Along the Path

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's O.K.

You know, some days that is just what you need to hear.

Today is my some day.

I belong to facebook. Something I really knew nothing about until a friend pestered me into joining :) Now I am glad I did. It has been a wonderful way to connect with friends I haven't been in touch with for years.

There is a facebook application called:

"On This Day God Wants You To Know".

I get these little messages sent to me from facebook space every day. Today's message was absolutely perfect for what I have going on in my day (actually my week this week).

"Just rest for a moment. It's OK. Yes, things are crazy, yes, the world is going nuts. Yet, deep underneath the stormy waves, there, in the core of your being, there is pure silence, pure love. And ... it's ... just ... OK."

We can find what we need if we just stop. take a moment. open our eyes, ears and hearts.

God does bring us the most delightful things in the most unexpected of places.

Today I found mine on an obscure facebook application.

Yes. It's O.K. Deep in the core of your being, there is pure silence, pure love. And...it's....just....OK.

How easy it is in the swirl of life around us to forget that sometimes.

Stop. Take a breath. Silence your thinking.

Find that inner silence and rest there for moment.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blog Hop......3 things you didn't know about me

I really don't feel there is a lot people don't know about me. I am a pretty open book....unless you don't know me :)

I sifted through the photos and these are some things I came up.


I love motorcycles. Love to ride them, love to see them, love to hear them. I love going to Sturgis and looking at all the beautiful bikes and the amount of hours and talent that has been put into them. I love being in the Black Hills during the rally and listening to the "Thunder".

I was in a very bad motorcycle accident when I was in high school. I was driving with a friend on the back. We collided with a car at a pretty high speed and I laid the bike down and we went across three lanes of busy traffic. We were both wearing leather jackets......but no helmets. The entire time we were moving across the pavement it was like it was in slow motion. All I kept thinking was "keep your head up". The leather was worn off of our jackets. Neither one of us hit our head. I did end up pretty hurt with internal injuries and broken ribs, sratches and bruises.

We were both so lucky that day and I know God was there with us.


I love to make and decorate gingerbread houses. I have decorated them for Christmas, Halloween and even for non-holidays. I love compiling all of the different "building materials" and watching the creation come to life.

Hershey picket fences, peppermint and pretzel mailboxes, zig zag roofs, red hot walks, M&M shingles. What's not to love!

I have brought everything to the Head Start holiday party several times and made several different shapes and sizes with the kids. I love how the construction of the houses brings out so much creativity in the kids and all the different and fun ideas they come up with.

Although I love to made and decorate the houses. Don't try to eat one in front of me. I become very attached and will have no demolition crews on my property!!


Although I have been to more weddings than I can even count. Literally, hundreds. I have been a "guest" at very, very, few and have only been in one!

This photo is from one of the very few weddings I actually sat in a pew to watch the wedding.

I am always working. It doesn't matter if it is a friend, relative or co-worker. I usually have assisted getting the bride down the aisle and end up watching the ceremony from the lobby or side door (or one behind the bushes) :).

I have been asked to be in more weddings and also if I would rather not help. I have no desire to be running around in one of those uncomfortable dresses and do whatever I can to get out of that position. As far as not helping.......I can see the look in their eyes.....is it really an option :)

Really, nothing makes me happier. I feel more comfortable helping and it brings me such joy to be able to do so. I feel that is much more important than sitting in the pew. I've been there so few times during a wedding ceremony I would feel lost and really wouldn't know what to do with myself :)



MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, July 13, 2009

I love the 4th!!


We love the 4th of July around here.

Love it so much that it is also our wedding anniversary!!

This year, as every other, it is a busy time for us. Friday night was great, Dave's band played so it was fun to get out and get to boogie with some friends!


Dave ran sound as well

Kathy and Loren came out to celebrate with us
(as did others......but I only got a picture of Kathy because she is sooo special :) )

It has always been one of my favorite times of the year and also Dave's. He LOVES fireworks and things that go BOOM!!

The boys also love the 4th. I asked Kyle why he liked to light off the fireworks and he told me........"It gives you a sense of accomplishment. You made something explode."

I sure hope he gets more accomplishment out of life than lighting the wick of a pre-made firework but, I guess..........they sure seem to take great pride in it :)

We typically take the boat out on the St. Croix River to watch the fireworks in Stillwater and did so again this year. The fireworks in Stillwater are the most amazing fireworks I have ever seen. It is incredible to park the boat underneath of them and literally have the gigantic sprays falling overhead.

Something I look forward to every year and have never been disappointed. This year was no different. They were amazing.

It is always a fun trip traveling up and down the river with all the other boats. Big boats, little boats. They are all there. In single file lines.







The islands fill with campers, fires and fireworks.


We stop at the islands after the BIG fireworks to light ours off. Ours are smaller than Stillwater's, but still pretty impressive!

Music. People partying. Booms. The smell of sulfur.

Ahhhh. Summer!! Enjoy the show!!!






















I love that you can see the smoke coming off of the water in this one.




Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Blog Hoppin

Thanks for stopping by!

This week’s theme for Blog Hoppin is favorite photos.

I love photography and how each photo tells a story so it was so difficult to choose just one. All the stories in my life make up my life......as do my photos.

I chose the following photo not for the angle of the shot, quality of the lens, etc.....but for the story it tells and memory it holds in my heart.


This is my son, Justin, getting ready for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Justin LOVES gifts and treats and he has always felt very strongly that the more you fed Santa the more gifts and treats he would leave for you. "You take care of Santa. Santa will take care of you" :)

Justin would spend the better part of his evening preparing Santa's feast. Ham sandwiches, salads, pieces of cake, cookies, chips, crackers, cheese slices, and of course, don't forget the fresh milk. The very last thing Justin would set out before he scampered off to bed.

Santa never had it so good as the spread he was getting from Justin.

This photo encompasses so many of Justin's characteristics and so much of his personality.

A simple photo that tells a big story.

That's what I love about photography!!


MckLinky Blog Hop

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Year

It's hard to believe it has been a year since we received the knock on the door from the police that they had found Dave's brother, Ron, dead and we needed to go identify him. In some ways it feels so much longer than a year and in others it feels like yesterday.

The memory of the day certainly feels like yesterday. It was our anniversary. We were in the kitchen getting ready to make an anniversary dinner. A warm summer evening. I received a call on the telephone from a bride. "Would you be interested in doing my wedding". As this is how many conversations with new brides begin it didn't seem unusual at all. "Sure, when is your wedding", I asked. "in two days". She replied. My mouth dropped a bit. Two days!! Not only was it only 2 days but one of those days was the 4th of July! She had the venue where the ceremony and reception would take place and had called a photographer. Everything else needed to be done. What the heck, I love a challenge :)

My head was spinning a bit after I got off the telephone with her with all that needed to be put in place, designed and planned. Actually, I was kind of looking forward to the challenge. Budget wasn't an issue, which made it so much easier. Since it was already about 5:30 and tomorrow was the 4th of July and everything would be closed I would try and contact the vendors whose home numbers I had and get things rolling. Just as I was explaining all of this to Dave we got a knock on the door.

It is amazing how your world can change in a blink of an eye.

I answered the door. It was a Stillwater Police Officer. I couldn't imagine what could be wrong. Dave was standing at the door with me by now. The officer asked if we knew a Mr. Ronald Toskey. At first the name didn't ring a bell. We couldn't think of a "Ronald". Then we realized it was Ron. Dave's brother. Yes, he is my brother Dave exclaimed. We were both puzzled. Then the officer began with "I'm sorry to have to tell you........". All I remember from that point is catching Dave's elbow as his body went limp and he nearly toppled over. My mind raced from one thought to another to becoming nearly blank. One thing I do clearly remember is thinking what an awful part of the job that is for that young officer. What a horrible thing to have to deliver such news to loved ones that are so unsuspecting. We went in the house. Grabbed the car keys and I drove Dave to Ron's house. On the way there he called his sister, who was at Menards, somewhat in the area. She would meet us there. When we arrived at Ron's we were met by two police officers and a gentleman who was pacing in the yard. He was a very good friend of Ron's and you could tell his mind was blank as well. Dave and I went in and went to Ron's bedroom where he was in bed. Dave's sister soon arrived and joined us. The air felt very thick and heavy and I needed something fresh. I went outside and joined the pacing friend in the yard. Dave joined me shortly. Gayle, Dave's sister, who is a nurse, stayed with Ron and the medical examiners who had now arrived. Shortly she came out as well.

The hardest part was watching them zip up the body bag. Your first thought is "don't do that.....he won't be able to breath". Everything goes in slow motion and time stands still. As I write this I can still hear the sound of the zipper. Feel the dirt beneath my sandaled feet and feel the still early summer night air.

I remember looking up at the hearse and Ron's body going inside. All the neighbors had gathered on the streets and there was no noise other than one woman crying "Ronnie" in the background. Gayle, Dave and I stood silent. Holding hands and slow tears trickling down our face.

Life is so fragile. A few hours before none of us, including Ron, knew this would be the next scene. One minute you are going about your life and the next.........leaving in a body bag. It truly happens that fast.

At that point, what really matters in life is burned into your perspective. What kind of house you were taken out of. What you were wearing. What kind of car you have in your garage. None of it matters.

What mattered to us at that moment was that someone dearly loved was gone and now we had to go tell his mother, his daughter and his grandchildren. Everything else. Insignificant. Beyond Insignificant.

Ron loved baseball and softball. He had spent his life either playing or umpiring. At Ron's funeral team after team after team filed past his casket. They left signed baseballs, softballs, bats and caps.

The room was full of young and old. He touched so many. He meant something different to everyone. Coach, umpire, teacher, friend, son and to us, a brother. To all......someone that would be deeply missed.

Of all the stories that were told about Ron, memories shared and tears cried....not once did what he have or not have come up. What did come up was the time he gave of himself to others, his laughter, sense of humor, care.

Among many things, that knock on the door re-opened my eyes to priorities. We are all reminded from time to time but some tend to forget or ignore entirely. Life is a gift and is not a matter of "if" but "when" it is going to be taken away. Live each and every moment of it as if it is your last.

It could be.Rest in Peace Ron. We miss you!


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nothing. Everything.

Nothing
a person or thing of little to no importance.
Everything
all

Nothing can be everything and everything can be nothing. Two words that in first thought mean complete opposite. But do they. I believe in theory they can mean the same. How many times I have witnessed that those who think they have everything.....really have nothing at all and those that appear to have nothing......in their heart, soul and spirit, actually, have everything.

I was given a writing assignment.

Begin with Nothing. End with Everything.

I asked Gregory about this. What he would write.

Within minutes, basically with little thought at all, he said:

"Nothing is a word that means the exact opposite of Everything."

He left the room. Came back about 15 minutes later. He then said,

"but mom, that isn't necessarily true. Jesus had nothing and still he had everything. Some of the Head Start kids you read books to. They don't have nothing but when you spend time with them they smile as much as some kids that have all the best things. Even more. Some people that have everything they want seem sadder than people that don't have anything".

His 10 year old statement had such an impact on me.

I thought about the mission trips those at our church have taken. The photos they have sent back. Photos of people with seemingly nothing at all.....yet this spirit, and inner glow that says completely different. They may not have all the wants of life.....or even many of the basic needs. But do they have nothing? They do not look like people of little or no importance. Yet quite the contrary. Their inner light shines. They glow. If you did not look at the clothes on their back or the dirt floor on which they sleep. You would think they have everything.

And I think you would be right.

I look around at those in my community or people I pass by. Seemingly never satisfied with what they have. Always wanting more. Beautiful houses filled with stuff among stuff. Everything you can imagine. Yet there is no inner light. There is no glow. If you did not look at the clothes on their back or the 400 thread count sheets on which they sleep. You would think they have nothing.

And I think you would be right.


Nothing. Everything.

Interesting words.

Opposites or synonyms.

What meaning do they have in your life?

Make It Yours

Today I had a cake tasting. We all know how I LOVE cake tastings.

One of my favorite parts of my job.

The couple for this cake tasting is the cutest couple. I am planning a very eclectic wedding for them. We have a school bus picking up the guests, we have a "middle" party between the ceremony and reception where we will have an outdoor picnic with lawn games, food and an ice cream truck. Following that a beautiful reception, where actually you helped me choose the location quite some time ago (click here for link to that post).
For this elegant reception we are having a lovely.......................

Cow cake.

Yes, you read that right....a cow cake. He raises cattle and they wanted something fun, and what could possibly be more fun than a cow cake! :)


They will not have the cow and pig on top nor the braiding between the layers. We want to make it "elegant" (as elegant as you can make a cow cake :) ) and we are going to have fresh daisies on top and white pearls between the layers. We are growing grass to set the cake on.

I love fun couples. A bit of whimsy and making the day YOURS.

A cow cake may not be for everyone......but it is for them and that is what it is all about.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Island Picnic


It was hot here yesterday.

When the going gets hot.....the hot go to the river! Well, at least that is how it is around here.

I love living on the St. Croix River, but I particularly love living on the St. Croix River in the summer!

We decided yesterday it was time to dust the winter cobwebs off of the picnic basket and mini grill and head to our favorite island on the St. Croix River for an evening picnic.

We got everything ready to go while Dave was at work and as soon as he got home we were off.

It was delightful. The river is always its calmest about 6:00 and last night was no exception. It was like glass. It felt so good with the warm air blowing on our faces and cool river mist coming up off the water.

We got to "our" island and were so happy to see it. It is a great little island down the river near Prescott. We can pull the boat right up on the sandy shore. It is the most peaceful spot.

We have been going there for years. Many times we break out the fishing poles and have always had good luck here. Tonight we didn't do any fishing. Just relaxing, swimming, grilling, and watching the few boats that passed by.

Justin wasn't with us tonight, but I got some shots of Kyle and Gregory. I looked in my photo archives and found some from a couple of years ago. The island and the river haven't changed much.....but boy the kids sure have!!