Friday, December 02, 2011

{the gift of TIME}

To get all there is out of living, we must employ our time wisely, never being in too much of a hurry to stop and sip life, but never losing our sense of the enormous value of a minute. ~ Robert Updegraff

This holiday season, I am thankful for time ... time to celebrate, time to heal, time to love, time to grow, time to laugh and for time to live and enjoy the beauty of each NEW day!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Inspiration from John on NBC’s “Biggest Loser” -

I was watching my brother-in-law, John, on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” this week and couldn’t help but reflect on his journey to lose weight. He has done amazing on the show and even set a new record for the amount of weight lost during the first 6 weeks. As a family, we have enjoyed watching the participants as they have dared to be vulnerable in front of millions and work through some really tough issues to lose the pounds. It’s been very inspiring! And I respect their commitment and determination.

It’s the first day of December and that means Christmas is only 25 days away … The Extreme Makeover episode on the “Biggest Loser” caused me to slow down for a moment and reflect on the importance of our choices and actions. It was so great to see John step out of that limo onto the red carpet and SEE all his hard work. He looked fantastic! In fact, all the participants looked
fabulous. They gave themselves and their families a wonderful gift – the gift of health! :)

As we kick off this holiday season, let’s remember the ‘gifts’ we give ourselves and acknowledge the power we each have inside - to change our lives!

Just as John has created a new life and image for himself – we can too… with our determination and hard work - one little moment at a time!

[Click here for more info on John and The Biggest Loser]

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm in charge of the pies this year ... I made pumpkin pies, lemon meringue, and apple. Also, yesterday I was able to spend the afternoon with my sweet mom and we made up a pumpkin roll.
As I was cooking, I couldn't help but think - "How blessed we are to have a holiday just for giving thanks!" Today, is truly one of my favorite days of the entire year.
It feels good to slow down and make all this beautiful food in celebration of our freedom and for the blessings that so abundantly decorate our lives.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Dinner: 2 pm / pie: around 3 pm - bowling around 5.
Up next: Basketball in the backyard.


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Thankful Thursdays (you can play too) ...!!

Image source: / Love that site!

Since it's the month of Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fun to use each Thursday (this month) to share some gratitude! Want to share in the fun?! Oh, good!

Thankful Thursday rules -Choose 2 people in your life and let them know how much you appreciate them. Ideas ... give them a note, tell them in person, call them on the phone (or whatever you decide to do) - and let them know how thankful YOU are to have them in your life.

Have fun and invite others to be part of the 'Thankful Thursday' adventure.

Dates to play -11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 11/24

PS: Slow down and say THANK YOU!! ... :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Random thoughts (inspired by pumpkin pie) ...

The latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens arrived in my mailbox yesterday. I had a few moments and started glancing through it – I couldn’t help but stop and immediately WANT a piece of pumpkin pie when I landed on the McCormick pie Ad and recipe. The Ad is so enticing that I decided that THIS is the pie I am going to make for Thanksgiving this year.

As I read through the recipe (conveniently included on the page), I couldn’t help but smile as I read this: For more great-tasting recipes, visit or call 1-800-MEAL-TIPS.

And this imaginary conversation ran through my mind:

{Thanksgiving Eve}

MEAL-TIPS Phone Worker: “Hello, thank you for calling MEAL-TIPS, how can I help you?”
Caller: “Can you help me figure out what to do for dinner tomorrow night?!”
MEAL-TIPS Phone Worker: “YOU called the right place. WE are here for you. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and that means you’ll need some pie, a turkey and some green beans. What time zone are you in? OH, you’re fine – your local store is still open tonight and you can get everything you need. Remember to leave your turkey out so it will thaw for the BIG day tomorrow“!
Caller: “Thanks a million – this will be the best holiday ever! I’m hanging up RIGHT NOW and going to get a turkey, a pie and some green beans.”

Funny stuff … I think I might give 1-800-MEAL-TIPS a call and see what they suggest I make tonight for a party of 5.

PS: Amazing how powerful a pumpkin pie AD can be ... :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

YOU are in the driver's seat ...

I'm currently reading "Become a Better You" by Joel Osteen. As I started reading the chapter on Keep Pressing Forward I especially liked this little segment:

"The car you drive has a large windshield, but only a relatively small rearview mirror. The implication is obvious: What happened in your past is not nearly as important as what is in your future. Where you are going is much more important than where you've been. If you stay focused on the past, you're liable to miss numerous excellent opportunities ahead."

As I read that, a mental picture came to my mind of a steering wheel and how WE are the ones in the driver's seat and we control our focus, our destination and the choices we make day to day.

PS: Our moments matter - make them count. Press forward and enjoy the amazing adventure ahead!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Delight in the beauty ...

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou

This little moment matters ... slow down and delight in the beauty of YOU and all the challenges and changes that have helped create the wonderful person you are today.

Amazing really.

Monday, September 12, 2011

And the tree was happy ...

(We recently had an old tree removed from our backyard ... The stump reminded me of one of my all-time favorite children's books.)

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

And after a long time the boy came back again.

–”I am sorry, Boy”, said the tree, “but I have nothing left to give you – My apples are gone”.
–”My teeth are too weak for apples”, said the boy.
–”My branches are gone”, said the tree. “You cannot swing on them”.
–”I am too old to swing on branches”, said the boy.
–”My trunk is gone”, said the tree. “You cannot climb”.
–”I am too tired to climb”, said the boy.
–”I am sorry” sighed the tree. “I wish that I could give you something… but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump. I am sorry…”
–”I don’t need very much now”, said the boy. “Just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired”.
–”Well”, said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, “well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down… sit down and rest”.
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy…

The end.

Such a great little reminder that no matter what, we can choose to give and be happy! :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Our new (old) house adventure!

About two years ago, my husband and I bought an old fixer upper house. It was built in 1944 and needed a ton of work. The price was right and we felt equal to the task! With every step of this adventure, I am reminded (again and again) of the magic that happens each time we embark on fixing up a room, a chair, a window, a wall or the yard. It feels so good to look around and say, "We did this!"

...This new, old house of ours feels more and more like home everyday!
Join the adventure: Built in 1944

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Life is like vanilla ice-cream ...

“The gem cannot be polished without friction nor man without trials.” — Confucius
And ice cream cannot be created without ice and churning. :)

This week - slow down and appreciate the challenges around you - they are teaching you and molding you into the best version of YOU. It may not seem like it at the time but when you look back - you'll appreciate the new flavor and the gem you are becoming...

Friday, September 02, 2011

Monkeys in the window ...

Photo moment: Bellevue, WA / Store: The Paper Source
I was totally drawn in by the Monkeys in the window! :)

PS - There is just something really charming and alluring about brown paper bag monkeys.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gentle Thoughts ...

(Gentle Doodle by me ...)

What type of thoughts do you have running around in your mind? Are your thoughts negative, positive, angry, confused, unorganized or sad? Are your thoughts gentle?
I read something today that made sense and I thought it would be a good ‘thinking tip’ to pass along.

It comes from Richard Carlson, Ph.D. -

Gentle thoughts are those that reinforce the beauty of life and the privilege of being here. They range from thoughts of love and peace to those of forgiveness and generosity. They often include a hint of gratitude.
His definition of gentle thoughts made me smile (from ear to ear.)

Try it – fill your mind with gentle thoughts and enjoy the beauty and privilege of this gorgeous day!

Friday, August 26, 2011

One of the most romantic songs ever ...

Kenny Rogers was performing at our big county fair last night – I love seeing performers at the fair. You throw down a blanket or set up a lawn chair and enjoy the show under the stars with the Farris Wheel and the sound of roller coaster screams in the distance. You’re also surrounded by people eating elephant ears and bright yellow ears of corn dripping in butter (hot off the BBQ) – there’s just nothing quite like it.

Aside from all that I have to say that Kenny Rogers is a class act. His band dresses up and so does he (despite the 100 degree temps). His songs brought back a lot of memories from the 80s and I couldn't’t help but smile as he began one of my all time favorite country songs – “Lady”.

{click here} for Lady via YouTube I think you’ll agree that’s it’s one of the most beautiful, romantic songs of all time.

Little note – This year marks 50 years of being in the entertainment business for Kenny Rogers. Amazing … !!

Did we get a big elephant ear after the show? YES! And we enjoyed every sticky, cinnamon and sugar bite! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My thoughts on modern technology and texting … Sent via my heart.

I sat up thinking the other night (I do that often – think before I sleep). Anyhow, you might be wondering what my pre-sleep thoughts entailed …

First, the thought began with modern technology and how it can sometimes rob us of beautiful moments in life. Let me explain my thought/idea. While growing up, there were no cell phones. Therefore, there were no text messages. In fact, there were no instant messages on any hand held device – well, unless it was a pad of paper and you wrote a note and passed it along to a friend. THAT was instant messaging in my day. And if you dared share an ‘instant message’ in class (at school), you hoped that it was never intercepted and read out loud by the Teacher. I still have some of the ‘instant notes’ from school days – written in ink by friends (some of who) have passed away and they are priceless. The ink has started to fade but the memory of the moment lives on! It was Speech Class and my friend, Keni, was letting me know that he was going to thrash me with his wit and knowledge in the Flag Burning debate. I think I wrote something back on the lined notebook paper that said: “Bring it on!”

OK back to the point – I agree that cell phones help keep us connected and are a quick and easy way to communicate with each other. However, I see a trend with the future generation that entails no eye contact or personal face to face communication skills. Think about it, it’s easier to ask a girl out via text than it is to her face. It’s also easier to break up with a little note that reads – U & me = no more.
You get the point.

I admit it, I’m old school – I love hand written notes, love letters on paper and face to face conversations. It seems to me that modern technology has robbed us of the need for those beautiful moments in life. When was the last time you wrote a letter and sent it via snail mail?
Just a couple of weeks ago, I received a thank you letter in the mail. It had to be torn open and there was a stamp in the upper right hand corner – OH I loved it! And it made me feel special because someone took the time to write something down, address it to me and send it off. Old school.

Don’t get me wrong – I love modern technology and social media and the instant way we can connect and communicate. However, some of my favorite little moments in life have to do with the real moments in life. The ones where you get together face to face, the ones where you call and hear a real voice on the end of the line and the ones where you read a note from someone’s heart and hand that simply let’s you know he or she cares.

This week – slow down … send a note via snail mail instead of text, call someone just to say I LOVE YOU and if you need to break up with someone – have the decency & guts to meet face to face and look ‘em in the eye to say U & me = no more.
Let me know how it goes.

P.S. – This note was not sent via mobile, via runtastic, via iphone or via BlackBerry – it was sent via my heart.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just keep swimming ...

While driving today, I heard something that made me smile and do a little reflecting. The deejay said: “Old people have a young person stuck inside of them yelling: “What happened?”

Earlier today I took my daughter to swimming lessons and had a really great time watching her perform the various strokes and moves in the water. I was impressed by the swim instructor and her confidence and her ability to teach the kids to swim. I was also impressed by the kids and their desire to jump into the cold, frigid water and get busy with monkey, tree rocket!

As I watched the kids swimming and trying their best to do the breast and back stroke, I thought to myself … Kids are such great examples of how we should live and be. They jump right in, try things, accept each other and keep trying when they don’t get it right.

I think that’s part of what happens as we age – we lose that beautiful part of ourselves that lets us really live.

(Back to the moment in the car) - As I turned the corner to home, I thought – there is a young person inside of me but she’s not saying “What happened?” She is shouting – Keep swimming Wendy, keep trying, keep believing, keep learning and keep LIVING!
What’s the ‘young voice’ inside of you saying?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What do you do in the summertime? ...

My kids and I spent the morning at the public library. We love the library – something for everyone. Lauren found horse books, Kaleb found mystery books and a big collection of Guinness’s world records.

What did I grab? … 2 books by Nicholas Sparks – both in LARGE PRINT.

Cheers to summer and the little moments at the library.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Say a prayer for London ...

The riots in London during the past few days have held my attention. It's sad to see such events unfold ... please join me and say a prayer for peace in London and for peace throughout the world.

Pride & Prejudice

I absolutely love this movie - "Pride & Prejudice" ... it never gets old.
Watch it (you'll love it).

Monday, August 08, 2011

Little moments from my 20 year high school reunion ...

Tory and Wendy Christensen / August 6, 2011
Wendy and Stacey
Shaley, Jen, Wendy and Stacey
RHS class of 1991 - group shot

When I graduated from high school (back in 1991) I had no idea that I would be involved in planning the class reunions. I'm happy to report that we had an incredible time last weekend at our 20 year festivities and today as I sit here thinking about the past couple of days a song keeps coming to my mind ...

I hope you dance

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
~ LeAnn Womack

Personal note - If you get the chance to plan and/or attend a class reunion - JUST DO IT... And I hope you dance!

Cheers to the people and places that make us who we are.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Luck ---

sand dollars ...
Tory and Wendy Christensen - Seaside, OR (hunting for sand dollars) ...

I took my son for a haircut earlier this week and found myself checking out the pile of magazines - The Ladies Home Journal caught my eye with an article about being lucky.

The article offered 3 main points -
1. Lucky people are those who seize the day
2. Lucky people smile and schmooze
3. Lucky people are resilient and persistent

I could hear the hum of the hair buzzer and its melodic sound caused me to drift away to the Oregon Coast and the day my husband, daughter and I were able to find 75+ sand dollars washed up by the outgoing tide.

The article was right – We were lucky people who seized the day. It was our last day at the ocean and we really wanted to go home with some treasure from the sea. We found out that low tide was at 6 am – we set the alarm for 5:30 am. I’m happy to report that we made it to the ocean by 6 am.

As we were walking to the beach, I said to my husband: “I hope I find one whole sand dollar.”

Once there, we were lucky because we saw some other people hunting for treasure and they had an entire bucket full of ‘whole sand dollars’ – we smiled and they told us their secret location so we could get some too. (Cheers to the power of a smile).

We were persistent and decided the adventure at sea was worth it! The only way to the secret sand dollar location was to cross a little ocean river (up to my gut). Burr – but oh it was worth it! We found more sand dollars than I’ve ever seen in my life. It was the sand dollar gold mine.

Luck is up for grabs and we create it. We are already in the right place at the right time – we just need to seize the day and enjoy every moment that comes our way.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A rainbow of tulips ...

I bumped into this 'rainbow of tulips' and felt so inspired by the beauty ... I also felt an overwhelming feeling of appreciation for this beautiful world we live in.

Click here for more tulip inspiration.

PS - slow down and enjoy the beauty of this day and the 'rainbows' around you.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Mockingbird Hill ...

Practice moment ...

On the guitar - Tory Christensen
Vocals - Katie Lund, Amy Bowman, Erica Anderson & Wendy Christensen

Flowers for Grandma. Photo credit - Ben Faber

Bedford, Wyoming ... July 5, 2011
Singing with my sisters at Grandma Lichfield's graveside service.

Mockingbird Hill - One of her favorite songs!

{click here and watch} ...

Friday, July 08, 2011

My new (old) bike -

My new summer wheels ... red. vintage. Perfect.
Now I just need to find a basket and a bell :) ---

Life is good!

All because ...

Ruth and Robert Lichfield -(my Grandparents)

"Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family."
-- Anthony Brandt

My Grandma and Grandpa are buried next to each other in a little, beautiful cemetery in Bedford, Wyoming. My Grandma's funeral was this week and as I looked around at all the family gathered together to celebrate her life, I couldn't help but think ...


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Grandma Lichfield ... An amazing woman!

One of my favorite pictures from our wedding day (May 22, 1993)... The kiss - by Grandma & Grandpa Lichfield.
She passed away yesterday and below are a few memories ...

For my Grandma Lichfield –

Brigham City, Utah -

First, I remember as a young girl anticipating the trips to Brigham City, Utah to spend time at Grandma’s house. Her house was so magical to me and I can still smell the flowers leading up to her front porch and see the beautiful garden in the back yard. And whenever I see a mint bush – I think of her and the smell of fresh mint by her backdoor.

She lived right across the street from Kentucky Fried Chicken and whenever we stayed there she made sure we enjoyed a big bucket of hot chicken and biscuits as part of the stay. The chicken always tasted better at her house.

Grandma was wonderful at making children feel welcome! She had special toys up in the closet for us to sleep and snuggle with during our stay. She also had a fun bedroom upstairs with twin beds all made up for us to sleep in.

I’ll always remember bubble baths at her house and the pink flamingo painting that was right next to her tub. I also remember the pig collection she and Grandpa had and how fun it was to visit and check out each one.

I remember taking creative adventure walks with her. She would give me a brown lunch bag and tell me to collect stuff along the way. When we returned home she would help me assemble the items onto drift wood and create a wonderful work of art. Those art pieces sat in her kitchen cabinet for years and reminded me each time I visited of walks and fun we enjoyed together.

I loved looking through her picture books. They were full of family memories and fun times. I loved to have her tell me about each picture and what was going on.

One summer, Grandma taught me how to make roses out of frosting. She could make the most beautiful wedding cakes and she taught me some of her secrets. I remember eating my frosting rose and drinking ‘liquid sunshine’ out of her emerald green cups. In case you are wondering, liquid sunshine was her name for orange juice!

Grandma made the best pancakes! I loved to smother them with her peach jam and sit at the table and listen to Grandpa tell stories.

Grandma had the best hugs – she was always the last one to let go.

When Grandma & Grandpa came to our house to visit -

Grandma and Grandpa made everything fun! When they came to our house to visit (in Richland, WA) they wore matching travel shirts and would take us out to Pizza Hut for dinner.

When I was in high school, they teased me about ‘boyfriends’ and called me ‘Twitterpatted’ …

Mocking Bird Hill in Bedford, Wyoming -

Grandma and Grandpa had this wonderful place in Bedford, Wyoming that they built for family gatherings. I remember a big Lichfield family reunion there and how wonderful it was to all be together.

Family was the most important thing to both of them. And I feel so blessed to be a part of it.

The killdeer bird -

One particular story that I hold dear with Grandma occurred when I was quite young. We were in Wyoming attending a family reunion and my sister, Amy, and I were walking with Grandma. She knew all the names of the flowers and taught us all about the beauty around us. We happened upon some horses that had their legs chained together and we asked her why they were wearing those awful things? She told us they were called hobbles and that kept the horses from running too far away. We thought the word hobbles was so funny! Our walk continued and we happened upon some little birds. One was lying on the ground – barely moving. We picked it up and asked her to make it live and be healthy. She gently scooped the little killdeer into her hands and tucked it inside her coat. It didn’t make it and died in her coat. She helped us gently bury the little bird and told us that everything that is born must eventually pass on…

A little note from me -

Grandma, thank you for the beautiful life you lived and for all the love you showed me. I know that you are in a better place – surrounded by people you love and who love you.

I will miss you and I love you more than words can say. And I can still feel the hugs and kisses you so freely gave! I hope those never fade …

Your granddaughter,
Wendy Lichfield Christensen
June 29, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summertime ...

Can't wait to write love notes in the sand ...
Looking forward to picking cherries in Yakima ... (That's me, the second fruit from the left)!!

Lighthouses - they move me! I can hardly wait to visit this one in July ...
The Ocean - beautiful, vast, inspiring ... ahhhhh I can already hear the waves, feel the sand on my feet and taste the s'mores on the beach.
Butterflies, chalk art and summer - they just go together.
I hope to bump into a few flea markets and bring home a few treasures from the road.
Road trips - nothing like them (especially when you turn the corner and find yourself face to face with a big, gorgeous mountain!)
Check that out - Mt. Rainier.
Afton, Wyoming - SO hoping to spend some time here in July!! Fingers crossed.
Summertime - full of wonder, awe and adventure!
Cheers to the places we go, people we meet and the new things we learn, see and experience ...