Category Archives: MUSINGS!

Gift from the sea

Whenever we are at the beach, I think of the book written by Anne Morrow Lindberg which I read in my 40’s, titled “Gift from the Sea”.

The book touched me in the way she described staying in a house by the sea as she wrote stories about the different types of sea shells and wove them into a story about her life, each chapter a different shell. I could feel the sea spray on my face and the warm sun on my skin as I followed her story, and I wondered what it must have been like for her to be wealthy enough to follow her heart anywhere she wanted to go! Since my reality was much different than hers, I followed HER thoughts in her writings and found myself enjoying the imaginary life.

Imagine owning a house by the sea where the sound of crashing waves is a daily occurance. Imagine also, walking a beach that runs along your very own beach house where you are often greeted by tiny little flocks of Sandpipers dancing at your feet as they run toward the waves to see what meal the ocean has brought to them! Imagine watching the seagulls riding the wind currents dipping and soaring before they land. Think of listening to them sqwack with enjoyment of their airy ride. Can’t you just see the sunlight glinting like diamonds off the surface of the water? Oh my! Now all this just has to be as close to living in heaven as it gets!

Today, we are at Mira Mar beach in Florida and have rented two chairs and a large beach umbrella. Hubby has gone for a walk, clad in protection from the sun with a long sleeved “coolaray” shirt that has a UV protection of 50. Oh, and he is wearing a big rimmed hat as well. This is the price we pay for all the years we played in the sun with very little protection. Our skin is fragile now and we pay frequent visits to the dermatologist.

MY “bathing suit” consists of a pair of knee length stretchy capris and a short sleeved, v neck, pull over top. I don’t lay in the sun anymore and where I do happen to get tan is sufficient for the type of clothes I wear these days anyway! The thing is, at this age no one gives us a second look anymore. in fact a first look is actually a glance and then we are dismissed. Old is not a thing of beauty. At least not by visual standards.

As I sit here under the big umbrella, I watch a big group of young teen boys diving in the rolling waves, unbothered by the still cool temperature of the water! They are also throwing a foot ball back and forth along the beach next to the water and are making a lot of noise in their enjoyment of this stretch of beach, which I am enjoying too.

For the record, I like being old. I like the absence of a need to impress. It simply does not matter what we look like anymore…well, of course, one needs to be clean and well groomed, but all the fussing over appearance is long gone. Our houses, cars, clothes, recreation toys, do not matter at all! Why, because you realize they never did matter all that much to anyone else but yourself! When you recede into the background like many aged people do, you feel a sense of freedom. If no one is watching, then who even cares?

Being old is a bit like being a middle child which is what I was growing up. The oldest child gets a lot of attention because they are the first at everything from the parents experience and generally excell at all things they do. The youngest gets a lot of attention as well because they are the “baby” of the family and everything they do is “so cute” “darling” and so on. Being the middle child, in my experience, was a bit like being invisible and I mean this in the most positive of ways. I wasn’t pressured by other peoples assessment of me because I was rarely the focus. This left me to live large in my imagination and through the imagination of others by reading their books and stories. I was always reading, always, whether it was a book, a magazine or a cereal box.

I still read a lot and I am forever researching about things I don’t know about or understand. I learned how to be invisible long, long ago and I am comfortable with it, so old age is comfortable to me now where I come and go without the slightest bit of attention directed at me. I neither crave it nor need the attention.

I like to write my thoughts…not sure why because I don’t think these thoughts hold value to anyone else but me…well my husband likes my writings, and so does my daughter. She is a big fan of her Mother (and Father) and on a daily basis lets us feel her love in phone calls.

Writing, for me, is a form of prayer expressing appreciation for all good things in my life. I am sometimes overwhelmed by the bounty of Gods gifts. They are there for the taking…the sun, the sea, the mountains, valleys, rivers, streams, even the beauty of bountiful snow.

Even life’s challenges are gifts from God, for this is where we learn and grow! In the midst of the happy times, I have had some pretty difficult lessons that tested me big time. While they were painful at the time, looking back I could see where the incident refined me into a better person. My empathetic nature grew with every single hurt I felt, every challenge I faced, and every moment of aloneness or rejection I endured. Had I not been through the various refining fires of life, I could not possibly understand another person’s pain or heartache.

Thinking of God and his creation reminds me of a child’s song of prayer learned long ago….

“Oh the Lord is good to me,

and so I thank the Lord,

for giving me the things I need,

the sun and the rain and the apple seed,

Oh the Lord is good to me!

Amen! Amen! Amen,amen,amen, aaaaaaamen! Praise the Lord!

Well, the day is calling me to go for a walk along the beach so I shall close.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;

May the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

May the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace!




Dear Terri…
Are you aware of how much I think of you these days? I miss you at such random times. Sometimes when I hear a certain song on the radio, I think of you, and I think of you every time I read one of your daughters fb posts. She has your loving heart and I can see why you were so proud of her. I thought of you when we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and saw a picture of you wearing one of those beautiful bridesmaid gowns. We set these photos out for the family to see and knew that you would have loved to share in our celebration! You were my roommate before we got married and You and I got married 3 months apart, you being the first to walk down the aisle. I wonder what you can see here on earth? Do you know what we think, say and do? There are many viewpoints written out there on the life we have after this life. I wonder what lessons you could share with me that I should learn?

I sometimes think of my life as being represented by an old sweater and my personal losses of loved ones are represented by holes in my sweater. YOU left a huge hole in my sweater when you left! My goodness how much I miss you! That hole is taking a lot of time to mend.

My sweater is filled with many holes that have developed through the years and I fear it may be getting close to unraveling, which, of course it will at some point, but I keep myself busy mending those holes as best I can! Sweaters just do not last forever. My sweater has kept me warm and gives me a sense of security when I wrap myself in it, but now it feels less sturdy and resilient than it once was. Too many holes.

Early on in my life one of the first memorable holes developed when I lost my first real boyfriend in the service. That was also a big hole and it took me a long time to mend it. Four more holes developed when I lost my most wonderful grandparents each of whom left an impression on my life. Each had their own lessons to teach me, just by being who they were and the actions they took in life. Grandparents are Gods gift to us of unconditional love and I felt it with each and everyone of them! Two more big holes showed up when my parents died and honestly, those holes were very difficult to mend, almkst impossible to fill in. Several more holes showed up when Aunts and Uncles died, more holes with young cousins, and more with additional friends…oh my! My sweater is so full of mended holes. The mending keeps my sweater (life) from falling apart, but the mended areas are clearly visible to me as reminders that there are no guarantees in life! None whatsoever! How long do we walk this earth? We do not know but what we do know is that we should make our time here as full and valuable as possible.

You and I had the Lucy and Ethel monikers going for the 50+ years we knew each other. I remember how, as roomies, we used to watch the old black and white reruns of the “I love Lucy” show and crack up over their many follies! Somehow I became Lucy and you were Ethel.

Ahhh, well…..Sometimes it takes THIS long before a person understands that the payment we make for a long life comes with the relinquishing of people we love who go back to God before us. It does make me wonder about being the “last man standing”! I am not sure what I think of that. But, God in His wisdom has all this perfectly planned out and I trust God!

O.k. Ethel…I am going outside to check on my plants. We had quite the thunder boomer last night with a LOT of rain! I don’t know when I will be joining you, but please save me a seat. We’ll have a lot of catching up to do when the time comes!

Until then,
Much love,
Lucy (Juanita)

Embracing what we love!

I feel soooooo happy and content today! Why you ask? Well, after just a week shy of 3 months, our house is about done being rehabbed, (at least as far as we intend to go with it.) Yesterday, the painters finished painting the entire exterior of the house including replacing rotted facia board where needed and then painted that as well. They painted our little sidewalk leading up to our front door and the house looks perky and freshly done. It looks like a very cute antique cottage loved by its two antique inhabitants.

But the REALLY happy part came for me today when we were finally getting to the end touches of our home. We were cleaning and returning furniture and stuff to the back porch after the paint was dry. Then while cleaning indoors, I put a vase of flowers on the table behind our sofa, layed out some woven runners on table top surfaces, as well as some very lovely hand stitched hardanger embroidery pieces for side tables, dressers and buffets. The more I added the things I loved to our surroundings, the happier I became and the more connected I felt to times gone by.

Who decides what is “in” or “out” in decorating anyway? I have long known that I am an old soul, so things that appeal to me likely do not appeal to the younger generation. Nor do they hecessarily appeal to those of my own peers who are always looking to have the latest and greatest. What a hamster wheel THAT is anyway!

Then came the time to decide where to put our Bose multi-c.d. player and we finally agreed on a spot. We ran to get our c.d. library albums and popped in an “Asleep at the Wheel” 25th anniversary c.d. and off we went on a couple of waltz steps across the floor just as if we were in an old dance hall! Goodness, there is that word again. (Old) Dang! Well phooey on that, we are only as old as we feel and we do not feel one bit old, even now, a week after our golden anniversary! Nope…not when our souls and spirits are ageless. Swing, sway, dip, glide, glide, glide! Ahhh! The stuff happiness is made of!

Over the past couple of years as we were minimizing our things tossing, giving, selling and bequeathing 50 years of stuff, I kept a tight grip on my c.d. player. I have many, many albums of c.d. ‘s and they are chock full of most all of the music we love. Because our favorite music includes a vast array of genre’s, I just could not part with them, and besides, the amount of money invested in these over the years is not a small sum!

The kids kind of chuckled at our antiquated way of listening to music, but they were not there for our parting of the ways with our 45’s and 33 1/3 L.P.’s to make room for the 8 track tapes. Nor were they aware when we tossed the 8 track tapes in favor of the smaller and more portable cassette tapes. They WERE there, but unbothered by the relinquishing of our cassettes in favor of the new “mini records” known as c.d.’s! Then the MP3 players showed up and it was there where we dug our heels in and said “ENOUGH ALREADY!”. We are all done supporting the marketing department of the music business. We are glad we continued to hoard our c.d.’s and put them into albums dedicated to whatever genre they belong to for we can access them anytime we want!

Our kids say, “But, Mom! You can take it right off the phone and have it play on your speaker! Why bother with c.d. ‘s?” Well, they are correct in that regard because we have done this when staying in hotels on vacations and enjoyed the music in our room or on the balcony, wherever we happened to be. So it does make sense in that kind of setting..

BUT….and this is a big BUT, will I always be able to find exactly the music I want to listen to on demand???? What if the powers that be in the tech world decide to ditch some of our favorite music. Oh no! I am not taking a chance on that! No M’am! No Sir!

Why do so many of us feel compelled to toss everything that isn’t the most current and up to date, whether it is music, clothes, cars or even houses! Why are we so wasteful and why do we assume because something has come out that is newer, it is automatically better?

As I type this, my foot is tapping while I listen to easy western swing music…I am feeling very happy vibes and as I listen to this western swing group, I scan the room and spot my little vase of fresh flowers, a small flame flickering on a scented candle, and note the brightness of my cozy little home, all while I am sipping some very hot lemon ginger tea.

I love our new older home. We have NO intention of updating it in every category…We just aimed for fresh paint, new shutters, wood floors and repairs. There ARE other things that could be updated, but we are unbothered by these things. There is no pretention at this house. Just two older people who are happy to let go of “keeping current” while we embrace ALL things that make us smile and cause our heart to swell!

(Now, WHERE did I put those old hip hugger, bell bottom pants? I’ll bet they will REALLY hug my hips these days!) Lol!

Ciao! ❤️🥰😘

Orange ya glad we met?

What happens when old people buy an old house? Lets just say that when we decided to downsize for the last and final time, we were seeking to put off any thought of Independent Living places. We just don’t feel the need for anything like that yet. We had many thoughts about how we would go about things! We knew that we were way past the stage of wanting to do a full renovation on a house, for as history has taught us, the latest and greatest is only new for a while! We have built two new homes and it was so much fun picking out tile, carpeting, cabinets, floor plans etc. We did it twice and of course the second house took on a distinctly different flair from the first house. Everything was brand spanking new! But, as we discovered, all things get old in time!

This time we moved to a retirement community and we looked at the new homes which were nice, but the lots were tiny and so were the houses. Through the years, retirement communities have cut back on a lot of things in the new build category. At the top of our wish list was the desire to have a sense of privacy from the neighbors, which one does not get very often in the newer sections of these retirement communities. We really liked this place because our house sits a respectable distance from the neighbors, and because our back porch looks over a greenbelt. This was the main reason we decided to buy this house.

Right out of the gate, fresh from signing the purchase agreement, we hired painters to paint all the walls and ceilings throughout because 20 year old paint just looked tired. We replaced the old carpeting in the Master Bedroom with wood flooring, and we hired an electrician to move a couple of fans and add some overhead lighting. So we were making progress! Al decided to have the exterior painted as well, as there were some cracks in the stucco. Essentially, a lot of the signs of aging have been corrected.

We love the house! This house feels “just right” for this time of our lives. It is comfortable and easy to maintain. Al wanted a “lock and leave” place so we could travel and he has no interest in living in “House Beautiful”. What I mean by this is that other than the painting, bedroom flooring, a little electrical work, and interior shutters, we are done! We can age in place here very well!

Which brings me to orange! The Top kitchen cabinets are shorter than most cabinets are these days but seem to be of solid good quality. They had no hardware when we moved in and now they sport warm oil rubbed bronze handles. Unfortunately, in the 20 years since the cabinet installation, the finish has oxidized. The finish which was once a soft natural finish has turned to an orange! ORANGE! The handles helped a lot in how they look…but, oh dear! Orange!! My first instinct was to paint them or have them painted a neutral color. But in the two months since we have moved in, I realize that I kind of like them. They blend very well with the wood floor (another story). Besides, even if I did not like them, I really have NO interest in going through a painting process at this age, whether by our own hands or the hands of a professional. The cabinets have a vintage feel to them, and what better pairing of homeowners and their cabinets than when BOTH are vintage! Haha!

Frankly, I have tired of chasing after the latest and greatest! I am weary of the ongoing TV shows that teach us how to be unsatisfied with the way our house looks! All we ever see is a gutting and stripping of the family home, with no thought given to the people who lived and loved there within those well worn walls. I am impatient with this materialistic world where we are forever running to keep up. Whether we know it or not, we are negatively affected by the hyper focusing and comparisons of externals. The only thing that ever gives us happiness and joy is love of family and friends and a connectedness between all and this can be as easily felt within the confines of a tent! Love is love no matter where one expresses it and feels it.

I remember the days when we were young and we went along with our Mothers on a visit to a neighbors, friends or relatives house. Nothing about anyones decor was ever scripted or “exquisitely appointed”. (At least not in the region I lived in.) Houses in those days were as individual as the people who lived there. Those women did not hire people to come in and plan out their decor. I don’t think that was something even available to these country women in those times. Their budgets would not have allowed for it in any case. So for us as children, these visits were fun as we let our eyes roam around the hostess home which was so very different from our own home. We sat quietly entertaining ourselves in fun visual adventure, while our Mothers visited. Every single home was different and unique. House plants were a thing in those days, often sitting on the window sills leaning into the light coming through the glass. I specifically remember a plant called “baby tears” which was a small green plant with multitude of tiny tear shaped leaves. I remember many of the women in the area often had baked goods on their counters and it smelled heavenly as we waited in anticipation of being offered a piece of a hot, sweet something or another. As a matter of fact, I am still enthralled with plants and baked goods! Lol!

I digress….I found myself a long way down memory lane as I sat with my tea contemplating my orange cabinets. I had to bring myself back around to the present moment. I look again at the shiny, orange glow and smile. Yup! I think I will keep them as they are right now. Haha! Maybe I will get a vibrant rug, paint a wall in the kitchen, buy a plant for my table by the front window! These are easy things to do and relatively cheap! I already feel as if I am “back home” (waaaaay back) and I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside as I do the comparisons.

NEED to have is more important than WANT to have.

FUNCTIONAL is preferable to WASTE.

I remember my Grandpa stating when talking about something quite old. “It is perfectly good as it is.” “Waste not is want not!“

Yes, this could be fun!

I hear something speaking to me in a soft low voice. Actually, almost telepathic, I would say….“What’s that you say?”

My cabinets send out waves of loving telcommunication…

“Orange you glad we found each other?” They ask!

“I absolutely am! Nice to meet you and I am so glad to make your acquaintance! ..I think we shall become great friends!”

ORANGE! For me it is the new beige! Lol!

What we make of it!

26 years ago when we made the decision to move to Texas we had no idea how much it would impact our life, in both good ways and bad. The decision was well thought out and we knew it was really the only wise choice at the time. The “why” of it is for another story. The important thing at the time was that this was the right decision for all the right reasons. We were empty nesters by then and we had no worries about upsetting the kids with yet another move, and Lord knows, we moved them enough!

Somehow, I thought that since all the kids were still single, they would all follow us to Texas, but to my surprise our older son chose to stay in the Midwest saying “I am sorry Mom, but I am a 4 seasons kind of guy!”. He remained there to continue in his teaching career and 4 of us moved to Texas. He was there that last day after the moving van left stuffed full of our belongings, and it broke my heart when 4 cars went one direction to the south and one went another path.

Other than that sad separation, it was an exciting time as Al and I were middle aged and we felt like we had a whole lot of life ahead of us… The future looked bright and promising and for the most part we are still happy with that long ago decision. We have made friends with some remarkable and wonderful people. We really developed our roots in the area where we built our home and many friends became like family…a chosen family who chose us back!

When we first began settling in, there were holidays that were vastly changed because of the move. Well, in truth , they have ALL been drastically changed forever. The first Mothers Day we spent in Austin, we were dressed and ready for church and my heart was heavy as we got into the car for our drive to church. The kids were all off in distant towns or working. As Al pulled up into the church parking lot, a lump formed in my throat as the thought of a lone Mother going into church without her children on Mothers Day bloomed in my mind. Before I even understood what I was feeling, I burst into tears and Al held my hand making soothing sounds. I finally collected my emotions, wiped my eyes and nose and stepped out of the car. As I did, I heard “Happy Mothers Day Mom!” I whipped around and there was our younger son, all decked out for church with flowers in his hands. I had NO idea he would be there because Al had told me earlier he had to work! My heart burst with joy at this huge blessing to this very bereft woman. Into church we went and I think I kept pointing at him, introducing “our son” to total strangers! Haha! Not exactly his favorite thing since he is such a private person. But he tolerated it with grace. We had lunch following and then he had to head back into work and we went home…a placated Mom and a much relieved Dad. ❤️❤️❤️

The past 25 years have been just like that…ups and downs coming in equal amounts. In the beginning years I could not watch a Hallmark movie without having to wring out my hanky throughout.

It was exciting to build our “empty nest” house with emphasis on the things WE liked. Al wanted to go smaller, but I wanted more space for “the kids” to feel “welcome and wanted” in our “family” home. I was deluding myself to some degree because though they did come often to visit and spent time with us, this house was never something they considered their home. It was “Ma and Pa’s” place…. a place that they grew attached to, but they were launched into their own lives and were happy to have a place to gather with their sibs and folks, but afterwards they would go back to their own homes.

I have often wondered how life would have been had we never left our Minnesota home. Would the kids have settled in around us or gone off to far away places? I guess I will never know the answer to that. As things go, we are blessed to have at least one of our children close by in the same city. The others live in other cities but we are never forgotten as the phone rings frequently with a cheerful voice on the other end saying “Hello Mom….Hi Dad!” I imagine that we are not so different from millions of other families that are separated by geographical expanses.

Through the years , we have given up more and more of our expectations. It took a while to get the hang of it, but the more of these we released, the happier we became. I began to understand in a very real way that our children are only on loan to us…we don’t get to keep them. Well, we do keep our children close to our hearts, of course we do, but not in the day to day, 24-7 kind of way, which is actually good. I would have a hard time giving up my Mothering instinct that kicks into high gear each time I spend time with them. I am able to control these instincts for short periods of times, but if they lived here with me, I am afraid we would all digress and that could become an unhappy event. haha!

I do love our children…but I am happy to also say that I LIKE our adult “kids” very much! They have become our friends and they are such nice human beings. Do we sometimes spend holidays alone? Yes, on occasion. Do we get to gather with ALL of them each time we are with family? No, but the gatherings where they are all there, tells me that they all like each other. (Now there is the gift!) ❤️

It was after our move to Texas where I began to write down my thoughts on things. I did so when I was troubled, sad, hurt, happy….it was a way of releasing these feelings out into the universe and afterwards I usually felt so much better. Writing is a form of company too. Essentially, I am having a written conversation with myself. I have always been an avid reader which then compounded my tendency to be a day dreamer. Writing helps clear the debris field of words laying about on the floor of my mind. Writing helps to sweep out the clutter in my brain and move forward clear headed and ready to take on the world…until it fills up all over again.

Today is very quiet and tomorrow is Christmas Eve. We will be just the two of us, but we have made plans for tomorrow to attend two Christmas services in two churches. One is an early afternoon service in our new town and one is an evening service in our previous church. We have reservations at a very cool looking restaurant via a gift card from our older son who will be celebrating Christmas with his family in the north country. He is still a “4 Seasons kind of guy”, God bless him! We would have loved to join him but our move got in the way of that this year.

We have discovered the value of the quiet holidays over the years. It gives a person time to savor that homemade Christmas cookie with a hot cup of tea while listening to Christmas music playing in the background. It gives us time to read…and write…and read Christmas cards from a lifetime of friendships! Of course, as parents we want it all, but just like stuffing ourselves with too many sweets, we have come to know that a very full Christmas can have its own set of drawbacks. We know that parceling out the holidays bit by bit has its own kind of enjoyment.

Besides…none of us is ever alone…ever! Jesus birthday is about the greatest gift ever given, so the Christmas story is always a welcomed read. Life is usually what we decide to make of it, so make it a great holiday event! I love lemonade if you catch my drift. I also love lemon bars, lemon cookies, lemon drops…The list is long of how to sweeten things up a bit when lemons are handed out! In our new house we have no fireplace! (lemons). I am listening to Christmas music with a fireplace burning heartily on the screen in front of mr. (Lemonade) 😁.

Merry Christmas everyone! It is great to be alive! Blessings from Georgetown, Texas!


This Side of Heaven!

Yesterday was a very good day. I stepped outside into the backyard of our cottage style home right into a warm sunny day. I walked over to check on a new small tree we had planted because it was going through some major stress due to its relocation. (These moves are hard on both humans and trees alike.) I thought to myself as I stroked its tender branches with a myriad of browning leaves, “welcome to the club buddy, I can relate to your stress but frankly, YOU are not even close to being as old as I am!”. Lol!

I have to say, My husband and I are feeling pretty proud of ourselves, having managed a move at this point in our life. Spending time going through a lifetime of memories….sorting, discarding, deciding to keep some things for sentimental reasons, it all takes its toll because essentially, one relives everything one touches as one go through the process. It was almost akin to a life review.

This is our second downsize. The first time we chose to go smaller, I wasn’t quite ready to face the fact that the kids had, indeed, been launched. Our last home was our empty nest house, and while we did downsize from the previous home, it still ended up being way more than we needed or ended up using fully. But, we enjoyed it for almost 25 years and it was time to consider something smaller yet, and easier to manage.

When we searched for a home, we knew that we wanted a place where we could lock and leave to go on trips anytime we wanted. This meant a yard that had almost zero maintenance. This one is xeriscaped! We feel as if we are in the country with no neighbors. We have neighbors to each side of us, but not the back. We especially wanted a home that would not be too large to manage for one when the other of us eventually takes our leave of earth.

I smile to myself as I send up thanks yet again to God for granting our wishes to be unencumbered in our older age. Funny how all the things that at one time I thought I just had to have now mean very little to me. It is true you know….the less you have the less you have to worry about.

In our new smaller surroundings I get to enjoy my morning cup of coffee in front of a window where I can watch walkers go by. We have a tiny table for two sitting there and at each meal it feels like we snagged a good table at a local bistro.

There is very little traffic on our street and we love this fact. It is a very quiet street! The kitchen sits on the front of the house and the living room sits at the back with triple patio doors that look through a porch onto a greenbelt.

This house came with a dining room space at the kitchen side of the living room, but I scratched that because we rarely do formal sit down dinners anymore, so I added that space to the living room which makes it feel more like a great room than a small living room. I did buy a flip top table, a very cool invention, which looks like a thin console table but if you want to set it up for dining, there are two long leaves resting on top of each other that flip outward and form a dining table. It will be interesting to see how often I make use of this table in the years to come.

This house is an older home, so we had the interior repainted a neutral color throughout and added a wood floor to the Master Bedroom which then gave us a house with no carpet. My allergies are happy about this. We chose an older home because the older homes do not sit on top of each other as the new builds so often do these days.

Yesterday, after I communed with our new tree, I began to tackle a very tired looking garden path that leads to nowhere. I pulled up bricks for use elsewhere in our yard and proceeded to disperse the crushed granite as well. I was thinking of a sign I had at our other home that was etched with a cute phrase. “Old gardeners never die…they just spade away”.. Lol! So true. I will never again garden to the degree I did previously, but until my dying day, I just have to have a little patch of dirt in which to plunge my gloveless hands, turning it and readying it for some little plant wanting a new home out in the yard under sunny skies. I like to walk barefoot on the grass as well and am grateful the neighbors can’t see that country girl aspect of my personality, I actually read recently that the earth gives off healing energy to those who walk barefoot and I am hoping this is the case as I enjoy feeling the soft green grass tickling my toes.

Well, this musing has gone on long enough! I have also read that we create our own reality with our thoughts and I tend to think this is true. I was born an optimist and have always been open to any possibility. Prayer is powerful and the key to prayer is the belief that God will provide. He has indeed provided for us. We basically have everything we need in this last stop before our journey to heaven and while it is modest in scope, it is grand in the freedom we now feel!

God is good!


Welcome home!

Let the next chapter begin!

Downtown Georgetown on a Saturday night! Our first social outing after months of packing boxes and moving. For those of you who do not know, we have sold our home and moved to Georgetown, Texas. (I think there should be an age limit on moving because this one about did us in! ) 😩. Lol!

We made the decision sometime ago to really simplify our life and that included downsizing a second time to a smaller house that could almost qualify as a cottage. We have just what we need, no more and no less and like Goldilocks said in the fairytale “This is just right”.

We did this to save our children a lot of grief down the road by reducing the amount of goods they would have to plow through upon our demise. I have easily given away 50% or more of our “stuff” and I do not miss it at all. We have unboxed most of it on this end and now we will do the final thinning out. If I cannot find a spot for it, then off it goes to the local thrift shop!

We have been enormously blessed throughout our life in a multitude of ways and we have discovered, like so many others have, that happiness is never about the things we own. Happiness only comes to us by way of relationships and love from others. We are loved, therefore we are deeply grateful!

Our next chapter will be one full of books, road trips, sand and sea between our toes, and enjoying Gods creation wherever that takes us.

Our peer group is suffering heavy casualties and we take that as a reminder to not get bogged down by man made things. Rather we will soar to places we haven’t been to before and it is likely to be found right here in the U.S.

Merry Christmas everyone! Jesus is the reason for the season, and I for one, am glad I know Him!

Bye Bye Journal

I have been wading through boxes full of my journals. The sheer weight of those boxes told me that a lot of words were inside, so as I began to sift through it all, reading here and there, I realized that these letters and journals no longer serve me.

These are thoughts and feelings from a long ago person about long ago events. Writing has always served me well in allowing me to express and organize my thoughts, but I am a different person now, living in a different time. Just scanning the notes tells me how very different I am from that younger version of myself. I feel as if I have evolved and graduated to the next level.

My Mother used to love to write as well, and I understand why she did. Her later years were spent living far from her roots and at times she lived in other countries. She would feel a need to connect with home and writing provided this connection. Writing is very therapeutic and as one writes it feels as if it connects you to loved ones and to memories of other places and times. It makes us feel less alone on our journey and comforts our souls longing.

Mom is gone now, but I remember one day when she was old and we were having our daily visit on the phone. She shared with me that she had thrown out all of her journaling along with all of her saved letters. I gasped to hear it because I knew how much time she had invested in that particular exercise. I am sure I said something like “Oh NO! Why?”

Today, I know the answer to that question. I have come to the same intersection in life that she likely approached back then. Do I keep storing old journals that I have not looked at in years or should I toss them? I had to ponder it a while because we have moved many, many times and like an old pack mule, I brought them along each and every time. As I sit here and look at the sheer volume of writing, I recognize that to leave these things to our children would be leaving the burden of this choice to them. They will not have the time to read it all and even if they did, would they want to trade their time on earth reading about MY journey? They have their own journey to focus on, so I feel I am releasing them from a future dilemma of what to do with all these journals.

One might say, (as I did to my Mother), “what a waste!” (when imagining the journals getting tossed away to be hauled off to some landfill.) But, it wasn’t a waste at all. Writing served up a purpose in that moment in time when, for whatever reason, Mom or I chose to write. It gave each of us a means to express what was on our hearts and minds and a discovery of our true selves came to light in the process. It was time well spent. I will not spend time on these thoughts and words a second time, because I have new things to see and do and learn! My spirit cannot fly when weighted down by my past and earthly possessions . Someday I will fly away to some celestial shore and I will do this minus the weight I brought onto myself with the things of this world!

Amen? Amen! ❤️

Bye bye Journal….bye bye!


Gram without Gramp!

Grandpa died one month after his 71st birthday, leaving behind my grief stricken Grandma who had no clue how to proceed in her new solo life after all those many years of marriage. They had married at a young age and as time passed, they had six children with only three surviving past infancy. Two boys and a girl survived infancy and the girl was my Mother.

I remember my grandparents so well because as a child we spent a lot of time at their house. My Mother was their only daughter and they treasured her existence. I think she would have been a little surprised to hear this because their Swedish ways were not naturally expressive. They did not tell you they loved you…They just assumed you should understand this as a fact. They also did not show their affection with impulsive hugs or any display of affection. They felt their love was best expressed by providing for their children, and they provided well.

As children, we loved going to their home and we felt a grandchild’s pride of ownership in their small one story home. They kept their house in pristine condition. The house exterior was white painted clapboard and the window frames were painted a soft green. The front of the house sported a covered porch where two rocking chairs sat facing the front lawn. Grandpa and Grandma would sit and watch local traffic buzz by on the small rural country road that ran by the front of their house. Their house sat on a corner property where their street intersected with the narrow country road. Because their home sat on a rise of land which overlooked the road, they had the perfect spot from which to “watch the world go by” as Grandma used to say. They had a number of flower beds fronting their property with large sweeping bands of color enhancing the view for people driving down the road past their place.

Both Grandpa and Grandma were born and raised in this small rural community and after they married, they remained and raised their children here as well. As a child, I enjoyed visiting them often and loved immersing myself into their quiet existence. They were very good Grandparents and despite their humble lifestyle, they were happy in their community and they enjoyed having easy access to their Grandchildren.

Many years passed by and then the unthinkable happened. Grandpa died before Gram. She was lost without him, so my Mother invited her to come and stay with us in town, which she did. She enjoyed living with her daughter and Granddaughters but began to miss her home of over 40 years, so my Mother drove her up to her home and dropped her off with arrangements to come back the following Saturday to pick her up.

That week in her home was very heartbreaking for Gram. The house no longer felt like home without Grandpa and she felt like a stranger in her own community. Friends had all become old and many had passed away. New people had moved in which made a lifelong community feel a little foreign to her.

The following Saturday, as my Mother turned into the driveway, she saw Gram standing outside, suitcase packed and on the ground beside her.. As Gram got into the car, Mom asked her how things had worked out for her and Grandma said “Well, when I decided I wanted to go back home for a visit, I assumed it would all be the same as I had left it. Instead, what I discovered is that our home is now just a house without your Father there!” As she spoke, she dabbed away at tears that had begun to trickle down her face.


My husbands parents owned a farm which sat on 80 acres of land. It was a beautiful place with wide sweeping views on which sat a large two story farmhouse with a long deep front porch overlooking the fields. There was a huge barn and various other buildings that held machinery, chickens, cows and corn, all of which were painted white. This group of buildings sat at the end of a long country lane surrounded by corn fields. They raised two children on this farm, a boy and a girl, and my husband was their first born and their son.

They were blessed with 6 Grandchildren who would often go and stay with them on the farm. The children enjoyed the wide open spaces and reveled in spending time with their cousins while exploring the interiors of many of the different buildings. They all ran and played as they crossed tall green pasture land and often returned looking like dirty little vagrant children. The more dirt, the better. They enjoyed biking down the long dirt driveway to the mailbox to gather mail. This mailbox sat alongside the gravel road that went past their farm property. Grandpa would take each of them for rides on his riding lawn mower and even let them steer! Now that was a great feeling of power to a younger child. How quickly all those years passed by, and sooner than one can imagine, the grandchildren were all grown up and had moved on into living busy lives of their own.

As their health began to decline, Grandpa made the decision to sell their farm. They held an auction on the Centennial farm where my husbands father was born and raised. They chose the things they would take with them to their small Senior apartment in town, and everything else was sold or donated that day. I still remember my Mother in law walking around the large circular drive, tears streaming down her face as grieved the loss of the contents of her home which held memories of a lifetime. So many things that had given her much joy through the years now sat on big trailer beds waiting to be sold. The sunlight was not nearly as kind to the appearance of their possessions as had been the soft interior lighting inside the old farmhouse. My heart broke along with hers as I watched her linger in front of things she had collected and cherished over the years. I know the loss of her home felt like a death to her.

Time passed again and some years later, Grandpa died. With the passing of Grandpa, Grandma’s dementia deepened and we were not even sure if she was aware of the loss of her husband. 6 months later, her two children and I sat at her bedside knowing her life was coming to an end. Her daughter sat on one side of her bed and my husband and I sat on the other side and as we were casually conversing, we heard her breathing change. We stopped talking and watched a smile appear on her face. Her expression kept changing and the smile grew broader until she took her last breath. We had no doubt that she was greeted and welcomed to her eternal home.


Around the same time that my husbands parents sold their farm, my parents were having their own aging struggles. My Dad had a stroke not long after he retired which he seemed to recover from fairly well. He was dealing with macular degeneration so his eyesight was impaired.. Mom now had to drive and as time passed, he suffered little mini strokes which contributed to a cognitive decline. They put their house on the market because their bedrooms and bathroom were all upstairs and he could no longer manage the stairs. Here, too, I watched a lifetime of accumulation gathered up and put out to be sold or donated.

These Grandparents were the ones who always arranged fishing trips to Canada for the whole family. We were always eager to be part of this trip every time he made plans and we formed a caravan of 5 vehicles each time we made the trip. Those were such fun days for all involved and one year, my Dad caught “the big one”! It was a 35 pound trout and as he pulled into the dock area there was much excitement and chatter about his good fortune. To this day, memories of these fishing trips are among the most treasured of the grandchildren.

These Grandparents introduced to the larger family a card game named “Peruvian Rummy“, a game they learned while living in South America. The game caught on immediately and was a tool for all of us to interact and bond during friendly competition. There were many, many nights of endless rounds of Rummy as we each focused on becoming the winner of the game.

I also remember Grandpa taking the kids skiing in the northern snowy woods by pulling them behind his truck using a water ski rope. They swished and swooped down old logging trails in the same fashion as when one waterskis behind a boat. The kids enjoyed the feeling of the soft cold snow dusting their faces as it blew off the trees when they whizzed past the low hanging branches.

My parents graciously agreed to come and stay long periods of times at our house (almost as a second set of parents) to give a sense of continuity to our children when we would travel extensively with my husbands job.

But, just as with the others, time passed and it became apparent that they needed to make a location change to suit their new health conditions.

I remember the last day in their house before turning the keys over to the new owner. Mom and I were doing last minute touch ups to the cleaning and clearing out, and we each had a moment where we looked at each other with heart felt emotion. Our eyes locked in place as we felt the mutual sense of loss knowing that this was the final chapter in their home. We embraced each other, but neither of us said a word. There really is no comfort language available that one can use to say goodbye to a place which contained so many memories….memories of holidays and vacations spent there with three generations laughing, loving, socializing and bonding! We walked to the side door of the house and stepped outside. Mom locked the door and put the key in an envelope and slipped it under the door mat as was previously agreed with the new owner.

They, too, moved to a Senior Apartment and Dad died within a year and a half of that move. Mom lived alone following his death for an additional 11 years until one night, following a minor surgery, she too died.


As I age, I think about our parents and Grandparents more and more frequently and find that I have so many questions I would like to ask them now that would be pertinent to this time in our life.

I find myself remembering back in time to a day when it was my Mother in laws 72nd birthday. I was in my 30’s at the time and I impulsively asked this question.

“What’s it like to be 72, Verona?”

She looked at me for a minute and said, “Well, you know….when you are your age and you hear the number 72, it seems like it is a long, long way down the road! But when you are the one who is 72, you look back in time and realize it goes like this” (and she snapped her finger).

Each year when her birthday comes around, I look upwards toward heaven and say, “There went another one, Verona, just like that!” And I proceed to snap my finger.

Indeed, life passes faster than anyone can fully realize. For those of us who have been blessed to live into our golden years, we begin to see the fragility of life and how quickly it passes us by. I reflect a lot more these days on my past and all the people I have known and all experiences I have had along the way. What suited us in the early years in the way of a home or material goods does not necessarily suit us now, which is why I continue to send things out the door, back to the universe where someone else may find good use for whatever item I am relinquishing.

I try to stay focused on all that is good in the moment and count my blessings every day. My Mother in law was so right all those years ago when she said “looking back…..” As this thought passes through my consciousness, I snap my finger like she did.

Indeed! It surely does go by that fast! Savor the moment for no one knows how many they are going to get!



It is early morning and I am sitting in the middle of a large sectional sofa with my feet propped up on a large ottoman that sits in front of it. I am behind closed doors in the Den of my daughters house and she is still sleeping. It is very quiet!

I feel unsettled in the aftermath of a bad dream where I was in search of home but could not seem to find it. In my dream, I did not know where my home was, and while I was feverishly in search of it, my panic seemed to grow. Where, oh where is my home?

I woke up and rolled onto my back in the dark room trying to reorient myself. I laid there and watched the fan spinning overhead with the chain below wobbling in the breeze. Somehow, its hum was comforting. Oh yes…now I remember, I am at our daughters home for an extended stay and MY home of 25 years is being watched over by my husband. He was just here for a few days and left for home yesterday.

I try to shake off the emotions from the dream so I get up, pad off to the kitchen and make a strong cup of freshly brewed coffee. Mmmmm! Now THIS is the beginning of my usual daily routine and I begin to settle into reality. Its been three weeks I have been here and I have three weeks to go. I have never been away from my husband AND home simultaneously for this long before and there are times when I feel as if I am in a free fall. Our daughter had a health scare which required I be here as her driver for a while and I am half way through the six weeks needed.

Our daughter has been very gracious to me and I am grateful. She even dotes on me from time to time, sliding unto the sofa next to me and slipping her arm through mine as she speaks loving thoughts about our relationship. Those times are savored and I tuck them away in my memory bank to take out on another day when my spirit is sagging for one reason or another. There are other days where something I say makes her bristle but she is careful to not retort back. Goodness! Two women in one house for an extended period of time is obviously a lesson on give and take, but, overall, we are doing very well and the lessons on boundaries and space are invaluable.

Growing old is not for the faint of heart. I feel proud of the independent and strong spirits of our children. None of them are dependent on us in any way, so I guess you could say we did well on our parenting report card. The other side of it is, they are in their prime of life working, some raising families, all chasing that American dream which means they are very busy. Though I know I am loved and welcome here, I also know I do not belong here in a permanent sense. There is nothing I would not do for my children, but I am learning to ask first.

As we continue to add years to our life we look around at all the things we once thought we just had to have. Oh, what joy we felt as we brought our new little trinkets home. I remember when we purchased our first brand new sofa and matching chair. I was so excited about the purchase, I would first sit in the chair to look at the sofa and then sit on the sofa to look at the chair. I was so thrilled! Those years were the building years. We were building a life together and furnishing our newly purchased nest. To think I actually thought this sofa beautiful! It speaks loudly to the influence of good marketing snd inexpensive goods.

I thought this was beautiful at the time.

So now what? There has been a lot written about simplifying ones life and the articles make it sound liberating and freeing to the soul. Sounds good, and after all, a shroud does not have pockets, as they say. I have no trouble discarding things, but I do have a hard time discarding the memories these things bring about. As my daughter and I were bringing things from her house to the thrift store, I was her champion! “Good girl! YOU GO girl! I am so proud of you daughter dear!“.

That is, UNTIL she put what was once MY beautiful crystal wine glasses in a box to ship off. They are a very delicate shade of pink etched crystal bought to compliment the pure white china upon which a single delicate pink rose graced the side of the plate. The water goblets, too, were selected with such care and precision almost 50 years ago. They represent to me our beginnings…the beginning of our marriage and our life together. It was ok to see Grandmas stuff go out the door, for she is in heaven walking golden paths that pass by crystal cathedrals, but I am still here! I quickly grabbed the crystal and said I would bring them home. So, we put them in a box and sent them back with my husband. Foolish….just FOOLISH thinking on my part, because honestly, will I ever use them again? Doubtful! Our children are informal people. It is a whole new world out there and what they see as old-world stuff doesn’t fit into this lifestyle, and don’t even think of leaving them anything that needs to be polished regularly!

I am ready to let go…I am ready to let go….I am ready to let go!

Easier said than done. I KNOW this is a lesson in life made just for me! I felt such joy building our life together and feathering our nest. Each item was selected with the idea of creating my own personal Norman Rockwell painting. Surely those people on the cover of Saturday Evening Post are US, are they not? They’re NOT? What? That was all just fiction in the imagination of the painter? Just an imaginary family picture on a magazine cover? Well, now. That’s a jolt!

I think that many women growing up in my generation saw too many idealized movies and t.v. shows depicting this type of a lifestyle and we sought to emulate it, because it appealed to us. We also witnessed our grandmothers setting a nice table with an ironed tablecloth and lovely dishes for the holidays. I remember those long ago commercials with high heeled housewives vacuuming the new carpet in their house. They wore pretty ruffled aprons, and looked ready for a date when the kids came home from school. Well, I certainly never wore high heels around the house to do my cleaning, nor did I ever wear an apron, and don’t even ask the kids what I must have looked like, but I sure loved setting a beautiful table for special occasions. I thought I was teaching our children about the “finer” things in life, yet these days very few of our children’s generation want any of that type of dinnerware, nor those type of complicated dinners that created heaping piles of dishes. Those days are gone.

I imagine God smiling indulgently as we finally grasp the amount of money and time spent on things that just simply do not matter. Our kids have their own way of doing things and it is different from us. I guess I will just cut a larger swath through my home and cabinets and closets when I get back to my nest and send more out the door. It rocks my boat to say goodbye to the representation of a life well lived, but one has to step out of the past and join loved ones in the here and now.

I am trying to remember the name of a movie where in a scene towards the end, an older Jessica Tandy was sitting on her suitcase in the middle of a small town intersection. She was looking for her house and I remember how that scene stole my heart as she realized the house was gone or maybe boarded up. Jessica Tandy was one of my all time favorite actresses and oh how I loved her scratchy emotion filled voice. I wonder if it was “Driving Miss Daisy”? Or, was it “Fried Green Tomatoes”? Both movies were excellent, and more so because she starred in both. I just found it..It was ”Fried Green Tomatoes” but will leave in both references if you are looking for a great older movie to watch.

Well, anyway, the movie was about a woman who was moving forward towards the end of her life, being faced with some difficult unavoidable changes to her living arrangements and she did it with grace. I am not that kind of old age yet, but God willing it is not all that much farther down the pike as they say. Time….it has a way of rolling up life’s carpet behind us as we walk our journey. There is no going back and so one may as well embrace the change as we move forward. I will try my best, but I suspect that my embrace will have white knuckled clenched fists as I work through it. Lol! Relax, M’am, relax!

For what it is worth….I love my daughter for so many reasons and in so many ways. If the world had more people like her in it, there would be NO wars! ❤️



Have you ever found yourself pondering your life and how the people you have encountered along the way came to be walking the same path as you at the same time?

Through the years I have done this type of assessment a lot. How was it that I was born at the time and place I arrived? Why was I born into my particular family? Why was I born into an area of the world so different from the places where millions of others presented themselves? I always pondered these questions as I learned about the world around me, knowing that somewhere on the other side of the world there were people born into abject poverty or into a place where fear was rampant due to the criminal element that surrounded them. The same is true when I pondered those born into royal bloodlines and extreme wealth. How did this all come to be our reality? As for me, I think I was very lucky. Like the story of Goldilocks, where this porridge was too hot, this porridge was too cold, and this porridge was just right, my life was “just right” with no excess of anything. No excess wealth and no excess poverty. It was always filled with the right amount of many factors that contributed to my well being. Some people think life is a random event while others think it is pre-determined.. I am open to whatever our creator decided for it to be.

I was thinking of this on my way home from the airport this morning after dropping off one of my dearest friends. She arrived a week ago today and we pretty much talked nonstop the entire time. As I sped along the highway, I was counting my blessings for the merging of our two individual paths in life so long ago at another time and place. How is it that we clash with some people in this world and instantly bond with others? It is a mystery.

If there are four seasons in life I suppose I would now have to say that I have entered the winter of my life where there is a shortening of the days and a slowing down of energy…a period of rest and contemplation. I am most decidedly blessed to have been granted the experience of this part of life where similar to the ending of a song, it becomes quieter, slower and drawn out until its completion…

I met my friend when I was in my late 20’s. My husband and I and our family had recently moved to a small northern Minnesota town due to my husbands job promotion. We had three small children and the day I met my friend, the children were playing quietly downstairs as I was wallpapering a wall in our house. To my surprise, the doorbell rang, so I put down my project and opened the door. There she stood…She was tall and thin with dark, shoulder length hair and a broad smile. The minute our eyes met, we both felt a strong connection. She was collecting for the Heart Association and she made a point of showing me proof of the legitimacy of her donation request. I laughed out loud at her concern that I may think she was a fraud looking for money.

As is often said, She and I “hit it off”, and as a result, many phone calls, lunches, and outings occurred while we slowly built our relationship. We were fortunate that our husbands really liked each other as well, so there were many times, as couples, we found interesting things to do which allowed for the guys to come to know each other better as well.

We had only lived in that little town for around two years when another promotion pulled us far away to another state. Despite the distance now between us, she and I remained in touch by letter, phone call, and an occasional planned visit.

Through the years we have shared our life stories with each other, a little bit at a time, as time allowed. Bit by bit, we became ever closer as we began to see how synchronized we were in our morals, thoughts, religious beliefs, parenting, etc. etc. etc. Like a small seed planted in fertile soil, our relationship grew and expanded and began to bear fruit. The fruit consisted of the many ways we helped shape each others thoughts and how we helped each other expand our awareness of the complexity of life, family and friends. The fruit was also the absolute acceptance of each other exactly as we are. There was no competitiveness, no envy, no negativity at all. There was only positive energy flowing and no expectations of changing the other.

My personality traits are those of a social introvert. I can spend vast amounts of time by myself but I DO love the company of others where we can talk and laugh and share thoughts and feelings. I just don’t need this type of socialization on a daily basis. I connect this aspect of my personality to the environment in which I grew up. We lived in “the woods” of the U.P. of Michigan at a time where a child’s entertainment was not provided to them. A child had to figure that part out on their own, so in my case, it consisted of a lot of solitary activities. I also had cousins, cousins, by the dozens anytime I wanted a playmate, but for the most part, I spent a lot of my time in the imaginary world of books. Sometimes I would take a book up into the middle of the woods nearby and lay down on my back on the soft moss covered earth. I would then prop my book up on my chest, and proceed to get lost in the next adventure. Oh how I traveled far and wide in those days, one adventure followed by another in the far outposts of my mind. I would occasionally lift my eyes from the book to observe the long shafts of sunlight streaming down through the tall stand of trees as I pondered recently read passages.

As a result of my childhood, I have never needed a huge circle of friends. Rather, I was selective about who I spent time with, which inevitably led to my friendships becoming more than just surface laughter. I have always said, “Give me one good hearted “salt of the earth” friend with a great sense of humor and I am good to go!” No gaggle of girlfriends for me!

I think that we somehow manifest our desires by how we imagine things because the universe has presented to me one good friend after another. Not a LOT of them, but boy oh boy, the quality of these people has always been spot on for me to love and enjoy.

This is true with my husband as well. No truer love has ever existed for me than that which I have for him and he has for me. Oh, yes, blessings abound! When I was young, I always imagined what my husband would be like some day and now here we are, nearly 1/2 century married, true friends on so many levels!

I am sitting here now in the quiet of my house, imagining my friend sitting in an airplane, lifting off in the Texas sky, flying back to the north country. I feel satiated and loved after a wonderful week of shopping, lunches, sharing thoughts and feelings and the reminiscing of stories from long ago. At the same time, I feel a slight bit melancholy because I realize how far we have come and how much shorter the path is that lies ahead of us. Death is real to us these days as she is now a widow of three years. Instead of two couples engaging with each other, we are now a threesome and we are ever mindful of the fragility of life. As she is strongly encouraging us to come and stay a month with her next summer, using her home as a place where we can come and go, we nod our heads smiling, saying “Yes, yes” knowing that this will only come to pass, if God is willing for it to be so!

My life has been full of many kinds of relationships…some good, some bad, some best left forgotten. This friendship falls into the good….the very, very good category. I guess one would call her a gift to me. A gift from God to make up for some of the losses I have endured. In the checks and balances of life, she is one of those rare bonuses!

As they say, be careful what you focus on because that is what you will bring into your life. Fortunately, I am one who usually focuses on what is good and right. I see life’s gifts, and she is certainly one of them. Bye, bye Nancy, I will be savoring and focusing on this visit for a long time to come. God bless!


If I could only fly

We have dinner baking in the oven so we poured a glass of wine (me) and a cold amber beer (him). We then hooked up my iPad to our Bose speaker and chose to stream Merle Haggard and a montage of his Gospel songs on utube! (Yes, really! Merle sang gospel music) We forgot how beautiful his voice was until we started to listen to his deep rich tone! Within a minute we settled into a trip down memory lane. It is my opinion that there is nothing he could not sing well.

As we listened to song after song, I thought of the many country music singers who have sung songs of praise to God and Jesus! I find that part touching. So many of these country music legends have lived rough and tumble lives, yet they all loved their Mama’s and Jesus, both who were the most likely to love and forgive them unconditionally!

Mr. B is melancholy tonight, eyes welling up as we listen to sentimental old time songs. We have a very dear relative who is on hospice, and we know his time is short. Even though we previously received notice of his condition and prognosis, it still comes as a shock when someone actually begins their journey “home.”. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…and all that.

The queue line ahead of us to go to heaven is getting shorter and shorter and we are ever increasingly aware of this. We have never been people who counted our years on earth in any serious kind of way. Naturally, the birthdays serve up a reminder of how long we have been walking this earth, but we have never really put serious thought to our demise. After all, our spirits are eternal and in our case, because we have been reasonably healthy, we motivate about our world with the joyful sense of living in the day while anticipating and planning for what is ahead.

Lately, however, we have received many notifications of people we know who have died. We are losing the world in which we grew up and lived for so many years, one relationship at a time. As I reflected on the departure of so many friends and family, it came to me that an interesting representation for this ongoing loss would be the visualization of removing pieces out of a completed jig saw puzzle. Each person’s piece in our life’s puzzle is taken out as they die, leaving a hole where they used to be in the picture of our life. Through the years, these pieces were inserted, one at a time, as we continued to build our picture, and now, all these years later, they are being lifted back out.

From birth, we begin our life within a circle of loved ones and as we grow older, we accumulate more and more people in our life by way of friends, loved ones, children, children’s friends, acquaintances, and the list grows through the years. The same is true for our accumulation of material possessions. A friend said once, “Isn’t it interesting how we spend the first half of our lives accumulating things and the second half getting rid of them?” I thought it to be a rather profound statement from someone who was only about 30 years old at the time. Of course, she was talking about our material possessions, but it applies in a different way to our unintended loss of loved ones as well.

As we face our final destination, we realize that we cannot take anything with us, not material goods nor even the people we love. We are forced to let go of everything we have gathered in our lifetime. All we take with us are the lessons we have learned about living and loving. Life’s meaning has always been about what we leave behind as we depart this earth and I am not referencing our material goods. I am referring to what we leave behind in the way of experiences and memories with others while here on earth. The ultimate harvest is about our relationships with other people, how we treated them and how we made them feel. Our journey here was never about us and what WE would gain. Rather it is about how we give of ourselves and how we have gifted and blessed and loved others.

As we sat there over dinner, listening to the music and talking, I began to imagine our loved one finally releasing his spirit from his earth bound body. I imagined him returning to God and to the promised land where there is no more pain, hunger, thirst, fear or loneliness. What will be greeting him upon his arrival to that distant place is a pure, unconditional love…the kind of love we have yearned for all of our lives. His spirit will soar and swoop with an unbridled joy not known or experienced here on earth. While we weep over the loss of this dear soul, we also give up thanks for having been blessed with his presence in our lives. We also give up thanks for his final and most important reward, which is life everlasting!

He was a very important piece to my life puzzle, having been a part of it my entire life. He was like a brother to me, and it has been written that the sibling relationship is the longest relationship we will ever experience on earth because they were there with us at our beginning and can be witness to the many events that shaped and formed the person we became.

In my puzzle of life, I would say that he was a corner piece, an important connecting piece to all the other pieces that were added as I grew up. The loss of his piece will undo the completed frame of my puzzle which means the framing of my life back to my birth will not feel as secure as it once did. Some people are foundational to our being and he certainly was that for us when we were young children.

But, life goes on. His life will continue in an expanded glorious version while our life will continue on in a slightly contracted version due to his departure. Memories of him will sustain us and as we imagine his spirit taking flight, we will rejoice in knowing that we will be reunited with him again someday. Oh the conversations we will have then about the lessons given to us while here in this realm. FINALLY, there will be a pulling back of the veil giving clarity around all the things we just do not understand while on earth.

I used to say to my Mother as we talked of such things, “I will tell you what, Mom…when I die and go to heaven, I am going to have a LOT of questions for Jesus to answer!” She said to me, “Oh, J…when you go to heaven it will all become CLEAR!”

Yes, I believe she is correct about that. If I could only fly…and I will….. someday at an appointed time and place. Until then, we do our best to matter in this world and to make a difference!


Down though the years…

A long time ago, when we were fairly new empty nesters, we were having a conversation with a friend of ours. He traveled a lot with his work and said that one morning when he woke up, he found himself on a fold out sofa bed in his sons apartment’s living room. While he laid there orienting himself as to where he was, he wondered where all the years had gone? His story gave me a smile because he really was surprised to find himself in that time and place not having fully realized the journey! This is how time slips away unnoticed.

This is also how it goes with raising kids. From the moment they are born, our life seems to go into a fast forward mode. When it came to our own adult life, we have been so incredibly busy, the words “savor the moment” simply came down to wishful thinking. That is, until all the kids had flown the nest and we were left with mountains of extra time to fill. Savor….how do we “savor” something with which we have had no previous experience?

Our granddaughter graduates high school this weekend. As I look at her and see her excitement over her next big step of leaving home for college, I am sure that her parents are filled with a lot of conflicting feelings.

Of course, they are happy for her because as parents we want our kids to be happy and to advance in life on their own terms, remembering our own launch into life so many years before. On the other hand, they are facing the beginning of their own nest emptying out. For the first time they are facing the fact that she is going off into a world where her parameters are no longer the same as their own.

We parents live under an illusion of having control which comes to us when our children are born in a very vulnerable state, totally dependent on us for survival. We nervously step up to the challenge, making so many decisions for this newly minted baby. Then as the baby begins to grow, they begin making their own decisions while we still have a modicum of control in their lives. We encourage them and guide their choices while we still have some influence over them.

The years go by and before we realize just how quickly it has all gone, we watch them walking across a stage to receive their diploma…a certification of completion which says they have earned the right to choose which path they will begin their new independent life.

Long ago I read something that said our children are placed into our safekeeping but are only on loan to us from God. They do not belong to us. They belong to God. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. I was so aware of this when our daughter was in the hospital and so very sick! Prayers poured forth laced with heavy bargaining, though I know that is not how we should do things. I know who is in charge of the universe and it is not me! I prayed for her recovery and for a renewed contract to us on the loan He granted to us of this beautiful and beloved human we brought into the world.

I was listening to a lecture recently where a woman said that a person should not be afraid of death nor should we be afraid of life. We should not make our children afraid either. Living life fully means to embrace whatever comes and to face life fearlessly. Life contains adventure and risk and we should not go though life with the hand brake on. Without doubt, there is a lot of darkness in this world, but there is also a lot of light. As we seek the light we should also BE the light for others, sharing our knowledge and love and wisdom.

Our granddaughter is a light filled personality. She is going to be such a positive addition to the world with her kind and sensible ways. Her parents did a very good job of raising her.

No wonder they are so proud of her.

No wonder she loves them dearly.

The world needs people like her and I am grateful and delighted with how she has turned out! She has the mindset of giving back to the world and has already been doing so for a while now.

The generations march ever forward, each seeking their own way. I am glad we have been blessed with a life long enough to watch not only how our children’s lives have evolved and how they contribute to society, but so too, our grandchildren.. We are in the spectator section once again, watching and cheering them on!

Whether we wake up on our child’s sofa bed in an apartment or in a guest bedroom in their home, the operative word is guest. We have had to learn what that word means. A perfect guest is someone who blends into the life of their Host. We mind our manners, our words and our actions. We are on their turf now and they get to call the shots!

I find myself wondering how our son will feel someday in the not so distant future on that first morning he wakes up in his daughters home and realizes he has now become a guest…a loved guest, a wanted guest, but a guest nonetheless. 🙂 Only then will he understand the journey we have been on ourselves, each generation passing the torch to the upcoming generation.


Out with the old..

It is interesting how much we change as the years go by. People come and go in our lives, our views on life, once so black and white, have turned to gray, and material goods we once thought we could not live without, are now going out the door to serve someone else.

Yesterday was a very dark day emotionally for me. My mind was spinning with thoughts of the worlds troubles of which there are SO many! I was also dwelling on the recent death of a good friend. In fact, we have lost 3 friends in just the first 4 months of this year. Two of them were sudden enough to take my breath away. Here today, gone tomorrow, as has often been said. The finality of it for the ones who knew and loved them is jarring! There are no more chances to say what we wish we had said to them. No more chances to see their laughing faces. No more “do overs” whatsoever!

This past week for me has been filled with a lot of restless and sleepless nights. I have tossed and turned in bed as I wrestled with a lot of thoughts about what the future could possibly have in store for us. The death of good friends is a stark reminder that we are all at life’s train station with no clue about which train we will be leaving on or when.

For me, the Pandemic has certainly reinforced the Bible verse, “Be Still, and know I am God”. A year ago, most of us were yanked out of our overly busy lives of comings and going’s and dropped into the quietness of solitary (or near solitary) living. In this solitary quiet, I think many of us have discovered new facets to our inner self. Reflection is very good because it uncovers many aspects of how we think, why we see things in a certain way, and why we respond the way we do. When alone, we are not influenced by the opinions of others which frees us up to be true to our own beliefs. What I have once again discovered about myself is that I just do not want to be bothered by so much “stuff” anymore. I no longer want it here collecting dust as it takes up space in my house. I also don’t want to have to care for it. Of course, I have a few favored pieces that have sentimental value, but there are many things that come from a time in our life when each piece had a purpose to serve. These days, we live very differently than we did when our family was still young. I want to use my time differently by living large rather than caring for material goods.

As a result of my reflecting, I have reactivated my unfinished decluttering project of a couple years ago by pulling more things out of the closets, putting them in large bags and boxes, and bringing them to the thrift shop. The rule I use for now is if it hasn’t been used in 5 years, it needs to go and serve someone else. When this sweep of the house is finished, I will then conduct another “go round” where if it hasn’t been used in a year, out it goes. Each trip to the thrift shop gives me a feeling of accomplishment and a sense of becoming lighter and freer. I have been purging for a couple of years now, and it gets easier to say goodbye with every new purge.

Yesterday, I was in a text conversation with our daughter, sending pictures of things to her first before releasing it to the universe. Some things she wanted and others not. I have my wedding dress that has moved with me nine times. I always thought that maybe someone in the family would be interested in it, but as it turns out, no one is. We live in a day and age of abundance, so the younger generation isn’t nearly as caught up in the sentimental attachment to ancestral things as my generation was. I asked our daughter if she was ok with me releasing the dress and she enthusiastically said, “I think that is great! Someone is going to be so happy to be able to buy that for themselves!” (Funny…I was ok with her not wanting it.) The dress had served its purpose in its time and now maybe it would serve a new purpose for another person with a new love and new vows! Or….maybe it would be utilized in someone’s craft project. It doesn’t matter…just so it is useful!

Bit by bit, more pieces of our life go out the door. Things that were once needed and useful but no longer serve us. We say a quiet thank you to each and every thing that gets put into a bag or box for how it added or served in our life in one form or another and then we say goodbye!

Our thrift shop is owned and run by the Catholic “Ladies of Charity” and they do a fantastic business in the area in which we live. On the backs of their receipts is a list of all the charities they contribute to and there are many! I always feel so good when we bring in another load of goods from which they can make a profit and can forward the blessings of that profit on to places that need the financial support.

I wish I would have heeded a quote I heard many years ago when I was in my 30’s. My friend said, “Isn’t it interesting how we spend the first half of our life accumulating things and the second half getting rid of them?” It was profound to me at the time, but it did not stop the accumulation of things. Everything purchased was bought with the idea of our family expanding several times its original size, but it did not grow as large as I had anticipated. I also did not anticipate adult children having so much of their own stuff! We live in a day and age of ‘much too much!’ Everyone is dealing with too much stuff!

Our goal going forward is to live very simply before we die. I told our younger son that in the end, all I want is a nice room with a recliner, a bedroom, a small kitchen and a bath. He looked at me with a look of horror! haha! Of course I was kidding, but, honestly, as we age, our needs keep shrinking. A long time ago, I remember reading a card in a gift shop that caught my attention. On the front of the card was written, “The more you have”……..and, then on the inside it read, “The more you have to worry about!” No truer words have ever been spoken. The older we get, the less we want to take care of things. In our case, all of our kids live in very nice, well appointed homes. We love to go see them and spend time with them. They come here too, but not as often as we thought they would when we built the house, because everyone is busy working and living their own lives and we are all very spread out geographically.

At our home, the two of us actually only use about 4 rooms on a daily basis while the rest of the house sits unused. These rooms are the kitchen, family room, bedroom and bathroom. So, WHY do we have all this extra space? We are not in a hurry to downsize, but that seed has been planted and it is continuing to expand in our thoughts. Perhaps we will sell our house someday, and if that ever comes to fruition, we will have had a lot of the discarding done already. Yay us!

So, going forward, my incentive is to keep carrying stuff out the door! Just since last week, we have brought four large SUV loads of stuff to the thrift shop and now another large group of filled boxes and bags await the next trip over.

Adieu! Adieu! To you and you and you!

Well, the closets are calling to me so off I go to make more room! I am going to need more boxes! My goodness, I think the house is getting more spacious by the week! 😁

To stay vibrant and viable in this life, a person has to change with the times. We need to let go of the past and leave behind those things (and those people) who do not give back joy or serve a purpose to our life. I often think that a lot of our unhappiness and stress stems from not knowing when to loosen our attachment to things and people, and to just release!

Creating uncluttered space in a home brings peace and serenity.

Inspiration picture!


Is your name in this book?

Each morning, Al and I do devotions to get a right start on things for the day. In addition to this, each night we say our prayers before sleep to help remove the worlds assaults to our psyche which sometimes dims our inner spiritual light. We want to feel cleansed, safe and protected through the night, and our prayers offer us that blessed assurance.

The following has always been a favorite verse for me because it creates a wonderful visual as I recite it. I learned it many years ago in our church and I am grateful for having it taught to me!

Psalm 51: v 10-12 Create in me a clean heart oh God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. These verses give me great comfort, especially during times when I feel overwhelmed or anxious. I often include this prayer in my evening prayers.

I also love the prayer we were taught as very young children and have prayed this my entire life.

Now I lay me down to sleep.

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my soul to take.

If I should live another day,

I pray the Lord to guide my way.

I love you Jesus!


This simple child’s prayer covers it all and as a child I can remember always feeling relief to say the third part which meant I would likely get another day. Children are literal and I am as literal as they come. Lol!

Our morning devotional followed by prayer for others is how we refresh our spirit. It is similar to us taking vitamins each morning to give added strength and resilience to our body, only in this case the devotions and prayer adds strength and resilience to our spirit as we seek to put on the whole armor (or spiritual vitamins) of God!

Our day begins with the advantage of a clean heart and a renewed spirit from praying the night before, but we know that by the time we end our day, it will be time for another cleansing.

The morning devotions and prayer serve the purpose of making us ready to face a new day with new challenges, and, as the good Lord knows, we need all the help we can get in the day and age of a pandemic and warring political factions!

This prayer book in the picture was my Mother’s. When she died, I chose to not take much in the way of her material possessions because I knew she had no great attachment to them (which is why she did not own a lot of excess). Her small apartment in her widowhood was full of things on the walls and surfaces, but these were mostly gifts given to her from family members who were constantly showering her with material expressions of love. She always displayed our gifts so when we came to visit we would see them and feel good about her enjoying our gifts.

At the time of her death, her prayer book spoke to me, along with some other personal writings she had left behind. This prayer book journal was full of blank pages waiting for names to be entered of someone we should pray for. Since her death, Al and I have used her prayer book to write in the names of those friends and acquaintances who are dealing with problems and are in need of prayers. We have always prayed for people, but this time we actually began to log peoples names in this book and as prayers were answered, (one way or another) we drew a line through the name.

The prayer book benefited us every bit as much as the people who are entered in the book because as time has gone by, we began to understand that everyone on earth has their challenges. Some have ENORMOUS challenges, and some have MANY challenges, but we all have them in one form or another, be them big, small, or many.

We began to notice people who helped us build OUR faith as we witnessed their fortitude and perseverance on their health journey. These are the people who have dealt with health issues for years and years, who continue to thank God for the little blessings in the midst of their suffering. These people, who we have long admired, are full of Gods grace and we are/were grateful for their example of a strong faith. (Great is thy faithfulness)

The challenges faced by our friends (and ourselves…our names are in the book too) consist of a wide variety of human suffering. There are always many health concerns, but the list also includes people who are dealing with challenges with their children who unknowingly break their parents hearts in one way or another. Maybe their child has a mental illness, drug addiction, homelessness, broken marriage, loss of job, or a failure to thrive in this very difficult world we find ourselves in. There are children and grandchildren who get sick and die ahead of the parent or grandparent which is always heart wrenching.

We have friends who are personally dealing with dementia, stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, lung disease, and the list goes on and on.

Then there are the friends who have no family support for one reason or another. These people are lonely and alone.

We have friends who have lost the most precious or most important person in their life…a spouse, a child, a grandchild, a parent, or maybe a sibling. Sometimes the loss comes from death and sometimes there is estrangement or separation. Whatever the reason, it is still a loss that leaves a hole in your heart.

The list of troubles that people face in this world are seemingly endless and by way of our little book, every single morning we are reminded that we are not the only ones in this world dealing with problems. Like my Mother used to say…”Sometimes I think that it would be nice to have a “Trouble Store” where I could bring in my bag of troubles and exchange them for another type. But, I suspect that once I got there and took a look around, I would say “thank you anyway…I think I will keep what I have” 🙂

Oh, how MUCH I miss that clever, witty, kind hearted woman who was my Mother. (Now here is a huge loss I have never been able to completely accept!). But, you know what? In the midst of the sorrow I always feel in the loss of her, I send up big thanks to God for Him making her my Mother in the first place. I would not trade her for anyone else in the world. So, these days, as I clean our house and pick up a picture of her here or there under which I dust, I say “Hello Mom”, and then the memories flow forth from my mind on down the inner highway to my heart where it swells with gratitude for having known her and for having the privilege to learn the lessons she provided for me! She loved to laugh and so do I! God bless her for bequeathing that trait to me!

Back to the prayer book. Are you in it? If we know you and we are aware that you are struggling with something, you are likely in the book. There are some of of you who we know better than others, but even so, if we know of a need you may have, then you are there. We not only pray for your struggles to be lifted, but we also send up gratitude prayers for when God takes them away. We have many acquaintances on our list too…people who have no idea we are praying for them. Prayer is powerful and we know that it works in Gods timing and for Gods purpose.

I will close this with another prayer I have always loved because the wording is profound in its simplicity. It is the Johnny Appleseed prayer/song.

Oh, the Lord is good to me.

And so I thank the Lord

For giving me the things I need:

The sun and the rain and the apple seed;

Oh, The Lord is good to me




🎼 AaaaaMEN! (Praise the Lord!) 🙏🏼

Today is the day which the Lord has made…let us rejoice and be glad in it! Out, out, out I go, rejoicing all the way as I tend to all my new replacement plantings! When I water these new additions to our yard, my nurturing side steps up as I mingle with the birds, the bees, the butterflies and the little baby chameleons!

Oh the Lord is good to me…Amen!