Fall Getaway

October 8, 2019 at 8:42 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir) (, , , )

This week I am off for a fall getaway. I have been looking forward to this week for a long time. Your first night off, it is hard not to get ready to head out the door at your regularly scheduled work time. I enjoy my stay-cations I can get some home projects finished up before the snow flies, catch up with some friends, start cleaning out my closet and organize it for the winter season coming up.

Over the last four years, dear friends have come and helped me with some projects around the house I cannot do alone. My house is freshly pained inside and out, a new metal roof, and a new furnace installed. I am so blessed to have such great friends who are willing to take a couple days out of their weekend to help me. I am proud to say the two trees we planted over the summer, has turned beautiful fall colors and the leaves are dropping. ( I really am becoming a reformed black thumb gardener). All I need is some dirt to fill in a couple of holes in the backyard, grass seed, and my backyard makeover will be complete.

I have always thought a three-season porch would have been nice when my son moved out of the house. That was thirteen years ago now (Time flies when you are unconscious).  I decided to extend the patio instead and make more room for a nice entertaining area for friends. I have been so busy, that I have not made the time to have company over for a nice dinner to just celebrate their friendships. Now it will have to be chili parties and maybe a card game. I do not like football, I would rather set around the outdoor fireplace and have a cup of coffee and reminisce the good old days of raising our kids. my how time has flown.

This summer I was in my local grocery store. I went in the back to look at the displays. I saw the perfect wooden sentiment that fit me. The sign said Let’s Stay Home. I found the frame in a craft store and put my own handwritten sentiment on and hung it outside my sledder door. I enjoy staying home when I am off. There are so many things to do in my hometown in the fall. Simple pleasures such as driving home from work and seeing a baby deer alongside the road, of course, now the leaves are changing colors into vibrant gold, red and orange everywhere you look.

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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 Brand New Driver

September 21, 2018 at 2:50 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I am sitting here at my computer wishing I had renewed my driver’s license sooner. I was involved in an altercation last week and twisted my ankle. It will fun standing outside in the chilly morning tomorrow waiting to get in to renew my precious photo taken last time. Our small town has grown in population the past few years. You are not in and out like times were. It takes three times as long-standing in lines waiting your turn.

As I sit here typing, a fond memory is taking hold. I remember when I and a good girlfriend were juniors in high school. My friend had to get her driver’s license. No one would consider taking her,not her mom, her mom’s boyfriend, her sister or her friends who already were driving. I thought this was terrible. After all, we all had to face the dreaded driving instructor why deprive my dear friend of her turn. After all she was so excited , just needed a ride.

The big day had arrived. I was busy feeding the animals, getting dressed, called my friend to see how much longer for her  to be ready. Her mom said in the background” she has been up since five tried on every outfit she owns and has done her hair three times for the picture. She is ready to go”. So on my way I went to pick her up. It was fun for me because she didn’t know I was letting her use my car to take her driving test in. She just thought she was taking the written test and then her driving part later.

Since it was her birthday, we went to Bob’s Big Boy to celebrate. We had the hamburger combination with a strawberry milkshake. We were full, happy, laughing and ready to head over to Thousand Oaks. I sat in the lobby waiting for her to finish her written test. She came over to me and let me know she passed.”Of course you did silly” I told her. We were starting to walk out the front door when I asked her”don’t you have another part of the test to complete today?” She almost cried when realized I was letting her drive my car to take her test in. She passed that day and what a wonderful memory of a friend I miss still today. She has passed away several years ago, but I remember her giggle, her “Hi” on the phone, and her zest for life itself.

I am thankful for all the memories I have from loved ones, friends, my son and my life as an empty nester. I never thought my golden years I would be writing stories about my husband and son. I am thankful for all the good time I have shared with my family and  all the hardships I have had to endure. No matter what life throws at you, it is still a great life and wonderful t be alive.

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Life Beyond Parenting

September 14, 2018 at 12:10 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , )

If someone were to tell me eleven years ago my life would be forever changed, I wouldn’t have believed them. My son was a vibrant twenty year old with a good job, friends, a solid church family. I guess we, as parents don’t think past our kids maybe one day moving out on their own, getting married, going off to college. Some of these life stages can be tough.

Your child has enlisted in the Military, you are frightened for their safe return home, your tween daughter decided to get married(elopes). You son announces he would like to live with you forever….. Life beyond parenting is an interesting term for me. I said goodbye to my world one day when he was involved in a tragic car accident. Life could not prepare me for the depth of grief I felt the day his life support machine was turned off. Many parents suffer the child they love and raised decides she doesn’t like living at home with the rules anymore and becomes a runaway, parents dealing with addicted children or the parents who visit the child in jail.

We think these hard days are never going to end. For some, the pain never will end, for many others, the pain eases as time goes on and they learn how to rebuild their lives again. Every family story is a success story, no matter the outcome, the parent was there for the child, watched the kids games, took them to practice, supported their concerns. It is true, kids did not come with an instruction manual, with Levi, I would have thrown the manual out anyway. I wanted the joy that comes with the challenges, I raised Levi from childhood through his teens no easy feat. I am proud of the fine young man he had become.

A few years ago there was a popular book out called” Motherhood ain’t For Wimps”. It is true, parenting is tough business. I would have loved to have more than one son, but as I have been told over the years”Levi gave you a run for your money, but you gave it back.”A strong faith really is essential for your(the parent) sanity. Over night, I became mom, dad and sole provider of my family of two now. Looking back now, I would not trade one single hardship or difficulty I have been through. Levi was the best gift God could have ever given to me and I am thankful I had the opportunity to be a wife and mother even if for a little while. 

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Summer Memories

June 30, 2018 at 10:57 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Everyone has a special Summer Bucket List of activities they would love to try just once. Some want to brave the giant roller coaster at the local theme park, some want to find the best huckleberry patch, other just want to enjoy family and friends. Whatever you place on your Summer Bucket List, making memories last a life time.

One of my favorite summer memories taking my son to Seattle for the weekend. We met with my friends who were in a Band. My son and I were invited to a concert for the Village People several years ago. When I arrived at my friends hotel, my son was mad because he thought ( the biker character) and I were going to a private lunch together and he and my ride were going to MC Donald’s for their lunch. Glenn  took us all out to lunch, then were walked around the area until it was time for him to get back to his hotel for rehearsals for his concert. My girlfriend and I had front row seats and a back stage pass to see the guys after the show. What a memorable weekend it was indeed.

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Catching Up With Friends

June 15, 2018 at 12:11 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I ran into an old friend at the grocery store yesterday while doing my moms weekly shopping. We chatted for a while, caught each other up on our families, summer activities, and still talk about how we both met. She was an Avon Representative at the time. I had just lost my husband and was just basically going through the motions on dad to-day living. One day, a nice Avon lady came to my front door. I had on no make-up, not dressed yet ready for my day, I did offer her a cup of coffee. My new friend helped me find colors to compliment my skin tone. One week later when she delivered my package, she was amazed at the transformation. I was dressed, hair combed, house picked up and I looked better than the week before. We stayed friends even though our schedules do not allow us to get together as often anymore. 

I appreciate my friends. They accept me when I am in a good mood or when I am feeling a little melancholy. I know they have prayed for me over the loss of both my husband and my son. It is a nice feeling when I am feeling sad, someone will ask”how are you doing today Julie?” One of the comments I have heard the most is”I can’t even imagine”. I have learned how to live without my son, you never forget them or the good time with them and the difficult times you shared. I have so many wonderful memories of the fine young man Levi had become. One of my most cherished photos in my living room is the one where when our picture was being taken, Levi picked his mom up and my cousin snapped the memory. I remember we were both laughing because Levi told me”how many sons can pick up their mother?” 

This has been a long journey of pain, healing, acceptance, and most of all, the love and support of family and friends. I could not have done this without any of you. The prayers, getting together for coffee and a good cry,and turning my son’s old bedroom into my dressing room. I have friends who have also lost a son or a daughter, they shut the door to the child’s room and never go in it again. I chose to turn my son’s old bedroom into my dressing room. I love getting dressed in the morning and putting on my pajamas at night. I find comfort in seeing his pictures on his wall and reading his hand written notes on his message board. 

When we were born, we were not guaranteed the “perfect life”. We appreciate the little things in life that gives us joy. I know my son is smiling down on me from heaven. I wake up every morning knowing how proud he is of me, his mom who has persevered through my grief and come out the other side into happiness. Hug your kids extra tight today, let them know how proud you are of them, let them know how loved they are and you are glad they are in your life. You are not promised tomorrow , so make today count. 

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A Nice Day Trip

June 7, 2018 at 9:19 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Survivor, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

Yesterday, a dear friend of mine and I decided to plan a day trip. We were going to spend the day in a quaint little town overlooking the lake. First my friend needed to pick up a Memorial wrath as her mothers headstone had been delivered. Her parents had a plot bought several years earlier so they could be buried together and not burden the children. When my friend and I had gotten into town, we headed for the cemetery to place the wreath on the grave. Let me tell you, there is nothing like getting lost near a cemetery and cannot find the right road to take. After driving around for a half hour, we finally found the road. When we arrived, the grounds keeper was cutting the grass. It took us several minutes walking up and down the rows of graves to find her mom and dad. We took a few pictures and then headed back into town. I am glad I had the day off from work that I could go and help her celebrate her parents. They were like parents to me as well. 

The morning was sunny and breezy, the drive is a picturesque drive with good 1970’s music, beautiful scenery, and great conversation. I never get tired of driving through the forest, or passing a pretty lake. We are always on the lookout for deer on the way. Sharon and I were reminiscing about the first time we had met. She was my son Levi’s Kindergarten teacher; we had become fast and lasting friends over the years. On Friday nights, we would take the kids for an hour drive to our favorite church the out for ice cream after. I needed some good friends, it was a difficult time for me after my husband passed away. Their kids were a couple of years older than my son, so we would talk child rearing. it was nice to have someone I could talk to. 

 I find even if the plans you have are not what you expected, you can still make an enjoyable day out of it. I would like to think I am getting older and more creative with my days off. summer has never been one season I liked. The heat, the humidity, the bugs, the allergies, the water bill (that took the place of the furnace bills in the winter), keeping your flowers alive long enough to enjoy them. This year, I have decided enjoy the summer by being ‘a tourist in my town and maybe a quaint small town or two.’ Enjoying a walk around the boardwalk, having a snack at an outside cafe, have a coffee at a new coffee-house, check out a new art gallery, it has changed how I live my days.  I only have to water my lawn and flowers for three months, the only project this year is fill the holes in my backyard from the trees I had removed and maybe extend my patio. I live in a great neighborhood with awesome neighbors, have a nice little house that really feels like a vacation year round. 

I do not have the money to build an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit, a swimming pool, or an outdoor fireplace. I will leave that to my home where I go to celebrate my can’t take care of this anymore years. I know it is a growing trend to have an outdoor retreat for the family. I am glad families are investing into the future with grand kids someday, but for now, they can enjoy a yard where it is a home away from home stay-cation spot. I have seen some beautiful homes nestled in the forest or by a lake. Why would you want to go anywhere else?  Some backyards are landscaped in multi levels. a great place to pitch a couple tents and a fire pit. Mom and daughter afternoon pool day. Pack your towel and sunscreen in a tote bag and carry it to the pool party. Simple ways to create lasting memories that is passed on. 

 

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Catching Up

May 3, 2018 at 1:57 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

This afternoon, I had lunch with my dear friend. I don’t get the chance to see her much since we both have different schedules now. A couple of years ago, we both had the same days off, so I would run her errands with her and have a nice afternoon returning purchases her husband decided he could live without after all. I miss seeing my girlfriend every week. She took me to meet her parents one afternoon the rest was…. I had been adopted that minute. Her dad was a kind man and her mother, always had a hug waiting for you when you walked into the room.

Sharon and her husband painted my house for me after my husband had passed away. I remember their son was working for his dad at the time and he painted my bedroom for me. I was busy helping Sharon paint my bathroom. ( I have not repainted our rag rolled walls). The son, seventeen at the time, took his time in my bedroom. I loved the soft blue/ green color chosen for the room. The paint still looks nice today.

Today, my friend and I were talking about when they came over and painted my home the first time. I had a yellow and green house. I was more and willing to have it painted a soft yellow and white. Chris asked me if he could bring my house into the twentieth century and  paint my house a pretty beige and green color instead. I appreciate the love and support they have given to me after the death of my son Levi. Chris felt bad because he was meaning to come over and repaint over Levi’s poor color choice in his bedroom. He donated left over beige paint and my neighbors helped me turn his old bedroom into my dressing room. I am so blessed with the kindness of so many wonderful people.

Three years ago, the same great friends came over and updated my home again. I was getting ready to start my stay-cation, my house was completed the day before. I ask you, where in the world would you plan to go when you have your own newly updated retreat in your own home. I bought new bedding, good food, and giggled in my bed like I remember my husband and I did our first night in this, our forever home. Life is sure different without my husband and son in it, but I have wonderful memories of the laughter, great loud conversations with family and friends in this house. Like I said, I am treating my days off a tourist in my home town. I am visiting new shops, eating my favorite ethnic foods, finding a new coffee place to try, I love open houses, and most of all, catching up with some good friends.

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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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