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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Anne

This is how Anne spent the night before her 44th birthday!
She and Duane dressed up as RUN-DMC for the St. Mary's School Auction.

They were chosen as finalists for the costume contest, but unfortunately the prizes were best costume for women and for men, not for couples, otherwise they would've won those cool 1980's posters.
In case you, like me, do not know about Run-DMC, here's a little video from YouTube:

Anne probably enjoyed a day of rest today, maybe watching movies with her girlfriends.  
This is what I love about my daughter in law:
She finds fun and crazy things to do
She loves my son and grand son
She includes me in cool celebrations, bike rides, and farm tours
She's good at social media
She loves MSC 
She enjoys children and brings joy into their lives
She encourages me to try new things
She loves the things I make for her
She loves parties and has no fear when 10 adults and 15 children show up
She values family and friends
Happy Birthday to my favorite daughter in law!

Called to be Saints

Marcia invited Regina and me to assist her with a presentation, "Called to be Saints," given to the Catholic Women's group from Holy Rosary Parish in Pomeroy.  It didn't take long for all of us to sing with Susan Boyle's "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace."  This YouTube video has great  images that remind us of what it means to be an everyday saint.

Julie Claussen and Cindy Klaveano planned, organized, and carried out this great event. They used their scrapbooking talents to create great centerpieces, name tags, and remembrances of saints. 

We enjoyed a great meal followed by lively discussion of Canonized Saints and modern-day saints.  Regina reminded us that Saints help bring us into the presence of God.  Turning to canonized saints mirrors the way we turn to our earthly friends for encouragement and support.  Heroic saints  show us all kinds of possibilites for those who follow the Lord.  The church canonizes saints, not because they were perfect people, but because they exhibited qualities of prayer, love, hope, and trust.  My patron saint, Therese' of Liseux, sometimes nicknamed Theresa, the Little Flower, died at age 23 after developing the "little way" which expressed her devotion to God the Father with childlike simplicity.  Sister Petronilla, a modern day saint, often called me the her Little Flower when I was in high school.  I recalled how my sister, Carole, became a modern-day saint despite living with the darkness of a physical handicap.  She gave me hope by the way she peacefully let go of her life.  Her death became her final gift to me and my extended family.
My new friends, Micki and Jennie spent time talking about modern day saints that inspired our lives - grandmothers, sisters, friends who teach catechism and help with sacramental preparation.  Marcia and Regina reminded us that saints have common traits of being prayerful and open, of walking through darkness and light, and sharing an incredible love of Jesus.  Perhaps our table sharing time encouraged us to recognize these qualities in each other and strive to be saints in our own way.
Cindy and Julie surrounded us with the qualities of modern day saints.  We knew it to be true when they scrambled to find us after Marcia left her purse behind.  They figured out a way to call Regina from Marcia's cell phone and then drove half way up the Alpowa Grade to return Marcia's purse.  We drove the rest of the way home grateful for an evening blessed with love and hope.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fisher Price toys last forever

My friend, Jean, had grandma duty this weekend and she and Andie came to my house for lunch.  Luckily, I still have a few toys to entertain an almost-two-year old.  These Fisher Price people are at least 40 years old and she does what every other child before her has done with them...

Puts them on her fingers and then takes them camping.

Yesterday we visited an older couple and Sam, Andie's brother, asked Mary Ellen if she had any toys.  Sam and Andie ate almost all the chocolate kisses because there were no toys to play with.  So I guess it's a good idea to keep a few old toys tucked away in the basement for special days like this.
Colin played for hours with these same toys when he was her age.  I'm certain the house and the little people will be in great shape when I welcome the third generation of little ones and gather around the big coffee table.  

Andie, Sam and their parents are living with Jean right now.  They always sing their before meal prayers and I enjoyed listening to Jean sing and Andie doing the superman movements!  What a delightful day!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Jacob

Jake told me today he feels a year older!  But it seems like yesterday that he was born on a sunny day, mid afternoon, and soon greeted by his big sister, Bradleigh.

The family welcomed this screaming baby.  He was most comfortable lying on Dad's chest and never seemed comfortable in his bed.  We didn't know if it was Mom's milk or a burp needing to come out.  Everyone was happier in the summer when he became one big smile!

Jacob helped Grandpa Kopczynski celebrate his 90th birthday

This is birthday #1 - with his own cake and balloons.
There have been lots more birthdays - this is #4

Then Birthday #5

This is Birthday #9 - a new bike and longer hair!

Below is birthday #11
This year Jacob got mostly money for his birthday.  Except when he said, "I got the best gift from God on my birthday--lots of snow."

And now this year - #12

Happy Birthday Jacob and many, many more!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Memories are made of this

I found that Dean Martin's recording of "Memories are Made of This" was the most popular song in January of 1956.  The music lends itself to honoring Don on his birthday!

Don will be remembered as the kid left behind when the rest of the family travelled to Illinois.  It doesn't appear that he was ever affected by abandonment issues.  This red dress picture was taken before we left in the 1951 Lincoln for a six-week vacation to visit Mom's relatives. I think Mom apologized to everyone she met telling them she left her six-month old baby at home in Cottonwood.  

Most of the old pictures of Don show him working - getting papers ready to deliver, chopping down trees in the orchard, or taking a break during the kitchen remodeling project.
 I'm still impressed by the work Don accomplishes.  He's helped on countless remodeling projects for the family, including the bathroom in my little house.  He spent hours building Christmas boxes, entertainment centers, fireplace mantels, shelves, and Grandfather clocks.  Recently he told me he spent 16 hours scanning in 1847 old photos so they can be digitally accessed by people like me!  Hooray!  I think his love for cameras and pictures began when he was in a high school journalism class.  Many of us still benefit from his love of pictures!

Don made all of us laugh by his stories when he was in high school.

It's rare to see him relaxing, but maybe he did more of that in 1973.  Love the long hair!

I spent some time looking at the Kopczynski history book that he and Joan published in 1992 - almost 20 years ago.  Remember that was way before the internet search engines and before we had scanners and the ability to digitally alter pictures!  I'm so grateful for that great gift of time and love!
It's been a joy to share my life with you!  Blessings and best wishes on your birthday!

Snowing in Lewiston

We have snow so rarely in Lewiston,  and today I woke up to several inches of it.  I try to capture the magic of the snow with pictures, but most of those I take end up with the flash capturing the sparkles of snow that are falling.

I think I'd take lots of pictures of snow if I was a famous photographer.  I'm fascinated by the snow because it's clean, fresh, quiet, bright.  My friend Grace told me she woke up at 1:30 AM because the snow made it so bright outside.  We even cancelled our 4th Day reunion group because of it.  I'm happy that I can stay home and enjoy the views and don't have to drive anywhere this morning.  
I imagine the skiers are elated today!  I remember riding up chair lifts and just marveling at the beauty of the snow draped over all the evergreen trees along the way!  
So, I'm snowed in today reflecting along with Joyce Rupp who wrote:  "I awoke this morning to a magnificent wonderland: light sparkling on fresh snowfall, tree limbs lined a white loveliness.  The snow had transformed the earth from the drabness of a barren landscape.  Looking at the pure touch of snow I felt that freshness resting on the land also resting deeply inside of me.  God is holding out a freshness of life to me.  God is offering me a new beginning."  Events like the snowfall and wise words I read encourage me to think about the new life I'm experiencing as a retired person.  Every day offers a freshness, even if it means being snowed in.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Joy-filled Visit

I spent the entire day at home yesterday and today I decided I needed to be with people!  I had several reasons for going to Juniper Meadows, but most importantly, I thought people would be happy to see me.  I sold a few Chocolate Extravaganza tickets, listened to Wendy's tale of woe about the broken time clock, and helped a manager find the resident handbook on the computer! But the best moments came from my visit with Hubert Frei.  His wife, Clara, died in October and he admitted to being lonesome without her.  They celebrated 60 years of marriage last September.  He told me about traveling to Illinois with Paul Goeckner in 1950 to visit Paul's relatives.  It was then that he met Clara and they married the next year.  "I remember Bertha being so happy that I planned to marry Clara, because now she'd have a friend in Idaho who was also from her hometown."   

"We didn't speak English at home, but I picked it up pretty fast once I got to school.  It's a shame we quit talking German."  Apparently the family continued to say all their prayers in German for years.  He likes to talk about his brothers who are still alive and also about his famous nephew, John Stockton.  I told him about my visit with his niece, Maxine Frei Hoene, on New Year's Day and he remembered that her first husband, Tom Hoene, died several years ago.  Hubert was one of 12 children and each of his siblings had large families.  My goodness he probably has 80 nieces and nephews so I was blown away that he remembered such detail.  
When I got ready to leave he held my hand and told me he loved me!  I never hear those beautiful words from a man, so I left feeling grateful and oh so happy about my visit!  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary Jack and Regina Sullivan

My friends, Jack and Regina, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary among dozens of friends, cousins, children and grandchildren.  We met the Sullivans shortly after both our families had moved to Clarkston, Washington, from California.  Al and Suzie Howell introduced us to each other at a Marriage Encounter gathering early in 1978.  Our families moved to Clarkston from California and Regina and I spent most of our time together complaining about living here and missing what we had in California.  We were so snooty that we drove to Spokane every 6 weeks for years just to get our hair cut!  We were blessed to be together for many outdoor activities, white water rafting, camping at Dworshak, and skiing in McCall.   We also went through the Civic Theatre phase that actually took a lot of our time for several years!
Your kids said you are role models for commitment, for caring, and unselfish devotion.  I am forever grateful for two invitations of caring that changed my life.  The first was your invitation to make a Cursillo weekend and the second was an invitation to be a part of your reunion group we now call 4th Day of Grace.  We share close moments, but also share a deep friendship that includes walking, talking, painting at the Inn, slumber parties at the cabin, drinking wine, beautifying downtown Lewiston, birthday celebrations, retirement gatherings, and LHS girls basketball games.

Regina can talk us into almost anything, including planting flowers to beautify Lewiston.

Jack and Regina, for 50 years learned it's better to be a team in facing life's challenges.  They've been role models for everyone who believes in eternal love and for those who trust that there really is a "one and only."  Yesterday Father Joe Schmidt helped them renew their marriage vows and it was a touching moment to watch the kids and grandkids bless them.

Kathy Helbling and Celia Weibler cut the cake

Karlee enjoyed a night away from LHS's basketball court
Regina got a little teary eyed listening to Father Joe, but the kiss took away all those tears!

Today we celebrated even more with Mass and Brunch prepared by the 4th Day of Grace.

Jack and Regina, thank you for all the unselfish giving to your family, your Cursillo friends, Marriage Encounter, Engaged Encounter, RCIA, Benedictine Oblates, LCSC, SJRMC, Holy Family School and Foundation, and our Catholic Community.  God bless you!