First Spark for 2018

Over the holidays, I missed a couple Sparks and Awww Mondays with Annie and Sandee, but hope to get back into  a routine now. That said, I’m already a day late to both link-up parties for this week! 😀

I hope everyone’s new year is off to a grand start. Let’s all try to do our part to spark some positivity in our world.

It’s not what we have in life,
but who we have in our lives
that matters.
~J.M. Laurence

Linking up with the bog hops for Sparks at McGuffy’s Reader, and Awww Mondays at Comedy Plus.


Big dog; puppy brain

Hello everyone, it’s me (Cabo) again. Mom seems to be really busy with stuff….I think it’s something called the “holidays.” So, I’m taking this opportunity to post for her.

I’m officially 8 months old today! It seems like furever ago when I joined my family. And, as you can see, a lot of changes have been going on! I went to see my friends at the doctor’s office and they told Mom I weighed 48 pounds. And….then gave me two treats! It’s always fun when I walk in the door and meet other furry friends.

Summer was a blast. Mom got me a baby pool! And there’s these water spouts that pop up out of the ground in the yard that are soooooo fun to run through. One of my favorite things to do on a summer night was to make Mom wait outside while I jumped to catch fireflies in the air. She laughed a couple of times, but I think she got tired of waiting on me to do my “business.”

I have TWO girlfriends. One of either side of my house. Ellie is a shepherd/boxer mix and she can keep up with me. But, she came over one day and tried to run off. So, we don’t get to play with each other much anymore. Good thing everyone likes to throw the ball for me.

I’m trying to be a good pupper…really, I am. But, to be honest, I had a few fails the past couple of months. Mom planted some really great-smelling flowers in September and I just couldn’t help myself. In fact, I helped myself to them all over the patio…dirt and all. That didn’t go too well for me.

A couple days ago a tree appeared in the house. I’m not sure what to do with it since every time I sniff it, I hear that word, “No.” And now it’s all lit up and doesn’t much look like a tree anymore. Mom has found me a couple of times with a pine cone in my mouth. I honestly thought the basket of smelly pine cones were free for the taking. Evidently not.

Oh well, happy 8 month birthday to me! I hope everyone has warm and wonderful holidays….whatever those are.

Before I get back to chewing my sticks in the yard, Mom told me about a blog hop called Awww Monday over at Comedy Plus. Just thought I’d pick a photo for her and add it to the fun.

The Threenager

She’ll be four in February so I thought I’d better get this posted while she’s still, technically, a Threenager!

For those of you who don’t know what this is….a threenager is a three year old who has the energy level of a preschooler, with the attitude of a teenager. As you can see from many of the expressions in the above collage, Twix has mastered covering a variety of teenage attitudes. This covers a range which includes, but is not limited to, sweet, sassy and obstinance.

Things we enjoy while in the presence of a threenager are answering incessant “why” questions…..and I do mean in.cess.ant. The most fun time to do this is in the car…especially while I’m driving in traffic. She can arrive in the morning wearing a combination of spring, summer and winter clothing. Individualism runs deep in a threenager. And I know Mama has let her select her outfit because she has other things to do rather than fight with a threenager over wardrobe choices.

With the attention span of a gnat, she flits from activity to activity to activity to activity……….covering at least 10 activities all before lunchtime! Some days it’s all I can do to keep up with her until nap time…that coveted two-hour time span when I don’t have to respond to minute-by-minute questions and commentary!

And the tantrums have risen to epic proportions. It could be because she was told she cannot eat candy before noon…regardless of how adept she thinks she is at negotiating a compromise. And who would have thought choosing sock color could be so stressful? Or that my selection of the Rapunzel cup over the Arial cup might end life as we know it. And, heaven forbid I pour apple juice in it instead of grape juice. In fact, while I’m writing this, we’re having a power struggle…complete with a full-blown whinefest…over being hungry despite the fact she’s had breakfast and a snacks already…and it’s barely 10:00am.

But, I’ve discovered over the decades of raising children that meeting rage with rage simply doesn’t solve anything in the long run. Continually raising the decibel level of my voice when responding to chaos isn’t good for anyone…especially me. That’s not to say Twix is not disciplined when her insistence and rage is inappropriate. Establishing boundaries for a threenager are essential….or that threenager just might grow into something toxic you really don’t want to deal with in a few years.

So, I carefully choose which mountains to die on with my battles. I embrace this time, knowing time is an illusion and fleeting, and she will not be young forever. I’ll look at her when she’s falling asleep for her nap and see a beautiful child without flaws. I will encourage her to celebrate her curiosity, sense of wonder and accomplishments. I will try to nurture her spirit as well as her mind.

And then we’ll send her to preschool!

Dear Granddaughter…..

In September, we celebrated Peanut’s 9th birthday. NINE! It’s hard to comprehend it was nine years ago I was promoted to being a Nana. A lot has been packed into those nine years…sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago she was placed in my arms, but at other times, nine years seems to have flown by at warp speed.

I put together Peanut’s school photos from Pre-K to her current 3rd grade shot. While they are not drastically different, the person behind the face has transformed in hundreds of ways in just nine short years.

Since time is a fleeting illusion, I want to take a few moments and pass on some Nana wisdom to my first grandbabykin.

Dear Peanut,

You have always been and always will be loved. I loved you before you were even put in my arms as a swaddled baby burrito. That is not to say you don’t do unloveable things….and I may not like you at times….but I always love you and will always be here for you. You can bet on that and be sure to win every time.

To steal a line from the 2016 Cinderella remake, Be kind and have courage. Both are difficult to do. Kindness may be becoming a lost art in our “me first” culture. It takes a lot of work to be kind to people, especially when you don’t like them, are mad at them, or see them as different from you. Extending kindness to family members is sometimes especially hard because there are times we make more of an effort to be nice to people outside our family and save the worst for those closest to us…who love us always!

Have courage. It’s scary to try new things. It’s scary to step out of our comfort zones in the way we think and act. I know this from experience. it was scary moving to a new house and school when I was in 3rd grade. It was scary to move to a new town after Papa and I got married….a town where I didn’t know anyone. It was scary when Papa and I moved to Columbia…a town where I didn’t know anyone either. It was really scary when Papa was told he had cancer. It’s also scary to do the right thing when you think others will look at you differently or not like you anymore. This is especially hard when your friends are doing things you know aren’t right, but you want them to like you so you’re tempted to do those things anyway. Don’t. Have the courage to stand up for what’s right.

Keep your faith strong. So many people walk away from their beliefs when they get older, thinking faith is something only for children. Our culture doesn’t encourage strong faith in God. It does encourage strong faith in doing whatever we think will make us happy…or is convenient…or easy. Being an authentic Christian is hard work. It requires we believe and do the right things even when we don’t understand or see the reason. Many times you will be tempted to not make your faith a priority in your life. But, dearest Peanut, your faith will sustain you in those scary moments when the storms of life roll in and tear your life to pieces.

Trust. Trust those of us who love you that the things we do are to help grow you into someone others will respect; someone YOU can respect. Growing up is hard, and there are many times when you’ll think you know what’s best….but you won’t. I ask you trust even when you don’t agree; even when you don’t understand. It’s related to believing and trusting God has a plan for your life….a good plan….even though many times you’ll feel like you don’t agree or don’t understand why things are happening the way they are.

Love yourself. Not in a narcissistic way, but love yourself as a person of worth. It’s easy to feel like we can never measure up to our culture’s ideas and expectations. I want you to always love who you are, flaws and all. That is NOT to say you shouldn’t try to change areas of your life that need improvement. And, this is not reason to excuse bad attitudes or behavior. You are a child of the King….who loves you unconditionally. If you can love your imperfect self, you can love others despite their imperfections too.

Peanut, you are strong-willed and incredibly talented in many areas. I encourage you to use that strong will and those talents in positive, constructive ways…and never be ashamed of the things you have accomplished and will accomplish in the future.

In the years to come, you will face many challenges and ride the roller coaster of emotions. I hope by keeping these things in mind, life will be a bit smoother….for everyone involved!

Love always,


Our first Twixism!

Back in 2012 we started keeping track of some of the random things Peanut would say as a three and a half year old. You can read some of them HERE, HERE, HERE an HERE.

Well, here it is 2017 and Twix is right on schedule. Her first Twixism (that’s been shared with me) was heard this morning while they were getting ready to come to our house.

Backgrounder: Peanut is starting third grade on Wednesday. She is both excited and a bit anxious. She started a new school last year when they moved into their newly renovated house. She knows the school and has tons of friends. But I suppose that doesn’t overcome those first-day-of-school jitters about the unknown that lies ahead.

This morning The Recruiter told us Peanut said she had “butterflies in her stomach.”

To which Twix replied: “Maybe you stood outside with your mouth open and butterflies flew in.”

Completely reasonable.

Planning on sharing this at
Peabea’s Scribble Pad
for Pictorial Tuesday.

Celebrating the life we’ve built together

Today is Entrepreneur and my 37th wedding anniversary. Hard to believe it’s been that many years since we stood at an altar as doe-eyed twenty-somethings…believing the life ahead of us was full of endless possibilities.

No one really clued us in as to just how hard this thing called marriage really is. At that time, both our parents had been married twenty-some-odd years. That seemed like a lifetime to us. Now, our 25th seems like a lifetime ago.

Thirty seven years; two children, two grandbabykins, four dogs, four cats, and nine residences. That’s a lot to cram into a life together. Those years were filled with both blissful highs and abysmal lows. Personal and professional challenges have done their best to derail us. We’ve had moments when we couldn’t have been prouder of our children…balanced with time we weren’t sure they would ever be responsible adults. Over 37 yeas, we’ve experienced the frustration of trying to figure out how to navigate life, and keep those negative influences at bay that can destroy a marriage.

The couples that are ‘meant to be’ are the ones who go through everything that is meant to tear them apart, and come out even stronger than they were before.
~Author unknown

I always assumed we’d be one of those odd, little couples who made it to their 50th anniversary. Our children and grandchildren would throw a party to commemorate that milestone in grand style. We would toast each other for “putting up” with the other for so many years.

Now, given our current circumstances, I’m hoping and praying we are able to celebrate that 40th anniversary. Forty-five years might be a gift. Fifty? I would count myself extremely fortunate if that was in the master plan.

And, yes, I know all this sounds a bit on the pessimistic side. But, along with my Pollyanna hopes and dreams, there’s a realist lurking on the edges. And reality is, unless a treatment for renal cell cancer is found soon…or there is some divine intervention….that’s our reality.

Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

~1 Corinthians 13:7

But for today, we celebrate thirty-seven. And are grateful and appreciative for that opportunity. There won’t be any fanfare or grand parties. A quiet dinner somewhere where we can reminisce and marvel at the life we built together will be enough for me.

And, though our children are grown, out of the house and making it on their own, there will be one waiting for us when we get home. And, we simply can’t end the day without mentioning Cabo turns four months old today!

So a Happy Anniversary to us AND Happy (four month) Birthday to our fur baby.

A summer palette of color

Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer’s year—
it brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul.
~Author Unknown

I haven’t played with the color palette template for a while. I find it interesting to take a photo that really appeals to me, separate out the colors and discover the combinations that makes the photo different…but you just can’t put your finder on why. This was one of those photos. Once I saw the warmth of the colors, I immediately knew it was a summer palette.

These posies were compliments of The Golfer during her surprise visit to see her dad. Arriving at 4:45am July 2nd, she let herself into the house and almost gave him a heart attack when we got up at 6am! She needed to see her dad….and he needed to see her. After all, Florida is a long ways away when major stress hits a family in middle Missouri. And, phone calls really don’t cut it.

She spent the week focusing on her dad, passing on other social invitations to spend hours chatting on the patio and watching TV in the evenings. They took a morning and went to the driving range so “her coach” could offer some pointers on her (LPGA-certified) golf swing. They floated in the pool, soaking up some Vitamin D. She spent Independence Day with us and her sister, The Recruiter. The only things missing were her god-daughters, who were still in Alabama with their dad. But she did get to meet Cabo….her fur baby little brother!

The summer palette…with the warmth of sunny yellows combined with the greens of life. No wonder I like this photo.

To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.
~Barbara Bush