another list of loves

The past week has been a tough one……….not devastating……just tough and tricky and it took some twisted turns. It took the wind out of my sails. More than I wanted to embrace and handle.

I choose to move forward in a lighter direction. I am choosing to dwell on the goodness in my life. Making a list of loves helps me. I choose gratitude.

I love that a couple we know celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary and both their birthdays at Cannon Beach for a week. The gift that she loved most? He threw out every single stinking piece of Tupperware they had collected over 20+ years and replaced it with a lovely matching set. Hold onto your breath………with a matching lid for each piece. Now, that brings a tear to your eye. That my friends is true love.

I love that I found a new (to me) decorating blog.
My first project is to buy the wallpaper “bead board” that she talks about. I see an amazing amount of the stuff being used in my future. I already explained it to Mr. Right. Once he got past the “it’s not real wood?” question, we are good to go. yippy.

I loved the vanilla ice latte from Hot Chick a Latte. I LOVE those girls. I LOVE that place. I love that coffee. I know this is a hot button for a lot of people, some of my friends included. First and foremost, I love their coffee. I love that the girls are so friendly to me, very polite and always upbeat. I love that they don’t work 40 hour weeks and still make great money. They are never dragging or watching the clock before their shift is over. I love the effort they put into their “outfits”.
I love that they give me exceptional service and are just as friendly to me as they are to the 4X4 truck with two very nice looking gentlemen (apparently professional weight lifters and tanners) in the truck ahead of me. The part I giggle at and love the most……….I love the moment when the very pretty, spray tanned, young, happy, girl with (this time) a lace up leather black corset and a piece of three inch wide lace for panties, hands me my perfectly made drink. What I love the most is her attitude. Even though, I am thinking to myself “if I ever want to look like her and wear three inch pieces of lace for panties, I can no longer drink these”. She offers a genuine smile with grace and aplomb. She thanks me for stopping by and hopes I enjoy my choice. I love every cold sip. I love that she doesn’t serve guilt or judgement.

I love knowing at 8 in the morning, the plan for dinner is to go get Sushi. Makes me happy and I get to think about Sushi all day long.

I love how happy our dog seems to be, all the time.

I love the idea of making all new pillows for our bed. I love the idea of backing all of them with wild shocking fuchsia pink raw silk. No, it does not match anything. I just love the burst of happy color when you move the pillows. Yes, even the hand embroidered monogram show piece pillow, backed in fuchsia. Sort of surprising and a jolt of happy all at once.

I love that I finished a hand made wedding gift. I am about 6 weeks ahead of schedule. I love that feeling. I love the craftsmanship and handwork that went into creating something of value. I love that it is something for the new couple to celebrate. I love that they don’t have to redeem a card or exchange the gift. I love that all they can do with it is enjoy it and relish the thought and creativity that went into it. I love that there is nothing for them to do but feel the grace that comes with it. I love the thought that even if they don’t like it, they will still feel the thought behind it. The thought that someone lifted them up by making something just for them.

I love that a book I have been waiting for for months and months comes out tomorrow.

I simply LOVE when Mr. Right makes the bed on his days off. I love that he tries to fold and fluff the linens and put all the pillows in the “right” order. I love how he tries to casually drape the wrap on the corner of the bed. Pretty much nothing is casual about him. So it is funny and makes me smile when he tries to be casual about anything.

I love the feeling of anticipating having coffee with a friend this week. I love the feeling of re-connecting and picking up just where we left off. I love that we instantly have that 34 years of friendship to stand behind. 34 years that we are protected by and can feel calm and be ourselves and relish the safety.

I love checking out library books.

I love “finding” a new quilt pattern that I want to create. I love the feeling of having to put it in the Que. I love having one quilt going and one I am dreaming about and one that I am still collecting fabrics for. I love the process.

I love the Michael Allison piano CD I am listening to through the computer while I type.

This past week has been rough. It has been more than my 3 pound (really?) brain can handle. I decided over the weekend, that I am giving myself some grace. A break if you will, to rest and rejuvenate and re-group for a couple of weeks. I am going to buy new toe nail polish and take it with me to have a pedicure. I am going to make an effort to pamper myself some.

How we spend our days is, of course,
how we spend our lives.

the nest

Trying out a new coffee cup today. So far I am loving the feel of it. I love the lip and the cover is different, however, I am adjusting. Doesn’t hurt that the coffee is really good.

I just read that a friend cried on and off all weekend. Her babes have left the nest. My heart actually hurts for her, darn it.

Our last one left 8 years ago. I can still feel that last hug and lump in my throat as we said I love you. I can still feel my head pound as the car drove off to another land (read that as college in California). Practicing three years earlier, as we hugged at the airport, said I love you and waved goodbye to the plane (headed to a university in Rhode Island) was of no help. I cried and had a lump in my throat and my head pounded then too. It does not get easier.

The really strange part is, Mr. Right and I worked hard for those two moments. We raised exceptional men who are smart and talented and funny and we gave them rock solid roots and we (get this) actually encouraged them to plan, stretch their wings and fly. We pushed them and stretched their minds and helped them make plans.

When I read that my friend had to wave goodbye and the weekend was unbearable, I was sad too. I was thinking well, maybe it is time for me to take off part of my description under my blog title. Maybe I should just delete the words “still learning to live in an empty nest”?

I couldn’t do it. We are still learning. The words stay for now.

Every time, I make lasagna and have extra noodles, son number 2 is nowhere to be found, to eat the leftovers. Each time I make creme puffs, boy number one is not there to eat the middle dough.

I will be honest and say I don’t miss four loads of laundry a day. I kind of don’t miss the daily juggling of the calendar and times. I don’t miss huge, smelly sneakers in almost every room I walked into. I don’t miss closing their bedroom doors, so my friends don’t for one moment think I would actually live like that.
I do not at all miss hearing myself say, “where did all that blood come from, what happened?” my non-favorite line……I don’t know? I do not miss hearing myself say, wear your seatbelt and drive safely. My heart still jumps a beat.

“guide us with your grace” is something we pray daily. We pray for guidance as we
find our way through this new chapter in our lives.

I do miss the sound of the basketball being dribbled over and over and over in the driveway. I do miss the unique sound of a skateboard on pavement. I do miss the belly laughs and the hearty appetites. I do miss the distinct sound of the door slamming and someone YELLING “Mom, I’m home, Where are you?”.

The empty nest has given us room to change a bit ourselves. We have made room for two new girls in our life. So instead of just two boys, we now can say we have four kids. We have a very loved Golden Retriever who helps us through the lonely times. We have more room for framed pictures of a sweet, sweet grandgirlie. I have a great sewing room. We have a massage room that doesn’t have one smelly sneaker laying about. I had free time to read an e-mail from son number 2 this morning. Telling me he loved the latest picture of his favorite niece. It is the new one on his desk this morning.

Here is another honesty moment. The empty nest has allowed us a bit more available money to save up for great family trips to look forward to.

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.

ps. I want to tell my friend, that it will be alright & it get’s easier. That would be a lie. It has been 11 years since we sent the first one out of the nest. Somedays are still hard, we are still learning.

the mighty pen

In today’s news I saw a photograph of Queen Elizabeth signing a guest book. She was visiting Dublin, Ireland. The pen she was given to use was indeed a very nice pen. When you view the page, you see that she has written just her name. Simple and clearly written, but it means a great deal to the people of Ireland.

I keep an ongoing book of quotes. Some that I like for no particular reason, some that I may use in a card or paint on my wall. About 98% of the handwriting is mine. Different colored inks, different pens, different doodles, yet, most is my hand writing. On one page, there happens to be a little girl’s hand writing and the quote written, reads: “Girl cooties are stronger than crossed fingers.” (name signed)

Yesterday in the mail we received a heartfelt, handwritten thank you note, from the above mentioned little girl. The first two lines read as follows: “Thank you so much for the graduation gift. I can’t wait to sign something important.”

I loved opening the card. I loved what was written. It made us the givers feel just as special as apparently the receiver. I loved seeing and hearing the thoughtful words. I will save the note in my special “thank you note box”.

The person who sent the note is very well educated and does not need my two cents on the subject. Lucky for me, I have a blog and can and do write whatever I feel like!

In today’s world of computers and hand held technology, the written word in ink and the person’s handwriting is becoming less of the normal, somehow a touch less personal. My humble advice to the young college graduate is this, “USE the pen”.

Use the pen, when you write a love note to your boyfriend. Use the pen when you sign your name to the father’s day card this year. Use the pen to write lots and lots of X’s and O’s all over the inside of the card, Dad’s love that!

I love looking through recipes and seeing my favorite sister in law’s handwriting or my grandmother’s writing, friends, long ago neighbors and even my own. Sometimes, when I look at a sewing pattern I notice my friend’s handwritten notes and the little hearts she sometimes uses to dot the i’s. I am a lucky girl and every morning Mr. Right leaves for work I receive a hand written letter (with drawing). If you look in my cedar chest you will find bundles of cards wrapped in silk ribbons. Birthday, Mother’s day, anniversaries…all signed. I love seeing my boys signature with their first, both middle names and last names (in case I didn’t know who gave it to me).

Last year, when a family lost most everything to a tornado, I asked my friends and neighbors to hand write out recipes and donate dish towels. No, it didn’t change much. However, it let them know, we are praying for you and lifting you up and thinking of you and we want to help you start over. Yes, we could have bought a cookbook or several. However, the hand written recipes will be a reminder that they have all kinds of people in their corner.

Gracing another with kindness through the written word is a gift for both.

Yes, my advice to you, USE the pen. Signing a love note IS important. Signing the guest book at a friends home that hosted a dinner for you IS important. Sure, signing important and sometimes life changing legal documents are extremely important. However, in our real life, the thank you note I received yesterday was important to me. I will save it. It meant a great deal.

“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. ~m.cousins~


Recently a friend said to me, you and your family just celebrate more than others. You like to make everything a celebration. My first thought was well, yes we do. Once we hosted a birthday/graduation/retirement/father’s day party for 75 people all in one day! To begin with it was intense just creating the invitation.

The more I thought about it, celebrating everything seems well not as special. I am talking the old school version of Special K cereal, not the new fangled icky stuff.

Mr. Right and I were talking finances over the weekend. He started by saying in 1975 his first monthly paycheck from the US Army was $420.00 before taxes! Yikes. Granted he did not have bills nor a wife who spends a tad too much of sparkly toe nail polish or hair products………… over the weekend we were celebrating a change of his pay.

Somewhere along the line we did not celebrate the pay jump from $420. per month to say $900.00 per month. Somehow the days just flew by and we did not take the time to stop and celebrate every step along the way. Money is a very tricky thing. You need/want money. After you pay your obligations, you can do amazing things for others with money. You work hard for and value money. For some reason, we easily forget to celebrate when a change happens.

I don’t need to explain that in today’s USA world, $420.00 minus taxes would not go very far for the month. Oh, I am good with coupons but that might be a stretch even for me. ha.

So today we celebrate. We remember three years ago today, we bought a new car. Yeah, we still love that car. It has been one of our best choices in the car buying experience. We will celebrate making a good decision.

We celebrate. A niece graduating from law school this month. A friend graduating from college. Son number one and family taking today a Monday off, to go to an Oregon museum to take in a special exhibit. Son number two & sweetie going to a anticipated special NASA exhibit. As old as it is getting, we celebrate the rain here in the Pacific Northwest. Our lawn has never looked greener. We have a gazebo full of deck plants waiting to plant. We have cupboards and freezers full of food to eat and a gas tank full of gas. We have a granddaughter who has learned to crawl.

Yes, I guess you could say we celebrate. We have a lot of reasons to celebrate.

“Life is full of decisions, when you find you’ve got one right, it is worth celebrating!”


bits of goodness

I am not a huge fan of chocolate. However, every once in a while… I am willing to eat some fake chocolate and take two Benedryl because I just want some. Well maybe six. Okay, seven.

Okay, Keebler, Grasshopper Fudge Mint Cookies pretty much remind me of Girl Scout Thin Mints.

No, it doesn’t fix knee pain, no it is not organic, no it is not healthy nor is it good for you. I paid a couple dollars for a chemical laden bag of not real dead food.

….Oh but, so good. Totally worth a tiny indulgence.

The end.

I do, but….

I love, really love watching my husband marry two people. I love knowing the “behind the scenes” just how much he has prepared to make that service a moment of importance. I am proud as I watch him interact with the people gathered. Hearing his voice and his deep emotional connection within the moment, well it melts my heart. Every single time, I watch him preform a ceremony, I know just how lucky that couple is.

Recently, when a couple about to be married in a few months, came to him and said they didn’t want any “God stuff” in the ceremony……all sorts of emotions came to the surface. Not all my thoughts on this topic were kind and loving. For us and our family and friends, the “God stuff” is what holds us together. It is the tie that binds. The “God stuff” pretty much is the “reason for the season”. Oh I got a million of ’em!

I want to quote all sorts of relevant Bible verses. I want to explain in detail how the “God stuff” has lifted up our marriage to a higher level. I want to sit the couple down and wag my finger and tell them it takes more than two ordinary people to make this thing called marriage work. I can see myself getting red in the face and with fierce determination explaining that marriage is holy. It is of value. It is important. We follow customs and rituals, we view what we have built and worked for as an outward appearance of a sincere and deep commitment to our faith and our Creator. We have been blessed with being the guardians of this relationship and are called upon to nourish it and ultimately will be asked to answer for how we respected the institution of marriage.

Two months ago, Mr. Right and I marked our 29th anniversary. Next week our friends will celebrate 37 years of marriage. The following week, a widow we know will sadly walk for the first time through what would have been their 54th anniversary. We have friends who just did the happy dance as they celebrated one year of marriage. Come September my brother and sister in law will celebrate with joy 44 years of a solid marriage. They will all tell you that not every single day has been happy go lucky, care free and blissful. Some of those days and moments have been spent on their knees. Some days are just so blasted hard to go through. Sometimes you just give up and let the “God stuff” take over.

Then Mr. Right speaks up. By standing strong in my faith, speaking with kindness and grace, gently but firmly and with sincerity sharing the “God Stuff” during the marriage ceremony, possibly I can teach and lead this couple in the direction of a Christian strong marriage? Maybe by standing up for and being an example of what I believe to be the truth, I will be the small light that will guide them on the path?

Instead of jumping up and down and yelling and screaming “What do you mean you don’t want any “God stuff?” this might be the perfect opportunity for quiet strength. This could be a teaching moment of goodness to reveal itself. The gentle but oh so very strong reminder that love conquers all.

“I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love”. H. Beeche

Mr. Right sincerely feels it is an honor to marry two people. You can hear it by listening to his voice. You feel privileged watching as the ceremony unfolds. You feel like you are witnessing something of importance. Most of the couples he marries are so giddy with nerves or happiness that they won’t really remember the words that are spoken. My guess is that they will remember the feeling of being lifted up and celebrated, embraced with kindness, love and guidance.

…and the two shall be called one. matt.19:5

mother’s day surprise

I was sort of caught by surprise yesterday. It was Mother’s day. Sure you hope you will be remembered. I was. You hope you get great food and cards and maybe a giftie or two. I did. You secretly hope you get a phone call or two. I did. You sort of hope that even though your Mr. Right says “you are not my mother”, he still remembers you with a funny card and gorgeous flowers. He did.

You just don’t imagine the moment when your grown up boys act like grown up men. Your breath is sucked away, just for a moment. You feel like you are sitting there watching a movie. You are really there, it just seems like you are watching it or listening to it unfold in slow motion.

When you catch a snippet of a conversation…son number 1 apparently took grandgirlie to the store a couple weeks ago to buy a mother’s day card……….your heart beats an extra time. (He thought ahead, he planned, he included a little girl in the planning.) When you take a peek at the card and notice that he had an 8 month old “sign” said card, you secretly smile.

When you notice a luscious, full, gorgeous bouquet of blush long stemmed roses, you are instantly grateful that Mr. Right taught the dad/husband lessons very, very well.

When you unwrap son number 2 presents, you are over the moon happy with the thoughtfulness. You see we “had” these ice cream dishes that everyone hated. When you scraped your spoon on the side the strange frosted glass, it made a creepy high pitched, fingernails on chalkboard kind of screech. urgh. He said enough. It was way past time to replace them. No, do not donate the old ones to Goodwill. Wrap them in brown paper and take a hammer to them and smash the living daylights out of them! When I opened the special sprinkles….well he had me. I love sprinkles. Even when the boys were little I would use sprinkles on their oatmeal! I just thought it would make them happy and want to eat. Heck sometimes, we would use sprinkles on mashed potatoes! When they were little they loved it. When they were teenagers they thought it was lame. When they came home from college, they just thought I was goofy. Now, they are sending me sprinkles because they know it makes me happy and I am guessing it makes them happy too.

Just when you think you are strong enough to handle most everything… see your Mr. Right holding and whispering sweet nothings into your grandgirlie’s ear and making her laugh and he looking so proud and happy. Grace washes over you and it feels lovely.

Just when you think you are strong enough to handle most everything…….you see your 6.2′, big tattooed armed son feeding his sweet daughter beets. You see him teasing her and making her laugh. Grace washes over you and it feels lovely.

Just when you think you are strong enough to handle most everything… are talking on the phone with your 6.4′, tall tattooed armed son and he says, nope, I don’t want you to pass the phone to Dad, I can talk to him any other day of the year. We just want to talk with you. Grace washes over you and it feels lovely.

I am grateful and happy, really happy that I have come this far. Far enough to be still and watch and listen. Grace happens and this time I was in the moment and it unfolded right before my very eyes.

"the" cure

I haven’t slept through the night, since well sometime the end of March. sigh.
Too much “stuff” on my brain, I guess.

Imagine, just imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning and it was time to get up? My head felt fine, I wasn’t tangled up in the sheets and blankets with a smooshed (yes, that is a word) pillow. Imagine, hearing my dog’s tail wag happily instead of her being a little out of sorts at three in the morning, wondering why I was bothering her?

So like any good golfer or intense hockey player…………both being rather superstitious……..I had to figure out what the “lucky” combination was. I wanted to repeat it over and over and over.

I think maybe the answer lies in the events of yesterday. The day was saturated in sunshine. Not too hot, just right Goldilocks. There were no medical appointments.
Only one important thing planned. The clock was ticking. Noon, that was the target

A car drives into our driveway, a lady jumps out and comes up to the door. Yeah! Time for lunch.

The dining room table was set, ready and waiting. Sitting atop jaunty blue and yellow floral place mats were white plates with blue and white toile napkins (actually 8 kitchen towels I purchased to use as cloth napkins, which iron beautifully, by the way.) The good silverware and nice crystal glasses were empty and ready to be filled and used. A little gift wrapped and placed near a bread plate.

I have these wild blue, yellow, rose, green swirled pasta bowls. I filled the bowls with spring greens and English cucumbers and juicy tomatoes, hard boiled eggs and smoked Gouda and marinated grilled shrimp, lots of shrimp. Then made a little dressing with a surprise lime twist. Served with a bowl of cashews so you could toss on as many as you want and then some. Filled the glasses with Pelligrino and had a stack of Pecan Orange cookies freshly baked and calling our names. A bowl of strawberries just taunting us.

We dug into those luscious salads and then it happened. Without us knowing it, somehow the hands of the clock moved. Oh sure we gobbled up our salads and drank lots of water and laughed and talked and figured out the world’s problems and talked some more. We talked sewing (a favorite topic) and kids and husbands and weather and trips.

We each opened a card (one lovely one funny) and a present.

Somehow almost four hours slipped by. We heard our phones ring a couple of times in the background. We didn’t even flinch. Now I know you are thinking FOUR hours? We were in our own suspended time of grace. Just light hearted happiness. Time sort of didn’t matter.

Actually, she had to leave to attend a very important six year olds’ birthday party of macaroni and cheese and brownies. Yes siree, it was dinner time!

The question my friend, “how do I sleep through the night?” The answer, spend four hours of the day before, being happy. Spend the time laughing and sitting and drinking water. Spend the day lifting another human being up in grace. Spend the time talking of goodness and satisfying work and hobbies. Spending time with someone you feel lucky to be with…..and there is your answer.

That my friend is a recipe for sweet dreams.

“Charm: the quality in others that makes us more satisfied with ourselves”.

ps. It sort of helps too, if you are also celebrating each other’s birthdays!
pss. Both birthday girls need to be wearing super sparkly, over the top, covered with bling, new sassy spring sandals.

Lucky girl

You know to the tips of your gorgeous purple sparkly toe nails that you are lucky when:

a box comes in the mail containing handmade jaunty yellow and black woven potholders from your special niece.

the same box contains a tea towel with a perfectly cross stitched daffodil jumps out at you and makes you smile.

as you are driving along, you see a little girl about three playing in the dirt and talking to an imaginary friend. She has on jeans and a t-shirt and a bridal veil. It makes you smile.

You know you are lucky when you hear then get to see a woodpecker happily eating at your bird feeder.

That’s me, Lucky Girl.