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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Summer Bucket List

June 27, 2019 at 8:47 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

So many are talking about a Bucket List for summer. I do not have too many activities to add to a list I am afraid. I have never wanted to climb the tallest mountain, skydive( deathly afraid of heights), ride along with a race car driver, no, this middle age person enjoys living a quiet lifestyle.

I have to say that I admire those who like the challenge of off-road racing. it is a long and grueling race that tests the driver’s endurance and skill. I had a chance to participate in such a race instead of going to my Ten-year high school reunion. I think this was my twin brothers way of getting out of going to afternoon activities. He got his wish anyway, we spent the next day visiting relatives. I enjoy watching the off-road motorcycle endurance race. The rules can get interesting. On the last leg of the race, bystanders can root on the rider, but if the rider gets stuck or cannot pick up his bike after it falls, he can be verbally guided, but not helped. There is a sheer rock hill one must ride up to get to the finish line.

I am enjoying my summer so far. I have seen friends and family I have not seen in twenty years. The family is visiting my mother who is now living in a wheelchair. She has faced many difficult challenges over the last six months. Being part of the sandwich generation can be exhausting sometimes. We do not realize how busy our lives have become until one day, your mom comes home from rehab hospital and she now needs specialized care. Until you live the old saying, it is difficult to image. Our parents gave up so much to take care of their children, now it is our turn to take care of one or both parents. Mom id is fortunate to be able to live in her home with a night care provider. I come during the day.

I do not have a bucket list per se. One day when I retire, I would like to buy a motor home and travel to some of the places my husband and I dreamed about so long ago. We often teased we would sneak our grandkids into the motor home and head to the Oregon Coast and play at the beach. The only State my husband did not live in was Alaska. We planned to take a trip there someday also. In 1990, my husband passed away due to complications from his disease. In 2007, my son Levi passed away in a tragic car accident. He was only 20. I only have a couple years until I retire, I hope to travel to some of the locations that my husband and I talked about laying in bed listening to a summer storm. I am thankful to God for so much. With the love and support from family and friends, I keep moving forward in my life, my glass will ever be half- full because life is truly what you make it.

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An Unexpected Gift

May 11, 2019 at 9:45 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Survivor, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I am sitting at my computer wondering what to blog about when I remembered I was given an unexpected gift. When my son Levi was a teen, he worked laying carpet and installing granite countertops. Levi would start working early in the morning and I can remember seeing him heading to his grandma’s house after work. I would laugh because I was running a few errands and Levi was done for the day.

One afternoon, Levi told me his boss had some extra carpet he wanted to get out of his garage. My neighbor also wanted to buy the carpet, Levi told me if I had the money available, he could lay the carpet for me. A few weeks later, my good friend and I were out for a nice drive, (like an hour from home) her husband called her and told her his crew was having a slow day. I could hear some rough words being spoken over the phone when Levi was hammering the nails into the floor. No wonder I had so many squeaks(smirk). My friend and I arrived home in time to see all the carpet installed and the baseboards being put back.

 This is one of my favorite stories because it was a treat to have new carpet and my son install it for me. I remember Levi wanted to continue improving my home for me by adding new door molding. He was working on million dollar homes in the area and wanted me to have a nice place to live. I never got the new countertops he wanted to install or the new flooring he passed away in a tragic car accident before he had the chance to keep updating. The last couple of years, I have had new flooring and carpet installed in my kitchen and dining by Levi’s old boss. I think if Levi could see what I have already done, he would be happy. 

I turned Levi’s old bedroom into my dressing room. I had to do some repainting and taking down of the military-themed bedroom before it became my oasis. Yes, the fifteen-year-old and his friend painted his bedroom the most god awful green you have ever seen. (funny how now the color is in). A good friend of mine gave me some beige paint to repaint the room after my son had passed away. I added a few finishing touches with Victorian shadow boxes and updated his bookshelf. I have many author friends so the bookshelf went back into its corner filled with inspiring reading material. 

Life is full of unexpected surprises, a helping hand, good advice from a loved one or best friend. I hope this Mother’s day finds you surrounded by family and friends and those you love most. Some mothers are expecting or celebrating the first Mother’s day, others are having the kids over, while some moms are hoping their kids are safe abroad and some, like me, lost their son and have wonderful memories of when I was given an unexpected gift one day. 

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Siblings Day

April 10, 2019 at 10:56 pm (blogging, grief, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent, Survivor, Twins, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Let’s see if I can get myself into trouble on National Siblings Day. My twin who shall remain nameless does not like his name, picture or anything of the sort told about him. I think I have one of the best twin brothers one could have. We got along pretty well growing up, living on a ranch five miles from town. We had each other to play with until one of us wore out his/ her welcome then we found another activity to do alone.

twins will tell you how many minutes apart they are-some twins will go so far as to say for seven minutes, they had it made. I always hated when people talked about ‘the twin thing.’ If something went wrong with my brothers truck, I better watch out because the same fate awaited me as well. When we entered school, we were put in separate classes so we could both learn at our own pace and not be compared as it was, we never had one class together.  We both held different interests, mine was nursing and His was art.

I would not have traded being a twin for the world. Even though we are not as close today as we once were, we still both talk about growing up on the ranch and our 4-H days and teaching our lambs to walk around our circular driveway on a leash. I got a big kick out my friends and a cousin of mine. they envied my brother and I getting to care for all the animals until they found out lambs, chickens, horses,cows do not care if it is Saturday, they still want to eat a six a.m. whether you are awake or not. My friends decided to stay in the town and play with friends instead.

So much has changed since we were young. We both were married, had one child each and tried to live the ‘happily ever after life so many dream of’. After six short years of wedded bliss, my husband died from complications of diabetes, a few years later, we lost our son Levi to a tragic car accident. He was only 20. My brother has a wife and a beautiful and successful 25-year-old daughter. Both my son and my brothers daughter were in a music video. Both my brother and I are proud parents.

Sometimes life throws a curve ball, it is easy to become a lemon taster and be bitter and angry with your circumstance, instead of becoming bitter and angry, I chose to trust God. He has gotten me through some of the darkest days of my life, everyday I heal more and have wonderful memories of my life I can share with you to maybe somehow help someone who is hurting.

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Expecting the Unexpected

January 24, 2019 at 1:31 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Last night, it started to snow. I love it when the weatherman says possibly 1 inch accumulation. We had six inches by morning. then an amazing event occured-it started raining. One would think the snow will melt in theory it is correct but then you get the slushy, icy,wet and heavy snow to try to shovel. And of course, all of your reliable help is either at work or out playing in the stuff. I usually shovel into my street as well as the driveway because, I usually get stuck in the middle of the street if I do not and another car would like to pass.

This is our fist real snowy day of the season so we are way behind. It usually starts before Christmas until mid March and then the beautiful flowers start to come out. I have always loved our seasons living here in Idaho.  The snow is beautiful and quiet falling on the ground, the kids get pulled around in the sleds by dad or the family dog, parents teaching the kids how to ice skate on the local pond, the snowboarding, in Spring, all the heavy winter clothes are put away for light weight jackets, crop pants and tees, a trip to the local improvement store, riding lawn mowers, Summer is full of fun activities: water skiing, boating, making home-made ice cream, sleeping under the stars,camping, hiking, swimming, outdoor concerts in the park. fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love to watch the changing leaves, the shorter days and cooler nights, living in layers again.

The older I get, I am appreciating all my hometown has to offer. I have written before about being a tourist in my own town. I love the idea of seeing the new business being opened, shopping at my favorite shops, eating at the Greek Restaurant you haven ‘t had time to go to in awhile. As fast as Post falls is expanding, pretty soon I may feel like a tourist anyway. I joke that I will need a bus tour to find my way around. Time change, new people settle in, I think as long as we still our small town feel, friendly folks who always say hi, we will survive the growth.

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A Glass Half-Full

November 18, 2018 at 11:35 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Yesterday while visiting my mom at her rehab facility, I went down to inquire if she had therapy today. The therapist had to get his computer to check. While waiting, I walked down the hallway looking at the beautiful paintings along the walls. One picture drew my attention over the others. The painting was of weeping willows with some new growth starting to sprig out. Alone the winding road was flowers blooming.

I was thinking about my mom and her getting well. She is getting stronger, but needs to work harder to be able to come home. Sometimes, I think we as humans hold back because we liked our past circumstances and we are maybe frightened of a new beginning.Ca n’t is just a four letter word, that is all it is. if you say try to climb the biggest mountain with no real training, I can see the epic failure there, but  fear and anxiety can enter if we are not careful and paralyze is from even trying. 

The older I get, I am learning to keep what is important, let go of what is not, life is too short to be unhappy, your day is what you make it, look for the beauty in each new day, take the time to smell the roses, it is never as bad as it seems. Through the tough years after the deaths of both my husband and my son, I had the love and support of family and friends. They inspired me to keep moving forward and never giving up. I wake up every morning knowing my son is proud of me for healing, and moving forward in my life even though giving up would have been easy.

I have realized through this journey called life, you can always look at your circumstances two ways: the glass is half full or the glass being half empty. My attitude played a major role in my healing, and well-being. My glass has always been half- full. I have so much to be thankful for. God gave me the opportunity to be a wife and a mother even if for a little while.

Around the holidays, I do not even attempt to go to the malls anymore. I do not have the time to be pushed, shoved or moved over for a good deal. There are some die-hard fans of Black Friday who get up before the crack of dawn to get the special deals offered. I usually have my shopping done by June( I am the joke of my friends, yes). I just do not have the time or the patience to stand in a long line waiting to cash out for a gift. 

 

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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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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.

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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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A Change in Plans

March 28, 2018 at 9:11 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

When I was a teenager, I dreamed of becoming a Paramedic. The hit TV show Emergency  was a big help for many deciding a career choice. I was heartbroken there is a height and weight qualification. One day, a teacher told me about a new program being started at school. It was a technical school designed for students who needed special training but not necessarily college classes. One of the classes being offered was for Nursing.

I can not tell you how grateful I still am today for the teacher inviting me to an after school field trip to visit the school. there are so many aspects in the health care field many do not understand how important it is to get quality employees to help care for the growing needs.  Mental health is a growing problem in our nation. It is surprising the number of individuals under 18 years are being treated for this illness. Johnny gets mad at Timmy at school and decides to bring a nifty knife to school the next day to scare Timmy. Now schools want to arm the teachers to defend the students. Where will this all end?

I remember in my early twenties, before I was married to the love of my life, I had the best job. I worked in a Company that trained young men and woman who were disabled. We were a cleaning crew, who worked hard and had a fun evening. Some of the conversations were hilarious. I enjoyed helping my new friends with daily tasks, seeing them light up after learning a new job. I worked with my co-workers until my husband became terminally ill. I took a break for a few years raising my young son alone after my husband passed away. I had hoped one day, I could get another job in this field of work. Sometimes I will get out for the morning, doing a few errands and decide to go out for lunch. It is fun to enter a fast foods place and see a few of my old friends eating.

Five years ago, I was looking to change jobs. A friend of mine told me about a job in a group home setting. I applied for the job, went to the interview. I was pleasantly surprised to see two of my old friends I had worked with just a few years earlier on the janitorial crew. Seeing C brought back memories of when my old boss asked me if I would ride with her to take a couple of clients home. After visiting a group home (some people are late getting ready for work) I was able to talk to the house manager. I always wanted a job working with the clients and helping them in their day-to-day life. Five years ago, my secret prayer was answered. It was fun working with some familiar faces, and they were happy to see me in the evening before bed. They say the job is not for everyone and the saying is true. It does take someone special to care for the ever-changing needs the young men and women require. I am one who can say I love my job, I enjoy and get along with my co-workers and I have a great boss.

I am pleased to know that Nursing is still a career still offered in technical schools. there is a growing need to qualified people who want a rewarding career. From my crush on an actor, to I am happy with where my life has taken me. I think both my husband and my son smile down from heaven and are cheering me on everyday. When life threw me a curve ball, I learned how catch the ball and pass it on to someone else who needed a kind word or a shoulder to cry on. I am thankful for the love and support of my family and friends who has been a help to me. I chose not to become bitter and angry at God after the deaths of both my husband and my son. I chose instead to trust Him. It has kept me grounded in what is important in my life. I take time and smell the roses and  enjoy the life living in my small town with so many wonderful familiar faces.

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