What I Know For Sure

What I Know For Sure

I just recently finished reading Oprah Winfrey’s book “What I Know For Sure” and was surprised by how many of her thoughts mirrored my own.

Now, I do not agree with Ms. Winfrey’s politics but Oprah has been a strong voice in my head for most of my life.

I watched Oprah when I was a young girl and she was on WGN News in Chicago. When she later became a talk show host on her own show I was a devoted follower.

I always enjoyed her show, her compassion for people and her celebration of people just for being who they were.

Oprah has a rare gift of asking the right questions and being brave enough to respectfully ask the tough questions of people, situations and of herself.

In her book, Oprah describes many things she has discovered over the years and things she has come to accept about herself and life in general.

The book resonated with me because as we get older most of us realize very clearly who we are, what we want from life and how we got to the point we are in.

Like Oprah I am grateful for this journey of my life and am looking forward to what is to come.

So what I know for sure…is how very lucky I have been to live in this country during this time surrounded by the people that have shaped my life.

A good book I would recommend to empty nesters and beyond.

Thank you Ms. Winfrey for your voice all these years!

Our Growing Capabilities

Our Growing Capabilities

This time we live in, like never before, provides a new definition of progress.

Progress used to mean to move forward or to advance, as in making things better.

But in this fast paced run around world we live in the definition has begun to change.

Progress, for some, has come to mean that we are not moving forward or we can’t move forward without the assistance of others.

And as the definition has been changing, we as Americans, have given up our capabilities.

That is by design, of course, by those who wish to control the masses.

The masses, are merely a collection of yous and mes. They are groups of people that have believed the story that we “can’t” do or be everything we are capable of being.

Yet if you stop to pay attention and look around our capabilities as humans continues to grow.

In my short 50 years on this earth, for example, we have gone from a box with a dial on the wall as a form of communication to a mini computer that fits in our pocket and that can communicate with people around the world. That was progress.

That progress was made because people refused to believe that their capabilities were insufficient, that through hard work and perseverance progress is made.

With every advance our capabilities grow and we can continue to reach new heights.

In this new year, stretch yourself, don’t buy into the idea that in order to have progress we must give up our capabilities, our ideas, our work ethic, or our values.

Continue to feed your growing capabilities day by day…and enjoy the progress and advances you will make.

Find your path, it is waiting for you.

Almost The New Year

Almost The New Year

The Christmas holidays have passed and the New Year is looming close.

It has been exactly one year since I began this blog and I started writing it for many reasons.

One reason is that I was looking for a creative outlet and I love to write.

Another was to share with other empty nesters that life does not end when the children become independent and move out–it is just a new phase of life.

But this blog has developed into more than that.

Along the way, these last twelve months I lightened my load and learned a few things myself.

I decluttered my life and home (although I’ve learned this is an ongoing process) of things I did not need, papers that were no longer useful and in a few instances people that were toxic.

I’ve lost weight, became a certified health coach and am living a healthier lifestyle with good foods, lots of water and exercise.

I gained more space in my house, my heart and my mind. I’ve gained more time and in many instances more peace.

I’ve gained-even more importantly-a great deal of perspective of what is truly important to me and my family.

2018 has been kind to me, but mostly because I have been kind to myself.

I am standing strong in my conviction that if something is not healthy for me-physically, emotionally or spiritually- then it doesn’t need to be in my life.

I am grateful for everyday of this year, even the difficult ones, and I am grateful for the people I share my life with–some close and some far–that have made this year so special.

In a few days we will raise a glass and toast the year that has passed and usher in a new one–

May 2019 bring us all more of the good, less of the bad and the strength and opportunity to continue our journeys.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

A Year In Review

A Year In Review

Now that we are in the second half of December I have taken some time to think about 2018.

The year seemed to go by so quickly–as we’ve all gone about our busy run around lives.

I am grateful for this year and the promise of another. Grateful for all of those around me-family and friends-that share our lives.

Some are close by while others are far away but still impact our lives and the people we are on a daily basis.

It is easier sometimes to reflect as we get older on our lives, on the impact many people have had on us and the impact we have on others.

Sometimes the people who impact us we’ve never met in person and sometimes there are people very close to our hearts.

The closing of this year is a time to celebrate our blessings and a time to also grieve for those who have left us physically but that will always be with us–in some fashion by the way they touched our lives.

Just the day before yesterday we lost Penny Marshall, actress and one of the first female directors. The beautiful Laverne from the Laverne and Shirley show.

We have lost other icons like Margot Kidder (Lois Lane), Charlotte Rae (Mrs. Garrett), Robin Leach (from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous), and Burt Reynolds (Smokey and the Bandit).

These characters lived with us through TV and molded our thoughts, our fantasies of our lives, and our sense of humor.

Others that impacted our lives and society are also gone–Billy Graham, Barbara Bush and months later her husband, George H.W. Bush. They leave us with their patriotism, their service and their great love of God and country.

Some that impacted me personally are Linda Brown-who was the center of the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education that overturned the ‘separate but equal’ ruling that helped end segregation.

Aretha Franklin, who helped me come of age with songs like ‘Respect’ , ‘Think’, and a ‘Natural Woman’.

Stan Lee, who fed my imagination with his superheroes and Marvel comics, always in a fight between good and evil in which good wins out in the end.

There are closer hits to the heart. A few family friends that molded us in our early years and we have fond memories of. And an aunt that shared my blood and beautiful memories of family with me that I will never forget and always cherish.

We leave all these behind in the history of this year and we will forever carry them forward with us as we continue to travel through our time.

Most of all, as we close 2018, we should remember how every part of us came from a part of others who touched our lives and how we continue to touch the lives of others.

Be kind, be honest and be grateful in these last days of the year and carry the memories with you into the next.

Dear Santa

Dear Santa

When I was a little girl I wrote letters to Santa every year…even after I learned– in 4th grade–that Santa was not real.

He’s always been real to me. Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year and I never tire of the magic at this time of year!

When my children were growing up, I taught them to write letters to Santa too. And I even found a service that I could pay to send the girls a letter FROM Santa postmarked the North Pole.

The idea of Santa is so real to me that I don’t really know when the girls realized Santa was not real…as now, even as adults, I ask them to send me their Santa lists every year.

And so in keeping with my tradition here is my letter for this year:

Dear Santa,

I have been really good this year! And this has really been a good year for my family.

We are all healthy, we have all we need and never miss a meal. The family is strong and united and we are blessed with extended family and friends that are also doing well.

I really don’t want anything for Christmas in particular this year. I know that is a change from my usual lists of items…

But you see–I’ve already have all I want. Family, love, joy, and the magic of Christmas.

I hope all is well at the North Pole! I’ll leave the cookies and milk out for you.

P.S. Tell Donner he’s still my favorite!

19 days left until Christmas! Have you written your letter to Santa yet?

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life

My life is probably, to the casual observer, a predictable and boring one.

And it is a life that I cherish exactly for that reason.

No matter how routine and boring you think your life may be, what makes it wonderful is that it is unique to you.

No one else will live the same life you have lived. Just as it is impossible for you to live life for others.

I love hearing about or reading about other people’s lives simply because their experiences are different from mine. Oftentimes it gives me a different perspective from which to see or understand situations and events.

But it will never change my life and my journey nor will it change yours because our journeys belong strictly to us.

A day in my life is–in my view–is typical. I wake up, drink tea, get ready for work, work, come home, do some household chores and go to sleep to rest so I can get up again the next day and start again.

Sound boring right? It’s really not. Over tea (and coffee) -for my husband- is when we spend quality time together before the start of our day.

We talk about the weather or world events or about how to get rid of ants in the backyard–it doesn’t matter because we are talking and enjoying each other’s company.

Getting ready for work can include a multitude of things I do around the house including exercising or playing with my dogs before the shower-hair-makeup routine.

Work, of course, is the bulk of the day but I never underestimate the number of lives I touch every day and the lives that touch mine. And the contribution I am making to my family by earning a paycheck.

When I come home in the evening I always enjoy that first step into my home where the dogs are happy to see me and my husband too-if he’s the first one home.

My evening routines change depending on my mood and what needs to get done but it is satisfying to have so many things to do.

A day in my life may seem mundane to you but it is filled with all that is important to me.

And your life holds all the important things to you. Let’s not forget to count our blessings and enjoy a day in the life.

The Freedom of Dressing Up

The Freedom of Dressing Up

This weekend my husband and I took a little road trip to Todd Mission, Texas home of the yearly Renaissance Festival.

We had a wonderful time even though the temperature hovered in the high 40s and low 50s all day and there was a little rain.

But as my husband aptly put it, it is like stepping back in time. The festival is held in a forest of tall pines and other trees in which a small village has been constructed. By small I mean pretty big since it takes a good 3 hours to walk the whole park.

The village looks like it is straight out of central casting for a medieval movie set in 1400s Europe.

There are shops and eateries throughout with wonderful names like: “The King’s Swordworks” and “MiLady’s Fashions”. There are statues of dragons and suits of armor but my favorite part are the costumes.

Not only do the people who run the fair dress in period wardrobe but most of the people coming into the park come dressed as well!

The costumes are varied and elaborate and I noticed no one being self conscious or feeling out of place. They felt free to be who their character was.

We saw Queen Elizabeth and King Henry the VIII, soldiers of the realm, Scottish royalty, and lords and ladies galore. But we also saw peasants, serving wenches, and street entertainers.

Among some of the more imaginative costumes also included Jack Sparrow, Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts, the witches from Hocus Pocus, and Robin Hood.

There were many dressed as famous couples too: Merlin and Morgan la Fey, Ursurla and King Triton, and the devil walking with Jesus.

My favorites are always the barbarians–because they look so–barbarous!

The beauty of the day is that everyone is there to enjoy the atmosphere and each other. Dressing in costumes frees people from their everyday realities and lets them escape into the fairyland world of the medieval forest in a trip back in time.

Enjoy the freedom someday and visit a Renaissance park-it is an experience no one should miss!