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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back? Forward? Happy New Year!

Not one to lounge around rethinking what is done and can't be undone, I look forward, most often if I'm thinking of anything other than now.  On the brink of a new year, I wonder what is in store for "us"as a couple, "us" as a family and "us"as friends.
Taking a moment to look back, it's been a stressful time for my family with many good and love-filled times mixed in. Life is often that way. At the end of 2013 I see little changing except acceptance of things that cannot be changed. Making new plans for the new life that has had alterations that were not wanted, but were applied. We will find our way and we will survive and might even find a better life, at the end of the day.
All in all, 2013 brought the couple a wonderful amount of family time and grandkids time and Momma had a fairly good year with only one tiny medical scare, which turned out to be age related and at 91, she is in good health. The couple began retirement life with a full lower level remodel and we have enjoyed it every day since it's completion last April. The retirement life has gone quite well so one year in, I'd say this is going to be a good way to face the golden years. Just walking through them enjoying the life we've built.
What does 2014 hold for any of "us"?  I don't know, but I see another opportunity to grow as people. Another chance to be a better person. Lord knows, I have a great deal of room for improvement.  I think it's the year of finding who I want to be for the rest of my life. I am realizing that I have spent a lot of energy and time climbing mountains for people I care about and for people who needed a friend only to find that they don't cross the sidewalk for me for any reason. I'm not willing to do that any more. I'm still willing to be there for anyone who needs me and I will give whatever I have to give, but it will not be available on a let me drop my life right here and run to you, basis. It may be a little more on my schedule. I'm not going to find this change easy, but I'm going to work on it.
I am personally going to lower my expectations. I have begun this long lesson and it has worked for my level of happiness and relationships have gotten better because I am just accepting people I really love for who they are without expectations of them doing what I'd like. But, rather being overjoyed at what they do.  It turns out to be better all around that way. The less you ask or expect, apparently, the more you actually receive. I will work on spreading that no expectation thing to everyone in my life.
As long as I can feel loved by those I love, it's a good life. As long as I can feel the sun and not live in eternal winters, life is good.

Happy 2014 to you all and if you'd like,  leave a comment about your "new" plans!


Monday, December 30, 2013



As I started my evening browsing through the days postings on December 29, 2013, I was stunned, saddened and totally drenched in my own tears. The wonderful administrators of my original blogging group announced they were closing the group. Done. Finished. Elizabeth "Bethie" Grace and Stephanie Decilva Cardinale have been co-admins of the site Beth started in 2011, for the past year or so.  It's been much less active since Beth took a sabbatical and her loving and complete involvement became nearly non-existent. Others followed her example and though the prompts were posted weekly and were picked up by some writers, the large number of bloggers we were all used to reading and commenting with, slowly dissipated. The leadership personality was not present and we missed that. We apparently wrote for Beth!  We wrote for approval of our leader, as it were. Maybe not, but it felt that way. Actually what I think happened was that when we saw her step away, really step away, no blogs and no comments, we felt it was okay to do that as well.  We felt it was okay to not write for each other or to read each other or to comment on each other's work because, this was the new group personality.

Now, I'm not BLAMING Beth for the end of life of our close and brilliant group, though it reads as if I am, I am BLAMING us, the members who let her down and then let Stephanie down even more. When she tried to help Beth and keep us actively writing, we walked away. We stopped supporting each other; we didn't support Stephanie nor did we support Beth's life choice, though we said we did.
We didn't write. We broke the wonderful supportive and encouraging bond we had developed under Beth's tutelage.  I'm so sad about that.

Beth says it's the natural life span of a group to be born. To thrive and to die.  Maybe. But, I'm sad and like an old friend who has moved away and forgotten my name or that I love her, I will sorely miss this writing group and will never forget the experiences I've had here. The things I learned here and the friends I will always have because we met here.

I love you, Elizabeth Grace for all you have done for me since we met and for taking my friendship and reading my wordy and sometimes ridiculous blogs. And I wish you a future filled with love, kids, hubs and a little red barn with a black and white cow in your own back yard.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Gift

As we draw ever closer to Christmas, my birthday, New Year's Eve, New Year'sDay and my sister's birthday...holidays are on my mind. Here is my gift to each of you, my faithful readers and my 2 or 3 faithful commenters.

From this day forward, may you look in the mirror daily and see the beauty and uniqueness that is you.

May you remember that giving is how you teach others to love.

May a shield of peace and comfort engulf you today and most of your days.

May your life have just enough sadness to remind you of your blessings.

As you walk through the remaining years of earthly life, may you always feel the hand of God in your own. His arms always snugly holding you in times of stress always calming your heart.

May you be mindful of the importance of family and love in your life. Without it, life is hollow. Family isn't always blood, but it is always support and warmth on a cold night.

Merry Christmas and a bright and shiny 2014. May all your dreams come true.

Thank you for reading, sharing, tweeting and's food for my soul.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Naughty and Nice

GBE2 Prompt for the week...Naughty and Nice

New Recipe - oh, very NICE for someone who loves to cook new and different things.

Making a New Recipe with less than yummo results - NAUGHTY  and irritating.

Family gatherings - NICE no matter the reason or season.

Missing a Family Gathering - NAUGHTY regardless of the reason. Family First.

New Clothes - NICE. Who doesn't like new duds?

Shopping For New Clothes - NAUGHTY .  I do not enjoy clothing shopping. I do most of mine online.

Being a Grown-Up Retiree - NICE.  Really.

Sharing Retirement with Your Spouse - NICE. Almost all the time.  I still require my alone in the house time or road trip.  I feel like we are more of a team now than when we both had a job to deal with.

Home Remodeling Projects - NICE. Nothing makes me more giddy than tackling a project to increase the value of our home or freshen it up.

Remodeling WITH Your Spouse - NAUGHTY. Nothing more to add. Just avoid this at all costs.

My life is for certain filled with Naughty and Nice things and some of the naughtiest have been the  nicest I will add without explanation.

When FatBoy in red checks his list, I'm fairly confident he'll be making a stop at my chimney 'cuz I heard he really likes the Naughty Girls.  ;-)


Anti-Bucket List

GBE2 prompt...a list of things you don't ever want to do=Anti-Bucket List

This won't be real hard for me and it's a short list. Never isn't a word to use lightly because we never know what's down the road for us.

1) I never want to forget that it is God who gives me all my strength and will always be with me.

2) I never want to be without family - NEVER. It doesn't matter where they live or where I live, they will always be in my heart and I in theirs.

3) I never want to lose my passion for life and writing.

4) I never want to take anyone in my life for granted. I hope I never do.

5) I never want to need live-in help because I am unable to take care of myself. Please, Lord, take me home before that happens.

6) I never want to be too busy to give someone, anyone, who needs my help a hand or a word or a ride or whatever else they might need. (I might need a reminder here.)

7) I never want to skydive. See #5, unless...

That's pretty much it. Otherwise, I want to live everyday and try new things and have no regrets. I want to learn from my mistakes and then go out and make new ones. This is life and I don't want to miss it.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Girl Who Wanted...

As Jo Heroux tells this story, she finds herself falling asleep every other page or so. Oh, not because she is bored, but rather that she can't keep up with the action. The beginning is pretty ordinary things like making a bedroom in the closet, any closet will do and a make-believe friend, Chester, who everyone enjoys until one day...

The young adult years take you through a roller coaster of emotions and you'll no doubt relate to much of her trials and tribulations. Typical young adult stuff, like two kids in two years and a marriage going from awesome to awful in just under ten years. There might be some good times thrown in.

Finding Mr. Right wasn't a given, as you will see and what happened then? The real story begins.

The story of "The Girl Who Wanted..." to be everything and do everything and the road she took to try.

This is a ride you won't want to miss...


GBE2 prompt of Inspiration for week of 11-24-13

I am inspired by many things that I see daily or weekly or have only seen once. It comes to me from people mostly, but sometimes from Nature or events out there in the world. You simply never know from whence an inspiration may appear. I try to watch for them and still they sneak up on me sometimes.

My stories and my blogs come from the life I live and the lives my friends and family live. I feel their pain or share my own. I rejoice in their happiness or spread happiness from my own blessed life. Writing comes from deep within me and can never be stifled for long. If I felt it or witnessed it, I will have to write of it. I may share it, I may just write it for my own mental health. It depends on how free I feel to share.

But living...that inspiration comes from people around me who live a life closer to my goals than I am doing at this moment. Every day I try to be a better, more giving human than I was the day before. I want to improve without fail, but so far, I fail. I am happy to say some days, some, I do okay. I think overall I am a better person than I was a year ago. I am a more understanding and forgiving person than I was two years ago and I am a happier person than I've ever been in my life. I think the happiness comes from giving happiness. I try everyday to make someone smile. If I accomplish that, I'm good to go!

When someone needs me, I feel obligated and honored to help. I am always a little exhausted from the effort, but isn't that what giving is? You can't give without losing something. On the other hand, I gain such a feeling of purpose. It is impossible to give without receiving.

Inspiration comes from everything around me. Inspiration to be a better wife, a better mom and a better sister and daughter comes from my family. I can do better and I will.

Inspiration to be kind comes from every person who is kind to me for no reason. Also comes from every person who is rude to me for any reason. I don't like rude and I don't want to be rude, so I am inspired to never copy that behavior by those who think it's okay. It's not okay.

Nature inspires me to believe. To believe in me, God, goodness and life and death all being natural things that all work together. We are born, we learn to love, we grow and learn to give, we live and learn to take and we die and learn true grace. Nature reminds me. Grounds me. Makes me happy.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Salute to Veterans 2013

 (Submitted to our Local Paper for Veterans Day 2013)

All around us are people walking through their normal days and nights. We smile as we pass in a crowd or a doorway and sometimes we make small talk. Sometimes we strike up a conversation with a total stranger because we find ourselves waiting for something or someone in a common space. We may learn during our small talk that our partner is a veteran of our Armed Forces. I hope you take a moment of your free time to say "thanks" because every veteran is owed that personal message and so much more.

I write a tribute every year to our veterans because I am eternally grateful and impressed by their sacrifices. I am constantly humbled by their responses which range from, tears to a simple statement of how they would do it again or what a honor it was to serve. "Really?" is what comes to my mind. How incredibly special are these men and women who give up 2 to 20 years of their private lives to serve our country and then feel honored to have done so? They are the bravest of the brave and the best of the best. They require our respect and our service until the end of their days. The physically wounded should never have another financial woe as long as they live and should receive the best available medical care always. Those with psychological injuries should never again wonder how to hold a job or how to survive or where to live. They should be taken care of by the Veteran's Health Care providers without cost or question. We, citizens who have never served, should be footing that bill without hesitation. Our government is long overdue making these things happen without years of red tape and rejections. Anything anytime for any veteran, that should be the motto and the business plan. I, for one, pray for that day to come sooner rather than later. We owe these amazing people that and much more.

I cannot change the government programs. I cannot make life on easy street a reality for those veterans who are not able to afford their homes or their medical needs. I am not a wealthy woman. I am a writer with a giant soft spot for all who have given so much for my country and their own. I am a strong believer that people can make change when change is needed by talking, writing and sharing ideas and then voting for people who will begin the change process. Let's do that. Let's change our veterans programs. Let's take care of our best. They took care of us. It's our turn now.

On this Veterans Day, 2013, I'd humbly offer my own thank you and my deepest appreciation for all you gave, whatever it was, it was more than I gave. I'd like to offer my prayers for your future to be nothing but good days and restful nights. I pray for your families who welcomed you home and that your life be filled with love and respect from all who salute you as you live your post-service days in peace. A peace you helped to secure. A country you represented and protected is your home sweet home and I wish you nothing but good all the days of your life.

Signing your life over to the USA is a completely non-selfish act and an act only a handful of our citizenry undertakes. You are the few and the proud, even if you aren't a Marine. You are the bravest of the brave and you are all that you could be and you did fly high or sailed with anchors aweigh. I am so thankful and I am so proud of each and every one of you.

With the freedom you helped secure, I salute each of you. I admire each of you. I humbly and sincerely thank each of you.

Walk proudly and share with those around you the fact that you proudly served and give us a chance to shake that hand, buy that drink or lunch. Yes, give us a chance to really thank you.

Jo Heroux

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

SAD Moving Into November

As I sit looking out my window, the gloom, the rain, the gray are creating a dismal and depressing scene. In years past this would be a curl up with a book or old movies day. I would not have attempted to accomplish anything because my energy level and my motivation wouldn't have supported me had I tried.

When I was working, I didn't have that choice. I had a job to do and people who counted on me to be present both physically and mentally.  I became a fairly competent actress and put on my smile and a little extra make-up and threw myself into being creative for my clients.

For years I did this. Week-ends and nights were for my self-indulgent SAD declines. I survived and I learned nothing from that until this summer. I began to research and study SAD treatments and testimonials and I realized I had the answer, maybe, for all those years and didn't even see it.

I "acted" fine for 40 to 60 hours a week for many years!  Inside I didn't really feel fine, but I was.  I was functioning, laughing, eating, drinking and being me! Then when the pressure was off, I would remove the mask and allow the darkness to engulf me.  Why? Why would I do that when obviously I didn't have to? It was easier. Not better, but easier.

So with September 2013 being a fairly lovely and bright month, I had no symptoms. The first two weeks of October were like summer extension! I floated through the first 6 weeks of what is historically a very unhappy time for me. Not even a twinge of emptiness during a two day rain because I was still filled with the solar energy of the late summer.

Then it came on overnight. I awoke in the third week of October with a heaviness and a dread with no explanation and no awareness. This happens sometimes, I am just living it, not even realizing I'm a bit absent. I will over-react, I will be very negative, I will be cold. In hindsight, I will see it, but in the moment, I likely will not.

About a week in I became vividly aware and immediately started my new program of mental control and inspiration. I began to visualize and pull myself out.  I began to act.

October is gone and I have 2 months gone. I am walking easily so far,  6 days into November. Yes, nearly a week into the third month and even this dreary horrid weather day is just another day. I am alive, I am blessed in dozens of ways and I am writing and acting my way through!

I do love the sunshine and I do get motivation from the bright blue skies, but I can also act my way through this with the right tools. Lists to refer to, motivation. Inspirational posts, for gratitude and of course, pictures of my family to inspire success.

One more day behind moment at a time I will welcome the spring without having to drag myself over that finish line.

Sunshine in my soul.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Just One Tree

 Standing in the kitchen, staring at the tiny Maple tree they planted the year they bought this house, she can't help but think back to that wonderful day when this became home. When everything was normal.

As had happened so many times before, Carrie felt the weight of their future on her shoulders alone. It was up to her to make things happen or live with nothing ever getting done. The house was now bought and payments were made regularly. She arranged that. The gardener, the housekeeper, the repair people anyone that was needed for anything was on her "to do list" never on his.

Kent still lives in his own little world where everything gets done for him. He sees things that need to be done and in no time at all, they are done. It's an easy life and he is deliriously happy and in love.

Everything had changed for them in over 6 years of marriage. She was happy, though sometimes overwhelmed, and she still felt there was no one better suited to her life or more deserving of her love than Kent. Life really was, finally, good for them.

The news from the doctor would be the most difficult thing she had ever had to share with him and this could not be fixed. All the problems they had encountered and discussed and she had taken charge of, since then, were nothing compared to this burden she was about to drop in his lap. He would not be prepared. She was not.

Looking back at their lives Carrie knows that beyond any fear and any pain she had to face, she would never be alone again. She would never not live a day without him and she would be able to depend on him because nothing in his life came before his devotion to her. With that, she would share with him her cancer had returned and was inoperable and too wide spread to look for chemo to help.

Again, he would just take over her role and he would take over her fears. He would be the man he had always been every other time she needed him. Six to eight weeks of goodbyes and I love yous and strength from him, that was her reality now.


The GBE2 prompt was to write the end of a story. Here is the end of "Just One Tree". 


I have written a good deal about SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, because I have suffered with it for years. I never used to actually talk about it, other than to say that fall is not my favorite time of year. I guess I thought it was ridiculous that weather could actually make you depressed in a clinical way. Describing what I live through is difficult because it isn't the normal or common kind of depression. I do not suffer from lack of happiness, I do not feel alone, I do not feel overwhelmed. I do sometimes have physical pains that have no explanation and pass exactly as they appeared, quickly and without hangover symptoms. That pain is normally either my hands or my shoulders. Why? No answer to that, so far.

What happens to me when SAD takes over? I am moody. I am not me. I am either very ornery or I am just out of control. I am disorganized and sometimes nearly speechless, as in, I have nothing at all that seems like it needs to be said. Pleasantries are non-existent. I'm not a nice person to be around. I try to just stay away from people, if I am aware that I have fallen into the SAD trap.  That's the rub, I'm not always even aware that I am being affected. I will see it in hindsight. I have lost more than one friend who didn't know or didn't understand even when I apologized or explained, but most of my close friends know if I'm acting out of character and it's past September and not close to April, maybe just mention to me that I don't seem to be myself. It has worked in the past. Awareness at the very least, helps me to tape my mouth shut and get up off my butt. Doing something is always step one, changing my thinking is step two and of course, finding some sunshine will always help. Fake sun doesn't work for me, at all. It's more about the gloom and darkness than a fake sun dose daily. I will not take medications because I am pretty much non-medication unless absolutely nothing else works and serious pain is involved. Some years have been easier than others. I have learned a few things over the years including my best explanation of what it's like to live in here; I basically feel nothing. I don't really feel, love or hate or compassion or anger. I don't feel hurt or sad or happy; though I may have happy moments and sad moments, they will pass quickly.

I have done some research and I am beginning a new and kind of hodge podged plan for this season. I took ideas from other sufferers and doctor's thoughts and programs and built my own plan just for me and what I need help with most. A friend suggested acupuncture and I looked into that and will be seeing a well-reputed acupuncturist in a couple of weeks to give that a shot, pun intended, as well.

My concentration is on looking back. Something I don't usually do. Why? Because seeing how many days of the season I have survived is helpful to knowing I can move forward. The season is a long one in Michigan and I will be escaping in March for a few weeks to find sunshine and relaxation. I will be looking forward to that trip, but not counting the days. That can pull me down because it's a big number. While thinking about going and making the travel plans will be fun and exciting, I will not be specifically thinking about when, only where and what. I will also be taking each hour as it comes. I will have specific projects which I control for each month. I have determined that always having something on my horizon is necessary to keep my mind full of good things.

I am smiling more. I mean looking in my mirror, thinking of one of the hundreds of reasons I have to smile daily, smiling from my heart. I am using mantra's that I have collected to encourage these smiles, when needed. Simple as that sounds, it is helping. Smiling is powerful, apparently.

I am making my list of projects to begin in November. Nothing gigantic like last years downstairs remodel, but little things that I have been putting off and will enjoy tackling. My office is getting a make-over with new paint, shelves being removed and cabinets put in. My kitchen is getting a fresh paint job and I am going to reorganize and totally purge my cupboards. That will be more than a week's worth.
There will be more, but for now, that's my list. Thinking of something involving my fireplace, but I have to get Roomy on board for that job.  :-}

Daily looking at how much of October is gone, then how much of November has passed etc., is the looking back part. Changing my way of thinking is not going to be real easy, but I am going to give it all I have. I believe it can make a difference.

If I can keep myself level on a day to day basis, if I can just do this one hour at a time, I do think it could work for me. And if I do have a day or three that I just can't find that morning smile? If writing doesn't bring me back, then I guess I'll give in to that one or two days, but nothing beyond that and I will fight even for those to not win. Busy minds can't turn dark, I hope.

I will also be writing on a schedule again. I used to do that. I have not for the past couple of years. It helps to keep me focused and it gets all those stories and feelings out of my head and into my journal of writings. Some you will see, some you will not. But write, I shall.

Feel free to comment if you like, but please understand that I am not looking for more ideas, at this point. I am going to work this plan and I am going to give it 100% this year. I do not want another winter of dismay and apologies to people who didn't deserve the sharpness they may have received from my messed up brain. I really want to be the organized, kind and loving person who I know lives in this body. I want her to win this one.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Nano Fiction-Three in Five

This Old House
Fifteen years ago they bought a twelve year old house and lived through these years without thought to update or replace a single inch. It became a necessity as they prepared to downsize for their retirement years. Updating would bring more money at sale time, but it also made them so happy in their beloved home that selling was not imperative. Happiness, it seems, does not require downsizing.

The OCD Cat
Chuck is a white, long haired, squishy faced, tom cat of questionable heritage. At the age of 6, he is considered to be in his prime; his humans believe it's prime OCD. Chuck turns exactly 4 times before settling at his bowl for meals. The same 4 turns before going out his cat door or re-entering. Any attempt to interrupt that routine requires a restart of the four consecutive turns because, as most know, cats are nothing if not independent.

It Must Be Love
He found the day incomplete and empty when she traveled, which she often did. She loved the trips and yet thought of him hourly while on the road, in the air or dining without him. They each smiled, kissed and hugged as she left on every new venture while each silently wished it was the last time. After thirty-five years of her comings and goings, she announced at dinner that her job had been eliminated and neither of them felt a loss.

Friday, October 11, 2013


There is a fine line between respect and fear. It's hard sometimes to know the difference. Raising my children I often wondered if I was instilling respect or fear. I know now it was a little of both. They feared suffering consequences of their rule breaking actions, but they respected me for my consistency. Hindsight is very helpful.

Parental respect is vital to raising people who function in adulthood with the skills to negotiate and compromise with others. No one gets to be right every time and no one has to give in every time. What everyone does get and does deserve, is to be heard. Having respect for others allows for give and take of ideas and consequently, can lead to a middle of the road plan of action. I fear this mutual respect aspect is sorely missing from a great deal of today's society. I fear we are raising an entire generation of people who have no respect and little fear.

Parents who are befriending their children are unable to teach respect and don't instill fear because friends don't punish, they just talk. Talking is certainly important so that a child hears clearly what they did wrong, but equally important is a real and painful consequence. Losing a privilege that is unimportant to the child, relatively speaking, isn't effective. The punishment has to be such that fear of having that repeated might cause the child to not repeat this action. A little fear and then respect for parental authority.

It's our job to set a moral example for our kids, our grandkids and even the other kids in our lives. We need to remember that they are watching more than listening. Kids really do learn more of how grown-ups act, or should act, by watching the adults in their lives and how they live day to day. They will copy and admire everything you do. Even the bad or not so good things.

We had adult rules and kid rules in our house. My kids knew some things were okay for adults and that when they were adults themselves, they could make a choice as to copy our behavior or not. Adults were always portrayed as being wiser, more responsible and independent. The kids were taught that one day, they would also be adults and would be all of those things and their role for childhood through their teenage years was to become wiser, more responsible and independent. We taught by giving them chances to hone those skills. Sometimes they failed and  they learned consequences were to follow. Most often they succeeded and gained a bit more freedom for having proven they were ready. They also knew the law allowed adults to live by different rules like drinking alcohol and smoking or voting and driving. Those were decisions they would make when age allowed and not before.

Yes, they both drank before they turned 21. I didn't condone nor did I severely punish. I allowed the hangovers to do the punishments. They learned.

Respect was hard earned in my world and more is freely given as I age. While someone used to have to earn my respect, now they have it until they blow it. I like it this way and hope one day my children will adapt this philosophy, as well. To date, that isn't happening. They are very stingy with their respect.

I do hope that more of today's parents learn to teach their children respect for elders and authority. It is becoming very rare to see young ones who have any idea what respect means or how to show it. Parents are being disrespected and kids are learning wrong is what you got caught doing, not what you did.

Makes me a little sad.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Birthday~Coming in 13 Days

I am posting this on the 3rd of October 2013 and in just 13 days Momma will celebrate her 91st birthday.

That is so hard to really envision, isn't it? Ninety one years of living, loving, hurting, smiling, crying, hating and forgiving. Born in Kentucky, mostly raised in Ohio and moving with her family to Michigan around 1953 where she would have no support after having all of her family and Dad's family within a few minutes of her home all of her life. A 31 year old woman with her husband and three kids moved over 7 hours away from their families. Add to that some instability in the marriage and you begin to see what a giant step this was for her. She gambled and she fought for many years through trials and tribulations to finally around 1965 or thereabouts, find herself in a fairly good situation. Her children all raised, for the most part. Her husband 100% in the marriage and some stability finally. It was over 10 years of struggle and she would only have about 13 years of the sober and loving life before he passed and she was left alone to carry on.

Graduation day June 1967 Mom, me and Dad

They were the same age, 56, when he passed. She was not prepared. She was not an independent woman. The checkbook had been his territory. The bills, the income, the taxes and all things other than running her home, were his territory. In 1978, they became her territory with a mere few weeks to prepare. No, not true. The few weeks were spent at the hospital, hoping and assuming he would get well. So there really was no preparation time, though she did apparently pay the bills as they came in as we found no overdue notices when I went to help her get set up following the funeral. It was very difficult. But as with all things to follow, she did what she needed to do and was more than capable, though she was nervous. In the following few years she developed into a very independent and very strong woman. I have not really worried about her until very recently and that might be because I am more involved in her day to day life now and I see the years taking their toll.

 Now, don't misunderstand. She lives alone in her beautiful 2 bedroom 900+ square foot apartment and does most of her cleaning. I clean the high up things so she doesn't climb. My choice. She prepares her own meals, though I think she should be eating more. She goes down a flight of stairs everyday to get her mail and takes her garbage to the dumpster by walking across the parking lot and two driveways to do so. She is amazingly capable and amazingly willing to do what she is physically capable of doing. I love this about her. I love that she doesn't want help, but allows me to do what she simply can't safely do. She no longer drives so I taxi her where she needs or wants to be. She doesn't take advantage of that and in fact, won't even ask to go anyplace. I have to ask if she would like to go, is there any place she has been wanting to go, anything she needs that I haven't thought of and that is really the hardest thing. Intuition is a good tool and 
not really my strongest asset, though, I am always trying.

Momma (brown) and her neighbors in her apartment on her birthday in 2011
This year she will be staying home with my sister and her husband, and Mike and I and we'll be dining together. I will cook whatever sounds good to her and we'll have cake and she'll open presents from us. It won't be a big deal, but it will be a very BIG deal at the same time.
Our momma will be 91 years old and we still have her everyday in our lives. What a blessed family she has raised. What a good life she has now. We will celebrate IN her presence and IN her own home. I am aware how rare this is and I am so happy every time I think of what she has added to my life in the last few years since moving here. It's been 4 years next month that she has lived within 2 miles of me and that I have been her taxi and her lifeline to the outside world. It is heavy sometimes, but it's a blessing most times. Much like the years she was raising her children without a lot of help from our dad, it's tough some days and heavenly some days.

Last year's birthday at my house.

Birthdays...days to reflect. Days to be grateful and days to celebrate life to that point and dream of the ones to come. On her birthday I dare not dream too far ahead, but I love looking back with her and remembering anything she wants to remember. Her stories will fill a book one day and what they lack in accuracy, they will make up for with the knowledge that the stories I have and am still compiling are from her mouth to my ears and then my note pad. Her words, her life as she has chosen to recall it. I am good with that.

Happy birthday, Momma.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013


If there is one subject upon which I can speak with great authority, IF being key here, it would be Imperfect.
I am an admirer of imperfections. I am the embodiment of imperfection. I seek it out. I need it in my life and I have never had a shortage. Imperfections are all around me, all through me and in fact, finding perfect would be a waste of time for me. I don't need perfection because that means the learning is over. The growing stops with perfection. Anything done after perfect removes the perfection. Only a work of art, which stands unchanged forever can achieve and hold perfection. Other things lose their perfection with age or use or improvements. Wine does get better with age, but some turn into vinegar at some point and that is hardly perfect for a vintage wine.

The reason I don't want perfection in my life is because that is just one more thing I am not and don't need to compare myself to perfect.

.A friend of mine said that to her my life looked perfect. When I was able to stop laughing, I replied that it may indeed because the grass is always greener. I do have a pretty good life. I have a lot of love in my life and I am happy a great deal of the time. My life is not perfect. My heart is in a state of repair quite often over one thing or another. I am stressed out about a lot of things a lot of the time, but have learned to think things through and then do what I can do to make it better, but if that isn't possible then to hand over to God anything that I cannot change. I accept what IS and try to move through it with as much grace as I can summon. I accept what IS and pray for strength and wisdom to survive or help someone else survive whatever it is that IS. I can't do more and stressing doesn't make it better or give me peace. It doesn't change what IS and God will do what is to be done regardless of my stress level. So I relinquish all power over what IS and ask only for strength and wisdom for all involved. That isn't perfection, that is living a life I have learned through heartache and tears will go on whether I worried myself sick about something or not. I choose not. I'm not perfect. I make huge gigantic errors in judgement frequently. Why? Why haven't I learned after almost 64 years of life among other people that sometimes it's best to shut-the-hell-up? Because I always believe I am saying something that needs to be heard. I always think I'm helping. I'm not. Know why? Because I'm not perfect. I am, however, perfectly willing to listen to people who need to talk and when asked, sometimes not asked, perfectly willing to share my vast knowledge of a few subjects. I have many opinions. Some of them are founded in life history, mine. Some of them are just feelings or emotional opinions, but any advice I hand out always comes from a loving place and meant only to help or at the very least, get the listener to think for themselves while mulling over what I've spewed at them. Love isn't perfect, but it's constant.

I don't strive to be perfect nor do I seek perfection in my family or friends, I try to love them as they are and hope they will do the same. Perfection is boring and boring I am not.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Drat! It's Coming Again!

 Here it comes. Ready or not. And I'm not.

 I'm never ready for Fall. My flowers are wilting or have already died. The humming birds are feeding ferociously to gain strength for their long flights. I will miss them. The days are cooler, though we've had a good bit of sunshine so far. The nights are cold. Like me. Fall makes me cold.

I spend a good deal of time in September looking for something to make me laugh. Looking for something to occupy my mind because if I don't, nothing occupies my mind or my heart. If I don't find joy by actively looking for it, it eludes me.

I find all of this odd. I am a joyful person. I choose happiness. I choose smiles over tears. I choose love over loneliness. the fall, I cannot make those choices. They are not available to me. I am preparing for the bleakness of winter, I guess. I really don't know why this happens. I really cannot stop it. I cannot control my head or my heart in the fall. I want to embrace the bright colors, the comfortable temperatures, the holidays coming up. But I don't. I don't.

The part that really bothers me is that in the past the thought of the holidays would bring me such joy that I could actually limit the lows by concentrating and getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas and my own birthday. That doesn't work anymore because those days are still joyful and joy filled, but it's only the day. Not the season anymore. Not the idea of family it used to bring to mind, though I do dwell on the memories of those awesome times. Not being one to live in the past, this is one exception and one time when I allow myself to not only look back, but also to willingly bring those days to the forefront of my mind. Those days make me smile, make me warm and make me yearn all at the same time. The good and the bad.

Aging is hard sometimes. It's also wonderful sometimes. I have decided for me, at least, that aging is much more about looking ahead than looking back. I have decided that aging is decisions made for you that you would not have chosen, but must accept. Children grown into adults raising their own children have their own ideas of what they want their life to be. They have their own plans. Aging means you have to let go, again. You have to accept what they need for their families and try to fit yourself into their needs. Aging means you are changing, even when you don't want change. It's hard, it's life.

Here's the rub. I'm sad. I'm unmotivated. I'm not enjoying my life. I am enjoying moments of my life. I am enjoying talking with the kids and their kids. I am enjoying having time for Momma and my friends. I am enjoying having no pressure on me to produce or to perform. I like the freedom of aging. The freedom that allows me to just do what I want, when I want except when Momma needs me. I am working very hard right now to ignore fall and ignore the heaviness in my being. I am focusing on enjoying more and more moments until they equal my life again. The moments really are your life, you know?

I am very grateful for my friends, my supportive group of family and friends and of course, for the man who puts up with all this moodiness and has zero understanding of any of it. He was definitely sent to me.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Choices Made Then...

Every single day we make choices. Sometimes we make really big ones which we may or may not have agonized over and sometimes we make instant choices with little thought. They can all change the outcome of our lives in some way. They can all create pain or pleasure in our future and we seldom have a clue, regardless of how well thought out the decision may have been, what the pain or pleasure might be.

We have always had pets in our home. When the kids were here, we had cats, dogs, rodents of varying types and fish. Always wanted pets in our lives and still do.

Our furbabies have kept our empty nest from ever feeling any less than full. They make us smile, give us someone to talk to when one of us is gone or busy. They make us laugh on days when absolutely nothing is funny, except them. Sadie turned 12 in May of this year and Jake turned 13 two weeks later. They are senior furbabies now and we see them not playing quite so much, Jake has aches and pains in his hind legs and sneezes in a weird way, Sadie has allergies and otherwise seems good. They both have cataracts and Jake doesn't hear much, but Sadie lets him know if he needs to be barking an alarm.

They see their doc once a year for geriatric check-ups and this year for heartworm tests. Both were negative for that. Sadie has developed a heart murmur and anemia. Jake's liver enzymes are very high. Doc isn't sure why or if we can correct this; he will have another test this week for more in depth testing. Sadie we will check again in 6 months, unless she develops symptoms, in which case we will be re-checking sooner. At this point, both are asymptomatic. While this is good news inside of a big box of not so good news, it's a slap in the face reminder that my babies are aging and I need to be prepared to accept that they will not outlive me, likely.

The decision to get another dog when our last little princess passed just a few months short of her 18th birthday, was never an option for me, but Roomy was a hard sell. That is until he saw Sadie sitting on the toe of his work boot, front feet on his shin and little black eyes looking right into his a full 6 foot away from hers. Then, well, it was all over. He was in love.

Jake was just as quick to fit into our lives a few months later. He was almost a year old when he came to us and by the second day, one would have thought they'd grown up together; he the older and she the younger, they fell right into a pattern of family. We all just fit together.

Over time, Jake has become a Momma's boy and Sadie is all about Roomy, she's a Daddy's girl all the way. They each love both of us, but clearly, given the choice, he chooses me and she chooses Roomy.
I do the bathing, the doctor visits, the pill giving, the human chew toy game Sadie enjoys now and then  and he plays fetch and feeds them. Wonder why she likes him best?  LOL  The real wonder is why Jake likes me! He is all about FOOD and that comes from Roomy.  But, I am the one who swims with him and swimming makes Jakie a very happy pup.

Looking now at facing the inevitable loss of our babies, not now, but not many years from now either, I still would make the same decision we made back then 12 years ago. The love in your life that comes from furbabies is unmatched by any other love. They love unconditionally and they give without expectation. They only want love, food and to be with their humans as much as possible. Unless they are our babies, then they also want treats and carrots. Lots of carrots, please. And they want doggie beds of their own for when they don't want to be on the human furniture. And they want to go bye-bye often, please. Every time the car moves would be best.

The decision to adopt these two has lead us to a ginormous amount of pleasure and ultimately it will break our hearts. The pain of losing either/or is unbearable. No question. Yet, it was a good decision because I truly believe it is always better to have known love and lose it than to never have known love. I know that no one would have given these two more love or better lives than we have. I know that when they are gone we will be devastated and we will again open our hearts to the ultimate heartbreak and adopt again. For me, a home without a pup isn't quite a home for me.

For now, I will keep a close eye on each of them and give them only the best of everything and, as per the doc, no salt and no table food. This does not make them happy, but it will help preserve their health. It is the new law and Roomy has stopped the table feeding, finally. And most importantly I will, as I have since day one, appreciate the privilege of being my furbabies mom. I will touch them as often as they want or need it and I will enjoy every moment of our time together. I will continue to love and be loved.

Like so many decisions in my own life, this one turned out to have a good deal more good than heartache, but the inevitable heartache will be massive. The bottom line, yes, worth it.


 Living in the and always. ~ Jo


Monday, August 26, 2013


Nope, never is not a word I say often. Since most anything can happen, saying never is often just a waste of air. Never is a long time.

Never is all the time we have left. There are things I can say "will never" about...

I will  never be young again.  But I will never be this young again, either.

I will never have another child. But I will never not have a child in my life because I will seek them out.

I will never not love someone or something. I need love.

I will never regret having become a mother which lead to becoming a grandmother.

I will never look back at my life with regret. It changes nothing and makes me sad. No benefit.

I will never intentionally abuse another soul. Ever.

I will never say never about anything in my future that could possibly happen. I have learned that things do happen which I would never have perceived.

Never has a purpose in our language, but for me, it's just a word that keeps me in line. Because I am trying to live the rest of my days without regret. I have only one giant regret in my 63, nearly 64 years and I don't intend to amass anymore. But the road of never is not one I dare to travel frivolously.

NEVER wonder if I care what you think, nor if it matters to anyone what's in your mind, know that it matters and that I care.  Leave a few words, if you'd like so that I never have to wonder what you won't ever do. 


Sunday, August 18, 2013


 My last post was all about my wonderful 3 days with autism. Yep, in a nutshell I wrote about the gifts I received from two boys I have loved from afar for a couple of years and finally got to physically connect with and laugh with and fill my heart to overflowing. I am framing a couple of the pictures for my office walls or shelves because now the moments are memories and I want to hold on to them always.

This posting will be NOT about the boys, so much. This three day visit also included some adult time with Amy McMunn Schindler, Hillary Dana-Rumi and Andrea Coventry along with Jennae Buiniski Moran and Ellie Bruczicki Bradley and very brief encounters with Roland Schindler, Julio and Fares Rumi.  Those guys just sorta passed through our time together, but deserve a little mention because they WERE there and I did get to meet them all. This trip was about the kids and the ladies.

Walking up to the front door of Amy's house, I felt no nerves, no trepidation. None. What I felt in that 50 foot walk was nothing but excitement and glee. I could see her standing in the kitchen as I approached the door. My heart sort of leaped a bit, she is real. She is as beautiful as the photos I've seen and she is smiling and coming to the door with open arms. I could hardly hug her enough. My Amy was hugging ME. It was awesome. I imagine I will see that 2 minutes again and again in my head as I think of this trip, which I shall do many times.

Rusty sat politely, tail wagging, up on his behind, front paws raised to give me kisses and a proper greeting if I would just kneel to his height. I did so because I never refuse puppy love and certainly not from such a handsome and polite little man-dog. I really LOVE Rusty.

We had a short visitation and tour and I met Will and then I met Trey and the respite worker Julio all while Amy was busily preparing snacks for the ladies and chatting with me while we passed our first hour or so in each other's company. Very easy. Very natural. Very much what I knew we would be together. She the age of my youngest child and me, well, older than Will had imagined and he did tell me this the next day.  Bless his heart.  LOL puppy love.
When Hillary and Andrea arrived for the wine and snacks, the hugging continued, the chatting, the getting to know each other, (like we didn't already) continued. We laughed, we sipped, we talked and when Roland got home to take over the boys, Hillary, Andi and I left for dinner and Amy went to talk with a mom who had a newly diagnosed child with autism. While we missed her at dinner, we so respected what she was doing, that we simply carried on. We shared a fabulous walk along the Erie Canal and dinner at a Greek restaurant in Pittsford. Oddly, they had some lovely wines and we each had a little with our dinner. The three of us seemed to me like old friends who hadn't gotten together in a long time. I was not the new kid, or the visiting relative, I was just another friend. So good. So pleasant and so relaxing.

Day two began at 6:00 a.m. for me. Now, let me remind or inform you, if you don't know me at all, I am NOT a morning person. Not ever up any earlier than I naturally wake up except for very important things whose times I cannot control or for people who are THAT dear to me. Okay, so they tell me the Public Market is a must on my visit and I love Public Market's so I'm all in. Then they inform me you must be there early or you miss all the good stuff and breakfast there is great. This is the dear friend part, I agree. I am to be at Amy's by 8 a.m.  Okay, I can do this. Amy suggests 8:30, I'm good with that. Turns out to be 9:00 is the better time, so by my arrival at her home, I am actually awake and nearly human with 3 large cups of coffee already consumed. 

The breakfast was really good and a lot of fun. No wine. A meal without wine is called breakfast, so we adhered to that.  Shopped the market, got some produce for the locals and I got some cool nail colors for a buck a bottle. BARGAIN.  Mostly I loved just walking around the market and seeing all the people, produce and enjoying Will's excitement, too.

The winery was next on our agenda. A local and beautiful winery that give tours and tastings! Breakfast is over so we're good to go with the winery tasting.  Long story short here, we tasted first and toured an hour or so later. Tasting was delightfully fun and really good wine, and resulted in some healthy purchases; tour was not good because we had a not friendly nor child loving guide and Will was totally into the process and Amy could not keep up with the crowd and got us yelled at more than once.  Tour guide needed some lessons in public relations, but somehow, we managed to giggle our way through and only embarrass Will a few times. Will the rule follower, us not so much.

The end of the tasting...note empty glasses and big smiles!

That evening we took Will and Hillary's older son, Joey with us to Ellie's house for a little after dinner get together. Dinner was at a Pub with really good food and excellent company. The boys behaved better than most adults present and we all left with full tummy's and smiles. The Pub also had wine. No pics here.  Hummmm.  Well.

The evening was so fun and Jennae joined us with her son which meant all the boys were outta there, for the most part. Except when Will decided to puke and then needed some cuddle time with me. WITH ME!  I loved that, he is just the sweetest thing.  And I didn't have clean-up duty as Jennae, Amy and Ellie went full speed into cleaning mode. And really how many women does it take to clean up a little barely digested dinner upchucked. I just had to cuddle with the oh so sorry and oh so adorable Will.  All good!

Between Andi's stories, Hillary's commentary and Jennae and Ellie and Amy's two cents worth all the general fun and silly conversation the evening passed in a flash! These ladies are the best company, seriously, drunk and funny!  Oh, I meant to say, beautiful and funny.  Stupid autocorrect! 

The last day of my visit was an adult lunch at the Owl House and featured a delicious if not oversized bloody mary. I shared. Food was great and the atmosphere was unique and quaint and I loved every minute of this gathering. I also got to sleep in on day 3.  :-)

We returned to Amy's home and sat around the living room while Hillary's little one, Jules, played with Trey's vacuums and other toys and along with enjoying him, we continued to talk and giggle and interact with Will occasionally and I sat in with Trey and his therapist for a few minutes and got to enter and pose with him in his vacuum room for a picture. Special treat for me, for sure. ♥  The whole afternoon was just relaxed and fun and made me realize what wonderful humans I had attached myself to in such a short real life time. Perhaps because we have all had many hours of online talking and joking and even sharing personal things, but the feeling was of old friends, not new ones. Very special. We may have also had a few adult beverages during our visit. At some point here, Fares Rumi came to collect his baby from us so that dinner could eventually be an adult affair. It was to be a spicy meal, so Will did not have any interest in joining us.

A quick stop at the mall so I could ride the beautiful carousel with Trey and we were off to dinner leaving Roland and Julio with the fellas two at the carousel and the other two in the Game Stop.

Our farewell dinner was Mexican and authentic and fabulous. The drinks here were large and delish. Except this is where Amy remembered that she doesn't like tequila, after ordering a giant fish bowl sized margarita. Andi ordered the same, but had no problem downing hers! Brava, Andi!  Hillary went for the normal size and I went with the white russian in a mug. Amy's was the only one left on the table when we made our way out.

Back to the hotel...hugs all around. BIG HUGS. BIG THANK YOUS. In my room a few big tears. I was missing them already.

My rehab began the moment I got into my car to head back to Michigan. New York was wonderful, fun and I hope to return before too long, but I must finish rehab first!  ♥

I suspect I will relapse on my next visit.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Power. I had it. I loved it. I want to tell you about it. I had the power to travel to meet some people I had loved for a couple of years now and I DID it. I took the opportunity and I DID it.
That's what power is and you can have it, if you reach out and take it!

This past Sunday evening I got into my brand new car with a small suitcase and a bag of gifts and headed toward Rochester, NY.  It's an 8 hour drive and with Roomy's encouragement, I got a jump on my trip.  You see, I wasn't expected on the other end until Monday evening. I simply couldn't wait.  I drove a little over 3 hours, got a room and jumped up Monday morning to complete my 5 hours.

I got to my hotel in Victor, NY early afternoon and called Amy Schindler to tell her that I was in town and heading over. It was about 6 miles to her house. 

 Before I could pass out even one gift, Rusty gave me a loving and warm greeting. He was my puppy love for the next 3 days.  What a good boy!

The girls! Hillary, Amy and Andi...oh, so happy to meet, hug and face-to-face with each and all! Love them.

 Gifts were passed out to Amy, Hillary and Andi...then to Will and Trey. And Will gave me my first gift, the long awaited meeting and holding Yin Ling, the gecko. She is so cute and Will loves her so much! I felt and still feel, so blessed to be allowed to share gecko adoration with Will.
 Trey asked to "blow green", though I had no clue what blow green meant, Amy assured him that I would love to blow green and I was surely willing! Turns out, blow green means blow up the green balloons and blow them up, with direction from Trey, is exactly what I did. He was so sweet to me and I loved this interaction which I had not even hoped for. I was in heaven by this time!  Second gift! HUGE!

Will serves me a lovely glass of wine.  Look at that face! This is day 2, we are friends now and have had several wonderful talks and played a couple of iPad games and loved on Yin Ling a few times.  Gift 3.

Grandma Jo is a happy woman.
 Later than evening we went to Ellie Bradley's house for a really nice chat session with wine and kids! Hillary's son, Joey and Will and another friend, Jennae's son, aka Duece, not using that name anymore, oops!  Ha ha ha ha
Anyway, this is Will cuddling with me after a little stomach upset from possibly eating a bit too much too fast and upchucking mid party. No problem. All was forgiven and he felt fine, but the cuddling was a fantastic gift to me. I love a good cuddle and he was so sweet and so sorry and so adorable and well, I love this guy. Period. 4.  HUGE.

Above*^^^^^*the famous vacuum room and Trey agreed to pose with me in that special room. The gifts just keep coming. I am now pinching myself. What a sweet and funny boy he is and how special I felt being allowed to blow green, pose in the vacuum room and play a game with him, sort of!  He ended the game quickly and Amy, Andi and I just had to laugh because clearly the game was over as he swept his hand over the table.  LOL  Gift 5.
The beloved Carousel. Although I was not permitted to share his seat, silly me for asking, I was directed to the highest of the three horses directly in front of him!  LOL
I share his love of carousels and I was happy to climb up on that horse in front of him and ride his beloved carousel.
The gifts just kept coming. Another GIFT 6!

There were many more unnumbered gifts...they seriously just kept coming.

I returned home after 3 days of fun, laughs, wine, food and most importantly the gifts of friends who know no limits when it comes to welcoming a visiting friend. I am so filled with this entire group of people and so in love with each and every one of them, that words are just not enough. Just not enough.

These boys touched me in a way I don't think I have ever been moved. They were not surface givers, they are all from the heart givers and I was the luckiest recipient ever!

I hope you smiled seeing these pictures. I may have shed a tear or two as I posted them. Will, calling to me from another room, "Grandma Jo, can you come here?"- Trey locking eyes with me momentarily and smiling at the green balloon-Amy's face as I walked into her home, smiling, hugging, giggling-Rusty sitting and giving me kisses and running to the door each time I came in. The baby Hillary shared with us so generously. Giggling and smiling and cuddling with a baby is good medicine. Andi's sense of humor and ability to keep up with Amy's alcohol cravings!
To each of you...cheers!  Thank you and a lifetime of love to each of you.  It was an incredible 3 days and I truly hope one day we can do it again.  It was magical. I am so blessed and so full of your gifts my heart may just pop!

You see, I have the POWER, the power of  LOVE.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Something has to change around here!

Ever said that? Ever done anything about it? Well, if you have then you already know it always starts with the first step. Little gets done by skipping the first step and trying to begin a new anything in the middle.

Want a new job? Then you start by researching available positions you might be qualified to perform. First step. Then you might narrow that list to jobs you'd like to have. You know, the ones you would enjoy going to rather than dreading another day at the office, whatever the office might be. If you just start sending out resumes without researching, you might well end up settling for employment rather than the right position. The First Step is important.

Planning an event? First step might be selecting a location and then securing the date. Venues have a tendency to mess up your perfectly selected date, so let that be your first step. It will save a lot of follow up calls if you start at the beginning.

Life is full of first steps, for certain.

Maybe a good one is to find a best friend before you fall in love. That would be a really good plan because best friends do make the best partners. Falling in love with your best friend often turns out to be the second best step you've ever taken.

So, what are some of your most important first steps? Were there any you skipped only to return and have to start all over?  Any that you skipped and never looked back?


Sunday, July 28, 2013


Many of my friends are now at an age where they are considering their mortality. Not exactly facing it, but considering it. I find it a subject not acceptable for discussion when I try to share thoughts about the final arrangements, the financial planning, the medical and financial power of attorney documents, living wills and anything that might indicate we are going to die.

G I A N T   N E W S    F L A S H   F R I E N D S 

We  are  all  going  to  die, not preparing doesn't stop it from happening!

So I therefore, suggest you talk with your family about what THEY would like because they are the ones who have to deal with your loss and with your wishes. Why do you have wishes anyway? You will be gone to your reward and the funeral and other businesses of dying are left to them. If you have music you enjoyed while you were among us, fine! Request that at your service, if your family would like a service. Yes, I said, IF because some people do not. The services are for those who are left to mourn. The decision about how long, how formal, open casket or closed or no casket, should be theirs to make. In the case of cremation, you can still have a brief showing, if they need one. You can rent a casket, you can do whatever makes it easiest for your family or friends. You will not be there. 

We have made all of our arrangements, arranged payment for the same and notified the kids of where all the documents are. We have purchased burial plots because our daughter needs to have us buried even though we are being cremated. I don't care. She needs a place to visit, so she shall have that. They wanted a brief visitation for friends, they think we have some, bless their hearts, so I arranged for that. They will be disappointed at the attendance, I imagine, but they asked for it.  The music, big surprise, will be Elvis for me and Neil Diamond for Roomy. The theme songs for each of his Detroit Teams may also be heard! UGH.
We're all behind our baseball team, go get 'em Detroit Tigers, Go Get 'Em Tigers! 

We have each others power of attorney for medical and financial affairs and one child has been given back-up poa in case it is needed. Everyone has been given our medical wishes, no machines etc. and no extraordinary measures speech and know exactly what to do and when to do it. Financially, the will is quite clear and there is a copy for each. 

The only thing left to do is buy the marker for the grave site and of course, die. I am taking care of the marker soon, the rest I hope waits a good while.

I may be unique in that I don't mind talking about my own death, but I do think we all need to relieve our families and friends or the state of the responsibility of our remains. It's the least and the last gift we can give to those we love or a state who probably can't afford to dispose of us anyway. 

Wanna know a secret? Since all these things have been taken care of and paid for, I feel so much better. I don't have to think about my own funeral or my husband's anymore. They are just hanging out in file drawers and causing no harm and no stress to anyone. I am so happy to have all this morbid and depressing stuff done and filed away!  

Death is coming for all of us, but at least, we made a plan.  And the plan has no expiration date, unlike us.


Serendipity and Faith

Last week was too busy to get any kind of cohesive thought organized, so this week I shall make a big effort to combine two topics which I believe go well together. Serendipity meaning happiness by accident and then faith meaning complete trust and confidence, seem to my mind to go hand in hand. Should not be difficult to create this piece, I am thinking as I begin this free write. (seat of the pants style).

Finding happiness by accident is pretty much an everyday occurrence, if you are open to it. Having faith is much more challenging for some. Believing and trusting without real and tangible proof is not an easy task for everyone; for me? Well, for me finding serendipity is my life and having faith is how I have survived without being arrested for murder or being murdered, I think.  

The simplest acts of my everyday life cause me enormous happiness. The feeding of my beloved hummingbirds comes to mind. The picture of one or all of my grand-kids while walking through a room catches my eye comes to mind. Making eye contact with either or both of our furbabies and having a spontaneous wink between us comes to mind. Sitting on the deck with coffee in hand and noticing a bunny racing across the back of the property comes to mind. So many mundane everyday things makes me ridiculously happy and all by accident. Planning on any of those things would still make me smile, but the serendipity aspect makes me giggly and keeps a certain spring in my step.

A rainbow, comes to mind.

 I have lived some very wonderful days in my life. I have lived through some very painful days in my life. Most of you can say the same. There are memories filed away that will still bring an instant tear if I dwell for more than a second. Other memories will bring a giggle in the same brief period. Those days combined make my faith not only important to me, but make my life based on my faith, essential. I am convinced beyond anyone’s definition of reasonable, that my God always has me in his hands. I know that I will always be cared for and given what I need in this earthly life because I have always been given what I need and more. I have always been able to find comfort by asking for it and believing I will get it. My faith makes no sense to many and perfect sense to many. It doesn’t matter one iota to me which you are or if you are somewhere in the middle. It is MY faith and MY life and the serendipity moments come to me because I have faith that they always will and that I will always recognize them and cherish them. 

When I pray, which is often, I pray for wisdom, guidance, strength and unyielding faith. I sometimes ask for myself and more often ask for someone else. Earthly life is not promised to be easy; not promised to be as we want; it is promised to be as He will have it. I only ask to know His will for me and then to have strength to move through it with Him. 

FAITH, comes first.  SERENDIPITY might be one of the bazillions of rewards for having it.