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My Mom and Dad – known to the rest of the world as Sally and Steve Murdick. I am so thankful for all they have provided and taught me, so I thought I’d share everything I admire about them – and maybe even provide a few insights into how I became the person I am.

40th Wedding Anniversary

My parents actually celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary last June (2014). Way to go, Mom and Dad! (That’s my sweet grandma there in the background.)

They met in college while studying abroad in Heidelberg, Germany, through Pepperdine University in 1972.

Pepperdine University 1972

Here they are in Heidelberg, Germany – 1972

Although they started off as friends, two years later, Sally Nursall and Steve Murdick were married in Palos Verdes, California.  This sounds weird (and impossible), but I really wish I could’ve been there to witness that celebration! The photos are all so beautiful.

Palos Verdes, California

Mom and Dad’s Wedding Day

I’ve been blessed with really wonderful parents. They are patient and thoughtful and loving. And, I think I can honestly say that I’ve never had a big argument with either one of them in all my years.

Wait, that’s quite a declaration…

Let me rethink that for a second…

OK, OK. I hear I was a pretty feisty four year old. And by feisty, I mean a BRAT.

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EPSON MFP image

Brats cause arguments. Shoot.

Well, I’m glad I got that out of my system at an early age!

Here’s a little bit more about my “Mamasita”…

I followed my mom around the kitchen as a kid.

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I’m thankful that she let me, because that’s how I learned to cook and bake.

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My mom soaks up knowledge like a sponge. Not only did she complete college in only 3 years, but also by the time she graduated, Sally Nursall was fluent in English, Spanish, French AND German.

Within three and a half years after marrying my Dad, she had given birth to three kids. Which means, by the time I came along, my parents had a newborn, a year-and-a-half year old and a three year old – all under the same roof!

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My two big brothers, Tim and Nick, with baby me.

Once I entered kindergarten, she was finally able to begin what eventually became an eighteen year career as an elementary school teacher. The last seven of those years, she decided to put her Spanish to use by teaching bilingual kindergarten. I remember that as a young adult, I loved sitting in on her classes. Watching her teach while speaking mostly Spanish to a class of tiny five-year-olds served as great entertainment for me. Admittedly, though, my favorite was when someone in the class would get in trouble. My mom would start scolding that kid in Spanish with finger wagging and all, which at the time I thought could only be described as comical! And there I was, the second oldest person in the room, hiding behind a Dr. Seuss book snickering at the poor kid’s expense. It was the epitome of mature, I know. I was just thankful to not be the one on the other side of that finger!

After retirement, my mom didn’t slow down. Instead, she challenged herself to the max by becoming a brown belt in karate.

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This is a collage my mom created in memory of her time spent in karate class. That’s my brother, Tim, there with her in that bottom photo.

A couple years later, she then trained and dieted for an entire year in order to compete in her very first fitness competition… at the age of 58. I was her lucky coach.

 

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Oh, and in her spare time, she earned certifications in both massage therapy and fitness training, became a Reiki master, ran a couple half marathons and one full marathon. All of this AFTER retiring. She’s my hero.

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I hope and pray that someday I manage to be an amazing mom, just like her.

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A little bit more about my dear ol’ Dad….

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Lover of lager beer and plain M&M’s – YES, at the same time!

My Dad helped to create truly magical childhoods for my two big brothers and me. He and Mom made sure that every birthday and holiday was a big celebration in our house. Because of this, the three of us kids looked forward to each and every special occasion on the calendar.

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Myself, Tim and Nick.

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That big car with flower tires off to the right was actually a car shaped pillow that my mom had made for us!

As if this all wasn’t enough, every June, we would leave town on a family vacation. Many of them were road trips to national parks and such, but there were also a couple of trips to Mexico and Hawaii thanks to the family timeshare.

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I knew back then that these celebrations and trips were very important to my Dad, but it wasn’t until years later that I realized exactly what it took to have all those “extras” in our lives.

It turns out, my parents endured many financial struggles during those early years. But my Dad never let the three of us kids know it. Instead, he simply did whatever it took to provide not only the basic needs for his young family, but also to make our childhoods especially fun and memorable.

Despite the fact that my Dad had a degree in philosophy under his belt, his life consisted of having various jobs over the years, including working as a bartender and a liquor store clerk, all while taking classes at the Computer Learning Center at night.

It was 1979 when he left the world of hourly wages behind and started working full time for a company named Northrop as a Programmer Analyst. With only one car in the family, my Dad opted to ride his bike the five miles to work each day so that my Mom could use the car during the day. This was the routine for the next five years. I still have memories of peeking out the kitchen window in the evenings, watching my Dad ride his bike up the driveway, suit and tie and all!

It was in 1987 that my Dad, being the driven guy that he is, realized that he’d be able to earn much more money for the family if he went back to night school and earned his MBA. So that’s exactly what he did. Two years later, my mom and the three of us kids attended his graduation ceremony.

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Even though I was only nine, I remember feeling so proud of my Dad!

A few months later, my family moved from Los Angeles to Riverside County, Ca., where the homes were more affordable, the schools were better and the neighborhoods were safer. The tradeoff? My Dad, now a DBA Manager, then had to commute at least one hour each way to Northrop, which meant spending two hours plus in the car each day, on top of a full eight-hour workday. He left the house before sunrise and arrived home around sunset. I know what you must be thinking, and the answer is YES. He went through MANY books on tape!

It wasn’t until my parents and oldest brother, Tim, moved to Grand Prairie, Texas, in 1999 that my Dad was finally able to quit the crazy commute, and started working his 8+ hours from home, instead.

Fast forward to July 1, 2014…

After 35 years of dedicated hard work for this company now called Northrop Grumman, my Dad was finally able to hang his hat up and RETIRE. Yee-haw!  I bet that beer and M&M combo taste better than ever now.

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With ALL of that being said, there’s A LOT more to Steve Murdick than his work history…

One of my dad’s many talents is the ability to write incredible messages in greeting cards. Whether it’s funny or heartwarming, it’s always just right.

Speaking of writing, he wrote and delivered a speech at our wedding that I know everyone in attendance will never forget. It was one of the true highlights of the whole entire evening.

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Oh – and by the way – my dad’s a runner, too.

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After taking a break from running for a couple of decades, he decided to get back into it at age 50, despite past knee issues. Over the past 13 years, he has trained for and completed a handful of 10k’s and half marathons, and six full marathons. The best part about it is, he ran the very first of those full marathons two weeks after his 60th birthday! Amazing, right?!

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That’s my Dad crossing the finish line after running 26.2 miles. I imagine that moment must have felt so good! This photo brought tears to my eyes the first time I saw it.

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My Mom and Dad just after completing the 2012 Cowtown half/full marathons.

Yep. I’ve been blessed with really wonderful parents.

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Comments

valerie

your parents are amazing! especially your mom, holy catz – how crazy blessed were you to have them!

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Pat Wynne

I think that is a wonderful tribute to your fabulous husband who I love his daughters and your mom and, and you look just like her, and congratulations to you both on the new family your going to start. Twin boys no less, amazing.

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