finding joy

Refinding My Joy

it was lost but now it’s found…

finding joy

find joy in the simple things

My word for 2016 was “joy.” I was going to find joy every day and try to make others happy and joyful too. It was a wonderful idea and I got some of my friends onboard with it as well. We shared our stories each and every day of how and where we were finding our joy. It was truly a wonderful goal, this whole “finding joy” thing was quite uplifting and hearing about everyone else’s joy made me even more joyful. That went on for a few months and then life somehow got in the way. My life wasn’t joyful anymore.

I decided this week to try and to “refind” my joy. I am bound and determined that it is out there, just waiting for me to rediscover it and allow it to once again come into my life. I want to be joyful. I need to feel happiness again. But I am also not a fool, I know every day can’t be just sunshine and joy. There is pain all around us and we can’t ignore it. But what we can do is find one thing every day that make us feel “JOY.”

In thinking about writing this I decided to look up some quotes about “joy.”  I was amazed by the ones I found and want to share 5 of them with you. They filled me with joy just reading them. I hope they will bring you some as well.

1.“Joy is prayer; joy is strength: joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.” ~ Mother Teresa

2. “Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero ( I love this one by the way)

3. “Joy, rather than happiness, is the goal of life, for joy is the emotion which accompanies our fulfilling our natures as human beings. It is based on the experience of one’s identity as a being of worth and dignity.” ~ Rollo May

4. “A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. She gives most who gives with joy.” ~ Mother Teresa

5. “Joy is a decision, a really brave one, about how you are going to respond to life.” ~ Wess Stafford

I love all of these, but that last one really made me stop and think. Doesn’t everything in life come down to this? It is really not about what life gives us or takes away. It is how we respond to it. We can find joy in simple things. The picture above of the butterfly brings me joy. Seeing butterflies in my garden makes me smile and brings me joy, my son loved them and I know he is sending them to us. I see joy in the faces of my grandchildren and I find it in the love my family and friends show me every day. And I know for sure that joy still dwells somewhere deep within my heart.

This is my goal for the remainder of 2016. I am going to find my joy again. I am going to embrace it and never let it go.

What brings you joy?



Please Don’t Ask Me How I Am…

I know this sounds both rude and weird but let me explain.

just trying to hold things together...

I’m trying to hold things together…

I don’t know if everyone that experiences a loss feels this way or not. Maybe it’s just people who have lost a piece of themselves..a part of their heart, a human being they carried inside their own body for nine months and raised to watch them become an adult and have children of their own. Maybe it’s only people like me that can truly understand how I feel when someone asks me this question, “how are you?”

I don’t know how I am. I don’t know how to answer this question. I get asked this every day and every day I don’t know how to answer. I just look at them and finally say, “I’m doing ok.” What am I supposed to say? What do they want me to say? Do they really want to know the truth? Because on the rare occasion I do try to put into words how I really feel, I see the look on their face and it tells me they really didn’t want to know. It is a look like, oh, no, she is really going to tell me and I don’t want to know, because I won’t know what to say to her.

I get it. I know it is difficult being the friend or family member of someone who has lost a child. I didn’t know what to say to others when I found out they had experienced this kind of loss. I do now. I love all the heartfelt emails, texts and cards people have sent and the words they so thoughtfully wrote to me have warmed my heart. I think it is easier to write than to speak, especially when you are face to face with the person who just lost their child.

I don’t want to be rude and I know it seems that I am not grateful for the people who take the time to ask me this question. I love that you take the time to ask me anything at all, just be aware I really don’t know how to answer. I want you to keep talking to me and allowing me to talk about my son. I feel like people are afraid I will break down and they won’t know how to handle the situation. It helps me to talk about it, but if it makes you uncomfortable then don’t ask. “if you don’t want to hear the answers, don’t ask the questions.”

There is another part of this that is hard as well. I don’t know how to act. I am out with family members or friends and we are laughing and having a great time and suddenly it dawns on me, what if someone sees me laughing. Why is she laughing? She just lost her son, she must not care. But then what is the answer? To look sad all the time and bring everyone down and make them feel sad too. I don’t want people to feel sad and feel so bad they don’t want to even be around me. I am aware of how you must feel and the thin tightrope you think you have to stay on. Ask me real questions, ask me tough questions. I may or may not have the answer but it will be better than asking me how I am.

I have so many days where I feel strong and happy and ready to take on the world. And then there are days when I have a hard time doing just about anything at all. I have had many losses in my life. Many. To have lost my Dad at such a long age was very hard. My Mom was in decline for years and it was almost a blessing that she finally gave up the fight. I lost my sister, my only sibling in a terrible freak accident that no one could have foreseen and was one of the hardest things I ever had to go through. But this. Losing my son, is…you know what, I can’t even put it into words. I have been sitting here trying to come up with the right words and they are none.

I am trying to be strong for my family. I know they all have had a hard time with this as well. I am blessed to have family and friends that have held me up and supported me through this horrific time in my life. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I don’t know what the future holds. I do know I am not the same person I was two months ago. I will never be that person again. I know it will get easier, but it will never be the same. And neither will I. I am on a this journey I never expected to be on and I hope everyone will stay with me as I figure out who I am now and where I am headed.

In closing, please don’t ask me how I am… because I don’t really know the answer. I usually end with a question, but I don’t have one. So instead I will end with two beautiful quotes I have found.

“It has been said that time heals all wounds. I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind protecting it’s sanity covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it’s never gone. ~ Rose Kennedy

“Do not judge the bereaved mother. She comes in many forms. She is breathing, but she is dying. She may look young, but inside she has become ancient. She smiles, but her heart sobs. She walks, she talks, she cooks, she IS, but she IS NOT, all at once. She is here, but a part of her is elsewhere for eternity.” ~ Unknown





Ten Questions You Should Never Ask

I may or may not have asked a few…

just don't open your mouth

just keep your mouth shut

We have all had those times when you ask a question and the moment it is out of your mouth you realize you shouldn’t have asked it. I had lunch with a friend the other day and we were discussing this very thing. How we both have asked someone if they were pregnant and of course they weren’t and how embarrassing it was for both the asker and the askee(don’t think these are actual words but you get the point) It really makes both parties involved feel terrible. So after my one and only disaster I decided to refrain from ever asking this question again until the person involved told me she was indeed pregnant.

This got me to thinking about other questions you should just not ask. Below is my list of ten that I may or may not have asked or been asked.

  1. The first and obvious one is, “Are you pregnant?” You just should never utter these words if you don’t know the person. If you do know them don’t ask this until you hear the words “I’m pregnant” come out of their own mouth. Just take my word for it. My friend told me her story of how a woman came in to her workplace all the time and she was super skinny, ran all the time and was in great shape. So she came in one day with her child in a stroller and had a very distinct baby bump. It was right there, not a speck of fat on her body. So my friend knew she was pregnant. She says, “oh you are pregnant.” The woman gave her a very sad look and said, “no I don’t know what is the matter I just can’t lose this bump.” Of course my friend felt terrible and I’m sure the woman did as well. You can’t base your asking of this question on looks because this incident proves that. Just don’t ask..
  2. Is that your Grandmother? Being in retail, customers are always coming up to buy jewelry or perfume from me and have a person with them, Sometimes that person is much older than the customer. Don’t ever ask if the young man you are talking to if this lovely person with him is his grandmother? You will get a blank stare and be told that no, indeed this isn’t my Grandmother, it is my wife. Note: I also lost the sale.
  3. Is this your son? Just like “the is this your grandmother question”, do not ask is this your Mother, Father, Grandparent, etc… This actually happened to me. I was once in a very long term live in relationship with a younger man…much younger. 11 years younger to be exact. We were going to a wedding of a mutual friend and he needed a new suit. We went to a high end department store and he went about trying on various suits coming out to show me and let me help him choose. This went on for awhile and the clerk who was helping us finally looked at me and said, ” is that your son, he looks great in all of them.” To which I replied, “no, he is my boyfriend, and yes he does.” She looked a bit embarrassed and walked away. Just don’t ask.
  4. Why aren’t you married? I get this one a lot. I’ve been there, done that and have 2 tee shirts. I don’t feel the need to do it again. It is a nosey, rude question and one that doesn’t even deserve a reply. Personally, I would never ask someone this question, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of times I get it. Most times I try to ignore it and move on, but if they push, I usually give my stock answer which is, “why do you feel the need to know this?” That line and my look most times stops them…just throw it back at them.
  5. Why don’t you have kids? This is another one of those questions that is very personal and I think people shouldn’t ask. They don’t ask me this question of course but I know several people who have chosen not to have children or couldn’t have children that get asked this question all the time. This just goes without saying, you should just not ask someone this question. End of discussion.
  6. Do you want to date my ex? Ok, this one was very weird. I had a good friend and helped her through a terrible divorce. Her husband was a jerk and not at all good looking. A year or so after the divorce out of no where she asked me, “you want to date my ex don’t you?” I said no and thought that would be it. but she kept asking me this question every time we were together. I felt if I told her how much he repulsed me it would be a slam to her so I just kept my mouth shut and hoped she would stop asking. But she didn’t. So one night as we were watching a movie together, a chic flick romance, she asked me again. I screamed at her, “no, I don’t want to date your idiotic, stupid jerk of an ex who looks like he is wearing a sweater when he really isn’t and loves to wear tank tops to show off his hairy skinny stupid looking body, are you happy now.” She never asked me that question again. Of course we are no longer friends.
  7. How much did that purse cost? I get asked how much that top, that purse, those shoes cost all the time. Now I love a bargain as much if not more than the next person but you just don’t ask that question. I tell my friends when I find a great bargain and how much I paid, They don’t even need to ask, I want to spread the joy with them. It is usually strangers or acquaintances that ask this and it really ticks me off. And the few times I did stupidly share the price and place I purchased an item with them they must have immediately gone there because the next time I saw them they had on the exact same thing. Not cool.
  8. How much money do you make? When I worked at various jobs over the years I would have people ask this question a lot. I don’t even know how much my own daughter makes. You just don’t ask this question.
  9. Asking a very personal question when someone close to you dies. I had people I hardly even know ask me how my sister and my son died. If I wanted you to know, you would know. Just maybe if the question is of a very personal nature and you think it may hurt the person you are asking, think about before you ask. And maybe just don’t ask.
  10. And finally this one…don’t ever ask a guy you are dating that is much younger than you after you pass a milestone birthday this question. “How does it feel to be dating a 40 year old?” It must not have felt too terrific as he decided it was over shortly after this.

So my point in this whole thing is this…do not ask something of someone you would not want someone to ask you. Don’t be hurtful and regret what you say to others. Words hurt. Think before you speak and most of all.. be kind!

Did you ever ask a person something you regretted asking? Did someone ever ask you a question that you wished they wouldn’t have?

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” ~ George Elliot (maybe we should all try to be more like animals)



Mom Never Told Me…

but I really wish she would have

maybe she just couldn't

maybe she just couldn’t

I don’t know if was all moms back in that day or just mine, but my mom couldn’t talk about things that really mattered. I don’t know if she couldn’t or if she just wouldn’t, all I know is that she never told me these things. I wish she would have.

  1. Mom never told me life was so hard. It all seemed so easy for her and very rarely did I see her struggle or have bad days. She was always “up” and seemed genuinely happy. The only time in her life when I really noticed her getting depressed or having any kind of a bad day was after the death of my father. I know she had to have bad day and some terrible times in her life. I just never saw them or heard her talk about them.
  2. Mom never told me how difficult it was for her when I left my hometown of York, PA and moved to Maryland. Even though it wasn’t that far, I knew to her it was. We lived very close to each other and were together all the time. This move would change that. But she never spoke to me about it. Only when my own daughter moved to Vermont did I know how my mother must have felt when I left.
  3. Mom never told me she read my diary. I know now she did. How else did she know everything? How did she know I was going to do something before I even did it?
  4. Mom never told me about sex, or the consequences of having sex. Oh, yes, we had “The Talk”, but all she did was ask me if I knew how men and women had sex. And then made me explain it. Out loud. When all I wanted to do was ask her, “why do you need me to explain it, don’t you know?” But I knew what would happen if I said that, so I told her how people had sex. It was once of the most embarrassing moments of my life and it didn’t really accomplish anything in my opinion. Maybe if we would have really talked about how I should wait until I was in love and also a real man/boy that cared about you would wait until you were ready. Maybe if she would have talked about this in some depth, I would have waited and not wound up pregnant at 15.
  5. Mom never really told me how she felt when she found out I was pregnant. We didn’t talk about it at all. I was told I would get married to the young man and that was that. I would have liked to talk about it. I had so many feelings that I needed to share with her and felt like I couldn’t, since the subject was pretty much ignored. So I talked to my friends who were also 15 and they couldn’t connect with me on any level about this, so basically I dealt with it myself.
  6. Mom never told me how she felt when I told her we were getting a divorce. She just said she was sorry we couldn’t work it out and stay together. No motherly advice, no telling me about similar instances between her and Dad, or how to get through the difficult times I knew she had to experience. She just was sorry.
  7. Mom never told me about how she met my father or her wedding. I always wondered how they met, if they met in school or afterward. He went in the service right after graduation so I wasn’t sure when this had happened. I wanted to ask but thought if she wanted to tell me she would have. And maybe I wouldn’t have the questions I do now about the wedding and why it was so secretive.
  8. Mom never told me her hopes and dreams, what made her happy and what she would have done had she not married at 18. I knew she loved to paint portraits and that she worked for a while in my uncles gallery. I did ask her once if she wanted to ever paint again and she said no.
  9. Mom never told me about how it felt to grow older. She didn’t tell me how it felt to lose her beauty and how it made her feel. She was a beautiful woman and men always commented on how pretty she was. I wonder how she felt growing older and seeing the aging face looking back at her in the mirror. I would have liked to talk to her about this. It would help me with my own feelings on aging.
  10. Mom never told me how it felt to lose her first born child. She had a baby before I was born and it was stillborn. I know it had to hurt her deeply. She was only 19 so I’m sure it was a very emotional thing to go through. I am also sure it was one of the hardest things in her life and stayed with her always. You carry a child for nine months inside of you. You get to know that child and love it. How does a 19 year old girl deal with that loss? Since no one talked about such things, she had to go through it alone. If she had talked to me about it later in life when I had my own children, it could have maybe helped me to deal with the death of my own child and could have maybe helped her too.

We never talked about feelings or any thing that really mattered back when I was growing up. My grandmother did. She shared many stories of losing a couple of her children and the loss of my grandfather. I tried many times later in my life to get Mom to open up and talk about something, something she cared about. Even when Dad passed, she didn’t talk about her true feelings. Not with me at least. I’m not sure she did with anyone. All of my attempts to get her to share something… something that mattered to her was met with a cold stare and a change of subject. I remember one time in particular after Dad had passed, we were at lunch in the mall and I simply asked what do you want to do with your life now. she looked at me like I had two heads and said, “this sandwich is really good.”

I wish Mom and I could have shared more and talked about things. I talk to my kids about feelings and our hopes and dreams. Sometimes we talk too much.(can you really) But we share our feelings, we get them out and that is healthy. One thing I know for sure, being a “Mom” isn’t easy..it’s hard. I get that now!

I leave you as always with a question and a quote. Did your parents talk to you? I mean really talk to you.

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.” ~ Cardinal Mermillod




Ten Good Things!

and believe me coming up with 10 right now wasn’t easy…

ahh, the ocean

ahh, the ocean

I posted a picture yesterday on Facebook and it asked the question, “what is one good thing in your life today?” I did a lot of thinking about that one since finding good things are hard for me right now. So, I posted that it was a beautiful day and I was alive. Those of you who know me also know I try to find good every day. It is so hard to do that right now and I went to bed last night trying to think of other good things I have in my life. i did come up with a few.

Here are the ten good things in my life:

  1. First and foremost is my family – I don’t honestly know what I would do without them or where I would be or if I would be here at all. They are my lifeline and I love them all so much. I am truly blessed with this wonderful group of crazy people I call my family. My daughters, I can’t even begin to tell you how much they mean to me and what their love and support has meant when I know how much they themselves are hurting. My grandchildren, they give me a reason to go on every time I even just think of them. My nieces, they have been so loving and supportive and always ready to listen or help whenever I need them. And the rest of my family, I love them all so much.
  2. My friends – I really have a hard time putting into words how much my friends mean to me. I have always had great friends and I appreciated them. I knew those kinds of friendships don’t just happen and that I was lucky and so I always tried to be kind and be there for my friends. But it wasn’t until the recent loss of my son that I truly learned the value of real friendship and just how much of a difference it can make in your life. True friends don’t need to be asked, they are just there, to support, to help, to talk, to just listen.
  3. My health – I am so very grateful for the good health I experience. I know so many others who aren’t as blessed and I wake up every morning and give thanks.
  4. My writing – I can’t begin to tell you how much writing means to me. I honestly don’t know where I would be if I couldn’t write about my feelings and get them out. I love writing and love how all of you have embraced my doing it! Thank you to everyone of you who read my blog and those who share it and take the time to comment. It means the world to me.
  5. Trips to the beach – I just had a quick 2 day trip to the beach this past weekend. Every time I go it brings me so much JOY! I love just sitting in my chair and watching the ocean. Also the smell of the beach and sea air somehow calms me and gets me ready to face whatever lies ahead… or deal with whatever has already happened.
  6. Reading – I have always loved reading. But lately I have been reading nonstop. One book after another. It gets me out of my head. I don’t think about anything else but the book I am reading at the moment. This can sometimes be a bad thing since I can’t stop and wind up reading into the wee hours of the morning. But I love it. I will at some point do a post on some of the really good ones I have read this summer.
  7. Doing things with my grandkids – even if 3 of them are living in another state, far, far away I get to see them quite a bit and love doing things with them and all 5 of my grands. We go on hikes or to interesting places(sometimes, they don’t think they are as interesting as I do). Taking them to the kids movies that are out is so much fun for me. I guess it would kinda of be weird going to see those movies alone so I have a good excuse to see them. And the 3 that live in another state, well we FaceTime when they aren’t here visiting. It is almost as good as having them here with me…almost.
  8. Going places with my daughter. We have a lot of the same likes, we also have a lot of differences…LOL, but we enjoy going on road trips, concerts dining out and shopping. I enjoy spending time with her and finding fun things to do. I love when my daughter that lives far, far away comes for a visit and we do things together or if we go visit her and get to have a girls day out. We used to go to plays together in DC, but since she moved we haven’t been able to and I do miss that.
  9. Lunch or dinner with a friend/friends – Nothing better than a get together with a group of friends over some food and maybe a glass or two of wine or a margarita. The laughs and stories are enough to keep me going for a couple days. And again the support and love I feel is always there.
  10. And finally..Me! I am good! I am not whole or wonderful by any means, but I am good… I am somewhat broken and some days it is all I can do to get out of bed and put on clean clothes. But I am here, I am alive and I am doing the best I can.

I leave you as always with a question and a quote. What is one good thing in your life right at this moment?

“It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.” ~ Confucius







“Workin’ For A Livin”

Credits to Huey Lewis and the News

No, I don't work here...

No, I don’t work here…Thank goodness!

“I’m taking what they giving cause I’m working for a livin”…while their grammar and spelling isn’t exactly up to par, this sums up my feelings today. Thanks Huey!

I retired last year after getting laid off from a job I loved and had hoped to retire from, just not when that particular company decided it was time for me to go. After it happened, I thought you know what maybe this is a good thing. I had worked long enough and really didn’t want to work anymore. I started writing this blog and loved it. I was spending more time with my family, my grandkids and my friends and it was enough. I was enjoying my forced retirement. I was enjoying my life. All of that changed a little over a month ago when my son passed away. I suddenly had too much time on my hands and all that extra time caused me to think and I didn’t want to think. It was too painful to think.

So I made a decision. I decided to go back to work. Look I’m not crazy.. I’m not going to work everyday and I’m not going to work long hours but I want to get out of the house and make a little extra money since the social security thing isn’t all its cracked up to be. Well, at least in my case. I was a stay at home Mom for a long time and then waitressed for many years. You don’t make a big pay check waitressing, you make money with the tips you get, and we didn’t have to claim them back then. Hence the reason I am not making big bucks being on social security.

My main reason for going back though is the interaction with people. The customers and the people I will be working with every day. I love being out among people. I really missed that since being laid off. So I called an old boss of mine and asked her if she could use my help and to my surprise she was overjoyed that I was even thinking of coming back. I met with her today and we got caught up on what was going on in our lives and went over my schedule. I told her I didn’t want to overwhelm myself and go crazy so we are starting out slow. This is a retail job and can get a bit chaotic so I want to see how it goes.

“Concentrate on your job and you will forget your other troubles.” ~ William Feather

Reading that quote above…I don’t know that working again will make me forget all my troubles or make me miss my son any less but it will give me a few hours where I won’t think about it non stop. Because you can only clean and wash so much. And I am still thinking even while doing that. Also this whole work thing could be really good for me. I just read an article on CNN’s website, it was about older workers and said that working around 25 hours a week was linked to an improvement in their cognitive performance, but more than 25 shows a decrease. Not planning to work more than 25, that’s for sure. I don’t want my cognitive performance to suffer. I’m thinking maybe one to two days a week is good for now. After all it is called work for a reason.

Websters definition of “work” – a job or activity that you do regularly especially in order to earn money. Well, yeah, why else would you work? I know some people don’t do it for the money, they do it because they love whatever it is they are doing. I’ve heard it said, if you love what you do it isn’t work. I have heard this statement made many times and Steve Jobs said, “the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Unfortunately, the things I love to do just don’t earn me any money. Things like reading, lunch with friends, writing this blog…or eating ice cream and potato chips. By the way, if I got paid for any of those I would be a millionaire just on the chips eating thing alone.

We will see how this whole going back to work thing goes. Going there today felt right. We’ll see if it still feels like that around Christmas.

I leave you as always with a question and a quote.

Do you enjoy working? If you are retired would you consider going back to work, even for a few hours a week? I love reading your comments.

“Work hard so you can shop harder.” – Unknown (now this is one quote about work I can wrap my head around)







and just maybe you will find it…

beautiful flowers growing out of a rock

beautiful flowers growing out of a rock

This picture proves that there can be good in any situation. The photo was taken at the top of a mountain and there were rocks everywhere, but I saw these beautiful little flowers growing out of the rocks. There is always some good in every situation, we just need to look for it. It is there, hidden beneath the “rocks.” “Look for the good!”

Going through one of the hardest times in my life, that of losing my son, I have been amazed at all the good surrounding me and even more amazed I can see it. I try and look for the good in all situations and even post a “good story” every morning on Facebook. Some days it is hard to find one amongst all the negativity that is being shared. But I do it to honor my sister and now to honor my son. I also do it because it proves to me that there still is good to be found, we just need to look for it. It helps me to know that not all is lost and good things are happening out there every day.

There are also a lot of good people and I have seen this first hand lately. People that have stepped up to help me and are there for me every day. There are some people you just know are going to be there and then others who surprise you and come out of no where to help or just lend an ear and let you talk. I really feel most people are inherently good and want to spread goodness, but then somehow life gets in the way. Bad things happen to them and all they can see is the evil that is out there and it makes them unable to see anything good. Or for them to do anything remotely good.

“Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for Good and Evil.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

This whole “finding the good” thing is easier than you think. We need to put good out there and it will come back. Maybe if we all stopped the negative talk and thinking and tried to find the good we would see a change. It is so prevalent on social media and tv that it of course alters our way of looking at things. There are people who have nothing positive to say about anything and then there are people who really do good things but you don’t hear about that. This could be changed if we would all just live by the old saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  My parents taught me this as a young child and I really do try to live by it. I just wish others would. I really would like to see all of this negativity go away and for people to actually be nice to each other. Is that totally crazy of me to even think this could happen?

I have heard it said, one person can change the world and we have seen that happen, both in good ways and bad. Maybe we can’t change the world but we can change our own small part of it by the way we look at it and react to it. We can try to do and see more good. We can put it out there and maybe, just maybe it will come back. What if we all gave it a try and just looked for and noticed the “good?” What’s the worse that could happen?

I end as usual with a question and a quote. What do you think? Can we change things by doing and looking for the “good?” I look forward to your comments.

“Keep putting out good. It will come back to you tenfold in unexpected ways.” ~ Farrah Gray

And as a good friend of mine always says, “Life is good.”







Are You Ashamed Of Your Body?

Are you afraid to show your flab?

Me with my arms out in public..

Me with my arms out in public..well, I am in a cave…

I have been thinking about this for awhile now. I had lunch recently with a few friends and it was a very hot day. I mean extremely hot and also humid. I couldn’t decide what to wear to go to lunch. I usually wear a sweater of some sort to cover my flabby upper arms. But instead, I decided to wear a short sleeve top…the one I have on in this photo above. Yes, I chose this picture and yes, it is dark, you don’t need to see the ugly details. But this made me think, do we really worry so much about body image that it forces us to wear something we feel uncomfortable in?

We of a certain age, are not young anymore but that doesn’t mean we still can’t be fashionable and also comfortable at the same time. Every time I wear this top I get compliments. Not sure if the compliments are for me or the top? But it feels good to wear it and not be sweating and uncomfortable.The first time I wore it at lunch with my friends they all commented on it and it started a conversation about how all of us were trying to hide those body parts that just weren’t how we wanted them to be anymore. I was happy I wore the top to lunch. And also I was happy about how freeing it was to do so.

What does this say about us? Has the fashion world made us all into someone who is so afraid of showing a little flab that we drive ourselves crazy and deny who and what we really look like? I was always in shape, I ran, I exercised and ate somewhat healthy. I wanted to be what I thought I was “supposed” to look like. I really don’t think that this was the case in our parents and grandparents day. They were all different sizes and shapes and I don’t remember anyone ever making a comment on how they looked. I also don’t remember any of them saying, “oh, I hate my arms” or “look at this muffin top I have.”

“If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.” ~ Dr Gail Dines

I think the younger generation is even more aware of their body image than we are. Kids in elementary school are asking each other if they are fat. What does this say about our priorities? How do we go about changing this and can we? Yes, we need to be healthy and I am not saying we should just all be what we are and not work towards being a better version of ourselves, but it shouldn’t be to the extreme. And there shouldn’t be shame if that doesn’t happen. We don’t need to be made to feel bad about how we look. We have enough other things in our lives that make us feel bad, we shouldn’t have to deal with that too.

I have recently seen celebrities and athletes being shamed on social media for adding a few pounds or posts stating they must be pregnant because they have a little bit of a stomach. Looking at the pictures makes me angry, because these pics are not at all of someone who looks pregnant, it is someone who is healthy and not a skeleton. I hope we can get to a point where we stop shaming each other and learn to embrace our bodies, flaws and all. I hope we can help the younger generation see it is ok to not be a size 0.

We don’t have much time here on this planet so we all need to try to be as healthy and happy as we can and enjoy our lives. Most of all we don’t need to spend our time worrying about whether of not to wear something we love or if it shows a little flab.  I recently read an article that said, “you will never look like the girl in the magazine, the girl in the magazine doesn’t look like the girl in the magazine.” Embrace your flab and enJoy your life. Let’s let it all hang out! Well maybe not all of it…

“I love my body. I’m very much ok with it. I don’t think artists are ever the ones who have the problem with their weight, it is the other people.” ~ Kelly Clarkson

My question for you today is this, do you hesitate to wear something if it shows some flab or shows a little bit more tummy than you want to show? Please comment below and let me know your thoughts…

And thanks for your support!





Smells That Remind Me Of My Childhood…

How does a certain smell bring back a memory of days gone by?

ah, the sweet smell of days gone by

ah, the sweet smell of youth

Why do certain smells bring up a memory of a time long ago? I smell something and I am immediately taken back to a time in my childhood. How does this happen? It isn’t a bad thing, most of these memories are good ones and I enjoy reliving them over and over again. But this made me wonder if I am in the minority here or if other people have this same thing happen. And what smells bring up memories for you?

Here are 10 of my most memory evoking smells.

  1. The smell of fresh cut grass – I loved the smell of our yard after my Dad cut the grass. People cut grass all the time, I know we do here, but it doesn’t smell like it did when my Dad cut our grass. Still when I smell freshly cut grass I can see my father out back mowing our yard.
  2. Freshly washed clothing that was hung outside to dry – as my Mom and I folded the wash or put the clean sheets on the bed, the smell was overwhelmingly crisp and it made me feel so fresh, clean and renewed. Even if you put something out to dry these days, and most places it isn’t even allowed, it doesn’t quite smell the same as it did back then.
  3. Gasoline –  Ok, I know I may be alone in this one, but I absolutely loved the smell of gasoline being put into the car. I would open the window no matter how cold it was when Dad was getting gas pumped at the gas station just so I could smell it. On second thought…maybe that’s what is wrong with me!
  4. Our freshly cut Christmas tree – I loved the smell of the tree when we brought it home and how it made the house smell the whole way through the Christmas season. This was of course until Mom decided we needed to have a white flocked tree and then after that the dreaded aluminum tree with the color wheel. Christmas just wasn’t the same after we stopped having the fresh cut trees. But I still think of ours when I smell the scent of pine.
  5. A cornfield – we had a huge cornfield in back of my house growing up. We played in that cornfield from morning till night. We played hide and seek and lots of childhood games in that field. However, sometimes we just plopped ourselves down in the field and stared up at the sky. I loved the smell of that cornfield and smelling corn now reminds me of those lazy summer days of long ago.
  6. My grandmothers – each one had a certain smell. My Grandma G smelled like food and baking because she did that all the time. And most of the time I spent with her was spent baking something, so in my mind she smelled like pie.  My Grandma F smelled of lavender. Her clothes and bed linens smelled of it too. I loved that smell back then and still do now.
  7. A book – There is nothing to compare to the smell of a book. A real book with pages and words on the pages. I have tried the Ebook thing but it doesn’t do it for me. I want to hold a book in my hands and smell the pages. I loved this smell growing up and still do all these years later.
  8. The musty smell of late summer – We used to go to my fathers work picnic every year when I was growing up. The place we went to was out in the country. It was late in August and everything had that musty smell. I loved going to that picnic. We spent the entire day there and had so much fun. So when I smell this musty odor now it brings back all those happy times I spent with my family at that picnic.
  9. My skin after a day in the pool – we always had a pool when I was growing up, they weren’t huge or real deep but they provided me and my sister and the neighborhood kids with hours of fun. After a full day in the pool my skin would smell so fresh and clean. I don’t think we used any chemicals back then or if we used sun tan lotion. I do know we used baby oil, so maybe that is where the wonderful fresh scent came from. I just know I loved that smell. And sometimes now after my grandkids go to the pool for the day I catch a whiff of that scent and it takes me back.
  10. Burgers and hot dogs grilling on a charcoal grill – Dad was the griller in the family. He could never get the charcoal to light and we would be nearly starving to death until it was ready to go. Or everything was burnt to a crisp and he couldn’t get the flames to calm down. But miraculously every now and then it all worked just right and he made us some amazing burgers and hot dogs. I have yet to taste the likes of the ones he made back then. And when I go to a park and smell the odor of charcoal I am immediately back in our yard with Dad at the grill.

Smells can evoke memories both good and bad. I remember the smell of the coal fire  burning in my grandparents basement. My grandmother changing from her house dress into her nightgown in front of it. I remember how the peach pie smell would waft throughout the entire house as my grandma and I were baking it together. Waiting for that oven timer to go off seemed like an eternity. The smell of the beach takes me back to when my parents took me there as a young child. The sea air, the smell of suntan lotion, the fries cooking on the boardwalk. I loved that smell even as a little girl and I guess that is where my love of the beach originated. Maybe that smell and the way it makes me feel is why I love it so much now.

There is one thing I don’t like. I don’t like the smell of fire. My grandfather took me to a fire when I was around 4 or 5. There was a fire the day before down the street from their house and he thought I would like to go down there with him. I always liked going on walks with him so of course I went. The whole block had burned to the ground. Every house was destroyed, everything. It was all still smoldering and you could see the kids toys and beds just laying there out in the open, charred from the fire. I was devastated. I couldn’t sleep that night and cried until Mom came up and asked me what was wrong. I told her I was afraid our house would burn down. She spent most of the night consoling me and holding me until I finally drifted off. I never liked the smell of fire after that night. I still don’t.

As you can see smells stir up a lot of memories for me. Do certain smells bring up any memories for you? Are they good ones or bad? How do they make you feel? I love hearing your stories so please share them with me.

“Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.” ~ John Betjeman


When You Lose A Child…

you lose a part of your heart 

Me and my kids in the late 70's

Me and my kids in the late 70’s

Shortly after this picture, I got a divorce and for the most part raised the kids on my own. They were my everything. My life. I loved my kids and wanted to see them grow up and become adults and have kids of their own some day. If you have never had kids you can’t understand how something so small grows inside you and becomes this human being so full of life and love. And so begins the heartache it can also bring.

I have had many people in my life who I’ve loved and many I have lost. My Dad passed away when I was in my 40’s. My Mom died 2 years ago and my sister Rhonda 6 months after her. All of these losses were devastating at the time and I am still dealing with the pain from them. After my sister passed I was lost. I had no immediate core family. I was an orphan. But I did have family. I had my 3 kids and my  5 grandkids. And I had my sister’s two girls who I think of as my own. It was a little surreal going from having a parent or parents to being the head of your family. But it was enough.

A little over 2 weeks ago that changed. My son died. He was 46 and had 2 beautiful children. He was a wonderful, loving man and even more a wonderful father. He loved his kids more than life itself. They were his everything. He never had a good role model in his own father, who chose not to play a part in his life, so he vowed to be the father he never had. And he was. He was a very loving person who would do anything for anyone, sometimes to his own demise.

This loss is still not registering in my heart. My brain knows it is true but my heart is having a hard time coming to terms with it. I expect him to burst in the room at any minute with his latest stories. But he doesn’t. I just can’t process that he is gone and I will miss him every second of every day until I take my last breath.

Dave was forever telling me he loved me and showed me in so many ways. He was never afraid of showing his feelings. I remember back when he was a kid and was going off to Y Camp, he hugged me and kissed me in front of all his friends. I thanked him and said I was proud of him for doing that and he couldn’t understand why. He was always doing things like that.

He had a wonderful sense of humor and loved kids and animals. He always had a love of little kids and they were somehow drawn to him. But he loved it and never tired of playing with them. He was in many ways a big kid himself. He loved becoming an uncle and loved his nephews so much. He was always tumbling around on the floor with them or chasing them around the yard. But the day he became a father was the best time of his life. His daughter and son meant the world to him. He was so very proud of them and how they loved and treated each other. But also evident was their love of him. Their eyes sparkled and their entire little personalities changed when he would walk in the room. They idolized him.

Dave and his 2 kids

Dave and his 2 kids

Our family’s lives changed forever that day 2 weeks ago. It altered the very core of us. Who are we now without Dave? How do we go on as a family without him? I love my family and I am so blessed to have my 2 awesome daughters and my 5 equally awesome grandkids. I know I am lucky to have them all. But there will forever be a hole in my heart. And I don’t think I can fix that. I do plan to honor him by keeping his memory alive in his kids and will spend the rest of my life doing that. It is the one thing I “can” do. His kids are young and I don’t want them to forget what a wonderful father he was or how much he loved them. I promise to keep your memory alive Dave, it is the last thing I can do for you, my son.

I know I will go through many emotions in the next weeks and months ahead. Right now it is one of disbelief. I hope I can just get to a place where I remember the good times we shared and feel at peace.

I leave you with a question and a quote.

Have you ever lost a child? How did you manage to go on?

“You son will hold your hand only for a little while. But he will hold your heart for a lifetime.” ~ Unknown