One Year Anniversary!

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Display from Philadelphia Flower Show 2018

I think there is an unwritten rule in the blogosphere that an anniversary post is to be written each year, and though it seems much too soon for a year to have gone by, here goes!!

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There’s really not much for me to say regarding my blog, but much to say about my blogging experience which I can sum up in two words:

Thank You!

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Thank you to all who have stopped by to visit, and all those with a friendly word to pass along.  Thank you especially to those who have become “friends” in this community.

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You are a very positive, encouraging group of people who have enriched my life with your words and talents.

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This blog was originally intended as a place for me to catalogue mostly nature, but family memories as well for both myself and my sons to look back on, but you have made it so much more.

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So many wonderful people in this big beautiful world, I wish I could share a cup of coffee with you all and get to know you a little bit more!

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So, here’s to many more blogging years, not only to enjoy sharing my memories…

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but to enjoy sharing in your journeys as well!

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Harold

Until next time,

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God Bless!!

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∼Jen

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Morning Memories…March

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
–  William Wordsworth, Daffodils

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It seems that March this year decided to try a hostile take-over of April…but, despite its many snowy, blustery attempts, April has at long last landed, bringing all its promises of future beauty along with it.  March, of course, had its own beauty despite its stormy attitude, so here’s my look back on this very temperamental month:

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Above, the very loud and large pileated woodpecker, and below, one of our backyard monkeys, doing what they do best.

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A morning walk with my fellow nature-loving neighbor provided the following photos…

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A glimpse in her backyard, where the infamous white cats reside, but I was zeroing in on one of the upside down dead trees she repurposes for bird feeders…

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Another peek in her yard shows some of the many daffodils she decorates our street with…

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I took my buddy, Princess, along for our walk.  I wouldn’t dream of leaving her home, the neighbors love her and sadly our walks are soon coming to an end. 😦  Watching her health deteriorate has been the hardest thing this month, I hope she will be with me for some warm spring days, but she is getting tired so I will enjoy the days we have left and treasure her companionship while I can.

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My dear friend Lesley and I along with her daughter and precious granddaughter attended the Philadelphia flower show.  I don’t have many pictures due to the very large crowds, but this one turned out ok and was a nice sneak peek at spring…

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Of course there were the lingering snow days I posted of earlier thanks to our many Nor’easters…

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The sure promise of warmer days here on the creek are the first wood duck sightings, usually blurred by the distance, but they still make my heart sing!

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Things will only get more beautiful with the blooming of Azaleas right around the corner, but I was treated to an early show of their charm in our recent southern excursion.  For now, I will enjoy the warming days in our area, thankful for the beauty each new day brings.

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Until next time,

∼Jen

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number Four is at the Door….

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…Be this an autumn or a spring

My wisdom loses way

One side of me the nuts are ripe

The other side is May

(from The Ones that Disappeared are Back by Emily Dickinson)

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With our fourth Nor’easter, it’s now apparent that March does indeed intend to go out with a roar!  I’m not complaining, getting to sleep in as school was cancelled, leisurely drink coffee while enjoying spelt-blueberry pancakes, in no rush to be anywhere, is fine with me.

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I’m not sure how the flowers and budding trees will feel about it, but it is what it is, so I decided to capture a few pictures and watch the progress as we have transitioned from morning sleet to now thick flakes, on this second day of spring.

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Above, one of our many squirrels enjoying his fair share of sunflower seeds before the rain turned to snow, and below “red” enjoying some seeds of his own in a different spot…

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red-bellied woodpecker

The picture of the cardinal and finches below is blurred by the window panes, but they are a such a cute trio I had to include them…

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The mourning doves are gathering seeds as the snow falls around them…

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A strange sight to see snow on such vibrant pink….

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Ferns, a fun hiding place for Gabby, seeing yet another snowfall…

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Maybe this will be the last snowfall, who knows….but it’s all beautiful nature just the same.  A very happy day to you all, whatever your weather may be!

Until next time!

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∼ Jen

Morning Memories…January-February

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male and female Eastern towhee

With three Nor’easters in the last several weeks, March has certainly come in like a lion. It still remains to be seen if this transitional month will exit like a lamb-one can only hope!  As I look out my widow, spring is literally budding forth…time for one last look back at this year’s winter memories.

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female Eastern towhee enjoying sunflower seed

American robin, below, enjoying morning sunlight on rocks before getting drink from waterfall…

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Geese oblivious to the icy waters…

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A variety of birds decorate the bare branches like natural ornaments…

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Tufted titmouse enjoying a sunny morning at the feeder…

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Sparrows breakfasting together…

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Grey squirrel gone rogue… enjoying an acorn instead of raiding my bird feeders…

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Male cardinal enjoying what’s left of beauty berries…

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…and posing beautifully on dried hydragenea blooms….

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Downed holly tree, one of a handful that fell in creek in past few months…lots of spring clean up awaits, but on the bright side, our main creek view has greatly increased….

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The hammock became a convenient platform feeder during the deep snows..

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And many other seeds were enjoyed under the protection of a sleeping vine…

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Blue jays continually beautified our landscape….

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The below adorable site I happened to catch one morning made me really glad I have not gotten around to fixing this bird home….

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I was so glad my husband came to get me one morning to watch a flock of robins enjoying the holly tree berries…

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Our bench sat vacant as a silent watcher over the frozen creek and snowy landscape…

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And so, another winter is almost past in our part of the world, and the beauty of spring now begins to bud forth, replacing one natural beauty with another.  Whichever natural tapestry God is weaving in your part of the world, I hope you enjoy the daily show!

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Until next time!

∼Jen

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8

My Tiny “Scrap” Kitchen Garden

As I sit here typing, a Nor’easter is blowing up a storm, literally, outside my window, snowflakes are sparse but fat, our wood-duck nesting box is submerged by the creek, but daffodils are blooming, despite it all, across the street in my neighbor’s yard.

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I have been gone off and on for the past week with my dad having surgery in the Baltimore area, and it feels good to have a free morning to prop my feet up and write before  I tackle my  chores.  On that note, I have to say I enjoyed reading my blogger friends’ posts as I sometimes sat in a waiting room, so thank you all for sharing your many talents!

One of the things that has brought a smile to my face lately is my little scrap garden I have growing in a tray in my kitchen, so I thought I’d share.  For those of you who don’t know what a “scrap” garden is, it’s getting new plants to grow from kitchen scraps you would normally throw away.

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celery, beet, ginger, carrot

I like to juice as often as I can, daily when able, so I have lots of scraps, and discovering how to grow a scrap garden is just another of the benefits. I am fortunate that I am able to buy all these plants locally, organic and non-gmo…otherwise, they don’t go in my juicer.

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this always reminds me of sand art, liquid form

My favorite juice recipe is carrot, celery, beet, lemon, ginger, and green apple, and several of those ingredients can be regrown. Basically you just cut off the bottom portion of say celery, or beet, place in shallow bit of water, set to the side and let the transformation begin. Call me weird, or too easily amused, but when  I see the tiny little leaves emerging I get absolutely thrilled!

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new celery leaves emerging

Last year I started this “garden” late, maybe mid-summer, and though I don’t have pictures to share, my celery grew beautifully when planted outside. Our property is mostly wooded, so pots that get some sun are it for a garden, and the celery filled one nicely. The stalks really were too thin and woody to enjoy outside of soup, maybe lack of water, but the leaves were prolific and tasty and made for a delicious chickpea salad, which I’ll share the recipe for below, and soups as well. Read here for the many health benefits of juicing celery.

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Beets are anti-inflammatory, a good cleanser and digestive aid, to name just a few of the benefits. The beets I planted last year from this method really didn’t develop, again only the leaves, but the leaves are very nutritional as well – read here to see how they compare to kale.

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Ginger

Ginger is my best friend when I am flying or riding in mountainous terrain….for someone who gets motion sickness, I cannot suggest this wonderful herb enough!  During cold and flu season I like to make my own ginger/clove/elderberry infusion and drink throughout the day.  It is a powerhouse of nutrients which you can read about here, so I like to add about a thumb size to the juice.  This is a good article on how to grow ginger…a new houseplant…one that will nourish you when you wish to dig up a bit of the rhizome.

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new leaves forming to left of carrot

Lastly I have the mighty carrot!  I don’t have high hopes for eating the carrot itself once I plant them outside, but again, the leaves will offer a great deal of nutrition which  I read about in an article just last week, which included a recipe for carrot top pesto.  Carrots are the bulk of the juice I make, and we are all aware of just how great they are, from cleansing the liver to helping to prevent cancer, read more about them to be inspired to juice them, or roast them-my favorite way to eat them cooked.

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chickpea salad

As promised, the link to the recipe for the chickpea salad is at https://cookieandkate.com/?s=chickpea+salad.  I actually use the recipe from her cookbook, which I highly recommend, but simply substitute out the parsley for the celery leaves, and use raw red onion instead of the peppers and olives.  It is wonderful after sitting overnight especially, and looking at this picture now I think I need to go soak some garbanzo beans!

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Until next time, drink to your health!

∼Jen

Re-blog from The Rabbit Patch:

The tender sprouts are an emerald green and do not seem to hold a grudge against the cold February nights, as people often will.  ∼ Michelle, Rabbit Patch Diary

I found Michelle’s blog early on in my blogging and am so happy that I did!  Her words paint such vivid pictures of nature you feel as if you are part of the experience, but what I love the most is she sees the beauty in everyday life…beauty that others may simply pass over.  I asked her permission to reblog her post on “February” and with less than ten days to go in go in this usually unappreciated month, I hope it inspires you to enjoy what’s left of it as it did for me.  Enjoy!!

For the Love of February

Beautiful, Healing Foods…

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”― Hippocrates

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I am passionate about people living a life of health and vitality and am saddened when I see those living in pain or less than the optimal life they could be enjoying. For that reason, I have been wanting to do a blog post about the life-changing, and sometimes life-saving role our diets play in our quality of life for quite some time. After binge-watching a few Netflix (links below) with my husband over the last few nights, I couldn’t put off a post like this any longer!

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cookieandkate.com

Growing up, my maternal grandmother was one of my favorite people in the world.  I loved spending time with her in the summers listening to her stories, making Christmas ornaments in the winter, and eating chocolate mint ice-cream and Russel Stover chocolates in any season! Sadly, she died at what would be considered young today, her body hunched over and joints crooked with painful arthritis while she dutifully consumed the myriad of prescription drugs prescribed to make her life somehow more pleasant.  I vividly remember sitting at her kitchen table with her one day as she sorted through her many medications, and somehow, even at a young age, I knew there was something very wrong with that picture.  Had I known then what I know now, I would have done my very best to convince her to get rid of the processed foods and lay aside at least some of the Russel Stover to make room for some more fruits and veggies.

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Great food blog and cookbook…cookieandkate.com.

I’ll skip many details of my own health journey or this post would be way too long. I will say, however, I was fortunate to be raised by a mother, a nurse by profession, who was  very much in tune to the role of proper nutrition and diet in a healthy lifestyle.

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recipe from Cookieandkate.com

Last winter I had a bit of a health scare, and thankfully it was just a scare, but for the week of uncertainty I spent many hours researching health sights on the web and found this gem:  https://www.chrisbeatcancer.com.  This site is loaded with nutritional information and video testimonials of people who all beat cancer through diet and some also with alternative remedies.

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Another great cookbook and food blog

I decided to try this plant-based diet, and my husband also joined in.  The great news for him was that at his next doctors visit six weeks later he had lost 11 pounds, but even better his blood pressure had dropped 40 points…enough to keep his doctor from prescribing blood pressure medicine, yahoo!!  For myself, I noticed that the mysterious leg pain that was so bad it would keep me awake at night disappeared, as well as the sometimes intense hip pain.  I would have considered myself a really healthy eater even before this…organic, non-gmo food, very little processed foods, occasional juicer, but switching to this plant-based, sugar-free diet was the real health ticket for me-no pain, yes please!

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From son of Dr. Esselstyn in movie Forks over Knives

One thing I learned in the Chris Beat Cancer series, is that processed dairy raises the risk of breast and prostate cancer, a fact which has been scientifically known since the 70’s.  Immediately what came to my mind were all the cute little pink ribbons found in the dairy aisle…funny, I’ve never seen even one in the fruit and vegetable aisle, hmm.  I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about that one, but my less than noble conclusion was verified in the documentary we watched last night, which I highly recommend, called What the Health.  This video was a real eye-opener, it will make you mad, but that can be a really good thing if it stirs you to action to improve your health.  It is also filled with some very inspiring stories though, so I promise you’ll be smiling at the end!

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Engine 2 blog/recipes..

Two other great documentaries: Forks Over Knives, which has some seriously jaw-dropping studies, and the really inspiring and definitely entertaining one: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  Both sites have many resources listed, as well as links to the movie, the second can be viewed free on the site for a limited time, so go enjoy!

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From Engine 2 recipe index

 

 Lastly, I highly recommend the incredibly informative video series called The Truth About Cancer which can be found at this site: https://www.cancertutor.com/global-cancer-documentary/  Face it, sadly we all know of people who could benefit from this info. and for so many ailments other than cancer.

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The Wimpy Vegetarian blog

In closing, let me just say that I am very thankful I live in an age where we have life-saving  medicines and technology, but the fact remains that there are many, many diseases that can be prevented altogether, and in many cases even reversed with the food choices we make.  The good news is…

God has filled our earth with wonderful, natural medicines just waiting to be consumed, and that my friends, is really, really something beautiful.

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Until next time!

∼Jen

So, I think I’m supposed to add a disclaimer here, but very important, nonetheless, Please check with a doctor and be monitored before deciding to decrease or stop any medicines or adding herbal remedies!  

 

Seeing Blue

 

 

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Over the past few months one bird has appeared very prominent in our backyard…the rascally bluejay.  I’m sure it has nothing to do with the peanuts I put out to lure him in or the sunflower seeds placed strategically about. Whatever the reason, I’m glad he and his many cohorts are decorating the scenery with their beauty and are affording me many pictures of their antics.

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 I decided the blue beauty was worthy of his own post and looked through the many    pictures I have of him to pair up with the following poem by Emily Dickinson. I hope you enjoy!

The Blue Jay – Poem by Emily Dickinson

No brigadier throughout the year
So civic as the jay.
A neighbor and a warrior too,
With shrill felicity

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Pursuing winds that censure us
A February day,
The brother of the universe
Was never blown away.

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The snow and he are intimate;
I’ve often seen them play
When heaven looked upon us all
With such severity,

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I felt apology were due
To an insulted sky,
Whose pompous frown was nutriment
To their temerity.

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The pillow of this daring head
Is pungent evergreens;
His larder — terse and militant —
Unknown, refreshing things;

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His character a tonic,
His future a dispute;
Unfair an immortality
That leaves this neighbor out.

– Emily Dickinson

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Until next time, if a jay’s in your corner of the world, buy some peanuts to welcome in this fun neighbor!
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 ∼Jen

And Time Keeps Marching On…

So, this week I officially enter a new phase of parenting…my youngest is now an adult, gasp, where did those years go??!!

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I always said I could have bought a second home in the islands if I had a dime for every time I took my kids to the grocery store and an older mom said to me…”enjoy these days, they go by quicker than you know.”  They would always look at my kids with longing smiles and eyes seeing long-ago made memories brought fresh to the surface at the sight of my little ones-and now, I am that mom.

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Yes, I am guilty of saying that exact same thing to moms I see with little ones in tow.  And as I’m saying it, I’m thinking to myself, when did I become that mom, the older one, with kids no longer with me as I shop or run errands.  Yes, it does indeed go by more quickly than we could ever even begin to imagine.

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With each stage of their lives comes a new set of joys and concerns….the joys hopefully outweighing the concerns.

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  I taught pre-school before staying home with my own children, and I have to admit, it was the irony little, rascally boys that always brought a smile to my face. When the other teachers were wringing their hands and shaking their heads, I was laughing just a little on the inside at their harmless, mischievous little antics, totally oblivious to what my future held. Oh yeah.

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Be careful what you wish for it’s often said, and before long I had my own little rascally boys, and oh what a ride it has been! I am convinced, though, that God needs fun-loving mischievous little boys in the earth as well as proper little chaps, and He seemed to know just the mom to give them to!

This belief was challenged just a bit when high school rolled around and I was convinced the school office had my cell number on speed-dial.  I’m sure my hair color consumption tripled as the gray hairs seemed to increase exponentially during these years.

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 But now here were are, four months from having high-school behind us as well, and like the other stages of their lives, I’m sure it too will go by in a blink.  I will greatly miss sharing an afternoon cup of coffee with my younger son as he relates the tales of his school day, and the tears of laughter I shed as he impersonates some very colorful characters.  Yes, for all the gray, I’m sure the laughter he inspires has added years to my life.

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So to my youngest son, happy 18th birthday “little buddy.”  The joy, love, and laughter you have brought to my life and others far exceed what I could put into words. Follow those big dreams, climb those seemingly impossible mountains, use all those talents God blessed you with to enrich the lives of others, and always, always carry a bit of that playful, fun-loving little boy with you, as time keeps marching on.

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