Comfort Drawer

August 11, 2020 at 2:16 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I was reading a blog post the other day about creating a comfort drawer. Some may think it a silly idea, but I like the thought of finding an empty drawer to fill with some of my favorite things. In these uncertain times, we all need a pick me up once in a while. I was thinking about what would go into my drawer; I would have to include my journal and my favorite Max Lucado book, pictures of my late husband and son to bring a smile to my face, my favorite rose lotion, and my word search.

I have been cleaning out closets, and my garage like many of us have and waiting until I could drop the items off at Goodwill. I didn’t clean much over the past few months because the only place I can store it was my garage. I also am not a self-starter; I would rather have a friend come help me get all the work done in a few hours and then take her to a nice lunch. I am not a weekend warrior. I have some awesome friends who have helped me over the last several years spruce up my home.

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Staying Positive

August 10, 2020 at 12:09 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Everyone has a bad day, circumstances don’t go as planned, the car won’t start,  the babysitter can’t come today, an unexpected bill arrives in the mail. I have found that finding a thought positive can change your attitude. The past several months have been challenging for everyone. The toilet paper hoarding, now the masks debates, protesters, uncertain school year ahead. It can become difficult to keep a positive attitude in life.

I am the only one who can make me happy. I tell my loved ones everyday how much I love them and I am glad they are in my life because tomorrow is not promised. No one has the right to tell you how to live my life, I know there are well meaning people who care about me and want the best for me. I like to think I am semi-retired and enjoy a staycation on my days off. I live with the philosophy of my cup being half-full. I have made the best lemonade out of the circumstances in my life. I found that life can change in a moment so live life to the fullest, laugh often and love unconditionally.

I love getting out and exploring different hiking trails,following the streams along the winding road in the mountains. getting together with friends and catching up, calling family, visiting the ederly neighbor, having lunch with mom, the little things in life means the most to me. I enjoy getting dressed in my son Levi’s old bedroom, I have so many fond memories of the his life lavishly lived and the fine young man he had become.

 

 

 

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Shopping

August 4, 2020 at 11:30 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I have fond memories of going to the local Mall with my family as a teenager; I would look at the clearance rack for a shirt to update my current wardrobe. Shopping was a fun way for my family to spend time together. My brother and I had jobs and usually had Saturdays off. After shopping, we would eat at the food court and then go for a drive or visit relatives before going home.

When I bought my first car, my best girlfriend and I would go to the Mall after school and shop for nothing in particular. We had a fun time shopping at all the stores and then before going home, we went to Bob’s Big Boy and had dinner. My friend was no-nonsense when it came to shopping. Robin just wanted to look in the stores and go home. I was looking for ways to stay current with clothing styles.

My cousin would give me their hand me down clothes: I was always thankful for the generosity because My family could not afford the name brands that were given to me. I remember my cousin gave me four pairs of rust-colored jeans because she did not like the color. I had some pretty tops I added to make smart outfits for school. ( I was teasing her because she gave me so many jeans of the same color.) I appreciated the kindness my family showed to me during the time my dad became ill and could not work.

Looking back, I can say I had a pretty good childhood. Living on the ranch and being part of 4-H Club, teaching my lamb how to walk on a leash, getting ready to transport our sheep to the fairgrounds, showing my lambs and horse at the fair, and crying when it was all over. Life on the farm was fun but had it’s hardships also. My friends were jealous of my brother and I and wished they lived on the ranch. I told them I would trade places with them for the weekend I reminded them the animals want to be fed by six in the morning. They changed their plans.

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A Little Forgetful

June 9, 2020 at 2:12 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Sometimes I find myself being a little forgetful. In my house, everything has a special place or so it used to. Ever lose your car in the parking lot? frustrating isn’t it? You know you locked the gate so the dog wouldn’t get out and run the neighborhood, you take out your glasses and set them down on the table and you cannot find them. You wonder if you left them at the restaurant today.

 You know it is going to be one of those days when:

  1. “The dryer must have eaten your matching sock.”

  2. “I had it in my hand, where did it go?”

  3. “What did I come in here for?”

  4. “Where did I leave my glasses?”

  5. “Sorry, I forgot what I was going to say.”

  6. “Didn’t I pay that already?”

  7. ‘ How do you program these new-fangled TV’s?”Who left the empty milk carton in the fridge again?”

  8. “Yikes that scale can’t be right”

  9. Why was I ever in a hurry to grow up?

I have heard it said that growing old isn’t for wimps. Our forgetfulness, misplaced items, forgetting what you were saying mid-sentence, going to the store for one item this is the one you forgot. I used to think it was just being tired with my busy life now I am not so sure.

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Changing Times

June 3, 2020 at 11:16 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Just when I had the classic WordPress down, they go and upgrade the system. I used Youtube to try and navigate the new format. By the time I was finished watching the tutorial video, I was really lost. I hope I can figure out how to use the new version so I can keep blogging. I started my blog after I wrote my first book. A good friend told me I needed to write stories that reflect my book and helped me get started.

When I first started writing my blog I didn’t know what to expect. I had plenty of stories that could fill a second and maybe a third book. Every time I set down to write a story, I have at least three to choose from. I have so many wonderful memories of a life with my husband and my son. Just yesterday while driving home from running a few errands I remembered a funny saying my son liked to say. ( you really do have eyes in the back of your head don’t you). I started to write the sentiments down so when I have a bad day, I can laugh and remember the day will get better.

I used to worry about how many followers I had and if my stories were even being read. Many people have come up to me, given me a big hug, and told me how much a particular story had touched their hearts. Comments like this keep me writing and remembering the old times teaching my girlfriend to horseback ride, feeding my lambs and getting ready for the fair, my family, and the move our forever home town. I remember being sad because my horse would not fit inside the cab of my pick up.

There is nothing like exploring your new town and getting lost coming home like my brother and I experienced. I remember my brother stopped and asked a guy passing us where we were, and my brother looked concerned when he was told we were heading to Montana. we did admire all the lakes and streams in the area, great fishing, hunting, hiking, seeing the various wildlife. Ahh yes, and getting used to the one-way streets was a challenge. I am still living in my home town in a nice home by the river. it seems like a good place to retire.

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A Different Season

February 19, 2020 at 11:51 pm (blogging, Memoir, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I remember as a young married couple my husband and I would go out to a nice dinner for valentine’s day followed by a movie rented at the video store and then head to bed. I always looked forward to my pink stuffed animal my husband bought for me. During dinner, we would joke about the parties we had in grade school and everyone was given a valentine card so one felt left out. I have heard horror stories of how classmates felt left out because they didn’t fit in with their peers.

Every class had a party at the end of the day where one student passes around his or her valentines cards or treat their moms baked specially for that day. I remember there wasn’t much selection of cards to choose from like there are today. I look back with fondness that a teacher made a big deal out of a silly exchange of cards and have a small party or dance at the end of the school day.

My family never made a big deal out of valentines day, we had a nice dinner at home, dad gave mom her box of chocolates and her card, my brother and I were given a small box of candy and we called it good. I didn’t have the geeky teenage years where the gift wasn’t enough or what I wanted to get. I don’t remember any fights in the household over ‘having’ to participate in a family gathering. When my brother and I were older, we invited our boyfriend or girlfriend over to enjoy the evening with us. We had the pool table in the middle of our living room so our house was popular.

My valentine’s days are quieter now. I make a nice lunch for my mom who I now care for and give her one of her favorites in candy cinnamon bears. Mom is in a wheelchair now and gets around her home nicely. We decided it was best to keep her at home with a part-time caregiver. I guess my parents raised my brother and me with simple ideas that like to appreciate what you have for it can be taken away tomorrow, surrounding yourself with those you love and hold dear, hard work never hurt anybody, taking time to smell the flowers, and life really is what you make it.

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A Sick Day

January 25, 2020 at 4:36 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Uncategorized) (, , )

I hate being sick. Starting out with the sore throat, sniffles, and the uncontrollable cough that seems to never end. Nothing sounds good to eat or drink as your upset stomach has not settled down yet. Them you wonder what treatment to use. Do I have allergies again or do I have the start of the flu? So many choices on the shelf plus your cough drops, do you want menthol or cherry flavored?

It is hard to go over to my mom’s house and care for her when I am not feeling well because I do not want to give whatever I have to her and our nighttime care person as well. I help her with her lunch, sort through her mail and then I head home to get some much-needed rest. Some days when I really feel achy all over, I tell her I cannot come over today. Being part of the sandwich generation can be difficult. There just isn’t enough hours in the day to complete your daily list.

I hate laying in bed and your mind is racing thinking about a million things you have to do. dishes will get done, laundry can pile up, vacuuming will be there tomorrow, mail can be sorted through later, I have to remember to take care of me. We forget we are a priority and the household chores can wait until another day.  Sometimes a good friend will come and help you catch up when you do feel better.

I am starting to feel better now. I hope I just had the twenty-four-hour bug that hits and then goes away. I am fortunate as I am generally in good health; I try and eat right, exercise regularly, drink enough water, very important, manage my stress, and make time for me. In this fast-paced life we live it is hard to keep a healthy balance to maintain our health.

Once a week I try and get together with my best girlfriends and have coffee or go for a drive around one of the lakes in the area. It is beautiful with the snow on the ground and seeing the wildlife while driving. As my friends would tease” I think Julie is going to make it”. It is nice to know there are people who faith in you when you are not feeling your best.

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Adding Some Little Holiday Cheer

December 12, 2019 at 7:59 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I went shopping the other day needing a Secret Santa gift for my work Christmas party. I love the hints people put down as the wanted gift. Last week, the shopping wasn’t too bad yet, at least the shoppers in my small town don’t push and shove you out-of-the-way. I found a nice candle for my co-worker and decided to finish getting some last-minute gifts for some deserving children.

I went looking for some gift bagged popcorn or even the decorated tins of popcorn. Usually, I have seen big displays as you entered the store. When I asked someone if they knew where they would be, she looked at me like I lived on another planet. As I walked away I wondered how many people she has helped today. I looked around for someone else to help me find my gift and I guess they all went on break or something. I finally decided on some nice gift boxes filled with a different assortment of candy. Thankfully I do not have many gifts to purchase like so many families. My holidays are spent with my mom and me.

I used to get out the Christmas decorations right after Thanksgiving. Now, it seems like the first week of December comes and goes before I start getting lights, wreaths, and the tree out of storage. It was easier when my husband and son were still here. The family used to meet at my brother-in-law’s home and have chili and cornbread, then go out in the forest and cut down our trees. It was a fun time spent fighting over the size of the tree and who was cutting it down. My husband always listened to Freedom Rock music, not Christmas music; I still laugh at the thought.

Christmas eve was spent at my parent’s house being pulled around on sleds by my dad and his old jeep. Mom had hot chocolate and chocolate chips cookies on hands when we all came in to thaw out. My parents knew how to throw the best parties. We spent hours playing games, eating snacks and when it was time to go home, friends and family stayed longer. I still love the first snowfall of the season, I think about my son sledding down the small hill in front of our house sharing his sled with the neighbor so she could play. I think the holidays are what you make of them. You can be a lemon taster and be angry over a circumstance in your life you had no control over, or you can just enjoy what the holiday has to offer.

 

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Smart Choice

November 25, 2019 at 9:44 pm (blogging, Memoir, Uncategorized) (, , , )

My friends often tease me because I live in a small three-bedroom rancher with loads of victorian charm. One of my best friends told me one day that my husband and I were smart when we bought our forever home thirty- three years ago to plan for the future. So many of my friends have huge homes and a large yard to care for, and a hefty mortgage to go with it. I told my friend that my husband and we chose our home because of the location by the river.

When Jerry and I moved into the home, I was six months pregnant with our son Levi. Our house sat across the street from an empty field. Weekends were spent riding motorcycles and ATV’s around the dirt track. It was a melancholy day for the men when the empty field was sold for new homes. My husband and I watched the contractors building expensive new homes on the dirt race track.   A real estate friend of mine told me I was smart to buy when I did because we live in a desirable location. In the summertime, I love watching the boats pulling the inner tubes and the waterskiers. I have a favorite rock I set on and enjoy the sounds of kids splashing in the water, ducks quacking and begging for crusts of bread and hearing the birds chirp.

One thing I have always loved about living in my neighborhood is walking out my front door to see the national forest; On a stormy night, you can hear the thunder in he distance followed by lightning strikes and the torrential downpour. After the storm passes the thick fog rolls in. Deer and moose are often seen roaming our neighborhood eating apples off the trees. They are beautiful animals and I feel blessed to live in an area where I can set in my car and watch them mosey to the next house to eat grass.

I have had some wonderful memories of living in my house as a young family. We were blessed with wonderful neighbors who we could count on to be there for us. Many Saturdays spent driving in the mountains finding firewood, huckleberry picking, fishing in one of the many lakes we enjoy, taking a hike to one of the waterfalls, so many activities to do in a four-season climate. I think my friend was right, I bought a small home in an ideal location that I can enjoy for years to come.

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This Thing Called Life

September 6, 2019 at 1:21 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, life lessons, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

This thing we call life can be difficult at times, other times things just seem to go our way. I notice how busy everyone seems these days. The cell phone has become the office that is if someone was to lose this precious item their whole world would come to an end. Grocery lists are almost obsolete, lunch dates, business meetings, friends over for dinner are entered into “the life” phone.

I remember when my parents worked all day, came home and made dinner from scratch, and we as a family would set down at the table and share our days. Homework was done before bedtime and tv watching. We lived on a ranch with sheep that needed fed and watered and then walked for a mile around our circular driveway each evening, our horses, chickens, cats, and dogs all needed to be fed and watered. Believe me, they would let you know if they thought they were being forgotten. I treasured those days and sometimes miss them. So many of my friends wished they could trade places with my brother and me and live on the ranch for a week. They did not know what they would have gotten themselves into.

My family had the run of the orchard behind our house. I remember our family dog ran ahead of us happily. One afternoon, my dad went for a leisurely ride on his buckskin horse appropriately named Buck. Our german shephard dog and the horse came back without a rider. My brother and I went to see where my dad was and if he was hurt. The only thing hurt was dads pride. He was bucked off from his horse into the cactus patch. I guess Buck got spooked, dad went flying and the dog and horse came home to get help. Dad surprisingly was in good spirits about the whole thing although he never told us how sore he probably was for a while.

My mom worked at the bank in town. She waited on many celebrities like Joel McCrea. Joel knew we lived on a ranch not far from his place. One afternoon, he asked my mom if my brother and I would be so kind as to catch a few Banny chickens for him as the coyotes kept catching and killing his chickens. He left the cage at our house and Jeff and I would catch him some chickens to replenish his. He was so nice, in the cage he would leave ten dollars for our troubles. The family always went shopping at the local mall on Saturday, we would pass by Joel’s home on our way. He lived in a beautiful ranch house with equally beautiful stables and horses. I always wished I could go on a tour of his place. Now, I guess the family has opened up the property for tours.

I was blessed to grow up in a simple lifestyle. the pace of life was slower, folks had the time to stand and talk to you if you needed anything, you knew they were a rotary phone call away, folks had dinner parties in the backyard or would stand and talk on the front porch. In the small town I grew up in, everyone knew each other and the kids better stay out of trouble because before you got home, mom and dad already knew what you did and how it was done so do not even try to lie. This kept us honest and it also gave us an example to follow when one day we were married and started our own families.

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