Friday, June 3, 2011

Let the Summertime Fun Begin!

School has been out for one week now, and so far, we are having a terrific summer. My 15 year old has said a couple of times, "Wow, we've done so much already" and she's right.

Here's a partial list: a trip to East Texas to visit my mom and aunt; swimming at our neighborhood pool which we love because the pool is quite large and is in a beautiful setting with the wooded greenbelt behind it; eating sweet and savory crepes (thanks to my 17 year old who is a complete Francophile); watching some good movies and shows(which include the 1993 version of Secret Garden and a BBC documentary, The Great Rift); watching the NBA playoffs (especially my husband and 15 year old; we're disappointed the Oklahoma City Thunder didn't make it to the finals, but we're rooting for the Dallas Mavericks now); and volunteering at the library (my 15 and 17-year-old daughters).

Since we are only one week into summer, we have some fun things planned ahead, including going to a Redhawks baseball game, visiting the Oklahoma City Zoo which is absolutely beautiful as well as the OKC Museum of Art, and some more travel.

One of our favorite things to do in the summertime is to read more than we are able to during the school year. Some of the books I've read recently (mostly before school got out) include Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua (I can definitely see why this book has been controversial in terms of parenting styles, and while I didn't agree with everything the author had to say, I realized that she wrote the book somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and found it engaging and thought-provoking), A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley (this is book #3 in a series; I liked it better than book two but not as much as book one--The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie); Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans (this is book #2 in a series about a widower who, in his grief over the loss of his wife, decides to walk across the U.S.; I'll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark and The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen. Looking forward to reading more this summer. I definitely plan to add one or more of Jane Austen's books in, probably Persuasion or Sense and Sensibility. I read Emma last summer.

My top reading goal this summer is to reread The Book of Mormon. I have read it many times before but never in a matter of a few weeks or even a couple of months because I always get caught up in it and really focus on an individual story or set of verses or theme, but this summer, I am bound and determined to read it faster to get a better overall feel for the scope of the book, a book that has positively shaped my life and outlook for as long as I can remember.

I would love to hear your suggestions for a good read this summer, whether it's a book that is just for fun or one that can change or enhance one's life. Thanks always for your thoughtful letters and notes. Happy Reading and Happy Summer ahead!

Love and Blessings,


Monday, May 23, 2011

A Long Overdue Update

Hello Everyone,

I have missed talking with you through my blog posts, but I'm back now. A lot has happened since I last wrote and I confess it is a little overwhelming to try to figure out the best way to catch up without overwhelming readers or myself...but after some thought, I have decided that the best way to catch up is to just share with you directly but briefly what has been going on.

The last 18 months have honestly felt like one emotional tsunami after another. My mother-in-law died of leukemia in November of 2009, and then my father-in-law passed away in July of 2010 (a broken heart from missing his wife), and then my father's melanoma cancer took a turn for the worse last fall and he passed away in early February of this year. Weeks after he passed on, one of my very best friends, Mary, died after a short and fierce battle with esophageal cancer.

Each of these loved ones has played a significant and important part of my life, and to see each of them suffer so much and then to pass on in rapid succession has been hard. I have great faith that I will see them again but for now I miss them terribly.

Out of a deep desire to honor their lives, I helped to write the eulogy for three of them, doing my best, to capture the texture of their lives and how precious they were to me and so many others. I delivered the eulogy for my father and dear friend Mary at their funerals. It meant a lot to me to be able to remember them in such a way.

I am not yet one of those people who can say, "I am so very thankful for all of my challenges," but I can say that I am thankful for the tender mercies I have experienced during the tough times and I am thankful for the lessons I have learned during them.

I confess I miss my dad the most, but I am so thankful for the incredibly precious moments I experienced with him during the last days of his life. My father was an attorney who was an advocate for those in need. He helped, on a daily basis, individuals who could not afford an attorney. And he helped many. He was still fighting cases in the courtroom in November but things went quickly downhill from there.

During the last weeks of his life, he was barely able to speak because of the tumor in his brain. Even so, he taught me some extraordinary lessons on gratitude and service during that time. If my Dad could be so grateful for the good in his life in the midst of such suffering and could still somehow seek to serve others, I can ask no less of myself. He has left quite a legacy and so I will go forward in my life, striving to honor his legacy of service, gratitude, hard work, attending church faithfully, among other things. I am truly blessed to call William Anderson Sansing my Dad--past, present and forever.

Okay, so I thought I would keep it short and simple, but that turned out to be too great a challenge. I am just glad to be back in touch with you. Thanks always for your thoughtful notes and feedback. I am most appreciative.

Love and Blessings,