Catching Up With Friends

June 15, 2018 at 12:11 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I ran into an old friend at the grocery store yesterday while doing my moms weekly shopping. We chatted for a while, caught each other up on our families, summer activities, and still talk about how we both met. She was an Avon Representative at the time. I had just lost my husband and was just basically going through the motions on dad to-day living. One day, a nice Avon lady came to my front door. I had on no make-up, not dressed yet ready for my day, I did offer her a cup of coffee. My new friend helped me find colors to compliment my skin tone. One week later when she delivered my package, she was amazed at the transformation. I was dressed, hair combed, house picked up and I looked better than the week before. We stayed friends even though our schedules do not allow us to get together as often anymore. 

I appreciate my friends. They accept me when I am in a good mood or when I am feeling a little melancholy. I know they have prayed for me over the loss of both my husband and my son. It is a nice feeling when I am feeling sad, someone will ask”how are you doing today Julie?” One of the comments I have heard the most is”I can’t even imagine”. I have learned how to live without my son, you never forget them or the good time with them and the difficult times you shared. I have so many wonderful memories of the fine young man Levi had become. One of my most cherished photos in my living room is the one where when our picture was being taken, Levi picked his mom up and my cousin snapped the memory. I remember we were both laughing because Levi told me”how many sons can pick up their mother?” 

This has been a long journey of pain, healing, acceptance, and most of all, the love and support of family and friends. I could not have done this without any of you. The prayers, getting together for coffee and a good cry,and turning my son’s old bedroom into my dressing room. I have friends who have also lost a son or a daughter, they shut the door to the child’s room and never go in it again. I chose to turn my son’s old bedroom into my dressing room. I love getting dressed in the morning and putting on my pajamas at night. I find comfort in seeing his pictures on his wall and reading his hand written notes on his message board. 

When we were born, we were not guaranteed the “perfect life”. We appreciate the little things in life that gives us joy. I know my son is smiling down on me from heaven. I wake up every morning knowing how proud he is of me, his mom who has persevered through my grief and come out the other side into happiness. Hug your kids extra tight today, let them know how proud you are of them, let them know how loved they are and you are glad they are in your life. You are not promised tomorrow , so make today count. 

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A Nice Day Trip

June 7, 2018 at 9:19 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Survivor, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

Yesterday, a dear friend of mine and I decided to plan a day trip. We were going to spend the day in a quaint little town overlooking the lake. First my friend needed to pick up a Memorial wrath as her mothers headstone had been delivered. Her parents had a plot bought several years earlier so they could be buried together and not burden the children. When my friend and I had gotten into town, we headed for the cemetery to place the wreath on the grave. Let me tell you, there is nothing like getting lost near a cemetery and cannot find the right road to take. After driving around for a half hour, we finally found the road. When we arrived, the grounds keeper was cutting the grass. It took us several minutes walking up and down the rows of graves to find her mom and dad. We took a few pictures and then headed back into town. I am glad I had the day off from work that I could go and help her celebrate her parents. They were like parents to me as well. 

The morning was sunny and breezy, the drive is a picturesque drive with good 1970’s music, beautiful scenery, and great conversation. I never get tired of driving through the forest, or passing a pretty lake. We are always on the lookout for deer on the way. Sharon and I were reminiscing about the first time we had met. She was my son Levi’s Kindergarten teacher; we had become fast and lasting friends over the years. On Friday nights, we would take the kids for an hour drive to our favorite church the out for ice cream after. I needed some good friends, it was a difficult time for me after my husband passed away. Their kids were a couple of years older than my son, so we would talk child rearing. it was nice to have someone I could talk to. 

 I find even if the plans you have are not what you expected, you can still make an enjoyable day out of it. I would like to think I am getting older and more creative with my days off. summer has never been one season I liked. The heat, the humidity, the bugs, the allergies, the water bill (that took the place of the furnace bills in the winter), keeping your flowers alive long enough to enjoy them. This year, I have decided enjoy the summer by being ‘a tourist in my town and maybe a quaint small town or two.’ Enjoying a walk around the boardwalk, having a snack at an outside cafe, have a coffee at a new coffee-house, check out a new art gallery, it has changed how I live my days.  I only have to water my lawn and flowers for three months, the only project this year is fill the holes in my backyard from the trees I had removed and maybe extend my patio. I live in a great neighborhood with awesome neighbors, have a nice little house that really feels like a vacation year round. 

I do not have the money to build an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit, a swimming pool, or an outdoor fireplace. I will leave that to my home where I go to celebrate my can’t take care of this anymore years. I know it is a growing trend to have an outdoor retreat for the family. I am glad families are investing into the future with grand kids someday, but for now, they can enjoy a yard where it is a home away from home stay-cation spot. I have seen some beautiful homes nestled in the forest or by a lake. Why would you want to go anywhere else?  Some backyards are landscaped in multi levels. a great place to pitch a couple tents and a fire pit. Mom and daughter afternoon pool day. Pack your towel and sunscreen in a tote bag and carry it to the pool party. Simple ways to create lasting memories that is passed on. 

 

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A Much Needed Evening

May 31, 2018 at 8:43 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )


Yesterday afternoon, a friend and I went into town to enjoy the farmers market.  There weren’t as many Venders as  in the previous years. We decided to make our way back to the main street where many quaint shops and outside cafe’s are. My friend spotted a wine tasting booth on the other side of the street so we stopped and sampled the homemade wine.

We had four choices  of wine and tiny crackers to choose from; My friend and I were pleased to learn the wine is made here locally. When we were ready to leave,the lady told us about the great cheese booth next door. We went over and had home-made goat cheese and fresh made artisan bread. We both decided we were going to visit both the small winery and the goat cheese farm. Both businesses are rural and close to home.

My friend and I were on our way to dinner before we stopped for wine and cheese samples. I was in for another surprise; We went into what looked like a simple bar. Outside was getting chilly, so we asked if we could eat inside. I just want to say the staff was very pleasant to talk to and you could tell they liked their job. We ordered our food and was visiting about the weekend ahead. The food took  longer than I expected to arrive My friend assured me this would be worth the wait. I have never seen a bigger french dip sandwich in my life! We both stayed longer than usual trying to eat it all. Afterwards, we waddled to the car. Before going home, we drove around the tree-lined streets in the area,commenting on either older homes were being replaced with new ones or the homeowners decided to add-on to the existing structure.  Most of the homes in the area are well-kept,nice curb appeal and freshly painted. 

I have had a busy two weeks, it was nice to go into town with a dear friend and visit some good people. I need to get away like this more often. I try and have a dinner and movie night with another friend twice a month. We both like Agatha Christie, and Tommy and Tuppence. My friend owned a B&B for years so we enjoy elegant snacks instead of your normal cheese and crackers(smile). I am glad I have dear friends like Katherine and Lavonne who share my same interests. We have so many quaint towns close by to enjoy a day trip. Sometimes I enjoy spending the day-off alone,  writing a post, reading a good book, setting outside listening to the birds chirping, or planning my backyard make-over design. I took today for myself. I planned my meals for the next few days, I put back on my pajamas, having a nice cup of tea right now, I am enjoying the fact that I have nothing to do today. 

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Art Walk

May 24, 2018 at 5:56 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

A few years ago, I participated in an Art Walk/ book signing event down town. I was excited because this would be one of my first major events. I had two dear friends who were also participating signing their books. Art Walk is a Second Friday event held down town each month for local artists, gallery owners, a specialty shops. It is a night of wine tasting, maybe a sculpture unveiling and most of all, everyone having a good time.

I didn’t know how much work went into preparing for my event; Putting ads in the local newspapers, Good News Northwest is a christian publication, and a radio announcement. Time for the big day. We all Drove to the event together to set up for the evening book signing. We set up in a quaint little specialty shop that used to be a book store owned by my friend who is participating in the event. I knew this would be a special night for her connecting with old friends and customers.

I was so excited about my first book signing that I forgot my purse in my friends basement. This would not had been a problem except, I am getting ahead of myself. We are st the event, selling and signing books having a great evening. After the Art walk was winding down, two of our companions were in the wine tasting room having a fabulous time. Faye and I were wondering how we were going to get home since the designated driver was no longer available. *(S) gave my Faye his car keys and wished us well. This was a nice Cadillac, Faye was afraid to touch anything,  so the ride home was quiet. 

When my friend and got back to the stunning beautiful mansion of our companions, we discovered the we needed two keys to get into the house. I went in through an open window and let my friend in. I then realized I was given the key when we left for the event but forgot my purse downstairs in their basement. I picked up my purse, still not thinking both keys are in my purse. I let Faye out the front door a mad dash for the garage door before it closed. My friend remarked” I didn’t know you were a stunt woman besides a local author.” We both laughed and headed to our homes. I will never forget the friendship, laughter and the wonderful people who stopped by our book signing table to talk and let us sign one of our books for them. I live in a great community.

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It’s That Time Again

May 17, 2018 at 8:50 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

It’s that time once again. Time to get our yards in shape for entertaining family and friends. I hear lawn maintenance is over one billion dollar industry. I know friends who have the Better Home And Garden Homes who will replace the flowers four times a season.  They spend nine hours per week weeding, mowing, pruning, dead heading plants, fertilizing, and watering.  I understand to have the gorgeous yards take a lot of work.

I am happy to say my gardening skills are getting better with my middle age. I, of course, have a gardener to advise me  some easy ideas to have the look of a beautiful back yard retreat. I decided to fill in holes left when three trees were taken down in January. Instead re-planting shrubs, I decided to fill in the holes with good dirt and expand my hop scotch patio by fifty feet. I need more entertaining space and add a fountain,and last, a pergola. Every year, I plan for a couple small projects to update my yard and create the space I want to have friends come and barbecue.

I watch the Home Improvement shows especially the ones that showcase a small yard. There is so much a homeowner can do on a budget. Adding a fire pit brings loved ones roasting marshmallows over an open fire. A good friend added an outdoor day bed to her backyard retreat. You can either lounge in front of the pool, watch the kids play volleyball in the pool. They say your home is your biggest investment., I agree; You don’t have to upgrade your current home, just make some simple improvements your family can enjoy for years to come especially if you love the neighborhood in live in. 

Every year, I look forward to the Annual garden Tour. It is a good way to get good ideas for your own retreat. Some retired gentlemen have created a secret garden for their wives to enjoy. I can imagine how nice it is on a summer morning, birds merrily chirping, squirrels running across the telephone wires, watching butterflies fluttering around picking a favorite flower to enjoy. I know deer come in and walk around the yards. What a treat to see them roaming around in the backyard. I would just like to appreciate the hard work and dedication the Garden Club puts into a hobby many after they retired. 

The older I get, I am trying to enjoy every season in my life. Getting together with dear friends, putting in roses to complete my Victorian Garden(in a front flower bed). I still like simple elegance. Succulents are a good way for me to have a nice flower bed without killing the plants. I am learning about rocky soil and adding rich nutrient dirt, and hen I don’t have to pray for the best. I think my late husband would be proud of me for keeping our forever home nice. I have always taken pride to keep the house clean, watering the yard, planting a few flowers so it looks like someone lives here. I have dear friends who painted my home and made the house look fresh again. I am starting to enjoy this middle age life of mine. 

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Fun Times Ahead

May 10, 2018 at 9:33 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Last week I noticed the house behind me was getting painted. It has been empty since the last homeowners just left the house, furniture and all. The home was a nice split level with a decent paint color, the roof started to leak and was patched, I am afraid one more good wind will blow over the Birch tree in the back yard. Looking at the house now, reminded me of how when life throws us a curve ball, it is how we handle the grief that keeps us carrying on.

So many people are going through tough times,children going off to college, for some, the child is now a Senior in school. This can be a scary time for parents; The are not ready to let the bird fly out of the nest. So many parents have sons and daughters out on the front lines defending our still Great nation. I can not imagine the pain they must be dealing with…not knowing. Some families have suffered set backs from a prolonged illness, others, are getting ready to retire this year. 

I still have three more years before I can retire. I plan to travel to the places my husband and I dreamed about when we were first married. We talked into the night on where we shall go when we are empty nesters of leisure. We were going to buy a motor home like my parents bought and leave for the coast for a few days.  I know my parents had many enjoyable vacations just the two of them after they moved to North Idaho. I remember getting a phone call from my dad one morning -something about they never had a key made for the house, could I come let them in. I am glad my parents had a fun empty nest life.Everyone came to my parents house for holiday parties.

 I remember getting my son up early,to go fishing ,they brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to eat on the dock, and having a fish fry in Grandpas back yard. The family used to gather at our favorite camping spot right on the lake; Several families came for four days of of fishing, boating, jet skiing, and roasting marshmallows over the camp fire at night. Mom and dad had good friends who loved the outdoors as much as they did. My dad wads famous for my son and I to get in the motor home and maybe ending up at the ten Thousand Dollar Bar in Montana for say dinner. 

They say we are given one life to live. I believe we should live life to the fullest and keep dreaming and making your dreams come true. Some folks in the Golden years plan on adding on to the already forever home they bought several years ago. they plan on investing in a home they can share with family and friends. Instead of traveling to a favorite vacation destination this year, they are bringing the vacation home. Many families are upgrading the back yard into a retreat. Adding a fire pit to set around, a water feature maybe or a outdoor kitchen. With the cost of traveling, airline fares, hotel costs, it just makes sense to stay home and enjoy your own taste of paradise. 

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Catching Up

May 3, 2018 at 1:57 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

This afternoon, I had lunch with my dear friend. I don’t get the chance to see her much since we both have different schedules now. A couple of years ago, we both had the same days off, so I would run her errands with her and have a nice afternoon returning purchases her husband decided he could live without after all. I miss seeing my girlfriend every week. She took me to meet her parents one afternoon the rest was…. I had been adopted that minute. Her dad was a kind man and her mother, always had a hug waiting for you when you walked into the room.

Sharon and her husband painted my house for me after my husband had passed away. I remember their son was working for his dad at the time and he painted my bedroom for me. I was busy helping Sharon paint my bathroom. ( I have not repainted our rag rolled walls). The son, seventeen at the time, took his time in my bedroom. I loved the soft blue/ green color chosen for the room. The paint still looks nice today.

Today, my friend and I were talking about when they came over and painted my home the first time. I had a yellow and green house. I was more and willing to have it painted a soft yellow and white. Chris asked me if he could bring my house into the twentieth century and  paint my house a pretty beige and green color instead. I appreciate the love and support they have given to me after the death of my son Levi. Chris felt bad because he was meaning to come over and repaint over Levi’s poor color choice in his bedroom. He donated left over beige paint and my neighbors helped me turn his old bedroom into my dressing room. I am so blessed with the kindness of so many wonderful people.

Three years ago, the same great friends came over and updated my home again. I was getting ready to start my stay-cation, my house was completed the day before. I ask you, where in the world would you plan to go when you have your own newly updated retreat in your own home. I bought new bedding, good food, and giggled in my bed like I remember my husband and I did our first night in this, our forever home. Life is sure different without my husband and son in it, but I have wonderful memories of the laughter, great loud conversations with family and friends in this house. Like I said, I am treating my days off a tourist in my home town. I am visiting new shops, eating my favorite ethnic foods, finding a new coffee place to try, I love open houses, and most of all, catching up with some good friends.

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Embracing Change

April 27, 2018 at 8:19 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I have just returned home from running a few errands. While at the bank, I was laughing and teasing one of the tellers I feel like a mini-celebrity. She began asking me suggestions on how I wrote my first book. I gave her some good hints on getting started. Afterwards, I went to see a girlfriend at her work. she was busy all afternoon, so I went to the grocery store and was getting ready for the weekend. Spring has decided to come to North Idaho once again. today is a beautiful sunny morning. Tomorrow, is supposed to rain and the temperature is supposed to drop by twenty degrees.

 I was reading a good blog post last week. The blogger said she wanted to make changes to her lifestyle. We do our spring cleaning of washing curtains, scrubbing the grime off our floors, getting the outside ready to plant and mow the grass again. We change over our winter wardrobe by putting away our heavy coats, layers of sweaters, pants and boots for shorts and sandals. This beautiful lady got me thinking about how I can make a lifestyle change as well. I decided to start by being a tourist in my town. I am going to enjoy my three days off each week by resort living. The first day off, I am going to run all my errands, grocery shop for the week, and enjoy my mini-vacation. I have already added a few  special touches to my  home with accent pillows in the living room, and decorator pillows on my bed.I realized I am worth treating myself to little luxuries.

I have been blessed by dear friends who have helped me over the years keep my home freshly painted and decorated. By backyard space is getting a makeover with a few potted plants, outdoor umbrella, a couple of trees and I will be set to enjoy my summer this year. Summer has not always been my favorite season. I decided to just try to enjoy what the four season has to offer. I live in an outdoor lovers paradise. Hiking, biking trails, water skiing, deer, moose,quail everywhere. Besides, summer is only three short months. One thing I plan to do this summer is go on a Memorial float down the river in honor of my son Levi. I have been invited a couple of times, but I wasn’t ready to go then. The river is beautiful with the mountains on each side. Levi’s best friend and his family is coming to float with me. Sometimes I have embrace changes in my life. Loosing my son has been hard, but I have the love and support of my family and friends to keep me moving forward everyday. 

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Spring is in the Air

April 21, 2018 at 9:12 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , )

They say Spring is here…. We shall see. The afternoon temperatures are getting warmer, the tulips, hydrangea, crocuses, and butterfly bushes are all ready to start planting soon. I know so many gardeners live to get outside and start digging in the dirt.You can tell the homeowners who are part of a Garden Club, they have some of the most beautiful gardens and landscapes.

I am trying to enjoy all four seasons where I live. My favorite time of year is fall. I am becoming a reforming black thumb gardener. But this year, I have a secret weapon someone who really knows and better yet, enjoys the art of creating luscious landscapes to die for. Michael is talented at looking at your drab front yard, and turning it into a show piece. I hope he can bring his magic to my yard this year.

We had a surprising warm January this year. Michael helped me take out three trees that were over crowded. When they were just wee saplings, I planted two pine trees too close together.  The result …. one of the branches were growing into my neighbors back yard. The more I looked at the trees, I decided to just start with a clean slate this year. My game plan is to create a simple yet elegant backyard space where I can entertain friends. Some of my good friends put in long hours to have a Better home and Gardens looking space. One lives in a nice tree-lined neighborhood where the bird flock to sing in the trees.

I do not have either the time or commitment to spend nine hours working on pruning, dead heading plants, cutting back the over growing flowers, and replanting  new plants all season. My friend takes too many trash bags to the dump every week. I understand to have a nice looking yard takes time, money, and talent, but I would rather takes nice leisurely drives around some of my favorite neighborhoods enjoying the fruits of the homeowners hard work. I love seeing the rustic charm, bird baths, rock gardens that look like small fountains lining side yards.

Maybe I am a dreamer who dreams of having a simply beautiful back yard space; Three years ago, good friends came and repainted my home, took out my old shrubs with some nice Hydrangea bushes, a few succulent plants, and replaced my single roof with a metal one. I did not realize the snow slides off the roof dumping four feet of snow on my beloved shrubs. I have learned to plant for the season and then cut way back for the next yer. see, I am learning little by little. I am enjoying my middle age life learning the beauty of container gardening, finding out what plants work best for my schedule, and the joy of low maintenance.

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The Best Week

April 14, 2018 at 8:06 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

I started my vacation last Tuesday morning. I looked forward to getting a few days to myself after working hard and caring for my aging mother. I don’t take many vacations, but sometimes, you just have to take a breather and refresh so you can keep going. I work in health care and help care for my aging mother. This week was nice, I had lunch with mom a couple of days, then had BBQ chicken dinner for her. It is nice to change-up my routine a bit. Sometimes I bring breakfast for her and then I can get ready for work if I need to go in early. Our friend is fascinated by my mom and her endless stories about growing up around the movie stars and our life living on the ranch in my childhood.

I had gotten some heartbreaking news this week. My dear friend have passed away. One elderly gentleman was my Pastors father. I grew up around some of the family and always enjoyed hearing him teach. I remember going to the family reunion a few years ago. Mom and dad ( I think with the planning of the children and grand children) decided to renew the wedding vows. it was fun watching everyone scramble getting this event put together in twenty minutes. The bride, beautiful, the groom, handsome. His wife passed away a few years ago, I was pleased to hear John found happiness again. The evening, bitter sweet. It will be nice to see old friends we haven’t seen in awhile, but it is also a time of reflection.

I

I have enjoyed a quiet week for my stay-cation. I went to the Library and checked out a couple movies and good books to read. Had dinner and movie night with my dear friend, it has been cold, rainy, windy, and still a chance of snow so I just had fun staying home. I am not one who has to travel anywhere. I look outside my picture window and see the mountains, I see deer and moose everywhere, I get the chance to see the storm clouds come into the valley below where we get the foggy nights. I do not really plan anything special to eat while I am off.( Some of my friends, they have this thing all planned out to the last detail.) Sounds too much like work to me. A good friend refreshed by bedroom several years ago to resemble a B&B inspired retreat.

I am also not one to be melancholy because I go back to work tomorrow. With some, come a post vacation depression, me, I am happy to get back and see my residents again. I feel like I have hit the life lottery. I love my little house, my job is awesome, my friends and family , I live in the perfect location to enjoy the four seasons. Since I live by a cove, I should learn how to paddle board this summer. I love floating down the river, seeing the beautiful summer homes, and the mountains. I believe I have found my small piece of paradise. Pretty soon it will time to set off for my afternoon drives. I have many places yet unexplored. My favorite place to visit is Sand Point. A quaint little town by the waters edge full of charming shops, art galleries, and eateries. If you enjoy Light House dressings, it is made right here in Sand Point.

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