Monday, November 13, 2017

ESG: Gratitude List * 2017 edition

Like most everyone, I'm thankful for family, friends, faith and freedom most of all. This year, I thought I'd dive a little deeper to things that might otherwise get missed on a Top 10 list, even though I'm grateful for them.

These are completely random and in no particular order - Enjoy!

  1 - Humility 
  2 - Authenticity
  3 - Intentionality
  4 - Vision
  5 - Quiet time
  6 - Integrity
  7 - Heaven
  8 - Fragrance
  9 - Conscience
 10 - Warmth

OK - told you it was a different type of least, for me it is.  But these are 10 things that I truly am grateful for, and woven together, they make me who I am.

We all have different roles and responsibilities, and when I compare good times vs. bad times, the difference between them usually has to do with the above qualities or traits.  Think about it.  

As a regional sales manager for a digital signage and software company, there are many ups and downs in my world.  When sales are strong, it's easy to love my job and be in a good mood.  When sales are weak, it gets ridiculously stressful, and that puts me in a bad mood, which makes it easy to be grumpy to those closest to me.  I drink and eat more - spend more money (retail therapy) - and escape whenever and however I can.  After feeling guilty for over-indulging, I reboot myself, and focus on what I know works.  Having the vision, intentionality, integrity and conscience - I remind myself that I'm doing the best I can, and things will work out, or they won't.  My stressing about it and sabotaging myself won't change anything.

As a wife and mom, same thing!  I can't control my husband or kids, but I can control my response to them.  I love my family more than anything, and I want what's best for each of them.  I raised my kids to think for themselves and to follow their dreams, so I'm learning to let them do what they think that looks like.  They have their own dreams and I don't expect them to fulfill mine.  
I added Heaven to my list, because I do believe that when we pass from this world, eternal life with God is going to put everything in perspective for us.  My faith is strong and makes me who I am, and while I hope yours is too, I don't try to convince anyone that it's "my way or the highway".  To me, faith is a very personal relationship with God, and I hope it is for you too.  

Warmth rounds out my list because I truly hate being cold!  I love hot weather and if I had my way, I would just hibernate from November until May.  One of my favorite memories from when my kids were little, was I'd be folding laundry right out of the dryer, and take a bath towel or blanket that was still warm, and wrap them up in it and snuggle a minute.  It did my heart good when my daughter, now 26, returned the favor the other night.  She washed her fluffy throw blanket, and came and covered me with it while I watched TV.  I loved the warmth - both from the blanket, but especially from her.

Fragrance is a new one for me.  I recently discovered the benefits of Essential Oils, and have been experimenting with different combinations in my diffuser, tea and bath.  Maybe it's in my mind, but I swear, I can tell a difference in how I feel.  My office smells like lavender, and it's amazing!

On that note, I'll bring this post to a close and get to work, intentionally, of course!  Thanks for reading my list and posting a rating on Swap-bot. 

Much love and thanks to all,

                    Ilyse - Happy Mom ❤️

Sunday, November 5, 2017

That Was Then...This Is Now

I had no idea how difficult it would be to narrow down what to share for this swap!  I decided to post these on my blog so I could share a few extras and some details.

First - when my husband and I met in 1981, he was the drummer of a band called “Snuff” and I was the Program Director of a local radio station “XL102”.  We got married in 1985, and he was still playing music, but once we started our family, he got a ‘real’ job. 😀  He eventually became a Contemporary Christian Worship leader, and now pastors 3 little churches.  He still plays music, and I’m still in awe of his talent.  One reason radio was a good fit for me, was because I've always loved music, but could never sing well or play an instrument - but I had a good ear and could ‘pick the hits’ as we used to say.  So, the pictures I'm sharing are of my husband, Michael, and "Snuff" --

Snuff at outdoor concert in VA - 1982
Snuff reunion show, Nags Head, NC - 2013

Robbie-Scott-Michael-Cecil-Jimbo on Michael's last gig with Snuff, 1990

Rehearsal for the reunion, 2013
And here are two extras that I have framed here in my house.  The first is what I call "Dancing Through Time" - I wore my mom's wedding gown when Michael and I got married.  The second frame shows 3 pre-school graduations - Me, My daughter & me, My son & me.  I love these kinds of collections, and hope you've enjoyed mine.

1985 - 1954
1998 - 1996 - 1960

Thanks for visiting - Remember to post a rating, so I know you've received my swap!

Ilyse - Happy Mom

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

My Favorite Photo Swap - October - From Happy Mom

Hello Swappers and Friends!

Ohmygosh - October was another crazy-busy month here!  Can you even believe that the year has gone by so fast?  One of these days, I will surprise everyone, including myself, and start my blog post saying that it's been a BORING month!  Might be nice, for a change!  Truth be told though, I am never bored.  Even when things aren't busy around here, I always find things to do and ways to entertain myself.  I've been told that I'm my own best company - Ha!  Probably true!

Here are some fun pictures - my favorites - from October:

Road trip through SE Virginia cotton fields

Family time is always the best time, and this month, it was great having my son home for a few days.  Dinner out is always a treat!


Another favorite was a photo I snapped at the airport while waiting for my flight to NYC.  I glanced at an article that a person sitting near me was reading, and it caught my eye.  The headline states that nearly 40% of adults in the US qualify as "obese" -- I am so happy that I am not part of that 40% anymore.  I started a weight loss program last November, and have stuck with it for a full year.  I've lost almost 50 pounds and my numbers are now in the "normal" range.  
Reading someone else's paper


Last print out from doctor's scale  
And, speaking of my trip to NYC -- 

I had the privilege of traveling up to my corporate office in Connecticut, to participate in the Breast Cancer walk there.  Every year, they have a team, and they solicit donations from the whole company.  I always make a donation, but this year, another Regional Manager and I traveled up for the event itself.  My co-worker and I both got great airfare rates to fly in to LaGuardia - she was coming from Denver, and I came from Richmond.  We met there and drove to Branford, CT - Our event planner/HR Director invited us to stay with her, so we had a girls pajama party :)  

While we were there, we ate dinner out, drank some great wine, went to an Oktoberfest celebration at a local brewery, toured the area… and of course, did the Breast Cancer Walk.  Before going back to LaGuardia to head home, we visited the 911 Memorial in New York City.  It was a very good weekend trip, and it made me happy to spend time with my co-workers, to raise money for a great cause, and to get more walking done in 3 days than I did all month!  LOL!  And on the flight home, I got some amazing shots of the sunset from the sky!

At Lighthouse Point Park


"The Marlin Mammaries"

911 Memorial - New York City
My view of the sunset from the flight home
I love sharing my favorite photos every month and hope you enjoy seeing them!  I always invite my Swap-bot partners to share their swaps with me, even when we're not automatically partnered - I am obsessed with looking at photos!  I'm on Instagram and SnapChat, so look me up.  Hope to swap again soon, and thanks for posting a rating so I know you've received this.  Have a great month!

Monday, October 2, 2017

My Favorite Photo - September

Oh wow - September was a crazy-busy month here!  Things at work were so slow for so long... and then all of a sudden, business picked up and it's been nuts!  All good though, and I'm excited to see where we finish this year.

This was a fun month for me.Not only was my son home for the month, but we finally were able to begin some projects around the house.  Despite the late start, they're coming together nicely, and I'm looking forward to when it's finished.  So far, we've replaced our kitchen floor and the front door entry.  Both areas went from tile to laminate, and I love it.  Next is purchasing the new kitchen counter top, and then painting our cabinets and walls.  We're also having a custom shed built to replace the one that's falling down in the backyard.  My son spent most of the month customizing his "man van" into his home-base for his new business that he's starting.  He's currently out of state, making rock-climbing videos and living in the van.  Oh to be 24 years old and chasing your dream!

These first pictures are of the updated floors:

This is my son, working on the custom van.  He did all the design work and carpentry himself:

How's this for a bachelor pad?   The mood lights even have a remote control!

My husband is a pastor, and he was asked to preside over a wedding.  The bride's parents have been friends of ours for many years, and our kids all grew up together.  Here are two from the wedding - Hubby doing the ceremony, and then him and me outside on a beautiful fall day!
   Any my last photo for the month is my goofy brother!  This was taken when he went to the lake with his in-laws.  Great shot, huh?!  

That's it for this month...I hope you enjoyed the visit as much as I enjoy putting it together!  And, if you care to share your swap with me too, I'd love to see it.  
Thanks for posting a rating, and I'll catch you next month!

Happy Fall!
Ilyse - Happy Mom

Thursday, August 31, 2017

My Favorite Photo swap - August

Wow - August really seems to have flown by!  It's my favorite month for several reasons -- Mostly because I love hot weather, and also because it's my birthday.  I love celebrating and make it a month-long event, if I can!  

I'm happy to share some of my favorite photos from the month, and hope you enjoy them.

I hosted a new co-worker for 2 days, and while she was here, we made a quick stop in to the Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond.  This historic building was designed by Thomas Jefferson, and is steeped in elegance and classic touches.  It's a must-see for people who come to visit me!
Ceiling of the Rotunda
Jefferson Hotel lounge area 
This next one was a little perk my husband and I caught when a large luna moth was just chillin' on the side of our house.  It was so big, I had my husband put his hand next to it for perspective.  I keep hoping he'll come back, but so far, we only saw him once.  (The moth, that is...)

Anyone who's checked out my favorite photos each month knows I usually include at least one picture of the dogs.  This time, they cooperated, and let me snap a picture of them both on my bed.  Leia is the b&w cutie on the left, Pica is the brown hound on the right.  

Definitely, a highlight of August was the total Solar Eclipse.  My son and I watched it with the special glasses, and I compiled this view from the shots I got.  The photo on the bottom shows the shadows that the trees made on the driveway -- That was so unique!  I loved the eclipse way more than I thought I would, but it was really special!

These next two photos show the pretty flowers and walkway my son put together.  He's got a great eye for design and made this look easy!  If I tried to do something like this, it would look so thrown together.  But I just love how this turned out and I really appreciate having my son home!


So that's it for my photos this time around!  Thanks for posting a rating for me, if we're partners on Swap-bot.  I'd love to see your swap too, if you care to share.  I hope you have a wonderful September.  

                          Be blessed,

            Ilyse - Happy Mom on Swap-bot!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

My Favorite Photo - July - from Happy Mom

Welcome to my blog where I post many of my electronic swaps for Swap-bot, and where I share a slice of my life with friends near and far.  Nice to have you here!  This post is my offering for my favorite photo swap for July, and I hope you like the selections.  

These first photos come from my trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee to visit my son.  We went up to Sunset Rock on Lookout Mountain and toured around the city's downtown area.  We celebrated his 24th birthday with a great dinner out.  
In fact, we had several wonderful meals while I was there.  

These next two are true throwbacks!  I was cleaning out our extra closet and came across some relics.  The photo on the left is my old radio station jacket from when I was the morning DJ at WZOK in Rockford, Illinois.  I also found a jacket from Rock 106 in Augusta, Georgia and a bag of old rock band T-shirts.  I'm hoping to find someone who makes quilts from old shirts, as that would be amazing!  I also found some old photos.  The pic on the right was taken when I was the Program Director of WRXL-XL102 here in Richmond, Virginia.  That car was "the Big Yellow Taxi" that we drove to all our events.  How about that hair?!

This last batch are the doggies for the month.  Leia loves the water...Pica is a great co-pilot... and the two of them take over the bed when I'm not in it!

July was a busy month, but I think August is even busier!  Work has picked up and I'm on the road every week.  I've already got some great photos for next month's swap, so even if we're not partnered by Swap-bot, I hope you'll drop by to check it out.  I'd also love to see your photos, so feel free to forward your swap to me too, if you care to share.  

Hope you have a great month, and thanks for posting a rating so I know you've received this swap!  

 Love & Hugs,
Ilyse - Happy Mom