After a short stretch back to Sacramento and a quicker stop in Arizona, I decided to spoil myself with another visit to Oklahoma! Now when I say “spoil”, I’m not talking about the good ol’ dry brown scenery or the flat roads with limited landscapes. I’m purely speaking of connecting with my precious family that I’m extremely grateful for.
I’m going to dedicate this one to my Aunt’s (my father’s sisters) and their mom who I call Grams.
Ill start with Aunt Tonya. Through example, she has been one of my greatest teachers. With her nurturing character she would (and did) give to others when she was the one in need. She was a natural at comforting the unsettled and there was never any doubt that her intensions were driven from pure love. I’m confident to believe that Aunt Tonya is missed and thought of often by those who were blessed to have known her.
Things I would be honored to say that I inherited from my Aunt Tonya: The ability to truly embrace joy, inner strength, and the adorable “shoulder bounce” that happens once the giggles kick in.
This photo is the two of us about 25 years ago. Her eyes say it all…
I’ve been told that my style mostly resembles Aunt Cindee. The family says, “When she was your age…” she carried herself with a natural bohemian vibe and a hippie flare. With a contagious laugh and quick mind, you can imagine the hours I enjoy bonding with her. I think if we grew up together, we would of made fantastic college roommates!
Things I inherited from Aunt Cindee: Love for homemade soup, a gypsy heart and her sense of humor (that’s based on exaggerated visuals and usually leads to a dramatic description that goes way too far… all resulting in involuntary distorted facial expressions).
After raising two children, she now designates most of her time to her energetic (to say the least) grandson and her job at Cushing Valley Hope. This is a drug rehab center in a stately mansion that provides residential, day or partial care, medically monitored alcohol detox, family and continuing care services. Also, the location for my handstand pic of the day!
Oh Aunt Heidi, Aunt Heidi, Aunt Heidi…. What will we ever do with her? She has a blunt direction when sharing her opinion and an effortless way to make you laugh. Being around her gives you a youthful sense of life (she didn’t pay me to say that). While raising her teenage daughter, she still maintains sanity and invites me for countless hours of laughter and reminiscing.
Things I inherited from Aunt Heidi: The nickname “Shug”, love for high energy socializing and her “guns” (aka arms). Also when I sarcastically laugh, my mom says “that was SO your Aunt Heidi!”
Grams, the woman that raised these 3 lovely ladies along with my dad (she must have super powers) plays a special roll in my life. Without too much said, she is simply one of my best friends. I can tell her anything, she gets my humor and most of all, she has shown me unconditional love through all the stages of my life.
Things I believe that I inherited from my irreplaceable Grandma: The love for good food, the eyes she gave my father, occasional necessary stubbornness and the ability to finish a soft serve cone quicker than you can start one.
The reason there are no photos of the girls described above is because they have mastered the art of “picture dodging”… Something I clearly didn’t inherit from them!
Need an idea for a creative gift? I took this photo of my family and made it into a puzzle for Grams. Love it!
To wrap up my Oklahoma family time, here are some fun photos of me and my sibs goofing off on a sunny Oklahoma winter day.
They set up an obstacle course from dads work scaffolding, garden gear and their own toys. Creativity is must when you’re raised without a television, computer or video games… I love to see what they come up with!
Now off to the airport on a snowy day in Oklahoma. Next stop? It’s a surprise.
They even had to “de-ice” the plane before take off.
My favorite part about taking off in a storm, is watching the sky break into a beautiful calm blue. Exposing the fact, that everyday is a sunny day… sometimes there’s just a few clouds in the way.