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. 

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

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. 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Can’t Is a Four Letter Word

November 3, 2018 at 8:40 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

The older I get, I am the more I am looking to the positive in my life. I understand some folks get worried with changes in their lives; They cannot imagine what the next day is going to look like. I understand with some people we have to take baby steps with their ever-changing needs, but eventually, if it is feasible, we need to get back on track to where we need to be.

Change is a funny thing. We had our lives planned out and wham, all of a sudden, an injury interrupted your once in a lifetime vacation plans, your daughter decided he isn’t really the one for her after you made all the plans, College is put on hold again, instead of having the house to yourselves, one of the kids returns home with her four not for a visit this time. I think if the situation can work for the family, a son who has a good career and staying home to help the family is a great option. Many young adults are opting to stay home longer, some have the right idea, so they can save for a good down payment on a condo or a first home.

Leaving the nest can be scary. We reach the certain age where we felt it was time to be out on our own. I remember when my husband and I bought our first home it was a trailer in a well established neighborhood. After living there for two years, I became pregnant with our son. We decided to look for a house for our growing family. We were lucky to find one in a new neighborhood with kids. When my husband and I met and married, we thought we would grow old and grey together, raise our family and look forward to our retirement and grand kids. We planned to travel after we retired in our motor home. Jerry had always wanted to take his time seeing the country.

My life took a different direction than I had planned. My husband died after six short years of wedded bliss from complications of his disease. I was suddenly a single parent to my four-year old son. I realized life can be difficult and throw you some curve balls along the way but you can do it. I raised Levi from childhood through his teens no easy feat. I am proud of the fine young man he had become. Some of my friends tried to talk me into selling the home and buying a place of my own. I laugh today at the thought,all of my wonderful memories are right here within these four walls. All the teenage arguments, door slamming, late night pizza deliveries, friends gathering for the evening, everything that makes a house a home. I believe “Can’t” is a four letter word, put your mind to it and yes, you can. I did.

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Social Media War

October 1, 2018 at 9:14 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Happiness, like bitterness is a choice we all have to make. we can make the best out of a horrible situation or we can set back, and become filled with anger, impatience, and rage. I have watched this situation happen more often than I would have liked to see. with the dependency on our phones, Facebook accounts, and other Social Media sites we belong to and for some, seem to cannot live without, our families, our work and our leisure time seems to be suffering.

I thought the news was joking last year when a cover story broke. The headline said that “social media is now an addiction much like drugs or alcohol”. There are now treatment programs to help with the addiction. Everywhere you go, people are looking at their phones instead of where they are going. Grocery lists have become obsolete. Why does one need a list when honey is just a phone call away?

I understand why the kids were introduced to the cell phone. parents have to work, the kids could check in and parents had reassurance in knowing the child is safe. Now, the child is addicted to the games, music, chats, and instant messaging to get through the day. It is funny when one remembers a time, not long ago, where phones meant to rotary dialed your best friend to play, a computer was left at the office, music downloads meant to sat in front of the tape player waiting impatiently for your favorite sons to play so you can record. (Kids have it so easy today.)

I do have a cell phone, just have other obligations to tend to that are more important in my life now. I do not sit in traffic, looking at my recent posts to face book, or Instagram. I know this is a new phenomenon I hear to can get paid well for your photos. Who would have ever guessed? I understand these sites are a good way for folks keeping in touch when the phone is not available.  I am of old school, instead of just seeing the pictures, I want to hear the stories behind the pictures. (what happened to Uncle Henry that he looks like he lost his balance and oh dear…). The story would be priceless to hear. We have come along way in twenty years. Some good, and some not so much.

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

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. 

Permalink 2 Comments

Date Night

September 6, 2018 at 6:29 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

After a long, and very smokey Summer, my friend and I were able to get together last night and have a nice dinner. We both were busy with our work schedules, I cannot imagine how much work my friend spends on her beautiful yard each week plus her war wounds. I was busy working, and caring for my aging mother. We would talk once a week, but we could never get together.

Last week, we finally made plans to go to dinner. We call ourselves the “Cheap eats Queens”. Nice restaurants in the area offer four course meals at a nice price. And who does not like the view of the lake? One of our favorite spots is the golf course, we can enjoy watching a great game and good food. After dinner, my friend made a return to Home depot. We decided a walk around the store was in order as we ate too much. We made our way to the back of the store to the Halloween displays. There two grown woman played with the displays for an hour. We laughed like little girls at the fortune-teller ghost. We asked questions and some of the answers were priceless.

I think the term date night has taken on a new meaning the last several years. Now, couples make plans to meet for dinner and drinks after work, girlfriends have a girl night out, friends meet up and spend the weekend in the country. It is all about staying connect to one another and not let work or life get in the way. I enjoy my long walks along the river, but lately we have had an unexpected visitor prowling  around. A cougar has been spotted in several locations where hikers and joggers like to enjoy the river. I have opted for staying home and remembering my old dance exercises. I know the local gym has incorporated them into a daily routine. Thank you to my dance instructor. I can remember almost all of them because she made the Monday workouts fun.

 We had so many fires around our area that the smoke was thick and hotter than normal. I am truly thankful my home was not on an evacuation list. I cannot imagine having a few minutes to gather what you can carry in the car and just leave not knowing if your home was burned. My heart and prayers continue to go out to the many who have lost everything and have to rebuild their lives again. So many have lived through events I cannot ever begin to imagine. There is an old saying”life can change in a moment” it is true it can change in a moments time. I have learned to say my I love you to those who matter to me,to hug those special ones extra tight today and tell them I am glad they are part of my life and I am truly thankful for them just being in my life. Make time for your loved ones because time truly does just slip away.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Best Day Ever

August 31, 2018 at 1:07 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Survivor, Uncategorized) (, , , )

As kids are heading back to school, I thought I would blog my favorite story about my son Levi. My son moved out of my home at the tender age of nineteen to help his grandma after his beloved grandpa died. One afternoon, I stopped over to visit my son as he did not seem to remember where he once had lived. A mother dreams of when her child moves out, he might want some of her home cooking. I was thinking of another child obviously because I would watch him drive past my house after visiting with my neighbors. So much for wishful thinking.

One afternoon, I was visiting with my mom when Levi came home grinning from ear to ear. I asked him ” what made you so happy today?” He began telling my mom and I about his fantastic day he had. ” I went to my church and began helping the guys clear out the sanctuary so we all could stuff 3,000 backpacks for children who were in need.” He told us”mom, we let loose 3,000 kids to pick their packs. Most of the kids were boys and were animals, It was fun watching them from the back of the sanctuary. could see the kids who didn’t have anything;They went up and down the isles to find the school supplies. These little girls went over  I was surprised at how far some of tiny girls could walk to  pick a backpack. He told me he started praying for these little ones because he could remember what I had gone through as a single parent struggling to buy his schools supplies not to long ago.”

My son told me’ he loved me and he could now appreciate the struggles I had gone through to care for him after his dad died suddenly. He told me  we may not have had much money, but we had a lot of love, safe and happy home, good food, and most of all a mother who encouraged, me, never gave up on me, always believed in me, and who was always there for me”. After my son had passed away, I started buying backpacks for less fortunate kids and buying school supplies in Levi’s honor. 

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

A Garden Make-Over

August 9, 2018 at 12:10 am (Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Yesterday, I was surprised by an old friend who came and helped me with a front yard make-over. He had gotten busy with his landscaping business and I was busy with my hectic schedules. It was nice to finally get some yard work done.  We were planning on updating my front yard in Spring, then my gardener was slammed with  other commitments. So the bricks sat until this week.

I must say, Nigel is a gifted landscape artist. He can take an idea and turn the idea into a beautiful design. Two years ago, we updated my broken down fence, trimmed some trees and planted some flowers in the newly built planter boxes. I am now extending my patio area with concrete so I can have a bigger entertaining space for friends. I may not have the income to  redesign my backyard space like many families are able to, but I love my little retreat I have created for myself.

There is still so much summer left to enjoy. I am enjoying the farmer’s Market, The Parade of Homes, learning how to paddle board, spending time with my aging mom, and trying to stay cool. I melt in the summer heat so this is always a good time to catch up on a good book in the shade, making ice cream is always a plus especially cherry vanilla. In the evening, I like to go down to the bay and enjoy the setting sun on my favorite big rock. The rock is where my son and his cousin used to jump off from the rope into the bay. I set and enjoy watching the boaters come back in for the evening.

I am learning to enjoy the four seasons where I live, my favorite will always be fall and Winter. I love the crisp cold air, coffee tastes better when it is chilly outside, bundling up in layers, boots and scarves, knitted caps. I love the chili cook-off with friends watching the games, movie marathons with friends, progressive dinners, Monday night study, shorter cooler nights, baking. This will all come soon enough, for now, I need to take the time and enjoy my least favorite season. the scorching heat of summer. I do have one consolation though, as the sun begins to set, the temperatures starts to cool off where I can set outside and hear the evening crickets serenade me in my backyard. So summer does have some benefits after all. I hope you are enjoying what is left.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Billing Woes

July 24, 2018 at 6:22 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I always love it when you know you paid a bill on time, and you still get a statement telling you they have not received a payment from you in two months. It is interesting to me when you have them on instant chat you tell them you have a receipt in front of you with the date the payment was sent. I so not use online banking for the mere reason of when I try to access my account, I cannot get past the security passwords. I think I do know my niece’s name, my moms maiden name and the names of my children.

When my husband and I would pay our bills, we enjoyed the hour getting out of the house and paying them in person. When my husband became terminally ill, I took the hour break away from daily stress to pay my bills while our son attended preschool. Thirty plus years later, I still enjoy seeing the customer service gals and chatting a few minutes after bill paying. It is funny how some would call me a creature of habit. I guess I am set in my ways…

I remember a few years ago, the bank tried to take my house away because a clerk didn’t understand about a HUD loan was. They put my payment in a suspended account and then I received a delinquency notice of being four months behind. It literally took my Senator to untangle the mess to keep my young son and I in our home. It is easy to get angry looking at the billing statements sometimes. Accounts can make an honest mistake that needs correcting. Living in a small town, knowing most of the clerks by first name makes it nice when I have a concern. it is taken care of in that visit.

Permalink Leave a Comment

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. 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »