Archive for November, 2011


Aunt Mary

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 3 Comments

I’m sorry I skipped out on the blog yesterday, but I have a good excuse. A really good excuse.

I got to spend Monday evening into Tuesday with my aunt. And, if you’d ever met my aunt, you’d understand why I think time with her is worth missing a blog post.

You see, my Aunt Mary is,  without a doubt, my rock. She’s stuck by me for as long as I can remember, loving me and supporting me through everything. And when something’s up inside my heart, she knows. I don’t have to say a word… She just knows.

Because she knows me. And knowing me isn’t easy. I’m very guarded with my feelings. Friendly and caring towards others, sure. But allow someone to get too close to me? Um, not easy.

But Aunt Mary, she asks.

And she doesn’t take the simple window dressing answer I’m conditioned to give because it’s usually good enough for everyone else.

I’ve tried to figure out what’s different with her… Why I’ll open up to her in a way I don’t open up to anyone else. She doesn’t pry. She doesn’t pester. Yet when she asks, I answer.

The best I can come up with is this:  She makes me feel safe. I know that when she asks…she listens. And no matter what I say, no matter whether I get angry or my voice cracks with tears, she loves me through it all. She sees me as the little girl I was and the woman I’ve become. She’s proud of me, she cares about me, and there are no conditions placed on that. Ever.   

You can’t put a price tag on that.

So tell me, who’s your Aunt Mary in life?



These Shoes Were Made For Walking

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 3 Comments

It was about sixteen years ago when I sat in the Stride Rite store at my local mall, watching Dear Daughter #1 get fitted for her very first pair of shoes. To this day, I can still remember the slight  hesitation on her little face when I stood her up so the sales lady could double check her feet in the sizer…and then again when that first adorable pair of shoes was finally laced onto her feet.

That image played itself through my head yesterday as I sat in a chair in the middle of Macy’s while that same not-so-little-anymore girl tried on very different shoes–the kind that will take her to her first winter formal later this month. This time she didn’t need the sizer. Or anyone to lace anything up. And instead of holding her hands while she walked around the store, I got to watch her wobble just a little as she navigated her way around in heels.

The experience left me a little nostalgic and maybe a wee bit teary-eyed (we won’t tell her that, though, okay?), but it also brought a smile to my face, too. Because although she’s almost seventeen now, I still saw that sweet baby in her face every time she looked across at me–that same hint of hesitation in her eyes.

It goes so fast. All of it. And while I couldn’t possibly have spent any more time with her than I already did when she was little, I can’t help but wish I could wiggle my nose and relive it all one more time…



Dear Santa…

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays No Comments

In honor of  the infamous Black Friday, I figured it might be fun to take a look back at some of my own must-have Christmas toys from my childhood (including one that made me cry…and not in a good way).

So click here:, to see some of the toys that made their way onto my own Dear Santa lists over the years. Then, stick around and tell us some of yours…



Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted under odds and ends 1 Comment


 Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

  I hope your day is full of laughter, good food, and special memories-in-the-making!

 Be sure to check in tomorrow as I have a fun trip-down-memory-lane planned for all of  you!




Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 3 Comments

Seeing as how my family celebrated Thanksgiving back in October this year, there won’t be the traditional turkey dinner for me tomorrow. Instead, I’ll be elsewhere, partaking in a Thanksgiving-day custom I’ve never fully understood. And it’s okay, because next year, things will be normal and I can look back on this year as an “experience.”

In the meantime, I find myself wanting to talk about those things for which I am most thankful for this year…

1) I’m thankful for my daughters. They’ve taught me more about life than I could have ever imagined.

2) I’m thankful for my husband and the opportunity to be a stepmom to two really good boys.

3) I’m thankful for my friends. For loving me for who I am rather than who they think I should or shouldn’t be.

4) I’m thankful for my doctor out in St. Louis who has managed to take the fear out of M.S. for me.

5) I’m thankful for my readers who keep my series going with their purchase and their kind words. You’re helping fulfill a lifelong dream every time you do!

6) I’m thankful for relative strangers who show manners and kindness–such things can make a gray day so much better and they serve as examples for parents trying to do the right thing by their kids.

7) And while this may coincide with #5, I’m also thankful for all of you, for stopping by here each day (lurkers and non-lurkers, alike).

I hope you all have a truly wonderful Thanksgiving!



Life’s Relief Valves

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 4 Comments

Since I’m on a self-imposed hiatus of sorts from writing at the moment (I get back at it in 2 weeks), I’m actually having time to read! Yay!

I just finished reading HOW TO BAKE A PERFECT LIFE by Barbara O’Neal (which I enjoyed so much I got in the car and drove to Barnes & Noble and picked up another one of her books–The Lost Recipe for Happiness).

Here’s what the jacket copy says…

Professional baker Ramona Gallagher is a master of an art that has sustained her through the most turbulent times, including a baby at fifteen and an endless family feud. But now Ramona’s bakery threatens to crumble around her. Literally. She’s one water-heater disaster away from losing her grandmother’s rambling Victorian and everything she’s worked so hard to build.

When Ramona’s soldier son-in-law is wounded in Afghanistan, her daughter, Sophia, races overseas to be at his side, leaving Ramona as the only suitable guardian for Sophia’s thirteen-year-old stepdaughter, Katie. Heartbroken, Katie feels that she’s being dumped again–this time on the doorstep of a woman out of practice with mothering.

Ramona calls upon a special set of tools–patience, persistence, and the reliability of a good recipe–when rebellious Katie arrives. And as she relives her own history of difficult choices, Ramona shares her love of baking with the troubled girl. Slowly, Katie begins to find self-acceptance and a place to call home. And when a man from her past returns to offer a second chance at love, Ramona discovers that even the best recipe tastes better when you add time, care, and a few secret ingredients of your own.

Besides the fact this was simply a well-told story, what struck me most about this book was the notion of a passion or interest  becoming a relief valve during life’s tougher moments. For Ramona, that relief valve was baking–a passion born while spending time with her aunt as a young troubled teenager.  That passion then followed her through life, shaping her career, her goals, etc.  For Katie, that relief valve during troubled times was flowers–stoked by Ramona’s mother.

So tell me, what’s your outlet in life, and how did you come to discover that outlet in the first place?



Get Your Tickets…

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 5 Comments

Looking back at my childhood, I realize I was quite the little entrepreneur. I created puppet shows (and sold tickets), threw backyard carnivals (and sold tickets), hosted lemonade stands, and picked up trash at the local swimming pool for a dime a bucket every chance I got.

I worked, I saved, and, on occasion, I used my hard-earned money on something I couldn’t live without. 

The funny thing is, as much as I enjoyed being able to take my money and buy the doll I’d been eyeballing or the board game I’d been seeing advertised on TV, I was equally enamored by the process. I mean, really, coming up with all those games for my carnival and making all those puppets was fun. Really, really fun.

So tell me, what kind of things did you do to make money as a young kid?



Gobble, Gobble

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 7 Comments

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it seems only fitting that Bits & Pieces should coincide with the big day…

1) What are your absolute must-have’s for Thanksgiving?

2) Lumps or no lumps (in your mashed potatoes, of course)?

3) Earliest Thanksgiving memory?

4) Turkey or ham?

5) What’s the one thing on the table you won’t touch?





Posted under odds and ends 8 Comments

I’ve never been much of a power-of-suggestion kind of person, but this stuff is amazing…

 In case the image is too small to read, it’s Johnson & Johnson’s Melt Away Stress Lavender & Chamomile Lotion.

Oh my.

I swear, if I rub this stuff on my hands at bedtime, I sleep like a baby…

Love this stuff so much, it would be one of my “favorite things” if I was the next Oprah.

So tell me, what’s one of your “favorite things?”



Magical Notes

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 9 Comments

Music soothes the savage beast.

While I’m not sure who, exactly, said that quote for the first time (Bugs Bunny, maybe?), I couldn’t agree more. It doesn’t matter what kind of mood you’re in, music has a way of helping you work stuff out or, if nothing else, forget for a while.

I’ve been known to write about music on occasion simply because it fascinates me. It is, in my opinion, the true universal language. People might have different tastes (I’m an 80’s girl and a Christian rock fan), but put music on in a room of people and it just seems to take the tension out of shoulders, faces.

Take me, for instance. If I’m really struggling with something, I like to take a drive…with the tunes cranked. Within a song or two, the tension starts ebbing. A few songs beyond that, and suddenly things look a bit more surmountable than they did prior to the drive. Kind of like Rocky in Rocky IV when he has that fight with Adrian and he goes off in his black vette and the music is pounding in the background (great song to drive/unwind to, by the way).

If I’m blue, I like to pull out a favorite song or two and just dance. One of my favorites for this? And We Danced by the Hooters. A playing (or two) of that and the blues aren’t quite so blue anymore.

So how about you? Do you turn to music when you’re angry or sad? Any tried and true favorites guaranteed to pull you from your funk?