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Posts Tagged ‘grandmother’

Screams on a Volcano

2015-05-01 12-58 10 - Edited

HAPPY Midle-Aged Woman on a Zipline in Haleakaka, Maui

 

My screams could be heard throughout the rain forest which was at 5000 feet on a dormant volcano .  These weren’t screams of terror, but ones of pure joy and excitement.  Something I had dreamed of doing for many years had finally become a reality at age 53.  Anyone who knows me well is aware that I enjoy a certain amount of adventure and even some danger.  One thing I’ve always wanted to do was to ride a zip line.  My husband and I were fortunate enough to be in Maui for a business event and there are a plethora of zip line courses available.  I chose to do one that had 5 different zip lines as well as a rope bridge.

 

2015-05-01 12-29 11 - Edited

Before ‘zipping’…giving the Shaka hand sign—meaning ‘hang loose’

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My experience began by signing all of the standard waivers one has to sign when doing any kind of activity with risk of injury.  Then I was instructed to sit on a bench while a young man helped me step into a harness which he pulled up to my waist and cinched tight.  Next he attached a heavy clasp and hook and gave me a helmet.  After I was all “geared up” we walked a short distance through a forest of Euculyptus trees to a platform which overlooked a 40 foot ravine.  After some basic instruction  on how to hold on to the harness and how to steer, one of the guide zipped across the ravine to the platform on the other side of the ravine.   (His job is to make sure you get stopped without slamming into a tree. 🙂 ) This line was approximately 150 feet and I would reach a speed of roughly 15 mph.  Then it was my turn to step up onto the platform.

 

I hopped up onto the platform where the guide hooked my harness up to the cable and I looked down into the 40 foot ravine.   I then grasped the strap and handle of the harness and took a running leap off of the platform.  WHAT A RUSH!!!!  It wasn’t  all that scary, but was extremely exhilarating.  Each line after that got a bit longer and faster.  Then we walked across a rope bridge. (while also clipped onto a cable.)

 

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Crossing the rope bridge

 

Finally we got to the 5th and final zipline which was definitely the most exciting.  It was a 750 foot cable stretched over a deep ravine.  It was considered a pendulum line because after flying the entire way to the end of the cable you actually zip back in the other direction and after a few passes through the middle finally stop by one of the guides grabbing your feet.  On this line I reached a speed of approximately 45-50 mph.  As I jumped off of that platform and picked up speed it felt as though I was really flying.  I was hooting, hollering and laughing.  I was having the time of my life.  I loved the feeling when I reached the other end knowing that I was about to begin rushing back the way I had just come.

 

IMG_20150501_132947Feeling very confident before taking the final plunge

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I guess I must be a bit of an adrenaline junky because as the guide was removing my hook from the harness I asked him where the fastest zip line is and he said he thought it was in South Africa and that it went up to 100 mph.  Hmmmm…….

 

When we got back to the station the I was told that they could hear the shrieks of delight from there.  I guess I really let it rip.  🙂

 

PS–before the 5th zip line the guide took a picture where I was supposed to look ‘scared’.  This is the best I could do.

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A Happy Memaw

Some women complain about getting older, however I am enjoying life as a middle-aged woman. One benefit for me is that I get to be a ‘Memaw’ to my granddaughters and that is one of the greatest joys in my life. I’m fortunate enough to have two beautiful granddaughters and two more grandchildren on the way. 🙂 The oldest one, Chloe, is 6 years old and the younger one, Missy, is 20 months. My daughter is due to deliver another little girl in July and my daughter-in-law, Tiff, is expecting in November.  I’m looking forward to having 4 grandchildren.

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 Memaw, Chloe & Missy

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There are many wonderful things about having grandchildren. To begin with, when they are babies I get to snuggle them for hours on end. The feeling is somehow different than when my own children were babies. The simple pleasure of holding your child’s offspring is indescribable. Plus, since you’re not the parent there are no other pressing things to do so you can simply enjoy the moment.

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 Snuggle time with Missy

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As they begin to speak it is wonderful to hear them say my name. I was actually going to go with the standard name “Grandma”, but as Chloe began to talk it became “Memaw” and in hindsight I actually like that name better. Missy is just beginning to talk and my name comes out more like “Mawwww”, or more often it’s “uh, oh, Mawwww”. No matter what it sounds like, just knowing that they are calling me brings a smile to my face.

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It is also an absolute blast when they are able to do some of my favorite activities along with me. As you may know, I love making jewelry and Chloe has sat with me at my desk many times and made her own jewelry designs. She is actually pretty dang good at it. 🙂 I’ll be anxious for the others to join us when they are old enough.

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 One of Chloe’s latest designs

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I also enjoy hiking and have been able to do that with both of them.  In the beginning they go along for the ride, but now Chloe is to the point that she is a genuine little hiker.  One side benefit to hiking with a baby on your back is that it certainly adds to the amount of calories you burn.

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 Chloe when she was too young to hike

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 Chloe on a family hike this past summer.

(Missy is on Anna’s back instead of mine. 🙂

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Another one of my favorite activities is cycling.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of riding bicycles with Chloe for the first time. She recently learned how to ride without training wheels and we spent part of the afternoon riding around our church parking lot. I think there are many joint rides in our future.

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 Chloe with NO training wheels–YIPPEE!

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Another activity I often do with Chloe is to cook and bake.  She likes nothing more than to help make some cookies or cupcakes.  I guarantee that when she helps me there are plenty of sprinkles and other decorations on whatever we make.  (OK, I also confess that we sometimes lick out the bowl — What happens at Memaw’s stays at Memaw’s. 🙂 )

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 She LOVES to decorate cupcakes!

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Since I also love playing the piano I’m just now getting them warmed up to that as well.  Chloe can play a wee bit and Missy just enjoys plunking away on the keys.  When Missy is here she often walks to the piano and pats the bench, which means she wants me to sit down and hold her on my lap so she can play a ‘tune’.  I think she may be hooked.

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 Future Pianist

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Yes, getting older means gray hair, wrinkles and more aches and pains, but the benefits definitely outweigh the physical signs of “maturity”. Besides becoming a grandparent I have become more comfortable with who I am, and I am now courageous enough (or maybe crazy enough) to do things I wouldn’t have done when I was younger. You can get away with some pretty eccentric things as you get older.  (like wearing a hat with feathers. 🙂 )

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One ‘crazy’ Memaw

***Photography courtesy of “Poppop”

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Moonflower4

 

Last evening I was given an incredible gift.  It was a custom-designed treat that touched my heart and lifted my spirit after a rough day.   Yesterday was an emotionally challenging day because my granddaughter had the surgery to fix her cleft palate.  The anxiety leading up to the surgery and the pain of watching her suffer as she woke up and began her recovery made it a very long and tiring day.  I was very thankful that the surgery went well and she was doing well.  All in all, it couldn’t have gone better and I was already feeling very thankful and blessed……..

…………then came the unexpected blessing.

 

I walked out on my front porch late in the evening and was greeted by the sight and scent of at least 30+ moon flowers.

 

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They grow all over the railing of my front porch and vine up to the ceiling as well.  I’ve grown moon flowers for many years and have never had a night with so many blooms.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of smelling a moon flower I recommend that you find a way to do so.  They have one of the sweetest and unique scents of any flower I’ve ever smelled.  They are also incredibly beautiful–so delicate and pure white.

 

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I brought out a glass of wine and simply enjoyed being surrounded by the beauty and the sweet aroma of my favorite flowers.

 

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I don’t see this gift as just good luck.  I’m learning more and more to accept these moments as gifts from a God who loves me and knows how to bring joy to my soul.  I’m also learning how to enjoy these gifts to their fullest.  🙂

 

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Your ‘gift’ might not be a porch full of moon flowers, but I would encourage you to look for those special little things that occur in your life and recognize them as gifts from above.

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Melissa Laine (My 2nd Granddaughter)

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Last year this time my daughter and her husband were expecting their first child, a baby girl, to be born in the middle of August.  Unfortunately, on July 2nd my daughter was rushed to the hospital with a severe case of pre-clampsia.  I didn’t know much about this pregnancy complication, but it is life-threatening to the mother and child.  The only way to cure it is to deliver the baby – which meant their little girl was going to be born six weeks premature.

 

As Anna was in the delivery room, all of the grandparents-to-be were waiting in the hallway for our little Melissa (Missy) to be delivered.  We were praying and trying to be hopeful that she would be ok.  We were in a location where we would see the baby being taken from the delivery room to the NICU.  I commented to my husband that we would know what condition the baby was in by how fast the nurses would be moving.  Well, as they rushed past us and we got a quick glimpse of our tiny new granddaughter, we knew we were in for many challenges ahead.

 

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 Missy–a few hours old.  (still cry every time I look at this picture)

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Little Missy weighed 5 lb. 11 oz. which is fairly large for being 6 weeks early, but she was born with Pierre Robin Sequence which caused her to have a cleft palate and other issues with her jaw and tongue.  This created serious difficulties with eating since she could not produce any suction without her palate.  The first 6 weeks of her life were spent in the NICU which meant daily trips back and forth to the hospital for my daughter and son-in-law.  (1 hour drive each way).  Her feeding issues meant that my daughter had to pump in order to be able to give Missy breast milk through a feeding tube.

 

all_dressed_upMissy- a few days old

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The day they brought her home from the hospital was a joyful, yet frightening one, because she was still on heart and breathing monitors as well as the feeding tube.  I watched my daughter and son-in-law handling things that most parents don’t ever need to think of—removing and inserting a feeding tube, learning how to tape lead lines for monitors, learning infant CPR, etc……

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IMG_0090Missy’s Homecoming

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All parents have some amount of fear that their baby might stop breathing, but for them this was a very real possibility and did happen several times.  The first time I was with them when the monitor went off it broke my heart to see my daughter and son-in-law rush up the stairs so fast that they were literally falling over each other.  The panic I saw them experience was something I will never forget.

 

For many months they endured difficult times including a week in the local Children’s Hospital where Missy struggled to breathe due to an inflamed esophagus.  Their life consisted of constant keeping records of feeding & weight gain, reading monitors, sleepless nights, and with my daughter continuing to pump her milk.  Little by little Missy began to overcome the feeding issues and was finally able to eat without the feeding tube. She has grown and developed in many miraculous ways.

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Beginning to Crawl

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Now that nearly a year has passed and Missy is approaching her first birthday, she is clear proof of what amazing love and care she has been given by her parents.  They have gone through things they couldn’t have anticipated, but have handled each hurdle with the strength that comes from loving a child.  They have made tough decisions along the way and have chosen wisely.

 

As I watched my daughter go through all of this I was continually amazed at the amount of strength and courage she showed and am very proud of the mother she has become.  Missy is now a happy, healthy, 24 pound little girl who is already trying to take her first steps.  When I look at the first picture of her I could never have pictured anything this wonderful one year later.  As I watched little Missy fight to overcome her various struggles, I have come to realize that my daughter isn’t the only one with incredible strength…..she passed it on to Missy.

 

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Anna and Missy at the Beach.

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Missy with her amazing Mommy and Daddy

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Missy will be having the surgery to correct her palate this Fall and she and her Mommy will need that strength.

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 Sulphur Mountain Banff Canada

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The line between courage and craziness can sometimes be blurry. As a 52-year old grandma, I viewed myself as somewhat courageous because I’m still very active—I enjoy many outdoor activities including road cycling and backpacking. My perspective on that, however, has come into question.

 

My husband and I were in Banff, Canada, in the Canadian Rockies, for a business trip and we decided to make good use of the free time before the organized events began. The first day we rode mountain bikes along two fairly easy trails, but then decided to attempt a third more difficult trail. I quickly began to question our choice as it wasn’t a typical mountain bike trail, but had steep banks that had been filled in with loose rocks/gravel because the dirt had been washed away. There were many times as I was slip-sliding my way up a hill or inching my way down another that I was doing some serious praying. (i.e. “Please let me survive this.”) After several hours we did make it back to the hotel in one piece albeit with very tired legs and arms (from holding on so tight to the handlebars.)

 

 

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 Me before the trail got rocky  (thus the smile)

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The next day took my questioning to a higher level. We decided to hike Sulphur Mountain, which is a fairly aggressive four mile alpine hike to the summit. I think under normal conditions we would have been OK, but the trail had a lot more snow than we expected. The trail started out as dirt and mud with little patches of snow , but as we climbed there were more and more sections that were snow covered and slippery. We both found ourselves slipping every once in a while, but then as we neared the top, I made one very poor choice in my footing. I was on a very snowy stretch, but there was a narrow strip of dirt along the edge of the trail and I decided to walk on the dirt since it was less slippery than the snow/ice. Unfortunately, as I set my foot on the dirt, it gave way. I instantly found myself on my back, sliding down the side of the mountain — I mean SLIDING at a fast rate of speed. Please understand that this is the kind of thing I’ve only seen in scary movies, but suddenly I was living it and I was TERRIFIED!

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 Me before the fall (again, smiling before disaster)

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As I slid, I frantically grabbed at any branch, root or plant I flew past. At one point I caught the branch of a pine tree but was moving so fast that I couldn’t keep my grip and began to pick up speed. Just as I lost hope of being able to stop myself I saw a tree in my path and braced for the impact. Luckily, I caught the tree with one of my thighs and finally came to a stop with my legs straddling the tree and my arms wrapped around, holding on for dear life. I breathed a sigh of relief as I could tell that nothing was broken, but that there were lot of cuts and bruises. My husband had started to slide down to try and help me, but its was so steep and slippery that he lost control too. He managed to stop quite a bit above me and we began to talk and try to figure out what to do next.  If we tried to climb back up to the trail by ourselves the risk of beginning to slide again was a very real possibility.

 

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 Trail before it got more snowy and scary

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Just then, some ‘rescuers’ came upon us. There were 3 strapping, young men coming up the trail behind us and my husband called out to them to ask for help. They carefully supported each other and climbed down to help us back up to the trail. Once I was safely back on the trail, I realized that the only way to get out of this mess was to keep climbing and finish the last mile of the hike so that we could ride the gondola down.  (Yes, we could have ridden the gondola to the top, but where’s the fun in that?)  Trying to hike back down under such slippery conditions would have been WAY more dangerous than continuing to climb. After another mile or so of hiking through snow with my shaky legs and stinging cuts we finally reached the top.

 

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At the top—shaky, but smiling

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Back at the hotel, as I got my wounds cleaned and tried to assess whether I needed stitches, I began to ponder the question of whether I’m courageous or crazy. I realized how lucky I was and felt grateful for several things. First, I was very thankful that I didn’t break any bones and that I somehow escaped with just scrapes on the back of my arms, larger cuts on my legs and bruises in all kinds of places.  I was also grateful that I had packed mostly slacks and long sleeved shirts for the rest of the week since my arms and legs were NOT very pretty. I was, of course, also thankful that my hands escaped unharmed so I could keep making jewelry. 🙂

 

So…here’s the question…..is a 52-year old Grandma that does somewhat risky things like this courageous or crazy? …. And, even if she’s crazy—– should she stop? I kinda think that crazy isn’t always a bad thing. 🙂

 

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Gondola ride down Sulphur Mountain

 

20140517_121807View of trail near the top from Gondola

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PS—Believe it or not, I climbed back on a mountain bike a few days later, but I was VERY nervous and extremely cautious—-basically a ‘chicken’.  I guess I’m going to stay ‘crazy’, but maybe a bit more cautious than before.

 

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Jewelry may seem like a frivolous commodity to some. Sure, it can add bling to an outfit, but it can also make a woman feel happy and can be a wonderful gift for someone special. At times a gift of jewelry is the perfect expression of love.  This was the case with a recent custom order.

 

I enjoy designing custom pieces and like to hear that the recipient of the jewelry was pleased with the outcome.   I recently received a note from a customer that expressed such gratitude for a special order item that it brought tears to my eyes.

 

A woman from the Middle East inquired about a possible special order after viewing my jewelry on ArtFire.  Her Grandma lost a special necklace many years ago and she discovered it was similar to my Celtic Knot design.  The customer sent me pictures of her Grandma wearing the original necklace.  I was able to make a few adjustments to my design and the finished product looked very much like the one she had lost.  The customer was thrilled and planned to give it to her Grandma for her birthday.

 

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Click HERE to view Celtic Knot Necklace

I received an email several weeks later telling me how much her Grandma liked the necklace.  She was extremely happy to have received it and knew it was given out of love.  My customer had even received a call from her Grandpa to thank her for bringing so much happiness with the gift.   He said that the Grandma felt like the luckiest woman on earth to have been given this necklace by her granddaughter especially since she ordered it from half way around the world.  Yes, the Grandma likes the necklace, but the love behind the gift is what she treasures the most.

 

I was honored to have been able to help this young woman show love to her Grandma in this way.  I like knowing that I had a small part in bringing so much joy to a sweet 80 year old woman.  I have always loved making jewelry, but that note made me love it in a new way.

 

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