Category Archives: Family

Another GideonArc creation!

As a wedding gift for Loreli and Chad a handcrafted decorative wine holder was created by Carissa and Jaime of GideonArc.


A special, personalized, label was made by Carissa to commemorate the event.


Jaime did his usual spectacular steel bending and welding to create the spiral rod which holds the wine bottle and this entire holder and foot plate.


Carissa dictated the placement of the metal leaves and grape pieces.



Through Carissa’s design inspiration and Jaime’s knowledge of metal working these two make a fantastic team.

Keep watch on the GideonArc Etsy site for this item to become available.

This handcrafted wine and candle holder can be a very useful item in your home.

Picture this…..

A romantic dinner for two. The lights off, or dimmed low. The candle atop the holder lit giving off its soft light at a table set with favorite foods. A glass of wine poured from the bottle waiting in the holder. Each of the two diners have thoughts running through their heads of the intimacy yet to come.


A stormy night with lightning flashing and thunder rolling. The power goes out and you are left in the dark. Blackness envelopes you. Feeling your way, without stubbing your toes or banging shins, you make your way to this candle holder and light it. Once lit you can get a glass and enjoy a bit of wine to calm your nerves until the power comes back on.

If you wish to have a special label on your wine bottle let GideonArc know when you place your order.

Did I tell you that I am one proud momma? Well I am 😀



GideonArc on Etsy is THE place to check out.

GideonArc, located in Tempe, Arizona, has hand crafted home decor items that are useful and beautiful. Their Etsy page can be seen by clicking on the link above.

Form meets function in these elegant pieces. Storage pieces never looked so good. Take, for example, this hanging pot rack made from rolled steel and cast iron.



Attention to detail is the hallmark of a GideonArc piece. This pot rack has welded hooks to securely hold your skillets for easy access. This rack will free up the much needed cupboard space in any kitchen. “S” hooks are supplied to hang lids or cooking utensils.

Are you looking for a coat rack? Take a look at this one created by GideonArc.

This decorative storage item is what you need for your mud room or entry way. The coat hooks will accommodate long winter coats or trench coats because of the length of the pole. You won’t worry about the hem of your coat dragging on the floor.


The decorative hooks at the top of the pole are securely welded to the pole. This will hold not only your coats but hats and scarves, too.


The bottom of the coat rack has a place to store your umbrellas and walking sticks. Many homes lack a “coat closest” to store your outdoor wear in a convenient place. This coat rack will be the solution for your problem.



This next item, also hand crafted by GideonArc, is a decorative wall piece. A “Family Tree”. The small decorative frames hanging are only an example of what you can do with this gorgeous piece.




You will be delighted to see your children’s photos and other family photos mounted on this tree all year long. The holidays of Christmas and Easter can take center stage on this tree all the while be the main showcase of your treasured family pictures.

I’m so proud of my daughter, Carissa, and my son-in-law, Jaime for their creativity and painstaking craftsmanship of each item they design and create.

Stop by their Etsy store for details of sizes and prices. If you would like to ask about colors or finishes they would love to hear from you. Also if you have questions or would like to have something designed and crafted for your home they would love to answer your questions.

Indeed, I am one proud “Momma” 😉

I have a friend in desperate need of support and I need your help.

Shelly you might want to kill me but I’m too far away for you to get hold if my neck.

I have a friend going through a dark time in her life right now.

Shelly is an awesome woman. She and her husband have two grown and gone boys – biological, have raised two other children they adopted and helped get situated in the world. Currently they have three young school aged children that started off as foster babies which Shelly and Brian adopted not long after being placed in their home. Plus Shelly has two small grandchildren she cares for daily while the patents work.

During the recent winter Shelly spent most of her days at her Mother’s bedside before she succumbed to her illness and recently passed away. This has devastated Shelly and she is not allowing herself the chance to grieve.

Being a “Stay At Home Mom” with children that have physical and emotional disabilities, dealing with the teachers at school to help her children succeed, doctors and medical experts keeping on top of the children’s wellness and growth, plus caring for her two grandchildren under the age of six has shrunken Shelly’s world so much that she has lost herself.

My friend is so caught up in the care and feeding of her family there is nothing left for her to see her way through the grief of losing her Mother.

Shelly needs to know there is a world outside family matters that can restore her self worth and get her on the road to recovery.

As an online community I know we can come to her rescue. This will not cost anyone money – just a small amount of your time.

I am calling out to anyone brave enough to help Shelly. I am going to start a “Book Club”. Never been to one and I don’t know how they work so I’m going to wing it here. Unless there is someone out there that can help us.

A trip to your local library or paw through the stack if books you currently have. I will pick out a book (suggestions are welcome) and we will all read a designated amount of chapters and pages during a week.

Once a week we can share our thoughts and insights about the material read.

My plan is to get Shelly involved in a community of supporters to help her know she is not alone.

Who is up for this challenge?

I love you Shelly – Leslie

Epiphanic moments in your life can be hazardous to those you love. If they truly love you, they will shelter you through the storm.

I apologize, in advance, for the jumping around this post is going to be.

In my own way I am a deeply religious person. I don’t attend church. Mainly because I’m not a huge fan of organized religion. That is for a post some other time.

One of my personal beliefs is that God works with me in my personal growth. Always has. 75% of the time I don’t listen or watch for the guidance.

Another belief of mine is that God tries to get my attention in ever increasing ways. He starts by putting someone in my life that I need to learn from or enhance my learning about unconditional love. This is the “Pebble” God tosses at me. As I continue to live my life on the surface and ignore the opportunities presented the “Pebble” becomes a “Stone”. The stone becomes a “Rock”. The rock becomes a “Brick”. The brick becomes a “Boulder”. The boulder then becomes an entire “House” crashing down around me.

Mind you, these pebbles, rocks, and stones are figurative and not literal.

I have two (2) major faults. One is a prejudice. Not a racial prejudice. My prejudice includes all races because humans in adverse situations who continually stay stuck with no desire to change their lives for the better gripe the hell out of me.

My other fault is that I have no patience for animals. As long as they belong to someone else animals can be fascinating. I am not keen on being stuck with a three year old that requires constant supervision for 15 or more years with no hope of ever being self sufficient.

That is still part of my prejudice, only directed at non humans.

Why, you may ask, am I so hard hearted? Basically, it is a trust issue. At the base level it is all about trust.

Why trust? Because having complete trust means that a person is open to life and love without a bit of fear.

God rolled a boulder on me over the winter when I went through a tough bought of depression. This week God smashed a house on me. Am I pissed off? No. I am deeply thankful for the wreckage around me.

The protective walls I have carefully built around myself lay in a shattered heap around me. I’ve become exposed and I am forced to take a look at how I have been living with only half of my heart open.

This job of mine, an over the road truck driver, can sometimes be a bad thing. Solitary confinement by choice. Having hours totally alone to allow a mind to wander is very conducive in having memories pop through my head to torture me. Flashes of things I’ve said – or didn’t say – generally leads to self castigation. The people in my younger life that berated me pop in and out of memories.

There are times that I feel as though I am beset by one, or more, of the Dementors in the Harry Potter books sucking the joy and happiness out of my soul.

Twelve years I have been doing this job and it is time for a change. Long overdue in fact. Yesterday we delivered in Wilmer, Texas and went home for the night. Today we are deadheading from home to Buffalo, New York for a bunch of short loads in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Maine.


One of the hotel rooms we were in last Sunday I channel surfed the television. A movie I totally enjoyed was featured on a local station. The 2009 hit “The Blind Side”. The story of Michael Oher and the Tuohy family.

Michael Oher has written his own book about his life story. I wanted to find out more about this young man who was determined to get himself out of poverty and overcome the debilitating results of foster care to become a much celebrated NFL (National Football League) player.

Reading the accounts of his childhood of neglect and desperate poverty took me back to my own childhood with parents who were seldom home and having to fend for myself and my sister from very tender ages. My own experiences in the foster care system in the mid 1960’s to early 1970’s.

I’m pushing 60 years of age and had thought I had conquered those demons. Not so.

My epiphany is that my life as an adult has been a half life. Had I not so carefully built a house around my heart I could have been a mentor to someone going through the things I did. I had an opportunity to help a young woman going through a difficult phase of her life. I only involved myself a little bit owing to the fact that I was hardly home because of my job.

I have wanted to get really involved in my crafting life. A goal was to go to a local children’s hospital and help the sick kids create cards, bookmarks, or anything else I could think of that would take their mind off the hospital for an hour or two. However, this job and all that goes with it makes that goal impossible to reach.

This winter when we stop in November or December I am hanging up my grease stained scrubs and I’m done. Period! I will find a local job through a temporary agency and dust off my clerical skills or do factory work, or something else that will allow me to reach my goal.

Right now I am emotionally dealing with old pains, facing the neglect and abuse, and it is making me terribly more impatient, short tempered, and snappy.

I have talked with Joe about my turmoil. I’ve told him that I dearly love him and I am not mad at him. Michael Oher’s life and my life are similar yet different. Too similar and the feelings I have managed to keep at bay all these years have busted loose. Unfortunately Joe is the one taking the heat.

His response to me was “I understand and know you are hurting. I’m here for you and I always will be”. That means a lot to me makes me love him even more. Joe is willing to face the storm brewing all the while protecting me with his love.

Lord guide me through this. Lead me where I need to go.


Happy Thanksgiving – 2012

I wish to send out a giant size THANK YOU to all of the fantastic people that are making this Thanksgiving feast  possible.

To those who “belly up” to the mixing bowls as they prepare each dish that will be served today.

Bellying up to the mixing bowl

Thank you to those of you doing all the cooking and preparing which entails getting your hands right in the stuff.

Joe mixing up his stuffing

Thank you to all of you that will be peeling potatoes, checking the pots on the stove and keeping them from boiling over.  Those of you that will have five or more spoons on the stove as you check on the contents.  Those of you that will be sticking your arms and hands into a hot oven to bake up your sumptuous delights.

I am very thankful for each of you that have taken on the challenge of cooking this massive feast.  Timing it all right so everything is presented on the table together at one time.  All of your days of preparing, wading through the teeming mass of people at the grocery stores, fixing your delights a day ahead of time to make the turkey cooking easier.

I am so very thankful to all of you that spend the many hours involved in making Thanksgiving memorable each year.  Thank you from this one that only is on the sidelines and is a helper.  One of the many that enjoy the fruits of all of your labor after it is placed and ready to dig in.

Thank you cooks of all ages, men and women, that make this delightful day happen.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.


Calling all knitters and crocheters. I need your help!

My sister, Pati, has found some free time on her hands. One of her long standing wishes has been to learn how to knit or crochet.

Pati has worked hard all her life, sometimes two jobs. We are both in our 50’s and a tad set in our ways.

I desperately need your help. Pati is facing a fear. She is on the precipice of having a dream fulfilled only to be held back by fear. Fear of not being “Good enough”. She has found a kind soul who has offered to teach her how to knit but now Pati is making excuses and is turning her back on the dream.

Please leave a message to Pati in the comments section of this post. Tell her of your own struggle with knitting or crocheting when you started. What was the first thing you made. Also tell her what kept you going to do the next piece.

I am NOT asking for donations of needles and yarn. Only a small bit of your time.

As in all families, the one most in need of support and encouragement thinks that one family member who sticks their nose in is full of doo doo and they don’t know or understand what is really going on.

Pati needs to know that someone else has gone through what she is facing. A dream within reach but too afraid to step into the dream.

She will be ready to kill me but I am not afraid. Besides I live too far away from her to be quaking in my boots.

I wish to thank you all in advance for sharing your encouragement. It is my firm belief that people are willing to help someone out, even through the Internet and friendships develop in amazing ways. Please help my sister over this hurdle.


Day 6 at Walt Disney World – or Mickey whooped our butts!

The heat and humidity in Florida this week late in September has been really tough on all of us.  Those from Arizona (Carissa and Jaime) where the air is dry were really feeling the oppressive humidity.  Still being relatively young they survived the experience of being sweaty and air soaked at the same time.  Those from Colorado (Loreli, Chad, Tiffany, Kari, and Simon) had to deal with the lower altitude and the humidity they are not used to.  And as with the young they, too, weathered the heat and humidity better than Joe and I did.  We were a bit sick on this last day of our Disney World adventure.

The day was spent at Magic Kingdom where most of the rides are tamer in comparison to the rest of the park.  I, for one, was looking forward to the more sedate rides.  The Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion.  Longer rides in dark and air conditioned comfort to ease my aching head and cool my over heated body.

The storm clouds were building around the Magic Kingdom.

Storm clouds over the Magic Kingdom

Jann had made a comment before we arrived at Disney World that this would be like herding cats.  Let me tell you….that is a correct assessment.  Trying to keep track of our kids and stick together as a family unit was nigh on to impossible.  Joe and I gave up on this last day and decided to leave them to their fun and enjoyment.

While we wended through the throng of Disney goers on our way to the Pirates of the Caribbean the rain started.  We found shelter in a portico entrance to the public restrooms….along with a host of other people.

Getting out of the rain

Shelter from the deluge

The rain didn’t last very long.  It was quite surprising how much it did rain in just a matter of 5 minutes.  When the rain quit we left the shelter and made our way to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride where it would be cold and dark.

Getting on the boats to do the Pirates of the Caribbean ride

"Dead men tell no tales"

I’ve got to say this about Disney Imagineers.  Every one of the parks is amazing.  The details on every building façade is spectacular.  The food court at our resort is true to the real experience of the Caribbean.  Carissa and Jaime have been on cruises to the Caribbean and Carissa said the place looked exactly as it does in real life.

Johnny Depp, or his likeness, as Jack Sparrow eerily pops up in several locations in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  I mean, you see Captain Jack Sparrow in three of the scenes on the ride and you actually see the face of Johnny Depp from the movies.  It is so lifelike that it is spooky.

Our kids joined us for a second trip through the Pirates ride and next on their agenda was Splash Mountain.  We all headed over to that ride and found it to be closed temporarily.  Disney takes the well being of their guests into consideration.  ALL outdoor rides were closed temporarily because of lightning strikes near the park.  When the storm finally passed the rides were open once again.

Joe and I had enough of the heat and humidity.  We were whipped.  Time to head back to our resort room to be in air conditioned comfort with the lights off and the drapes drawn.  Dark and cool is what we needed.  On our way out of the park we were graced by a rainbow.

Rainbow over the Magic Kingdom

During our time at Walt Disney World we went to four of the theme parks.  We had a map of Disney mailed to our home before we left, just to give us all an idea of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see.

Map of Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is 40 square MILES of information overload.  There is so much to see and do there.  Six days is not long enough to see it all, nor to hit every ride or mode of transportation Disney offers its guests.

Each park has their own map.  Parade routes and times are listed on the maps.  The parade routes are marked in red dots.  All the rides are noted on the map, food courts, public restrooms, first aid stations, smoking areas, and even areas where the Disney characters are stationed for photo opportunities.  There are photographers everywhere that are specifically there to document your Disney adventure.


Map of Epcot

Map of Epcot with notations of importance

Closer view of Epcot Map


Magic Kingdom map

Magic Kingdom information

Close up of Magic Kingdom map


Animal Kingdom map

Animal Kingdom map information

Animal Kingdom close up map


Hollywood Studios Map

Hollywood Studios information map

Hollywood Studios map up close

We made it to each of the parks.  Probably experienced 1/4 of everything in each of them.  The Pedometer App on our iPod tried to keep up with me but gave out I think.  Most days we walked about 7 miles around each of the parks.  Taking in one for about half the day then going to another park for several more hours.

By our last full day at Disney both Joe and I had sore feet and ankles, our backs hurt, my thighs and hip joints were sore, and my upper arms were screaming at me from holding on for dear life on the wild rides I went on.

This 6 night and 7 day Disney Resort package cost us $2,600 for Joe and I.  For six months we did a sort of “Payment Plan” until we had it totally paid for before we arrived.

One thing not everyone knows is that you can get your Disney Vacation started with $200.  You will need a credit card or a debit card to start your plan.  The full package price has to be paid, in full, 45 days before your vacation begins.  You can make your payments monthly or weekly, depending on your finances.

Your package can include flight reservations if you will not be driving.  You can make your flight plans separate if you can find them cheaper.  You can choose to stay at hotels not on the Disney property or you can stay at one of the numerous resorts.

I have nothing to share about staying off Disney property so I can’t tell you about transportation to the parks and back via the massive Disney bus system.

I can tell you about staying at a Disney Resort.  Each of the many resorts have bus stops located at each resort section.  We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort.  This resort has building sections named Jamaica, Aruba, Martinique, Trinidad North, Trinidad South, Old Port Royale.  Each section has a bus stop for the area you will be staying in.  We were in North Trinidad while Tiffany, Kari, and Simon were at Trinidad South.

At the bus stops you get on a bus to the destination you wish.  Each bus has the name of the park you want to go to.  Catch the “Animal Kingdom” bus to go to the Animal Kingdom or Blizzard Beach.  When you arrive at your destination you will be told what section number you will go to catch the bus back to your resort.  At Epcot our bus section number was 13.  When the bus arrived we would get on it to go back to the Caribbean Beach resort.

The bus rides are from 7 to 12 minutes in length.  The bus travels around the resort to each of the stops before it goes to the theme park.  The bus transport is free and runs all day long.  They are fully air conditioned to help a hot and tired body cool off after a long day in the heat and humidity.

The food at the Disney resorts is nothing spectacular.  It is quite over priced.  A breakfast for two can be up to $30.  It is ridiculous.

I would recommend adding the “Disney Dining Plan” to your package.  For the “Quick Meals” you get an entree, desert, and a bottled beverage of your choice.  The food is plentiful.  Way too much for one person to eat.  For the “Snack” portion you can have a bowl of fruit, a single piece of fresh fruit, a bottled drink, or any of the cookies or pastries all over the place.  For a “Sit Down Meal” which is usually in the evening includes and entree, desert, and a beverage of your choice.  The cost of the sit down dinner is anywhere from $75 to $100 for two.

To get “normal” food you will have to get to Downtown Disney where there are regular restaurants with normal food.  You have to pay out of pocket for those meals because they are not included in the Disney Dining Plan.

The Disney Resorts are clean, the grounds are taken care of daily, repairs to the buildings are done.  The gutters on the building we stayed in were  replaced on one morning beginning just after sun up.  There was some banging going on but it wasn’t over the top.

There is a laundry facility at each complex.  The cost is $2 per load of wash and dry.

Guest laundry at Disney resort

Washers and dryers to the right of the entrance

Washers and dryers to the left of the entrance

When you do vacation at Disney World be prepared for the screaming and crying little ones.  They can get a wail on like you won’t believe.  In the confines of the bus it can be quite irritating to be stuck with a screaming over tired child.

The crowds of people are staggering.  Unlike the highways you travel by car, traffic going in separate directions, the crowds at Disney walk everywhere.  You have to dodge strollers, scooters, and people in a constant maze just to get going in the direction you are aiming for.  Sometimes you have to let the teeming masses pass for a while to get a hole in the crowd and head in the right direction.

By the last full day of our Disney trip both Joe and I were looking forward to getting back to work and away from the masses.  I have a problem with sustained loud noises.  My nerves get frayed and I get snappy.  Keeping my inner monster at bay on the last day was a challenge for me.

Would I do this again?  Heck yes.  During a time of year that is cooler and less humid.  I’m told that the end of November and the first part of December is less crowded and a lot cooler.  So maybe next year we can get ALL of our kids to come and do this in 2013.  One can always hope 😀

We are leaving Monday for Spartanburg, South Carolina to get trucks going to Windsor, Wisconsin.  Time to get some rest from this vacation.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone.