Having recently noticed a running theme in Blogland about “living life to the fullest” and “seizing the moment” and “not missing opportunities” and “being grateful for life” I have decided to pay more attention and see if I am living this running “theme.”  Using our recent trip to my parents cabin over the 4th of July weekend, I am going to chronicle our seized opportunities.  

*The trip itself was a seized opportunity.  Hub took Juju to California for their one-on-one trip and Shroom is off working on a ranch for a little while, so it was going to just be me and my four kids at home for the weekend.  My parents were going to their cabin, so we decided to join them.  We were also joined by one of my brothers and his girlfriend, and a niece and nephew. 

*While at the cabin my daughters decided to seize an opportunity and do my hair by styling it with whatever items they could find in the junk drawer.  They were quite proud of my new ‘do. 

Maybe it will catch on!

*There was the opportunity for the kids to pet a stray horse that my dad saw wandering around. 

 

*My niece seized the opportunity to ride the horse back to the owner’s place when he came looking for his horse.  And some of us seized the opportunity to follow along. 

 

*The owner was grateful that we’d found his horse and offered rides on “The Orbiter” that he has constructed for his grandkids. 

 

 

*The owner invited me to try The Orbiter with him.  In the spirit of adventure I decided to give it a try. 

 

He was used to making the thing go…and go…and go.  And he did it fast!  The kids got a kick out of my shrieks, and I’m sure my face looked funny too.  I was relieved when we finally stopped.  But then the owner said we had to “rewind” and he spun us in the opposite direction. 

 

Boy was I glad when he asked if I’d had enough and I could say scream “Yes!”  

I can say that I am glad that I took the opportunity to try The Orbiter.  The kids enjoyed seeing me give it a try.  But, I can also say wholeheartedly, “Been there, done that!”  No need to do it again!   I’m getting too old for such spinny things! 

*Some of the kids took the opportunity to try the swings on the horse owner’s property. 

 

*One morning Huh and her boyfriend, Plumber, suggested we go for a picnic at one of the numerous lakes in the area.  As we all discussed it, we decided that the lakes would be too crowded because of the holiday weekend.  So, instead, we decided to take an atv ride to the Bear River for a picnic.  

Max sitting in the side-by-side ready to go on a picnic!

Walking to our picnic spot.

We all got a good laugh when my mom discovered that her sandwich had no meat, just lettuce and cheese. 

Yum?

*Of course all of the kids seized the opportunity to wade in the river after eating. 

Huh and Mack in the river.

The more cautious kids stay near the bank.

We got another chance to laugh at Mack’s reaction when her flip-flop washed down the river.  Lost forever.  

 

 

*There were plenty of opportunities to take pics of thieving squirrels raiding the birdfeeders. 

 

 

Contemplating stealing birdseed.

*We took the opportunity to play games together and visit.  The kids explored the area.  We snacked.  And we relaxed. 

So, yes, I believe our weekend followed the blogland theme of seizing the moment and enjoying life and being grateful for the simple things. 

One of my favorite activities at the cabin?  Enjoying the sunset… 

Some of the names we gave her were Butterscotch, Creamsicle, and Graham.  We had her for a day and a night. 

Someone found her in the parking lot where Huh works.  Huh didn’t have the heart to take her to an animal shelter, so she brought her to our house to stay until she could find her owners or a family that would adopt her.

As cute as she was, we couldn’t have her here for very long because too many in our household have cat allergies.  The kids played with her and held her.  Max barked and growled at her.

I napped with her.

Knowing the situation was only temporary I took full advantage of it and settled comfortably in my recliner with the kitty.  Her sweet purr lulled me to sleep.

I miss having a cat around.  My childhood involved cats.  Lots of cats.  Curse those inherited allergies!  (Something else to be mad at my ex about?  🙂 )

Sometimes it pays to take advantage of temporary opportunities when they come, such as snoozing and cuddling with a purring kitten.  You never know when the opportunity will come again.

It was the best nap I’ve had in a long time!

 

I’d been praying to be led to someone our family could serve this Christmas season.  For whatever reason, nothing seemed to come up.  I knew of food bank needs, and our kids took canned goods to school to help with the food drive.  I knew of the loneliness of the residents of a local senior care center and had my PLC students make cards for them.  My kids finished the cards so that each resident could receive two.  I agreed to continue the tradition Hub and his kids have of randomly handing out cash to strangers.  But, none of these acts of service seemed like the “one.”  It still felt like there was something else we could do, or needed to do, but what was it?

Then, last Sunday, a plea for help caught my eye.  A single mom needs help providing a Christmas for her family.  Having been a single mom for a time, anything about single moms catches my eye.  She has four kids.  I was a single mom with four kids.  She has three girls and a boy.  I have three girls and a boy.  Her boy is the youngest.  My boy is the youngest.  Of course, all of this was going to catch my attention! 

But, it was there that our similarities ended.  She lives in an apartment.  Her son is a heart patient and has already had one open heart surgery in which he received a donor valve.  He will outgrow that valve and will need open heart surgery again in the future.  Because of all the time she spends with her son at the hospital she is unable to work.  She was able to buy herself a car in August, “Nothing pretty,” she says, “but it worked.”  Then, two days after Thanksgiving, she was hit by a drunk driver and the car was totaled.  She sent out a plea for someone to help her family have a Christmas.

This was the one.

I approached Hub about my desire to help this little family.  He agreed that it was something we could do.  I don’t want to go into much detail about what we have decided to do, but our kids have agreed to certain sacrifices.  I also spent time on the phone with each of my extended family members who have all agreed to give up a certain traditional activity at my Mom’s Christmas party and, instead, put the money towards providing this little family with a Christmas dinner and stocking stuffers.  It took most of the week to coordinate, hence no new postings from me.  But, it has all fallen into place in a week’s time.

Our kids did their shopping for the mystery family last night.  The only “need” that had been requested was socks and underwear for the two youngest kids.  It was fun to see the kids partner up and try to find things that the kids in the family might enjoy and it was gratifying to hear them say to each other that it was fun.  They have also expressed a desire to go with us when we deliver “Christmas” on Tuesday.  My mom’s party is tomorrow night and we will return home with the Christmas dinner and stocking stuffers to add to the growing pile in my bedroom.  

Every once in awhile someone will share an idea on something else we can do to add to the “Christmas.”  The entire experience sort of reminds me of the line from Field of Dreams–“If you build it, they will come.”  I was looking for an opportunity to serve.  I prayed for it.  And the opportunity presented itself.  A short time before Christmas, when I had decided that it was too late to help anyone, the opportunity came.

If you look for opportunities to serve, they will come.