What I Learned from Camp Bluebird

I attended this past weekend a camp for cancer survivors sponsored by St. Thomas called Camp Bluebird in Nashville, Tennessee.  It was so invigorating to be there and life changing.  This is quite ironic given I had been hesitant to attend.  What I walked away with on Sunday was a willingness to proudly call myself a bluebird.   I gained a deep understanding of what this term actually means and how it will forever impact my life.

The camp has bluebirds as its chosen mascot.  In songs, quite often this type of bird has implies happiness.  How appropriate given cancer survivors believe that we should live every day as if it could be the last, thus embrace it with joy.  The Camp is dominated with an overwhelming sense of happiness from beginning to end.  Hugs are given freely and plentiful.

This breed, bluebirds, is also well known for singing.  Lifting voices in song is something that is done quite often at Camp. It matters not whether any one present has a great singing voice. All that matters is the spirit that is behind the song.  Singing comes from the soul and that is really what matters at Camp, letting the soul shine, just letting the walls come down and everyone see who you really are.  Amazing too that people embrace you for who you are and where you are at with your life. Total acceptance is something unheard of in most places these days.

Last but certainly not least, bluebirds flap their wings.  This so closely resembles stemming behavior of an autistic child like my grandsons.  It is a way for my grandsons to keep themselves in a safe zone.  At our camp, it is our Vegas, what is expressed there remains there. It is our safety net. We are joined at the hip there and are in our own little world.  For the long weekend we attend Camp Bluebird it is as if time is suspended.  There are no phones, no television, just togetherness and sharing and caring.   

Cancer survivors need to have time with other survivors so that they know the fear they live with, the appreciation for life and the self-discovery path is the norm.  It actually is re-energizing. The volunteers that attend the camp want to be a part of the healing process too.  The can also not only learn but gain insight into cancer recovery, cancer treatment, and how precious life can be.  The volunteers are as vital to the camp experience as the cancer survivors are, each individual brings something that makes the camp experience unique and special.  The mutual learning, sharing and giving of each other makes the bonding between not only the survivors but the volunteers also quite strong and lasting.

What made Camp Bluebird unlike anything I have ever experience before was the total acceptance and love felt from everyone.  Being with a large diverse group of people I had hardly met before and everyone being open to me and each other.   There was no envy, no gossip, put downs, lack of respect not arguments.  Everyone present was real from the minute they got there to the minute they left. There was no pretense about trying to impress anyone, talk of where they worked, who they knew, etc…  It was simply about living in the moment, what they felt, sharing the present and loving it.  It was also about extending their love and care to others. Human compassion for others was something to behold; it could be felt in the air.  The listening skills at Camp are to be envied by all. 

This Camp is full of laughter, full of pranks, full of mischief and one-liners!  Laughter is heard through-out the camp.   It is an extended family where hugs are given freely, often and by all.  It is a place where newcomers are embraced and told they are welcome and have a new support system they can call on.   A young volunteer woman said it best, “People meet each other right where they are at.”  Total unconditional acceptance is not something most of us experience and certainly not in a large group setting.  But at Camp Bluebird, it is reality.  

Cancer kills but this Camp shows it does not kill one’s spirit.   This camp is full of fighters. Those that have fought and won celebrate but still remain grateful and have compassion for those present fighting a battle that is against all odds.  Honor is given the last day to those that have attended camp in the past and gone to heaven.  They are celebrated and balloons are released in remembrance.  This demonstrates that the spiritual bonds remain and these folks will not be forgotten.  They are still a part of Camp Bluebird.   

A great deal of work goes on by very few to put this Camp on every 6 months year after year.  You could safely say it is a labor of love continually done over and over again.  I am amazed at the amount of work that goes into the planning process and the sheer volume of coordination even once the camp opens.   But yet, the organizers do it, and the volunteers freely give up their time.  Surely they know that their graciousness is a kindness that goes beyond a simple thank you. 

What I think Camp Bluebird means to me is what my friends told me it means when they tried to get me to go.  It is a chance to be loved and give love to strangers that, at the end of the weekend are not strangers but an extended family of bluebirds!  And bluebirds, this class of bluebirds, are truly a special breed that I am blessed to have in my life and I indeed to treasure for always!

Here is a video I threw together of some of the many pictures others took of the weekend. There were far too many to begin to show all and everyone in attendance so this is just a sampling. But I think it is more than enough to show the love and rewards of this special place!   Click Here to view it on YouTube. 


Letting Go is Being Real

Our world is so convoluted with messages of having to look this way, beautiful beyond possible for most of us and having to be perfect in every way, the immaculate homemaker, always thoughtful spouse, thrifty shopper, most marketable employee, etc.   It makes it almost impossible to just do a reality check and accept yourself for who you are, letting all expectations of society by the wayside and be you!

Perhaps that is the message in the song Let It Go from Disney’s movie Frozen. When I read the lyrics and saw the video, it was a beautiful example of how someone who had to hide her non-conformity began to accept it.  In the video, the star character, embraced her individuality. What an inspirational message for all ages actually. 

When I am with my grand-daughter, who, coincidentally is in love with not only the movie but the theme song, I am always reminded of freedom of expression.  Ava does not hide behind a wall of shame for how she feels.  She does not fear retaliation for who she is and what she is becoming.  She, like the Elsa, wraps her tiny arms around herself as she is, at any given moment and celebrates the thrill of life. She will laugh throwing her head back and let out a laugh that comes from her toes. Her celebration of good humor is simply something to listen to because it causes everyone within earshot to split at the seams into laughter just from the musical sound of her laughing, with no reservation. She will laugh at herself as easily as at anyone. 

The messages consumers get, especially women, to always look your best are pounded in from an early age.  Commercial marketing is powerful. Ava is a party to this already, praising and loving little princesses. But, what is different about her is the gentle acceptance of herself. She can throw herself into a beautiful gown her mom can buy her and then, in the blink of any eye, tear it off and run around in the most unbecoming of items in the house without a single care in the world!  If anyone were to walk in, which has happened when I have been over visiting, does she react like most girls and run for cover?  Well, here she not in her girly best, pink or purple, matching clothes with a closet full of beautiful outfits but Ava has no concern whatsoever to greet anyone with whatever she happens to have on. Not for one minute would she hesitate to make a guest wait!  Ava is front and center with a friend or anyone that is a guest in her home. You must like her and accept her for who she is in the same way she will accept you, no labels allowed by this little lady! And she will greet everyone as friendly as the next person no matter who they are or what they have on!

Living in the moment is something too many of us do not do. I think it probably took having cancer for me to get a much better handle on this. My grand-daughter came of it naturally. I am not sure if having two autistic brothers has played a part or not but she treasures time spent with others.  If she gets a minute of your time, she inhales it like it is the best gift she has ever received.  Most children take it for granted. Not Ava, she will let you know in her own unique way that you made her day.  She will be engaging, entertaining and create a memory that will be everlasting. Why can’t we, as adults, embrace our interactions with others with this same passion?  We always seem to assume there will be another time, another visit, and another day.  We have no guarantees that this is going to happen. We should seize the moments as they come. Languish the time we have with each other. Give undivided attention when we are with someone we want to share out time with so that we are not wasting our moments or those.

So many people have thoughts running through their head that get in the way of listening.  These internal tapes also disallow people to sometimes take down their walls and be open to each other about who they are.   Conformity seems to be a top priority and the fear of rejection overrides being real with others.  Thus too often others put up a façade of who they are to project an image to gain acceptance. This is stress inducing, unhealthy and self-limiting.  You are who you are and should be proud of it!  Society needs to stimulate an environment more often than not that promotes this.  Once you celebrate your acceptance and openness of who you are, your own uniqueness, you open the door for others to be unrestricted as well.  Let go of your preconceived notions and the negative tape of others programming you.  This also means allow your children to be different to some extent.

I pray my grand-daughter can continue to accept her independence her entire life.  May she always have no self-consciousness about hugging herself for exactly who she is.  I know those of us that surround her are constantly reminded by her of the importance of staying true to living in the moment with Ava around, she will never let us forget it. 

We can see through her eyes a world filled with joy,things to celebrate! We can learn from her to forget what it is not.  With Ava, we celebrate little things that give color to the world, even weeds that look like flowers instead of complaining about all the 'have nots' in our lives, the people that won’t play with her, the brothers that have autism and can’t talk well to her.  She loves them dearly and would not trade them for anything or change one hair on their head.   From Ava we see a new way to laugh at the world, finding humor in the smallest of things, instead of being miserable when things don’t look right.  Yes, a little girl who's immediate reaction is always to smile followed by a laugh.

Most importantly of all, Ava is like the character Elsa at her tender age of 6. She is learning to take her image of being a little girl and letting it go.  She can be and is, whatever she wants to be. Stereo-types don't mean much to Ava.  She is modeling her mother and her father and all the other people in the world she comes in contact.    And she is being real about it.  And she doesn’t hide who she is but is right there, in your face.  I can run faster than boys, dance great with girls, and get over disappointments quickly.  

So are you?  Are you able to let go of preconceived notions of what the world wants you to be?  Are you able to be real with yourself, real honest, and throw out the old tapes in your head of other's expectations and accept yourself and be true to you?   Only when you can, can you find that inner sense of peace, love and happiness.  


Bringing a Piece of Germany to the Midwest!

Her attraction was simple.  She worked in an office and he was kind. She saw that immediately. More than that, his accent, German, was attractive to her, somewhat sexy and the leather ties he wore just made him a stand out in her mind. She barely knew him but that quickly changed. My dear friend Karen met a German man, Detlef and her life forever changed. 

When she met him, the chemistry was immediate.  When she spoke of him, in the early days, I could sense a metamorphosis right before my eyes.  It was not just star-crossed lovers or infatuation, though it had those elements, it was a soul connection.  She found a man that had chivalry and yet had humility.  Detlef had class and confidence about him at all times but could balance it out somehow with a gentleness that was soft and comforting when she needed a rock to lean on.  His compassion extended to others as well.  She knew she had found a gem. 

Early on in the courtship, it became apparent, German culture was an important part of who Detlef was. Karen’s familiarity with this was non-existent. Infact, her first meal was a German breakfast he served her of hard rolls, cold cuts and soft boiled eggs. She was a Boston raised girl who had been transplanted to Northern Kentucky through her first marriage.  Thus, she set her sights, early on in their courtship and marriage to getting acclimated and familiar with German culture and culinary favorites and traditions, in particular her husband’s.

Through-out their twenty-one year marriage, they both had discussed and dreamed of one day opening a restaurant venue that would be a compilation of the best of their ideas.  Karen would be the creative mastermind behind the design of the space, with Detlef’s input to keep it true to the German heritage so it was authentic.   And the recipes that would be used will only be the tried and true recipes passed down from Detlef’s mother so they were the real deal, German special dishes and not the fast food variety of an imitation plate so many restaurant chains serve.   

This dream became a reality last year and on their twenty-first wedding anniversary, to the day, the restaurant they had so longing dreamed of, was opened, Steinhaus German Restaurant in Florence, Kentucky.  All the years they had spent enjoying going out for good food, great dinner venues and fine dining was now something they were offering to others.  They took the best of what they experienced what they knew and created something better.  

Front Entrance

Their restaurant is more than just a place to eat; it has a style that is uniquely different. 
From the design where the energy flow is a constant stream through-out the inside of the
facility with no angles or cuts anywhere to the unusual European style mixed bathroom one has to see to compare to typical public American restrooms.  There are hand painted murals on the walls of the countryside of Germany.  

So many places to eat these days are chains.  I am so thrilled my friend chose to start something that is truly an original, uniquely theirs, not a replica of anything created before.  This is the real Mom and Pops idea, the American dream. Detlef became an American citizen because he believes in the dream and is working hard to make it materialize.  The Koeppes feel the best value is in supreme service, excellent food, and a divine environment.  These are their core values and the guiding principles they drive the restaurant and their staff with each and every day.

Especially popular here is a concept called The Gratitude Circle.  This is a special table with a spiral on the carpet where diners can be seated on one side or both sides of the unusual shaped table.  It has wall barriers so it is a more secluded area of the restaurant making it feel as if you are in the elite crowd sitting there and it is in close proximity to the bar as well! It is best seen as it is a hard image to describe.    The acoustics in the center of the circle is something magical; the voice of the person speaking echoes! I had the opportunity to be seated in this area, very cool!

A German restaurant would not be German if not for many steins around to view. This place has the most elaborate decorative steins you will ever see anywhere! And several are huge!  The beauty of the imagery on them is unbelievable and they will allow you to freely take pictures while dining there which many diners I noticed do.  It is impossible to capture them all in just one visit.  

There is also a Stein Club patrons can join. When you dine there, be sure and ask your waiter for all the details. With a membership, you can attend the regular meetings for

Stein Club Members

members and also get your stein put in the boxed area behind the waiter stand and held there exclusively for you any time you arrive at Steinhouse.  

To understand how those that frequent their restaurant feel, one only needs to visit the attached review site to see.  Click this to go to Reviews Chris Helms, General Manager, is given many accolades also for his ability to not only supervise the staff and manage the restaurant but accommodate large clients’ needs for their reception and banquet hall.   

The biggest thrill of all to me is seeing two wonderful friends with a marriage still full of romance like the day I stood up next to them have a big dream come to fruition. I would hope, by describing what is unique about Steinhouse, others will be enticed to not only experience it but tell others!   Whether on a date night, family night or just a group going out, check it out!  Please let Karen, Detlef or Chris know you would like to be an advocate, if interested, after eating there. Advocates, if given cards, can give out 7 and when those 7 individuals turn theirs in, you get a discount on your meal.  Keep in mind too, the gorgeous banquet rooms are available for larger venues, be it receptions, seminars, business meetings.  They also have different menu options available for those. 

The staff is also important but never as important as you, those that are the patrons. 

Thank you for those reading this that frequent my dear friends’ dream!  And those that are about to go, from reading this blog, Danke schön!


Inside my Husband's Heart

Today I had a chance to look at my husband’s gallery of pictures on his cell phone.  I am sure some of those were dictated by me. I am notorious as the picture taker extraordinaire.  That doesn't mean my picture-taking is any good.  My method is simply constantly click away and pose people every which way attempting to get the best shot. Many times my husband is ordered and dutifully follows, “Honey, please take a picture of this.” Thank goodness he is so good-humored, or at least he lets me think he is. As I was glancing through his pictures, I found many images I had never seen. Reviewing them was like a picture of my husband’s attitude towards life.  Jim has always delighted in the small moments.  Life, to him, is not all that complicated, at its best.

I saw many pictures he had captured of family that appeared to be taken when no one was paying attention. There also are several that I presume we all thought were long forgotten, removed off his phone for good.  I even saw snapshots of photographs of his parents,deceased. These must have taken when his family was together for their funerals.  All together, these images were a picture of the heart the man I have come to love and cherish.

I tried to capture a cross sampling of his gallery to show a little of each of the people that have made an impression on his life.  However,  there are many folks that matter to Jim where images are not on his cell phone.  Some, no names mentioned, can't stand having their picture taken.  Yet, I know they have had an impact on his life and he deeply values his relationship with them as well.  

Many of Jim's images are not posed. He claims to not be great a picture taking. In spite of that, I found myself reviling at the emotions he seems to capture effortlessly on so many images, in particular of our grandchildren.  I clearly see the innocence so on their faces and their blinding trust.  Amazed at what I saw, when the slideshow was complete, I found myself seeing the sentimental side of a man that shows very little emotion, in pictures.  The humor, which is an integral part of who Jim is, becomes quite evident also.

Jim downloads pictures off his camera periodically.  This sampling is only what currently resides on the gallery. But, I think it is representative of where his heart is. See, some of these images  he has chosen to leave on his cell. I can only speculate it is because they are meaningful to him.   They reveal what he is attuned to, that is not wasting energy over trivial things.  He has always placed great value on intangibles. 

Our faith has been the glue of our relationship.  We both believe God is central and the core of our being. We express this  in different ways but within our marriage, it is key.  In our decision-making, it is the single more important element. 

Life comes at you hard and fast. It seems easier to roll with the flow and not stop and think before making decisions to implement changes.  Positive changes can be life altering too.  They can also alienate others. But, God calls us to be warriors of his word. In doing so, we must follow his lead and sometimes cause those ripples in our lives.  That means, making Christian decisions and holding ourselves accountable for trying to meet those standards. Jim has been a motivator in doing this for me and a footrest when I need to rest from the storm. In our world, it helps us to encircle our life with a support system of individuals that have a belief system similar to ours. He has also always chosen well his friend base.

Jim has had a major impact on my life. He is a rock, in many ways. I think he impacts many others who have known him well too. No matter the depth of despair he is going through, he
remains spiritually strong and outwardly in control.  He never wavers in sharing his profound faith in God with me. This has freed me to share mine with him.  This serves only to strengthen a marriage and individually increase one's commitment to the covenant to God.  When I need strength, Jim builds me up. When I need a shoulder to cry on, he is there. When I need someone to laugh, even if the jokes aren't funny, he finds the strength to laugh, even when God must surely roll his eyes at my humor. 

We are all called to be, in our close relationships, similar to how God is to us, a supporter, a nurturer, a friend, someone who can accept each other’s faults and help each other learn how to grow.  I hope the images from my husband’s phone give you a glimpse into his heart. I know in my heart God smiles when he sees how open my husband’s heart is to those that come near him in his life.  He doesn't always get appreciated for all that he is, he gives and for the fact he expects nothing back. But I know in heaven he will get his just reward. 

Creating this slideshow is a snapshot of how a man who was raised in the Church and has kept his Christian faith throughout his life views those that matter through a scope on his phone.  These are the moments that really count in his life.  Click Here To See


What Does Your Yard Say About You?

Neighbor with 100% best yard!

Years ago, there were types of neighborhoods. You had your classy type were everyone had perfectly manicured lawns. There was the type where everyone had starter homes and small children with bikes lined up outside.  Then there was the type where empty nesters lived like me. Today, it is as diverse as  ever.  Folks are so busy that you can just imagine a great deal about the inhabitants from the outside. 

Take our neighbors for example, if I might.  I think ours represents a good cross reference of many of yours:

Pool use to be behind house with blue siding

We have the one neighbor who had the kayak pool above ground up for years. It was  in the backyard when we moved here over eleven years ago, about 100 feet behind their house.   It stayed that way till about 3 years ago.  The only thing missing was people swimming in it. It had the white lattice work, a nice deck around and a pathway from the deck off the back of the house leading to it.  I am not sure what was in it or what its’ purpose was. It did lessen the amount of lawn that needed to be cut. When our dog, Charley got free, he was always anxious to pee around it.  It began to look sorta creepy when moss and vegetation grew around it over time and was quite a mystery why someone would leave a large unused pool up in a hot summer in TN.

We never bothered to ask the neighbors about this though. Our only communication with these folks was coincidentally through Scott Bolon. He was visiting from Northern Kentucky and taking our dog for our walk.  As he went up the curb with Charley, our dog apparently peed on one of the trees that lined the side of his long yard. Out of the blue, Scott heard a loud angry voice screaming, “Do not let that dog piss in my yard!”  He looked over his shoulder and it was the man from that house yelling out the door from his deck not very happy with a few expletives thrown in there.  We felt perhaps they were not the type of neighbors that would like us to ask them about their unused pool.

Tree Saying "Help Me"

Then we have the neighbor whose tree fell down a few months back during a storm. He
has made no attempt to pick it up.  He is waiting for the tree fairy to come by and pick it up.  I never knew such a fairy existed. It must be a southern thing. 

Next door to us for years our dearest neighbors have one of those fold down top trailers.  We are not sure they ever used it but Rob tells us he got a heck of a deal on it. I suppose it makes sense if one gets a deal to buy it while the picking is good. So, over the last ten years, we have seen it get opened up and aired out at least two or three times. I think it may have housed a few slumber parties for their youngest daughter even.  It has been moved two or three times to different locations in the yard, making its way from the driveway, to the back of the yard to where it resides now, closer to the front. I am assuming it is waiting for another person to drive by and see it and think it is a heck of a steal and buy it.

On the other side of us is a wonderful family. They are the home fixer-uppers that believe why pay someone else to do things when we can do it ourselves so much cheaper. Perhaps if you gaze at some of the pictures you can see why you would pay someone else.  

The patio we watched initially being constructed. It was hand laid and they picked the hottest day of the summer.  It began with skids all over the backyard piled 3 to 4 feet high with bricks.  The patio was going to be shaped in this wonderful custom geometric shape. It was going to take some time to construct, they told us, but they were in for the long-haul. By noon, the day they started, plans changed. I think, by then, it was decided to switch to a square patio with plant boxes made of the bricks on the side!  Plants were purchased, at some point and lined up in the backyard to put in those planter boxes for once the patio was complete. The construction site was open for ages. When complete, very little energy was left to plant.  Eventually they made it into the ground.  However, all energy was spent by then, so nothing was left to care for the greenery so the picture is self-explanatory. The plants around it became overgrown and now look like long forgotten friends left behind.  

One day a concrete truck came through the yard of our neighbors, a site we don't normally see. Apparently he was laying concrete in the backyard.  This, we quickly learned was for a basketball half court.  One would think one of the children was going into basketball.  Nope.  Apparently, oh well, nothing more to say here, incase it does happen in the future, it is here, in their yard.  Oh, it has been used occasionally. Normally though the hoop is laying where it is pictured here, on its side.  

Somewhere along the line a boat was purchased. They have a camper so we presume it was for this purpose.  Even though home owner rules disallow all of these items to be proudly on display, they are in their case, allowed to disobey these rules. Or think they can.  Their yard is reminding me more and more of Pawn Stars.   The boat, pretty as a picture, hangs underneath their bedroom, upside down. I doubt this will go to  the best bidder though so do not even attempt to stop and bid!  Go two houses down to the fold down camper (3 paragraphs above) if interested in purchases. Your chances will be better on that gem. 

I certainly don’t want to imply we have no room to talk.  We, for our part, have a huge
Man-Eating Evergreen
evergreen out front that looks like a man eating Christmas tree. I have no idea what came over this plant but it once was a beautiful tree in a pot in our house for the holidays. We put the bulb in our front yard and it has never once looked the same again. It began to grow and took on this idiotic shape. We are waiting for some horticulture nut to come by one day and take to it so it looks more ‘normal’.  We do not want to be the subject of someone else’s blog!

It is not obvious this time of year but our front porch normally has on proud display pots holding fake flowers. I know what you are thinking, that is phony. Yep, but it works, they look beautiful and from the road, no one can tell.  They do not need watered, and can be reused.  I got the idea from a magazine and believe it or not, many friends have stolen my idea since. 

So maybe it goes without saying that the idiosyncrasies we all have inside our house, inside our lives are also expressed outside our homes. The next time you are driving through a neighborhood, perhaps your very home, take a look around.  Life can be quite humorous in a silly kind of way, in the mundane.


A Lesson from Two Six Year Olds

2 wise old souls at 6 years old!

They say that our role as adults is to teach our children. 
I am constantly amazed at what they can teach us, about ourselves, if we stop and listen.

Some grandparents are called other names, nanny, pappy, Mamey, Granpop, etc… Our grandkids have stuck with just ordinary grandma and grandpa.  We are happy with that as it fits.  We are just ordinary folks with no real tradition of names or habits of doing things.  Sometimes we wish we did but then again, life is simpler this way.  

Little things from our grandkids mean so much to both of us. The thoughtfulness of even the smallest thing melts our hearts as it does to most any grandparent. Getting a Starbucks travel cup from my grand-daughter Ava, after she told her Mommy she must buy that for Grandma Ronni, was precious! She has already duly noted my obsession for Chai tea from SB.

The winter hat from Kaleb that Grandpa Jim proudly wears on display for all the neighbors to see when he walks Charley.  It not only keeps his head warm but his heart because it was from Kaleb. 

At this stage in our life, anything from any of them means so much. I have fought a battle with cancer, and won. There is no guarantee it won’t return. Several of my friends have fought or are fighting it again.  Some had diagnosis dates close to mine. My husband has lost his only son.  Again, having grandchildren is special, they will outlive us.  We do what we can when we can to let them know they are forever locked in our hearts. Their gifts of any kind, even a gentle kiss remind us that we too are loved back by kind innocent hearts.

I co-wrote a research paper in college on the “Use of Art in Therapy.”  I quickly discovered that since the beginnings of time, humans have used art as a form of expression.   Recently, both of my six year old grandchildren have drawn pictures of Grandpa Jim and I.  They wanted us to display their artwork. Rather than hoard it to ourselves, I thought I would share it on my blog page.  Also, I have included some of what their insights are of us that I have drawn from these pictures.  Pure speculation of course …

Ava A. Glasmeier's Drawing of Grandma & Grandpa

  1. Apparently, in Ava’s eyes we have very colorful personalities. This could be biased by her ‘colorful lively ‘perception of the world.
  2. We have large feet and mine rarely stay on the ground. I think the implication here is that I have my head above the clouds. This may not be altogether wrong, at least some of the time.
  3. Grandpa Jim was born with antennas on top of his head.   I can only surmise this implies he is aware of everything going on at all times.  Thus, it is hard to keep a secret from him and also he is a good one to ask about what is around the corner.  I suppose we should nick name him the Family Radar in Ava’s eyes.
  4. There is a large M on this drawing, much like the Golden Arch at McDonalds, so apparently she equates us with that fast food chain.  This could be explained away easily by our desire to spoil her and get her happy meals there. I wouldn’t dare think it was because either of us reminded her of Ronald McDonald. 
  5. Grandma Ronni needs to be on the TV Show What Not to Wear or come to one of her princess tea parties to learn how to dress pretty.  She did put me in my favorite color purple and a dress but I am far from stylish.  I really think that my red leggings clash somewhat with my purple dress!
  6. This next observation is a self-serving one. Grandpa Jim does not help Grandma Ronni enough.  Well actually, I am just analyzing my grand-daughter’s picture.  Grandpa is minus his right-hand on her image. He is right-handed so how much help can he be to me or anyone without it?
  7. I noticed she has a zigzag line across the front of my face. This could be a worry line, a sign of a migraine or, God –forbid, she is already noticing my wrinkles!  (Please tell me no)
  8. There appears to be wings, red in color, coming off of Grandpa. For some reason, there are three wings!  She must feel he needs to be on a diet.  Two wings are not enough to lift him off of the ground.
  9. Our grass is orange as in dead on the bottom of her picture. She is right-on, we live in the south and she knew not to pick green!
  10. The overall comment about this picture is that Ava picked each of our favorite colors to use on us for clothing and put a huge smile on both of us as if we were thinking of her!  That is something we do all the time! 

Kaleb Bolon's Drawing of Grandpa Jim

Drawing by K. Bolon of Grandma Ronni

Kaleb drew a picture of us individually. I am not sure why, perhaps he thought it was important to show our individuality.  Just a guess, who knows?


  1. Compared to living in Northern Kentucky, the sun is always shining in Nashville, Tennessee!
  2. Going hand in hand with that, the sun smiles down on us southerners!
  3. Grandpa Jim has his hands on his head.  He must be getting frustrated with Grandma Ronni, again or it is just a good resting place.
  4. Grandma Ronni has no clothes on. I guess it doesn’t matter what I wear around him, the furthest thing from his mind is fashion! Grandpa Jim is naked too.
  5. Grandpa has shading around his head which can imply, in these types of drawings, anxiety.  Now this is interesting to me because most folks would call Grandpa Jim laid back but I know he has some underlying anxiety. From this pic, I think his little six year old grandson knows it too!
  6. Grandma Ronni has eyes but no eyeballs.  Does that imply, at times, I can be clueless? Possibly my six year old grandson has been ‘clued’ in!
  7. Kaleb told me that the blue lines represent a train track. Grandpa is walking towards it. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not.  It is interesting he choose this because, as a small boy, his grandpa loved to play on train tracks. Kaleb never knew that and yet drew tracks on a picture of his grandpa.  Ironic or intuitive?
  8. I think our grandson thinks our house is small. He has it drawn coming up to about my waist. Either that or my personality is way bigger than our house.
  9. Folks we have the most well-manicured lawn in the world according to Kaleb! Look at that line and eat your heart out. Looks like a fairway on a golf course.
  10. Grandpa Jim is going to be bald in the future and my hair is going to go from short to very funky, possibly only growing on one side. But since Kaleb had a big smile on when he gave me the pictures, I know he would love us bald, toothless and feeble!

 I challenge you to do what these two six year olds do when they look at us. Don’t take yourselves too seriously. Life is too short not to laugh at the image in the mirror sometimes.  Walk away and carry that humor with you for the rest of the day.  Oh, what the heck, how about for the rest of your life?