Post Holiday Snowy Afternoon

January 9, 2019 at 1:55 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

I remember last year at Christmas, we had eight inches of snow over night for a tricky commute the next morning. This year, it snowed the day after Christmas; It was a blessing in disguise for some I suppose as we like it if you have experience driving and most importantly, stopping at the stop lights and signs. I just love to watch the snow falling and watching the dads pull the kids around the neighborhood in their sleds-or have the dog pull them for you.

Some of my fondest memories are of my friends and family being pulled around the neighborhood on my sled behind my dads old 1946 Willie’s Jeep. I do not know who had more fun, dad or us. When we could not feel our fingers or toes anymore, we would go inside the house where my mom had hot cocoa and home-made chocolate chip cookies waiting. The teens in the neighborhood always had a contest of who could shovel the driveway faster,so the parents never had to bother with the chore(who trained who well here now that I think of it.). I remember the small town sense of community then. We only had three thousand residents living here at the time.

My how times have changed.  The small town is growing rapidly these days. Every time I take a drive around m small town, I realize we have three more apartment buildings going up. We still have a small town charm and neighbors are always willing to lend a helping hand. My next door neighbor came over while I am sitting here writing this post and shoveled my driveway for me. How nice of him to think of me. It is nice to live in a smaller town, you have your favorite coffee-house you frequent, your grocery store, same bank and the friendly tellers there, so it doesn’t matter how much we grow, you still can have a small town feel.

Sometimes life get busier than we would like,I have some dear friends I keep meaning to catch up with over dinner or a movie. Not so long ago, two of my dear friends and I had the same schedule and we went out to lunch or for a nice drive together. My one friend and I laughed when I suggest taking a winter drive all we are missing is the snow. Soon Spring will be here and we will trade our coats,boots,layers for tees and shorts. But for a few moments more, I would like to savor the last of winter. I still love to bundle up near the fireplace and drink my coffee, see deer or moose in the front yard eating off one of the trees, quail eating among the pine trees where they think they are hidden, the neighbors still walking the dogs around the neighborhood by the river. I could not think of another place I would rather live. 

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I Light This candle In Memory

December 11, 2018 at 3:38 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

The holidays can be a stressful time for many, last-minute gift  shopping, Christmas is at your house this year, cleaning the house for guests. And again this year on your mind is that loved one who won’t be here to share the wonderful holiday season. For many, this time of year is lonely, difficult, depressing and easy to just isolate oneself.

A few years ago, I went to a candle light service in honor of my son Levi. I remember being scared to go alone and didn’t want to sit alone and didn’t want anyone to see my cry. When I walked in the door of the building, I was met with such caring staff who made you feel welcome. I was able to sit with a couple I knew so I was not alone. Afterwards, I had some refreshments and went home happy I went.

I know the holidays are stressful,but it is made more difficult when you are missing a special someone again this year. Some folks put an extra place setting in honor of their loved one, some make his/her favorite dessert to add to the desert buffet, others tell a funny story about the loved one at dinner. My son Levi loved chicken nachos, I always make his favorite dish on his birthday with a nice cup of coffee to finish off the meal.

I have the love and support of my family and friends who have encouraged me to never give up, I know I can always count on one of them if I need help, I am invited out to dinner and get to see the town all lit up for Christmas. A nice evening spent with a dear friend. The holidays don’t have to be depressing; They are what you make of it. With so many days left until Santa arrives, strive to stress less, ask for help,maybe this year let family and friends bring a favorite dish, most of all hugs those little ones tight, let them know how much you love them, how much they mean to you and let your loved ones know you appreciate them. I found out we are not promised tomorrow ,so make the most of today.

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Life’s Journey

November 25, 2018 at 10:14 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

The road up ahead is paved with uncertainty. Sometimes, it is difficult to choose the right path. This journey called life we are on can throw us many curve balls. How do we deal with disappointment or happenstance? The call from the hospital we did n’ t expect, the layoff before the holidays, our aging parents who needs us now, life is ever-changing. Sometimes, we find ourselves shifting our priorities some to accommodate these changes in our lives.

Being part of the sandwich generation has been a daily challenge for me. My mom has had some minor medical setbacks for a few years now. It is interesting to keep up two households now with grocery shopping, scheduling DR. appointments, making sure she gets there on time is a big plus in our busy lives. Sometimes I have to remember back just a few short years ago mom and dad both worked until dad was hurt on the job, then he retired from his job. The family dynamics had changed where mom became the bread-winner of the family. She worked full-time, then came home and made dinner for the family, then off to whatever after school activity my brother and I had.

Sometimes, I have to keep in mind even though I am tired from a long and busy week, we need to keep our priorities straight. It is time to give back to our parent or parents if both are still living. I realized boundaries are nice and necessary to maintain a healthy balance and not over react in the moment. Such a growing experience some of us are going through now. But, the older I get, I hope some wisdom, patience, humor, and learning to just enjoy being her daughter. I try everyday to just take the time and smell the roses because in the middle of life’s circumstances, they smell sweet. I have to let go of the things that are not important, keep what is, cherish who I still have here, my Aunt’s favorite quote which I am sure she had gotten from her mother”It will all come out in the wash anyway”.

Sometimes, I have to admit, I have a hard time just enjoying the moments. Yesterday, I went for a drive with a dear friend, we saw four deer and several turkeys  along our travels. One young buck and a mom deer with two young babies. The road was clear of snow or ice and the afternoon, sunny. We enjoyed catching up, and the quiet drive in the country. I treasure rare afternoons like this. Pretty soon, we will have the snowy days, the drivers who really should not be on the roads anytime soon, and winter will be here once again. The juggling act is hard sometimes, but I just have to remember it is all good and we will survive this  season in our lives too. 

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Can’t Is a Four Letter Word

November 3, 2018 at 8:40 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

The older I get, I am the more I am looking to the positive in my life. I understand some folks get worried with changes in their lives; They cannot imagine what the next day is going to look like. I understand with some people we have to take baby steps with their ever-changing needs, but eventually, if it is feasible, we need to get back on track to where we need to be.

Change is a funny thing. We had our lives planned out and wham, all of a sudden, an injury interrupted your once in a lifetime vacation plans, your daughter decided he isn’t really the one for her after you made all the plans, College is put on hold again, instead of having the house to yourselves, one of the kids returns home with her four not for a visit this time. I think if the situation can work for the family, a son who has a good career and staying home to help the family is a great option. Many young adults are opting to stay home longer, some have the right idea, so they can save for a good down payment on a condo or a first home.

Leaving the nest can be scary. We reach the certain age where we felt it was time to be out on our own. I remember when my husband and I bought our first home it was a trailer in a well established neighborhood. After living there for two years, I became pregnant with our son. We decided to look for a house for our growing family. We were lucky to find one in a new neighborhood with kids. When my husband and I met and married, we thought we would grow old and grey together, raise our family and look forward to our retirement and grand kids. We planned to travel after we retired in our motor home. Jerry had always wanted to take his time seeing the country.

My life took a different direction than I had planned. My husband died after six short years of wedded bliss from complications of his disease. I was suddenly a single parent to my four-year old son. I realized life can be difficult and throw you some curve balls along the way but you can do it. I raised Levi from childhood through his teens no easy feat. I am proud of the fine young man he had become. Some of my friends tried to talk me into selling the home and buying a place of my own. I laugh today at the thought,all of my wonderful memories are right here within these four walls. All the teenage arguments, door slamming, late night pizza deliveries, friends gathering for the evening, everything that makes a house a home. I believe “Can’t” is a four letter word, put your mind to it and yes, you can. I did.

 

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A New Perspective

October 29, 2018 at 2:28 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

A couple of weeks ago, my mom suffered an injury. She underwent surgery to correct the problem and now is in rehabilitation hospital for a few weeks. Both our lives were changed temporarily. She has intense therapy three times daily, to get back into her home living independent again. She used to be busy in the kitchen making a berry cobbler in the afternoon and sampling a piece before dinner.(One has to be sure it ready to serve for desert).

I am part of the sandwich generation who works full-time and care for my aging mom. I know many couples have younger children or have the grandchildren living with them full-time as well. It can be a challenge taking care of two households sometimes. Grocery shopping, before our shower aid came, fitting that into a daily routine, having dinner with mom, laundry,etc. I think we never thought our parents would get old and more dependent on the kids. We remember growing up when you gathered around the dinner table and shared your day, homework after dinner was bedtime. Now, you make dinner, maybe they can help with the dishes,and then sit in the living room and visit.

I was laughing this week because my mom has never spent her birthday in the hospital before. She received all her phone calls she would have at home, her flower arrangement from her nephew,the only thing missing was her at home.  Mom can still do her bills every month, just this time sitting in her wheel chair in front of a nice picture window. It is hard to think of our parents as the Geritol crowd. Some, like my mom are starting to slow down or needing persuaded to get dressed and take a walk, therapy got her started on memory game version of poker she really enjoys the challenge.

We never know what tomorrow may bring, enjoy every moment you have with family and friends and never look back with any regrets. I still sometimes struggle with the loss of my son Levi. I think about him often, where would he be today. Married, have children, still live in the area, still drive his beloved car or would he trade it for his first mini-van. I feel blessed to have been his mom for twenty years. I have so many wonderful memories of the good times and the challenging times we had. I am proud of the fine young man Levi had become. 

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Older and Wiser I Hope

October 7, 2018 at 11:11 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Last week, my brother and I turned fifty-seven. I can’t talk for my brother, but age to me is just a number. I do not feel older or depressed as some do. My brother and I have difficult circumstances to endure and we are thankful to be on this side of the pain.

I wound like to think I am an easy-going person who takes circumstances in stride. I don’t understand rude behavior in the checkout line, talking loud on the cell phone just because the person was having a bad day and they make sure everyone knows. I do not understand the sassy kids who throw themselves on the floor of the supermarket because they were told they could not have the toy. I do not understand the disrespect of this generation. I was raised with manners and we better remember them when talking to an adult, tantrums were not tolerated and discipline followed.

When I was raising my young son, I was a widow who had the awesome responsibility of raising my young son from childhood through his teens-no easy feat. We had many hardships and difficulties, but I would not trade one them the struggles for anything. When life became difficult with Levi, he always knew I believed in him, I supported him and I was there for him. Many of his friends were not as fortunate. It is always hard to hear when a parent gives up on a child.

Some ask me how am I doing now. I have living life day by day and thankful for great memories I have as a wife and a mother. My life was forever changed in a flash with deaths of both my husband and son, but I have so many fond memories of a house alive with many boys getting ready to paint ball, dad taking his son on a motorcycle ride, pulling the sled around by the ATV, watching Levi build his snow fort, the harvest carnival, the last time we put gas in Levi’s new car. We both never knew our lives would forever change the next evening. I am truly thankful to god for giving me the opportunity to be a wife and mother even if for a little while. Kids are a blessing, hug them extra tight today, let them know how much you love them, how proud of them you are, how much they mean to you, life can change in a moment. 

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A Brand New Driver

September 21, 2018 at 2:50 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I am sitting here at my computer wishing I had renewed my driver’s license sooner. I was involved in an altercation last week and twisted my ankle. It will fun standing outside in the chilly morning tomorrow waiting to get in to renew my precious photo taken last time. Our small town has grown in population the past few years. You are not in and out like times were. It takes three times as long-standing in lines waiting your turn.

As I sit here typing, a fond memory is taking hold. I remember when I and a good girlfriend were juniors in high school. My friend had to get her driver’s license. No one would consider taking her,not her mom, her mom’s boyfriend, her sister or her friends who already were driving. I thought this was terrible. After all, we all had to face the dreaded driving instructor why deprive my dear friend of her turn. After all she was so excited , just needed a ride.

The big day had arrived. I was busy feeding the animals, getting dressed, called my friend to see how much longer for her  to be ready. Her mom said in the background” she has been up since five tried on every outfit she owns and has done her hair three times for the picture. She is ready to go”. So on my way I went to pick her up. It was fun for me because she didn’t know I was letting her use my car to take her driving test in. She just thought she was taking the written test and then her driving part later.

Since it was her birthday, we went to Bob’s Big Boy to celebrate. We had the hamburger combination with a strawberry milkshake. We were full, happy, laughing and ready to head over to Thousand Oaks. I sat in the lobby waiting for her to finish her written test. She came over to me and let me know she passed.”Of course you did silly” I told her. We were starting to walk out the front door when I asked her”don’t you have another part of the test to complete today?” She almost cried when realized I was letting her drive my car to take her test in. She passed that day and what a wonderful memory of a friend I miss still today. She has passed away several years ago, but I remember her giggle, her “Hi” on the phone, and her zest for life itself.

I am thankful for all the memories I have from loved ones, friends, my son and my life as an empty nester. I never thought my golden years I would be writing stories about my husband and son. I am thankful for all the good time I have shared with my family and  all the hardships I have had to endure. No matter what life throws at you, it is still a great life and wonderful t be alive.

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Life Beyond Parenting

September 14, 2018 at 12:10 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , )

If someone were to tell me eleven years ago my life would be forever changed, I wouldn’t have believed them. My son was a vibrant twenty year old with a good job, friends, a solid church family. I guess we, as parents don’t think past our kids maybe one day moving out on their own, getting married, going off to college. Some of these life stages can be tough.

Your child has enlisted in the Military, you are frightened for their safe return home, your tween daughter decided to get married(elopes). You son announces he would like to live with you forever….. Life beyond parenting is an interesting term for me. I said goodbye to my world one day when he was involved in a tragic car accident. Life could not prepare me for the depth of grief I felt the day his life support machine was turned off. Many parents suffer the child they love and raised decides she doesn’t like living at home with the rules anymore and becomes a runaway, parents dealing with addicted children or the parents who visit the child in jail.

We think these hard days are never going to end. For some, the pain never will end, for many others, the pain eases as time goes on and they learn how to rebuild their lives again. Every family story is a success story, no matter the outcome, the parent was there for the child, watched the kids games, took them to practice, supported their concerns. It is true, kids did not come with an instruction manual, with Levi, I would have thrown the manual out anyway. I wanted the joy that comes with the challenges, I raised Levi from childhood through his teens no easy feat. I am proud of the fine young man he had become.

A few years ago there was a popular book out called” Motherhood ain’t For Wimps”. It is true, parenting is tough business. I would have loved to have more than one son, but as I have been told over the years”Levi gave you a run for your money, but you gave it back.”A strong faith really is essential for your(the parent) sanity. Over night, I became mom, dad and sole provider of my family of two now. Looking back now, I would not trade one single hardship or difficulty I have been through. Levi was the best gift God could have ever given to me and I am thankful I had the opportunity to be a wife and mother even if for a little while. 

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treasured Finds

August 16, 2018 at 1:28 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Yesterday, I went under my house to clean out some more treasures that have stored under there for the past thirty plus years. I found my son Levi’s paint ball gear; I sat on the dirt floor and laughed at the memories of his friends coming over in full gear getting ready for an all out battle. I am thinking I am going to donate the gear to Levi’s best friend Mike who now has preteens of his own. Most of the stuff stored down here belonged to you guessed it, Levi. I had fun looking at some of his prized possessions and remembering when he had bought the items.

I know how easy it would be to just leave his belongings under the house and not deal with the emotional ties, but I would rather his personal possessions go to someone else who could use them now. Some of my friends wonder how I could turn his old bedroom into my dressing room. I made a decision after my son had well ‘almost’ moved out at nineteen to make his old bedroom into my space now. I knew he would never come back over to spend the night, or have dinner with me, or even to sit down to visit. he was too busy and plus he said “I knew where he was at most of the time, come see me there”. It is a funny thing about being an empty nester, sometimes our dreams do not come true. I used to hear my friends talk about the kids came home for Sunday supper. The parents had fun learning the truth about The stain in the carpet, or how the back door really got broken.

I ran across a couple of my childhood belongings down in the crawl space. I ran across my high school year books, some of my 4-H Club ribbons for my lamb, prized ribbons from the fair. I enjoyed growing up on the ranch. I had many opportunities my friends did not. raising all our animals was a once in a lifetime experience. I could ride my horse in the orchard after school, play with the baby lambs, feed the chickens, or ride our mini-bike. Being raised on the ranch taught my twin brother and I responsibility, dedication,and personal growth. It was fun seeing the birth of a baby lamb grow up and become a Grand Champion in the sheep class the next year.

Life has a way of passing us by if we are not careful. I can say I have some very good memories of the life I had lived and some not so pleasant. I thought when I married my husband, we would grow old and grey together. My life too another direction. I also thought when we had our son Levi, we would one day be proud grandparents to his children, I could watch him buy his first house,upgrade from his beloved car to a mini-van,  watch him enjoy being a father now. My life was again changed forever when he passed away in a tragic car accident in 2007. He was only 20. I am so proud of the fine young man he had become.

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The Heat Is On

August 1, 2018 at 7:41 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The heat has finally hit my home town. I am one of the lucky ones who cannot handle heat well. After eating, I feel nauseous, it takes awhile for my stomach to calm down. I also suffer from summertime allergies; I get the runny itchy water eyes, it feels like a hair is caught under your eyelid. Summer lasts but a few months here, and I am glad when the temperature cools down and gives my lawn another chance to recover.

I decided this year to try and keep my front lawn greener and water the backyard less often. I don’t really entertain much so I do not need the golf course looking backyard. The more friends I talk to, I am finding that they have invested money into creating a outdoor paradise instead of vacationing. If you have three kids, you have the plane fares, hotels ,food, and theme parks. families have decided to create the backyard of thier dreams. An outdoor kitchen,fire pit, water feature and an outdoor fireplace adds beauty and resale value to the home.

It is ironic to me how just a few years ago the trend was a man cave or mom cave. A place where the parent could create the perfect hideaway from the family to watch the big game or sew the perfect quilt.  Later, the trend became the tiny luxury buildings,or just Another version of the mom hideaway. I have seen some beautiful hideaways out there. It is funny how family members respect the privacy of a man cave or moms tiny special place. I have watched some of the shows  where the couple doesn’t care what the house looks like just give them thier hideout.

When my husband and I were raising our family, I am glad we lived in a time before the trends. We went shopping together, paid our bills together, had date nights, rented our favorite movie. (Until my husband passed away, I didn’t know there were movies made other than karate films)He was a die hard fan. Times have changed, families are crazy busy with games,practice, separate dinner schedules, it is hard to have family time anymore. Folks are opting for a stay-cation for a weekend rejuvenation. Soon school will be back in session, a new schedule to get used to, homework, school sports continue, and life still moves forward. 

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