It will take no one that knows her by surprise that this project has taken Mom a while to complete. And number 2 on her list of 25 things explains it all - it had to be P-E-R-F-E-C-T before she would put her name on it. And, after reading it, I think you'll agree that it is just that. Perfect.
With my previous guest bloggers (Sarah and Matt), I've given a brief overview of their lives (where they live, what they do, etc.). But in Mom's email to me when she sent me her list, she told me that she feels like she wrote her life story. After reading it, I agree; there's not really any more lead-in that I need to give you. By the time you finish reading this, even if you don't know my mom, you'll know her.
Needless to say, "Nina" has met and exceeded my goals for this project. Enjoy reading about one of the most amazing women in the world. I'm blessed and thankful to be able to call her "Mom". You'll soon understand why.
Nina's 25 Random Things:
1) My most favorite number, I suppose my lucky number, has got to be 5. After all, I was born on 5-5-50, and I turned 55 on 5-5-05. It has not, however, won me any lotteries.
2) I am a perfectionist. As hard as I try to fight it, I just can't NOT be one. There are good and bad sides to this. I am extremely well organized on one hand, but on the other, my expectations of both myself and others are really unreachable. This trait of mine has probably gotten me into more trouble than it's worth!
3) I haven't developed too many vices in my lifetime, but I do have two addictions. First, SODA! I was never allowed soda when growing up, except on special occasions. When I married, I found out that I could have one as often as I wanted. And so, it began! I've adjusted to Diet, Caffeine-Free Mountain Dew as of late, and have begun to limit myself to one a day. But most days around 2:00 pm I can be found "indulging". My second addiction is the MOVIES. I love to see first-run films on the big screen! They take me to far-off lands and places. I really can get lost in a great drama.
4) I have two special memories of going to my grandmother Nano’s house when I was growing up. In the springtime, the entire perimeter of her back yard was overflowing with irises – too many types and colors to count. The smell was awesome! And, in the midst of this beautiful garden, was a small rock-lined goldfish pond. It was always packed with red and albino goldfish, and my brother John and I would sometimes rig our own cut-branch fishing poles (safety pins as hooks) and try to get away with as much catch and release as we could get away with. Some days were better than others.
5) I started taking piano lessons when I was in third grade and stopped just before my high school graduation. My mother loved to play, and I think she played by ear. Both of my parents encouraged and pushed me to practice. For a couple of years when we did not as yet have a piano, mom arranged for me to go to the convent every school day, and spend my 30-minute noon recess practicing there. To this day, I can still “plink” around on the piano, but really wish I would have followed up more seriously on continuing to play.
6) One of my passions is sewing. I’ve loved stitching anything from clothes to curtains to grandchildren’s Halloween costumes. My mother passed on this wonderful art to me and was the best teacher in the world. I used to simply hate hearing her tell me to “rip out that seam and start over”, but I learned very quickly to always have “right sides together” before I stitched anything.
7) Back in the day, I was a pretty decent fisherwoman. I learned how to trout fish in high school and introduced my family to fishing at Meramec Springs in
8) I am NOT athletically inclined. I have no real skills and have been only barely talented at tennis and golf. I played volleyball for one year in high school as a setter, but rode the bench much more than I ever played. My dad spent hours with me on the golf course (he was a GREAT golfer), but much to his dismay (and later, Jeff’s), I just couldn’t ever master the art. Today, when I go golfing, I have much more fun just “hitting the ball” and not getting too worked up over “skills”.
9) Growing up, I discovered I had some artistic talent. My parents graciously enrolled me in Art Correspondence School during my high school years. I worked hard at it with some degree of success until college days drew close. I let the studies lapse, but of course my parents had to foot the bill for the entire course. I have always regretted that! Art, however, became my minor in college and I loved every single class I took. I miss being creative in this regard.
10) Pat Piontek MacClellan has been my best friend since freshman year in high school. We did everything together, from science fair projects to driving the streets of
11) I really LOVE to read. I had a wonderful literature teacher in high school that assigned great classical works that introduced me to whole new worlds. It’s no surprise that my favorite hide-out is Barnes and Noble.
12) Another of my high school teachers, Mr. Welters, instilled in me not only a love for the subject of mathematics but also a passion for teaching mathematics. Ever since my sophomore year in high school, because of his inspiration, I knew I wanted to be a math teacher.
13) My college years (1968 – 1972), were the best years of my life. I felt a real freedom and renewed sense of who I was and what I wanted out of life. To this day, I still get a special sense of peace and purpose walking on a college campus.
14) Some very wonderful things happened to me during my four years at S.M.S. I made some great friends there and met and fell in love with Jeff (we met almost daily at the “corral” between classes). I was honored to fill the position of President of the Association of Women Students during my junior year. It was also my privilege to serve as a Resident Assistant first at Wells dorm my junior year, and then opening the new Woods dorm during my senior year.
15) I graduated from S.M.S. in
16) After graduating from S.M.S., my first teaching position was a third grade class at St. Francis Borgia Grade School in
17) After we were married, Jeff and I lived in a trailer. This was our first home in Fort Leonard Wood, while Jeff finished his 4-year Army commitment there. We moved along with our trailer to
18) My faith has always been important to me. My parents worked very hard to send me and my three brothers through twelve years of Catholic schools. But my faith really came alive for me when at 35 years of age, I made my first Teens Encounter Christ retreat weekend as an observer. I was duly persuaded to make this T.E.C. by my good friend, Jeannie, who actually became not only my great friend, but also my spiritual mentor. It was at her suggestion also that I began adult ministry classes with Father George Kramer. These classes made, and continue to make a huge spiritual impact on my life. I would be a much different person today if either Jeannie or George had not been a part of my life!
19) Another relaxing hobby of mine has been crocheting and counted cross stitch. I enjoy crocheting afghans and baby sweaters and have spent countless hours creating all sorts of cross stitch items. I am especially mindful of a several year period of time that my mother and I crosstitched purses to sell at area craft fairs. Although only mildly profitable, it was a great mother-daughter time for the two of us. We named our crafty pursuit “Dee and Me Crosstitcheries”. We even had business cards printed.
20) We took many family trips once all four kids were old enough to appreciate the travels. Jeff and I have taken a few ourselves since the kids have grown and moved away. Hands down, my most favorite trips have been those that involved mountains. I love their quiet simplicity and their overwhelming strength. I could sit for hours in their presence just contemplating them.
21) In November of 2006, Jeff and I took our first overseas trip. We went to
22) Shortly after our back and forth stays in
23) In the fall of 2007, I participated in a Cancer 3-Day Walk with Sarah. She actually introduced me to the idea and it was an experience I’ll never forget. We trained for six months prior to the 20-mile-a-day walk through the streets of
24) We’ve lived full time in
25) How blessed Jeff and I are to have raised four really wonderful children – Sarah, Amy, Scott, and Matthew. I am so very proud of each of them along with their spouses and significant others, as well as our seven beautiful grandchildren – Sam, Josie, Olivia, Ivie, Macie, Brayden, and Gavin. They are all the absolute loves of my life!!