Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happy Fall

Just a quick note to say hello.

I am cleaning, picking up after 3 very messy children and wanting to get outside on this gorgeous day here in Denver. I have a book to read, so I'll step out to lunch before kids come home.

Last night we had Family Fun Night and had so much fun here at home playing Ping Pong, finding fun new apps for my i-phone and laughing so hard from the boys humor I cried tears down my face ... Tigist ran to get me tissue and said, "It's okay Mommy". It was so funny. I said, "No sweetie, I'm laugh-crying. I'm not sad." I posted the photo on my FB page you have to see it ... look for a naked cowboy.

Hope you all are well.

Talk soon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lisa Wills Sings "The Way I Am" by Indrid Michelson

I recorded this song, how fun is this ... I did my own background vocals.

I recorded a song 24 years AGO in a studio that cost a lot of money and it sounded nothing as nice as this one!  

THE WAY I AM sung by one of my favorite artists, Ingrid Michelson.

Have a listen and tell me what you think,

Brandon Turns 15. Happy Birthday Handsome Guy!

March 22nd, Brandon turned 15.
Here is Tigist, Brandon & Evan.  Brandon invited a few friends to go to a huge trampoline place where you literally bounce off walls.  I hope he had a great day.

Of course we had to drive to the Lamborghini Dealership to touch, see and smell these puppies.

Our favorite color

Can you imagine driving in this baby?

So close, yet so far from owning one.

Tigist was such a big girl about the birthday party being about her big brother and not her.  She was very excited for him to have a birthday and cake and prezzies.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back in March Photos

I tried to post these back in March, but here they are now

Thank God for this yard sale snow blower, it is the bomb for clearing our property. 

I love popping my head out the door during the day or right before I go to bed.  I say g'nite to the day and take a deep breath in of this incredible air that smells so fresh and crisp...especially in this Mile High City.

Living on a corner, you need to clear the front, the corner and all along the side.  So sometimes we just keep on going and do a bunch of neighbors.  It's good exercise and gets you all warmed up.

Hard to imagine this was March when at the moment I have the fan in the living room on high cause I'm hot.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons ... Make Limoncello!

The Limoncello is now in process.  The rinds of 10 large lemons are swimming in a liter of rocket fuel.  This is 190 proof Vodka by Everclear.  They will soak for 5 days, shaking them only once a day.  Then the simple sugar added then sitting another 24 hours, then another 24 hours in the freezer.  So you know Wednesday night we're checking out the goods ... wanna come over?
This is the adorable Luigi and Francesca.  They allowed me to stay in their Rome apartment as well as their Tuscany 13th Century Monastery home.  They are in Santa Fe at the moment exploring the gorgeous middle America.  They call me and tell me how they are doing and they are truly having the time of their life.  They come back here to Denver on Sept. 1, 2, 3 & leave on 4th back to Rome.  They are absolutely life-long friends, for sure.  I just love these guys.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm baaaaaaack!

Hey y'all,

I haven't posted in so long, life has been messy, and busy, and unexpected, and much expected.  But I look forward to expanding on it all very soon.

I had tried to post pics back in March, but blogspot has done something funky and it doesn't seem to be as easy as it used to be.  I'll be looking into that.

Even now, it's acting up with my typing.

  • But, for now, I'm off to my travel writing class with a Denver University Professor.
  • Then, tomorrow, I shop for my ingredients to make my home made Italian Limoncello liquor.  (Nancy, I must drop off a bottle to you when it's done in 10 days, and Brandon wants to hang out with Ben)
  • And I'm doing some very exciting things in my life as of late.
  • More later, miss you all.  Just don't forget about me...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dreams ... Oh So Healthy!

I can feel it in the air ... Spring is about to be sprung.  That's always the same week of Brandon's birthday, so such a lovely time to consider Spring time and what it has to offer.  I can't wait to rejuvenate the soil of my vegetable & herb garden.  I can't wait to sit on the edge while pulling weeds with the promise of a lavender fragrance or the promise of fresh pesto that night from the basil that seems to yield more than I could ever use.

Spring promises me a new growth of my mind.  As Winter can shut you in with all of your bottled up thoughts, Spring is the time for the promises of dreams too.

Lately, I've been having the sweetest of conversations with a new friend.  Because we are on opposite sides of the world and the time difference, we both awake to find a newly typed out reply from the day before.  Back and forth, back and forth we write and share our dreams and our hearts.  I hold it very dear to my heart and understand that this person trusts me with all that he has to share such as ... his dreams and fears.  We discuss our countries.  Both the beauty and the tragedies of what makes them what they are.  We share life's challenges and how our Faith holds us together when life feels like too much to take.  We dream together, yet apply practical advice within every conversation.  I consider him a brother that I never had.  I hope he thinks of me like family too.  When he apologizes for downloading such personal thoughts, like his fears, anger and frustration, I have to remind him that it is God's most precious gift to us ... relationship.  Life seems to offer up surprises sometimes that we don't even see coming.  One day is normal, and the next can be just spectacular.  One day we're too busy to just "be", where the next day can be quite tragic.  Tomorrow is not a promise, but today is!  I'm taking my own advice!

Perspective plays such a huge role in how we look at things though.  That is the beauty of our uniqueness.  We can have the same thing happen to 2 different people and because of our specific uniqueness and qualities, they can be handled and experienced in 2 totally different manners. 

I have been doing a lot of dreaming lately.  How 'bout you?

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Reply Fom My Favorite Writer ... Frances Mayes

Cortona, Italy in January

Posted by francesmayes on February 27th, 2010
"What a terrific adventure you’re about to take. It will be fascinating to be in actual homes while the owners are in yours! Could be a book! Thanks for all the kind words and have fun–Frances"
Ohhhhh ... now I have my book idea!   I've always dreamed of writing a book and also writing part of it from italy.  I journaled about that years ago while on a sabbatical in Santa Barbara.

Something to think about!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Letter To One Of My Favorite Writers ... Frances Mayes

Dear Frances,

I didn't realize that your movie "Under The Tuscan Sun" was a memoir of yours.  I hadn't known the back story and thought it was fictional.  I had already fell in love with the movie, then I went to Italy before picking up my newly adopted Ethiopian daughter (Aug. 2008), but I have not been able to get Italy out of my head...truly it is all consuming.  I was very happy to know that you wrote it as a memoir (I write as an outlet and have written since I was 9 with my diaries) as the little spare time I have, I choose to read non-fiction.  (That may change once I read Swan though.)  I agree, the reason for the success of the book and movie is absolutely because many of us out there would like to do just that ... take a risk of this nature.  I've taken many and they have all paid great dividends.

So finding out that your writings were memoirs, the library became my new companion where I checked out your books and devoured them yesterday.  At the moment, I honestly do not know what to do with the conflicting of my emotions.  I live in Denver, Colorado, but my heart is in Tuscany.  I would like to blink my eyes and cross my arms across my chest a'la "I Dream of Jeanie" whilst creating a place where my two worlds converge into one.   All I can do is attempt to create what I love so much about Italy into my existing life.  I have 2 teen boys, one 3 yr old and 22 years of marriage to the love of my life.  I couldn't ask for more ... but I want to!

I am traveling to Italy in June for a month doing home exchanges with half a dozen Italians who are kind enough to allow me to stay in their homes and they in mine.  From the Amalfi Coast through Tuscany to Venice, I will enjoy every step I walk and every minute I am there.  My husband understands who I am and that we need to take care of our souls in order to be full and present in our ever busy lives that we all live.  Thank you for your gift of writing and sharing it with us.  Especially those of us who drink it in like mama's homemade limoncello on a warm Summer night under the Tuscan Moon ... like I did in July of 2008 at Francesco's Villa in Siena!

God bless us  ... who dream!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Life is Good!

So much going on. I really never have or make the time to write, which bums me out a lot. Writing is an outlet for me and to not make the time for it is not good.

But here I am, making the time now. We are all very busy and doing well. Just dropped the boys off at school. A bit frustrating 'cause they are young adults now (at 13 and soon to be 15) we've taught them to get up on their own, take care of their needs for lunches and prepare for the day, but it is a constant battle to try to get them to do that consistently. I'm not talking about perfection here, just a really good effort. Family meeting tonight!!! I'm not sure what else we can take away from them that we haven't already taken. But it just can't go on like this.

Tigist is sleeping soundly while I write and will be going to her twice weekly "preschool" time at Ms. Brandi's home. She still loves going so that is good. She loves, loves, LOVES watching Dora and I can tell she learns so much from it. I'm just not sure about the Spanish part cause she was coming out of her Amharic vocabulary, into and American family with a father who has a strong Australian accent and a Mother who is trying to speak Italian cause I'M GOING TO ITALY IN JUNE!!!!! So really, I don't need her to learn Spanish right now, but Dora is her drug of choice for now.

I'll write more about Italy another post, but can I just say OH MY GAWSH!!!! Anyone out there love Italy like I do? I'm even part of a couple of Italian groups in my area so I can have a place to talk about it without driving my family absolutely bonkers.

Well, for now I'll go. My coffee is getting cold. I need to catch up with the morning news and get Tigist all ready for her day. She's now waking up with dry diapers almost 100% of the time. She is so excited every morning, "Wake up dry diaper!!!!" She yells each morning as I open her bedroom door. Now I'll have about $20 extra a month in my household budget to use on herself and the rest of the family (except Daddy and the cat) for scar ointment from all the biting she's done to us. See, I can find the positive in everything!


Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year ... 2010!

Happy New Year Everybody....

This is the first year in a long time that I did not get a Christmas Letter out or even Christmas cards. This year's events snowballed into the end of the year and left me wanting for simple days and as little stress as possible. Our year has been chock-full of good stuff and not so good stuff, but the promise of a new day is the best medicine for me always.

Christmas Eve we had Mesfin and family come over for afternoon lunch and catching up. Genet was in Ethiopia (her sweet sister, Tigist, had died suddenly).

Each morning I enjoy beautiful scenes as I make my morning coffee. My good friend Grace lives right there behind me, so I give a silent "good morning" to her as I smell the scent of my coffee brewing...

Morning coffee view

When we decided to move from California to Colorado ... I still find it interesting to realize that I'd never been here, (just a tad when I was really young, don't remember all of it), I didn't know anybody here, and moving would have lasting ramifications with significant relationships. I would be leaving everybody and everything that I ever knew and had spent precious time coming to know. What kind of crazy decision is that? But what I know for sure is that all of the decisions I've made as an adult and some as a young girl, have brought me such joy and happiness for years to come. I can take any one of my decisions and follow it through and see an incredible amount of fruition ... fulfillment, achievement, satisfaction! I can see the fruit that I've labored for. Some ripened over night and some took years. And right now, it all seems to be evident right before my eyes what my "Fruit Tree" looks like. It is huge, it has strong roots, it has strength that only God can offer it. It bears not just one type of fruit, but many colors and tastes. Sometimes ... too many for me to take in.

Our first Winter snow

Front yard tree

In my 40's, (okay...late forties) I can say that I am at a happy place. Certainly I am a constant work in progress, always. But you can't have in your 20's and 30's what the 40's can bring you if you do it right.

All this to say, September 29th, 2006, (the day we moved) marked a day creating yet another fantastic foundation for me and my family. Since then, we have continued to make fun and courageous decisions that have brought fulfillment and richness beyond our recognition. I love when I get to remind our boys that "You never know what is around the corner," especially when I know exactly what is around the corner that we are about to give them. Maybe it's something big, or what they've been asking for lately. But I feel like when I get to do that, I can only imagine what it is like for God to look at our life and say, "My Child, you have no idea what is around the corner for you!" He must want to scream out to us to make those U-turns, or keep on doin' what we're doin'. When I know that Brandon has major attitude for some crappy little issue and yet around his corner I have something big for him, it hurts my heart to decide to stick to it and give it to him. God does not take things away from us every time we make bad decisions, He keeps his word and so do I.

It took me a while, but I have found that when I reflect back on my life in California, I have no regrets for this move, this major life-changing decision. Sure I was sad to leave behind everything that I knew, absolutely ... but the idea of something unknown, something simpler, a not so fast paced lifestyle ... drew a fire in my heart that I couldn't put out. One thing about David and I is that once we make the decision, which is always based on careful thoughtfulness, we pretty much stick to it and move full steam ahead. And it has always been good. We trust our instincts and intuition.

There are so many changes that have taken place since we've moved and over 2009...

We added a new family member, Tigist! Big one, don't you think? The boys have grown very tall, Brandon being over 2" taller than I and I'm 5'7 and a half! Brandon has created many things with his hands and head ... a cross bow, a hover-craft that literally floated on air the length of a cement hockey field, a bow and arrow, artwork that blows my mind and other stuff I forget by now.

Evan and Tigist making letters

Halloween at Leah's house. She sure loves dressing up. She's tried to dictate what she'll wear each day by throwing a fit. I won't have this starting so early, so I just give her 2 choices and she gets to pick one. Sometimes she just can't decide and throws a fit...God help me, it's too early!

Learning letters with playdough

Evan took tons of pics of her in the house, outside ... they love to play with each other

Working her music career early on.

Did you like it Mommy?

This is Aman. Mesfin's youngest. I think they will marry one day. He takes care of her when he comes and kisses her. But today, she couldn't get a kiss from him at all.

Tigist dressed up to see the new Disney movie with the first black princess ... "The Princess and the Frog". Her first time in a theater. She wasn't too impressed with this new experience, just too wiggly and wanted something to do the whole time. We'll try again real soon.

This is truly how they feel about each other. At times it brings me to tears. Brandon being in the 9th grade now, High School, he's grown up quite a bit. He really gets into hands on projects at school and at home. He is 2 or 3 inches taller than I, I can't believe it. Some of our most precious times are little rides together running errands or a movie. And I know David has precious times with him to playing ping pong in the rec room upstairs.

More of Evan's pictures in the back.

Oh, my precious daughter. Full of joy!

"Evan, how many more times do I have to say cheese?"

Elizabeth gives her a pink Ukelele. Rockin' it!

This is the owner of our adoption agency, Joan. She had a 10 year anniversary fundraiser here where the night before this, was a beautiful sit down dinner. Many adoptive families came fromout of town and out of state to celebrate.

Aneata on the right was our agency rep. We still meet for lunches and Tigist loves to see her. It was so much fun when returning home from Ethiopia and bringing Tigist to the agency for the first time.

My 2 love-birds.

Now ... this is Abebe. He was our rep in Ethiopia during the time we went to pick her up. He and his wife run the orphanage, Sele Enat, so to see him here in Denver was such a treat. And for him to see not only Tigist, but all of the other children that they helped to bring home to their families...was just so wonderful.

Gilles and Melanie are waiting for their baby girl. They live in Hollywood where we use to live. We met over the phone last Summer, I visited while attending Deb's funeral in L.A. And we've been friends since then. They just got their referral of a gorgeous 2 yr. old girl.

Hanna runs Sele Enat in Ethiopia. It was so good to see her here too.

Tigist and Hanna

Evan is now teaching himself piano, he plays guitar and the drums every single day. Their interaction with people is so much fun to see, because that is where I see if all of our hard work "took." Evan sometimes cooks a whole dinner for us. He loves, loves, LOVES it when we play family games or cards.

Most times you can find Evan playing with Tigist. They do everything together. Evan is an amazing big brother to her and she loves him so. The other morning, I was looking on the video monitor to see if she was up yet, and I viewed something that brought tears to my eyes. Evan was waking her up and stroking her back and tucking her in (I guess she was still tired). He hopped into bed with her and just was so sweet to take such care of his baby sister. It was just precious to witness and know how much he loves her.

I guess I've inspired him by buying him the Guiness Book of World Records. I think he had like thirty-something shirts on at once. Then he couldn't breath and pleaded for me to help him get them off.

Thursday nights we have Family Fun Night and we make it a point to stop everything else at 5pm and it's all about being together. No I-Pods, I-Phones, computers, head phones, work ... this is our favorite night of the week and we get to check in on where the boys are at with what's going on with them for the week. Next week we're having a Dream-Nite, where we sit in the front room together and make lists and notes about what we expect of ourselves for the year. They get to pick their favorite drink, I make them a goodie bag of yummy stuff they like (cause we want to put them in a happy place, right?!!) and we talk about expectations! It's a time to focus on that one subject and think it through. David and I have done this for years between ourselves. We make a list called ... "I can't believe I .... " and then we fill in the blank. But the neat thing is, this list is things that we have not accomplished yet. It is a sort of bucket-list to work towards. We all know that if we put our dreams and wishes on paper, they are more likely to come true, so that is what we do. And it works!

David's business is taking a new turn this year where he will host a regular seminar across the US called "Home Recording Boot Camp". His first one plans to be hosted in L.A., which will be on his way to Australia taking Tigist to meet the few remaining family members who have yet to meet her. His sweet brother Rod found out a couple of months ago that he has a brain tumor of all things. He was just about to retire and vacation in the US to come see us and other places. David went to visit him earlier and will go back in March again. Rod is doing well now, but he continues to struggle with taking care of this. Bless his heart.

I continue to fulfill the orders daily for the business and blown away that everyday there continues to be orders from around the world for David's dvd tutorials (www.proaudiodvds.com). We hope to pass this job on in the next month or two so that I can concentrate on perhaps teaching a half hour session at David's Boot Camps about Social Media Networking for Musicians. We'll see. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of extra time on my hands with a toddler in tow, but I really would like to see this happen, so I'll do my best. Hopefully we''' be traveling to the cities that some of you live in and we can have a coffee together. I'm going to be starting some podcasts about SMN (social media networking) with my friend Gina (she's in Orange County, CA) which really thrills me. I think this'll be right up my alley.

For those of you who has known me for a long time, you'll remember I use to sing with a vocal group called Crescendo in L.A. One of my most favorite times in my life was being a part of that group. I ended up bowing out as it was conflicting with my family time and David was then working his business as well as working at our church as the sound engineer. But the update of one of the members, Charmaine Clamor is that she is doing really well these days. She has the equivalent of an Oscar in the Philipines where she is from, but doing really well in New York and L.A. I'm so proud of her. She plays regularly in L.A. at "The Catalina Bar and Grill" on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood and if any body here likes really great Live Jazz, you should see her show there. I highly recommend it and I'm upset that I cannot see her regularly like I did when I live in L.A. I'm working diligently, however, with jazz radio here and the local jazz clubs and Filipino Community to try to get her and her band here for a Denver performance. It's my new mission I'm on!

Tigist grew 5 inches since she came home, yet she only gained 1 pound. It is clear that she has thinned out and grew taller cause all of her pants go a few inches above her ankle when I put them on.

It has absolutely been a wonderful year, despite some tough areas, did I mention the fire? Just a little damage. Brandon has to tell THAT story. This year I feel is going to be spectacular for sure.

Lots and lots of neat things happening. Stay tuned...

Back home Mimi's was my go-to place to meet people for breakfasts. It always seems so weird for me to see snow on the roof of our Mimi's here in Denver.

Halloween this year was at Leah & Kyles ... again. They are always so sweet to invite us.

The food was amazing here. Leah pulls out all the stops.

Leah ...

Ohhh, don't we love Thanksgiving?

Leah's pavlova dessert

Oh my!

Tigist and Aman ... isn't he adorable?

We love baking in the ktichen together. She even has her own baking utinsils.

Our visit from our California neighbors who now live in Texas. Terry and I had a day out in the city ... it was a great day!

Our friends from Texas brought Tigist a new back pack and "Dora" underwear ...

Our friends visit from Texas
Tigist, Me, David, Nick, Sabrina (hiding) Brandon and Evan