Grateful Alphabet

alphebetEver wake up at 3:11 am and can’t figure out why?  Nor does it seem that sleep is within reach?

yeah, me too.

We all have tricks or ideas that we try.  Often times, my brain is just too full of stuff.  Heck, that is the reason, I started writing this blog 981 posts ago.  Geesh, that is a LOT of sleeping through the night.

Okay, I just put on my uber fancy honest hat  (think feathers and ribbons and glitter, lots of glitter)………sometimes, the “go back to sleep” tricks just don’t work.

That’s where this game comes in handy.  If you have tried all the other tricks: flip pillow to cool side, straighten covers, rearrange hair, get out of bed and go do something else, put on fuzzy socks, put on sweet smelling natural hand lotion…you understand…

flower-grass-alphabet-938465I always end with the Grateful Alphabet game.  Never make it to the end.  (however because I have a grand whose name begins with the letter Z,  I always  Say, A, B, C, Z, D, E, F, G…..

This game is easy.  You start with the letter A and say one or two things that you are grateful for beginning with that letter.  Easy peasy, right?  I hardly ever get past L,M,N,O,P.

Good luck and Sweet Dreams!

A……Adelaide, apple cider


C…..Cooper, coffee


D…..Dustin, dandelion fuzz

E…..eggplant, fried egg plant at our favorite Thai restaurant

F…..French Press Coffee

G…..Gabe and Gabi, gel pens

H…..heart you make with your pointer fingers and thumbs

I…..interesting murder mystery books

J…..Janis, John, Jennifer, jumping on rebounder, juice, jingle bell in homemade dresses


L…..lemon curd

M…..Monica, magnesium flake bath, magic markers, making pasta


O…..olive groves in California

P…..popcorn, pansies, pillows, paint, pie (blackberry pie)

Q…..quilting, Quincy (our dog, years ago), quizzes in magazines

R….roasted garlic, reading murder mysteries, running clean water

S……Sweet Liberty Wilson

T…..tangerines in grapefruit juice

U…..underwater swimming…so quiet

V…..velvet throw, velvet Christmas dress (i really want one in my life)

W…..warm peach cobbler

X…..extra large fresh eggs




Grateful for Sweet Dreams.

pressure cooker

Once, smack dab in the middle of the week before Christmas I started reading the latest Danielle Steel book.

You know the drill, Christmas, many moons ago, back when the boys were in pageants at church, gave gifts to school friends and teachers and were still young enough to be a bit squirrely as Christmas approached. After we lit the Advent candle/s and had a family meal, there was something planned/written on the calendar every single week night.  Pictures with Santa, a trip to feed real Reindeer and of course reading Christmas stories each night. The weekend rolled around and somehow we had to juggle a couple of invitations and managed to make it to all the parties, host one of our own and still take lovely thoughtful hostess gifts and handmade gifts for family and friends.  I wrapped gifts many a nights.  Almost became a tradition to race out two nights before the big day to buy more stocking stuffers.

It all became too big.  One morning, alone, I drove to the library.  I checked out one of the “hot picks”.  I drove straight home and poured myself a soda and started reading.

It was pure bliss.  Not one word of the story had anything to do with responsibilities & not a word was written about a holiday.   I would find time during the day to read a chapter or two.  I would finish wrapping more gifts at 1 in the morning, then stay up until 2 am to read more of the book.

I guess I needed a break.  I needed some place for the steam to escape.

Once, smack dab in the middle of moving to a new home, I decided to sew a dress for grand #2.  Her birthday is next month and I wanted to make sure I had something home-made just for her.  I purchased a card, bought a book she asked for and then I settled down to created the perfect owl jumper.  I put it in a special box and marked the box with huge letters  “SWEET GIRL’S BIRTHDAY GIFT”.

I made sure the sewing room was the very last on the list to be packed into cardboard boxes.   I needed my machine, scissors, pins and needles.  I needed to be able to sew a jingle bell inside.20160219_161024

Yes, all little girls need to have a jingle bell sewn into their dresses.  It reminds them that I am thinking about them and sending them oodles of goodness their way.  It reminds them that they are special.

I wanted to stop, right in the middle of the kaos, clutter, boxes, tape, sharpie marker and create something that she will love.

I guess I needed a break?  I needed a place for the steam to escape. As exciting and wonderful it is to be moving, the pressure cooker had reached its limit.  The steam was starting to sputter.

20160219_160954-1I wanted to make Sweet grand #2 more important than anything else in my world.

I am the luckiest girl in the world to have 3 grands.  It was of utmost importance that I stop every thing and make sewing the perfect owl jumper more important than anything.

It is my mission in life to always let our grands know they are the most important thing in our world.20160219_161034









This is really happening.

Awake at night, fussing, planning, plotting…all can only mean one thing.  We are moving.

Over the years, moving is actually something we have become somewhat experts on.  The US Army has invited us to live in several different states and even a different country.

This move is on us.

We take full responsibility.  We chose where to plant our Blueberry bushes in the ground. Did you read that?  No longer will my Blueberries be in pots, ready to move at a moments notice.  This is a big deal.

We actually bought new house numbers. 20160220_113852 Now, these may not be the ones we live with for ages and ages however, for us, the new represents reality.  The brand new American Flag is ready and waiting to be flown.  The new return address labels arrived & the “We’ve moved” announcements have been ordered.

During the weeks of paperwork and business “stuff” I sort of drifted off course.

 I sort of forgot to be happy for us.  

I forgot to twirl my hair while  looking at paint chips.  Good news on that front…. 4 paint colors have been chosen!  Woohoo! (atmospheric blue is going to be dreamy on the ceiling of the porch)

I forgot to dream and use graph paper.butterfly

I forgot that changing decor and style could be exhilarating.

The packing of boxes is full steam ahead.  So much so, the beautiful smell of a lovely home has somehow turned into the smell of new cardboard boxes and paper.  Hands so dry  it has become hard to pick up needle and thread.

The biggest change?  The sound.  Our home is starting to sound like a house.

Cold, echo, empty.

The quilts have been taken down.  The curtains and art have been packed with care. The pottery and china has been wrapped in paper to either cushion the blow or hold all the shards together in one place.  (hey, keeping a sense of humor is vital.)

We have only broken 3 glass objects so far.  Nothing even remotely close to heartbreaking. We are at the point of saying, good we don’t have to pack it.  ha

Graciously, a charity foundation has come for pick up, twice.

Dishes have been shared with a new young couple starting out.

Boxes and boxes of books have been donated to our Friends of the Library.

Yes, we are paring down.  We are cleaning out, sharing with others, filling black garbage bags with “why were we keeping that?”

We have mailed things to our adult children.  Um, yes, they do indeed need their award for honorable mention in an art show.  We are not about to throw out treasures.  We send them to the kiddos and ask them please don’t tell us what you do with your report cards, first drivers permit, blue ribbons and honorable mention ribbons.  In my mind, they are creating beautiful shadow boxes with all of these snips of their wonderful childhood.  In reality, I am a smart mom who knows better.

I am focused on the ridiculous.  I have purchased new shower curtain liners, shower curtain rings and new bathroom towels.  I am bound and determined to start fresh.

When you walk through your home and you end up deciding there are only 3 pieces of furniture that you just can’t part with…………good golly, that opens up for huge possibilities of amazing changes and new goodness to grace our home.

Once you notice there are more boxes than stuff left to pack, it starts to feel very real.

Over the past couple weeks, I have given away sets of dishes, packed dishes, given away more glasses and bowls then I remembered owning and still have more sets of dishes and pottery then one family needs….. this weekend, I bought one more set. 20160219_195359

















kindness matters

Today, a friend sent me an email. It was short and sweet (like her, ha).

“I am hoping you like this. (I love it) Let me know your thoughts.”
Wow, good golly!  I learned a HUGE lesson in a mere 14 words. Doesn’t seem like much does it? To me it smacked me right in the forehead.  A huge, glorious, sparkly chandelier lit up and awakened my being. Yes, very illuminating.
She was sharing a personal accomplishment and wanted to honor me with sharing.  She was letting me in on a secret of hers. As well as asking for my opinion.  A prized privilege of friendship.
However, before she opened the flood gates and allowed me or anyone else to rain on her parade, she lets me the reader know (I love it).
A very wise woman indeed.  Before you allow anyone to pop your balloon or turn off the wind machine for your kite….she lets people know she loves it. Beginning the conversation by setting the record straight.
About seven years ago, we saved & researched until I just didn’t want to read one more word about cars. We purchased a brand new car.  Perfect for us.  With my leg issues, I could easily get in and out.  It was safe and large enough for our needs.  Good gas mileage and all the extras we wanted.   We were so happy and proud.  We made a wise choice.
The very first time an acquaintance saw our new car…. the sappy words were uttered “oh, how cute, you bought a………”
Now, I know better.  I learned today.  When we purchase a new car (or anything for that matter), I am announcing to the universe, we bought a new car and WE LOVE IT.  (I will be putting the vibe out there……please don’t rain on our parade.)
Why?  Because it hurts feelings.  It is rude.  It is shameful.
Instead of being genuinely happy and uplifting for your friend… is judgement.
Yuck, no one wants or needs that. kindness matters
The good news, I REALLY LOVED the picture she showed me.  Not one word of fibbing occurred.
Oh yes, for a friend, I would tell a fib.  Yep, call it what you want.  In no way would I hurt my friend’s feelings.  Honesty was easy this time around, because I fell head over heels in love.
Loving that I learned a lesson today.   Admiration for her that she had the strength and courage to share …under her terms.
Yes, Virginia you can still learn something new everyday.
Sharing is wonderful.  I like letting the person know right away……………..we are happy, we love it, it is perfect for us…………please talk about us or our purchase behind our backs when we are not there to hear it.
Please, Please don’t make me sorry that I chose to share with you.

Love Notes

Every work morning for 34 years (minus away time for the Army) my husband writes me a letter.

This  year for Valentine’s Day I am him a small quilt called, “Love Notes”. 20160210_145058-1-1

I sewed an extra block onto the back of the quilt.  I slipped my own love note inside.20160210_144402

I am so grateful that I am reminded every single day, someone loves me…

and….. I love him right back.

(I am just better with a sewing machine, than trying to get up at 4:30 am in the morning to write a coherent letter.)20160210_145121

Have I mentioned lately what a grateful and lucky girl I am?


Fingers crossed he likes it.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ps.  He loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





Friday night supper

There is nothing quite like a late supper and a movie.

Friday night, you are drawing the work week to a close.  Hunger for food and comfort is strong, so strong the cooking aromas are somehow intensified.

First, the garlic is simmering in butter, lots and lots of garlic.  The scent is swirling around your very being.  As the flour is added, the transformation begins.  Watching carefully as the roux begins to offer an ever so slight hint of toasty goodness.  The spices are added and they release their magic.  Whisking in the milk with a flick of the wrist.  It almost becomes hypnotic.   A beautiful garlic white sauce has emerged ready to begin a pizza.

The dough is stretched and pulled and coaxed into a circle.

I heat the well seasoned pizza stone hot as the devil,  500* hot to be exact.   The moment before you put the dough on the stone, you toss some cornmeal.  I can smell the warm corn aroma the very moment it hits the heat.

The process has begun.  The dough, the garlic sauce, the licking of a finger.  The cheeses and then the lovely ripe tomatoes.  Roasted garlic cloves are arranged here and there.

The oven door opens, in goes the pie.

A few moments later, the fresh Basil is torn and waiting.  The dishes are lined up.  The glasses are filled.

The movie has been chosen.  This evening the movie choice is “Burnt”.  After watching I will say, a 4 star recommendation is in order.  Intense and well paced.  Interesting and paired well with our supper.

The buzzer rings.  The pizza stone is removed.  The pizza is bubbling and the aroma fills the kitchen.  Your mouth begins to water.  There are a few places where the cheese has browned to perfection.  pizza

Fresh basil is scattered across the bubbling pizza.   The green begins to darken.  The oils from the plant leaves are released.  Your very soul is filled with the rich, spice scent.

The pizza is cut.  The piece is pulled high.  The cheese leaves strings of goodness as you place it upon the plates.

You carry your plate to the sofa.  The movie is in and ready.

Grace is said and you breathe out a huge amount of air.   Ready to begin.

A really lovely meal is set before you.

You lean into the plate and bite into the tiny point of the triangle.  First to hit your senses is the hot yeasty flavor of the dough with a crust, crisp to perfection.  Next, a tang of the white sauce hits your tongue .  The spices and and cheeses are mingling.  You get just a hint of the saltiness hidden.  The basil envelopes your mouth and finishes the bite with a satisfaction of fresh picked.

May all our Friday night late suppers be as satisfying and comforting as pizza and a movie.










more than enough

All but one year of my life since I have known about them, I have made and sent Valentine’s cards.

I love to make them. I love glue & glitter, paper & stamps.Valentine ruler

This year I just got overwhelmed with .. what?  I guess life.

I am trying my hardest to just be so happy for the Valentine cards I have received.  I want to soak in the goodness and kindness and thoughtfulness of each.  I don’t want guilt to creep in and ruin the mood.  woven-heart

I love receiving Valentines.  I love the envelopes.  Sometimes red or pink in color, all have a heart or and XOXOX drawn on them somewhere.

Some  cards are from grands, some from girlfriends, some from Mr. Right (yep, I have already gotten 3 this week), others from family…………. more than enough love to bathe us all in grace and goodness.

All are charming.  IMG_1681 (1)


There is more than enough love to go around.

Let’s all celebrate the goodness of LOVE.








more soup please

Yesterday, it hit 60 in our neck of the woods.  While warming up, I still want it to be winter.  I am not done basking in soup and sweater weather. 

If you are looking for a home air fragrance that makes your mouth water, may I suggest simmering sweet potato, onion and garlic…lots of garlic (use double the amount suggested) because those ingredients combined makes your house smell like a home.  So warm and cozy and fragrant.  20160209_102105-1


This soup sounded good right away and then turned out a hundred times better than I had anticipated.  I love how the broccoli is roasted and then put on the soup at the very last possible moment. 

(Instead of the cheesy broccoli soup we all recall with broccoli being blended beyond recognition.)

Let’s be honest, sometimes when recipes is billed as “dairy free” sometimes the results are less than stellar.  I am happy to report this is not the case.  You won’t even have to mention that it is dairy free.  Yes, Virginia, that good.  


The sweet potato is what gives this soup it’s glorious color and velvet texture.  The nutritional yeast is what brings the cheese flavor.  I have NO IDEA what the dill pickle juice offers, and yet, it is a “quite can’t put your finger on ” flavor, that I for one am glad is there.  The fresh cracked pepper does indeed bring something to this party.  


As a dairy free soup, I must say it is one of the best ones I have made.  Silky velvet texture with just the right amount of tang.  The color is saturated and just what I was needing from a “cheese” soup. 

Once again, The Vegan8 has outdone herself.  Gosh, that gal can cook and create.  Mr. Right said last night, “every recipe we try from her is outstanding.”


Mr. Right enjoyed as his first course.  I chose to have as the main dish.  We both were very happy clean bowl club members.  A little bit of lefties for one more serving.

In need of some comfort in the form of food, glorious food?  Here’s a lovely bowl of soup!20160209_174655-1  

In this together.  Here’s to our health and wellness!

spark joy

At this exact moment in time,  I have 5 shower curtains with matching hanging rings (and two shower curtains already in current use) 2  Bundt pans, 2 electric blankets (which I stopped using 3 years ago) 4 extra guest room pillows, 2 shirts and 2 jackets with the tags still on them.  I kid you not.

This may not seem monumental to you, however, it is a huge part of my life right now.

We are moving.

This is huge for us.  We have lived longer in this one home than any other in our entire married life.  The USArmy has a way of “encouraging” you to move every 3 or 4 years.  So when you find that you have “hunkered” down for 16 years, it is time.

It is time.  Way past time.  We have zero interest in becoming stars on a reality show about hoarders.

We have rolled up our sleeves and the work has begun.

This move is something new for us.  No one is telling us to move.  We have chosen this path.  That my friend, is scary.  In the past, if we didn’t like a town or a home, we could blame someone else.

This time, it is all us.

We have decided that we would rather spend our time & money (read that as 6 hours at a time doing yard work, a couple times a month)  on travel and visiting our grands.  No longer do we wish to be tied with guilt and fret over an enormous back yard.  No longer do we wish to have a formal living room that we don’t step foot in.  No longer do we wish to have places in our home that we never use.

So we have chosen to downsize.  It sort of feels freeing to even type that.

Oh, hold on, don’t think it is easy.  It is not.  When we first told the real estate agent we wanted to go smaller and he showed us a home that was indeed smaller, I nearly fainted. Okay, I lied, not that small.

We have found the Goldilocks size for us.

Something that will facilitate a shorter commute for Mr. Right (hallelujah!), smaller backyard, open and bright with lovely tall ceilings and a front porch.  A wonderful clean slate.

While we have not converted to being Amish, we are choosing to let go of many things that no longer bring us joy.  (Please see above mention of 5 shower curtains and rings.)

I found a book that is helping.  Spark Joy by Marie Kondo.  “the life-changing magic of tidying up.   Does this item bring you joy?  Can you, with a grateful heart say thank you and let it go? Can you take a picture and keep that while you ease into letting go?20160204_095208-1

I am making progress.  We are making progress.  It is very easy to wash, iron & package up shower curtains and rings that you are not using and say tah, tah.  It is not so easy to let go of the wedding shoes I danced with our son, (after my knee replacement).  The shoes are beautiful and make me smile.  I can’t let go, just yet.

As you know, Mr. Right leaves me a written letter each morning.  It is a privilege to be his Mrs. Right.  I am reminded daily that he loves me and is thinking about me.  Every single note, every single day makes my heart skip a beat.  Every sticker and stick drawing makes my soul sing.

However, let’s do the math, shall we?  (It nearly always comes down to the math, doesn’t it?)

One love note a day

X five days a week

X 12 months a year

X 33.11 years………

A beautiful hand written love note with drawings and hearts is a lovely and valued thing.

75 notes stacked into a dresser drawer and now the drawer doesn’t open easily, and some of the notes get bent corners and you have to use all your might to close the drawer…..see where I am going with this?


I love my letters.  I love the man, more.  I love our life together.  I love that we are starting fresh in a new home.

It is time to let go of some paper.  While I do not know all the words by heart, our grands can sing at the top of their little lungs…………LET IT GO!  

I am learning.

I am learning to let go and make room for new.  Or, just maybe I am letting go to make room for empty, calm, peaceful.  I am learning to take away “the noise”.  I like pouring the brown rice into a glass jar and recycling the loud, colorful package it shipped in.

We are taking steps to be grateful for the time we used something and grasp the idea that it is now time to pass it along.

Giving away a bundt pan that you have two of is a snap.  Giving away a set of dishes you love but never use?  Pretty easy.  Think how much joy you will get?  Think how much clutter in your cabinets and heart you will remove?  You will be making space for something happy and joyful to take it’s place.

Or space just to breathe.

Here is an experiment:  Marie Kondo suggests getting out your “good” dishes out of the box or the far reaches of a cabinet.  Temporarily replacing your everyday dishes with them.  No, you won’t break them, you are not breaking your dishes on a daily basis now are you?  Will you smile and reverently use your “good” dishes to serve warmed up pizza? You chose those dishes and they brought you joy.   Instead of once a year, Marie suggests living your life in joy on a daily basis.

I am a work in progress.  I am making huge strides on giving away, letting go.  Elizabeth Gilbert reminds us,

“You are allowed to be both a Masterpiece and a Work in Progress, simultaneously.”

Giving away the Candy Land game that I played hundreds of times with our son’s?  Darn near impossible.  I am not ready to let that go, just yet. c757e01cd68a7e0daca1e4a13d0a0014

The Candy Land game is moving with us.