As we decorated our Christmas tree last week, we hung the University of Miami mascot ornament of Sebastian front and center. Our tree does not have traditional glass balls or glittery stars. Instead it’s decorated with ornaments collected during vacations or in recognition of special events. A sea turtle, an orca, a bat, the Jackson County Courthouse, bear bells and the First Presbyterian Church are a few examples of ornaments that commemorate events from the past 36 years.
Our Sebastian ornament is a throwback to the days when he donned a pipe and sailor hat. This old school Sebastian was especially appropriate since it was added the Christmas after the Hurricanes first national championship under Howard Schnelleberger, a coach also known for his pipe. Sebastian’s pipe was phased out in the 1990’s so as not to encourage the use of tobacco by young fans, but we enjoy seeing him reappear every December.
TBT Lesson #81: With or without a pipe, he’s still a symbol of loyalty. The ibis is always the last to leave and the first to return during a hurricane.
My meteorologist husband has issued a hurricane warning: a Category 5 is on the horizon.
It seems once the weather begins to cool, the month have morphed into an excuse to grow facial hair. Starting in Movember or No-Shave November, men are encouraged to grow a mustache to change the face of men’s health and raise awareness of prostate cancer. This month has been renamed Decembeard, again in recognition of cancer, and will be followed by JanuHairy, as part of the Beards for Bowels campaign highlighting bowel cancer. And then there’s FeBROary. Not for a cause, but a challenge to grow the manliest beard.
Well long before these celebrations of facial hair, men were growing beards and mustaches.
TBT Lesson #80: Most anything can be a good excuse to skip shaving.
A favorite activity when the girls were young was going to the playground. Running, playing, climbing brought great joy to the girls even if I was somewhat stressed trying to keep an eye on three little ones going in different directions; but this smile reminds me why it was worthwhile.
TBT Lesson #79: Make time to play. It always brings a smile to your face.
In the ’90s, we started a tradition of the whole family, my brother’s family, my sister’s family, our parents and John’s mom and husband all loading up and driving from Florida to north Georgia to celebrate Thanksgiving. We’d rent two or three houses in Helen, Georgia and spend the weekend cooking, eating, hiking, playing and bonding. While we no longer celebrate out of state, Thanksgiving is still cousin catch up time.
TBT Lesson #78: Be thankful for the time you spend with cousins.
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but I can’t think of any other reason I’d have two turkeys in my freezer. In fact, the cupboards are full on the ingredients necessary for the annual feast. The only thing missing are the guests, but by this time next week we’ll have a full house.
TBT Lesson #77: Only the first grandchild can take attention away from a perfectly cooked turkey.
Every few years a photographer would come to First Presbyterian Church to take family photos for the church directory. We’d schedule an appointment, decide what we’d wear, put on our best smiles and sit for a family picture.
This photograph taken in 2003 was the last one taken as a family of five. Even though Meghan was a student at UCF, we were able to schedule on a Friday evening so she could join us. The next time pictures were taken at church, only Sarah was still living at home so we were now a family of three. Looking at these family pictures through the years bring back great memories.
TBT Lesson #76: Take family pictures. Make family memories.
Saturday was Halloween, but this is NOT the costume I wore last week. Instead, this is how I dressed to go to work on more than one occasion in the ’90s in my job as a school media specialist.
The popular Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus series had children excited about reading and science so naturally it was a theme we used to cultivate readers. When Paula, a primary teacher offered to make Ms. Frizzle style dresses for me to add another dimension to reading fun, how could I resist?
TBT Lesson #75: In the words of The Frizz, “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy.”
Especially to celebrate reading.
About a dozen years ago, Emily and Sarah were asked to pose for a few pictures to be used to dress up the walls of a local teaching supply store. Many of the photos were taken at a local park, but this one is by far my favorite. Sisters side by side, ear to ear listening to a single conversation on a cell phone.
They smiled and laughed when asked to strike this pose because they knew it was something they would never do and felt silly pretending to jointly use one phone. But look at those smiles. They are genuine and they were having a great time together.
TBT Lesson #74: Smile, laugh and enjoy the time you spend with your sister (and remember, it’s ok to be silly).
In August 1998, yes AUGUST, the hottest month of the year in Florida, Disney and McDonalds sponsored a 5k race at Epcot called Run Around the World. Both Emily and Meghan ran the 5k winding through Epcot past the countries of Mexico, China, Japan, France and Canada. Since spectators were not allowed in the park, we waited at the finish line for the girls and their assessment of the course.
Meghan, a high school freshman, had been running daily as part of the Forest High School cross country team and was ready for a race, and Emily, a sixth grader, was willing to run with her sister because it sounded like fun.
After the run Meghan talked about how she enjoyed running through the park and listening to the music of each country she passed. Emily’s experience was quite different. She felt sick throughout the 5k and was very overheated at the finish. In fact, upon hearing her sister talk about the race, she asked, “There was music? There were countries?”
TBT Lesson #73: It’s always good to have a friend, or better yet, a sister to accompany you around the world.
And while Emily’s first run at Epcot wasn’t all that enjoyable, she’s run the Disney Princess Half Marathon twice so the Run Around the World didn’t end her running days.
Four years ago today, Meghan and Jonathan enjoyed their first dance as husband and wife, and then continued to dance the night away celebrating a new beginning.
Happy Happy Anniversary!
TBT Lesson #72: Dance your way through life with the one you love.