Hey stranger…where ya been?

Wait, that wasn’t directed at you, my wonderful readers. At least I hope there’s still an ‘s’ on the end of that last word. It was meant for me. And while it was never my intention to post every day, or week for that matter, I did think perhaps once a month was doable.

Oh well, we all know which road is paved with good intentions.

The last few months have been busy with family and other obligations and what writing time I managed to find was spent on my work in progress or as I like to refer to it, “my little story.” Trust me, I’m not complaining, just trying to account for my absence.

So here I sit, the day before Thanksgiving, thinking about the last minute things I need to get done before my gang arrives, but instead of heading off to the store for the things I forgot to get yesterday…Yes, I had a list…I decided to sit down and write. Go figure. Six months of not hearing from me and wham a post. Some might say I’m procrastinating but I see it differently.  What better time is there to sit, reflect and count my blessings, than the day before ‘the day’ our nation has set aside to give thanks?

As I was making my shopping list the other day…see I told you I had made a list. I started thinking about traditions. Our family has our share, as I’m sure yours does as well, and many of them seem to be centered around food.

Take our Thanksgiving meal menu. It hasn’t changed in over thirty years. I remember looking through cookbooks and food magazines for inspiration. I’d rip out pages or place post-it notes on the pages where I’d find things that looked yummy. I’ll never forget one Thanksgiving I mentioned to the boys I was thinking of trying a new cauliflower casserole recipe. One I had ripped out of a magazine thinking perhaps I’d give the old broccoli casserole a year off. As I read the ingredients to those present in the room, I heard someone say. “Sounds good Mom.” There, I had it. Permission to move ahead. But then I must have mentioned something about not having the broccoli casserole and the next thing I heard was…”Wait, what?!?” You see, that was the moment I learned how important the traditional Thanksgiving menu was to all three of my boys. They sweetly but emphatically told me I was more than welcome to introduce a new dish to the menu but it couldn’t be in lieu of an old favorite. Message received.

There are other holidays and important milestones marked by food in this house as well. Take for example the Saturday after Thanksgiving. A day the man cave gets turned into an inside tailgating spot. As everyone knows, it’s called rivalry Saturday and since the three boys went to three different colleges, all with their own football teams, there are usually games on all day long. This day has its own menu as well and the boys have mastered the timing of picking up the wings perfectly. Or, as is more likely, they’ve talked one of their buddies into picking up the order on their way over. They try to pace themselves but between the sausage dip, wings, pizza and beer…the food coma has usually set in by the night games.


Most all our friends know who’s birthday it is or who is coming home by what I’m fixing. If I mention I need to make lasagna, everyone knows my older son will be arriving soon. It’s a bit trickier when I make chicken parmesan because it’s the favorite for my two other sons. They both request it as ‘their’ meal. I don’t think there is a friend out there who wouldn’t be able to guess which sons are headed home by my dinner menu tonight.

What I love most about our food traditions are what they have done and continue to do for my family. Food gets us around the table. Every birthday, welcome home, and holiday meal has brought not only my boys, but our extended family and all our friends together. Is there anything better than enjoying a delicious meal, surrounded by your family and friends, all talking, laughing and connecting? I say no! We’ve spent countless hours lingering around the kitchen table which usually transforms into a game table after the dishes have been cleared.

So this Thanksgiving, as you gather around the table, look around at each face. Be present and enjoy the moment. I know the holidays can be hard but maybe try and think of all the things which bring us together instead of those which divide us. The empty broccoli casserole dish, or whatever your family’s favorite must have dish is, and all the other plates and glasses, for that matter, can wait. Just sip your favorite beverage, listen to the chatter and linger.

Oh and just FYI…the cauliflower casserole, while tasty, did not make it onto the ‘must have’ list.

Well, I’ve put it off long enough. I need to get back to the store for the remaining few items and God forbid before the last can of fried onions disappears. So, from me and my family, to you and yours…cheers to all those traditions…whatever they may be!

Happy Thanksgiving!




Psst! Smiles are contagious…pass one on.




Recently a friend shared a story about an experience she had while driving home after a weekend away. She stopped to have lunch at a well known fast food restaurant where behind the counter there was only one woman taking orders and running the cash register.

The employee greeted the ‘next in line’, a family of six, with a friendly hello and warm smile. She waited patiently as the dad tried to place their large order while juggling his four small children.

As my friend waited in line, she said she was struck immediately by the woman’s positive and friendly attitude.


When it was her turn, she too was greeted with the same enthusiasm and welcoming smile. As she sat in the dining area eating, she watched as customer after customer was treated in exactly the same manner. Each person receiving impeccable service and a genuine and friendly welcome.

Before she left, my friend went up to the woman and complimented her on her positive attitude, and infectious smile. She told her if everyone had her attitude, not only would they be happier, but so would all those around them. The woman beamed at the compliment. Then four young men, standing at the counter, spoke up and said how much they appreciated her friendly disposition as well. My friend relayed how wonderful that moment was and how we would all benefit from emulating her attitude in all we do. 

The story could have ended there but my friend went the extra mile.


After she got home, she decided to try and look up the phone number for the restaurant. It took a little bit of effort but in the end she was able to locate the number and call the manager. She wanted them to know how great the service was and what a gem they had in this employee. The manager thanked her for the call and agreed they were very fortunate to have this individual working for them. She promised to pass along the positive feedback and knew the woman would be “over the moon” with joy.

So often we focus on the negative and are quick to criticize and pass judgement. This is a wonderful reminder of the power of positivity and also how important it is to compliment and praise.

I’m not at all surprised my friend took the time to lookup the number and call the manager. That’s the kind of person she is. And in this case, someone positive, friendly, warm and kind had made her day. She was simply returning the kindness.




Refill please…



Yep, it’s that kind of a day!

I’m now on my third cup and think I’m finally waking up. Anyone else feeling this way? So far, I’ve had to remind myself twice it’s Tuesday not Monday. This tends to happen to me when I fly home on a Monday.

While tired this morning…it’s a very happy tired. I just returned from a long weekend with my son, daughter-in-law and precious grandson.

Each time I return home I’m reminded why it’s good to be young when you have children. You forget, or perhaps block out, how much care and tending these precious little nuggets require. “The kids”, a.k.a the parents, have done an amazing job getting and keeping him on a schedule. One could set their watch by his eat/sleep pattern.


It was a joy getting to visit and refill my tank with cuddles, feedings and giggles. Of course there were a few tears brought on by the pesky teeth trying to break through but nothing a little tylenol couldn’t fix. His tears touched my heart as much as his smiles. Just a reminder on how simple it can be. When we are happy and content we smile but when in pain or sad we cry. Opposite emotions in their most pure and honest form.

I am so grateful to the kids for always welcoming me and allowing me the privilege of lending a hand. I even got to have a “date night” of my own with him while mommy and daddy went out to celebrate their anniversary. He was the perfect date even if he was sound asleep by seven. Guess I’m not as interesting and exciting as I thought!

Getting to be a part of his life is the greatest blessing and an absolute privilege. Of course it’s different for me now. I’m more relaxed and when I’m holding him or feeding him I don’t think about anything else. There is no to-do list or future appointment on my mind. It’s just me and him. I am never more in the moment than when I’m holding him.


Of course we more seasoned (notice I avoided saying older) folks are always telling the younger people to enjoy each minute. Life passes so quickly…a blink of the eye, etc., etc. Well, it’s true. It seems like only yesterday my boys were babies and I was bouncing them on my knee. They do grow quickly and now my youngest is turning twenty-five this week. Yikes.

So to the young people I say. Life is short. Enjoy the simple “little” moments. Surround yourself with people who bring you joy. And don’t forget to do what I just did…Refill your tank when it starts to feel a bit empty.







The care and feeding of a traveling soul…



After many years I’ve finally diagnosed myself. I am a nomadic homebody. Wait, that’s an oxymoron right?

One might think this means I feel at home wherever I go. And while I often do feel that way, it’s not exactly what I mean. It’s more I have both a love of travel and a love of being home…in my own house.

All of this probably stems from the fact that I’ve moved around quite a bit, both in my young and adult life. I’ve lived in eight states, three of them twice, and attended three high schools. Yes, I was ‘the new kid’ many times. I know for some people moving around is not always a wonderful experience. It’s hard leaving a place you love and difficult starting over. It wasn’t always easy for me but I am who I am today because of these experiences.

Those of you who have followed this blog for the short time it’s been in existence know how I love my ‘sayings’ as did my mother and she of course had one for when we moved. “Bloom where you are planted” which my brothers and I always tried to do as did my boys when they found themselves uprooted and in a new environment. My parents also had a knack for turning a house into a home quickly which is something I’ve tried to emulate.

What I noticed over the years is it didn’t matter if we were somewhere three years or eight, we were always sad to leave, but excited for the next adventure. While we may have missed a particular house or town for a short period of time, in the end it was always the people we missed the most. The highlight of every move has always been the people met along the way. The older I got the more I realized I didn’t have to lose these relationships. It has taken some effort but I’ve been blessed to maintain many treasured friendships over the years.




The longest I’ve ever lived anywhere has been the last fourteen years spent here in my current home. I’m in a state I lived the longest in as a kid, my parents retired to and my boys and I moved back to after my divorce, so in a way it feels I’ve come full circle. There are memories from long ago as well as new ones. This is home.

The desire to explore new places, and meet new people, hasn’t left me though. Obviously, I don’t want to move, but I’ve found traveling to be the perfect solution.

Travel feeds the soul.

Most of our trips as kids involved cramming into the station wagon and driving to our destinations. Fighting over who got to sit where. The station wagon was easy. My older brother and I took the middle seat leaving the ‘way back’ for the two youngest. Hard to believe they made seats which faced each other and I’m pretty sure we didn’t always have a seat belt on or when we did it was only a lap belt. Aww…the good old days.


After the station wagon was retired, we would cram into the Oldsmobile 98. My older brother and I usually won the coveted window seats. My parents smoked when we were younger and I can remember many a car trip with my nose out the window complaining I couldn’t breathe. Recently my younger brother admitted the reason he took the front middle was so he could position all the air-conditioning vents towards himself. Meaning very little air made it’s way to the back. I guess you’d have to feel most sorry for my youngest brother stuck in the middle of the back seat. But somehow we all survived and had many fun and memorable road trips.

I’d say it was my junior year abroad when I discovered my deep passion for traveling. My college roommate and I lived with a family in London and after finding out we didn’t have class of Fridays we started to travel every weekend. We had Eurail passes and found out quickly they would take us just about anywhere we wanted to go. We were more limited on the regular three day weekends but on two separate occasions we were able to take a week and we made those count. I remember one week we traveled from London to Brindisi, Italy to catch the boat over to Greece. In those days our travel involved trains and boats. We were not catching planes nor did we have a car. The memory of these adventures and the people we met along the way stay with us to this day. My roommate and I got together not too long ago and still laugh at all the stories.

I just returned from a long weekend up in Connecticut. Visiting one of my closest friends, and her family, who I met during one of my adulthood moves. She stopped by shortly after we had moved in with some of our mail which had been placed in their box by mistake. We quickly discovered we each had a son the same age, became fast friends, as did the boys, and despite the fact I’ve moved three times since then have remained close.

So once again, I’m a happy homebody. The traveling soul has been fed and should remain full for at least a week or two. Nevertheless, rest assured…I’ll be ready and waiting to go when the hunger pains return.





Rainy Days and Mondays?



I realize I might be alone in this but with all due respect to the Carpenters who sang the tune “Rainy Days and Mondays…always get me down” and Paul Williams and Roger Nichols who wrote the lyrics, I say, I disagree. I love them both. And when they coincide? Even better!

Monday is usually a day I get much accomplished. Normally it’s a stay put, catch up on paperwork and correspondence, organize files, and pay bills, kind of day. In other words, do everything I didn’t do last week, or over the weekend because I was too busy or procrastinating. And who could get anything done this past weekend with St. Patrick’s Day and all the basketball games on?

Speaking of March Madness. I guess the first thing I should do is vacuum up all the shredded remnants of the left side of my bracket. There was no green left on that side so I didn’t see any point in keeping it around. Just a sad reminder of my poor picking ability because after all I should have known the number one and two seeds in both the south and west wouldn’t make it past round two. Right?


But alas, there is still a ray of hope. A chance the right side will come through…but I’m not holding my breath. Thankfully the pool I’m in doesn’t believe in high stakes betting. No one will need to sell the farm and the “winner” will enjoy bragging rights for a few minutes.

So, how’s your bracket holding up? Right. I agree. Let’s change the subject.

Back to rainy Mondays. I haven’t shared my favorite thing to do on a rainy Monday or any rainy day for that matter. Not that I feel the need to wait for a rainy day. It’s just I don’t feel as guilty spending a good chunk of time doing this if the weather is bad outside.


Yes it is!

On average, my city enjoys 209 sunny days per year. Leaving plenty of days for rain however the statistics show the number of days with any measurable precipitation is only 73. Not too many all day soakers, meaning on those other days, we might only have a rain shower or passing thunderstorm. Those are great too but there is nothing like a wrap yourself in a blanket, sip your coffee, read your book, kind of day. Which is why, when the opportunity presents itself, I say you should grab it!

As I type this I see the sun trying to peak through. How dare it when I haven’t had a chance to pull out my book yet. Oh well, guess I’ll just continue working and wait for the next rainy day. Or maybe think about moving to Seattle?


On…second thought. Think I’ll just grab a book, pull the shades down and pretend it’s still a rainy Monday.





photo credit: march madness live

photo credit: Amy Miles via quotes hunter

photo credit: Maya Angelou via quotes hunter

Got clutter?




Hold your horses…I know what you’re thinking. It’s International Women’s Day. Why is she posting a piece on clutter? Just bear with me a minute. I’ll connect the two…eventually.




Each morning I read from the book shown in the picture above; “everyday mindfulness.” Both messages from yesterday and today referenced clutter. Actually, yesterday’s passage was titled DECLUTTER and encouraged the reader to set some time aside to declutter an area of their home or workspace. “Although it may seem overwhelming at first, doing this can actually be as peaceful as a meditation. Clutter is a way of holding onto the past, or fearing the future. Letting go of clutter is a way to live more mindfully and in the present.”

Yes, I agree!

So, yesterday as I was searching for all the papers I need to complete my taxes. Or more accurately all the papers my accountant will need to do my taxes. I came across a large box containing old documents from my divorce. Why in the world would I still need these? I’ve got the divorce decree. My kids are grown. It’s been years and my life is full of joy and blessings; why keep unnecessary reminders of a painful event or period? The only thing this box is doing now is taking up space and collecting dust. My chance to declutter a space. Yay! So I brought out the shredder. Wow…that felt good!




When I was younger my claim of needing a clean space in which to study or work was probably more of a procrastinator’s tool than that of a sophisticated mindful thinker. Once I got to college though, I had gained a better understanding of the concept and found I absolutely needed a tidy work space in order to get anything accomplished.

I’m still that way today. I write at the kitchen table. Which means I often have to move my things off the table in the evening when it’s time for dinner. But, I’ve found having a portable office space has only served to help me be more organized. I don’t like to have too many items around me, usually just my laptop, notebook and a pencil. All easy to move around. Oh and my coffee cup. That’s a must.

My efforts to declutter my home, and life for that matter, is an ongoing process. It will take time which is another reason I like working at my kitchen table. I sit facing the window looking out towards my backyard where there is a golf course just beyond. Open space and no clutter in sight. As I sit here typing this I am oblivious to the dishes which may, or may not, be sitting in the sink waiting patiently for me to notice. For at this moment I am blind to any bit of clutter stacked up behind me. All I see is this screen and the green grass beyond.

Now, what does any of this have to do with International Women’s Day.

I’ll admit I didn’t know it was today before logging in and checking out Facebook. That’s usually my first stop after checking my emails and my go-to for reminders about holidays and birthdays.

So, today is not only a day for honoring the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world but a chance to recognize and honor the inspirational and incredible women in our own lives. Of course there have been many women I have admired and looked up to but the most influential and inspiring woman in my life was and always will be my Mother.

I say, was, because my mother is no longer living. She died when I was twenty nine, too young for both her age and mine. Her spirit lives on and not a day goes by when I don’t think of her and recognize and appreciate all she taught me. I am who I am today because of her.




My mother had many sayings. Like mother like daughter I suppose. One thing she told my brothers and me often, especially when we were feeling a bit out of sorts, stuck in our heads or perhaps less thankful than she knew we should be, was to go do something for someone else. Go volunteer, shovel the neighbor’s walkway, anything/something. If that wasn’t feasible at the moment. She told us to go clean something out, organize a closet, or straighten out a drawer.

At the time I’m sure we probably thought she was just trying to get us out of the house or trick us in to cleaning our rooms but as I grew older and wiser I gained understanding as to why she encouraged us to do these things. I’ll save volunteering and doing for others for another day. But by encouraging us to go clean something out she knew we would not only feel a sense of accomplishment once the task was completed but the chore would probably have taken our minds off whatever was bothering us. Clearing not only the clutter from the physical space but also the clutter from our minds…a win-win.

If letting go of clutter truly is a way to live more mindfully, and in the present, then all the kudos, with regard to my journey, go to my mom. She was, after all, the first one to introduce me to the “art of decluttering.”

I must say…the little bit I accomplished yesterday did bring me peace. Thanks mom!




  “Dedicated to the one(s) I love” … The Shirells




This is the song going through my head as I write this piece. And let me apologize right now because I’m sure this tune is now running through your head as well. Sorry!

In case you haven’t checked your phone, turned on the T.V. or opened the newspaper. Today is February 14th. Valentine’s Day.  A day set aside to show appreciation for family, friends, significant others and anyone else you happen to love…ahem…your furry pets!

We all know we should be doing this every single day but it is nice to have the additional opportunity to say “I love you” to all the special people in our lives.

I have always said the good Lord knew what he was doing when he blessed me with three sons. (I’m sure God appreciates my thumbs up!) I grew up with brothers. Three to be exact and being around boys is what I know.

I have a feeling my brothers (and sons for that matter) would say any drama in the house was caused or initiated by me. The only girl. They would probably be right, but please don’t tell them I said so. In reality, I think they got off pretty easy and would have to admit when it came to drama queens, I wasn’t ever going to win the crown.


Don’t get me wrong…It’s not that I wouldn’t have loved to have had a daughter. I was very close to my Mom and am confident I would have shared the same relationship with a daughter. And I don’t know what I would do without my daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, niece and all my gal-pals…but…there is just something about a house full of boys. The way they think, solve problems, and the fact that our house was relatively calm and drama free, all synced well with my personality.

Now my oldest son is married and he and my darling daughter-in-law were blessed with a son almost four months ago. They now get to experience firsthand how amazing raising a son will be and my sweet daughter-in-law has another man in her life who will love her with all his heart for the rest of his life.

There is an Irish Proverb,  “A son is a son till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all her life.”

Well, I don’t think this is necessarily true. My boys have loved me well and continue to show me how much I mean to them each and every day. I refuse to look at the marriage of any one of my boys as losing a son…instead I look at it as gaining a daughter! Yep…I finally have my girl.

There is no limit to how large our hearts can grow. My family and friends have taught me that.

Thank you all for your friendship and support. I’m a lucky gal to have lots of people in my life to say “Happy Valentine’s Day” to.

Wishing you much…


And to my gang … well you know what’s coming.

I love you more…