It All Happened During a Two Hour Walk . . .

It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining. The birds . . . well, I think they are still down south because winter is supposed to be here right now, but it felt more like fall. I could hear the chatter of kids down the block. Maybe they were riding their bikes or perhaps just playing in a yard. I couldn’t see them. I just heard their voices, not even their words.

I stopped at the bridge. I took a little time to stare at the slowly moving water as it meandered its way from here to there. I could hear my sister’s cheerful voice, “Grab a boat!” We’d both go in search of a fallen leaf. Not too small, not too big. A little curve is good, but a flat one might work as well. You just don’t know until you drop it and watch it flitter slowly down to the water hoping it lands where the water is moving and not in one of the still pools. We cheer as our leaf boats disappear and run across the street to the other side of the bridge to see if ours made it to the other side. It is here we stop for dreaming and reminiscing. We watch the water, checking for leaf boats – our leaf boats. Great cheers come whenever we see one even if it isn’t our own. Success is great regardless!

A walk from street to street looking at the neighbor’s houses. All different. It’s why we chose this location. No cookie cutter homes here. All as unique as the people whom reside within them. Some with dogs. Others with cats. Yet, some probably have no pets. Homes stand tall and grand. Others seem lonely even though we know people live behind their walls. It’s an older neighborhood slowly turning over to the next generation of homeowners. We watch as moving vans drive up and older people move out. Estate sales go on for days before remodeling begins. Months later, the house goes on the market. It will become someone’s dream home just like it was for the ones before them. We experienced the same thing. We understand. Yet, I still ache a little as I watch the change. So many years of memories packed up in boxes and sold for cents on the dollar. Memories attached to rooms and holidays within walls that someone somewhere will have to carefully store within a brain that seems to lose hold of such things as the years go by.

Steps taken. Lost in thought. Wondering, dreaming, planning, wishing, hoping, or just thinking – pondering the moments of the day. The beats of my heart quicken with the rustle of the leaves. I stop. I look. I listen. There it is again. It’s quick. It sounds much larger than it really is though. I see it. The long, skinny tail – a lizard. J.T. would know the kind. He’d probably chase it around until he either caught the poor thing, or it got away from him. I smile. In these brief memory moments, he’s still a little boy and not the man he has become.

People run by. I’ve seen them before, but I don’t know their names. I suppose they live nearby. Not next door, but somewhere. I suppose it’s sad we don’t know everyone on the block. I’m sure it hasn’t always been like that. Perhaps in the days before evil seemed to lurk around every corner neighbors knew neighbors for blocks on end. Now, we watch each other come and go and make their way from here to there. We might speak with a polite “hello” or a generic “How’s it going?”, but a conversation isn’t really had that often.

Those down the way still have their Christmas decoration up. That’s good. See it doesn’t make me feel so bad when I flip my light switch on in the evenings and my Christmas tree lights up. My décor is usually down by now, but I’m dragging my feet. Maybe because it’s been an unusually busy season or perhaps because today when I could have taken it down, I chose to watch a movie with my husband instead. Or maybe it’s because the decorations still hold some Christmas magic I’m just not quite ready to let go of yet.

Dusk comes and night follows. A two hour walk that wasn’t even a walk. Not really anyway. Just movement of the brain – a walk down memory lane. Old ones. New ones. Moments in time. Here briefly and then gone.

5 Days of Snow

On the first day it snowed, we all looked in awe at the beauty as the snowflakes slowly fell from the sky.

On the second day it snowed, the school children (and teachers) cheered when the schools were closed.

On the third day it snowed, the children were sledding and building snowmen, but roadways were a nightmare.

On the fourth day it snowed, there was little to nothing at the grocery store and few who even ventured out to see what was left.

On the fifth day it snowed, we were dreaming of sunshine, beaches, and summer.

Story Starter: “They met by the love bench . . .”

They met by the love bench near the entrance of the park. Panic overtook her the minute he sat down beside her. Who would know if something bad happened? No one knew she was here. She should have called someone and told them she was meeting up with a stranger. But is he really a stranger. They had been texting for months. She felt so comfortable and confident around him online, but now . . . no, not now. He seemed taller, more muscular, and frightening.

“Are you okay?” he finally asks.

Okay? I don’t know. Should I be considered? But her mouth whispers, “Yes, I’m fine.”

He looks around before asking, “Why are we whispering?”

She laughs, “Just checking your hearing.”

He cocks his head and a hint of grin can be seen beneath his twinkling eyes. She knows he doesn’t believe her, but how does she even begin to explain her fear to him, a total stranger. It’s now she realizes the disadvantage of the convenience of “getting to know someone” in the safety and comfort of your own home.


Plunging into the sky and shattering darkness with brilliance. A glimpse of awestruck eyes mixed with unexpected fear. Boom or flash – which came first? Does it even matter? The beating of his heart, her fluttering eyelashes, their shy, wanting grins intensify the display. He reaches across the blanket. His fingertips brush hers lighting the fuse. The beautiful colors spread across the sky like the fingers of a lightning strike illuminating a midnight canvas. His arm around her, her wanting eyes, the softness of her lips, that one explosive moment may never be more than this; but right now, it’s everything!

By 2020 . . .

Remember when people predicted the world would end in the year 2000? Obviously, it didn’t so people started making predications for 2020.

1. The majority of the U.S. population will have at least one flying car or mini-copter – Ummm . . . no! I’m still hoping to own a Jetson-like plane some day though.

2. All Americans over the age of 21 will have a handheld device – well . . . last I heard more than 90% of Americans have digital devices, so I’d call this one almost correct.

3. The traditional family will be in the minority – depending on your definition of “traditional family”, this is now true. About 46% of children no longer come from a “traditional family”. Last year, I actually had two children come to me crying at separate times during the year wishing their parents would get a divorce so they could have two houses and get a lot more gifts like all the other kids they knew. Sad really.

4. We would no longer cook. Food would be delivered to our door or we would take a pill instead of eating – This might not be far off for several people. Thanks to UberEats, GrubHub, and DoorDash along with food delivery services with prepared foods ready to pop in your microwave, this might not be too far off especially for those living in the city.

5. People won’t carry cash or write checks – I think cash and check use is on the decline, but they still are used. They haven’t completely disappeared yet.

6. People will have self-cleaning houses – Oh! I wish this one was true!

7. The American church will become nearly obsolete like the many in Europe have become – There has actually been a huge decline in the church in the past 20 years. I just heard the other day that 70% less people attend church today than did in 1999.

8. People won’t have to go to a doctor anymore. They will be diagnosed through a computer operated system – Well . . . I guess teledoc seems that way at times, but there are still plenty of us going to the doctor to get diagnosed and treated.

9. Schools will be completely computerized and teaching will be an obsolete profession – they might have tried, but the research coming out from that experiment isn’t showing very good results. Let’s face it, we need human interaction to learn and to be healthy people.

10. Everyone will own a robot – well . . . I don’t know about everyone, but there are several people that utilize robotic vacuums, Alexa, Siri, and other robot-like objects.

What’s your predication for 2050? I’m going to hold on to hope that someone figures out that whole flying jet-car, so I can own one before I die.

2019 Turns Over to 2020

2019 was the year of intentions. Each month came with a simple every day word that seemed to morph into a challenge that tested my faith again and again.

January’s intention was to clean out the junk in my life – figuratively and literally. Every storage space, junk drawer, boxes of things kept over time that had not been looked inside of for years was discarded. Things I had once valued no longer seemed worthy of storing. I cleaned out my contact list. Forgave past hurts and moved on. And . . . I’m still a work in progress.

February’s intention was finances. It’s like a part time job, but we’ve paid off great amounts of medical debt and have accumulated positive strides towards our financial goals this year. Yay us!

March’s intention was mornings. I don’t sleep much or well. Most of the time when I do sleep, I don’t find sleep until the early morning hours. As soon as I find REM sleep, my alarm yanks me out of the depths of good sleep. I would like to be a morning person, but I’m just not. I’d say I mostly failed at this one.

April’s intention was attitude. Looking at different perspectives. Trying to be a little more understanding. It’s probably good to revisit this one every month to be honest.

May’s intention was management. Managing my time and my life. I seem to let it unravel and let things that don’t matter as much take control of my life and stress me out. I’ve gotten better – much better.

June’s intention was journey. I challenged myself to enjoy the journey I’m on regardless of what it is. And in June we went on a magical one through a small slice of Alaska.

July’s intention was joy. This one turned out to be tough as July came with moments I wouldn’t have necessarily considered joyful, but I went in search of the joy even inside of the heartache. I learned to step outside of the moment and see the joy and discovered it’s always there if you go searching for it. This reminded me that we find whatever it is we seek.

August’s intention was accomplishment. August is a crazy time of year, and I often feel like I do a lot and accomplish too little. I made lists with the sole intention of marking every item off of it. Success! Each month thereafter I’ve made a small list of what I must accomplish. It’s kept me focused and much more productive.

September’s intention was success. I learned this month that success can look very differently. Initially, I was very successful at one of my 2019 goals, but then I put that goal aside and focused on another one and sabotaged myself. So what was at first a success ended up being a disappointment by year’s end. I will have to work on this.

October’s intention was opportunity. Never in a million years would I have thought this intention would lead to an end of life adventure with our cousin, Michael. This month reminded me how important it is to not miss the call and to just drop everything and go.

November’s intention was no. I’m not always good at setting limits and saying “no” to things other people deem more important than I do. This month was really about sticking to my guns and putting God, family, and health first no matter what.

December’s intention was devotion. I spent this month devoted to the Word of God. I discovered things in scripture I had never noticed or paid attention to before. I also devoted my time, energy, and money to my family. With devotion comes joy and learning, love and cherished moments, and even disappointment and heartache. December defined this year. Twelve months full of love, excitement, joy, and precious moments but also heartache, pain, and shattered hearts.

2020 – new adventures await! New dreams, new goals, new intentions, new journeys, and new opportunities to make the most out of this thing we call life.

Random Kindness List for December

Every month it is important to give back to others in some form or fashion. If you don’t currently practice doing random acts of kindness, I challenge you to start this month. These are mostly small acts that have the potential to make a huge difference in someone’s life (maybe even your own). Do one a day, one a week, or one this month, but I challenge you to give back.

1. Send a card or letter to anyone.

2. It’s Giving Tuesday – Give to a charity. If you don’t know of any good ones, consider giving to Courage Conquering Cancer. We have no paid employees. We help breast cancer patients who have just been told they have cancer and need breast surgery. We gift mastectomy kits to as many women as we have funds to support. Every dollar, even $1, counts, so give what you are able and we will use it to help someone.

3. Bake or buy a sweet or salty treat and take it to your neighbor even if you don’t know them.

4. Tape $0.50 to a toy or candy vending machine, so the next kid that wants a random prize can have it.

5. Call up someone you haven’t spoken to in over a month and catch up.

6. Go to an event at a local elementary, junior high, or high school in your area. Walk up to a random kid who performed or played and tell them they did a great job.

7. Send flowers or cookies to someone you love for no reason other than to say, “I love you.”

8. Smile at a stranger.

9. Pray for someone you don’t particularly like every day for a week.

10. Praise your boss for something they do well.

11. Buy a gift card for the store you are at for an amount you feel like you can afford. Then hand it to someone either standing behind you in line or someone walking into the store whenever you’re walking out.

12. Serve someone wo lives with you by doing their least favorite chore.

13. Go through a drive thru and instead of ordering something for yourself, pay for the person behind you.

14. Shovel snow off someone’s drive or sidewalk or clear snow/ice off the car parked near yours. Or in my neck of the woods, rake up a bag of leaves for a neighbor.

15. Donate food to your neighborhood food pantry.

16. Volunteer somewhere.

17. Walk around the block in your neighborhood and pickup trash.

18. Take Sonic and/or Starbucks cards to your local fire department, ER, police department, school, etc.

19. Drop school supplies off at a local elementary school. (Pencils, eraser tops, glue, crayons, notebook paper, prizes are in high demand this time of year)

20. Invite someone over to play cards or a board game.

21. Go to a restaurant. Order water and nothing else. Ask the server what he/she wants for Christmas. After drinking the water, leave a “Merry Christmas” note with a tip in the amount of what dinner and a tip would have cost you.

22. Collect all your box tops and drop them off at your local elementary school.

23. Offer to watch a friend’s kids so they can go Christmas shopping or enjoy a date night with their spouse.

24. Tell someone the story of Jesus.

25. Go to church and celebrate the Gift of Jesus.

26. Support a local small business.

27. Take hard candy or chewing gum to an infusion lab.

28. Leave $5 worth of quarters at the self-serve car wash or the laundromat.

29. Order someone a surprise off of Amazon and send it to them without a gift receipt.

30. Tell someone they look nice in whatever they are wearing.

31. Give your spouse, your child, your parent, or your grandparent a funny card just to make them smile.

Shhh….don’t tell anyone what you’ve done this month. Take note of the smiles, the joy, and the way giving makes a difference in their lives and in yours. And remember the reason for the season.

This Clawing at my Chest

It seems to come out of nowhere

This clawing at my chest

It tightens up my throat

And quickens up my heart

It makes me feel light headed

This clawing at my chest

It covers me in paranoia

And leaves me wondering why

This clawing at my chest

Makes me feel alone

When so many are around me

This clawing at my chest

Won’t let me escape

Seeking for the light

In the darkness that isn’t there

It’s this clawing at my chest

This reality that isn’t real

Yet, it is

Lessons Learned Raking Leaves

My lawn has been abandoned and neglected lately. Life. It happens. It happened to us, and our yard just sat there. Waiting.

We aren’t one of those families with a lawn service arriving every week or biweekly to care for our lawn. We are the service. And we . . . well, we put the yard on the backburner.

The weather turned colder in our absence. It froze. The trees gave up their leaves a little more each and every day. Some days those leaves floated and danced to the ground. Other days the wind shook them from the trees and branches came crashing down with them. And it left . . . a mess!

Today was the day – the day to clean it up. Me against the leaves! Little did I know there would be many lessons learned as I swept and mowed and bagged.

1. Whenever the leaves start falling, start spending a little time each day cleaning up after them. A little every day is probably better than an entire day of cleaning up after them. I’ll try to be better going forward.

2. I’m thankful for leaves. Leaves mean I have trees. And I love trees. Even when they leave a mess.

3. My mower did a great job removing the majority of the leaves in my front yard. My back yard . . . well, that’s another story.

4. I don’t have a leaf blower. I should have one, but I don’t. So I sweep leaves. There’s something satisfying about sweeping leaves away and leaving a clean patio and driveway behind even if it only lasts a moment.

5. Fall equates to change. It’s how we all do life even when we don’t realize it – our lives are constantly changing.

6. As I swept away leaves I had a moment. I’m currently in a weird cycle of grief. That moment where emotions come and you really can’t determine what triggered them. Today, I got choked up sweeping leaves. I don’t know why. I have no connection to leaves and Michael, but there I was pushing back the tears as I mourned his death once again. I asked God why people had to die of cancer. His reply was profound – “Every life teaches lessons.” Michael’s life did. It left me wondering what lessons I’m teaching those who know me.

7. I’m thankful I am able to mow and sweep leaves and bag them up. Five years ago, I wasn’t sure this day would ever come. I didn’t know if I’d be alive much less owning a home with trees to clean up after. It’s a great blessing to clean up after leaves.

8. Leaves are all different. Some are similar in appearance but upon closer inspection they are all very different. A lot like people. Isn’t it amazing how everything needs to be different in order to be so beautiful. Imagine a world where every leaf was alike. Fall wouldn’t be as gorgeous if they all turned the same shade of yellow before they fell to the ground. It’s the variety that creates the beauty. I’m thankful we are all different. I wish more people embraced our differences and celebrated them without putting us all in boxes just to show we are differently the same. Why can’t we just be okay with being unique?

9. My husband just had heart surgery. He would walk out every hour or so to check on me. It was his little way of saying, “I love you.” It was sweet.

10. With the changing of time comes a little pain, a little beauty, and a whole lot of work so new life can emerge.

My First Blog Post

No life is as simple as just one thing. Celebrating the random things that make up my life.

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.