Love, Forgiveness and Shafer Relentless

Earlier this week we attended a memorial for a man who was just two years older than my husband.  He was a well-respected community leader with a big heart and was also a philanthropist who supported and promoted many children’s charities.  I knew he lived life Large but what I didn’t know until hearing his friends and colleagues speak, was that he was also a jokester.

Stories of him being such a bad driver that he ran into and over a Saguaro cactus on a golf course with the cart and then enlisted help to squish it down so he could drive off and continue his game coupled with, having 12 packages of turkey legs delivered to a neighbor who couldn’t find them at his local Fry’s store, helped me realize that there was much more to this man than I knew.

I was struck by how short life seems when you’re not ready to say goodbye.

As I was holding Ron’s hand during the service, I was thankful I still had my favorite person in my life.  I was overcome with a tremendous amount of love and respect for him.  He does so much for our family and I appreciate how hard he works to create this wonderful life for us.

I Love You A Bushel And A Peck

A wonderful saying from a shop in Solvang, Ca.

He is my forever partner and I’m having so much fun on this life journey with him!  I realize that finding that person that gets you, that makes you laugh, that loves you for all your crazy quirks is hard to find but, when you do, hang on for the ride of your life – it’s worth it!

Wayne Dyer uses an affirmation from his Meditations for Manifesting that goes something like this:  “My judgements prevent me from the seeing the good that lies beyond appearances”.

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How many times have you made a judgement based on something you saw or heard only to revise that judgement when you had more information or heard the whole story?

My guess is, many times….

I’m sharing this in hopes you will stop for just a moment and give thanks for the good things in your life…..the things that don’t suck.  The things and people, that if they weren’t in your life, you would miss.

I used to think Forgiveness was for the people in my life that didn’t conform to my expectations.  Those that did me wrong, the ones that needed grace and were lost for their misguided ways…..

I’ve done a lot of soul-searching in the last couple of years and I realize forgiveness is between Me and Me.  I forgive Myself for being unyielding, obstinate and for seeing life only through My filter.

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What I now realize is that everyone has their own story.

Love them and let them be.

No judgements.

Live your life as an example of how you want others to treat you.

Love unconditionally.

Every time I hear this Collective Soul song Forgiveness, it stops me in my tracks and I am overcome with such strong emotion.  It reminds me I’m not perfect….

I’m also reminded to hug those I love, long and often.  You never know the length of their life journey…..

One of the things we had in common with the man whose memorial we attended was our love of wine.

Relentless 2009-we drank the 2007 before I could get a picture!

Shafer Vineyards was one of his many favorites and Relentless was one of his recommendation to us.  We enjoyed the 2007 vintage with good friends (very important!) which is mostly Napa Valley Syrah and a bit of Petite Syrah.  It is dark in the glass and tasted of blackberry, dark cherry, tobacco (Ron) and cedar (Me).  It’s definitely a  full-bodied wine to be enjoyed with food and will cellar well for the next 5-10 years.  If you visit Napa Valley you really should visit this winery.  They have 2 tastings a day of only 10 people each so you will be assured an amazing experience with top shelf wines!

Tonight Ron and I are raising a glass of wine to Jon.  Here’s to the life he lived – full speed ahead, to his love of wine and to the legacy he leaves behind.  We will miss you.

Cheers to those that have gone before us….IMG_4458

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Enough With The Haboobs, Give Me A Viognier And Some Collective Soul!

It’s July in Arizona and that means we have “Weather”.  Things like rain and wind – strong wind…and dust storms.  This is big news for us because it’s usually Hot, Dry and, well….Hot.

In Phoenix,the arrival of a summer dust storm is often called a Haboob.  As in, there is a Haboob rolling in from Casa Grande.  We even make the national news from time to time.

Courtesy of ABC 15 news

I lived in Tucson for  25 years and we never had these.  I’m guessing it’s because Tucson is surrounded by mountains on all four sides of the city.  Phoenix is a bit more spread out and the “mountains” don’t form the same pattern.

Did you just detect a bit of mountain snobbery there?  Why, yes you did!  I freely admit it and am not ashamed to say that for me, in Arizona, there is nothing like Mt. Lemmon.  It was there I experienced many a ditch day from the boredom of my high school years.  It was there I took my children to escape the oppressive heat of the brutal Arizona summers.  Most importantly, it was there I introduced my daughters to the man, that less than a year later, I would marry.  It is one of the most beautiful spots in Arizona to gaze upon as the sun is setting.  The mountain range turns a dusty purple and you can see such depth and dimension in all the hidden canyons and rock formations.

I include this on my wine blog Why?  Well, because I love weather.  I love the clouds, the sky, the stars, and magnificent rain storms…..I should have been a Meteorologist.  In fact, in 5th grade that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up.  And because I can’t stop pulling out my iPhone, snapping pictures and filtering them through Camera+, I feel compelled to share the beauty I find with you.

The Wine…

If I was drinking wine during a summer monsoon storm it would be a Viognier (Vee-own-yay).  I first tried this floral, fruity white wine at Trefethen Vineyards on a wine country trip about 4 years ago and fell in love with it.  I find it delicate in aroma, but it definitely  has enough body to stand up  to Thai or Chinese food, as well as heartier fish and chicken dishes.  You don’t hear much about this Amazing varietal but if you get a chance to taste – do so!  Darioush is another favorite Viognier of mine.  We purchased several bottles last year when visiting the Napa Valley area. We made an unexpected (but most enjoyed!) stop at this Persian style winery on our way back to San Francisco.

The Music…

So, the music I would be listening to during this storm would be an instrumental ditty called Pretty Donna by Collective Soul.  They are one of my all time favorite groups!  Did I mention I LOVE Collective Soul?  Yes I did and Yes I do!!

One last note – today was my Grandson’s last day with me and I couldn’t believe what he asked for…..his chocolate chip cookie…..the one from Sunday, well over a week ago…..the one that I ate just after he left for a several day visit to my Mom’s house.  I had to do some serious distracting on that one!  Check out my earlier blog post about his cookie here.

I leave you with a picture of my silly greyhound Crystal paying homage to the Sleep Gods….She loved having my grandson around.  He, however, wasn’t so sure about her.  I suppose it can be intimidating have a dog stare you eye to eye when you are standing.

Yes, She really sleeps this way!

Enjoy your week and Cheers to you!