The Remember Game

October 16, 2018 at 8:50 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The good old remembering game. We have all played it at some time or another. The “safe” place for your money, when it comes time to pay that bill, you have forgotten your hiding place. The glasses still on top of your head, the car keys in your hand-forgot you had them with you when talking to your husband on your cell phone you are still looking for.

The fun we have with the aging process. Sometimes, I think I am losing my mind. You make the aging lists and forget half the items on that list, because…. being in a you forgot your list still sitting on the kitchen counter. or better yet, preoccupied by visiting with a friend in the store, you forgot the one item on your list you went specifically for to dinner preparations for company tonight. Isn’t getting older fun!!!!

Growing up was a different time for many of us. We didn’t have the technology the kids have today. We had to actually call our friends on a rotary phone and ask to come over, spending Saturday at the double feature movie, family gatherings, flying home-made kites in the park, summers spent at the beach, baking with grandma, learning how to crochet, feeding the animals on the farm, there was not instant music downloads you waited by the radio for your favorite song to come on and tape recorded it.

A lot has changed since I was a kid, seems like the work ethic has changed, customer service are run by teenagers with no customer service training, texting and driving, putting on make-up and driving,reading and driving, eating and driving, talking and driving, day dreaming and driving(there is a scary one for you), road rage, the teen driver that I feel sorry for they are as scared as you are to share the road with them (video games they found out lie in comparison to reality driving). I miss the good old days where grandma had cookies and milk waiting for you when you arrived, riding my horse Geronimo, 4-H, taking off in my first car just driving around Thousand Oaks, and hanging out with my friends.

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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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The Social Media War

October 1, 2018 at 9:14 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Happiness, like bitterness is a choice we all have to make. we can make the best out of a horrible situation or we can set back, and become filled with anger, impatience, and rage. I have watched this situation happen more often than I would have liked to see. with the dependency on our phones, Facebook accounts, and other Social Media sites we belong to and for some, seem to cannot live without, our families, our work and our leisure time seems to be suffering.

I thought the news was joking last year when a cover story broke. The headline said that “social media is now an addiction much like drugs or alcohol”. There are now treatment programs to help with the addiction. Everywhere you go, people are looking at their phones instead of where they are going. Grocery lists have become obsolete. Why does one need a list when honey is just a phone call away?

I understand why the kids were introduced to the cell phone. parents have to work, the kids could check in and parents had reassurance in knowing the child is safe. Now, the child is addicted to the games, music, chats, and instant messaging to get through the day. It is funny when one remembers a time, not long ago, where phones meant to rotary dialed your best friend to play, a computer was left at the office, music downloads meant to sat in front of the tape player waiting impatiently for your favorite sons to play so you can record. (Kids have it so easy today.)

I do have a cell phone, just have other obligations to tend to that are more important in my life now. I do not sit in traffic, looking at my recent posts to face book, or Instagram. I know this is a new phenomenon I hear to can get paid well for your photos. Who would have ever guessed? I understand these sites are a good way for folks keeping in touch when the phone is not available.  I am of old school, instead of just seeing the pictures, I want to hear the stories behind the pictures. (what happened to Uncle Henry that he looks like he lost his balance and oh dear…). The story would be priceless to hear. We have come along way in twenty years. Some good, and some not so much.

 

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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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Date Night

September 6, 2018 at 6:29 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

After a long, and very smokey Summer, my friend and I were able to get together last night and have a nice dinner. We both were busy with our work schedules, I cannot imagine how much work my friend spends on her beautiful yard each week plus her war wounds. I was busy working, and caring for my aging mother. We would talk once a week, but we could never get together.

Last week, we finally made plans to go to dinner. We call ourselves the “Cheap eats Queens”. Nice restaurants in the area offer four course meals at a nice price. And who does not like the view of the lake? One of our favorite spots is the golf course, we can enjoy watching a great game and good food. After dinner, my friend made a return to Home depot. We decided a walk around the store was in order as we ate too much. We made our way to the back of the store to the Halloween displays. There two grown woman played with the displays for an hour. We laughed like little girls at the fortune-teller ghost. We asked questions and some of the answers were priceless.

I think the term date night has taken on a new meaning the last several years. Now, couples make plans to meet for dinner and drinks after work, girlfriends have a girl night out, friends meet up and spend the weekend in the country. It is all about staying connect to one another and not let work or life get in the way. I enjoy my long walks along the river, but lately we have had an unexpected visitor prowling  around. A cougar has been spotted in several locations where hikers and joggers like to enjoy the river. I have opted for staying home and remembering my old dance exercises. I know the local gym has incorporated them into a daily routine. Thank you to my dance instructor. I can remember almost all of them because she made the Monday workouts fun.

 We had so many fires around our area that the smoke was thick and hotter than normal. I am truly thankful my home was not on an evacuation list. I cannot imagine having a few minutes to gather what you can carry in the car and just leave not knowing if your home was burned. My heart and prayers continue to go out to the many who have lost everything and have to rebuild their lives again. So many have lived through events I cannot ever begin to imagine. There is an old saying”life can change in a moment” it is true it can change in a moments time. I have learned to say my I love you to those who matter to me,to hug those special ones extra tight today and tell them I am glad they are part of my life and I am truly thankful for them just being in my life. Make time for your loved ones because time truly does just slip away.

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The Best Day Ever

August 31, 2018 at 1:07 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Survivor, Uncategorized) (, , , )

As kids are heading back to school, I thought I would blog my favorite story about my son Levi. My son moved out of my home at the tender age of nineteen to help his grandma after his beloved grandpa died. One afternoon, I stopped over to visit my son as he did not seem to remember where he once had lived. A mother dreams of when her child moves out, he might want some of her home cooking. I was thinking of another child obviously because I would watch him drive past my house after visiting with my neighbors. So much for wishful thinking.

One afternoon, I was visiting with my mom when Levi came home grinning from ear to ear. I asked him ” what made you so happy today?” He began telling my mom and I about his fantastic day he had. ” I went to my church and began helping the guys clear out the sanctuary so we all could stuff 3,000 backpacks for children who were in need.” He told us”mom, we let loose 3,000 kids to pick their packs. Most of the kids were boys and were animals, It was fun watching them from the back of the sanctuary. could see the kids who didn’t have anything;They went up and down the isles to find the school supplies. These little girls went over  I was surprised at how far some of tiny girls could walk to  pick a backpack. He told me he started praying for these little ones because he could remember what I had gone through as a single parent struggling to buy his schools supplies not to long ago.”

My son told me’ he loved me and he could now appreciate the struggles I had gone through to care for him after his dad died suddenly. He told me  we may not have had much money, but we had a lot of love, safe and happy home, good food, and most of all a mother who encouraged, me, never gave up on me, always believed in me, and who was always there for me”. After my son had passed away, I started buying backpacks for less fortunate kids and buying school supplies in Levi’s honor. 

 

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The Changing Season

August 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , )

The last couple of years, I have decided to try to enjoy all four seasons. I never really enjoyed summer because of the heat, my allergies, lawn maintenance disasters, crowded parks and no parking. I especially have a really hard time eating with the searing temperatures. We are fortunate with the fact we do get some relief from the hotter days with a couple of cooler ones and sometimes even a day of rain.

We have been dealing with the smokey conditions in my area. With so many fires burning around us, the smoke get pretty thick at times. I’m thankful I do not live in an evacuation zone to where my home could be in danger. The bears, wolves and foxes are starting to invade the rural area now because of the fires. My friend saw one the other roaming around the yard. So much wildlife is effected and have nowhere to escape. One of my favorite places to weekend is effected every fire season. I just stay around my home town and enjoy the summer festivities here. I head to the farmers market to sample wine and home-made cheeses and hear some good music. I usually meet with friends for dinner at an outdoor cafe.

With our ever busy lives, sometimes we have to just unplug, unwind, and take time for ourselves. One day a week, I take the day off from all my obligations and have a me day. I may just go to the falls Park and go for a hike, or I may have lunch with a dear friend. It is easy to get overwhelmed with priorities if we do not save time for ourselves. Some may say it is easier for me because I am single, not so. I have to make time in my week to just have a Julie day or it will never happen. I am not one to get my nails done, buy specialty coffees to often, my roots are done by me every three months, I have someone care for my lawn, there is just something about spending the day doing nothing.

The summer has flown by this year. It will soon be time to put away shorts, sandals, pool floats,and make way for the layers, leggings, boots and sweaters. The air will be cooler, clear, and the leaves starting to change color. Football games, chili cook-offs, and good friends to share it all with. I am learning to accept the seasons I do not prefer and embrace the surrounding beauty of the North West. I can say I am enjoying the cooler evenings listening to the cricket’s chirp and the kids playing outside. 

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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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A Garden Make-Over

August 9, 2018 at 12:10 am (Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Yesterday, I was surprised by an old friend who came and helped me with a front yard make-over. He had gotten busy with his landscaping business and I was busy with my hectic schedules. It was nice to finally get some yard work done.  We were planning on updating my front yard in Spring, then my gardener was slammed with  other commitments. So the bricks sat until this week.

I must say, Nigel is a gifted landscape artist. He can take an idea and turn the idea into a beautiful design. Two years ago, we updated my broken down fence, trimmed some trees and planted some flowers in the newly built planter boxes. I am now extending my patio area with concrete so I can have a bigger entertaining space for friends. I may not have the income to  redesign my backyard space like many families are able to, but I love my little retreat I have created for myself.

There is still so much summer left to enjoy. I am enjoying the farmer’s Market, The Parade of Homes, learning how to paddle board, spending time with my aging mom, and trying to stay cool. I melt in the summer heat so this is always a good time to catch up on a good book in the shade, making ice cream is always a plus especially cherry vanilla. In the evening, I like to go down to the bay and enjoy the setting sun on my favorite big rock. The rock is where my son and his cousin used to jump off from the rope into the bay. I set and enjoy watching the boaters come back in for the evening.

I am learning to enjoy the four seasons where I live, my favorite will always be fall and Winter. I love the crisp cold air, coffee tastes better when it is chilly outside, bundling up in layers, boots and scarves, knitted caps. I love the chili cook-off with friends watching the games, movie marathons with friends, progressive dinners, Monday night study, shorter cooler nights, baking. This will all come soon enough, for now, I need to take the time and enjoy my least favorite season. the scorching heat of summer. I do have one consolation though, as the sun begins to set, the temperatures starts to cool off where I can set outside and hear the evening crickets serenade me in my backyard. So summer does have some benefits after all. I hope you are enjoying what is left.

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