Resolutions???

January 3, 2018 at 1:23 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , )

Every year, I hear outrageous New Years resolutions that after three days, most have abandoned. Getting healthier is a great idea, as is eating normal portions. Taking a nice walk after dinner is a great way to relieve tension, heart healthy, not to mention spending quality time with the family. In snowy climates, family ski day is a fun weekend getaway. There are so many ways to keep that New year, New You desire.

I was talking with a dear friend the other day. We found it interesting that one of the biggest desires for the new year was to get healthy again. Cooking classes are on the rise teaching one how to cut out fat and calories, and get desert too(not all that bad). I know a new trend is meals delivered to your door. All the prep,shopping, measuring, cutting has been done for you. My friend and I agreed, it is more fun to plan your own menu,and prepare the meals yourself. I understand very busy lives, and you can now eat exotic new foods, but our moms were just as busy and had time to make dinner after she worked. We were also talking about pet food delvery, everything your pet needs sent right to your door. Have we really become so busy, that we need thses services? I am mind boggled.

I have never been one to make resolutions. I try to live a healthy life style everyday. I take time out for myself by getting together for movie night once a week with friends. I have a job in health care that I love, and enjoy writing. I do not know what this year holds for me. I know I will continue to miss both my husband and my son like so many other families who have lost loved ones.  Some days, you just want to get through them. I have the love and support of family and friends to get me through the tough moments. We all need each other, we need to get together more often, have family game nights, movie marathon nights, back yard cook outs, staying connect to one another. I know live gets busy, but depression has a less chance to creep in our lives if we stay connected. I appreciate everyone of you who take the time to stop by and read my story or post a comment because I need you also. You give me hope to continue writing .

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A Special day Indeed!

December 28, 2017 at 9:08 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Yesterday, I went on a drive with one of my son Levi’s best friends. It all started on Christmas day when Mike called to wish me A Merry christmas. As we were talking, I asked him if he had plans for the following Wednesday.  We were planning to go out looking at the eagles. This is a record year for them. They gathered in the same location for years.

Wednesday morning, I was feeling really blue because it was Levi’s birthday. He turned 31. Hey, I realize he was having a blow out time celebrating his special day with the angels and his dad; I on the other hand needed some encouragement to get into the shower. I decided to freshen up the color on my hair maybe this would boost my mood. it did for five minutes until I realized just how long overdue I was for a smirk trim(not). So, I went down to the beauty shop where magic is worked and came out looking respectable again.

Mike took me the back roads to somewhere unknown. Along the way,we spotted a herd of elk lying down in the field. When Mike took pictures, it was funny to see thirty ears perked and thirty or more sets of eyes just staring at you. We laughed and continued along our day trip. We ended up in a quaint small town in the mountains. Snow began falling softly as we made our way to a favorite Irish Pub for lunch. We had the best chicken sandwich with criss-cross cut fries topped with Gorgonzola cheese. We celebrated my son with great stories,a good lunch, a beautiful drive in the snowy mountains,and we both commented Levi is smiling down from heaven on enjoying our day with us. He would be glad we both were remembering him in a special way.

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Better Options

November 29, 2017 at 8:11 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

I have heard a lot of conversations about clean food lately. Everyone seems confused about what the term really means. I think I have an idea as to what people are talking about. I hope.

The term clean food suggests healthier options to diets and life style choices. They say taking a walk after a meal helps in digestion, healthy for your heart, helps with cholesterol, and helps clear the mind. More neighborhoods are considered family friendly ( there is a good term). A safe friendly neighborhood as opposed to what? One with high crime,we would willingly take our children for a walk around. Not a wise person. Clean food is based on the same principle. Officials have gotten together to cut down on the amount of sodium we get in our daily diets. Coke products have lowered the sugar content in drinks, packaged lunch meats are cutting sodium levels in half.

TV commercials are getting on board as well. Popular food chains are adding healthier option to kids meals. Instead of fat deep-fried foods,kids can have apples and milk to replace fries. I noticed in the last couple years restaurants and fast food chains are adding the calories to menu items. Consumers can make better choices in what they order. Some dollar menu items have always include salads with low fay dressings. A friend and I went into a popular sandwich place the other day. I was delighted to see the menus have added more fresh fruit and vegetables to the menu. A dinner now comes with a baked potato, red skin potato, rice, or mashed potato with gravy as an option. Some folks such as I cannot tolerate high sodium. Others have allergies to nuts, eggs, dairy,wheat and so forth.

There has been a 31 a day clean eating poster around for a while now. It includes eating more fruits and vegetables for healthy living.  When building a salad,go crazy on the amount of clean options being offered. Salad bars have come along way in the last few years. You no longer have to go to an up scaled neighboring restaurant to get a good salad bar. I also notice menus are carrying low carb,and under 500 calorie choices. One of the best planned out fast food chain ideas came in the form of a play land area for the kids. Someone was brilliant. Instead of going home after your meal, the kids can meet new kids and improve on social skills and burn off some energy and calories as well. We really have made strides in the right direction to getting our great country healthier.  But of course, it does all boil down to personal preference. There is nothing wrong to choose the super sized meal. I hope everyone knows I mean this. I just wanted to help shed some light on confusion I have read in blog posts and in general conversations.

I recently read a post from someone who I thought made a good assessment on all of this. Like so many, this new idea about clean eating was a bit concerning to her. I loved a comment she had made about clean food as opposed to dirty food. Brilliant! She made a good point about high fat, deep-fried, mashed potato and heavy gravy are the dirty foods. She may have come up with a coined phrase. I just think folks are really looking at life style changes with so many hereditary diseases, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. it just makes sense to take good care of ourselves.

I went out to eat with a friend the other day. While pouring over the menu, we were commenting on the new winter menu items. free range chickens, grass-fed beef, lighter fare breakfast items,veggie burgers were just a few of the updated menu items being offered. I do not get a chance to go out very often, so it was nice catch up with a dear friend and have better choices added to our changing our minds three times to finally order lunch.  I like the idea steps are being taken to get America fit once again. The question becomes,do you embrace the changes or do you simply look the other way. the choice is really yours.

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The Right Words

November 11, 2017 at 10:09 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I often read blog posts from different walks of life. It is fun to read about a young couple struggles with parenting(I have been there). I love to read about a couple who have just retired traveling, a friend who has just got back from her Hawaii vacation (lucky ducks).  I enjoy  reading about a country cottage set in Ireland and the beautiful photos of the flowers and vegetable gardens. I love seeing the countryside, the winding roads, the sheep dotting the landscape. I follow a food critic and her thoughts about up scaled restaurants food and service.

I ran across one post that was interesting to me. She told about blogging and not always knowing what to write about. She was telling of her experience of a writer block and how to deal with it. She raises chickens; sometimes, she just has to go gather the eggs, feed and water them, then walk back from the barn to her office and then she can write. I agree. I do not always know what to post. It is easy to just not post that day,but then we are not challenged are we. I do not have a million ideas dancing in my head waiting for me to pick one.

I like to get together with a dear friend over dessert and a movie before work.  I feel like a queen when I go to her home. She always has a special dessert or even cheeses and crackers to snack on while watching one of our favorite movies. Last night, it was Benny and Joon. We laughed so hard, and as an added bonus, one of our dearest friends played in the movie. I had forgotten he had a small part. I go for an afternoon walk by the lake. With no boats with water skiers, the water is as smooth as glass; I walk in an up scaled neighborhood  and get ideas about landscaping my home. It is nice to see how the other half-lives, although I do not have to clean a large house.

Sometimes, I need to clear the sawdust out of my head, or let the stresses of the day go, to take a moment for me to gather my thoughts again and then I can come and post a story. We are over committed, caring for our aging parents, long work days, it is a discipline to set and post twice or three times a week. It is nice to know your story is being read and maybe a comment or two.

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Cancer- Zero

November 5, 2017 at 8:49 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

Four years ago, we received the news mom had breast cancer;  She was set up with a treatment plan of a partial mastectomy, radiation therapy, good nutrition, and most important, family support. After two months, she finished her treatments. Today, she is doing well. I was impressed with the level of care, patience, empathy, and professional ethics my mom was given during her difficult time in her life. Mom was scared, so it helped I could take her to her appointments. I had to step outside of my emotions and  take into consideration, just knowing  a loved one was in the waiting area can make the a big difference in healing.

Sometimes it takes a health scare to prioritize our lives. We can be so busy, we never stop to see the beautiful blue sky or look at the neighbor and her working in her beautiful flower beds. We have become over committed, ( need three of me) to accomplish everything in a day. I always tell my friends to manage your stress, take time out of the day for yourself,even if it just a quick dip in the pool, make a nice sandwich for yourself and sit on the front porch and listen to the birds chirping, if you like gardening,pull a few weeds, or pick a bouquet of roses for the dinner table tonight. Take the kids on a nature walk or a bike ride to the park. I learned what I thought was important wasn’t so important anymore.

Another success story I would love to boast about is when I worked at an Assistant Living facility a few years ago. The complex was divided into four homes ranging from assisted living,memory care, dementia care, and altimeters care.each home was decorated in a different theme. Timber House (decorated like a log cabin),was independent living, Tudor House,(Tudor style), memory care, Cottage House( decorated like a cottage)for dementia care, and last the house was the craftsman(decorated like a craftsman house) was for our altimeters residence. I was in dietary, so I watched and interacted with lovely ladies and gentlemen. The men dressed for meals, the ladies wore a pretty dress, because in their minds, they were going out to a restaurant. Every morning, I would take lunch and dinner orders. It was fun listening to the conversations.

I became fast friends with one of my co-workers. She was a pretty, funny, helpful care giver. One day she told me she had cancer. I didn’t know what to say to her, I felt horrible for her. She told me she starting treatment and planned to keep working. you would never know evenings, she was nauseous, low energy, because she was such a good care provider to the residence. I enjoyed evening meals talking to her. I left the job before she finished up her treatments. I knew she lived in my home town, so I would see her in the grocery store. One day while on Face Book, I saw Amber-1, Cancer-0. I was so happy, I cried. The story does not end here, no sirree. One day, I ran into my friend and noticed she had gained weight-well, she was pregnant with her son. I told her then “first you beat cancer, then you meet and marry a great guy,now you are pregnant.” Her was is beautiful, healthy,a rough and tumble little man. Well, I ran into her again last year and she is the proud mamma of a beautiful daughter! Double blessed I told her.

Life can change in an instant. Live everyday as it were your last,take the time to smell the flowers and even pick a few along the way. Tomorrow may not come. My life was forever changed with the deaths of both my husband and my son. Life is so fragile, so precious, so meaningful. Everyday is a gift,it depends on what you choose to do with it.

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Carver Farms

October 29, 2017 at 11:46 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , )

 

When my son was in grade school, his class went to Carver farms to pick a tiny pumpkin to bring home. They went through the corn maze where at least one classmate got lost, scared and screamed so I was told. Levi always had a good afternoon riding the bus out there and getting the free run of the patch. A couple of days later was the Halloween Carnival at his school. He loved going to his grandmas house for a chili dog feast, the off to the carnival where he had a fun evening playing the games and hanging with his friends. I am glad he grew up in a time where his class still celebrated with a party at school and at the end of the day, there was a costume parade down the street. Now, I think it has become a teacher work day.

When my son became a teen, he and his friends would go into the Wal-Mart store and try on wolf man mask and run around the store barking at people.  The next year, went to his church and helped with the games, and handed out candy; He loved working with the little ones, if they were having trouble fishing, he would help them hold the fishing pole so they could win the prize. Levi was 19 years old when he moved out of my house to help his grandma after his Grandpa died. he passed out candy at her house to all the goblins who showed up at the door. He loved his grandma, she needed some extra company and mom/son wasn’t seeing things through the same pair of glasses anymore. He lived with her for a year until July 2007 when he was involved in a fatal car accident. he was only 20. Now, I care for my aging mother.

What helped me to heal was the teens next door always have called me mom. I did not feel so lonely. It was nice to have company over for a movie marathon or just a cup of coffee. Ashley and my son grew up together and fought like brother and sister. When it snowed, Levi shared his sled with Ashley taking turns going down the small hill across the street. When they were frozen to the bones, I made hot chocolate and cookies to warm them up again.

A few years ago, my next door neighbors came over and invited me to spend the day with them. I had a long week and was looking forward to my first day off. We all decided to go over to Carver farms and go through the corn maze; we go lost,and so did many children because you heard ‘dad,are you still with us?’ dad had a cute expression on his face, maybe he was and maybe he wasn’t.  The family reunited,my group decided to go on the hay ride into the pumpkin patch. It was fun watching the kids and parents laugh, and having a good time. (back to us), we also had fun choosing pumpkins to take home and carve scary faces on.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween.

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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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