A Fresh Outlook

October 18, 2017 at 6:04 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

 

I have been going through a funk period. You are unhappy about something,but can’t quite put your finger on it. I am there. Some days, I feel like I am walking through a thick fog. Some friends will tell me it is because of the change in weather. The warm sunny days have been replaced with shorter, cooler evenings. I know I enjoy fall. I love the changing leaves,the cool mornings, the first cup of coffee tastes better, fall creamers,layers.

As I was sitting in my living room this morning, a thought came to mind. Sometimes I have to realize I need a change in my daily routine. I need to dead head my hydrangea, trim back my Lavender bushes, trees,and the final mowing of the season. Yes, it will be a routine change. I still need to clean and organize mt closet from summer to fall. Two of my best girlfriends both have full-time jobs, so we do not see each other as often. it is so easy to let our minds get side tract from what is important in our day. We still have the fall clean-up getting ready for winter, clothes need to be changed out so we do not freeze in 20 degree mornings, lunch dates are also important to stay connected with those we value. My thoughts this morning went deeper.

I have kept a morning journal for over thirty years now. I write down my thoughts, dreams that may or may not have come true, concerns I have in my life, my aging mom, finances, my job. As I get older, I see a different perspective than I did while raising my young son as a single mother. My priorities have changed; One income does not go as far as it used to. Home ownership is expensive when replacing a furnace or a roof. Property taxes and car insurance are due the same month. Life can be over whelming sometimes, and we cannot just go to an exotic destination to escape. Instead of focusing on negatives thoughts in my life, I have decided to focus instead of some positives.

I am grateful for the continued support of my family and friends. They have helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life. They are always just a phone call and a cup of coffee away. Loosing my son was devastating, I do not live in a new normal, I learned how to move forward in my life and enjoy life again.

I am grateful I still have my mom and brother. Mom turns 80 years old this weekend. My brother is able to be here to help celebrate. Even if it will be a quiet party with a few friends. She wanted sub sandwiches and carrot cake, so this is what she shall have. This will also give me a chance to see my brother again. (he does not know this yet,but I am enlisting his help with some of my fall clean-up). Lavender can be tricky to shape and cut back. We both enjoy seeing new homes and get ideas.

I am grateful for the changing season ahead.  love the crisp cool mornings like this morning. I even enjoy a foggy day. (It reminds me of when I was a girl visiting my grandparents in Santa Barbara. watching the fog clear up into a sunny day.) The red and golden colors on the tree-lined streets, Pumpkin Mania, school harvest carnivals, a crackling fire in the fireplace on a chilly night. Friends over for home-made chili and corn bread, a good Agatha Christie Movie.

Walks around nice lake front neighborhoods. I live in so many well-kept, gracious homes, I often go on a dream tour and come back to my home feeling blessed. I live in a smaller home than some, but I live a block from the river. We have paved walking paths, nature, the river, deer, birds singing, ducks with their babies swimming in the cove, paddle boards enjoying the mountains and beautiful home along the river. I must say, I do have so much to grateful for. Sometimes we feel over whelmed with commitments, saying no, home repairs, car repairs, we wonder if our paycheck is going to stretch enough.

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Be Real

October 14, 2017 at 8:05 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , )

 

I was reading an article in a popular magazine a few years ago, the story has stayed with me.  TV commercials depicts a family run by the kids. Most children if you ask them, do not really have a concept of how much lunch costs. If the child is raised with respect, they will eat what is being served. I do understand a parent would not make a dish that the child clearly will not eat.

When I was growing up, the family all ate together. Period. We did not grow up with all the electronic devices kids today have as their source of communication.  It saddens me to see a commercial on TV where the mother texts the kids at the dinning room table to tell them time to do the dishes. My brother either washed or dried the dishes every night.  Our parents worked hard everyday to provide for the family, and the kids had chores to help out. Boundaries and hard work around the ranch helped make me the person I am today.

I also see on the news a child took a gun to school and shot a classmate who was harassing them. After dinner,if the family sees each other for a family meal,kids go to their rooms and play X Box, mom and dad are in living room on the phone,easy for junior to go grab a gun or other weapon to conceal in his backpack. Parents are over committed to work, after school games, Church functions and the kids know it. I believe it makes it harder for a child to tell mom or dad they are being bullies. The kids hear parents talking about the rough day they had. If you let a teacher or the principal  know what’s going on, more bullying. This is going to continue to be a growing problem. With budget cuts, the good after school programs are being eliminated. Kids have no where to go.

My brother and I were raised around guns; We knew we did not get into the gun case unless an adult was there the gun was properly checked. We were not given the combination to the gun safe, we did not try to get into the gun case when our parents were not at home and a friend came over. My brother and I respected the privacy of our parents personal space. We did not go snooping around to see what was in the bedroom closet. No, we were not perfect kids,we still managed to get into harmless trouble, like the snake that got into one of the rabbit pens. Dad told my brother and I to take the snake far out into the nearby field and release it. Jeff and I took the snake to the edge of the property and let it go. next day,snake had baby rabbits for lunch. Jeff and I disappeared in the orchard on our horses for the afternoon.

I am glad I do not have grandchildren who has to attend school. The online public school is rapidly growing. Parents want the kids to get a good education without all the drama of Kindergarten.i have seen and heard some boys and girls that need more than re-direction. It does not help that adult sit on both sides of the fence with discipline. When my son was three,my husband told him to stop his screaming, a lady told my husband she was calling the cops because he was being mean to the boy. Jerry told the lady”go ahead, my son is not going to scream in a public place.” Who is right and who is wrong anymore?

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The Joys of Fall Decorating.

October 6, 2017 at 7:24 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

 

You know you are getting older,maybe a bit unorganized when you are putting on finishing touches for fall. Have you ever had the “I know I put it here last season”,or “think about where is the last time you have seen this item?” It ends up in the last place you thought you would find it, after almost giving up entirely and going and buying something else.

They say the Golden Years ain’t for wimps and they are right. you find your reading glasses on top of your head, go into the bedroom only to try and remember what you needed.  How many times (be honest) have you put your car in the garage only to grab your keys not 20 minutes later to put her away? I am not alone.I am thankful my car keys has a place- really. in the front pocket of my purse. Let’s say while putting your groceries in the car, you run into an old friend and begin chatting. Innocent enough. Now after you have said goodbye, and you are continuing to put away your groceries, you put away the shopping cart thinking about how nice it was to see an old friend. You realize after your get home, you have no purse. But,you were smart enough to put your keys in your pocket. When you get back to the store you are one, grateful you were not pulled over because you know you are going a little fast than required by law, and two you are thankful someone turned in your purse untouched. ( not necessarily a true story on my end).

I love the fall season. I am blessed that a couple years ago, a good friend turned my basic closet into our version of a California Closet. I added an extra rod for seasonal clothes, and shelves for purses and shoes. I have a dresser for my uniforms for work, and night time attire. I can remember several years ago watching an afternoon Home Improvement Show. Christopher Lowell transformed a closet into  something beautiful. Some use the top shelf for storing sweaters, he used the top shelf for beautiful hat boxes, flowers, candles. I used some of his ideas to create a beautiful organized closet. I started to pants together, blouses together, skirts and Capri pants together. I had a small closet rod installed for my dresses. It really made a difference, I have so much more room now. I am finding the older I get, the wiser I get also. I realized, I do not nearly as many clothes as I once thought. When you buy a tunic for example, it can go with two pair of pants. Put a jacket on,change the whole look of the outfit.

I still need to hire my next door neighbor to come help me with my fall cleaning. I have curtains to hang, weeds to pull(she is going to love me), a few items to donate, then, we will go over to my moms house and tackle her garage. It is not that bad, but much needed. I am thankful I have a neighbor that can lend a hand and she can pay a couple bills also. I cannot tell you what it means to live in a nice,quiet neighborhood. Everyone is respectful of each other, not loud parties, no one is hostile toward anyone. It is peace of mind to know your home is being watched over by cameras and we are our Block Watch Program.

 

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Another Perspective

October 2, 2017 at 9:38 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Twins, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

 

My twin brother and I celebrated our birthday last week. We are now living in our golden years. I have grown not only a year older, but also wiser especially this last week.

Sometimes when I have a conflict in my life, I try to figure out a quick solution; this doesn’t always work out the way you thought it would. I realized that life is full of heartbreak, poor decisions, and not giving up. I always figured if I gave up, how could I know how God worked in my behalf. I struggled with the sudden loss of my husband and my son. I put my life back together piece by piece with the love and support of family and friends. I had to realize the their deaths did not mean the death of me as well. I keep moving forward each day with expectancy.

Conflict is like laundry day. it would be just as easy to shut the washer lid, but you did not work through the problem. I come to realize problems do not have a thirty minute solution like on the Brady Bunch. I finally found a solution that I can have peace with. You job, home life, caring for your aging parents have good aspects and challenging ones. I had a funny thought that helped me you are standing in a big hole filling up with water. Scary thought huh. I imagined my best friend standing in the hole with me encouraging me not to give up-and to climb out of the big watering hole as well. But I can choose not to stay in misery.

I think I get a little melancholy sometimes because my two best friends are busy with their jobs. We used to have the same days off , so we would go for a fall drive and get a coffee from a java hut on the way. I had more fun with my one friend whose husband is a paint contractor. She spent one day doing returns and asked me along to keep her company.  We always had fun(she didn’t know why I could have fun tagging along with her). I was able to get out of the house for the afternoon and spend the day with someone I treasure. My other good friend  and I loved taking out fall drives around our small town. I looked forward to our salad bar lunches and coffee to go. Sometimes I ride with her to see new properties she will be managing in the future. Some nice neighborhoods out there.

 

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An Unexpected Surprise

September 25, 2017 at 8:36 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , )

 

While driving home from work last week, I felt a chill in the air. The temperature felt nice compared to last week with over 90 degrees heat and no rain for 80 days; either my grass gave up trying to grow and stay green or I just gave up spending a small fortune on my water bill trying to keep it green and somewhat healthy.

My friends call me the black thumb gardener because of the state my grass is in by the end of every summer. But I do notice many households share the same fate as I. If you drive around the neighborhood,not all the lawns are plush green like a golf course. Most are a sickly looking green with a tinge of white. So I began to feel a little better about my front and backyard. I hired a lawn care service to spray my grass for weeds and to help keep it healthy. Well, not even the fertilizer helped. I had six-inch grass that was green, but I did not dare cut it or it would turn very brown instantly. My next door neighbor teases me because I water more than he does and his lawn in a nice shade of money.

With the smoke and hot days behind us now, I was looking over my new hydrangea plants I had planted in June. I had torn out my overgrown shrubs and rose bushes in my front planting beds. Last winter was cold, and snowy; For feet of the white stuff came down on top of my shrubs and roses and cracked them in half. I have a positive outlook on such matters and decided I needed a change. Besides I just had my house freshly pained, a new metal roof, why not update the beds as well.  My lawn care expert told me how to care for them plus I hear they like full sun I deep watered the new plants when the scorching heat came. My new flowers look so pretty in deep pink now that the season has changed. (maybe I may have to give up my long standing title now who knows).  It is hard to try and compete with your best friend who has a yard to belong to the garden tour. I have learned that my home is in a nice location just down from the lake, plenty of hiking trails, deer,birds merrily singing, and ducks quaking in the river. I live in a great neighborhood with friends you can count on.

I was getting ready for the chilly mornings, less watering, less plant and lawn care, and I can enjoy my special coffee creamers in my coffee every morning. Time once again to dig out my sweaters, leggings, boots, scarves, and heavier jackets. Time for a couple more neighborhood BBQ’s, and once again have the gang over for the famous chili cook-offs and your favorite football team. The leaves are starting to change color,chilly mornings and pumpkin spice everything right now. Life is good indeed!

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A Personal Perspective

September 20, 2017 at 9:29 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I was reading through my Face Book news feed the other day and ran across this quote. I do not necessarily agree with what is says. In today’s world, life is fast paced, road rage, people are impatient, rude, do you really want to know what someone is having for dinner?

I am thinking your boss appreciates the employee who is on time everyday, meets deadlines, has a positive attitude. After a long hard day at the office, I think a wife appreciates her husband coming home instead of stopping elsewhere first, starting the grill and  having a nice outside dinner. Afterwards maybe swimming in the pool or taking he family dog on a walk around your neighborhood.

Feeling appreciated is a personal matter. Few bosses will give you verbal encouragement. Some Companies give a gift card, movie tickets for appreciation. Sometimes when a boss asks more of you, maybe they have confidence in knowing you were the best person for this task; When you have a good working relationship with your manager, vacation, sick time, personal time are put into more consideration. Let’s face it, a good employee is hard to come by.  My Company has new hires not even showing up for the first day. ( I have always found this interesting the new hire sees what is expected of him/her, then they are a no-show).

I am happy with my life, I have a good secure job,get along the people I work with, have a nice home one block from the river, have the love and support of family and friends. I have a blog that people read and leave positive comments, and help care for my aging mom. I have survived a few personal tragedies,by I am stronger for it, and I can encourage and empower others to keep moving forward toward happiness.

 

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A Chill In The Air

September 13, 2017 at 6:21 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , )

 

 

Over the past few days, the thick smoke is finally moved out. We can see clear, blue skies again. Yesterday was the last of the warmer days , this morning, I noticed a chill is in the air. Some of the leaves are changing color getting ready for Fall.

Yesterday was the last of the hot summer days, I noticed a chill in the air this morning. Soon we will trade our shorts, dresses, Capri pants, sandals, floppy hats for layers. I won’t have to water the lawn so much, my hydrangea did well in spite of the smoke this year. I am surprised, for I am a reforming black thumb gardener. I need help for make my yard a retreat not a disgrace. Maybe this is one reason I do not like hot weather. The neighborhood cat comes over and entertains me by chasing birds, butterflies, and whatever crawling in my grass. Birds swarm in the backyard looking for the last worms. The birds fight over taking a bath in the bird bath,fight over eating the bird seed, chase each other around for the worms. I live in a rough bird neighborhood I guess. I have seen birds chirping loudly, next thing I know one bird knocked another out of the tree, and fight is on. No kidding.

magazines give many ideas on how to make your outdoor space look good even in a cooler nights.( I am trying to show the bright side of fall). Families are deciding it is better to expand the living space and stay in the current home. Outdoor living spaces are bigger than ever. it costs so much to take the family on vacation to an exotic location,what better way to enjoy your own backyard and avoid the crowds. Being a tourist in your own town is fun. A Sunday afternoon drive seeing nature, seeing the changing colors of the leaves, having a picnic by the lake, remembering the little things in life.

I love changing my summer clothes for fall. Away goes the shorts, cute tops, summer dresses, flip-flops are being slowly replaced layering pieces. leggings, long sleeve t-shirts, printed tunics, boots, barn jackets, light weight fleece coats. I love taking drives,seeing the deer eating the apples on trees and so close to your car you could touch them. You can see wild turkeys eating and quail families running from one yard to another. I love living in the Northwest. You do not have to drive far to be in the National Forest or an upscaled neighborhood overlooking one of the many lakes. It is almost pumpkin patch hunting, taking a hay ride, and canning. Happy Fall

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Forever Changed Lives

September 6, 2017 at 7:30 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Survivor) (, , , )

 

 

Lives have been turned upside down, side ways, tumbled, and families are waiting for relief.  From the storms that rage on from Irma and now Jose,the fires raging in the Northwest,to continuing hot,dry conditions.  My home is surrounded by the heavy, nasty smoke in the northwest. I gave up watering my yard,but decided to have mercy on my Hydrangea and cut them back.  We have not had any measurable rainfall since June.

The fires raging out of control in Oregon was deliberately set. I still cannot believe someone can set a fire in a beautiful forest enjoyed by so many FOR FUN. I heard on the news campers are still not following the no camp fire bans and some have resorted to setting around a propane camp fire. Campers are brave souls because when animals get scared, they are more dangerous. I don’t know about you,but  hearing a moose cry outside my camper would be an eerie sound, a bear trying to come inside where it is maybe safer,( he expects a hearty breakfast in the morning). Next Month is the start of hunting season, the game may figure it better to migrate this year to a safer location. (Forget the natural GPS,) It has been a crazy whether this summer soon becoming Fall.

Maybe this is the reason so many homeowners are deciding to stay home and turn the home into a family resort. Backyard grilling station, a nice pool, fire pit, covered patio. I think it a wonderful idea you don’t have to fight the kids to pack, no packing the car, if you forget something, just head back inside-you can now afford the better cuts of meat for your camp out. Oh, burgers and dogs are fine,but sometimes you want to resort live. My favorite summertime commercial showed a mom and daughter in their swim suits, getting ready to sit by backyard pool; later, dad grill dinner, after kids have gone to bed, parents enjoying a glass of wine by the outside fireplace. Anyone can add a vacation feel to your home. After roasting hot dogs over the BBQ, pitch the kids tent in the backyard, (let them listen to the cricket’s chirp over the freeway noise) In the morning,make a pancake station and let everyone add the toppings. Sure to be a big hit.

Families will soon get back to the new normal. Many live in areas that flood every year, tornadoes are common, fires rage on, and choose to rebuild. Many have said they can’t imagine living anywhere else. I pray for hope, peace, getting the fires under control, and Irma and her devastating aftermath. Sometimes you wonder how you can go through so much and keep going strong. Some have lost everything…again…. there is a spirit in these individuals that keep going and fighting. As a Great Nation we still are, e come together, letting go of the fighting, riots, and hate instead showing what we are really made of. We are a melting pot of many ethnic backgrounds,  family values,  traditions, started families, live in small communities, provide for their families,looking forward to the next generation. We live in very uncertain times,we do not know what is around the next corner. Hug your kids extra tight tonight,tell them how much you love them,how proud you are of them and you are glad they are in your live. Nobody is promised tomorrow, make the most out of today.

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Parade Of Homes

August 16, 2017 at 8:15 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

One of my favorite shows are fixer uppers; I love watching an outdated home being transformed into a buyers dream home. Watching an episode of behind the scenes, we find the potential buyer narrowing down three contending homes for the makeover. I think the final reveal would leave me anxious as much as the home owner. Leaving the finishing touches to a stranger,even though the Host may know a few of my style choices, you have to act like you love the end result-granted most of the homes are gorgeous. I have seen after shows where most of the home left alone,with a few of the home owners touches mixed in.

My friend and I attended the annual Parade of Homes this year. I must say the growing trend is going combining styles of homes. We are used to seeing Cottages  and ranch style homes surrounding trees and hiking trails. over the last few years, new businesses and  builders were mixing in Modern designs.I can say I don’t necessarily like Modern home designs, but I think potential buyers were looking to broaden their choice in design.  I really think the Builders are watching the same TV shows as the rest of us to get an idea what buyers are looking for. So many fight over a style of house, makes the house hunting stressful.  My small town isn’t so small in feel anymore. Everywhere you drive, a new housing development is being built.

When my family moved here thirty three years ago, I was struck not only with the beauty surrounding me, but how friendly folks were. Everyone knew everyone, and always leaned a helping hand. My dad was disabled, neighbors really took good care of my parents.Wine time was at three o’clock in the afternoon. Some of the neighbors made wine with my dad. (You have to sample your product everyday I would hear). It was nice to have family and close friends around. My family lived out-of-town on a ranch. I did not have close friends to speak of. I cannot believe how much this town has grown over the last thirty plus years. We may have grown,but we have not lost our values. we still make new folks feel welcome-until the first snow, most move away.

I look forward to retiring here some day soon. I love my little ranch style home my husband and I bought together. Both my husband and son are passed away now,but I still have so many memories I cherish of when we were a young couple with backyard BBQ’s, our very own dirt road for bikes, the bay down the street for swimming, fishing,have a late summer dinner, oh and did I say the most important part of any neighborhood? Well, it is good neighbors you know you can count on for help, friendships, comfort, and a meal together. This is what makes my small town living special.

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The Uncooperative Yard

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

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

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

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

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

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