Posts Tagged With: grams

Grams

I’d like to start this post by acknowledging that it’s been awhile since my most recent active blogging. I don’t have a list of reasons as I believe when you want to make something happen badly enough, you make it happen. So no excuses here, just the simple fact of life changing turns that put other priorities in need of my attention. So after a short break and rejuvenation, I’m back to writing with some exciting new updates coming soon!

Today is the 3rd of April. 82 years ago a beautiful spirit was born and I’m honored to say she played a major roll in my life. I’ve written before of people who have passed on in this lifetime and their impact on me and the memories that followed their departure… but I’ve sat here for too long with an abundance of words that aren’t forming any proper sentences. I feel that nothing can truly express my interpretation of the amazing woman named Marth Sue Young (Jackson).

(Enter hours of staring at a blank screen here)

Still without a quality beginning, I figured I’d just start by admitting that words and photos simply can not translate the significance of this bright smiling, warm hearted, stubborn, hard working, gorgeous woman that loved unconditionally. We called her Grams. Beyond raising three daughters and my dad, Grams was a wife, sister, aunt, great aunt, grandmother, great grandma and even survived the birth of her 2 great-great grandchildren! She fostered the youth with mental disabilities, cooked for new moms and often brought meals to local families in distress. Even in her weaker days she’d guide me in the kitchen to bake for someone in need. She rarely complained of her own discomfort and usually kept focus on her family. She was capable of making you do something (with love) without you even knowing you were doing it. She hand pushed her own lawn mower until she was 80 years old (and don’t dare to try and take that from her unless you’re prepared to lose a finger). Hungry? Before you could even answer she’d have a hot meal at your chin with dessert waiting. My uncle J.E said Sue was the only woman he knew that could walk into the kitchen, throw flour into the air and come out with an award winning coconut cream pie. She had magical powers.

When I was young we used to sit together and watch the Price is Right after eating her famous pancakes that she had so creatively designed into recognizable designs. We’d flip through warn pages of the Sears “Maz-uh-geen” (apparently that’s how I used to pronounce “magazine”) while nibbling on Cheeze-Its. I’d ride buddy style on the back of her bike as we’d chase the ice cream man to get our favorite vanilla cones. Many more precious years allowed for several cooking lessons, summer vacations, late night frozen yogurts and countless hours of putting together puzzles. Priceless memories to say the least.

When I loaded up to start backpacking over 5 years ago, she kept her spare room ready for my return and the kitchen stocked with my favorites. I’d bring back international treats that we’d giggle in question if it was edible or not. I’d show her bizarre photos from abroad and eagerly answer her intriguing questions that often led to stories of my travels. 

If you’ve been following this blog, chances are you’ve read several posts written directly from her front room. Here’s one of the last photos I captured as I wrote in my usual spot with the view of our typical silly socks.

This is where I feel a heart felt message would be appropriate about how she’s gone but her spirit still lives or maybe a few quotes about how she’ll never be forgotten… but I must admit again, words don’t even scrape the surface of her everlasting presence. I’m confident to speak for other family members and dear friends when I say that Sue Jackson Young is and always will be unforgettable.

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Love in the shape of music, art and traveling sand

Ok, catch up time! I’m currently sitting on the floor of the Fort Lauderdale airport. Why the floor? Ever have the time and space for stretching, flexing or relaxing? Use it! Check out my favorite airport session in the post Workout and rest up in Asian airports

Ok, why am I in route and where am I going… I’ll get back to that after I do a quick round up of the last few weeks. Here’s a few events that I probably should of done entirely separate posts for, but I didn’t, so here we go.

Music, art and beach time!

I’ll give you one guess on the talent that mom and I chose to spend time with? After the  several posts I’ve published on here, you’d have every right to assume it was the band Heritage. How lucky we were that my talented friends Dannica and her brother Ben were starting it off! Schatzti and the String Boffin opened in this backwoods feeling venue with grass as the dance floor, fire pits for warmth and a wooden built stage. Look familiar? This was the original venue in which I was first introduced to their happy and healing tunes. Welcome back to the Backyard Boogie



Art comes into play with a birthday! Matt celebrated his back on October 26th by hosting his first art reveal! From creative paint to photography and light painting, there was a variety of eye and mind stimulation. Go ahead, take a look around! 

Like what you see? Check out the real deal on his website by clicking Here!

We created a little bit of food art to compliment the drinks for the guests attending.

What goes well with food, drinks and art? Music of course! He brought in a few of his instruments for a proper set up and led with an open invite for whom ever wanted to participate.

What a stunning sunset to close out a successful birthday event!

The beach visit of this post has a warm undertone as there was great purpose for mom and I to wander to the shore with an empty container and camera. My sweet Grams back in Oklahoma has never seen the white sand of Florida and often questions the texture and shells that lay within. With this knowledge, mom had a brilliant idea of collecting some and bringing it back to her home in middle America. Good call mom!

Side note, I really did bring it back to her and it’s now the hot topic of her visitors (who are all used to the red dirt and rocks of Oklahoma).
So that wraps up a few pages to the last chapter, and yes, there’s a new one about to begin!  Thanks for supporting and being such a grand part of this incredible journey. I now invite you to love yourself and those around you with the pure kindness. Cheers to all of you beautiful souls! 

I’m being asked to stand as they just announced, “Now boarding, flight 385 direct to Bridgetown, Barbados.”

Next stop… Sandy toes and sun kissed salty hair!

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You know you’re a country kid when…

Weather in Oklahoma brings thunder storms, blistering sun with random flash flooding… and that’s just in July! On sunny days you can usually find the kids anywhere there’s water. Wouldn’t you with a heat index of 108?! On this bright afternoon I found my two littlest sisters playing swimming games with our cousin Tonya (the dark haired cutie). Rachel, the youngest, was most keen on jumping the highest while Sarah and Tonya were convinced that talking to each other under water was the coolest thing ever!  

  

   You know you’re a country kid when: A- you’re swimming in a feeding trough and B- you have to block your pet turkey from joining you!

  

The boys? Some days you’d catch them mowing lawns as a summer money-maker or out on the job with dad getting covered in stucco. If the weather permits, more than likely you would lose sight of them to a pond full of fish that “needs to be caught”. 

These are called Catalpa worms. Aparently you can freeze them until needed, then hook up and throw your line out. I’m not necessarily a fan of any hooking or throwing, however I don’t mind a fish dinner and I love spending time with my bro, so here we go!

   
  

  
 
A hot summer visit to my Grams’s house wouldn’t be complete without some solid work in the yard.   

  
Because I respect my grandma (and value my camera and want to keep my life), I won’t be posting any photos of her push-mowing the lawn. Just know that my 80 year old hero maintains the energy of a woman just a portion of her age while doing laps around her great grandkids. 

Fun fact: She just became a great-great-GREAT Grandma! Here’s a pic of our newest member Asher. Congratulations Dutch and Lauren! 

 When the sun chooses to let the clouds roll by and the streets begin to flood, we tend to find ourselves indoors with games, arts and crafts!  
   
 We usually choose old fashioned coloring books (not a coloring app on your tech device) and games like Hungry Hungry Hippos (calling all kids from the 80’s and 90’s) to rounds of Phase-10 and Skipbo! On this rainy afternoon we decided to color some rocks. 
  
To you, this is a photo of a cute family (if I don’t say so myself). To me, these are precious moments in time that can almost bring a tear to my eye when I allow myself to indulge in the love that I have for these kids.

 Joseph, Ben (Dalton), Hannah, Sarah, Rachel and never forgotten Elizabeth… I love you.   You’ve seen them in posts since the beginning of my travels and oh my how they’ve grown!  

 
 

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Another pit stop in Oklahaoma

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…

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Now off to the airport on a snowy day in Oklahoma. Next stop? It’s a surprise.

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They even had to “de-ice” the plane before take off.

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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.

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