Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Cheers to Midlife!

I saw this online and I LOVED it. This is one of the best parts of Midlife, learning to be comfortable in your own skin. 

One of the best lessons that we learn as we age is that life is too short to worry about what other people think. There is something incredibly freeing about Midlife; being able to make your own choices, being finished with raising your kids, and having the knowledge to value your time. 

We all only get so much time on this planet, and there is something about beginning the second half of your journey that gives you the confidence to put yourself first. 

I know I have worked hard my whole life. I put my husband and kids first. I volunteered in their classroom. I participated in my professional organizations. I worried about what others thought of me.  I don’t worry about that at all anymore. I worry about being happy, spending time with my loved ones and achieving my dreams. What someone else thinks of me doesn’t matter at all.  

Cheers to Midlife for helping so many of us learn how to really enjoy ourselves. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Day for Memories

Today is a very special day for me. No matter how many years pass, this day is one that is etched in my memory.  Eleven years ago today my life changed forever. Today is the anniversary of the day my husband killed himself.

Every year since then I have noticed that this particular day, September 14th, is hard for me. The funny thing about this year is that I almost didn’t remember that it was today. About halfway through the morning I realized the date and I was surprised that I hadn’t even thought about it at all.  Usually on this day or somewhere near it, I tend to get emotional. I find myself feeling uncharacteristically sad, or just not quite myself. This year I didn’t feel any of that. What I did feel is a bit of nostalgia. 

I spent some time today looking though a very special memory box that I keep. Inside the box are piles and piles of cards filled with sweet and kind words from family and friends after he died.  

Eleven years feels like a lifetime ago and in many ways it is. I am happily re-married now and I can honestly say that I have never been happier in my life, but every once in a while I think about before. I think about my first husband and our life together. Our lives have all moved on without him, and on days like this I wonder if I am the only person in the world who even remembers this day. Reading through the cards helps me feel like he was real, like he did exist and that he is remembered. 

I know that people often say time heals all wounds, and while I agree that time can soften the sharper edges, wounds leave a scar, and emotional wounds leave just as prominent a scar.  

Eleven years ago my life changed forever, and today, for just a few minutes I spent some time looking through memories, and that’s okay because these will always be part of me. They helped to shape who I am today. When I finished, I put them all back in the box to look at again another time. They will always be part of my story. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Legacy of Love - A Grandparents Anthology

I am so incredibly excited to announce my latest creative work, an Anthology of stories to celebrate and honor grandparents. This new book has been such a labor of love. I am thrilled at this collection of stories by a variety of authors and I hope that everyone else will love it as much as I do. 

As a relatively new Grandma I have been overwhelmed by the joy that my grandson has brought to my life. I spent an afternoon talking with my own father about being a grandparent. He shared so many wonderful stories with me about his own experiences with his grandchildren and now his great-grandchildren.  Our conversation inspired me to pursue this project. 

A variety of authors from across the country and even internationally submitted stories for this anthology. Each story celebrates the relationship that grandparents have with their grandchildren. I hope you will enjoy this collection as much as I do. 

You can pre-order a copy for you, or a gift for someone else. Click here to order your copy

The official release date is September 4th, just in time to celebrate Grandparents day. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Adventures in Exploring Creativity

One of the perks of getting older is having the time and the willingness to explore new things.  This past week I decided to sign up for one of those silly Paint & Sip parties. You know the ones, you get to drink wine and try to paint something with the help of an artist.  Mostly it is just a fun excuse to get out of the house with your friends. 

I saw an event posted on Facebook for a local bar near me, so I asked a friend if she wanted to go.  

Showing up I will admit I was intimidated by that big blank canvass at my spot. The usual fears, what If I’m not any good, what if my picture looks terrible and I look silly in front of these other women. That’s when I realized that everyone had that fear, and the worst possible thing that could happen was that my picture would be awful and I would be out the $30 fee for the night. That’s not too awful, so I began to relax and have fun.

Our artist was fantastic – she had obviously done this many times before and she knew we would all be nervous and overly critical of our own work. 

 The first step, after ordering our alcohol of course, was to simply paint the entire canvass black. Now that seemed simple enough. 

 Feeling good that I had accomplished step one, she asked us to rinse the brush thoroughly and add some water to a portion of our white paint, so we could spatter some white onto our black background. Although this was a bit messy, I really enjoyed flicking the white dots all over my canvass and once I was finished I felt like I was looking at a night sky.  

Now came the harder parts, first she demonstrated tilting the canvass and making our big U shape for the bowl of the glass.  Somehow I tilted my canvass and still managed a glass that was straight upright in the center of the painting. I wasn’t sure how I managed that feat, but my glass looked fine so I kept it as it was.  

As we took a short break to let our paint dry, we got the chance to wander around and look at each other’s paintings. It was actually comical how different everyone’s paintings were. It was at that moment that I began to fully relax and enjoy the process. Sure I wasn’t the best painter, but having fun was really all that mattered. We mixed our colors, added some wine into the glass, and then finished by outlining the glass shape in white and adding details. 

I stared at my finished work, and decided that in honor of my wonderful book club, which ALWAYS includes copious amounts of wine, I wanted to add a book to my painting too, and the lovely instructor indulged me by helping to draw a book on a napkin and giving me a head start.

Reflecting on the whole experience, it was so easy to dismiss my talent and creativity, trying to compare my work to others. When I let go of that expectation, my whole evening changed and I was able to relax and make a pretty fun painting. Sure it probably won’t hang in the Louve, but its mine and I had fun making it – and that’s what really matters after all. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Watching History Repeat itself

School is starting once again and school children all across the country will be headed back to classrooms to learn. One of their many subjects will no doubt be history. 

I love learning about history, I find it fascinating, but more importantly I know how important it is to learn from the mistakes of the past. 

As students enter their social studies classes, some of them may see a graphic like this, learning about the fall of the once great Roman Empire. 

Will these students make the connections from the fall of Rome to the events happening in our country today? Will they learn about greedy, inept leaders, unfair taxation on the poor, government corruption, and a widening gap between the social classes?  Will they see the parallels. 

This makes me wonder, what did Roman citizens think at the time? Were they able to see the dangers they faced? Did they have anything they could have done to change the course of history?

When I look at the headlines today I can’t help but make a correlation to the late Roman Empire. Will we sit idly by and just watch as our own empire crumbles under the weight of greed, corruption and apathy?

I do hope those students learn well, so they can become the leaders of this country and make positive changes, if our empire lasts long enough for them that is. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Being a Grandma is the Best!

Getting a chance to Facetime with my amazing grandson makes my whole day so much better.  I just love being a Grandma – It is everything I hoped it would be. 

So many of my friends who are also Grandparents feel the same way so I wanted to share some fun Grandparent memes. 
This is so true, my daughter picks on me for spoiling my beautiful Grandson, but I consider it my official job as grandma to buy him too many clothes and toys.
 My Grandson lives far away, but I am hoping he and his Mom & Dad will move here soon.  
I took William shopping on my last visit and we had so much fun. He kept grabbing toys off the shelf and I have to admit most of them did find their way into my cart. 

 My hubby and I have teased about giving grandkids tons of sugary treats and then sending them home, but for now I do make sure my sweet boy gets plenty of good healthy food – but I’m not saying I won’t indulge him once in awhile.
I have always been accused of being a mama bear and you can bet that will not change with my grandson, in fact its probably even worse. That little boy is the light of my life.
Being a Grandma really is my happily ever after. I never thought I could love anyone as much as my daughters, but my grandson showed me that I could.  He is perfect and I am so grateful he is in my life. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

States I still need to visit

Have you completed one of those maps on social media, the ones that show how many states or how many countries you have been to? 

Here is a link if you want to visit one right now

One of my goals is to visit each of the 50 states here in the United States and so far I have managed to visit 40 states so far – which leaves only 10 states left on my list to visit. 

As you can see from the map, most of the states I still need to visit are in the upper Midwest of the country.  I was thinking of a big road trip to see all those states so I spent some time looking at the things to do and the places to see in each of the ten states on my list. My love of history and geography is clear from the places that are on my list.

South Carolina
I would love to see the City of Charlestown with its antebellum homes and rich history. I also would love a visit to Myrtle Beach. I have heard so much about it. 

The most obvious thing to see in Wyoming is Yellowstone National Park and I have heard that Cheyenne is one of the most beautiful cities in the country.

A trip to Big Sky Country would have to include a visit to Glacier National Park, and I better hurry because the glaciers are receding quickly and they may not be there much longer. 

North Dakota
A trip to the Badlands National Park of North Dakota would be wonderful, and I would love to visit the national Buffalo Museum and also stop by the town of Rugby ND, to see the Geographic Center of North America.  

South Dakota
Of course I would have to see Mount Rushmore, but there is also a new landmark that I would love to visit, the beautiful Dignity Statue on I-90 at the Chamberlain Rest area. I have seen pictures on social media and she looks amazing. 

I know there isn’t a lot to see in Iowa besides corn, but my first stop would be Dyersville, the home of the actual ‘Field of Dreams’. I also read about a kwirky destination, the Matchstick Marvels Museum in Gladbrook.

I hate to admit it, but I have never actually been to Chicago, so a trip to the Windy City is a must.  

In addition to the corn and wheat fields, a trip to Nebraska would include a visit to the Homestead Monument and the Scottsbluff National Monument. 

Hawaii is a tourist dream, with beaches, waterfalls, and volcanoes I am sure I won’t have any problem finding things to see and do, and of course I will include a visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial.  

Which states do you still need to visit? It is fun to do some research and find out the exciting places to see and things to do in all 50 states. 

Share your list in the comments below.