Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life's Experiences

Wow! Can't believe it is middle of April already. And yet, the weeks sometimes seem super long. How does that make any sense? In the past few months I have been given some feedback on family history, excersice, old issues with parents and new issues with kids. OK. Family history has been the last thing on my mind for a long long time. My daughter, Jaana got things started when she realized she does not know much about her family or grandparents, especially the ones from Finland. I started digging for information I already had, translated my paternal grandmother's life history and started writing my own (I am in the year 1972). I also contacted my sister Irene for any more information she may have had and she sent me my grandpa's writings. It is so hard to read that I have started and stopped several times. I suppose I always felt my life has been pretty ordinary and I have not taken the time to really reflect on what my life looks like. It has been a good thing and also not so good because all this remeniscing has brought up issues about my childhood, teenage years and first marriage. Actually Jaana mentioned after reading my grandmother's life history that my sister Leena and I were not even mentioned in her writing. Yet, I lived with her and grandpa since I was 10 years old. Kind of made me feel invisible or not important. (Same old stuff that I have tried to make peace with all my life.) I have hoped that I can just let all that stuff "rest in peace" but stirring it up again actually has assisted me to realize how all life's experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. And I know there will be more life's lessons that will teach me and shape me further. So I am not done by any means!

Now to physical fitness: I have been one to excersice almost always and I don't feel "normal" if I don't sweat and ache at least three or four times a week riding a bike, using the elyptical or working my abs. However, Jaana (AGAIN!) started her 10K training a few months ago and has given me the desire to try it out. I AM HURTING EVERYWHERE! Running is completely different from riding a bike. I thought this would be a piece of cake for someone who had been physically active for years, but guess what! That is bunch of crap. I am on my second week and running one minute and walking four nine times is HARD! Jaana, you are my hero!

I have been going to some Energy Clearing Classes the past few months. What it does is give you an opportunity to get rid of negative thinking and replace those thoughts and feelings with something positive and light. Last night was a difficult class as we talked about trust; trust in oneself, trust in relationships, trust in God, trust in workplace and so forth. I realized that as I was growing up and in my teenage years I had confused hope with trust. I hoped that things would change and my parents would want me to live with them. However, I always told myself that I trusted things would be great. Trust and hope are not the same thing, naturally. But as a child that was my way of thinking. I have come to accept in my head that things are what they are and I don't feel cheated or abandoned or anything else. Time heals. Or so I thought. Having said this, last night I had a chance to look into my heart and through the energy clearing excersice I acknowleged a lot of fear and hurt around abandonment. This does not mean that I am going out in the world and make my parents pay for their "sins". This only means that I am beginning to acknowledge and understand more about my own make-up and what makes me tick. I have kind of had a good idea and even spoken those words, but to embrace the past and the experiences I have had is not something I have done. I am who I am because of what, who, why and where.

This experience has also me looking at my current relationships with my family members. I think I have succesfully "abandoned" them in some ways. Mika is living all the way in Missouri and I hardly ever see him, even though we visit over the phone almost weekly. Jaana and Jake are both in California and I miss them but at the same time I am happy that they are where they want to be. Krista is living with us but I have more or less stayed out of her way out of fear of making things more difficult for her and Jorel. It is hard to live with your parents or in-laws. I know because I have done it too. Markus is working towards leaving for the summer to Cleveland, Ohio to work. For me as a mother that is too far away, but at the same time I think it will be good for him. Being apart is not hard for me. I have been apart from my family ever since I can remember. It is hard for me to find the balance of being a loving, caring mom and at the same time letting them fly and not losing the bond and connection we have. Weird. I think every mother feels that.

Life is full of lessons and opportunities. I am such a slow learner that my kids are teaching me now about life and relationships. I should have this down by now - after all I am 54! Thanks for the memories and the moments together. I know there will be fewer as all of us go our separte ways, but I hope I can give my family something I didn't get from my parents - a home to come home to. And I don't mean just the scaffolding called a house, but the emotional connection through my heart and soul.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Never a Dull Day

Here we are - already mid February! Lots of things happen in just a few months' time and most of it good! :) We had a chance to go and visit Ron's Mom end of January for a weekend and it was nice to see her doing so well physically. Sometimes it is hard to visit with her because she does not remember who we are. Ron's sister Patti was a great hostess as usual and I love talking with her since both of us have similar lives with five children! Seems like we both just keep coming and going a lot even though our children are supposed to be grown up by now.

The following weekend we went to Salt Lake City to visit Brian, Brooke and the four boys. I am so glad I had a few girls in the mix - a lot of boy noises and smells fill their house! We watched a lot of basketball and even stopped in to watch Christina play in a volleyball tournament while there.

We had a few birthdays to celebrate in January - myself, Markus and Jaana. We went to a pizza place, Brick Oven to celebrate Markus's and mine birthdays. Jake was here too so it was extra special! Jaana's birthday gift got lost in the mail and she did not get it until this past week. So glad it was recovered since I did handmake her gift. It would have been a real bummer if she did not get it at all.

This past weekend we were babysitting Jorel and took McKena, Bryson and Jorel to Jumping Jacks to play for a few hours and then out to lunch. That was a blast and after a few jitters even Jorel enjoyed the event. It is fun to be a grandma! I am looking forward to a few more children to spoil!!

In another week we will take a trip to California to celebrate Krista's garduation from her master's program - MBA will be hers in just a week's time. Jaana and Paul are gracious enough to have us invade their house again and we look forward to seeing her and Paul and Jake for a few days. Here we come Disneyland - hope I have broken the curse on the place and we can actually get in this time!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Who Says There Is No Christmas Spirit?

Something very interesting happened to me yesterday and I decided it was worth posting. I was driving in St. George and came to a stoplight near Walmart in Washington and a big truck pulled quite close to me. At first I thought perhaps this individual wants to move over to my lane, but as I looked up, a young man was motioning for me to open up my window. I did so thinking they might need directions to someplace, but as I rolled down the window, he handed me an envelope and wished me Merry Christmas and drove away!

I was a little nerveous to open up the envelope because you hear all the negative stuff about laced stickers etc. but I opened it anyway. To my GREAT surprise there was a card with the following message: People are unreasonble, illogical and self-centered, LOVE THEM ANYWAY. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives, DO GOOD ANYWAY. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies, SUCCEED ANYWAY. The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow, DO GOOD ANYWAY. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable, BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY. What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight, BUILD ANYWAY. People really need help but may attack you if you help them, HELP PEOPLE ANYWAY. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth, GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU'VE GOT ANYWAY. (found written on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta).

In addition to the message there was a one $100 bill. I wasn't sure if it was real but felt pretty good about getting the message anyway. The sceptic that I am, I went to the bank and asked if they could check for the authenticity of the bill. Sure enough, it was real!

Well, I have always believed in paying it forward, so I got five $20 bills and copied the message on a card and I have them ready to hand out today in the rain. As Ron and I have everything we need, I decided, instead of keeping or spending the $100, to give it away and make someone's day.

As it has been a tough year for many, we still have been blessed with more than others may have. I don't feel I am doing this because I am such a great person - believe me, I have been tempted to just get the money out of the envelopes and go buy something fun or unnecessary or whatever...and just hand out the cards! But that is not how I see it - experiencing giving is a great feeling. I know when my kids were small, we were given plenty through the church or other people when we were having a hard time during Christmas or other times. It is my turn now to be on the giving end.

May all of us have a blessed Christmas and remember the people who have been there for us - either in our time of need moneteraly or spiritually or emotionally. It all counts and I hope I will always be reminded of this special day when I want to whine about not having enough.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Few Great Weeks

Just a few weeks ago Ron and I made a trip to Nebraska and Missouri. Nebraska Huskers had games in Lincoln and in between the games we went and visited Mika and Jessie and Luke in Carl Junction, MO. Both games were quite pathetic , Huskers vs. Texas Tech, loss 31-10 and Huskers vs.Iowa St. loss 9-7. Actually Nebraska had more turnovers than they had points in the last game so it was pretty painful. However, it is the experience of being at the Husker stadium with 84,000 fans that gets you, win or lose! We even had a tailgate party before the last game and had scrambled eggs, little smokies, bagles, hot chocolate and breakfast burritos. So good!

Mika, Jessie and Luke have their work cut out for them in their new home. It is darling, though! A wrap around veranda, two bedrooms, HUGE kitchen and the most beautiful fireplace made out of the rocks from their property. Ron and I had our sleeping quarters in the apartment above one of the carages. While there Mika had his haircut - 13 1/2 inches and he is donating it to the Locks of Love. He now looks SO handsome! (Ask Jessie! :D) Their property is beautiful with lots of trees and very secluded. The visit was so much fun that we are planning on going again soon!

Along the way we also visited some of Ron's relatives, Aunt Charlene and Uncle Chuck from Papillion, NE and their family, as well as Cousin Sandy and her husband Dick in Rockport, MO. We even were able to hook up with another cousin of Ron's, Mike and his wife Cathy. While in Missouri we got together with Grandpa Bill and Paul, Diana and Shawn.

After our trip we hit the road running at work, and Jaana came for a short visit for Jorel's 2nd birthday. It is always fun fun fun with Jaana around. Ron and I then drove up to Salt Lake to see Brian, Booke and the boys. We watched several hours of tackle football games, visited and watched more football on the TV. I don't know if we can stuff more things into a 2-week period, but I know we gave a go! Life is good!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tribute to my Uncle Pentti

Uncle Pentti has been in my life for 53 years. 32 of those years he was diligent in remembering my kids' birthdays, Christmas and writing letters at least once a month. 32 years is a long time for anyone to keep in touch long distance. But Uncle Pentti was unwavering in his commitment to family. He passed away August 29, 2009 and I will miss his notes and cards and letters.

My Uncle Pentti had many challenges in life. His physical development stopped around age 12 and his hope all his life was to be "normal", to be able to get married and have a family. He knew this was not possible, but in stead of drowning in self pity he took on serving others. He received the highest honor in scouting for 40 years of service. He took care of both his mom and dad (my grandma and grandpa) until they passed away. He was always willing to assist others and make sure everyone had what they needed.

When I was a young girl, I remember Uncle Pentti giving up his share of fruit or piece of cake so that I would not have to go without. He took my sisters and I swimming in the summer making sure we were safe at our favorite swimming hole. He would tell us stories of his childhood or stories about relatives he went and visited. And that really was his favorite thing to do - tell stories.

Uncle Pentti had an opportunity to come to United States about 13 years ago. My kids remember him always willing to play with them making up games that did not necessarily need a common language. The bond of family and friendship didn't need to be spoken. He talked about that American vacation for years! We always laugh when we think about Pentti sitting next to Ron in the big truck yelling "Easy boy!" when Ron was driving too fast for his liking.

Uncle Pentti was born May 11, 1934. His favorite pet was a goat because it reminded him of him - stubborn and hard headed. His life truly was devoted to family and serving others. I have a lot to learn from his life and choices he made along the way. Open, honest, non-assuming, loving and true he has taught us all about how life should be lived. I love you Uncle Pentti. Enjoy your new life - life free from physical stress and closer to heaven.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

One Year Later

So here I am - the slow going blogger. I think I have found out I am not very good at blogging and writing about the happenings in my life. However, my life has been everything but boring, so here is a little catch up!

The most exciting part of this last year has been family and the get-togethers we have had; Nugent Kid Reunion, Thanksgiving, trips to Denver to see Ron's Mother, my Disney Birthday that did not happen (:D), Markus' High School Graduation, Finnish Family vacation, being a grandma "Mummi" and so many more fun memories. Thanks to all the great people in our family, I have had one of the best years of my life! And I am not just saying that. And the year is not over yet!

There have been a few difficult things happen to me as well, but they cannot shadow the joy I have felt as I watch our family grow and mature and enjoy each other. My uncle Pentti passed away in August. He was one of the "rocks" in my life and always remembered kids' birthdays and did all he could even with his very minimal income to send a gift or a card. He is in the arms of our Heavenly Father now and I know he is happy to get rid of his ailing body. I will miss that connecting thread to Finland I had through him.

Another bummer experience this last year has been losing our health insurance and having to take on more responsibilities at work. But I still have a job I like for the most part so I cannot complain all that much. Ron and I are most likely the last to "abandon the ship" if things get that difficult at our school.

Hard to believe we are half way through September in 2009. I often wonder what happened to the first nine months of this year! I guess I am older now and I move slower so the rest of the world seems to just fly by. I have worked hard to reclaim my health by losing weight, biking eight miles a day and using the elyptical (?) as often as possible. I even was sucked into trying out "Contour" - an electric
workout belt that works your abs while you do other things like wash the car or read a book or... I will let you know how it ends up working for me. Actually the "shocks" it sends through my abs are mostly annoying so perhaps it will do some good. :D

I look forward to next month. Ron and I will go to two Husker football games in Lincoln, Nebraska and visit Mika, Jessie, Luke and other relatives in Missouri for four days. Can't wait. I think we are due!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Life Is Full Of Surprises

Life is often full of surprises and most of the time they are good ones. Last weekend Markus and I drove to California to see Jaana, Paul and Jake, mainly to get a few things for Jake's new apartment (which by the say looks wonderful!) and help welcome him to his new home. It was such a fun thing to do and support Jake in his new adventure and step into adulthood! He surprises me - just a year ago he had very different ideas about life and now having been around his sister and brogher-in-law, he has mustered a lot of courage and hope for his future. Thanks Jaana and Paul for being there for Jake and helping him move forward. And thanks for putting us up again in your beautiful home. All the improvements you have made look amazing!

While in California, I had a chance to enjoy dinner together with Paul's parents and his sister and it was fun to catch up with them. I had not seen Paul's dad since Jaana and Paul got married so it was a good little "reunion". It always is interesting to visit Barkev and Sonya since they have so much to share about their heritage and homeland. I always learn something new when I am around them. Another pleasant surprise!

Monday I hit the road running to get ready for all the upcoming seminars at work and it seems I have not had a chance to take a breath all week. However, I still had a chance to do some special baking staying up late both on Tuesday and Wednesday nights working on my kitchen creations. I baked some Finnish Rye bread for a friend of ours, Beaver, who has decided he wants to learn to bake it. I also made my very first New York Cheese Cake on Wednesday to give to our Computer Guy at work. Vin has helped us on several occasions with our home computer without pay so I found out he likes cheese cake and... Surprise - New York Cheese Cake takes five packages of cream cheese (8oz. each)!! I had no idea, and being on a diet I didn't get to taste it. Vin says it was good, but he could just be nice. (?)

Krista and Jorel came home on Tuesday from Indiana and another surprise - JOREL IS WALKING already! He had sort of started a week ago, but now he waddles around everywhere. He reminds me of ET, but is working hard to keep his balance and smoothing out his step! Such a fun surprise!

All these little things happening around me are helping me as I create memories and legacy of who I am. As I remember to seize the day and remember that every moment has something to offer, I am finding myself happier and more content. Even at work. (Another surprise!)