My Dad, A Man of Few Words..

but the words he spoke left quite an impact


Last week was my Dad’s birthday, he would have been 89. I miss my Dad more with every passing day and his death has left a void in my life that no one can ever fill. Dad was a strong, quiet, hard working man who loved his family…and golf.

Back in his day working hard and providing for your family showed how much you loved them. That was all you needed to do. You worked and worked and when you finally got home you were so exhausted you couldn’t do anything else. Dad worked 2 jobs, 6 days a week so there wasn’t a lot of time left at the end of the day. Most nights he would just fall asleep on the couch watching tv.

He played golf on Saturdays after work and sometimes on Sundays. But Mom didn’t like him playing on Sundays so that didn’t happen very often. We would have family picnics in the back yard and Dad would be the one who tended to the grill. There was always a problem getting the charcoal to light and there would be a few words spoken that we pretended not to hear. But he got it lit and the burgers were great! I sure do miss those times. This is the only time we ever saw Dad cook. When Mom was in the hospital having my sister, my Aunt had to come and feed us due to the fact my Dad was making us cereal…cold cereal.. for every meal. Funny thing is when Dad was in the Navy, he was a cook on the ship. Guess he got tired of it and vowed to never do it again.

I learned a lot from this man. I certainly got my work ethic from him. And I saw his respect for my Mom and the way he treated his own mother. Back in the 50’s and 60’s most women didn’t have a voice. Men ruled the house and what they said was law. But that wasn’t the case in our house. Mom had a voice, boy did she ever. And Dad let her have that voice. He would say his piece and then Mom said hers and basically Dad deferred to Mom. I remember a few times it went on a little longer, but I was very young and by the time I was in my teens, Dad had just given up and he would just let Mom win. He was a smart man.

Dad also had a sense of humor. You didn’t see it very often and most of the time a few beers were involved but he had a very dry sarcastic sense of humor and it cracked me up every time. I think maybe I got my sense of humor from him. I’ve been known to express a little bit of sarcasm now and then. It was always funny to see this side of him when we had people over to the house. My normally quiet father turned into a comedian. Everyone thought he was funny, especially him.

He never yelled at us except when we would have the refrigerator door open too long, which to Dad was anything more than a second. Lights were always turned off on us, even if we were in that room reading. “You don’t need a light on the sun is still out.” Heat evidently wasn’t needed either as it was always shut off to the upstairs and if we turned it on for some dumb reason… like maybe us seeing our breath…. it was off within minutes.

Since my sister and I didn’t have much interaction or playful moments with Dad, you can imagine how surprised I was at the way he treated my kids. He was so loving and played with them any time he could. I never understood why that was until I had grand children of my own. You have more time and you don’t have all the rest of the stuff that goes with raising them. You can just enjoy them. I know I do.

The only time I can honestly say that my Dad let me down or missed a moment to really connect was when he found out I was pregnant. I was only 15 and looking back on it now I can kind of understand his reaction. Especially due to the fact it he wasn’t a very touchy feely kind of man and didn’t know how to react. So he chose to not speak to me for several days and when he finally did he told me he was disappointed in me. I was already disappointed in me, I didn’t need my father saying it. I wanted him to hold me and tell me it would be ok. He didn’t do that then, but his actions the next several months and the years ahead proved that he loved me and stood by me.

The last time I saw my Dad, he and my Mom had come to Ocean City, MD to spend a few days with me at the beach. A few days later he was gone. Dad had recently retired and had more time to do fun things like go to the beach and play more golf. He played every single day…well maybe not Sundays. He always said when he retired he was going to play golf every day and he did. He was actually out playing the day he died. Something else he always said was that he wanted to die on the golf course and he did. Who wouldn’t want to go doing the very thing you loved most in the world?

A father shouldn’t just be a sperm donor or someone who just gives their last name to a child. My Dad proved this and my own son proves this to be true as well. My son didn’t have a very good role model in his own father but he is the best Father to his children I have ever seen. He teaches them with so much love and respect. He isn’t afraid to show them he loves them and as a result they are respectful and loving children in return.

I think how our parents treat us and others truly shapes our lives. Sometimes its good and sometimes it’s not. But whatever the circumstances of our childhood, we can’t continue to blame them for our problems. At some point we have to move on and take responsibility for our lives. I didn’t have a father that constantly talked to me, played with me or one who showered me with love. In fact, he never once told me he loved me. But I knew I was loved. He may not have said the actual words but he proved it by his actions.

My Dad was a wonderful man and I miss him. Happy Birthday Dad! He used to say it never rained on the golf course. So Dad, I hope the grass is green and the sun is shining and every hole is a hole in one!

The most important thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” ~Theodore M Hesburgh

Do you have a great story about your Dad to share?



How I Got Rid Of My Cold, Naturally!

and in less than 2 days…


Disclaimer: “The Helpful Hellion is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.” This means I could make a little money if you click on one of the links below and actually buy something. Also as stated before, I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one. Do not try anything here if you have serious issues. Please consult your physician. I only tell my story and what happened when I used this. If your toes fall off after using these oil mixtures, don’t blame me!

I started sneezing and honestly could not stop. I am dead serious here, I must have sneezed at least 20 times in a row each time. My ribs and back were starting to hurt from it and I thought, oh great here we go. My grandson has had a cold lingering on for weeks now and insists upon kissing me on the lips. He is such a little love bug! And the keyword in that statement is “bug.”

Not wanting to go the medicine route as anyone that knows me even a little bit knows  that I do not do medicine. I started researching my trusty copy of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy and found immediate relief from the sneezing. A drop of Lavender 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil by Edens Garden- 10 ml rubbed on the inside of your cheeks..who knew? But I did it and did not sneeze again, even once. It really did amaze me. How did I not know about this miracle cure for sneezing?

So that took care of the sneezing, now what to do about the achiness, coughing and slightly feverish feeling? Back to the book. Die some more research and then I made up a concoction of Majestic Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil 16 Oz(two tablespoons) and 5 drops each of Lavender, Eucalyptus and Peppermint oils in a little bottle and then shook it up and rubbed that on my feet, chest and back. I did this several times throughout the day. I especially reapplied it right before bed. Make sure to rub it on the feet and put on some nice thick warm socks.

I love Edens Gardens Essential Oils, they are a very good quality for the price. I have used them often and have had no problems. I don’t take them internally so I don’t worry about having some kind of weird reaction from them. But you should always do a little test to see if your skin can take the oil and never put it directly on the skin with out being diluted in a carrier oil, such as Coconut Oil, Grapeseed Oil or Sesame Seed Oil. I did rub the lavender oil on my cheeks but it was such a small amount and I feel like it went into my system through my cheeks, I didn’t really swallow it. Surprisingly, it did actually taste pretty good.

The reason I picked these three oils are…Lavender oil has antiseptic and anti fungal properties. Peppermint oil has antimicrobial properties and a calming effect. Eucalyptus oil has a wide range  of properties include anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, decongestant, antiseptic, and antibacterial as well as other great qualities.

You can also do this and I highly recommend it… put a few drops of the lavender and eucalyptus oils on a few tissues and keep them near by or carry them in your purse in a baggie to pull out and sniff if you get congested. A few drops on a tissue by your pillow also helps you to breathe freely and sleep more soundly.

A steaming hot bath with 3 drops each of Thyme, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus and Lemon essential oils will relax you and open up your sinuses. If you don’t have a bath or the time for one, you can put the oils on a washcloth and lay that on the bottom of the tub while taking your shower and it will still give you some much needed relief.

Diffusing the house or your bedroom with the above mentioned oils will help get rid of the germs and help you to breathe and feel better. I use this one from Amazon..

I did a few other things to get rid of the “bug”. I ate things that were good for me. I never remember if it’s, “starve a fever but feed a cold or feed a fever and starve a cold” ..whatever…but what if you have both…then what? Do you just starve? Well, since I wasn’t sure, I ate when I was hungry. I do have to disclose that I may or may not have had some ice cream…but that was for my 100 degree fever..and it worked. Fever was gone…I had tea every day this week instead of coffee and cinnamon on my bagels. I did take my Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar 32 oz. straight twice a day instead of just once. You don’t need to do it twice..or straight, you can out it in some water with lemon or in your tea. And I got lots of rest and slept very soundly, I think due in part to the lavender.

The best thing I ate for my “bug” was the homemade chicken noodle soup my daughter in law made me. Nothing like homemade soup especially when you don’t have to be the one making it. There is just something to be said for this old remedy. It really truly works and it’s yummy!

I can not believe all of this worked. I have never gotten over a cold or a “bug” so quickly in my whole entire life. You better believe I will be doing these things again should the dreaded “bug” return. I hope you try some of my natural remedies next time you get a cold or the “bug” and that they work as well for you as they worked for me. I wish you all good health and long life!

Do you have any natural remedies that you would like to share, maybe something passed down from your grandmother?

“I shall not die of a cold. I shall die of having lived.” ~ Willa Carter





Top Ten Things I Learned From Mom


“we are our Mother’s Daughters”

At least I know I am…I find myself so often doing things or saying something just like  Mom. These were things I hated as a child, but now here I am doing the exact same things. I look in the mirror and I see her. I hear her in my voice. She has molded my life like no other person and shaped me into who I am today. I wish I could pick up the phone and call her so many times recently and ask for her advice. She always helped me through tough times and I’ve had a lot of them lately. Yes, she sure taught me a lot…and not all of it was good. LOL..

Things I learned from Mom:

  1. A Love of family – She loved her family above all else. Everything else came second to them. Mom didn’t just say she loved you, she showed it in every thing she did. Her Mother and Father and siblings were so very important to her, she respected them and honored them. And she passed that on to her own children and grandchildren. We knew we were loved.
  2. To have a caring heart – she deeply wanted to help people and she did that. She gave freely of her money and her time. She volunteered at the schools, was a PTA President and a Girl Scout leader. She also gave to over 100 charities. Yes, really.. If someone, anyone, needed something or a few dollars Mom was always there to help them, all they had to do was ask.
  3. Love of animals – Mom loved animals and had 3 dogs. She loved them and treated them like her kids. Personally I didn’t like any of them.
  4. To be a strong woman – She was a little ahead of her time, my Mom.. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and didn’t care if anyone liked what she had to say. If you asked for her advice, you were going to hear it. Most of the time she was right. She fought for what she believed in and heaven help those who tried to tell her otherwise or hurt someone she loved.
  5. A love of food – this is one I wish I didn’t learn quite so well. She loved food and was a great cook. We had dinner together every night and we ate what she made for us or we didn’t eat. I just wish she wouldn’t have taught me to love potato chips.
  6. To love yourself – Mom did a good job on this one. She was a beautiful woman and she took care of herself. She wasn’t skinny by any means, and at times was quite heavy, but her weight never made her think less of herself. She thought she was beautiful and so others did as well.
  7. A sense of style – she had her own sense of what looked good on her and what didn’t. Mom didn’t follow trends or wear what everyone else did. She looked amazing in everything she wore. And as I have mentioned before, she had a statement piece that was her….the big earrings. She was never without them.
  8. Get up and make up – my Mom got up and put on her makeup every single day, whether she was going out or staying in. She styled her hair and put her makeup on, every day. And she would never go out of the house without dressing up or her make up.
  9. A love of the beach – writing this now is funny to me since I can hardly ever remember her getting in the ocean. She would get in pools but not the ocean. She didn’t want to get her hair wet. But she did love the beach. We went to Florida and the many beaches close to PA. Even if it was just for a day, we would all pile in the car with sandwiches made by her for lunch along the way and we had the best time ever. As a side note… I hardly ever get in the ocean anymore either, unless the grandkids shame me into it. But I love to sit on the beach and enjoy the beauty of it every chance I get.

And my favorite is #10. Shopping and bargain finding – My mom was the queen of  shopping and she loved it. It was her hobby. Finding a bargain was the best thing in the world for her. We would go shopping all the time. When we were kids she took us downtown every Friday and we shopped until we couldn’t walk anymore. As she got older, she still loved to do it and made my Dad take her every Wednesday and Saturday and my sister and I and then later my kids went with her on Fridays. I honestly think she would have loved to go every day. This has certainly had an effect on me and my daughters. We all love to shop and when we do it together it is even better. Trying things on and laughing together until we almost pee ourselves is the best tribute to my Mom. I am sure she is looking down on us and saying to herself…”I taught them well.”

“When you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.” ~ Charley Benetto

What’s the best thing your mother taught you?



Things I’ve Learned In My First Year Of Blogging


Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my blog. I can’t believe a full year has gone by that quickly and that I have now been doing this for a year! I didn’t know if I would even do more than one and yet here we are a year and many posts later. I had always wanted to write ever since I was in junior high school and started writing the “great american novel.”

I learned so much about blogging, writing and myself during this past year and all of it is a little overwhelming at times. I have written one post every single week since day one. I had made that my goal when I started and I accomplished that goal. I think there may have been one week I did it late and it ran into the next week, but I did it! That in itself is a big accomplishment for me. I sometimes have a tendency to go “all in” for something only to give it up a month later..like the piano keyboard I bought.

There has never been a week in this past year where I didn’t have anything to write or even had a hard time thinking of something to say. Sometimes I had started on one subject and then changed to another when I sat down to write. I keep a little notebook at all times and jot down things that happen or that I see and think, “wow that would make a great blog post.” And also anyone that knows me also knows I have an opinion on just about everything so this is just another way of expressing myself.

I amazed myself with setting the whole thing up from the very first. I researched and researched every little thing about writing a blog, I started out on Tumblr and used that for about a month and quickly switched to a self hosted WordPress site. Which is no small task, especially for someone that put a disc in the wrong place when I first started using a computer. I decided on The Helpful Hellion as the name of my blog due to the fact my dad used to call me a little hellion and I wanted to in some way help people with my blog. I hope I have done that even in a small way at least, maybe by making you think of some good memories of your past or that you learned a helpful health tip.

I knew this blogging thing wouldn’t be easy.. however I foolishly thought all I had to do was write it and post it. I didn’t know I had to learn all about SEO, analytics, security, backups, PHP code and on and on and on…I want people to see it, not just friends and family. I want to get it out there in cyberspace so I had to learn about all of these things that seemed so foreign to me to the point I felt like I was reading and learning a different language. And in fact I was. Oh, and an important thing to note, you can’t just put a picture on your site you took off the internet somewhere or you may wind up paying a pretty penny for that indiscretion.

Being on a schedule and making myself stick to it was the hardest part. I have never really been good with this… and having recently retired the last thing I wanted was to be on a schedule. But for some reason I stuck to it. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I am doing something I truly love doing. I may not ever publish that “great american novel” but I’m writing and people are actually reading and enjoying it and that gives me so much joy! I know I should care how many people are reading it and how many page views I’m getting. I know that..but what I’m getting is so much better than any of that, I am getting to do what I’ve always wanted to do and I don’t have anyone telling me how to do it or what to do differently.

There are so many people blogging now it is almost as if everyone has one. So the chance of me getting noticed or becoming the next big thing is slim. But I’m doing what I love to do and I’m just going to keep doing it. I’m writing about what I’ve lived and what I’ve loved. I write what I know and enjoy talking about. One of my goals is to help people live a better life through alternative health solutions. I write about things I use myself and have helped me to stay healthy and enjoy life. I love passing those stories on to others.

This is just a little of what I’ve learned this year. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog and will continue to do so and share it with others. I love reading your comments and the stories you have shared with me. Some of your favorites have been about my memories from days gone by. I love writing about this as it helps to fill up the holes in my heart of the things and people I love and miss. And there is a lot more where those came from.

I just want to say thank you for reading and that I am thrilled to have all of you on this journey with me.

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald




Fashion Trends For Spring 2016

And there is something for everyone…

vintage straw bag

It looks to me like the 70’s are still going to be with us a while longer, especially into Spring/Summer 2016. Also for those of you who like the romantic/flowery, Victorian type clothing.. that is going to be big as well. Underwear as outerwear, not a fan of this. Do we really need to see your underwear? My dad always said, “it is more fun to unwrap something and be surprised.” Gotta go with Dad on this one.

The colors for Spring will be Peach Echo (coral/peach), Snorkel Blue (navy, one of my favs), Iced Coffee (sounds yummy and looks like what you would think it would..coffee), Lilac Grey (just looks like grey to me, but then what do I know, Pantone says its Lilac Grey so thats what it is, I do like grey by the way) Rose Quartz(which looks pink to me and not a color I wear, makes me look like I’m dead) There are a few others like Limpet Shell(which is a light colored turquoise, love this) and Buttercup, which I’m sure you can figure out. All in all not bad choices. Not that I ever go by their picks, but it does carry over into what colors the designers use for the season.

The one trend I am excited to see and have been personally wanting for quite some time is suede as in a suede jacket. I just had a conversation with a friend last week where she told me she was cleaning out the attic and came across her husband’s suede jacket from high school. She had it cleaned and her grandson is now wearing it. How cool is that?

So here are some of the top trends of 2016:

1.Straw and wicker handbags like The SAK Cambria Large Tote Shoulder Bag,Gypsy Stripe,One Size

2. Half Moon Handbags like this one from Silpada. To check it out go to my website www.mysilpada.com/renee.stambaugh



3. Suede coats, vests and jackets like this BGSD Women’s “Anna” Suede Leather Car Coat

4. Victorian Flowered tops and dresses, I myself was never a big flowery person. Well I do enjoy real ones, just not wearing them.

5. Maxi skirts and dresses – like this AGB Women’s Knit Maxi Skirt. I have been thinking of trying one of these, seems like they would be comfortable.

6. Aviator sunglasses – not sure they ever left but they are back…Go Maverick (as in “Top Gun”, one of my favs)

7. Statement jewelry, earrings, necklaces and bracelets like the one below from Silpada. Again, you can check out my website above for more like this one.



8. Denim, denim and more denim – shirts, jackets, skirts and dresses. I must say I do love denim.

9. Pointy toe flats and gladiator sandals – I like pointy toes because they feel better on my feet than round ones for some reason. Evidently, I must have pointy feet. However, as a side note, there will be no wearing of the the afore mentioned gladiator sandals. They are also showing shoes that look like slippers, even calling them slipper shoes. I guess the pajama people will be wearing them. And some weird looking sneakers unlike any sneakers I ever saw….um, no..

I am happy to see so many flats because I just can’t do the heels anymore. Been there, done that, ruined my feet to prove I’ve done it. Here is a cute pair of flats Breckelle BA45 Women Suede Pointy Toe T-Strap Cutout Flat Sandal – Leopard

10. Pleats – showing lots of pleated skirts, and dresses. Never been a “fan”..get it?

It looks like it is going to be a great Spring for fashion and the groundhog said it will be early, so you better get a move on.

I will end as always with a question and a quote…

My question – Which one of these trends is something you think you would wear?

My quote – “Playing dress up begins at age 5 and never truly ends” ~ Kate Spade


Disclaimer: Some of these links are affiliate links to Amazon and I may get paid a little bit if you would purchase an item…


Surviving The Loss Of A Job…

My thoughts on losing the last job I will ever have.


Next week will mark the one year anniversary of the day I got laid off from my “real” job. A job I loved and where I made a decent salary, had great benefits and made a ton of friends, both in the company and the businesses I serviced. It really was one of the worse days in my life.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was a day much like today, still some snow on the ground from the last snow and very cold. We were told to be on a conference call, so I got all my work done, prepared for my store visit that day, showered, ate my breakfast and was dressed waiting to get on the call. I dialed in to the call at 10:00 and by 10:30 (maybe even 10:15) I was unemployed. No explanation, no apologies, no nothing. I was in shock as were the rest us that lost our jobs that day. The rest of the day was spent calling and texting each other to make some sort of sense out of a senseless situation.

There were no signs that this would happen, it truly came out of no where. The company just had another great year. Profits were up (thanks in part to us) and things were going very well. Of course there are always rumblings of something going on at a job and a few changes had already been made but we had been assured we were safe.

The sudden loss of anything forces you to think what you could have done differently, why did this happen to you…and all the other millions of questions that come to mind. I myself had just gone through one of the toughest years of my life, having lost my mother and my sister, my daughter and three grandsons moving over 10 hours away and my best friend moving to Florida. So by the time I got this call I was already done, this just shut the lid on the coffin.

This job was the most favorite job I had ever had!  I told everyone, I saved the best job for last. Being in my 60’s when I was hired, I knew I would retire from this company and that it was indeed the best one to retire from in so many ways. I worked very hard for them, probably harder for them than any other job I ever had. I worked far more hours than I was supposed to, worked long into the night many nights and missed a lot of family and friends gatherings. I also missed watching my grandkids at their sporting events, because of it. But I told myself it was ok, it was for a good reason, I was paid well, I loved it and they valued me. Sadly I found out that was not the case. Losing the job made me realize they never really valued me in the first place or they couldn’t have just thrown me away like they did.

So how do you come back from losses such as this? I admit, I did a lot of feeling sorry for myself the first few days. I did a lot of soul searching, what did I want to do now that I had the time to do it? I was 9 months shy of full retirement, so it would not be easy to find a job at this point in my life and did I really want one? I thought about it a lot while searching the help wanted ads and sending out some resumes. What’s next, what do I do? I always wanted to write and so a week to the day after that terrible phone call, I posted my first blog post. Writing this blog has truly helped me get over all the feelings I was now feeling..those of inadequacy, loss and depression. I also signed up for unemployment and took Social Security in September. I decided to see what retirement was like. I must say it is fabulous.

Here are few final thoughts on the subject:

1. It’s just a job. It doesn’t define you or make you what you are. You can’t find what you are meant to be in any job. This comes from within and it is up to you to decide what that means to you. I have heard people say if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. While that may be true, it doesn’t always pay the bills. But we can certainly work for people who value us and enable us to live a life outside of work.

2. I could never make plans while working there. Even short term plans. I hadn’t been able to even schedule a dentist appointment as my schedule was always in flux. Having lunch or dinner with family and friends was really hit or miss. Most of the time even if I made it there at all, I was late. Now I have these regularly and realize what I was missing by working so hard and what I had given up for this company by doing so. I will never give up what is important to me for anyone or anything again.

3. We never know in this life what the next day will bring, so we need to live in the moment we are in right now. This moment… it’s all we have. Make the most of it!  Do what truly brings you happiness and joy. And spend time with the people you love!

I love this quote I found, “Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack.” ~Unknown




The Love/Hate Relationship I Have With My Hair

and how this can be applied to almost anything in your life..



I am the little girl in the middle of the picture, the one with the scowl on her face. This is my birthday party and I should be happy, but all I can think about is how much I don’t like my hair and how much I want it to be like the other girls in the picture.

How It Began..

My “love/hate” relationship with my hair began in grade school somewhere around 3rd grade. I didn’t mind it much before that or really even pay much attention to my hair or how it looked. However, at some point in 3rd grade, and I remember this as if it happened yesterday, one of my little “girlfriends”  told me my hair looked stupid and that I shouldn’t wear it curly. I was so upset and barely kept myself from crying in front of her. How could I change this? I couldn’t, my hair was naturally curly and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. I don’t even begin to know how I made it through the rest of the day. And as soon as the bell rang I ran the whole way home crying so hard I could barely see. I ran in the house and told my mother what had happened and repeated to her what the little girl said to me. She tried to calm me down of course and then told me that the little girl was just jealous of my hair and how pretty it was and not to worry about it. Yeah, right!

This love/hate thing with my hair continued through elementary school and high school. My true friends never mentioned it or said what that little wench(being nice here) in the 3rd grade said to me. But there were those times on a rare occasion, like after I walked a mile to school in the rain, when I could see them looking pitifully at my wild, frizzy hair. I never made peace with my hair or should I say, the curls.

Things I  Tried..

You have to know that I went to school in the 50’s and 60’s and curly hair was not in style. Straight hair was the norm and if anything it may have had a flip at the ends but that was it. No curly hair was ever seen in my days at school, so I was it, the lone curly haired girl in the whole entire school. It is hard to be different and very hard to be the only one. I tried everything to make it better or less curly, like sleeping with my hair rolled up in beer cans or ironing it and much later, straightening it. The beer can thing worked…until I walked out of the house on a humid or rainy day. The ironing thing did as well until my mom caught on to what I was doing, especially after the day I burnt both my hair and my neck. I was not allowed to do that anymore and I spent the rest of that day explaining why I had a “love bite” on my neck. The professional straightening thing wasn’t very professional back then so it last maybe a week. But it was a week I truly enjoyed…

We didn’t have the products back in those days like we do now. We had shampoo, conditioner and hair spray. That was it! Oh and also some goopy stuff that was like jello. But believe me when I say these things did not work (on curly hair) and in fact made matters worse. The hair spray we had then was like painting your head with lacquer. And when you went out into the rain or faced the slightest bit of humidity, you would wind up looking like “Medusa” (check her out in Wikipedia)…not a good look or one I wanted to copy. I just wanted “straight hair”…

How I am feeling today..

A few years ago at a class reunion a few girls told me they just loved my hair and how lucky I was that I didn’t have to pay tons of money to have curls. They went on to say they were aways jealous of my hair and wished they had it. Wow, who knew! Certainly not me, the curly haired 8 year old in grade school who ran home crying. It did one thing though, it made me realize that we never know how others are feeling or what they really think about anything. We assume so many things in life and most of the time when we do that we are wrong in our assumptions.

The real lesson I have gotten from this whole thing is that we just need to accept the things we can’t change. And maybe, just maybe even learn to embrace them.

Is there something you have always wanted to change about yourself?

“if you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” ~ Mary Engelbreit





“all I’m asking for is a little respect”

I used this line from Aretha Franklin’s song because I thought it was a great one and a good way to start this post about respect or actually the lack of it in today’s world. I am deeply saddened every day when I see stories on the news of how we are treating people, our country, our children and even our animals. How have we somehow lost respect for everything we used to hold so dear?

When I was growing up we respected our elders and got up to let an older person have our seat when they came into the room. We didn’t talk over people and most of the time we weren’t even in the same room where grownup conversations were going on. For the most part we were taught to speak when spoken to. We certainly never talked back and if we did, what happened next sure wasn’t pretty. But we learned from that not to ever do it again. It was called respect.

Our parents and grandparents were respectful of our country and the people who ran  it. Even if they did not agree with the politics or the person holding the office, they showed respect for that office. I can’t ever remember even one time any one of them ever made disparaging remarks about someone in office. Of course they didn’t always agree with that person and they definitely would talk about what needed to be done differently. And just so you know, my grandparents and parents, every one of them, had very strong opinions to be sure, but never did they resort to name calling or making fun of the person in any way. I shudder to think what my Grandpa who taught Sunday School would have to say about the way we speak about our elected officials today.

It started in the home, our respect thing. We had dinner together every single night. My parents would ask how our school day went and we actually talked to each other. No one looked at a book or watched television. If we listened to music it was soft and in the background. We connected and enjoyed our time together. And no one left the table until everyone was finished and certainly if they did it wasn’t without asking if it was ok for us to do so. It was called respect.

We also respected our teachers and law enforcement. People knew there were rules and laws and they knew the consequences of breaking them. If we did at some point break the law or a rule and had to pay the price, we didn’t get a lawyer to sue the state or school because “they” did something wrong. We accepted our role as the one who did wrong and we accepted the punishment.

Our respect of others was always very important and along with that respect was manners. We said excuse me if we bumped into someone, opened doors for people and helped our parents and grandparents without being asked or expecting money for it. We wrote handwritten thank you notes for gifts or at least called the person on the phone and talked to them. It was called respect.

I don’t know when all of this changed. When did we as a people get so caught up in the day to day world of work and life that we seem to have lost respect for everything? We don’t even respect something so simple as the fact that someone may have a different opinion than ours. I would like to see us return to those days when respect was important. It could maybe help us to heal and move forward as a nation and as human beings. At least is would be a great first step.

“Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” ~ David Willis


Top Ten Things That Make Me Happy!!


and no, clowns aren’t one of them…

I think I am a fairly happy person. I am blessed to have wonderful people in my life that make me happy. I also have a few other things that make me happy and here they are:

1. A hug from my grandkids. An added bonus is if they say “I love you Grammy” while hugging me.

2. Exercising. I know this usually isn’t fun and there are days when I don’t want to do it, but it does make me feel happy when I am done! And then I don’t feel so bad eating that bowl of ice cream.

3. Food..any kind of home cooked meal, meals made by someone other than me, the afore mentioned ice cream and a good cup of coffee( I know coffee isn’t food)..also a good glass of Moscato( I know this isn’t food either)

4. The Beach, the smell of the sea, the feel of the sun and spray of the ocean on my skin and just way it relaxes me like no other place on earth.

5. My friends, getting together with them for lunch or dinner and talking and laughing about stupid things. Even texting or chatting with them on Facebook.

6. Spending time with family, especially my kids, my grandkids and my nieces.

7. Shopping. Anyone that knows me knows I love to shop! (note:I must really love it because I write out my blog on paper before I write it here and had shopping down twice). I absolutely love the thrill of finding a bargain. I guess I got that from my Mom.

8. Writing. My new favorite pastime. I always loved writing and even did it from time to time in years past. But since I retired now I have more time to concentrate on it and am loving it even more! It brings me so much joy to put my thoughts down on paper. It’s good to finally have an outlet for all the things I have been carrying around inside my head!

9. Dancing and music. Live music most of all. I used to go dancing at least once a week or even more. I haven’t danced in so long I don’t know if I still can. I plan on changing that this year! Who’s up for dancing?

10. And finally my new Happy Light! I know I have some degree of “SAD”..because I get very sad when we have shorter days and less sun. So I read up on these lights and got one and I must say it does make me “happy.”

“Happiness is like a kiss. You must share it to enjoy it” ~ Bernard Meltzer  I hope I do!

What makes you happy?




My Ten New Year’s Resolutions


“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one”.

Brad Paisley

I could probably just tear the page out of any journal and reuse the resolutions for that year. Eat better, exercise more, and on and on…But this year is different, this year I am going to be realistic and make resolutions I think I can accomplish! Not that I made totally unrealistic ones in previous years, but evidently they were because looking back on them now I didn’t accomplish but one or two of the ones I wrote. However, I am not the person I was then. The past two years have changed me. And I hope for the better!

My ten resolutions for 2016 are:

1. Everyday I will pause for a few moments and take time to reflect on what is going on. I will be grateful for everything I have and find joy in that moment.

2. I will keep on keeping on….what is the alternative? To give up..well that isn’t going to happen. I have been keeping on for 66 years now and I’m not about ready to give up now. One of the things I will be “keeping on” is my writing. I started writing this year and plan on continuing to do it and maybe even more of it in 2016!

3. I resolve to find more “Good”. I try to do this everyday already and as hard as it is sometimes to find it.. I do manage to find one good thing a day. I want to find more of it. And if I can’t I will be the “good” myself. Everyday!! There has to be more out there, I just need to find it!

4. Check off more things on my “Bucket List”. Our time here is limited. I must remember this and “do it now.”

5. Spend more time with people I care about. I have done more of this in 2015 and reconnected with several dear friends and family members. But I am going to do even more of it in 2016. We spend way too much time with people who don’t give us joy. We need to be with people who raise us up, not pull us down!

6. I resolve to stop taking things so seriously. Life is too short to get upset about the guy cutting me off in traffic, although I wish it wouldn’t happen, I don’t need to let it ruin my day. I will laugh about his stupid haircut and move on with my day. Laughter is the best way to diffuse anger and I plan on laughing more. So if you see me laughing, you may or may not have annoyed me…

7. I will continue with my new plan to get “dressed up” every single day… It makes me feel good. And, I have the clothes, I might as well wear them. I was inspired by this quote…”Get up, dress up, show up and never give up.” ~ Regina Brett

8. Last year was my year of live concerts…I resolve to hear even more live music this year! And not only to hear music but to “Dance” to it! I used to love to dance and did it all the time. At least several times a week. I was truly a dancing queen..This coming year is my year to “just dance!”

9. I plan to travel more and see places I have never seen. These places don’t have to be far away or costly. There is so much to see all around us, if we just look for it. How many times do we go by a little town or attraction and say, wow, I never knew this was here? Well, I am going to go there next year! Who wants to come along?

10. And finally, I am going to take better care of “me” next year. For most of my life I have taken care of or gave more time to someone other than me. My kids, my parents, my employers….they all came first and I got whatever time was left over. And there was never a lot of it left, believe me. But 2016 is going to be different….now it’s time for “me”!!!

I would love to hear some of your resolutions? Do you make them? Do you keep them?

Happy New Year to you all! May 2016 be a year filled with joy and peace! ~Hellion