Starting Out

March 21, 2018 at 9:42 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

When my husband and I were barely married, we were blessed to find our fist place to call home. I remember the nice new trailer was set inside a retirement village. We were living in our park for a year when I found out I was pregnant. The manager informed us we would have to move after the new baby was six month old. As luck would have it, the previous owners came moved back to town and wondered if we would like to sell the trailer. Well, we pondered, no, we said yes right away and began packing not knowing where we were going to move next.

While I was at work one afternoon, my husband and my mom were grocery shopping, and decided to look for our forever home. ( I always wondered why I was never invited to come “look” with them. I guess Jerry wanted to surprise me. It is a good thing I am not picky because I can just hear some couples fight. Jerry saw the for sale sign in the yard. The owner was outside watering his wife’s flowers and waved as Jerry drove by. The young man was friendly and told him to bring me back this evening and look the place over. When I got off work, Jerry was waiting for me at my parents home. He told me he had a surprise for me. We went over and stepped inside the door, and both knew we came home. Three Months later, our son Levi was born.

It is hard to believe it has been thirty two years since we moved into our home. We had the struggles most new homeowners have. Money was tight, we were about to have our baby, energy was running lower than the money and we did not have one thing on our dining room wall for one year. I kid you not. The more I was criticized for my decorating style or lack of as one put it, I did not care anymore. My husband had an illness, I had a new baby and you should have heard our arguments about what to put on the dining room wall. Looking back it is funny now, but it is funny how people perceive others and what their home should look like. Home decorating is an ongoing process. As I lived in my home longer, I started to put the house together more with a style. I have been blessed with Victorian pieces I have either bought or was given to me over the years. I love coming home everyday.

I often wondered just for fun if my late husband and my son could come back for an afternoon, what would they think. I think Jerry would marvel at what I had accomplished without his laughing comments. My son would be surprised I turned his old bedroom into my dressing room. I think they would both be happy I created such a lovely home for myself. I kept my husbands office, but the walls are no longer plain white, they are now a soft peach. I am using my son Levi’s computer, and I am displaying a few of the special gifts Jerry had given to me on display. My bedroom is painted a soft blue/green color with nice floral bedding. (He never minded the pretty bedspreads my mom bough me for my birthdays). My dear friend came over ten years ago and refreshed my bedroom for me. I laugh at the thought now but she wondered how long it had been since the room was touched. Seventeen years it was time I think.

I think with age comes confidence. Jerry and I were excited about owning our first home, a new trailer. We were lucky because it was pretty much decorated for us. We made some lasting friendships along the way. When we moved into our forever home, we were blessed to have neighbors with kids for our son to grow up with.  I would not trade the early years for anything.We were young , had our first baby coming, and we were both tired. I had always wished I had my dad, my brother, and both my Aunts talent for drawing, water colors, or oil paintings. I have several displayed in my home. My one Aunt gave me the best compliment one day. I told her I wished I was as talented in painting like the rest of the family. She told me “you are talented Julienne. Not many can put a house together like you have and have it look as nice as you do.” It warmed my heart to have more confidence in my abilities and then I realized it was not that I could not decorate, I have another person living here and I have to make him happy also. it is fun to look back on the lean years, raising our families and now the empty nest years. I must say , I have lived a pretty good life so far and looking forward to many more.

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Vacation Planing

February 2, 2018 at 9:33 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , , )

 

 

Today is another unseasonably warmer day. I took advantage of the sunny morning by having my moms gardener help me start my backyard makeover. I have been wanting to remove a few sad-looking pine trees for a couple of years. I could not believe the change taking out a couple of trees made – I can almost see a normal backyard again. I am planning on adding butterfly attracting plants where my trees once were, and adding shrubs along the back fence.

I found out the hard way last Winter it is difficult to have a lush planting bed in your front yard when you have a metal roof. Yep, four feet f snow dropped down on by shrubs last year and split them in half.  I planted a Hydrangea bushes last Spring and had a beautiful front garden. I did not however plan for the snowy conditions thumping my poor bushes flat. I am told they will come back, just trim them in the Spring. The older I get, I hope I getting a little wiser about how to care for my yard. I am not a gardener by any means, but I would like to have a simple yard I can enjoy in the warm months.

In a couple of weeks, I will be on my Stay-cation. I decided to put my money into fleshing up my home instead of traveling. My backyard is a good start. I feel good that I have less to worry about later. I can take some time and plan what I would like my outdoor retreat to look like. Even though it is still cold outside, I can look out the sliding glass doors and see the birds flying around the trees, I open the door a crack to hear them chirping to one another. I visit my friend and pass moose eating the neighbors trees. I went out to dinner the other night and a small deer walked across the road in front of me. I would rather stay here at home and enjoy what I have all around me than travel to a city and hear traffic, horns honking, another smoggy day, and maybe a day at the beach. The older I get, I like staying home surrounded by those I love to get together with.

Some of my friends are envious that I own my home. My husband and I found our forever home when I was pregnant with our son. Jerry was able to live in our home four years until he passed away from complications of his disease. I raised our son here until he moved out to help care for his grandma after his grandpa passed away. I was now an empty nester. This took some getting used to. You always dream when your child moves out, he is starving and begging to eat dinner with you. Not the case, I had to visit my mom or my neighbor to see my son. At least I saw him on Taco Tuesday every week. I look back at this time with fondness. My son died in 2007 when he involved in a fatal car accident. he was only 20.

I turned Levis’ old bedroom into my dressing room after he moved out. I love getting dressed in the morning and putting on my pajamas at night. I remember the phases his room went through,from cowboy bedspreads, to Ninja Turtles, Football Fantasy, and finally Military. When Levi was fifteen, he painted his bedroom a hideous shade of green while I was working. I came home that evening, he thought I would be mad at him and his friend. I told him he had to live with his choice not me. He turned the room into a cave with netting on the ceiling, his bed in the closet, and a sickly green color on the walls. he was happy in there. After he moved out, I painted the room a pretty beige color with Victorian accents on the wall. ( I know what you are thinking, he would not want to come home now anyway). This wasn’t my motive. It was a way for me to deal with the fact my son had moved out. All I had home was his cat-who was a great source of company. I think the cat talked more than Levi did.

Seasons come and go in our lives. I try to enjoy each one as it comes along. I enjoy all four season here, I get together with dear friends as much as possible. Sometimes, I stop over to see friends  when the grandkids are having a sleepover.   I have been asked if I was angry with God because I have lost both husband and son and have no grandchild.  I tell them no; I would have a hard time enjoying my grandchild if Levi was not here to share in the joy with me.My life took another direction than I had expected, but, I am able to care for my aging mom, I have a job in health care I love, a good church with plenty of love and support, a house I love to hang out in, and knowing my husband and son looks down from heaven and smiles upon my life gives me the most joy and courage to carry on.

 

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The Uncooperative Yard

August 3, 2017 at 12:05 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

A friend of mine and I were talking the other evening about what we still want to accomplish before the ed of summer. first on my list would be to get a friend to help me put some finishing touches on my back yard. I would like to have company,but my yard looks like a bomb went off in it. No matter how much I water, weed and feed (the weeds, not the lawn) it is still bone dry. My next door neighbor owns a lawn care service; We look at each other in passing and just hope the heat will decrease to 85 degrees instead of 95 degrees plus. So, I keep my hydrangea well watered and water the brown lawn three times per week.

While in my back yard this afternoon, I was sitting on my rocking chair thinking about my could be a beautiful yard. I had vision and hope: In the corner of the yard are two pine trees that have seen better days. I have my bird bath sitting there with no birds bathing. I was thinking about cutting down the pine trees and putting down a layer of rock. The bird bath would look better placed in the middle with pots all around it. in the other empty corner, I was thinking about putting a bench in the rock and put a shepherds hook beside it for a humming-bird feeder. On the fence, I want to put up planters for colorful flowers. At least when I go sit on my patio, I can look at something pretty and invite friends over for a party.

I can truly say, I am not a fan of summer sizzle. When my family first moved to my small town, the summer temperature was ony 85 degrees in august, now we get into the triple digits. The older I get, I melt. I  could go to the beach and fight the crowds, hope to get a shady spot, I am too old to run through my sprinkler except for when I forget to look where the lawn is being watered and get soaked. (usually right when you are running out the door to an appointment, and  you look like a drowned rat). I do enjoy when the sun is setting,the air cools down and you can hear the crickets chirping, the last of the kids have gone inside, and you are left with your cold coffee to enjoy in peace.

I took my first ride on a Harley Davidson motorcycle a few weeks ago. My son Levi had a best friend who has really been there for me after my son died ten years ago. We had breakfast at the Snake Pit, then Mike showed me where his family goes camping and floats down the lazy river. It is a beautiful area, in the middle of the national forest. My best friend and I took  a drive to one of our favorite small towns. It is nestled along side the lake with small unique shops and old car shows every weekend. I still need to make time to see a couple of plays or a concert in the park. I still enjoy what is happening at my local Library and visiting my friend the cat lady. She lives in a beautiful Victorian home on a tree- lined street. My yard would be incredible like hers, except I do not share her green thumb. I am becoming a reformed black thumb gardner with help from my friends.

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This Empty Nest Life

February 23, 2017 at 3:01 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

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I have read some stories of parents count down the days when the kids are grown and gone. Being an empty nester is bitter-sweet for me. When my son Levi first moved out, I was confused. He moved alright, his clothes. He would come home just long enough to get something from My bedroom now. One evening, as Levi was about to leave, I told him ‘either totally move out with all your stuff,or you can pay rent on all your stuff instead’ You should have seen the look on his face. He could not believe he would actually take his prized things somewhere else and stash them. I had plans for his old bedroom and if he wanted to come stay the night(what?) he was more than welcome. That went over like a lead balloon. The price of growing up.

After I had my conversation with my son,I had paint samples dancing around in my head, a new bedroom arrangement,a nice place to drink my coffee. I turned my sons old bedroom into my dressing room. I love getting dressed in the morning and putting on pajamas at night. I did not know,how could I, That weekend, my son was lost to a tragic car accident. I took my time cleaning out his bedroom. gone were the importance of having ‘my space’. Everyone has a different story about being an empty nest parent. I love being in my sons bedroom looking at his life in pictures,remembering the time when I was listening to his stereo when he went to work.  I laugh now at him telling his mom “I don’t care if you listen to my stereo, just turn it off when you are done using it’. Busted! There is a big world out there waiting for us to enjoy in our second half in life. We are now caring for our aging parents,working,spending time with the grandkids if we have a few. Life is good, I intend to squeeze every second out of life I can.

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Out With The Old, In With The New

December 31, 2016 at 9:32 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

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Happy New Year everyone. So many around the Country are getting ready for the grandest party of the season. Some choose wisely to stay in and watch the ball drop at midnight,while others will be in Times Square. Say a prayer for our men and woman in uniform tonight. Their families are praying they come home safe tonight.

My New Years Eve would start with church services and then a group of us would go to Denny’s and order food to be shared and visit until almost midnight.  We had anywhere from four and as many as ten join us. Fun memories of good and new friends talking over the sermon and what the New Year meant to them. This year I am working an early shift and will watch the ball drop in New York with a co-worker. This should prove interesting, since neither of us feel really good today, plus a fair amount of snow is in our forecast for tonight and tomorrow.

I remember my parents hosted the best parties. From thanksgiving until New Years day, family and friends gather at their home. Everyone would go sledding around the neighborhood being pulled by my dad in his 1946 Willie’s Jeep. Friends and cousins held on tight each other and we laughed while trying to stay on the sled. My dad loved to turn into a curve and you just missed slamming into a car on the street. but we missed them. Mom had home-made chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven and hot cocoa waiting when we could not feel our finger and toes anymore. We would have a nice dinner after sledding and toast with home-made wine from uncle Howie at midnight. After I got married and we had our son, we brought Levi over to join the sledding party. Levi’s first sledding ride was fun at first until he lost a glove and put his hand down on the snow and discovered it was cold. He cried.

Funny how the years change holidays.  Most of our family and friends has moved away, my husband dad and son has passed away. I spend quiet holidays with mom now. I make us a nice salmon dinner for New Years Day. She watches the ball game on t.v., then off to bed. She told me last night,one of her favorite New Years Eve memories was getting dressed up as mob husband and wife and going to a Murder Mystery Night hosted by a dear couple and neighbor; Mom and dad by the way, were the murders. What a hoot; This mild-mannered couple. I can’t remember what the prize was,but mom has a lasting memory of a great evening with a four course dinner and game.

Another year has come and gone. 2017 is fast upon us. Idaho like many parts of the Country is preparing for another round of snow and frigid temps. Spring is around some corner right? They say the older you get, the fast time seems to fly. I can almost see myself in my Capri pants and tunic top already. Have safe and Happy New Year everyone.

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A Sweet Surprise

December 7, 2016 at 9:11 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, Poetry, positive thinking) (, , , )

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One of the errands I had Saturday, was to pick up my Library book I had on hold. When I got out of my car, I was treated to tiny kids carrying hand-made gingerbread houses. I was impressed by some of the elaborate houses the kids had made. A child of about three or four years old all of a sudden put down her creation on the sidewalk. Three other children gathered around her discussing her master piece. As I was walking into the Library, many other children were carrying out their master pieces as well. What a unexpected treat for the eyes watching all the kids with mom.

So many people do not go to the Library because they think it is filled with just books. your local Library has so much more to offer: They offer beginner computer classes, writing classes, murder mystery book clubs, in the children’s corner reading time is offered, arts and crafts throughout the year. If you are a local Author, you can host a reading of your new book plus and question/answer session afterwards. Your teen has their own section in the Library as well as a space in back complete with chairs and a warm fireplace for those chilly winter afternoons spent reading or doing a crossword puzzle. Local businesses donate their time as well: local nurseries come and teach a class on building your own planter boxes complete with tips on how to keep your new creation of plants alive through the summer heat. Since I am a reforming black thumb gardener, I can use all the tips I can get). Quilting classes are offered, genealogy, scrapbook, and so many more activities are offered to keep one connected to the community.

Last week, my dear friend came over to help put the finishing touches on my Holiday decorating. I like to say I live in a Ranch home full of Victorian charm. Over the years my friend has helped me refresh a few rooms in my house. I bribed her help with a German pastry and a cup of tea. We spent the next couple hours listening to Silver Screen instrumental music on Direct Tv. We both laughed because the same movie score stayed on the screen for two hours but played different songs. I treasure my dear friend. She owned a B&B in Ireland for over 20 years. A few years ago, she came over to my home and gave my bedroom a needed make over. She is so cute,I went to Church that Monday evening so her daughter and son-in law could help her get ready for the Big reveal when I arrived back home. I have kept my bedroom the way she updated it for the last nine years. How can you mess with perfect? I have a beautiful B&B inspired room. She also helped me turn my sons old bedroom into a dressing room after he had passed away in 2007 from a car accident. We created a space where I can go get dressed but also remember the fine young man he had become.

Life is full of twists and turns. Holiday traditions get altered when loved ones pass, but one thing remains constant, the love and support of family and friends. Life is full of violence,hatred sometimes, let’s find a way everyday to love one another and bring brightness to someone today. May God bless you and keep you on this Christmas time.

 

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Stay True To Who You Are

October 28, 2016 at 5:55 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, positive thinking, Single Parent, Survivor) (, , , , )

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When I started my blog over four years ago, It was never to get fame or fortune. I started writing stories from my first book . I hoped my friends would read my posts and maybe like them. I had no idea how many people my stories would touch. I have met so many wonderful readers who have  moving stories forward bout thier loss. Some readers have told me my stories are painful to read and have stopped reading my posts. At first my feelings were hurt,but then I realized it was not a reflection off of me. I have read some blogs on grief and so many are so broken after many years; There is no time period on healing.

Life has thrown me many curve balls; I could have become bitter and angry but then I realized friends and family would avoid me and my pity party. We were never promised a rose garden life. years ago, I wrote my first book a couple of years after my only son Levi’s car accident. I would be asked ” how many copies have I sold so far?” I would tell people” if my book brought some peace to a grieving family, I could not ask for more.” I found out my book is in the waiting area of my local hospital and it was in the waiting room of the Critical care Unit;  River City Hospice recommends the book to hurting families. My book has gone farther than I could have hoped for.

Coming up with weekly blog topics are sometimes difficult for me.I try and blog twice a week. I sit and sometimes stare at the computer screen, but the stories unfortunately do not write themselves. When in doubt, I use a story from my book . Life is wonderful,exciting, I look at the beauty at each new day and really thank God for it. My glass is not half empty. It is brimming over with life, I don’t feel sorry for myself because I will not be a grandmother . I do sometimes wonder where Levi would be today at age thirty. Wow, I am feeling old. Yep,sometimes life throws you a curve ball. it depends on what you do with it.

I have lived in the same town for thirty-five years,in the same house for thirty. I truly feel blessed,I am glad I have my mom,a good jog I love, good co-workers, I turned my sons old bedroom into my dressing room I love to get dressed in there in the morning and pj’s on at night. I am grateful to God who has walked me through some of the darkest days of my life and we still have coffee everyday. I am a blessed woman indeed!

 

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The Merry Mix-Up Day

October 17, 2016 at 5:51 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , , )

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Yesterday was just one of those days.

It all started last week,when my mom was planning a combined party for herself and a friend of ours. I was to buy the groceries the day before the party and go buy the pizza the next afternoon before guests were to arrive. (mom is getting forgetful). She assumed the party started at five pm Guests arrived at noon. I received a call from mom at 12:30 asking me if I had picked up the pizza yet as guests were waiting to eat. I worked the night before and I was not happy about being rushed out the door. I also told mom I was sick and would not as planned be cooking lunch for everyone. It was interesting when I went to order lunch-The guy making the pizzas was on the same wave length as I because he went at a snail’s pace  making four orders for customers complaining the whole time. I paid for pizza and delivered them to her kitchen counter. I felt bad I could not stay but(feeling sick and pizza do not mix).

When I got home I was a little angry at the mix up in plans. I watched some tv and went to bed early. When I got up this morning, I wanted to write a post about my merry mix up day yesterday. Sometimes plans don’t work out as planned as we all know. I need to take a breath and exhale and then look at a new perspective sometimes. The party guests and the combined birthday honorees had a fabulous time. they baked the pizzas and opened gifts and were blessed. I needed to be excluded from the festivities for the afternoon to refresh my tired body and attitude. I will admit it I had a rotten attitude being tired and feeling rushed by mom: things need done right now in her eyes(not my eyes though). I needed to finish my cup of coffee and wake up  before running out the door. plus I had cold medicine in me and needed time for it to wear off before driiving.  You can let the icident ruin your whole day or put on amber colored glasses. I chose to wear the colored glasses. Nothing is as bad as it seems wearing them;  you have time to realize it was just a 5 hour silly mix-up and let it go.

Today I feel better. I had a good night sleep which my body needed, and I can look back on yesterday and smile. I have to remember mom is getting more forgetful and I have to try and be patient with her. It is hard when I am the one taking care of her plus keeping my own house in order. With the love and support from God, I am doing well.  We are called the sandwich generation I laugh because I feel half of my bread is missing. Being a widow, Jerry should be sharing in the fun). I have learned you have to take a breath and have a day off from all obligationsonce a week: I also need to still feel like a daughter and not moms care giver. Mom doesn’t get out as much as she used to. I fight with her to get dressed everyday,take her shower and get back to the mom I once had a few years ago. Life has a new challenge for us everyday doesn’t it? It is easy to forget sometimes to see the beauty in each new day and rejoice what God has given to us.

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My Empty Nest Life

October 7, 2016 at 3:49 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , , )

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I love this illustration of how some parents really feel about the child leaving the nest.

No I did not throw a tantrum , blocking the door when my son Levi moved out. It was more like we were both ready for him to move forward in  his life. My son moved in to help his Grandma when his beloved Grandpa passed away. My fondest memory of this time was Levi’s grandma locked the doors at 10:00 p.m. My mom would get a phone call from one of his friends telling her he is on his way please do not lock the door. She kept my son honest. I think my son had a good learning experience. Paying his bills on time, saving for a first apartment, helping his Grandma with chores. We never dreamed he would die in a tragic car accident at the age of 20.

My life has certainly changed the last several years I have come to terms with the loss of my son Levi. In so many way my life was forever changed in a moment; My son was now gone, I was helping my mom cope with another loss, working full-time and trying to stay out of depressions front door. I wake up every morning knowing my son is cheering me on in Heaven. I work at my dream job,I still live in the house my late husband and I bought together, and most of all I can appreciate life in all its beauty.

Muddling through my middle age life has been an adventure. I am known as the semi-reformed black thumb Gardner. The tree that has done the best in the back yard is the one planted in honor of my son. The tree stands 20 feet tall now. The rest of the yard-basic okay. If it ever stops raining,I can get the last mowing the season done. I have replaced my roof and tomorrow, yeah I have been fit into a schedule to replace my aging furnace.(If you have no heat when it is cold,it is nice to be fit in). I know they say things come in threes. I just hope they are wrong as I am running out of money. I have been told now I can stay here another thirty years. Good thing I like my house. I have no plans to move for one, I could not match my current house payment, I live by the Spokane river, and the neighborhood is great. Families walk the dog, ride their bikes,and take nature hikes the area. I live in an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. So my middle age life is a good one. I do not complain about what I don;t have I cout the many blessing I do have. We all know life can be tough sometimes,but we all hang in there together.

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Extending Ones Birthday

September 28, 2016 at 6:11 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

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Yesterday was my twin brother and my birthday. tell my brother that We have reached the milestone ” big “one. I can now get my senior discounts. Some will say nooooooo….. I embrace this time in my life. What is wrong with an extra 10% off on your meal or a pair of pants? ( I see your smirks). And it depends on how much merchandise you have just bought. You may be able to get a coffee.

I was talking to a dear friend yesterday had a senior moment. My friend and I laughed- She right behind me so we will have a lot to talk about soon. I have come to the time in my life I don’t reflect on my future, I have everything I need now. I live in a comfortable home my late husband and I bought together,even though now I have since lost both my beloved husband and my only son, I am content where God has put me. I have been able to overcome my difficult circumstances with the love and support of family and friends. My blog has been a good outlet and I have been blessed with so may kind and comforting words  thank you for reading and supporting my blog.

I still have two more friends I am celebrating my birthday with. Dinner at a nice restaurant tonight and lunch and dinner tomorrow. talk about feeling like a princess. I was thinking yesterday about a memorable birthday. Ten years ago,my son picked me up at my house(he was living with his grandmother and helping her after his grandpa passed away.) He took my mom and I to Olive Garden for dinner. Mom birthday is October, so we all had dinner there to celebrate her day. I was telling God I missed having dinner with my son. God heard my prayer because Levi’s best friend is having me over to his house tomorrow for dinner. Levi and Mike were instant friends since the second grade. I live my life with Gods touch and guidance.

I never thought I would spend my golden years without the two most important men in my life. nobody does. But I choose to live my life to the fullest and be satisfied with the life I have given. Life is made of adjustments isn’t it? We raise our kids and they go off to college or get married,we move to a bigger house to accommodate our now growing family, we may retire and plan to travel, begin a new job, even move to another state to be closer to the kids. We adjust to our ever changing needs don’t we? Stay happy in your life right now, hug your kids extra tight and let them know how much you love them and how proud you are of them They will fly away soon my friends. ( if you are lucky,they will come have dinner with you).

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