Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I am a month into change.  Not THAT change.  A job change.  Or more important - a life change. A big change.  

It's no secret I've been frustrated with my job sharing situation.  I tried to make it work. I kept hoping for the "share" part to come into place.  Despite being told to be careful when I left my old job, I was certain things would be better.  I admit it - I was wrong.  You were right.  Leopard.  Spots.  No changes.  

For some, being the center of importance is a big deal.  For me it's important to do a good job.  I love the people I worked with and really wanted to stay within the department.  I loved being able to help the staff with their projects, answering questions when they needed help, etc.  I ended up learning new tasks to help wherever I was needed.  

As it turns out this is exactly what opened a new door for me - but I digress. 

I started looking around at job openings.  Similar jobs are now being filled with college degree applicants.  It seems a Bachelors degree is the new norm.  

After a great deal of soul searching and long talks with my hubby, I decided to go back to school and finish my Spanish language degree.  

Once I had the 'what' I needed a 'where.  Locally there are several options.  Northwest Nazarene University has a great program and I liked what I saw when looking around - until I saw the cost - over $13K a semester.  I was so disheartened.  My hubby told me we'd manage if this was where I wanted to go.  Instead I looked into one of the other "local" schools.  Same program.  Closer to home.  And about $10K less a semester.  Honestly it was a no-brainer.  I enrolled and was accepted.  Say hello to this family's Boise State University student.  Yep. This Vandal Mom is going to BSU. At least my favorite 7 year old is happy to have a Bronco Gramma.  :-)  Who know's maybe I'll use my student ID to buy football tickets to take him to a game? 

I'm not going to start class until January.  My sister and I planned a sibling trip for September, traveling to Washington DC to visit our little brother (lucky him).  I really wanted to see this through - so opted to postpone classes until spring semester.  This also gives me an opportunity to get my 'ducks' in a row.  

At this point transcripts have been received and I will sit down with an adviser in September to discuss my veteran status, my credits and which classes I will need. 

Part of that preparation was finding a job which would allow me to continue working AND go to school.  A manager in our department told me there was going to be a part-time position open that I should look into.  It's completely different from anything I've ever done - but applies some of tasks I've learned when helping out in the department. 

I interviewed and was offered the job the day we left for the coast.   What a relief to go on vacation knowing all of my plans were now in a good place. 

When I returned I started right into my new Inventory Auditor position.  I work 6-10 am Monday-Friday.  Yes A.M.  The most difficulty transition has been remembering to go to bed earlier for my 4:30 am wake up.   

I love my new schedule.  I love my job.  It's SOOOO different.  I'm responsible for unpacking pallets of freight, restocking the OR inventory and ordering new supplies.  I also help with the billing for surgical equipment and implants brought in by vendors.  ...And with these hours I hope for minimal interruption in my work schedule when I start classes.  I feel like everything has fallen into place - confirming my decision to make such a big life change.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Family Reunion

It's no secret we are a proud, blended family.  That's what happens when you marry a man with a past.  It doesn't always make for smooth sailing and our family is no different.  We've had our shares of ups and downs over the past thirty plus years.  

Despite differences, we've been fortunate to have many opportunities to share time together - and create a few joined memories along the way.  We've always managed to conquer what gets in our way - even when it is our selves. 

Mike's oldest son Rex was just a couple years younger than me.  He and his wife Debbie have always been very dear friends.  Always welcoming and open arms.  We were thrilled when they had an opportunity to vacation in San Diego.  

When we were preparing for a move to Caracas, Venezuela my dear in-laws created Christmas in October for our visit.  They decorated the house (as did neighbors) and put up the tree.  We had our big Christmas meal and exchanged gifts.  This was the first long visit Mike had with three of his older children after they moved from California with their Mom in 1982.

When we were living in Venezuela, Michael and Renee graduated from their Christian College in Dallas, TX and were heading to Jamaica for mission work.  For their graduation gift, we helped them with tickets to Jamaica by way of Venezuela, for a visit with our young family.

Renee returned to Venezuela the following year with her fiance Jerry.  We were honored to help them with their wedding plans. 

We even were fortunate to be able to travel to Jamaica to be a part of their wedding.  
When we lived in Puerto Rico,  Renee and husband Jerry came to visit for Christmas.  They already had their oldest adopted son Mandela. 

We were blessed to meet our new grandson Caleb after he was born in Dallas, TX. 
Tonya, Danny and Caleb visited us in Wisconsin just before Thanksgiving.  It was their first visit to see us.  
We made another cross country trip to the Washington Coast.  We drove through Colorado to pick up Danny and Tonya who joined us at Kalaloch as did Michael.  We gathered to scatter the cremains of my in-laws at their favorite place on earth.  
Renee and Jerry often returned to Wisconsin and spent time with us.  Jerry is also from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan - close to where we lived.  They came for church visits every Fall.  Tonya was able to meet Renee several times as well.  

Thank goodness the girls traveled.  Tonya came in 1999 to put her nursing skills to work after Mike's first back surgery.  I'm not shy about admitting my weakness for these type of issues.  Erin was right in their with Tonya helping with wounds.  Renee and I shopped.  hehe. 
Years later the group grew considerable and we were able to get our Jamaican family to come to Wisconsin for Christmas.  It was their first opportunity to play in snow and they took full advantage.  Jerry and Renee joined us with Mandela, Alexander, Ricardo, Jourdan and Kalen.  

For our move from Wisconsin to Idaho, Mike was already living in Boise.  I was moving two vehicles, three teens, and two dogs cross country.  What's a girl to do?  Invite siblings for a Shaw version of the Griswald Family Vacation.  Renee with Kalen and Jourdan joined us at the start.  Along the way second daughter Tonya flew in with Caleb and Mikayla, rented a car, picked up Jerry after a church fundraiser, and joined in the caravan.  We used walkie-talkies to communicate; used blank car windows to share window-chalk messages with our fellow Interstate travelers.  We stopped along the way for every 'big ball of twine (and a few better known places) en route to Boise.


In Boise we met Mike, and were joined by his second oldest son Michael, who was now living in Montana.  This is one of the first times we had six of Mike's seven children together for a photo.  We have many group family photos of different combinations of kids, but never one with all seven together.   Mike's oldest son Rex passed away in January, 2008.  Proof you need to live every day to the most and let go of unimportant things that get in the way of happiness. 


While in the US Coast Guard, Michael met Sharon.  We all gathered again in Dallas, TX on December 31st for their wedding.
Sometimes blended families have a break down in communication.  We missed out on several years together as a group.  It happens.  Fingers get pointed.  Heated words get exchanged, doors close and fractions of the family remain.  We were no different.  We are just grateful for the relationships which remained. 

In Spring Break of 2009 Renee and Tonya, her husband Danny and Jourdan, Kalen, Caleb and Mikayla came to Boise to try our hot springs and snow-covered slopes for a change of pace from Texas and Jamaica.  
In 2011, Tonya and Danny joined us for a Christmas holiday. 
Life has a way of taking on the 'rolling stone' effect.  Weeks, then months slip by.  Suddenly it's been a year or more and you haven't' seen one another for reasons of health or schedules or just day to day living.  

Communication doesn't happen as easily nor as frequently as you hope.  We aren't a normal family. Or maybe we are.  Who's to say? 

When your heart tells you to reach out or you have a desire to BE part of the family it's important to step outside of your comfort zone and follow your heart.   Last year the lines of communication once closed, were opened.  Baby steps.  What's most important is knowing you have family to turn to when you have a need...  knowing they've always been there for you...  waiting for you. 

This August fate brought Michael to Boise, and brought Mike home from his summer in the Fire Tower at the same time.  You have to feel in your heart this reunion, after 8 years, was meant to be. 

It was a very special first.  The first time brother met his nephews as well as sister-in-laws and brother-in-law.   After his introduction Mr. T whispered "Uncle Mikie looks like Papa" and was very interested in seeing his badge. 
Mike with four of his children.  

Michael and Mike

Family isn't always perfect.  It's not defined by the white picket fence, 2.2 children, and a stay-at-home mom.  Sometimes it's a blended family struggling to see where the puzzle pieces fit.

I still have this desire to one day see Mike with all of his living children together.  I accept I have no control over others lives.  I can't force things to occur until everyone feels the same way.  I've prayed over this for more than thirty years and hope to one day see it to fruition.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Another Family Wedding at Kalaloch

The tradition and memories created on the Washington Coast run deep within our family's veins.  This summer was no different.  
Our nephew Ric and his (now) wife Ariel chose to marry on the beach where our family member's cremains were scattered years ago.  They picked a date to coincide with our annual Or-Ida trek to Kalaloch.  And fortunately it was at the beginning of the week so we still looked somewhat 'fresh'. 

Late afternoon Monday we all stopped our 'camping' and prepared for a wedding.  We traveled up the highway to Beach 2 where preparations were made to create a private beach ceremony. 

The cloud cover was south of us but not enough to spoil our good spirits. 

Unusual this year, the stump that marks the place where Nan, Papo and Uncle Ric's cremains were scattered is usually surrounded at least on one side by fresh stream water coming down the hill to merge with the ocean.  This year it was completely dry. 

Megan and James, sister and brother-in-law to bride and groom. 
James was also the officiate. 

"Froggie" and Uncle Ric

Proud Mom Kevin worked very hard to ensure Ric and Ariel's day was perfect. 

Alexis and Uncle Ric

Cousin Debbie and groom Ric

Ric with his future brother-in-law

Ric with his future sister-in-law

Ric and big sister Jorgan

Ric and his good friend Kirsten.  
She also provided music for the ceremony and the reception back at camp. 

The beach was ready.  
Family and friends waited for the bride's arrival. 

Jorg helped with the photography. 

Ben kept an eye out for the bride's appearance. 

Music cued up. 

"Here comes the bride..."

Giving the bride away. 

"With this ring..."

First kiss as man and wife. 

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. 

To celebrate, the cloud cover has burned off and the sun warmed our souls. 

Ariel with her Dad and Stepmom

Ariel with her family

A special kiss from her sister. 

Ric and Ariel with her family

Ric, Ariel, Kevin and Ariel's family

Both families together

Ric and Ariel with his family

The wedding bunch

My favorite 7 year old!  
(Just because I can...)

A toast to the bride and groom

Bouquet toss

Winner, winner, chicken dinner - way to go Alexis.

Alexis and Ariel

Alexis, Ariel and Savannah

Back at camp, food and beverages were enjoyed by all.

Matt stayed behind during ceremony to monitor the grill.  

Thanks again for asking
 to be a part in preserving your memories.