Older and Wiser I Hope

October 7, 2018 at 11:11 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Last week, my brother and I turned fifty-seven. I can’t talk for my brother, but age to me is just a number. I do not feel older or depressed as some do. My brother and I have difficult circumstances to endure and we are thankful to be on this side of the pain.

I wound like to think I am an easy-going person who takes circumstances in stride. I don’t understand rude behavior in the checkout line, talking loud on the cell phone just because the person was having a bad day and they make sure everyone knows. I do not understand the sassy kids who throw themselves on the floor of the supermarket because they were told they could not have the toy. I do not understand the disrespect of this generation. I was raised with manners and we better remember them when talking to an adult, tantrums were not tolerated and discipline followed.

When I was raising my young son, I was a widow who had the awesome responsibility of raising my young son from childhood through his teens-no easy feat. We had many hardships and difficulties, but I would not trade one them the struggles for anything. When life became difficult with Levi, he always knew I believed in him, I supported him and I was there for him. Many of his friends were not as fortunate. It is always hard to hear when a parent gives up on a child.

Some ask me how am I doing now. I have living life day by day and thankful for great memories I have as a wife and a mother. My life was forever changed in a flash with deaths of both my husband and son, but I have so many fond memories of a house alive with many boys getting ready to paint ball, dad taking his son on a motorcycle ride, pulling the sled around by the ATV, watching Levi build his snow fort, the harvest carnival, the last time we put gas in Levi’s new car. We both never knew our lives would forever change the next evening. I am truly thankful to god for giving me the opportunity to be a wife and mother even if for a little while. Kids are a blessing, hug them extra tight today, let them know how much you love them, how proud of them you are, how much they mean to you, life can change in a moment. 

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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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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.

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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. 

 

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They Still Call Me Mom

July 18, 2018 at 7:27 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I went outside to change my sprinkler last night. While out there, one of my neighbors called me over. I was embarrassed to walk over because I was in my night-gown. They laughed and motioned me to come over anyway. While chatting with the young adults, I was struck by a thought.

Ashley is a year younger than my son Levi. They grew up together, made snow forts connecting both our yards to escape…. what I do not know. if you stayed out of trouble, you did not need a place to hide(rather chilly hiding place anyway don’t you think). Levi shared his sled with Ashley so she could have fun sledding after school on the hill by our house. They both grew up to be fine young adults I must say.

When my son was attending Kindergarten he met his lasting friend Mike. They were like two peas in a pod together. Spending the night at each others houses, playing Nintendo together, getting into mischief together. Oh such are the The joys of best friends for a single parent. I remember when they were teens, Mike spent the night. One night I heard the front door open and my hallway squeak. I told the boys”busted” they ran into Levi’s room laughing as they hit the bed. They had forgotten I never had that squeak fixed for this exact reason someday. 

Most of my friends have at least four grandchildren. I have been asked “if I ever get angry at God because my son did not give me grandchildren?” My life had taken another direction than I had expected. Instead of being bitter and angry with God, I chose instead to trust him.  My life is full of people who love and support me, a great job I love, a church family, and people who support my blog. I have learned through the year how to make great lemonade. Life is what you make of it. You can go around wearing a frown or you can be cheerful.

It has been hard since I lost my son eleven years ago. I am proud of the fine young man he had become. I miss his infectious laugh, his sparkle in his mischievous eyes, he smelled great, most of all, his generosity to others. I have been shedding a few tears this week, but I know he is proud of me and this is what keeps me moving forward, looking forward to more good things to come. hug your kids extra tight today, let them know how much you love them, how proud you are of them and you are glad they are in your life. We are not promised a tomorrow, make today count.

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Summer Has Arrived

July 12, 2018 at 7:07 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Summer has arrived in Idaho. Every year, we have wild fires threatening to destroy the beauty we so enjoy. I feel sadness towards the homeowners who every year have to evacuate their homes and come back hopefully to a house still standing. I worry sometimes because I live right in front of a natural forest. My home can easily be in danger. Every year the Fire Department offers sound advice to home owners. Make sure all brush, wood, and any flammable material is kept away from your home. Make sure the grass is not weeds and use drought tolerant landscaping to help preserve the home better in an outbreak of fire. 

I have always had a love/ hate of summer. I hate the watery itchy eyes of allergies. I have a major allergy to fresh-cut grass, my throat feels like it is closing up. The ninety plus degree heat for days on end In winter, your heat bills goes up, in the summer the water bill goes up. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are many ways to tolerate this few short weeks until I can enjoy fall again. I don’t mind wearing dresses to keep cool plus you look more pulled together when running errands. I love the summer hair dues to keep your head cool and looking fresh. The lighter make-up routine, I still enjoy making my ice-cream for an evening desert.

Most of my friends live for this time of year. they get out on the beach,go for a swim to cool off, enjoy getting a tan on. I have a hard time with crowds. The little kids who have a foul mouth on them, no supervision, throwing their trash wherever it lands instead of using the provided garbage containers. It is getting harder to find a quiet spot just to enjoy watching the boaters drift past you or watch the paddle boards drift by taking their time. I know I would not be a good candidate for living right on the water. A few years ago, I went to an open house right on the lake. The boaters speeding by were loud, you could not hear yourself talking the person beside you. I understand it is a price you pay for the luxury of lake side living, but I prefer a quieter home overlooking the forest in front of me.

I older I get, I guess I get more set in my ways. Give me a farmers market where I get to know the locals and learn how they make fresh goat cheese spreads and home-made wine. give me fresh fruits and vegetables that I can go home and make a fresh summer salad with a unique blended salad dressing to try. Give me a concert in the park filled with families, kids dancing on the green to the music. A walk down town exploring new shops and visiting with old friends who are shop owners. Give me a drive around one of the many beautiful lakes in the area. Where there is always a chance to see  deer or moose. Watching the golfers perfect a swing enjoying lunch overlooking the lake with a dear friend having lunch. I enjoy my hometown with friendly folks, nice weather, beautiful lakes, rivers you follow while driving the back roads.

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A Page in Time

July 5, 2018 at 5:21 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I was in my dressing room getting ready to start my day. I was looking at some of the family photos on the wall while I was dressing. I was looking at my son Levi. I started to remember the day in the photos… The first tattoo Levi had gotten; He had two arrows crossed across the shoulders. he told me he never really knew why he chose the arrows now. I was teasing him saying”you know Levi, iron sharpens iron.” Teasingly he told me”shut up mom”. The day my son bought his truck. He was laying carpet so he could help his boss carry more product to the job site. The first ride in his new truck. He asked me” hey mom, do you want a coffee?” 

 After my son moved out to help his grandma, I turned his old bedroom into my dressing room. I knew he would not be coming back just to spend the night or have dinner with me. he told me “I am at the neighbors, come see me there.” Really! Sorting through the pain from the loss of my son, I am blessed with fun stories and memories I can still look back on and chuckle. I think if he could his old house now, he would be surprised at how different it looks today. For one his mom(me) knows the difference between neon green paint and uh olive. I remember when he and his best friend decided to paint his bedroom while I was at work. he thought I would be angry at him but he had to live with the color choice not me. 

 I have been fortunate that Levi had some really great friends,many of them called me mom. I think one the reasons I could continue to carry on and not give up is his friends never stopped calling me mom. I appreciate that I am still called mom by the fine young adults his friends have become. A few have families of thier own now and I am a part of their lives. I tease some Levi’s friends because we live in the same town, but never run into each other- anywhere. Something I am told about schedules or something like that I don’t know.(smile). I feel blessed to part of a special small group of friends who have allow me to continue to part of their lives.

Last night, we had a neighborhood fireworks show. the neighbors have not gotten together since our kids were young. We didn’t want to fight the crows in town, so the whole neighborhood had a fireworks war going on. The night air was cool, not muggy like last year, everyone had the evening off so they could stay and enjoy each others company. I live in a great forever home and have some great neighbors. we were talking about how long we had been neighbors. Thirty-three years of good memories. One neighbor remembered when there weren’t any homes around us just an empty field. His firework shot across the field  and landed just inside the kitchen slider that was slightly ajar. 

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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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A Rare Week

June 22, 2018 at 12:29 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , )

After a very busy week last week, It has been nice to just relax my three days off this week. I started my day off with weeding my flower beds. I hate weeding my flower beds; I know what some of you are thinking” who can hate to wed the flower beds”? I am a reforming black thumb gardener who is learning to like things like digging in the dirt, dead heading plants, mulching, and  choosing the right plants for your zone. I have very rocky soil in my backyard so I don’t have to worry too much about anything growing. My favorite thing my friends like to ask me is”did you water the grass and plants?” “Yes” ” I don’t know what to tell you then”. 

This month is the Annual Home garden Show. I love to wander around  the beautiful gardens and get ideas. Most of the participants are retired and have the time to create intricate spaces. Some gardens are funky and fun while others are formal and elegant. I sure do admire those who have a true green thumb. I thought about asking for some advice, but you must have the time to put the work into your space and do the weeding, fertilizing, watering to keep the plants and flowers looking beautiful. I have several unique designs. Old trucks are used as planters, wheelbarrows, bicycles, a son or daughters combat boots, old tires cut in half and hung on the fence. Every year the tour is more and more creative. 

I have a dear friend who owns a beautiful Victorian home not far from me. Many people have told her she should be part of the garden tour; Her garden is semi-formal with trees, bird houses(Victorian) rounded edging for her many colorful flowers. I know my friend works many hours to keep her yard looking beautiful. She get compliments from small children walking by her house with the parents. Such dedication she has to live in a beautiful tree-lined neighborhood. her house sets across the street from the river so she can enjoy river view. The neighborhood looks like a picture out of Currier and Ives. I have a few places I can drive and see the deer and moose and  some nice homes in the area. 

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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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