Life’s Little Surprises

July 15, 2019 at 8:57 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

For some reason, when I received my new tabs for my car in the mail, I did not put them on the car right away. I usually wait until the end of the month of July to secure them in place. Yesterday, I received a manilla envelope in the mail. I knew what it was and hoped I was getting my old license plates. When I opened up the package, I was excited to know I was able to keep my plates.

I know what is the big deal about keeping a set of license plates you ask. let me tell you why they mean so much. Several years ago I worked at a hotel in my home town. One afternoon, a very handsome new driver came to my work to see me. My son Levi was getting ready to buy his first vehicle. He was working as an apprentice laying carpet at the time. He decided to buy a truck to help haul materials to the job site. For those parents who have gone through the trauma of a new driver, you know what I mean by yikes!  Levi owned the truck for a couple of months and decided to trade his truck for his dream car.

Levi bought a Mitsubishi Eclipse in dark green. Many people including his boss were angry at him for buying a high powered car. I think his feelings were hurt because he was proud of his new car. When Levi transferred the insurance from his truck to the car, the agent told him for ten dollars more, the policy would cover hospitalization and pay the car off if he were in an accident. Levi told the agent” I can not afford my insurance now, what is another ten dollars”.  The agent was impressed with my son for taking his advice. Next came the license plate drama.

Levi wanted a specialized plate that read Eshchelon. The plate means an army of one God. When my son called me and asked me if I would for half of the plate, I told him no. I knew he would be disappointed but I also had a sinking feeling inside me when he bought the car. Well, low and behold his plain, normal, boring (love his enthusiasm) plates came in the mail. He, of course, hated them.  I knew by the time Levi had ordered his new personalized plate, he would never have the chance to see them. My son passed away in a tragic car accident three weeks after he bought his new car. Someone pulled out in front of him going around the lake and his car went into the pond where he drowned.

Life has been a challenge for me since the death of my son Levi. with the love and support from family and friends, I have been moving forward in the good things God still has for me. I work in health care in a job I love, I write my blog post three times a week, and I care for my aging mom. My plate feels full sometimes, but I know a very handsome young man is also smiling down from heaven and winking at his mom encouraging her to keep carrying on. I am happy I was able to keep his old license plates and not issued new ones. Hug your family extra tight every night, tell them how much they mean to you and how much you love them. My life was forever changed one sunny Sunday morning when Levi set off with his friends to float the river.


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Celebrating Good Friends

July 11, 2019 at 9:31 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The last couple of days have been busy. I try to enjoy my few days I have off, but sometimes life can get very hectic. Last week, my mom and I entertained my Aunt and cousin from Florida. This was the first time in five years my family has been back for a short visit. It would be difficult for mom to travel, so it is nice friends and family are visiting. Life changed the last few years when the family started moving to Florida to escape the snowy North Idaho winter.

The older we get, we have to accept change. Four of my mom’s neighbors sold their homes and moved to a smaller house nearby. The homes in the neighborhood were split level homes built in the late 1960s. The homes are ideal for a young family raising a family. When the parents become empty-nesters, oftentimes, they move into a one-level home with NO STAIRS. I understand the older we get, stairs can become a problem. My mom is the only original resident left on the block.

It is interesting, the new families moving in keep to themselves. Our night caregiver has invited one of the new homeowners over for a welcome BBQ with no response. I saw on a tv commercial recently that only 34% of the people know their neighbors. So much has changed in the last twenty-plus years. My neighborhood had block parties, July 4th firework gatherings, adult card game evening, celebrated the kids birthdays, football and chili cookoffs. The kids grew up, moved away or have families of their own now. I still go over and visit the neighbors on evening walks and catch up who is retiring next. I love my neighborhood.

One thing I am trying to do is being involved with my good friends. I have attended two birthday celebrations this week. One at a pizza shop, the other we had the party instead of our usual Bible study. I love what my friend did for her birthday. She is having an add a book, take a book Library added to her willow tree in her front yard in memory of her best friend. I love this idea. She asked for children’s books especially. One of our elderly ladies brought a book in that her children had written all over in. She was afraid it would not be accepted, that is half the charm of a book and you know it was well enjoyed by the young readers.

Hug your kids and loved ones extra tight today, let them know how much they are loved, appreciated, needed, and you are glad they are in your life. The kiddos grow up too fast, leave home and get on with their own lives, parents grow older, need more care, and even though I will never have any, you can look forward to the grandkids. I had to accept change in my life when both my husband and son passed away. I still reside in the forever home my husband and I bought together,  I have turned my son’s old bedroom into my dressing room and I use his old computer to write my blog posts. I live in a desired neighborhood that my husband and I did not think would  so fast. Even though my home town keeps growing, I am blessed to live in an area where I can still see wildlife walking down the street and eat of your grass.

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The Empty Nest Life

July 6, 2019 at 8:39 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The other day, I was getting a few last minute items for dinner. I happened to walk down this particular aisle to hear mom and child having a few words. I chuckled when I heard the exchange of conversation from parent to child. As I walked past, I found the item I was looking for and continued on my way. I realized how many years ago I had this same conversation with my own son. The difference is when I told Levi no, he knew not to press the issue he was not getting the desired item today.

Parenting is tough no matter if you are a single parent or have both running the household. Nothing irks me more than to be in the store and a child is screaming at the top of their lungs to get his or her way. When I was a child, you behaved because of what happens to you when you get home. If the family went for an evening bike ride, the kids stayed with the parents, going to the park on Sunday was a treat to fly kites. You did not wander off to go see the ducks in the pond. We had respect for our elders and did not sass back (you knew what would happen). I remember a time when my family went to the backyard and would swim in the pool, then have dessert afterward.

My son moved out thirteen years ago. I can remember the night well. Halloween eve, my son and his best friend came by to pick up a few of Levis things.  I laughed when they left because stayed behind were his bed,(he sold me the bed before he moved out) dresser, comforters, some clothes, and a few odds and ends. I was setting in my living room with his cat and said: ” this is it”. When you have a child, no are not thinking about the day they move out.  The move was a good one for my son. He moved in with his grandma to help her after his grandpa passed away. My mom taught him about a budget she was not his bank, he had a curfew at ten p.m. He mowed her lawn for her, he was becoming a fine young man.

Since then, I have been doing well also. The first year was quiet without the loud music playing, phone calls at two in the morning, late night pizza delivery, water bill definitely went down, so did the food bill. I have had time to refresh the paint inside and, planted a couple shade trees in the backyard, extended the patio, have time to devote to my blog, I love to take day trips and find new waterfalls. I live in an area that is full of nature, lakes, streams, logging roads, quaint small towns to explore, I even have visited a couple ghost towns in the area. I am enjoying the second half of my life.

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A Time Of Refreshing

June 18, 2019 at 10:07 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This week is a time for me to refresh, to unplug from all the cell phone, answering e-mails, computer, and all the other devices that we all need a break from.  I care for my aging mother in the morning, then I will be off for some much-needed fun.

I  have always been a homebody. I love living here and seeing wildlife. You are driving around a neighborhood, and see several deer eating on the front lawn, stopping for wild turkeys to cross the road, following the stream around a mountain back road. I like taking the less traveled forks in the road because you are pleasantly surprised when you see a quaint town with small shops to explore. Last year friends of mine and I traveled to the top of the mountain and looked over part of Coeur d’Alene Lake. The drive back was beautiful.

My mom and I are still expecting relatives to visit this summer. My next door neighbor agreed to come to help me clear the basement of items to donate and then make the space functional. Aside from this, catching up on reading some good books in the park, taking some afternoon drives around the lakes in the area, binge-watching my favorite shows, getting out and hiking Tubbs Hill, meeting friends for lunch at our favorite upscale restaurant. I may even go on a silver mine tour, and go to a ghost town in the area.

I can say that I have enjoyed the life I have lived in my home town. I have watched the town grow more and more every year but we still maintain our small town friendliness. I have my favorite places I shop,  have the oil changed, get my groceries, and get my hair cut. One thing remains the same: The grocery store clerk to my bank teller has the same friendly smile and warm greeting when you walk in. I choose to pay my bills in person instead of online for the reason of I have known the tellers and clerks for the last thirty years and enjoy the interaction with them. This is what makes a town feel like home. I could plan a trip and travel anywhere I wanted this week but where would I be any more satisfied than where I love living? I told this to a friend today in the grocery store. She wondered why I was not on an airplane heading for another destination. Folks come here to enjoy our beauty on a vacation. I think I just may be on to something.

Summer will be short-lived and fall will be here before you know it. The changing leaves on the trees to gold, red and orange, fall drives, sipping cider, planting fall flowers to replace the summer blooms. The coats, boots, sweaters, jeans, scarves, and gloves will replace the shorts and tees, sandals, ice tea, and warm summer days. It seems like summer is shorter every year. The Inland Northwest get the fires that surround us and it makes for dry, hot and smokey conditions for much of the season. Lasy ear, it was advised to stay indoors because of the poor air quality. It is scary when a fire breaks out fifteen minutes from your home. You pray for the families that are in harm’s way and hope that the fire does not spread any further. You take the good with the bad I guess.

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Keeping Your Life On Track

June 8, 2019 at 9:14 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Like so many, I have felt like I am in a funk lately. Sometimes you feel like life is just passing you by or you are trying desperately to keep up with the daily demands in life. I am afraid I am there. Sometimes, I feel like I can not cope with the obligations I have and want to run away.

What it is relief for me is that everyone I talk to is going through something. A family issue, health issue, unemployment,  house hunting, being part of the sandwich generation. Summertime is a busy time of year for many. School is out, vacation planning to do, or some just like to stay home and enjoy the backyard pool. I notice some great gardens taking shape as I drive around the ritzy neighborhoods, I come away with some good ideas to incorporate into my backyard retreat.

I know for me, sometimes I do not know why I have a hard time in the summer but I would like to just move on to fall. Summer brings so many wonderful outdoor activities such as swimming, paddle boarding, hiking, riding your bike, or just enjoying catching up on a good book in the park. I have learned how to enjoy summer more. I plan one special activity to look forward to every week. This afternoon, my good friends are taking me to buy a camper trailer. I am getting out for the afternoon, plus spending my downtime with some good company. I would not call myself an introvert, but I can find myself in my backyard listening to the birds or watching the squirrels eating the birdseed in the feeders.

When I look in my closet for something to wear, I laugh because I have more warm weather clothes than cold. I do have to admit I like wearing a nice skirt and pretty top to run errands. I cannot handle the hot, muggy, sticky days, I cannot eat because I feel sick afterward, the house does not cool down until after ten at night, plus, I do not like to fight the crowds at the beach or finding a choice spot by the lake. My home town is rapidly growing and the traffic is getting busier. This is progress though. One has to eventually have to share the best-kept secrete. Many share my love of the mountains, the lakes, and fishing, the hiking, camping by the streams this area has to offer. Who does not love to look in a farmers field and see a herd of elk quietly grazing?

Luckily, my moods do not stay with me for too long. I have some good friends who keep me grounded and moving forward if I get too melancholy. They miss Julie who is always smiling and has a positive attitude towards life. I am truly loving my middle age lifestyle. I did not think I would have had some of the hardships I overcome, but God has helped me to stay focused on what is really important.

I want to thank you for stopping by and reading my post. I hope you will come by again I appreciate your support.

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A New Season

April 18, 2019 at 7:29 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Last night, I attended a ladies bible study by myself. A good friend invited me to go several times, so I finally went with her. I had the most fun I have had in a while. The ladies were gracious hosts making you feel at home. Last week, I heard one mother saying her son was in a play next week. I asked if I could come, we also invited another widow who attends the study to come along also. I love that they made you feel apart of the family and I look forward to next week.

We had an unusual winter as it began snowing in February every day. We are used to getting our winter beginning in December and in February we have some signs of spring. I love the white fluffy snowfall but then you get rain with it and a mixture of heavy slush makes it impossible to shovel let alone drive in unplowed roads. This was the first year that I stayed in most of the winter due to increased traffic and other people driving reckless. I love to look out my front door at the storms coming in from the mountains.

this year, I started to notice a slight change in my outlook on things. I was more tired than usual, my mom had needed more help after coming home from the hospital, I was caring for two households now. I realized I was becoming more depressed and just wanted to be alone. I have a great group of friends who I go out with, but my mood had changed.  I haven ‘t taken a nap in so long, I found myself taking a three-hour nap every day. My co-workers were noticing I seemed more tired and wondered what was wrong. I love my job and the house I work in and get along well with everyone. I was beginning a new season in my life.

I was having my morning coffee one day and realized I felt like I was looking at a glass house, I was on the outside looking inside the house. I felt like I did not fit in I think when you suffer a personal loss such as losing a spouse or son, you feel disconnected from the community. The ladies at the bible study helped me to understand I was not alone in my feelings. Healing takes time, you have to take good care of yourself to continue to give to others. I think the thought of not fitting in is like looking at your glass half empty or half full. When life throws a curve ball how do we deal with the pain and anger? I had to realize the deaths of both my husband and my son did not mean the death of me as well. I am looking forward to the next season of my life. I know it will be full of promise, brighter days, and most of all getting back to the lasting friendships I have made.

Happy Easter everyone. May you hug the kids tighter, let them know you love them, you are proud of them and you are glad they are in your life. We are not promised tomorrow so make the best memories of today.

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Reconnecting With Friends

April 4, 2019 at 9:33 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Isn’t it funny how fast time is passing by why it is April already. We are finally thawing from all the snow we got in February this year. usually we have a few months to get used to six- eight inches of the fluffy white stuff at a time, this year, we were getting ten inches at a time. Sometimes it is time for the season to change already. It is that time again you know where the popular commercials play to upgrade the ole yard.

Trust me, I do not hate spring, just all the preparations to get the yard even ready. As I have said before, I am a reforming black thumb gardener. My dear friends come out every couple of years and help me to get my yard ready for me enjoying the fruits of thier(friends) labors. I just do not have the time anymore with working full time and caring for my aging parent, little is left in the day. I have been one who picks three projects to tackle a year. A couple years ago, I had the house painted, a new metal roof put on the a new (needed) furnace installed. I feel sorry for first time buyers trying to get into a home or rent something. 

My late husband and I bought our forever home thirty years ago  when we found out his disease was terminal. We just thought Jerry would have more time to enjoy living in our new home than he did. The sweetest picture I have is of daddy and son mowing and cleaning up the lawn. Levi had his own mower and rake with a wheel barrow. I remember our little man slept through the night. He only tried to help daddy with the sprinklers one time. He was not ready to get that wet yet. I have had some many good times in my home and a few hard circumstances living here. I feel blessed to have such good friends who were willing to lend me a helping hand painting and landscaping my home.My friends planted a nice pine tree in my son Levi’s honor in 2007.It grew to be 25 feet tall, then last summer, I had noticed it turning brown and brittle. I was told is was dying. “It can’t die” I remember telling myself it was planted for Levi in his honor. It is funny how the winter changed my attitude toward the dead tree. It was not the end of the world and you can always plant two shade trees to help keep the backyard cool on hot summer days. I am learning to let go of what really is not important. I will have a nice backyard regardless of whether I have  a twenty-five foot pine tree back there or not. Home ownership is a ongoing process. But as it is known the landscaping industry is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Just look at the Garden Shows every year. I know folks spend five hundred dollars on the day of the show sprucing up the landscape to look nice. 

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Choosing Happiness

March 7, 2019 at 12:20 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I think happiness is a choice each one of us either make or decide to be lemon tasters. Life throws an unexpected health crisis, trouble with our teenagers, financial situations, circumstances beyond our control. When life throws a curve ball, how we respond depends on how we overcome the obstacles in our lives. Life should be waking up in the morning ready to face a new day, coffee cup in hand and heading out the door.

Some of my friends are amazed at my positive attitude. After loosing not only my husband from his disease, but then my son a few years later in a tragic car accident, I could have become bitter and angry but instead I chose to trust God. I have always looked at my glass as half full not half empty. I have known some parents who have lost a son or daughter who has never recovered from the loss. I hear people talking about what happens when bad things happen to good people. Crossing the street, and a car almost hits you, being mugged, a spouse leaves, addiction, and the list goes on.

Last summer when we had all the smoke from fires surrounding our area, it was smokey, hot and one did not want to go outside and set on the deck. I was driving home one morning from running a few errands and I saw clouds mixed in with the smoke. As I was driving home, I saw some thick black clouds overhead and marveled at how beautiful the sky looked. I was almost home and could see through the smoke, the forest up ahead. The clouds were starting to mix with the smoke but still a beautiful effect. I try to see the beauty in an otherwise ugly situation. yes the smoke was thick and hard to breathe, but I also noticed a silver lining for my day.

I have always believed in life is what you make it. It is easy to be a lemon taster, nothing ever will go my way, eat worms personality, while others look forward to a brighter today. As we get older, we realize nothing is promised for tomorrow, so make the most of this day. If it a cold, ugly day, build a fire, make a nice pot of soup and have a friend over to enjoy a cozy afternoon of a good movie over lunch, Have your grand-daughter over and make cookies together, a lasting memory for sure. 

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On A Snowy Day….

February 20, 2019 at 10:20 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

It is a snowy afternoon and all through the house needs a good cleaning. I looked down onto my office floor and wondered how what looks like wood chips happened into the room. Christmas bags still needs put away, a stack of papers needs gone through, a good vacuuming and dusting is in order, so why have I sat down at my computer desk and post a story you ask? Well  I am not really ready to clean yet. 

Last night was supposed to be a stormy night. I woke up to barely an inch of the fluffy white stuff. After spending the morning with my mom, I came home ready to do some house work and the sun came out. Yep right on cue, it came out and the sun looked so nice and inviting that I decided my house could go another day dirty.( My friends reading this is laughing because they would tell you my house looks like something straight out of a magazine). I have always like the Victorian Style of decorating. Since I am an empty nester, I worked hard to make my house a home. Over the years, I have friends come over and help me paint and I have turned my sons old bedroom into my dressing room after he moved out a few years ago. 

 My husband and I bought our home over thirty years ago. It was a running joke that Jerry did not let me decorate very much because he did not want company. A true story. Guests could visit for the afternoon, but they had to go home later. My house was decorated warmly(love that word) but not how I would have liked to have it. I think if Jerry could take a tour now, he would be pleasantly surprised. Every room in the house is freshly painted and decorated. He even has a nice home office. The only thing Jerry had in his office was a Blow Flex machine. I always teased him “keep it simple dear”. 

A few years ago, my good friend came over and refreshed my master bedroom into a B&B inspired room. It had been 17 years since I made changes. She created a simple, yet elegant room on a nice budget. When I go on vacation, I opt for a stay-cation instead. Visitors come from all over the world to visit north Idaho. Sometimes you feel like a tourist in your own town. My home town is ever-growing and changing. New businesses are coming in and with it more people who do not know how to drive in the white stuff. Ice is hard to drive on and it does not matter how slow you go, you are still going to slip and slide. I get a kick out of the 4-wheel drive vehicles they gun the motor and do donuts in the street.

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Winter, All At Once

February 13, 2019 at 10:36 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

We have had a very mild winter thus far. I am glad I was able to move here in 1981 with my parents and watch this small town grow into Many were enjoying the benefits of not having to shovel snow ,getting stuck in the slushy mess, and the cold temperatures and slick, icy road conditions. Everyone thought this was going to be a great winter until…..

Yes folks, it has finally happened. Usually this time of the year we get all rain,the last week, we have gotten several inches of snowy (bliss) to the skiers, the rest of us are in survival mode mainly because this small town has grown the past few years and there are those who really need to take a winter driving course before driving. Scared is when you do not know if it is safe to really go through your green light because the other guy just may want to play I know I can make it through the light. As a rule, we give you a full thirty seconds before we start to turn.

When talking to folks in the grocery store, we laugh remembering how it used to be. We didn’t have as many stop signals, drivers were not in a big hurry to pass you and then have to stop for the light(heehee) not as many Police cars, traffic is horrible, I realize it is the price you pay when you live in a beautiful area, but….Everywhere you look, new apartment building and 55 and over neighborhoods are being built. I could not believe when I heard my favorite neighborhood is going to have concerts in the park this summer. Just yesterday it felt like the tract homes were just being started. I think I will have to take a tour around my town this Spring like a tourist sightseeing.

My family moved here in 1981 because my dad was ill and needed a dry climate to live in. my Aunt already lived here , so we decided to move and be near family. I remember there was not much to this town this. I still laugh that we had a blinking light as our only stop light at the end of town. A couple of restaurants, a few stores, a couple of gas stations, a truck stop, many beautiful lakes and streams to fish in, boating, waterskiing, walking trails, and the mountains. I still marvel that you can look and see mountains all around you. I have watched this small town growing more into a small city more and more people moving in but I still love the small town feel you get here. I have banked, shopped, pumped my gas at the same locations for thirty two years; it is nice to called by your first name.

All in all, I think I have found my perfect piece of paradise even though we are growing. When I think of how many visitors we get each year coming to enjoy our lakes, hiking, camping, and rafting I think we have a gem here. We have something for everyone even if it is enjoying an ice cream cone in Historic Wallace. I try to live like a tourist in my town by checking out the new coffee-house,or seeing the final phase of a neighborhood. I love going to open houses and seeing what is trending for 2019 it is a nice way to spend an afternoon. Some of the established neighborhoods have the most beautiful gardens to enjoy. I am not one who shops till she drops, I go to the local mall and shop for a couple of hours including lunch and then I am done. I am still part of the sandwich generation and isn’t it funny that Now you have to get back to help mom with this or that, not so long ago, you have to get back and pick up the kids.

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