What Christmas Decorations Still Up?

January 17, 2019 at 7:57 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I started laughing this morning, here it is the middle of January already and I have not taken down my decorations yet. I would like to think it is because I love the holidays so much that I cannot bear to see them end, or I have to look at a simple living room again. But the one pleasure I have, I can play around with fresh throw pillows and furniture arrangement. ( My friends will want to come see what I have done new).

When my husband and I bought our house thirty some years ago, he didn’t want to make the house look too nice because he didn’t want visitors. Well, then he should not have married me then. I still laugh, all he wanted on our dining room wall was one tiny wall clock-NOTHING else mind you. This was my first home and I wanted it to be homey and cozy. I was looking through pictures one day and ran across our kitchen. The lone wall clock on the wall…. I would love to hear how he would defend himself about his design idea today. You see, I laugh at the memory of our fist home. Jerry passed away from complications from diabetes six short years after we married.

I had a second thought, I could only imagine what he would say today if he and my son could see what I have done with the house now. they would be surprised. I have color on my walls, my sons old bedroom, I have turned into my dressing room. I love to get dressed there in the morning and put on my pajamas at night. I outside had been recently painted, new metal roof, new furnace, oh yeah and Victorian themed. I have a dear friend who helped me put together a cozy place I can enjoy. she also used to own a B&B in Ireland. I also found out last year that the seaplane tour passes over my house, so I need to get the backyard in shape pronto. Well as soon as the snow leaves and Spring shows her beautiful colors again.

We never know where today or tomorrow is going to lead us. Sometimes life throws us a curve ball we did not see coming. It depends on how you deal with your grief whether your glass is half-full or half-empty. Even though life has thrown me a couple hard ships, I could never see my glass as half-empty. I have so many things to be thankful for. I wrote my first book not long after my son had passed away in a tragic car accident, I have been blessed to still be living in the home my husband and I had bought together, I have a special place to get dressed, a good job that I love going to everyday, good friends who care about me and always ready to lend a helping hand, my mom, a couple of trips planned for this year.

I would like to thank each one of your for your continued support and kind comments. I did not know six years ago if this blog thing would be something people would read or even like. I am glad so many people take the time to read my posts and maybe you can relate to some of what I have gone through it brightens your day a little. 

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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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New Year, Same Old Me

January 3, 2019 at 1:24 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I have never been one to make the new years resolutions. Not because I thought I would cheat after the first week, but I try to live a healthy lifestyle anyway; I daily deal with my grief, I keep my stress in check and I make time for me. I found out how important You are. My favorite place to go is the local bookstore. Not because they carry my book mind you, but I can find a new cozy and sit on the couch and escape for a while. I get together with friends often for dinner and a movie.

I have heard it said that I am part of the sandwich generation. So many families are either caring for the aging parents or even raising their grandchildren. The adult children have a different role now. We take care of our households and often take care of our parents as well. I have been caring for my aging mom for ten years now. I remember one day, I came over for dinner one evening and mom asked what was I making for her dinner tonight. That was my clue in. For the most part we get along pretty well.

I was surprised this year-hardly any snow….. What????? I love winter, driving in the snow, seeing the deer along the highway, the cold mornings, the layers, boots, and leggings, my warm sweaters. I am almost sad in two months, I have to put them away again and get ready for Spring. For now, I love looking out my picture window and seeing the forest, hearing the birds singing in the cool mornings, North Idaho is a wonderful place to live.

Someone once asked me if I could change one thing about my life, what would it be? I really would not change anything. I have a great marriage to a wonderful man,unfortunately, he died just six short years after we were married from his disease, we had a beautiful son named Levi, he was the joy in our life and became my world after Jerry passes away. My life was forever changed again when he died in a car accident in 2007. He was only 20. I have learned how to make great lemonade out of the lemons handed to me in my life. I learned life is what you make it, you can live with the glass half full or empty. I have always looked for the beauty in each new day. 

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Stress Busters

December 18, 2018 at 11:58 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I went shopping the other day needing a Secrete Santa gift for my work Christmas party. I love the hints people put down as the wanted gift. Last week, the shopping wasn’t to bad yet, at least the shoppers in my small town don’t push and shove you out-of-the-way. I found a nice candle for my co-worker and decided to finish getting some last-minute gifts for some deserving children.

I went looking for some gift bagged popcorn or even the decorated tins of popcorn. Usually I have seen big displays as you entered the store.When I asked someone if they knew where they would be, she looked at me like I lived on another planet. As I walked away I wondered how many people she has helped today. I looked around for someone else to help me find my gift and I guess they all went on break or something. I finally decided on some nice gift boxes filled with a different assortment of candy. Thankfully I do not have many gifts to purchase like so many families. My holidays are spent with my mom and I.

I used to get out the Christmas decorations right after Thanksgiving. Now, it seems like the first week of December comes and goes before I start getting lights, wreaths and the tree out of storage. It was easier when my husband and son were still here. The family used to meet at my brother-in-laws home and have chili and cornbread, then go out in the forest and cut down out trees. It was a fun time spent fighting over the size of the tree and who was cutting it down. My husband always listened to Freedom Rock music not Christmas music; I still laugh at the thought.

Christmas eve was spent at my parents house being pulled around on sleds by my dad and his old jeep. Mom had hot chocolate and chocolate chips cookies on hands when we all came in to thaw out. My parents knew how to throw the best parties. We spent hours playing games, eating snacks and when it was time to go home, friends and family stayed longer. I still love the first snow fall of the season, I think about my son sledding down the small hill in front our house sharing his sled with the neighbor so she could play. I think the holidays are what you make of them. You can be a lemon taster and be angry over a circumstance in your life you had no control over, or you can just enjoy what the holiday has to offer. 

 

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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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New Beginnings

December 2, 2018 at 11:03 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Life is full of new beginnings. Sometimes life has a way of throwing us a curve ball we did not see coming. Either financial, health wise or job change. Life is ever-expanding with new challenges, new hopes for our dreams and new ways to keep persevering in the challenges we face.

Sometimes, circumstances in our lives can seem overwhelming, we have to gather the strength to continue caring for our loved ones and take good care of ourselves as well. Notice we put us last most of the time? Moms are good at this. We will get to us later. No, I am afraid we need to take care of ourselves now so we can continue to give. A friend of mine told me ‘look at your emotional bank account. Do you have enough emotional money to withdraw today or are you bankrupt?’ Something to really think about. I have to be careful because I can easily run on empty emotionally fast.

The older I get, I hope I am wiser as well with how I deal with stress in my life. I think we can feel trapped when so many circumstances come into our lives, especially the ones that are unexpected. I admit when I am really stressed, I tend to get grouchy. I do n’t mean to, but it happens. (some really good friends are chuckling now because they know me too well). I try not to become a negative Nelly who just complains, I try to find a solution so I can live with the circumstance. I have to remember nothing is permanent. I still try to find the beauty in each new day even if the day seems like it is going to be a long one or especially challenging.

I still feel like my glass is half full. Life has been sometimes full of challenges and difficulties, but I have overcome many obstacles and hopefully I can help others who has gone through some of the struggles I have. I know I have the love and support of my family and friends who help keep me moving forward in my life. I wake up every morning knowing my son Levi smiles down from heaven on and he is proud of his mom. This one realization keeps me going when it would have been easy to just give up. I try to take time to smell the flowers they are sweet-smelling. At the end of the day, everything works out.

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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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A Glass Half-Full

November 18, 2018 at 11:35 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Yesterday while visiting my mom at her rehab facility, I went down to inquire if she had therapy today. The therapist had to get his computer to check. While waiting, I walked down the hallway looking at the beautiful paintings along the walls. One picture drew my attention over the others. The painting was of weeping willows with some new growth starting to sprig out. Alone the winding road was flowers blooming.

I was thinking about my mom and her getting well. She is getting stronger, but needs to work harder to be able to come home. Sometimes, I think we as humans hold back because we liked our past circumstances and we are maybe frightened of a new beginning.Ca n’t is just a four letter word, that is all it is. if you say try to climb the biggest mountain with no real training, I can see the epic failure there, but  fear and anxiety can enter if we are not careful and paralyze is from even trying. 

The older I get, I am learning to keep what is important, let go of what is not, life is too short to be unhappy, your day is what you make it, look for the beauty in each new day, take the time to smell the roses, it is never as bad as it seems. Through the tough years after the deaths of both my husband and my son, I had the love and support of family and friends. They inspired me to keep moving forward and never giving up. I wake up every morning knowing my son is proud of me for healing, and moving forward in my life even though giving up would have been easy.

I have realized through this journey called life, you can always look at your circumstances two ways: the glass is half full or the glass being half empty. My attitude played a major role in my healing, and well-being. My glass has always been half- full. I have so much to be thankful for. God gave me the opportunity to be a wife and a mother even if for a little while.

Around the holidays, I do not even attempt to go to the malls anymore. I do not have the time to be pushed, shoved or moved over for a good deal. There are some die-hard fans of Black Friday who get up before the crack of dawn to get the special deals offered. I usually have my shopping done by June( I am the joke of my friends, yes). I just do not have the time or the patience to stand in a long line waiting to cash out for a gift. 

 

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Early Fall This Year

November 11, 2018 at 10:07 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

This year has been different season wise. We had a horrible fire season with the fires surrounding our small area. When the fires were contained and the smoke cleared, we had a beautiful fall. The changing colors are always one of my favorite things about fall we just were able to enjoy them a few weeks longer this year.

Summer has never been one of my favorite seasons for many reasons. For one thing, lawn maintenance. My beautiful pine tree that was planted in my son Levis’ honor, died this summer, little bugs that you can barely see come at you in swarms, all the forest fires that are getting worse each year, I melt in the high heat, basically, I look forward to the cooler temperatures of fall and winter. People get cranky the hotter the day, more impatient than usual.

I know I cannot change the outcome of the seasons, but the older I get, I am trying to enjoy every season. I love to hear the birds singing outside my bedroom window in the mornings, seeing the squirrels chasing each other up and down the pine trees, butterflies trying to find a good place to land and eat from one of the many butterfly shrubs I have, watching the kids ride bikes down to the bay to go fishing.

I have to say, I enjoy decorating my home in the warm fall colors. Planting marigolds in the decorative earns in my flower boxes, planning cold weather meals for my mom and I to enjoy, the deer and moose that are traveling to the neighborhoods and staying around to eat the shrubs and apples off the trees. Because of the recent fires, we have also seen bears, cougars, and a lynx around our area as well.

In a few short weeks, we will be getting out the snow shovels again decorating for the Christmas Season and dressing in many layers up to keep warm on those cool nights. The evenings get even shorter,colder, and time to put up the tree. There is only a few short weeks out of the year that I do not really like. Living in a four season state has its advantages. There are still plenty of changing leaves left on the trees to enjoy, coffee just tastes better on a cold morning, and you never know what animal is coming to say hello on any given morning. Life in North Idaho.

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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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