Find Your Passion She Said…


This is what she told her kids when they were growing up. “It doesn’t matter what you do in life, just find your passion.”   Translation: If you find your passion you will be happy no matter if you are rich or poor.

It’s funny that she would have this to say to them, she being a woman who really didn’t know what she wanted to do in life. Oh she tried. But, she could never really pin it down. She did what was expected of her, what her parents expected, what her teachers expected and in general what she thought society expected of her.   I guess that’s why it was important for her to instill this in her children. She could never zero in on her own passion so she started to tell her children to find theirs at a very young age. Do they remember? She doesn’t know, maybe they do.

One day she realized that her son was in the process of finding his passion. He was in his early 20’s. He never really had a good male role model to guide him through life so he fumbled and bumbled at times. Thankfully he was born with an independent, passionate, never give up spirit and he had faith. He knew how to stick with life.   It wasn’t always easy for him in fact it appeared on many occasions that he was ready to give up. He didn’t though. He never gave up.

What was his passion you ask?   It was the gym. “Oh good!” his mom thought. “That’s a great outlet for him, to blow off some steam, vent or hit a punching bag.   That’s what boys do right? It was good he found a place to “shake it off.”  What ever “it” was at the moment.

Then… it came. The realization that he was passionate about being in the “ring,” “fighting,” “sparring,” “winning.”  It was a gym for fighters.  What ever you want to call it, he was in a ring with an opponent where he could potentially get knocked around, twisted up, bones broken, bloody noses, blows to the head…. and…more.

It hit her like a ton of brick. He found his passion and it was either getting beat up or beating someone else up. This is not what she had planned for him. But, by this time it was to late.   Could she ground him? Take away his privileges? His gym membership? His car keys? (to the car he owns?) Oh dear. What a dilemma.

It’s not easy being a mom, especially when you have no power over your children because they grow up; they become self-sufficient and are responsible for themselves and their life choices. So, I watched that mom struggle with this passion of her sons. I watched her as she said her prayers asking God to keep him safe and to keep him free from injury and harm. I watched her, as she trusted God.

His mom literally got out of the way, she let her son make his choices, she moved out of God’s way and well…now she is sitting at her computer typing this story knowing that her son will be fighting his first Muay Thai Global Amateur Fight this afternoon. Yes, my son has followed his passion.

Can you really believe it though? We raise our children wondering why they “never” listen, “never” take our advice, “never” understand our infinite wisdom. The one time he listened…. well, you know the story.

The flip side is that he is happy. Didn’t I tell you? Find your passion and you will be happy. And me, well, I have to be honest; it scares me that he loves this particular passion.   I fear for his safety and well being. By the same token I see a confident, self assured content young man.   In some way he has found himself and not that he had anything to prove to anyone but if he did, well he is accomplished in his own right.

Stay safe and strong son…and if you’re going to fight, I hope you win!



The winner is…..yep, he won!  Now can I ground you?

And the winner is....
Winner of his Muay Thai Global Amateur debut.



Bob…laid to rest

Dear Bob,

You were laid to rest earlier this month. It was a lovely cool sunny morning. We thought we might have rain to contend with, but God was good and he gave us a beautiful, sunny, breezy morning. The grass was so green, the sky so clear and blue and fresh. The flowers on your casket were bright and vibrant. There were gerbera daisies, gladiolas in bright reds and yellows, lots of greenery and of coarse the tulips you loved so much.

There were already a few people there as we arrived. We each greeted and introduced ourselves to each other. Even though some of us were new to each other, we all had you and your love in common.   There were plenty of smiles and the gratitude that each person felt for having known you was obvious.

A person cannot exist as you did, so full of love for each person that came into your life, and not expect such warmth and love to be present. The group was intimate, and amazingly consisted of family and friends from various periods of your life. A quilt if you will. Some had known you for a lifetime, some only months. Each person there had a story or a memory to share.

You would have enjoyed the service. Ray spoke lovingly about you. He spoke about how we were there that morning to pay our respects to your “physical body.”   It was simple and lovely.

I do believe your upcoming memorial service will be a “happy celebration” of your life. At 96 it was like you were just getting started. I think the hardest part for you near the end was that you couldn’t get out and about to comfort others. You let us all love you and care for you but we all knew you wanted to hop up and get out to tend to others.

As I sit here on this Sunday morning writing these words, I feel such a loss. I miss you terribly but I am so very thankful that we had the opportunity to re-unite. You once told me that you knew I would be back, you “welcomed me home.” Thank you for the love you gave to me and for the time we were able to share together. For our lunch time talks, our drives up and down the river, our visits to see the grand kiddos and for all the times we would get lost driving somewhere…promising not to share our mishaps with anyone and laughing about it.   And…Tres Leches cake will never be the same without you.

I leave you with this last thought. As you were nearing the end I ran across this Bible verse. It seems appropriate. It was written by the apostle Paul, about himself, near the end of his life. He viewed his approaching death as the “pouring out of his life as an offering to Christ.”

2 Timothy: 6-8

(6) For I am already being poured out like a drink offering. And the time has come for my departure. (7) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (8) Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

I can hear you now…”Right on”

With my love,

Your other daughter… Nancy

A moment in time…1977 California State Fair

It was August 24, 1977 the day we strolled through the California State Fair. I honestly don’t remember much other than we were together, happy and enjoying the day. We were young and had been dating for two years. I was just out of high school when we met, a mere 17 years young and inexperienced in life. He was a mature almost 21-year-old worldly and handsome.

I don’t know what prompted us to stop. Neither of us had much money at that time in our lives to spend on extras. Every time I reflect on that day I am so very, very thankful that for whatever reason we stopped at that cutting edge, modern computer photo booth with the classy dot matrix printer.

The man seated us next to each other getting us ready to take our picture, you know, like a school picture. Only, it wasn’t exactly a picture. We watched as he looked at his computer screen and then…back and forth, back and forth the computer printer went back and forth, back and forth. When it was done the man tore the paper off of the printer and handed it to us.

There we were, young and naïve, not knowing what our future held. We stood there starring at that black and white image of ourselves. It was done mostly in hash tags with some commas, and slashes thrown in. When it was done it looked like a pencil sketch.   It was a picture of us forever capturing us in that moment.

1977 California State Fair “dot-matrix photo”

I am so thankful for that picture and that memory. You see, we continued to date for a few more years. Then life happened and we went our separate ways and lived our lives apart, not seeing or hearing from each other for nearly thirty years. Neither of us forgot the other and as life would have it we came back together one day.  It was like no time had ever passed between us and we picked up where we left off.   We were older, wiser and still in love.

That picture is now framed and hangs on the wall of our bedroom so every time we enter the room it’s the first thing we see. Again, each time I look at that picture, I am thankful for that day in 1977 at the California State Fair, thankful that we found each other again and thankful that God kept us safe and ready for the day we reunited.

We stopped trying to figure out why or how things happen the way they do. I can only speak for myself but I thank God everyday for the second chance I have been given to love this man that got away from me so many years ago.   Every time I walk into our bedroom and look at that picture I smile and I am thankful.

In the Garden…

Well, we have been in a drought for 3 years now. The back yard is parched, dry and dusty. What to do… I didn’t know what to do so I picked up a rake on that hot dry morning and I started to rake the dry grass into a pile. That’s how it started. Rake, rake, rake.

Before I knew it I had piles of dry grass and leaves that had to be carried out of the back yard.   I had so much to clear out I thought I was going to go crazy. Slowly but surely I cleared the yard. It soon became a blank canvas. As it did, I began to visualize what I wanted to do. We had a pile of used brick on the side of the house and so I started to chip off the old concrete. It’s funny how satisfying it can be to clean old brick. I know, I’m weird and thank goodness I am very task oriented.

Garden Path

As my pile of clean brick began to grow, I started to see a curved walkway from the wood deck out to the shady corner of the yard. I dug out a path, laid that brick down and then took it up, laid it down again, took it up and laid it down a third time. They say the third time is a charm. Well, charm or not, I was not taking it up again. I call it my umpity, bumpity walkway…or vintage. Ya, that’s it, my vintage walkway is perfectly uneven.

Zucchini everywhere!

Plants were put along each side of the walk way and since it was well into April I decided to include a vegetable garden. There are only two of us so I put in three zucchini plants, three English cucumbers, one bell pepper just because they’re fun to grow and four different kinds of tomato plants. I squeezed all these plants into an area that was about five feet by eight feet.   Yep, way to small and I knew it, but that’s what I did and it worked!   The plants grew quickly, I shared with the neighbors and now we are nearing the end of the summer and we are still having fresh cucumber and tomato salad every night. All we need now is an avocado tree!

The yard needed more color so it seemed every time I ran to the store or post office or any other errand I ended up at the nursery. Do you know how wonderfully therapeutic it is to wander aimlessly through a well-stocked nursery? I was in heaven very often this summer.

Painted pot with zinnias…

I painted old ugly flowerpots bright yellow, orange, blue, green, marigold (yes, that’s a color) and even desert pottery color. I planted zinnias, daisies, marigolds, vinca, geraniums, ferns, impatiens and I’m not near done filling the yard with color. But, the season is coming to a close so for now I will be patient and imagine what next year will bring. Of course, there will be some winter flowers and maybe a small winter vegetable garden…Brussel sprouts maybe for my husband.

I’m thankful for my time in the garden this year. While working in it, I often thought of my years growing up when I would water my moms’ garden. Mom would cook up all sorts of good meals from our fresh vegetables. And, we would trade with our neighbors and cousins. I can still smell the summer air. The dry grasses, the sugar mill the harvest. I can still smell my dad when he would come home from a hard day on the farm. Farm smells, there is nothing better.

Yep, gardening takes me home again to good memories and makes me miss those carefree summers as a child.


Visiting Butterfly
My Pink Zinnias
Profusion Orange Zinnias

Loving call from mom…

I just entered the Wal-Mart store and my phone rang. I usually don’t hear my phone when it rings but for some reason I had just reached into the outside pocket of my purse and felt it vibrate before I heard the ring.   I picked it up and saw it was mom calling.

“Hi mom.” As many of our conversations begin she said, “Hi Nancy, did you just try to call me?” I replied, “If I did, it wasn’t on purpose, it would have been a pocket dial.” She laughed and said, “Ya, I know how that is.” I don’t think she really did. Technology is not her thing.

Anyway, she went on to tell me how good the zucchini was that I had given her from our vegetable garden. She laughed and said someone had left some macaroni and cheese in her refrigerator from the 4th so she tossed some into her zucchini and made it all nice and cheesy. She was giggling like a little girl, “It was so good!” she said.

We talked for a while.   I told her I was at the store so she said she would let me go and then proceeded to talk on. That’s her MO lately. She loves to talk and sometimes I hear the same stories over and over but that’s okay I don’t mind. She just turned 92 in May and she had a TIA a month or so before that. She’s not quite been the same and I can see her failing, a little at a time.

As we were ending the conversation she kept telling me how much she loved me. She told me how she would not have been able to get through the day on the 4th without my help.   I told her I would always be there for her, to pick up the slack. She was so appreciative and said she so enjoyed the day.  I know the simplest tasks wear her out these days.

She kept saying, “Really Nancy,  you will never know how much I love you, really, you will never know.” By this time I’m standing in the pasta isle at Wal-Mart and tears begin to roll down my cheeks. I thought to myself, “You know, if this is the last time I ever talk to my mother her last words to me would be her telling me how much she loves me.”   And I would be ok with that.   That would be the best gift ever.