The Kofford Family relocates to Colorado after 40 years as Californians. In December of 2007, Grandma Lorraine is diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. Sadly, she passed away on Dec. 26th, 2008 after a year long courageous battle. Follow our journey as we keep Lorraine's memory alive, and as we learn to appreciate that each day we are given, is a gift to be enjoyed!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~Maria Robertson

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Can you give yourself 3 weeks? Just 3 weeks...

Did you exercise today?

It's almost the first day of May. It's time for a new beginning, or a new start, or a new motivation. Whether you are a regular exerciser, a weekend warrior, a fair weather exerciser, or a non-exerciser...we can all use a new beginning. Let's face it...we're not getting any younger. Unless you are already aware of your diet and exercise needs, we're also not getting any healthier. Many of you may be like me and have high cholestrol, or are pre-diabetic. What are we doing about it?

I have gained and lost weight a handful of times in the past. I put the weight on, and then I take it off, and then I regain it once again. Has this happened to you? Yes, diet plans do work...Weight Watchers is effective as are several other plans. The problem for me, is that once the weight is off, I am ready to eat again! I'm hungry by the time I've completed the plan!

So, my new plan is not to worry about weight and food right now. Right now, I need to focus on establishing a new habit. One new habit...just one...because long term good health isn't about losing weight quickly, or exercising madly for a few months, just to end up hungry, tired, and uninspired. If we want to prolong our lives, we need to make proactive choices, and stick with it! Do you want to make any changes in your lifestyle?

Would you like to join me in making a change? I'd love to encourage you in your journey. I won't ask you to tell us how much you weigh, or ask you to comment every day, or to do anything at all. Just think about a change you may want to make and let me know if you would like to commit to it for 3 weeks. It could be to exercise daily, or cut down on sweets or alcohol, or to eat two more servings of vegetables each day. It could be anything that you feel is a need in your life that would lead to a healthier lifestyle.

I am going to commit to exercising daily for 3 weeks. I'd like to move 2 miles a day. Period. It doesn't matter if I walk it, jog it, bike it, run it, skip it, or crawl doesn't matter if it is at 5 a.m. or 10 p.m. BUT I will commit to moving my body 2 miles a day!

At the end of 3 weeks, let's touch base...was a gradual change easy? How do we feel physically after 3 weeks? Is it a change worth continuing? If so, can we commit to adding one more positive change to our lifestyle? I'm not going to promise you I will nix chocolate from my diet, or stop eating cookies...but I will commit to moving 2 miles a day,for 3 matter what.

What happens if you skip a day? Am I going to say something? Am I going to tell on you? No! There is no diet police 20 lashings with a wet ridicule...just keep track. Does this sound too loose, or too lacking in accountability? Perhaps. Here's my rationale. For a change to stick...we need to do it for ourselves...not for our families, not for the doctor that says we need to change, or to fit into a new bathing suit. We need to make a change for ourselves, and for ourselves only. Because if it is for any other reason...for any other intention, we will fail. Maybe not right away, maybe not for weeks or months, but ultimately, making changes for someone else is not going to lead to lifelong success.

I love to send "snail mail!" There is nothing like a handwritten note and a few stickers to brighten the day. May I send you some snail mail along the way during our 3 week commitment? If so, e-mail me your address to

I started exercising last week, but will start a new chapter is Day 1. You don't have to do a thing, but if you choose to, "Hooray!" Let's get started!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thank you!

Thank you so much for your encouraging words on my "Dad" post!

I so appreciated your kind words! I also enjoyed reading your stories about your fathers, and how they impacted your lives. You all have such amazing dads, that have raised remarkable children.

Whether your father is still living or has passed, you inspired me with their stories...thank you for sharing a glimpse into your lives, and into what makes you, uniquely YOU!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Computer Friends...

Just because it made me smile and appreciate my readers, friends, and family! Thank you for your encouragement, your stories, and for making me smile every day! I heart you! :-)

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Dad

Today my dad would have celebrated his 70th birthday. He passed away on Oct. 31, 2006, and I miss him greatly. There is so much that I want to tell him, and so in his memory, I am going to post a tribute that I wrote several months ago on the anniversary of his passing.

If your dad is alive, give him a big hug today if you are able. Tell me something about him, I'd love to hear your special thoughts and memories. If he lives far away, call him today, even if there doesn't seem like much to say. Call him...for me, since I can no longer speak with my dad. I promise you won't regret the time invested in connecting with him...

If your dad has passed, please tell me something about him, and how long he has been gone. Do you have any special traditions that you do on your loved ones birthday or other special occasions? I am still coming to terms with my parents both being gone now, and what I can do to honor them on special days throughout the years.

Whether your dad is living or gone...remember him today, and I will too.

This was my Dad. (Written Oct. 31, 2008)

He died two years ago today.
He lived life fully on the day he died.
He flew his airplane, exercised, and talked on his ham radios.
He called a day that included all of the above a perfect day.

The last time I saw my Dad alive was two weeks before he passed.
He and my mom had just returned from a fantastic trip to Japan.
They went on the trip with his sisters and brother in law.
They made many memories, and were all grateful for that time with him.
He was in a great mood the last time I saw him.
He watched his grand kids head off to school.
He sat in our big comfy chair and visited with me, in no hurry to leave.
He gave me a big hug and told me he loved me.
He and my mom drove home, and I never saw him alive again.

My Dad was 67 years old the day he died so unexpectedly.
Life can change in an instant.
We had just come home from taking the kids trick-or-treating.
I got a call from my mom I'll never forget.
He didn't come home for dinner that night.
She worried.
She called the airport hangar where he had been that day, having flown earlier.
He didn't answer.
She drove out to the hangar.
She found him in his office.
He was on the sofa, as if he had just fallen asleep.

My Dad was a tall man standing at 6' 6" tall.
He was happily married to my mom for 41 years.

He was a talented man.
He accomplished everything below in 67 years.
My Dad was a magician.
He was on a ski patrol.
He brought injured skiers down from Mt. Lassen.
My Dad was also a pilot.
He was a business owner.
He was a police officer.
He was a special ed teacher.
He was a middle school and high school teacher.
He was a teaching principal.
He was a basketball coach.
He was an elected airport commissioner.
He was elected as a school board member.
He was an officer in the US Army.

He wanted to make a difference in people's lives.
He did.

He held my hand when I needed stitches.
He taught me how to jump rope.
He walked me down the aisle at my wedding.
He held our children when they were babies.
He came to their birthday parties, and performed magic tricks.
I admired him.
I still do.

He was always concerned for my happiness.
He was one of those people who asked meaningful questions,
and truly listened to my answers.
He used to ask me as a little girl, "Oh by the way, did I ever tell you I love you?"
He would ask this question several times in a day, and each time,
it confirmed that love to me.

As I got older, we didn't always see eye to eye.
We argued.
We disagreed.
Even if we had words with one another, I never doubted his love for me.

He was so happy to have a son-in-law, a grandson, and nephews.
He loved having 'boys' in the family.
He loved my mother, me, and his granddaughter.
He loved his sisters.
He was so happy to have Steffi, our German exchange student, become a part of the family.
He believed in surprising us all with generous deeds.

He loved animals and always had a soft spot for them.

He loved the snow and would have loved Colorado.
He would have appreciated that we have big tall doorways.
Being so tall, he always had to duck underneath standard ones.
He would have been happy looking out our windows at the mountains, as he called the mountains "Gods Country."

He would have been so proud that his grandchildren can play musical instruments.
He would have been pleased to see us happy.

My Dad was a wonderful man.

I would give anything to see him one more time, and tell him so.

Just a few old time photos...My Dad and me (on the right) during a dinner party.

Dad with his new puppy "Sargent."

Four generations of Johnsons. I am the only one still living. I remember my Dad, Grandma and Great Grandmother vividly. Each one of them had a fascinating story to tell.

My dad and I during my junior year in high school...

Our little family of three on the day Tom and I married.

So very many memories, so little space to journal a life well lived...
Remembering my Dad today

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cheap chairs and the fine art of making "inexpensive" look elegant! :-)

I decorate on a dime...well not's more like decorating on a few bucks! Either way, in this economy and time of uncertainty, there is no need to spend a fortune, so I am always on the look out for a good find. The JCPenney clearance catalog was no exception last week. I am in need of a few chairs and a small decorative table, so I used my coupons, and got a set of two arm chairs and a table for a great price.

My friend Sofia is a decorator and I need her input on the this post is for Sofia as we do long distance decorating! Excuse us, while we discuss ad nauseum the finer points of cheap chairs. We're doing it via blogging, because it is so much faster to post photos on Blogger, than wait the 2-3 min. per photo to download a photo on e-mail! This little trick will save us a lot of time but will also be (And if you should have an opinion, feel free to share it! :-)

I'm waiting to showcase Sofia until we get our draperies done, and then you can see her full range of skills! :-)

Until then...Sofia, here are some photos of the things we discussed earlier...this is my chair and table from the clearance catalog at JCPenney. I know it is more formal and traditional than the couch, but do you think it works? The price was right so if I can make it work with a throw or pillows, etc...that would be great. I think a chair in that corner would be good. (Readers if you have an opinion on any of these photos, feel free to share! ;-)

These are the two brown lamps I got from Real Deals! Sofia, do you remember Erica? She will close the store down for private parties and then the hostess brings in appetizers, etc...and receives $1 for every $10 spent...maybe we need a decorating party there next time you are in CO! The lamps were only $22 each! Whoo hooo!
Here's the swatch that could be used for the's one of the silks from Half Priced Draperies. See what you think if I were to move the leather chair...if the tapestry arm chair goes in it's place is it really clashing? I am trying to not be too matchy matchy, but it is hard to pull it all together!
The chair and the fabric...I know, it doesn't match, but does it blend in the room?
The other matching chair is the office...
So I could bring both in and exchange the leather chair...the lamp is from the set that was on the sofa table..too tall? Maybe some books and a little decoration on top to go on the table...or how about a neat picture frame?
I think the draperies will make a world of difference in that dining area...Do you think we should hang them close to the ceiling? I will need to measure 22 in. for the valance and see where it falls.
Remember how you suggested putting an old bike on the built ins? Well, I couldn't find a cool old I got a cute wrought iron one...the fleur de lis pic is from Hobby Lobby...I am thinking about putting the antique child's roll top desk from my parents place up there on the left ...where the plant that too much?
Let me know when you see this Sofia...I may just delete the post then so I don't bore everyone to tears...thanks so much for your input! Talk to you soon...readers, if you have ideas, don't be shy!

It's late and my alarm is set for 5 a.m. Good night all! :-)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kofford Kids...and a few grateful moments

Ashlyn's piano teacher hosts several recitals a year, and today was the spring recital where students of all ages performed. Here is Ashlyn posing with her fist trophy and award certificates from the recent auditions.

Happiness is a trophy well earned! :-)

Kyle finished his 10 day job of feeding a neighbors horse and taking care of barn chores while they were away. They paid him generously and he used his earnings to purchase a new skateboard!

13 year old boys love to skateboard, and this boy is no exception! :-)

Happiness is in the little things...

What makes your heart sing? Is it a job well done? A new skateboard? Hee hee Do you know what makes me grateful? (No, not a new skateboard, or chocolate, but the latter is very close!)

~Having everyone I love under one roof, and appreciating those who aren't...

~Having two people tonight walking with "Relay for Life" in memory of my mom...

~A soft bed to lay down in, and the strength to get out of it earlier than I would like.

~Seeing someone in a wheelchair, and appreciating that although I don't want to exercise, I am blessed to have two working legs to do so.

~Gratefulness is watching a good teacher teach, and appreciating that my parents were two of them.

~Being grateful is knowing that friends will put flowers on my parents gravesite when I live too far away to do so myself. Happiness is appreciating friendships, both near and far.

~Gratefulness is reading scholarship applications, and knowing that my parents memories will live on in those who receive funding to assist their students.

~Happiness is so many things, the list could go on and on...please share some of your grateful moments! I'd love to read what makes your heart sing! :-)

Titanic Exhibit

Yesterday we drove to Broomfield, CO to see the Titanic Exhibit. Years ago it came to Redding, CA and my mom went and saw it with Steffi, their German exchange student. They really enjoyed it, and at the time I wasn't able to come. I regretted it ever since as I am a big Titanic buff. It all started when I taught 3rd grade and the Titanic was one of the reading themes in the curriculum. The kids always loved the subject matter, and so did I! (I am also one of those goofy people that went and saw the movie 11 times after it first came out!)

When we arrived yesterday, we were each given tickets with a name of a passenger that was on board the Titanic in April, 1912. There were artifacts from the ship, stories and photos, etc...We enjoyed reading and learning more about those on board that fatal night on April 14, 1912. Each room had a theme, so when we were in the boiler room area, the lights were red, to simulate a hot working area, and then when the ship hit the iceberg the room was a cool blue with a huge mural of an iceberg, etc...

Unfortunately, at the end of the tour you found out if your passenger was "saved or lost." Tom and Kyle were both "saved" but Ashlyn and I had passengers that perished. This upset Ashlyn greatly and she was concerned that it meant she too would die. This of course brought on a discussion of how we all will die one day, and how any tears she shed should be for the poor people that didn't survive on the ship. We are all alive today, and we need to not take that for granted, not for one moment I told her. Then she was worried about pets on board, and "What about the cats and dogs? Who would save them?" The innocence of children is so refreshing, as I know I would have been worried about the animals too!

We went out to dinner afterwards at a restaurant called, "Bagli's" a New Orleans inspired Italian
restaurant. Besides crawfish on the menu, I am not sure what else made it New Orleans inspired, but it was a nice evening out and I didn't have to cook, so that is always a treat! :-)

Today Ashlyn has her piano recital, so we'll be in the company of musicians this afternoon! :-)

Have a great Saturday, and just a little FYI...I exercised again this morning...Did you? I have a few ideas on how we can motivate one another...check back soon! Ladies, we need to get excuses! :-)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Meet my $400 dust catcher...

About a year ago, I announced to Tom it was time we got in shape. We had the space for a treadmill, and my reasoning was that if we had it easily accessible, there would be no excuses. So, with this mentality, I convinced him we did indeed need to buy a treadmill. We searched Craigs List and found a nice quality treadmill for $400. It was a lot of money, but as I told Tom, "There is no price you can put on good health."

We brought the treadmill home and put it to good use for about 6 weeks. We were on a roll! Then, one day no one got on the treadmill. One day passed into a week, which morphed into months, until now it is one year later. There were a few sporadic jogs and walks here and there, but we quickly fell out of a good routine. I kept saying that I would get right back 'in the saddle again', or on the treadmill as the case would be.

As I tend to do though, I found more excuses not to get on the was too cold in the basement...the beds needed to be made... I think I need to go to the grocery store...I'll excercise as soon as I am done taking the kids to this or that...I better make that phone call first. You get the idea. After awhile I stopped with the excuses and just didn't exercise, period.

The shoes sat, and so did I.

Fast forward an entire year...the treadmill is collecting dust, no one is using it, and I have been regretting the $400 purchase. Here she sits...lonely, empty, and ready to run...
The other day, I realized that I could keep making excuses, or adopt Nike's slogan and "Just Do It!" Excuses surely aren't going to get me moving. So a few days ago I told myself that I would get up at 5 a.m. and exercise for an hour. There are no excuses at 5 a.m. No phones ringing, no activities to drive children to, no beds to make because everyone is still in them, no meals to prepare, etc...
So for the past 3 days, I have been on the treadmill at 5 a.m. and it wasn't pretty...I was slow, and tired, and broke a sweat with a fast walk. Today though, I felt good. I jogged more than I walked, and felt energized when I was done. Early in the morning, there is time for squats and lunges, sit ups, and push ups, and lots of stretching. There is no rushing that early, only a dark sky and lots of time.

Finally, the old dust collecting treadmill is coming back to life, and so am I.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hot flashes and mystery rashes...

Yesterday we took a drive into the mountains. Rocky Mountain National Park is only 45 min. from our home and what a difference in climate! Much of the state had 2-3 feet of snow with a recent storm, but in our area it was mostly rain. It was warm on Sunday though, so we decided to see some of the snow for the last time before it all melts away in the coming months.

We stopped at one of the visitors centers in the park and looked around...

Remember being a teenager and not wanting to go places? Why is it that family outings become more difficult as the kids age? I think that once the oldest figures out there are more exciting things going on his universe than taking a Sunday drive with the family, it all changes. Well, Kyle didn't want to get out of the car, and so he sat right here until he was good and ready to come inside. He was glad he did though as the park ranger did a presentation on, "Skins and Skulls" where we got to learn about "migrators, tolerators, and hibernators." Skulls and skins of different indigineous animals were passed around with lots of fun facts.

This 'rack' is from an elk...we would soon meet a few on our travels...
Eeek...look at that skull!

Estes Park with snow covered roofs...
Driving through town we ran into these fellows enjoying a Sunday walk...

See all that snow? Well it was a welcome reprieve for us ladies in the family. My recent hot flashes made the cool air such a relief! No need to say more. :-) Poor Ashlyn needed her own cool down. She has developed a strange case of hives/rash.

I took her to the doctor today and there are two possibilities of what this mystery rash could be caused from. She could have a childhood virus called, "5th's Disease" which goes away on it's own, or it could be a "profound reaction" to shaving cream! In her 2nd grade class they got to demonstrate fractions using shaving cream. Fun! Unfortunately, with her pale skin and red hair, her skin is extra sensitive. The hives/rash could be a product of that. Either way, she got the go ahead that it was OK to return to school, to she is back in the saddle, just a little hot and itchy in the process.

Tonight Kyle had an Orchestra Concert that was a big success, but he also had a disappointing day. He auditioned to play guitar in the Jazz band next year, and didn't make it. He's been waiting for days for the results and kept checking the bulletin board for the results. He has become quite a good guitarist and after 5 years of lessons, I really did think this would be a 'sure thing.' Well, life doesn't always go as we plan, so this was a good lesson in resiliency.

Off for now to plan my next flight out to California. I will be going sooner than I thought to start the big process of cleaning out my parents home. As an only child, this will be a BIG task, and a sad one too. I was lucky enought to win Anita's blog giveaway, and this weekend I finished the book I won called, "The Middle Place". It sure helped to put life in perspective, so I will take those lessons with me when I start the first phase of going through their house.

Until next time, have a good week! :-)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blogging Awards...

We're under a spring storm warning today...lots of wind, blowing rain/snow,'s the perfect day to get caught up on a little blogging housekeeping.

Share the love...I was fortunate enough to receive two special awards recently and wanted to "share the love" with you!

Thank you Jemm in the Flint Hills for the "Lemonade Award!"

The lemonade award is for showing great attitude and/or gratitude. Each award has a pay it forward concept...
The Rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog, nominate at least 10 blogs, which show great attitude and/or gratitude.
2. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
3. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
4. Share the love and link to this post, and/or to the person from whom you received your award.

Secondly, the Kreativ Blogger Award was given to me by the very kind Jemm and Paris Pink!

Thank you ladies for this kindness!
The Rules:

1. List 7 things that you love.
2. Link to the person who has tagged you
3. Choose 7 more bloggers to give the Kreativ Award to.

Just to make it a little more interesting, instead of 7 things I love, how about 10 things about me you never knew? The truth revealed! hee hee
1. I used to polish my dad's shoes, and give him pedicures. I'd soak his feet in warm water and trim his nails, buff his rough heels, etc...from the time I was 8 years old. He never asked me to do this, I just did it for years because I wanted to and he was a good sport!
2. I like to do annoynomous good deeds....regularly...secretly...more often than you know. Watch may be a recipient soon!
3. I used to dance ballet...not very well...and I was told I was too heavy to go further with it, but it brought me much joy.
4. I don't like to talk on the phone. Not that I don't like to talk with you, I would just rather have lunch with you, or have you over for a cup of tea, and see your face.
5. I don't hear very well. Which is one reason, I don't like the phone...I have to squeeze it to my ear and ask everyone to repeat what they said over and over and over again!
6. I don't like games...probably because I don't like math...I'd rather sit and do a project or a craft anyday!
7. I eat chocolate. I eat a lot of chocolate. I eat more chocolate than you would ever believe. I have been known to eat chocolate for lunch.
8. I ran a half marathon a few years ago and count it as a great accomplishment. I would like to run a marathon one day, and climb Long's Peak. First I need to lose 20 lbs. and my friend/enemy chocolate is interfering in my goal!
9. I am probably the only woman in America that strongly disliked the movie, "Mama Mia." I know, hate me.
10. I am a southern-girl-wanna-be. One day I want to visit the south, and see a plantation home, and catch fire flies, and sip sweet tea on a wrap around porch, and say things like, "Y'all." One day before I die, I am going to do this, and will be in perfectly happy bliss! :-)
Now for the 10 blogs I would like to receive the award as well! Yippee, it's your lucky day! These blogs are listed in no particular order.

Have fun ladies!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Top Ten House Loves

One of my favorite readers, the talented cook, wife and student, Lucy Marie, from "Lucy's Life" is hosting a fun Lucy's House A Home Giveaway. She asked her readers to list the Top Ten things that make their house a home, and to blog about them. She has some cute prizes for her readers that participate, and I couldn't miss out on the fun! So here, are a few things that come to mind when I think about what aspects of our house make it feel like "home" to me!
The canine companions who wait on the sofa for passing rabbits, cats, and grazing cows.
The Daddy who after a long day at work, patiently hangs things too high for me, and stands watch as little ones want to climb the ladder too!
The little girl who sits with the canine friends...
The faithful crock pot that has survived 20 years and 4 moves, continues to cook dinners and warm drinks at holidays.
The boy who suns himself while doing homework...
And the feline companion who waits outside his room for him to finish.
Beloved tea cups from my grandmothers that have seen parties and tea's galore.
The hooked rug lovingly made for our wedding by my grandmother. She insisted it be used and walked on! So for 20 years, we have done just that, displaying and using it daily to welcome guests in our front entry!
New things make a house a home, like a brand new chair...
Or a peaceful view out the window... or the tassels that show my love of roosters.

Memories of those who are no longer with me. And memories of those who are...

Lastly, the #1 feature of our house that makes it a home, are the people that live in it! ~FAMILY~ From our first apartment, to our first starter home, to the home we live in now; family is what makes any dwelling a "home!"
Be sure and join in Lucy's fun, and you too can enter to win a great giveaway!
What makes your house a home? Do tell! :-)