Browsing Tag


35 happy thanks

Happy 35th Anniversary, my love

August 30, 1980  ~ August 30, 2015


35 Happy Thanks to you, John, for 35 Happy Years

1 Thank you for your love. This statement really sums up everything.  Your love has carried me, nourished me, shaped me, encouraged me, comforted me for 35 years. And every day you say it: “I love you.”

2 Thank you for your faith. You have a quiet, unshakable faith in our Lord. You love God and you follow Jesus.

3 Thank you for our sons. What joys, what blessings. And thank you for living by example. Whew, my heart. Infinity emojis.

4 Thank you for your affection. Those kisses! Those hugs! Swoon! And not just for me. For your children. Your grandchildren. Family!

Jama & John kissing 35 anniv

5 Thank you for your belief in me. You never said, “You can’t be a mother. You can’t have a baby. You can’t have another baby” because of my limitations.

6 Thank you for your support.  Because when I wanted to stay at home with the children, you said “yes, you can do it.” Because when I started my business, you were my advocate and encourager.

7 Thank you for your forgiveness. Boy, I sure screw up a lot and it’s a relief that you forgive and we move on.

8 Thank you for lifting me up. Literally, when I’ve stumbled and face-planted. Spiritually, when I’ve doubted what’s next. Emotionally, when I’ve felt flattened. Always, you’re there to pick me up.

9 Thank you for your warmth. And not just for the roaring fires, for microwaving the “cozy” to comfort my shoulders, for the snuggling against your chest, but for the warmth of your heart.

10 Thank you for being fun. Your humor. Your imagination. You are my man-kid. My king of the Legos.

11 Thank you for your brilliance. You are scary smart and I’m in awe that you know so much stuff.

12 Thank you for your wit. Like when, just concerning the temperature of the house, I ask, “Are you hot?” Short pause. “Uh, that would be your call, wouldn’t it?” Short pause. Hot. Dot. Yeah.

13 Thank you for your compliments. You are quick to tell me I’m beautiful and sexy. That amazes me. I’ll put on lip gloss for you.

14 Thank you for compromising. I’m the extrovert; you’re the introvert. And yet, you’ll go with me to parties. It’s a gift to me.

15 Thank you for respecting my individuality. See above. You let me be who God created me to be.

16 Thank you for listening. Because, mercy, I’m a talker. But never once did you say talk to the hand. And never did you say I told you so.

17 Thank you for caring. Oh my, especially during my awful morning sickness. And then there was that whole menopause thing.

18 Thank you for (getting better at) communicating. Well, we have to have something to work on. Ha.

19 Thank you for your generosity. You are such a giver. Of big and small gifts you know others will enjoy. Your heart is large with goodness and charity.

20 Thank you for your patience. Slowly, I turn. Step by step. Inch by inch. (Embarrassing homage!)

21 Thank you for your compassion. Your thoughtfulness. Your kindness. It’s there. For so many.

22 Thank you for making ordinary moments into happy moments. Strolling the aisles of Target. Watching Fred Astaire films. Sharing a grilled cheese sandwich. Daily being.

23 Thank you for working things out. When we are mad and frustrated and annoyed with each other. Over big stuff. Over petty stuff. We work it out. Together.

24 Thank you for protecting me.  And I don’t just mean from spideys and all things crawly, but for protecting my heart.

25 Thank you for providing for your family. You’ve always worked hard, and in jobs that were often challenging. But you went to work every day and rarely complained. I admire that.

26 Thank you for hot beverages. Coffee with mocha creamer. Apricot vanilla tea. Sometimes served with brownies. Ghirardelli brownies.

27 Thank you for facing problems with me. When there are events and circumstances and days that drive me to chocolate and Peeps and gluten and bacon and Haagen-Dazs, you hold my hand and don’t let go.

28 Thank you for wiping away my tears. I am one leaky, emotional, sentimental, easily bruised, tender, mess of hormones. And you hand me tissues.

29 Thank you for accepting me just the way I am. No lie, I have issues. And you love the tattered package that is me.

30 Thank you for enjoying my company. We are all weird in some way.

31 Thank you for enjoying sports. I love that we’re a pair of non-athletes who are cheering (me loudly, you stoically) spectators for so many sports. Football and the Indianapolis Colts! And all U.S. Olympic teams. Curling! (And I’ve come to terms with our mixed-marriage: me, the Chicago Cubs fan, you, the St. Louis Cardinals fan.)

32 Thank you for smiling. And. Those. Blue. Eyes.

33 Thank you for going with the flow. Your mother’s advice.

34 Thank you for doing housework. It makes me the envy of my friends. High five.

35 Thank you for your true love/twoo wuve. Because it’s not about how many days, months or years we’ve been together, it’s about how much we actually love each other every day.


You make the world richer, kinder, wiser, wittier, lovelier, better.

Jama & John looking 35 anniv2


Jama & John wedding2


Habit of Happy

Habit of Happy: Four Years of HDM

four thankfulApril 1st marks the anniversary for writing a Happy Day Moment on my personal Jama Kehoe Bigger Facebook page.  I posted Moment #1 on April 1, 2010. Calculating one per day, I will reach #1500 (shout Hallelujah!) on April 9, 2014.

This project began as my response to so much negativity I read on Facebook.  There seemed to be an overload of whining, complaining, and griping. [Read here The Story.]

Now posting these Happy Day Moments has become habit. Living with gratitude. Intentionally focusing on the good, the blessed, the beauty, the funny, the inspirational, the surprising.  Moments of love, fellowship, celebration, generosity, encouragement, humor, laughing, praying, winning, working, giving, hugging.

Life is precious and more special to us when we look for the little everyday miracles, the Happy Day Moments, and get excited about the privileges of simply being human.

No matter what, life is a gift and we can choose to live with gratitude. Being happy is a choice and it comes from the inside out. You don’t need to be happy because of a certain outcome or something you have received, but be happy because you are alive. Living with gratitude, discovering a Happy Moment takes practice, believe me. But you can learn to be happy (even for a bit a fleck a jiffy of a time) each day by simply being grateful.

Choice. That’s what it is. This finding a happy moment. This writing and posting one day after day. Not just to share with others, but for myself. That’s why I also decided to create my Happy Day Moment Facebook Page.


…To see the wonder. The whole world, the present moment is filled with wonder. Be attentive, you will see it.  Be willing, you will help create it. Pause. Take a moment. Think about the wonder, the beautiful things happening around you.

…To alter your vision. Choose to see differently. The days can blur in each other if we’re not careful.

…To shift your thinking. Shift the weight of sadness, of sorrow, of disappointment. That which gets too heavy to hold. Place it aside even for just a while.

…To stop for a moment and just be thankful.

…To practice gratitude. Practice it, practice it. For practicing gratitude makes it grow.

Writing a Happy Day Moment, even for the seemingly trite, lets me see that nothing is trite, that the small is sacred. Many, many of the moments I wrote this past year, those moments I grabbed and savored, were the little things.

Lowerys chocolatesBut let me tell you, I had to be willing to see some good things in the midst of my not-so-perfect life. And that takes discipline and focus and sometimes extra chocolate.

Giving thanks, living with gratitude, is what gets you joy.

We all get to decide how happy we want to be. Because everyone gets to decide how grateful they are willing to be.

If it sounds like my life is filled with happy moments, it is. But mostly, that’s because of how I’ve chosen to see it, not because my life is perfect or without hard places or sadness or trials. This year has been especially challenging to see a daily happy moment. There have been losses and hurts and sickness and rejection and long periods of waiting. But life is still good and there can still be gratitude, even when difficult stuff happens.

One of the lessons I learned in any hard sad dark season is that it’s important to stop and breathe deeply and look around me and choose to embrace a beautiful life, a grateful life, a happy life, whatever that might look like in any season of my life.

Amid hardness trials or struggles I face or will undoubtedly face down the road, it’s the Happy Moment, the beautiful things that remind me that life is precious, that life is a gift, that God is good, all the time.

So, Happy 4th anniversary! Onward to year five and 365 more Happy Day Moments!

My Parents: Their Love Story

I never tired of hearing their story. As a little girl, I’d sit beside my mom with their wedding album spread across my lap, slowly turning the pages of 8×10 glossy black and white photographs. I’d trace my fingers along their faces, along Mom bridethat white gown.

“Tell me again,” I said. “Tell me again about you and dad.”

And she’d smile and her eyes would crinkle and she’d get that lovey-dovey look and then she’d repeat once more Their Love Story.

Their story that she was 18 and he was 25, that she had just graduated high school and he was the high school football coach, that she was a cheerleader and he was the cheerleading sponsor, that she was the popular class president and he was the town’s most eligible bachelor, that they had only three dates when he proposed…

I’d smile too and stare at that photo of my mom looking so beautiful and my dad so tall and handsome.

And I’d listen to her story:

Your dad was tall and really good-looking as he stood by his junior high classroom door greeting his students. Besides coaching, he taught history and social studies. I often stole a few looks since my senior classes were nearby. That year I had many conversations with “Mr. Kehoe.” Sometimes when he had lunch duty. Sometimes when I had cheerleading practice. He was appointed high school cheerleader sponsor and I’d been a cheerleader for four years.

And your dad knew my whole family: our dads (your grandpas) played cards together; your Uncle Harley played on the high school football team; and he was friends with my older brother, your Uncle Charlie.

When high school graduation time came, I practiced my commencement speech, and I remember seeing my speech teacher and your dad sitting and listening at the back of the gym. After I had graduated in May, he called me early in the summer and asked me to visit a boy cheerleader who was in the South Bend hospital. I told him that I had planned to go shopping with my girlfriends, and he said, “I’ll take you shopping.” That came as a surprise, and I said yes.

At the department store he asked me to model the dress for him. I did and while I walked back to the dressing room, the clerk said something about “my husband.” I replied, “He’s not my husband.” She answered, “Don’t worry, he will be.” I wasn’t sure how to take that comment, so I just smiled.

On the drive home from South Bend, we laughed and talked all the way. We stopped and bought sweet corn, which we took to my house and cooked, and then we went to play golf.

A few days later he asked me out on a “real” date, and then we had a second date to a drive-in movie, where he told me he loved me. Your grandma was leery and cautioned me, “Barbara Ann, you know he’s older. Are his intentions honorable?” I guess they were because on the third date he proposed and I willingly accepted.

We were married that November during the Thanksgiving holiday. I went from a senior one year to a faculty wife the next!

But part of the story that I loved most, that all my life I thought was magical and wonderful and amazing and enchanting and oh-so romantic, was this:

Sometime before visiting the injured cheerleader, I had a profound experience. I was riding home one night with my girlfriends after spending the day at the lake. The talk turned to your dad, the most handsome, eligible bachelor in town and the girl he was currently dating. One of my friends asked, “I wonder if it’s serious? I wonder if they’ll get married?” At that precise moment, I heard an audible voice: “No, because you’re going to marry him.”

Startled, I looked around to see if anyone else had heard it. If they had, what would they think? Maybe I had actually said it aloud? No. They were still chattering away, completely unaware of what I had heard. Quietly, I sat there, squeezed between my friends in the middle of the front. Was that an angel? Was that God?

I always held that moment close in my heart. And then in a whirlwind, your dad and I had our three dates, and suddenly I was planning a wedding and then we were married… all in less than six months.

So, what do you think? Did God speak to me?

I’d catch and hold my breath, then exclaim, “Oh, yes! God told you that you’d marry Dad!”

Now can you see why I loved hearing Their Love Story? Cute petite high school grad. Athletic attractive football coach. Three dates. Voice of God.

And so their wedding.  Then their marriage.  Then their family. Three babies in three years, then a fourth. Then, what else would you expect after hearing the Voice of God – years and years and years of Happy Day Moments!

Now it’s come to this: 60 years of marriage!

November 21, 1953 ~ November 21, 2013

Engaged summer 1953

Engaged summer 1953

The kiss! Her veil came off!

The kiss! Her veil came off!

Mr. & Mrs. M. Fred Kehoe (notice she's carrying her veil)

Mr. & Mrs. M. Fred Kehoe
(notice she’s carrying her veil)

Cutting the cake (there's that lovey-dovey look)

Cutting the cake
(there’s that lovey-dovey look)

The Kehoe family 1965

The Kehoe family 1965

P2Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! I love you.

Their children:
Steven Charles – born 1955
Jama Sue – born 1956
Douglas Frederick – born 1957   (Moved from Plymouth, IN to Muncie, IN, 1958)
Julee Ann – born 1961

Their grandchildren:
Jama married John Bigger in 1980 ~ Johnny – born 1983. Thomas – born 1984
Steve married Amy in 1985 ~ Bryn – born 1986. Steven Jr. – born 1987. Seth – born 1990
Doug married Laura in 1988 ~ Allison – born 1989. Shelby – born 1990. Adam – born 1993
Julee ~ Max – born 2000

Their great-grandchildren
Born to Johnny and Joni Bigger ~ Dawson – born 2007. Phoebe – born 2009. Finley – born 2012

How Does a Man Love His Bride

From Fred Kehoe to his wife Barbara (on their 50th anniversary)

He loves her with a love

that is not conditional.

It is not dependent on anything

she might do or say.

It is constant twenty-four hours a day

– even in sleep.

He loves her with a biblically based love.

Jesus is his teacher and example as

to how he is to love his bride.

The word of God is his textbook

in proving or measuring this love.

He loves her more than any other

human being on this, or any other, planet.

She is God’s gift to him,

and his prize.

There is nothing that can separate

his love from her.

100 Reasons for Happy Anniversary

Jama & John wedding2The Happy Day Moment of my wedding ceremony, August 30, 1980:

Through the songs, through the affirmation of our vows, I see only John and the miracle of our love which God has created. We stand facing each other, our hands clasped. His hands are slightly shaking and cold. In a paradox of emotions, we are nervous and yet wrapped in a wonderful peace. Quietly, John speaks the vows from his heart.

Jama&John wedding 8-30-80“Here, among family and friends, I, John, vow to you, Jama, at the beginning of our marriage, that I will love you with all my heart and honor you and work together with you throughout the rest of our lives, increasing our faith in God and our union together. I am your husband. I love you.”

My eyes are moist. I smile and speak, “Today, among our friends and our family, I vow and pledge to be the best wife to you that I can, to love you in times of tears and laughter, through struggles and successes, to be one with you as I never have with anyone before. I want to help you grow, as you have helped me grow, that our marriage may be fresh and exciting. You were designed by God to be the king and priest of our family, and as such, I will submit and obey you as my head. Christ has brought our love together, and in Him will our love and our marriage be strengthened and sustained. I am your helpmate; I am your wife. I love you.”

Our ceremony of love and joy continues. We exchange rings and Martin pronounces that John and I are husband and wife. My mind repeats those two words, knowing that today they apply to John and me. Inside is a continuous song of praise to my God who has blessed me so abundantly with this man.

(excerpt from Then Came A Miracle)

Throughout our marriage, we’ve had our joys and sorrows, laughter and tears, ups and downs, celebrations and disappointments — but in all things, we always had that MOMENT to be thankful, to live with gratitude that God brought us together, and He would work out all that other stuff for our good.

One Hundred Reasons why I have a Happy Day Moment with my husband — every day, more than 12,000!

  1. He says “I love you” to me so many many times a day, with his lips, with his eyes, with his embrace.
  2. He gives me lots of kisses.
  3. He gives me lots of hugs.
  4. He loves God and follows Jesus.
  5. He is a hands-on father to our children.
  6. He says “I love you” to our children.
  7. He hugs our sons, lots.
  8. He adores our grandchildren and loves to play Legos/read stories/color pictures.
  9. He is Captain.
  10. He has faith.
  11. He never said, “You can’t be a mother. You can’t have a baby. You can’t have another baby” because of my limitations.
  12. He is generous to a fault.
  13. He is so kind to me and others.
  14. He played with, supported and encouraged our kids.
  15. He hugs me when I’m sad or feeling low.
  16. He tells me I’m beautiful.
  17. He is a King James Version and hymn lover.
  18. He is as clever as Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan, and Groucho Marx.
  19. He kills spiders (and other crawly things) for me.
  20. He changes the toilet paper roll (over the top technique, of course).
  21. He vacuums the living room without being asked.
  22. He enjoys reading.
  23. He is scary smart.
  24. He lives with integrity, always.
  25. He graciously assumed household laundry duties.
  26. He now also does the grocery shopping.
  27. He makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches.
  28. He makes sure I’m never without chocolate.
  29. He knows just how I like my coffee (and tea).
  30. He warms an afghan or blanket in the dryer for me to snuggle.
  31. He endures the Cubs games with me even though he’s an evil St. Louis Cardinals fan.
  32. He helps me up when I am down, figuratively.
  33. He helps me up when I am down, literally.
  34. He helps me in and out.
  35. He enjoys shopping for gifts to give others.
  36. He listens, makes notes, and buys presents of things people like.
  37. He puts fresh fruit on my morning cereal.
  38. He makes sure I’m fed when I have to work all day in the office.
  39. He loves my family (and sometimes puts up with them).
  40. He buys chocolate for my boss so the candy jar on my desk is always full.
  41. He loves to build/create/modify Legos.
  42. He sings silly songs.
  43. He goes into Victoria’s Secret AND he buys me things.
  44. He buys ice cream even though he can’t eat it.
  45. He is sometimes rather goofy.
  46. He still watches cartoons (Lord, save me from Scooby-doo).
  47. He is always ready with a current weather report.
  48. He is obsessive about shoveling ALL snow from our driveway.
  49. He doesn’t speed.
  50. He has a huge helping of artistic talent.
  51. He never (rarely) complains about doing household chores.
  52. He is my live-in history professor.
  53. He love-pats my behind when I’m at the sink washing dishes.
  54. He designs and draws the most creative treasure maps.
  55. He is great at cuddling and I fit perfectly in he embrace.
  56. He has a witty sense of humor.
  57. He fills my car with gasoline and checks the tire pressure.
  58. He makes the bed even with all the extra pillows.
  59. He makes brownies for his co-workers, just because.
  60. He builds the warmest, fiercest (narcotic) fires in our fireplace.
  61. He is patient.
  62. He mows the lawn and cleans the eaves.
  63. He likes to spend money but he doesn’t go into debt.
  64. He lets me buy his clothes (if I get them in his preferred color scheme, i.e.: gray).
  65. He has made me a fan of curling.
  66. He wraps beautiful gift packages.
  67. He has very dexterous finger toes.
  68. He washes my car.
  69. He makes delicious apple pies with intricate top crust designs.
  70. He massages my sore feet with shea butter lotion.
  71. He makes my heart flutter with we smooch.
  72. He is still ticked off by Daylight Savings Time.
  73. He doesn’t mind taking me shopping.
  74. He rocks at Trivial Pursuit and Scene It.
  75. He suffered through my (temporary) emotional swings with a “There, there.”
  76. His smile and his laughter light up my life.
  77. He loves his parents and all manner of relatives.
  78. His blue blue blue eyes take my breath away.
  79. He is a fan of the Olympics, especially the Winter Games.
  80. He cared for me during my awful morning sickness(es).
  81. He is adorable.
  82. He surprised me when he began listening to country music.
  83. He is my Prince Charming.
  84. He is the definition of a loving husband.
  85. He got me to love watching Fred Astaire movies.
  86. He wipes away my tears (and passes me extra Puffs).
  87. He can put me to sleep by reading Antonia Frasier.
  88. He is imaginative.
  89. He wakes me with kisses in the morning.
  90. He lets me do the crossword puzzle in the Sunday paper.
  91. He makes me laugh.
  92. He finds me the most interesting gifts.
  93. He is compassionate and forgiving.
  94. He is still a big kid in many ways.
  95. He makes marriage an adventure.
  96. He reaches for and hold my hand when I crawl into bed late at night.
  97. He has taught me (too much) about aircraft, tanks and weaponry.
  98. He strokes my skin and I tingle.
  99. He always make me feel like a queen.
  100. He is the one … night and day, day and night.

And so many more…

HAPPY 33rd ANNIVERSARY!! Our Happy Day Moments continue…

photo by: Jeff Belmonte