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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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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This Thing Called Life

October 22, 2018 at 11:39 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

 

The road ahead is filled with uncertainty. Sometimes wondering if we are on the right path in this thing called life. With so many forks in the road, so many options to go, it is often difficult to know where to turn.

My mom had a medical emergency recently. She ended up in the hospital and had undergone surgery to correct her injury. It is scary to admit your parents are aging, getting forgetful and even need some extra help in the home now. So many baby boomers are called the sandwich generation, I am one of them. After surviving a personal loss, my mom started to need some more help. Being the caregiver, I had to learn to take time for myself, and not get burned out. It is sometimes difficult to take on two households with grocery shopping, showers, meal prep., etc. Somehow by the grace of God, we accomplish what seems the impossible sometimes.

I have discovered a secrete weapon… naps in the afternoon helps when we are too over committed, feeling guilty because we couldn’t spend as much time with our parents as we liked, our own responsibilities, work, and fitting in recreation. I am finding it easier to take some me time. Being in health care you learn you have to take good care of you or you have nothing to give back.  I plan a girlfriend night out for dinner and a drive or a coffee-house to catch up.

One thing that helps me is taking a fall drive and seeing all the beautiful changing colors of the trees this time of year. I love to drive around one of the many lakes in my area,looking for the deer munching on the apple trees or the turkeys alongside the road. I love living where I can enjoy all four seasons. Fall has to be my favorite time of the year. The cool mornings, changing leaves, farmer’s markets, hikes along the river getting new ideas for my flower beds next year. it is impossible to know what each day holds for us take time to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you, you are proud of your children and most of all, live life to the fullest. We only get one life, make it count.

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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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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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