all that worrying was for naught, since the day was beautiful and sunny. Not particularly cold considering January.

We had a great wedding, at least that’s what everyone has told me. Most of that day for me is a blur of pictures, hugs, laughter and that smile that I was sure would have to be surgically removed from my face. Today, 23 years ago, we were in beautiful British Columbia embarking on a winter wonderland honeymoon skiing at Whistler Blackcomb. Here are some pictures from so long ago.

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The whole wedding gang

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Whistler Blackcomb

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Honeymoon selfie in our condo

Hard to believe that 23 years have passed. So much has happened in that time, littering the road that we call life. Good and bad, happy and sad. I have three great sons that make my heart swell a hundred times larger than its normal size with pride. I have great friends and family who were so kind to extend such heartfelt and wonderful anniversary wishes. I have an adorable little puppy who can make me smile. I have a good guy by my side -he’s pretty okay.

Hope the turning of the calendar page finds you and yours well. Remember to be thankful for what you have and celebrate it always, not just with a special day on the calendar.

 

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Tonight was one of the big milestones on life’s path – our oldest son graduated high school. Last night was the Senior Awards Ceremony and I am proud to say that TJ was the recipient of two scholarships and a bunch of academic commendations. He and his fellow classmates have a lot of talent and it was apparent at the awards ceremony, where there was much to celebrate over the course of the evening. As eloquently stated by our principal last night, the awards ceremony celebrated the students’ differences, their different achievements — be they in academics, community service, athletics or music. The graduation ceremony tonight celebrated their similarities – each and every one of the students tonight received the same diploma marking the conclusion of their high school careers and marking the same milestone on their life journey. They are a wonderful group of young men and young women that I have had the pleasure of watching grow in the years that I have known them. They have grown into amazing people that will do wonderful things in the years to come. I am very proud of TJ and his friends. They are amazing and I wish all good things to them.

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I think that the older they get the boys realize more and more how important they are to each other and how important their friends are to them. Tom and I have often told the boys as they were growing up that one of the best things to come out of our school and college years were the dear, dear friends that have shared many laughs and many tears in the years that followed college with us. Together, we have celebrated marriages, births, graduations and the growth of our children. We have cried together over the loss of family members, and other devastating life events. Good or bad, they were there for it all. Today, two of our very dear friends drove up with one of their daughters, our goddaughter, to be here for TJ’s graduation. It was a wonderful gesture and I know that they know how much it meant to both of us and for that I will be eternally grateful.

As the boys grow into their own lives and their own friendships, I hope that they are fortunate to find such dear, loving friends — friends that I have always liked to refer to as my “2 a.m. friends”. These are those friends that I know without any doubt whatsoever that I can call upon in the middle of the night  to ask a favor or talk to or cry  with or whatever and they will do it or be there without any question or any hesitation. These are the friends who were there when I miscarried and later when I was put on bedrest with TJ who brought me yummy muffins and smoothies and who believed in my ability to nurse when I wasn’t so sure myself;  the friends who did all kinds of amazing things for which I am eternally grateful for me and my family when my dad passed away suddenly; the friends who watched my boys when Tom and I came down with the flu at the same time and couldn’t move a muscle; the friends that would leave breakfast foods on my doorstep when we got here in the middle of the night or had dinner waiting when we arrived from New Jersey; the friends that come and spend the holidays with us and make me feel like we haven’t missed a beat in years; the friends that would drive 6 hours in total to be there for your son’s graduation because they know how much it means to you. These are the friends that I hope that my boys have the good fortune to have in their own lives.

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We are so fortunate to have such wonderful friends and such great sons. They have made me so proud that I think my heart will just burst at the seams. Tonight was an amazing ceremony and we are so proud of TJ and his fellow classmates and friends.

“I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.” – Anonymous

I love you TJ and am so very, very proud of you today and always. ~ Mom 

English: Illustrations ornament Heart (Coeur) ...

English: Illustrations ornament Heart (Coeur) in the colour of pink (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes it’s important to remember how lucky you are. Of course, when tragedy strikes, either close to home or close enough to your heart, we all take stock and remember to count off the things for which we are thankful. We shouldn’t need tragedy, our own or someone else’s, to remind us of our good fortune. No matter how down we might get, there is always, always, always something for which we are grateful. Some days and trust me, I have had them, it is simply that you are upright and breathing. Other days, it is something more intangible, like the golden bonds of a dear friendship. We don’t always realize that as we make our way through this life, we are not just navigating around and through and over hurdles and phases and good things. We are weaving our own web of people, places and things that have touched our lives. Through the years, I am very lucky to have spun some very precious webs of friendship, heart strings connecting hearts that aren’t located as physically close to each other as they once were — some are located hundreds of miles away. Those strings, though, they are precious and connect our past with our present and wind gently into our future.

This morning I was very fortunate to be reminded of those wonderful heart strings. A random text yesterday afternoon alerted me that my very, very dear friend was on the brink of a new chapter in her life. Her daughter-in-law and son were in labor with their first child and her first grandchild. Despite our distance, I was there with her in spirit and prayers that all went well and her new granddaughter would make a very normal entry into this world. Around 2:30 this morning my phone went off again to alert me to the fact that the little beauty had made her grand entrance along with a picture of the cutest little bundle of joy. I love that I have friends so dear to my heart that they would see fit to share such wonderful news almost instantaneously with me. It is a reminder of how blessed and lucky I am. Welcome to this world little Brooke! May you be blessed with a lifetime of wonderful friends to journey with you!

Congratulations to our dear friends Ellen and John! 

IMG_1331I know you will make as wonderful grandparents as you are parents and friends. 

 

Basking Ridge Historical Society View Large on...

Basking Ridge Historical Society View Large on Black See where this picture was taken. [?] (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are a lot of things that are different here than they were in New Jersey. A couple years ago I was invited to join a local book club. I have to say that while I haven’t always enjoyed the books, it has been an enlightening experience, mostly due to the wonderful, intelligent women who gather together once each month. Tonight I had the honor of hosting. I had a very enjoyable evening, with a wonderful group of ladies. We had great food, good company and wonderful conversation.

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Buddas (Photo credit: darek.zon)

It is always a fun evening, wherever the group lands. The insight and commentary is always lively, even when the book isn’t exactly my own personal cup of tea. Generally, host chooses the book. This month, I chose “Breakfast with Budda”. I am thankful for the fact that they invited me to join their group and call myself their friend.

 

 

So yesterday there was no post because I was very lucky to have lunch with my mom. I don’t get to see her quite often enough, so it was a real treat. Reminded me how much I have to be thankful for, because there are a lot of people that aren’t so lucky.

Continuing on with trying to remember how fortunate we are in this week of turkey craziness……

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John F. Kennedy

Be nice to someone today.

 

This has been a couple of crazy weeks. I never imagined that I would spend my birthday looking like I got the crap kicked out of me, but that is what happened. I must say however that if there was any doubt in my mind (which there wasn’t) about how great my family and friends are, this wiped it all away.

Tom took care of me like I was a little china doll. He was my rock and helped to nurse my wounds and me back to some state of health. Over my objections he canceled a business trip to make sure that he was here with me and I must say looking back from the opposite end of that week, that I am very glad that he did. The boys have been extra concerned and anxious to help out however they can and inject some humor into the whole situation. (Really? a hat and glasses? Are you trying to be incognito?)

My family has checked in with me regularly and I love them for their support and concern. I know that if I needed any of the them they would be there, the same with some of my close friends from back home. My friends here have called, stopped by and offered all sorts of help (which thanks to my dear hubby, we really didn’t need) and I know that if I asked, any or all of them, they would also be there.

I have to say that I am one lucky woman. First, to have not killed or maimed myself and second for all the great love and support that I have in my life. As I embark on the last year of this decade, it was celebrated with my men and I around the cutest, tiniest ice cream cake, beautiful flowers and a lovely necklace along with visits and gifts from some of my closest friends here. I do have to say that a couple of the brightest spots in my day were a hand drawn get well card that arrived in the mail from my niece Emily and flowers and another hand drawn card from my fellow birthday girl, little Miss Kate, left on my doorstep — two of the littlest women in my life.

With a heart full of love and gratitude I say thank you, thank you, thank you. You’ve made me feel extra loved.

To the best friend in my whole wide world — thank you for keeping me safe, sane and making me feel beautiful no matter how I looked  on the outside — I love you.

Today was one of those days. Hormone challenged, sporting a migraine for the last couple days and an aching shoulder, I have felt pulled in every which way by work projects, the boys, commitments outside of work and the things I would like to be doing but don’t seem to have the time to do. I hate those days, when I can’t shake that mopey feeling. It has been a few rather crazy and stressful days with work. Throw in the back to school routine which has not yet solidified for all of us and the inability to get out and exercise because I feel guilty  about all the stuff I need to get done and I am not at all a happy camper. I have felt tugged and pulled and have spent a good deal of today on the verge of tears for really no apparent reason.

Imagine what a nice surprise it was to get a nice email this afternoon from a someone I don’t know about an article that I wrote last week and was published today.What made it even nicer was to get an unexpected (and unnecessary) thank you call from a friend about the same article. I wrote it about her son on the one year anniversary of his death. It was a nice part of an otherwise not so great day for me. I am glad that my heartfelt words last week impacted people enough to allow them to reach out to me when I also could use a kind word.

Since I write this particular column every week, sometimes I forget exactly when the article I wrote was published. This particular article was my own personal way of reaching out to a friend at a time when I hoped she could feel and appreciate the good vibes I was sending. Wrapped up in a somewhat crazy week, I totally forgot that the article came out today.

I am a firm believer that good karma eventually comes back to you. Do something nice because it is the right thing to do and it comes from your heart and someday, when you least expect it (and may need it most), it will come back to you. Today was that kind of a day.

Thank you!

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Sometimes we are so self-centered and wrapped up in our own lives that we forget. We forget that as miserable as our day may be because we have a million different things to do or a tough project or a dreaded appointment, there are others for whom the day is even more difficult. We forget that their difficult day makes our day pale in comparison. All those things that we bitch and moan about are so trivial when you look at the bigger picture.

English: A Peafowl flaring his feathers. Franç...

English: A Peafowl flaring his feathers. Français : Un paon faisant la roue. Basa Sunda: Merak midang, mébérkeun buntutna anu warna-warni. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is one of those days. A friend and fellow mom is dealing with the one year anniversary of the tragic death of her son. I can only imagine that the projects on my to-do list and the worries in my heart today pale in comparison to her day today. I remember hearing the news and literally shaking. One of my son’s friends had tragically taken his own life and life for his family will never be the same. As a mom, I send good thoughts and prayers her way today since words are inadequate to convey my feelings.

For those of you who know them, please take a moment to pause and remember today. While we all surrounded them with love a year ago, it is important to remember that their loss and their grief remain one year later.

Thoughts, prayers and hugs go out to Cindy, Dan and Ben on this difficult day.

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