Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving, 2013

My kids informed early in November that they'd both be traveling to Boise to be with their Dad for Thanksgiving.  The news brought a little anxiety to my peaceful heart because I'd never been without one of them on this traditional family day.  I soon discovered that most of my brothers and sisters would be enjoying the week with their families in a variety of places, far from home.
Connie and Garry made their annual visit to the Oregon Coast
Karen joined Zeke,  AnnMarie, Kennedy, Taylor, and Johnson friends in Jamaica
Where there is warm water, Karen will get in!
Don and Dena enjoyed a week in Hawaii with their children and grandchildren.
Thanks to this group of social media experts, I enjoyed their days via Facebook.
How many families have the perfect number of children, spouses, boy and girls friends for a pyramid?
Marilyn and Dan got some special time with Carter in Seattle.

I jumped for joy when Larry invited me to spend the day with Holly, the kids, and Grandpa Bob.  I realized how healing it must've been for them to reach out since holidays are painful without Holly's mom, Margie.  And, God, blessed our region with good weather, so Joan was able to make the trip to Lewiston, despite a few miles of intense fog!  
We started our day by visiting the Festival of Trees!
Maureen, we took this picture for you, just in case you'd like to have an M&M tree someday!

We so enjoyed our visit with the Kop kids, Bree, Jordan, and Grandpa Bob.  Joan engaged him in conversation about his family history and Larry brought out a Goodall history book for us to look through.  Kyle and Kole chatted with us about dogs, vitamins, healthy foods, and music!  Kole's senior project involves electronic music.  We got a great tour of his room and the history behind all the guitars.

It looks like a simple device with lots of buttons on it, but I think it's a complicated electronic music machine.  Kole intends to use it as part of his senior project.
Kyle and his girlfriend, Bree, told us all about healthy dog food and healthy people food.  Joan did not recognize Kyle's dog, Rocco, who has lost 30 pounds!  Kyle and Bree take him for long walks and ensure portion control for all his meals.  The kids shared their gratitude, in prayer form, and I loved the way they prayed for Katilyn, who is absent this Thanksgiving, and for Kyle, because he was present this year.  We outsiders, Joan, myself, Bree, and Jordan, offered prayers of gratitude to be included in the family celebration.  Joan also mentioned her gratitude for health insurance!!!
Larry's great turkey, cooked on the Traeger Grill
Grandma Kopczynski's orange rolls
We didn't even make a dent in the snacks offered before the turkey.
Zippity entertained us off and on throughout the day!
This new kitty is quite comfortable in the middle of Holly's sewing projects.  She's been making blankets for Helping Hands Pet Rescue out of the cutest, warmest flannel possible.
After the great dinner, Larry joined us at Locomotive Park.  Joan had not been there for several years and we both acted like children admiring the lights and listening to the music.  The LED lights really show off the handiwork of hundreds of volunteers.  
We finished off the three days by doing a little Black Friday shopping at Macy's!  The bargains tempted us with warm fleece and pretty sweaters.  Joan should be all set to stay warm with new pi's and fleece jackets.  Larry joined us for breakfast and we continued to share our blessings…  Joan said to me, "I had so much fun at Larry's house…I loved the animals.  The cats are affectionate and the dogs playful and entertaining."  She's already thinking of getting a dog when she retires!  It was a different holiday without my children and grands, but I felt the warmth and affection of my extended family.  God blessed my time with Joan - we rarely spend time together - just the two of us.  We watched a few movies, ate sausage and sauerkraut, and counted our blessings over and over again.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Colin's 9th Birthday

My youngest grandson, Colin, celebrated his 9th birthday last week, but we are celebrating as a family today, with 9 years of having pizza at Fazzari's.  

This is what a 9 year old kid birthday party looks like in 2013
Colin and his buddies competing and or playing Minecraft on six or more computers Duane set up in the basement.

Colin is crazy about Minecraft right now - everything from green characters to green sweatshirts, doubling as a Halloween costume.

Anne has a great story about trying to make Minecraft cake pops!  
Apparently the guests didn't care what they looked like….only that they tasted fabulous.

Colin's involved in a lot of activities and I particularly enjoyed watching him perform at a Moscow Charter School Marimba concert at the Moscow Farmer's Market on a cool October morning.

Colin enjoys the music even more so because his buddies Zachary and Ian also play in the band.

Colin also plays hockey!
I loved watching his game on Saturday - a first for me!  It's kind of like soccer on ice.  Cold!!!

I loved the sweet gifts he bought for me for my birthday!
I've been burning the candle during my prayer time - always praying for him and my other grandchildren.

All three stay connected to technology - phone apps and computer games!

Anne, Duane, and Colin, spent his first birthday in Lewiston and we went to Fazzari's to celebrate.
We've been going back every year since!
 It's always cupcakes for dessert, but this year John added an additional treat of Hershey Bars!
 I passed on my piano books from my childhood, just to keep them in the family.

Colin loves to read and Anne suggests his friends gift him with books!  

The O'Shaughnessy's gave him a cross bow and Duane sent the picture with this note:
Colin is pretty excited about this gift.  He asked me for something he could shoot at and I found this old piece of plexiglass.  He went online and found an image of a target.  We enlarged it to 3x3 sheets of paper and he cut them out, taped them together and is now shooting arrows at it in the basement!

Colin and I did face time on his real birthday.  I asked him if he felt a year older and he said, "well, not really, because I've been getting older every day since my eighth birthday."  He went on to tell me that his mom insisted that he watch the video taken on his birth day nine years ago.  So he took placed the IPAD near their TV set and I could also watch the video.  Tears came to my eyes once again as the miracle of birth enfolded!
Happy Birthday Colin!  I hope you never get tired of hearing the story.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Remembering Mom's Death

Has it already been eight years ago that Mom died so suddenly?  I like to begin my day in prayer often using the reflections in Living Faith.  The date and title grabbed my attention, "Forgiveness Heals."  The author suggested that the human heart can easily over burden itself with resentments.  "Forgiveness means letting go of the weight of resentment and making room for the lighter gift of grace, God's life within us."  I don't think Mom burdened herself with resentments - at least I never heard her talk about them.  She made room for the lighter gift of grace throughout her life, especially with Johnny Hoene and others she cared for.  I know she resented his alcohol dependency, but it did not stop her from reaching out and helping him.  Joan taught me the gift of forgiveness when she quickly wrote a note to Mr. Morgan telling him we knew Mom's death was an accident and the Kopczynski's forgave him.  I just re-read his little note in Tribune and how powerful the gift of forgiveness can be.

 I'd hoped to spend the day writing an 800 word essay for our local library's "Everybody Writes" contest.  I had no illusions of winning the contest, but thought I could surely find something in Mom's death that would fit the "Integrity" criteria.  I sat down to write and put about 300 words on the page and they were just words that didn't make much sense.  I discovered a needed to find a narrower focus and the ideas just wouldn't come.  
Finally I decided I'd do a few things that Mom would've done on a free day.  So I began by making chicken soup!  I cleaned all the jars of soup broth out of my freezer.  I make the broth out of the bones of Costco chickens, letting it simmer for four or five hours----yummy!
Home made chicken soup with long grain & wild rice!

 Next I watered all my indoor plants.  Peggy Reed Dorf gave me this African violet after she propagated it from the parent plant she rescued from the garbage heap in Mom's garage.  See, it's ready to bloom just in time to remind me of my Mother.  Bev Kernan Ferguson told me recently that she has one too and thinks of Mom every time she waters it.  
The out doors beckoned me - the sun warm and temperature in the 50's!  I cleaned out one of the front flower beds and raked the remaining leaves from Dad's dogwood tree.
I sat with Mr. Scarecrow for awhile and asked Mom to get busy on all our family prayer requests!
Mr. Scarecrow and I  share a warm moment together!
But then I heard mom tell me to get busy because the warm weather would not last forever.  I found a way to wash the front windows without getting on a ladder.  
I marveled at the geraniums being stored in my garage and those still blooming by the front door.

After lunch it was tempting to take a nap in the sunshine, but instead I took a long bike ride, appreciating our great weather and the levee system and the gift of my bike!

I'd thought a lot about Larry throughout the day and how we'd muddled through all those phone calls from his office.  I thought about taking some flowers to him, but chose the soup instead.  I thought it would remind him more of our Mom.  

After delivering the soup I read this EMail from our cousin Dolores Kroeger
Hello cousins,
Well, I can’t think of my mom on her birthday without remembering yours.  I’m sure as each year rolls around, you relive the chain of events as they happened on November 11, 2005.
It seems so long ago and then it seems like yesterday.  We were celebrating mom’s 81st birthday at her house with all the Hoene cousins and Sister Henriette as she had come home that weekend.
And I had not been home very long before I got Larry’s call.  Unbelievable---- and then on to call all the cousins that had just gathered at mom’s.   Larry couldn’t get an answer from mom or Sister Henriette who was by then enroute back to St. Louis and mom off to another birthday party at Henry’s daughter’s house.  It was such a great day to be together and then total sadness as the news circulated. 
Theresa, I remember how you recounted the events of your day in one of your blogs, how you called the police and told them you thought your mom might be lost and then later to get the news about the accident.    And how consoling and accepting of life’s happenings Sister could be – stating that Bertha never would have wanted to be a burden to anyone and this was God’s way of granting her wish.  We won’t get our answers in this life will we. 
I totally relived every minute of November 1st, the chain of events, Kathy’s best friend still has the message on her cell phone calling to tell her that, “Chuck is here already and I’m going home today.”  She can’t bring herself to erase it.   How sweet it  was to hear her voice again and at the same time almost unbearable. But she did “go home that day,” on the Feast of All Saints and that is a great consolation.
I took mom to “turkey bingo” last night at our parish – neither one of us won a turkey or any of the money specials.  We accused Charlie of calling all the wrong numbers -  a job he will have til he can’t “call” anymore.  There are 200 kids there - it is noisy beyond bearable but that’s the only time kids can play so they really get excited.  This morning I took her out for breakfast at Niemerg’s but had to get home after that to pick up Charlie on a backhoe job so he could do the color guard at a Veteran’s Service.  Always plenty going on. 
Just wanted to let you all know I am thinking of you and know that your mom was a very special person. 
Blessings to all,
Again, these are the addresses I have in my new computer,never did take the time to enter a bunch that I need to do yet., so feel free to share if you wish.
Dolores and Charlie on their trip to Idaho in August, 2008!  

I ended the day by attending the "Renew Us Lord" Parish Mission.   The Redemptorist priests, Father Greg and Father Tony were invited to help us let go of the resentments of giving up our beloved churches and making room for the lighter gift of God's grace as we prepare to occupy our new Church.
Father Tony's message last night encouraged us to trust God's mercy!  I prayed for acceptance and letting go of my burdensome judgmental attitude!  

We sang this beautiful Taize prayer during the Mission and I had the overwhelming sense that Jesus did remember my Mom when she entered the kingdom.  This YouTube video reminds me that Jesus offered the gift of forgiveness to all of us.  Everything event and memory throughout the day gave me a sense of Mom's presence with me and the joy that comes from love and acceptance.