“Look For The HELPERS” ~Mr. Rogers~

Look for the helpers…Mr. Rogers would say. When he was very little and would see tragedy, his Mother gave him that advice and he shared her words of wisdom on his show. He said look for the helpers in times of tragedy, times of crisis, and times when you feel scared.

That’s really good advice. And, recently I was reminded of something else that is similar. Helpers are everywhere. We can also find the helpers in times of celebration, times of happiness, and times of gathering together as friends and family. Families helping families, Moms helping daughters, friends helping friends.

Helpers are one of those positives in life that we come to rely on in ALL times.

I am very thankful for all the helpers in my life. For the helpers that brighten my day when they say a kind word or show they understand, helpers that hold the door for me as I navigate going in to places while on a cane, and those helpers who care for people when they are sick or hurting. Those, to me, are the best helpers of all. And, I think, those are the helpers that Mrs. Rogers was referring to when she said “look for the helpers.”

The one resounding characteristic of people who are helpers is that they show they care through their positive behaviors and actions towards others.

I hope that you find many helpers in your lives as you continue your journey through life.

Have a blessed day!


Pick up the phone😊, Facebook and other Social Media REALITIES

I have to admit that I am really bad about talking on the phone although I do enjoy it once I get in the conversation. I wasn’t always this way but years ago, I easily accepted the shortcuts and the paths to a more efficient way of communicating. Hey, don’t judge🤓, life was hectic and it seemed I was always busy. Nonetheless, I was proud of myself for being so tech savvy each time I figured out a new app, a new part of my phone or a new tool on my computer. And, when social media came into the picture, I was excited.

I immersed myself in it realizing at the very beginning how much time I could save, how much drama I could stay out of, and how many new friends and family I could stay connected with and check in with through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

While social media has its place in our lives today, it can’t replace the sound of a human voice on the phone. I remember two very significant and emotional times in my life when I received phone calls when I needed them the most. The first was a call from my Mom after she found out I’d had a miscarriage shortly after being to the doctor and hearing the baby’s heartbeat. It really helped soothe my grief hearing her voice and how she had gone through losing babies too. The other call was from my sister-in-law. Again, hearing her voice after receiving life changing health news helped calm my spirit. I can still remember the place I was sitting while I talked to both of these inspirational and caring women. Never underestimate how much the sound of the human voice on the phone or in person can impact someone.

The same goes for sharing good things that happen too. Think about it, when you get good news, most of us have that ‘go to’ person that we want to share it with first. And, most of the time, we want to hear their voice on the phone as they share in our excitement. Then, we want to tell everyone….’shout it from the mountaintops’ if you will. That’s where social media shines. It gets the word out fast.

So, in reality, both are good but having one without the other just doesn’t work for me. I think I need both. I now really enjoy talking on the phone and I think that social media can never replace the lifeline we get from those more intimate interactions. At the same time, I really enjoy social media even if it makes me feel a little disconnected now and then it helps me stay in touch, from a distance, with the happenings in my friends and family’s lives.

I’m guessing that social media is here to stay so we move forward and try to find the balance.

Finding that balance is hard but doable. First, put the phone down when you are with other people. Second, pick up the phone and reach out and call someone. Take the chance that they will pick up just to hear your voice. Third, don’t give up the social media as it keeps us connected with those far away…even people on the other side of the world from us. It has its place but it can’t replace the need for real human interaction. Fourth, stay connected any way you can. Relationships need to be nourished.

I think Dr. Seuss said it best…”sometimes you’ll never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory💜. I have lots of memories and have learned and am still learning how to cherish the moments.

Life is short…Have More FAMILY DINNERS

Last night as I was falling asleep I heard the sound of the owl outside my bedroom window and I knew all was ‘right’ in my little corner of the world.

My world had been truly blessed the first two days of this past week with family coming for family dinner and to spend time visiting in our home. My cousin even stayed the night. It was so good to see everyone. And, we felt such joy being able to host this dinner.

As the week went on my thoughts changed and my focus began to center on the reality that life is too short. Way too short! I started reminiscing about Sunday and Monday and realized that I didn’t get much visiting time in with my Texas family. I may not have ever come to this thought except on Tuesday, as the world knows, tragedy struck our country. My heart was broken for families and children I didn’t know. It felt like the heart of the whole country was broken. Lives were extinguished because of the rage within one individual.

It was in that moment that I realized life is not only way too short, but life is hard, and life hurts sometimes…..So, when we find those moments, hours, and sometimes days of joy; we must embrace them. Stop everything and soak up those who are in our presence. Soak up all the wonderful things about them. Find out what is going on in their lives, share a meal, share a story, and make some memories.

On Sunday, for me, it was having everyone here that was so important. I didn’t slow down enough to soak it all in but I did soak up some of the moments.

That day, I wanted to bring back the Sunday Family Dinner. I wanted each and every person who came into my home to feel the love I (we) have for them. I wanted them to feel special and for the short time they were here, I wanted them to feel at peace and to feel the joy I feel from having them around.

I(we) may not have done it perfectly this time but we are hopeful for many more encounters to show people how important each of them are to us.

And, YES, I am bringing back “The Family Dinner” here in our little corner in the country.

Have a blessed weekend Everyone and know that you are loved. My wish for you is for you to find the joy in the moments. When you do, let me know. I would love to hear from you<3

Lessons from the Country and lessons from Mom

I am sitting on my patio because that’s all I can do today. I have decided to take this time to really enjoy each moment, change the things I can, and focus on those I love.

I hear and see the geese and the hawks flying up above. The birds are enjoying our bird bath and the food cakes we have set out for them. They don’t seem to have a care or worry about them. They know how to just ‘be’.

Occasionally, from across the street, I will hear Bo whinney. He is one of the highlights of our neighborhood and the lessons I receive from Bo are many. The biggest one is patience. Another one is seek the moment and what it has to offer. And, it is that lesson of patience and seeking the moment that I am embracing today.

The wind is blowing through the trees knocking down some of the leaves as it moves through. It’s a windy day here in the country. And, it’s definitely one to enjoy.

I think this lesson is being provided for me to remind me that I can’t control everything…and I have to ask myself, why would I want to? On my patio today, I am reminded that asking for help is okay. Bo asks for help all the time. He is an old horse with a huge personality. Just now, a neighbor stopped his truck and got out and gave Bo some food.  Many neighbors stop with food for him. Not that he needs it because he is well fed and taken care of by his ‘Mom’ Mary. This morning, a teenager walked up slowly seemingly without purpose, sat down right next to the pasture and spent time with Bo for a good 20 minutes or so. When he got up, he had more of a bounce in his step. It was a great encounter to witness.

We are all given lessons in life and we have to choose to accept the lesson and let it guide and educate us so we can become stronger and more courageous. I am trying to do just that today.

Within a month or two I will finally have ‘a new normal’, living like most other people do, being able to go back to work and inserting myself back into a full life. I am so looking forward to that. It’s been a very long and eventful 3 1/2 years.

But, there is a lesson in my here and now that I need first and I don’t want to miss.  A lesson to stop trying to be so perfect and stop trying to take care of everything and everyone.  Because if I listen to this lesson, I will be able to enjoy much more the wonderful people in my tribe, my inner circle and, really just the random people I meet each day. Many of them are so interesting.

Well,  I am certainly my mother’s daughter wanting to take care of everything  and everybody😊. Only, she WAS able to take care of everything and everybody or she appeared to anyway. She could make everyone feel good after spending time with her.  So many people cherished their time with her.

Some days, when I think about it, I wish she had heeded the lessons that hit her. The lessons to slow down and take care of herself. The lesson to stop, relax, and enjoy the moment. Mom did that with the babies. She slowed down. It was if time stood still when she had them. They were the only thing that could get her to just ‘be’. She had this incredible connection to them and caring for them was something she was really good at.

I still miss my Mom a lot. How could I not? She was one of my best friends. We would give each other advice, talk about our days and weeks, guide each other through life, and talked about our plans for the present and the future. . She really did live life to the fullest and at the end slid into  Heaven with all kinds of physical evidence that she grabbed all life had to offer.

And, very soon, that’s who I want to become…..Wonder Woman❤️but, for now, I will enjoy this ‘side’ of life and it’s lessons.

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO what a ride!”  ~Hunter S. Thompson~

And, that is how my Mom did it. And, maybe, just maybe, that was her lesson. To spend as much time as she could enjoying people especially babies. That is a successful life. 

The Road Less Traveled

Three cars converged on the road of one of two entrances to our neighborhood. We all arrived at the same time going in different directions. It reminded me of the book, ‘The Road Less Traveled’ by M. Scott Peck. I was traveling, turning in to the road traveled only by those who come to our neighborhood. The less traveled road. To quote Robert Frost’s poem…”the road not taken” by many.

I feel as though we are finally on ‘the road not taken’, ‘the road less traveled’…. and we are experiencing many adventures that are far from the norm of our previous life. It is, also, where we feel the most comfortable. the place and experiences where we most fit…where we most belong.

When we drive to the lake just beyond the road to our house and pass the clubhouse that looks more like a lodge in a State Park than a clubhouse in a neighborhood; I get this feeling AS IF I am at a lodge in the forest and that I am on a vacation adventure, of sorts, as I experience a  bit of rustic living with beauty all around. Only, it’s not a vacation, but a life.

These days, on our way to the lake, we see lakehouses that look vacant. Patio furniture and cushions moved in, boats gone, and windows shuttered. Those are the homes of the summer residents who migrate back here in late spring…early summer and leave again when autumn and winter approach.   There is no one design of homes here in the neighborhood, they all have their own unique look and that speaks of the people that live here. Their houses show their characters, their personalities, and their uniqueness. There is also this sense of acceptance and kindness that I have not found anywhere else. Neighbors helping neighbors, spending time with each other, sitting on each other’s porches and patios as the cool autumn air begins to blow in.

We no longer have that FOMO (fear of missing out) feeling that we had felt for years. We had a good life where we lived before and had some wonderful adventures, but here, we feel like we have arrived home. Here, we not only know the neighbors but we are connected in a deeper way. People take the time to get to know each other….even the summer residents look out for each other. People wave as they go by and stop to visit while out walking their dogs.  It’s nice to see this kind of life does, indeed, exist. It is a more relaxed lifestyle where the rules are less rigid.

Take Halloween, for instance, our little  town celebrates it on the Saturday before the 31st and it is a big deal. This was last night. We took our chiminea out front and sat by it and handed out candy. We had hay ride trailers, golf carts, and trucks blasting out Halloween songs and filled with trick or treaters stop by. We had teenagers dressed in costume bringing the little kids up for candy and trick or treating themselves. It’s a ‘family affair’ out here and it becomes obvious as we watched those same teenagers hoisting the smaller kids back on the trailer and truck beds. We had neighbors coming up and introducing themselves. It was a very fun evening for everyone. We had over 115 trick or treaters taking part in this neighborhood tradition. Earlier in the day, the neighborhood hosted a festival at the park for all the young kids.

After experiencing last night, and living this lifestyle for the last 6 months, I know we have taken ‘the road less traveled’ and, FOR US, that, has made all the difference.

Living Our Own Story

My sister tells her girls; “it’s your story,” “you can either choose to share it or you can keep it for yourself.” Those are very insightful words.  Her girls are 10, 11, and 12 years old. It’s their story and theirs alone. No two stories (lives) are the same.  

We all go through life writing our own individual stories….They define us.  As we write our own stories, we make choices and decisions on what we want our lives to look like. Once those decisions and choices are made, we usually end up living within the boundaries of those choices. And, sometimes things dont always go as planned and we have to change our vision of our journey midstream. 

But, here’s the thing, it’s still our journey and we still get to decide how to write the story. Will we be the hero in it? Will it be filled with success? Will it be filled with heartache? And, in the face of adversity, how will we respond? Will we fall down on our knees and say ‘poor me’ and become immobile or will we ‘rise up’ and be victorious over it? Once we take an action, it becomes part of our story. People remember it. People see it, people, and we ourselves, have it in our memories. 

There are some things that people don’t know about our stories because we choose to keep it to ourselves. There is one thing in my life that I will not share with anyone else but it truly has defined me. It has made me stronger, it has made me more empathic, it has encouraged me to stand up to and  for others. It has been the foundation on which my character was built and, if I had to go through it to get to who I am today, then so be it. I value the person I am today. I love the story I am writing. I am thankful for my strength, my caring nature, my courage, my integrity and my ability to continually be the survivor through adversity. So, the way I see it…I’m writing a very good story. Are you? 

Get out there and write your story each and every day.  And, you can choose to share it or keep it to yourself, just like my nieces. 

But whatever you do……write a good one!!! 

Ending Another Chapter….

Yesterday we said goodbye to our last living dog. The dogs were miniature schnauzers and they were my son’s dogs. We lost the first one to kidney failure during Lucas’ last year of high school and the second one three years later. They were rescue dogs. They were really timid when we got them but within the week, they had made our house their home and their huge personalities brought more joy into our home.  But, it didn’t take us long to recognize that they were recovering from abuse. Little things, like the sight of the flyswatter, would send them running and yelping. So we stopped using the flyswatter.

Sas was the alpha dog and not only was she the leader of both her and Fiesty, but she also ‘self appointed’ herself to be in charge of me. She took her job seriously and would always walk in front of me to lead. It was a tough job for her because I was the leader of the household. I was the organizer, the coordinator, the confidante, the fixer, and the matriarch of my little family. I took my job seriously too. As time went on, she won. She was so adorably cute in her role that I couldn’t do otherwise.

Fiesty hadn’t  been the same since Sas left this world. We thought she would take on Sas’s role in the family but she never did. She always seemed a bit sad. That’s one of the reasons I was excited and hopeful to get her out to the country. And, we did see her spirits lift when she first went into the backyard. But by the time she got here, she was mostly blind and deaf and had arthritis in her hind legs. She lasted less than six months.

Today, the house is unusually quiet. Today I opened the blinds in my office and looked outside for her. It’s strange how something can become a routine and then just completely normal in life that we do it without thinking. Today there is a gaping hole in our great room where her little fenced area used to be. My husband and I were a little surprised by our responses to her passing. Yes, we expected to be sad because she was no longer here but we didn’t expect the feelings to be so strong. And, then it hit us, we are definitely empty nesters now and while we really embrace  that part of our lives; our 3rd act, we still had a little piece of the past here at home. But, yesterday changed it. There isn’t much left of the past now except our photos, our memories, and some things here st the house. So, THIS is how it feels to be truly empty nesters😊

Lucas and Melanie have great lives. Each is happy doing what they want to do in life. Brad and I hear from them often. Actually I got a call from both of them yesterday. Lucas was making jambalaya for dinner and wanted to make sure he got it right. He did. It looked delicious. Melanie was on her lunch break and wanted to check on us.

And, so, as we close this chapter of our lives  and continue with our 3rd Act, we take along the fun memories of the past, the lessons learned, our new dream home in the country  and we look forward to the future and making some more amazing memories with our family, our friends, our home, and our life  in the country.