Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Life is moving forward here in Estes Park.  Notice I said Estes Park.  On the first of September, I  moved into a rented condo here, sold preschool and for the time being I am pretending to be retired.  In the last week or two, I have actually had time to catch my breath.  Sounds good, but it also means I have time to think and that can often lead to boo hoos as the girls and I call it.  After which I blow my nose, wipe my eyes and continue on.  I keep reminding myself that I have too many things to be thankful for and feeling sorry for myself is not a good response to grace.

After thirty years of living in the woods a.k.a. Highlands Camp, I am learning how to live with people in a close neighborhood. That includes developing a thick skin when the rule keeper in the neighborhood complains weekly that my visitors are parking in the wrong area.  The grocery store, bank and library are only a few miles away and I can even ride my bike if I feel like it.  I actually have the time to explore EP, when before I just wanted to get back up the mountain as quick as I could.

All in all, I am doing okay.  I  look forward to going to Honduras the first of the year and I'm thinking about a trip to California to see my Dad in the near future.  The girls and I (with the support of the boys) keep each other grounded and Skyping with the Honduras family keeps a smile on my face (how can you be sad when you hear a little boy yelling, "Nana!" at you through the computer?  They have been terrific through all this and I couldn't do it without them.
Thunder Lake 9/29/12

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Once a year is not enough

It has been several weeks since they got on the plane and flew back to Honduras.  It was time. Dave was home from the hospital and on the road to recovery, they needed to get on with their lives and so did we.  But did they have to take that little guy with them?  Long distance grand parenting is hard.  It is not like I have an extra $1000 to hop on a plane every time I need a grand baby fix. That could get expensive.  I don't know what I would do without Skype, but even that isn't perfect and toddlers don't always want to cooperate.  Imagine that.

It was a blessing that Dave was able to be home for a week with them (immune system intact) and not have to worry about germs, etc. before they had to leave.  Nothing like the motivation of a little one running around to make you forget about yourself for awhile.

For now, I guess we have to be satisfied with scanning through our pictures, recalling memories and making plans for the next visit.

The things we did to get that boy to take a nap!

Guillermo David & Nana
Tia Becca & GD
First Snow!
Home from the hospital.

Daredevil boy and relaxing

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

God is good. Always.

As some of you know, we have had some very dark days in the last couple of months.  Dave's cancer came back (they said it would) and he started chemo again in December.  His second treatment at the beginning of the year, knocked him to the ground, literally.  He has been fighting to regain his ability to fight infection (12 days in the hospital in January) and feel like a halfway normal person again.  Many, many days he fought fevers and nausea, with only enough energy to change positions from the bed to the couch to the chair.  He hasn't been this skinny since high school.

The good news is that things are improving.  He goes to Longmont every day to get a shot to boost his immune system and slowly, very slowly, his white counts are coming up and they are taking him off of some of the many drugs he has been on.  He is feeling more like his old self, although with a lot less strength and stamina.  He has a long way to go and we don't know how long that will take, but we are encouraged for movement in a positive direction.

Through all this, we have carried each other over the rough spots with encouragement, humor and a deeper understanding of what it means to be committed for a life time.  Being the caregiver can be hard, not the physical effort as much as the emotional toll it takes when you can't do enough for the one you love.  God in his infinite wisdom, put a book in my path that has made all the difference.  It is called, "One Thousand Gifts", by Ann Voskamp.  I highly recommend it.  I am on my second reading and I come away with a new truth every time I open it.  "One Thousand Gifts" is a celebration of grace and a recognition of the power of gratitude.

This experience has also shown me that I can go through anything as long as I count it all as grace.  There is joy right where I am at, even in the dark times.  God is good. Always.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Empty Nest Thoughts

Well, it has happened again, our nest is empty and we have gone from having a full house to having three spare bedrooms (and they are clean!).

Our youngest two have somewhat reluctantly moved to Estes Park to a nice condo overlooking the lake and the surrounding mountains.  I say reluctantly, but really they are excited to be on their own again.  It was just hard to come to that decision. When they moved back to save money and work for Mom and continue their education, they were not very happy, but then home cooked meals appeared every night, internet was free and no one asked for rent the first of every month and it grew on them.  They had also developed into adults who were easier to get along with and enjoyable to be around.  But all good things must come to an end and now they are cash poor and independently happy.  If that makes sense.

And what of the two parents left behind and home alone?  We are just fine and taking the opportunity to reinvent ourselves a little. I don't know why having your children (even adult children) around changes the dynamics of your relationship, but it does. Anyway, I'm using this particular post to toast our new stage of life.  Cheers!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On Being a Grandparent

What I Learned About Being a Nana
  • It can be exhausting and you wonder how you ever had four children at the same time.
  • You get to walk in the house at the end of the day and be greeted with big smiles from people who are genuinely glad to see you (both daughter and grandson)
  • You want to buy everything that money can buy to make your grandson's life easier, but you better pace yourself because he might not be the only grandchild (and the Visa bill will come after he's gone and his smiling face won't be around to make it better)
  • That as much fun as it is having a little one around, you are kinda set in your ways and like your house to be somewhat neat and tidy.
  • You are NOT ready to be a full time Mom again to grandchildren and you are very happy that your children can handle parenthood on their own.
  • That you now have someone else to worry and pray about, but you also have someone else to love and be loved by.
  • That it is truly a gift and blessing to have the opportunity to be a parent and a grandparent.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Compassion Visit

Visiting Eduin's home

Well,  better late than never.  It seems my mind has been very scattered lately (lately?) and I kept meaning to post pics and a description of my visit to the Compassion project in Ulloa, outside of Tegucigalpa, Honduras and then I would forget.  So...I guess it is now or never.

 As most of you know, when I went down to Honduras to visit our first grandson in late January I had plans to hook up and visit with the two Compassion children we sponsor there.  I had already met Eduin on the last trip and was excited to meet Evelyn our recently sponsored new girl.

Within days of arriving I contacted the Compassion office in Tegucigalpa to firm up our plans.  We had already decided that it would be best to leave Anna, baby Guillermo and my Mom at home because the day had the possibility of being long and hot.  As we were heading out that morning, Guillermo received a call from the office telling us that Evelyn had to leave town suddenly to go to her grandmother's funeral and we would not be able to see her.  How disappointing.

After regrouping, Guillermo and I drove to the outskirts of the city until we hit a bumpy dirt road leading to the suburb of Ulloa, where we turned down a side street and bumped along until we pulled up in front of a nondescript  store front.  It wasn't long before people started coming out of the wood work, including a large assortment of curious children, one of which was Eduin.  After getting a shy hug from him and greeting the others, we walked around the neighborhood, checking in at the project, visited Evelyn's mother and eventually ending up at Eduin's house.  We got reacquainted with his family and met his little sister who had been born since we were last there.

We spent the rest of the day opening presents, playing frisbee, cramming three kids and four adults in a small pickup and going to the mall to eat lunch and hang out.  Below are some pictures from our day.
Eduin & the Project Leader
Part of the classroom
Evelyn's Mother & Family
Eduin's Family
Playing Frisbee
Smiling Eduin
Helping sister slide

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Nana Time

We had a great visit to Honduras.  I can't begin to tell you how special it was to hold that sweet little bundle of joy and to see our first born and her husband as parents.  I have joined the ranks of grandparents who think they have the most wonderful grandchildren who ever set foot on this planet. I mean it when I say it was a privilege to do things like change diapers, walk the floor with a fussy baby (until my back ached), wash dishes in cold water and get up several times in the night to keep Anna company while she nursed Guillermo David.

Memories of young motherhood long ago came flooding back, but also the perspective that comes with age.  You can't wait until they start sleeping through the night or get out of diapers, but in the blink of an eye they are graduating from high school and striking out on their own.  My advice is to enjoy every minute, every season that life has to offer. 

Guillermo David Jimenez Strom
Adoring Parents
Our sweet nieto (grandson)
The parents, the grandparents & the great grandparents