Be sure to check out my daughter’s first entry in her blog. So proud of her and how she handles everything.


Holding On To Hope



I like to consider myself a stronger and  more confident person as a result of the challenges life has dealt our family in recent years. I have learned lessons along the way and I know that you have to be an advocate, in times of challenge, for either yourself or those that need a voice. In the past, I would have said, “I don’t want to bring attention to anything” or “Why make waves?” That is no longer the case. I will fight for what is right and in terms of my daughter’s shoulder issues, I will keep pressing for answers whether it be a new form of physical therapy, a different specialist, or something academic related. I often wish I could help other families, as an advocate, in educational and medical matters. I know what we have gone through,and what we continue to go through, as a family. To have someone be a guide in the abyss of the medical and surgical world would have been a godsend.

I could use an advocate, right now,who has connections to every shoulder guru there is to be seen. How is it that this case is so original? We are seeing a top doctor now who also treats pro athletes but even he is perplexed as to why the shoulder is not maintaining stability. We are now about 3 1/2 years into this nightmare yet outsiders look at her and would never know her pain level or her daily struggles. Kelly will not crack, as she plows through this, and has excelled academically in her first full year back in 3 years right along with her twin sister. They are a great team!

For now, I pray, research, and continue to try to grow as a person. I need to be the best version of me–a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an advocate, a friend, and an educator. If I don’t, I am helping no one and I am not serving as a good role model for my girls.

Please remember, in your daily encounters, that everyone is struggling or going through something. Sometimes it is a visible struggle but often it is the invisible pain and struggles that can be the heaviest to carry. Always remember to be patient, kind, and to see the good everywhere. You could be the “light” in someone’s dark and cloudy day.

Keep on hoping! I know I will!!

Ten Things I Like About Fall


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As the Summer season starts to fade away and Fall eases into place very soon, it is time now to be reflective and think about what I love about the season we are approaching. With that being said, here are my top 10 Fall likes.

1) Leaves changing colors.

2) Soup Time-I love so many types but my favorite is definitely potato soup.

3) Hot chocolate and hot tea. I have both year round but more often, naturally, as the weather changes.

4) My wedding anniversary. We were married in October because I love this time of year so much.

5) Fall festivals and pumpkin picking. A great time to gather friends and family and head off to one on a beautiful weekend. Age is not a factor.

6) Blankets and curling up with a good book on a chilly day.

7) Baking-I am not a big baker but I love to whip up breads or cookies at this time. My goal is to attempt some baking with apples this year. Any great recipes to recommend?

8) Winery trip/tour-I love the landscape that wineries provide. Such beauty in simple settings. You can be educated on varieties of wine and the production process. A picnic lunch at one of them tops off the day with family and friends.

9) Crafting-My need to do so kicks into high gear. Homemade Christmas gifts are on tap this year.

10) Thanksgiving-The feeling of being grateful for all of the blessings in my life. My children have also expressed to me how this is a favorite holiday because of the emphasis on family.

I am interested in knowing do you have any great fall recipes to share? Soups, breads, or cookies? Also, what would be on your top 10 Fall likes?

Feel free to comment.

What I Know For Sure



“In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson” Author unknown.

I came across this quote in a  magazine this week. I immediately stopped and spent some time thinking about it. It is appropriate,for this time of year of new beginnings, as people begin prepping for a return to school. When I looked at this quote, I also thought of it as a backwards approach. This can be a more difficult approach to grasping life’s lessons. When you are taught a lesson, in school, you are instructed several times, receive notes to study from and quiz yourself on, and you may also have a practice test or two to check on how much material you have grasped. If there is a lack of understanding, then there are other opportunities for strengthening areas of weakness and possibly retesting.

In life, as I mentioned, we start backwards. The tests are presented without any prior background knowledge, note taking, or quizzing. There are no opportunities for a retest. This is a difficult concept to grasp and to embrace. It also takes time to reflect upon each test and to see them for the gifts that they are in each of our lives. Tests can have a tendency to overwhelm and keep us down or to stagnate us. These are all the results of not comprehending why these tests happened upon us. Close proximity, to the test, can cloud us from seeing the “big picture” or the intended lesson. Distance and time can be key factors in removing the clouds so that the lessons are finally evident to us. I believe this skill of understanding comes from a heightened awareness, a living in the moment approach, and an attitude of gratitude. Goals to aspire to in all of our lives.

I have had many tests, in the last few years, and some lessons have come easier than others. But, I know one thing for sure and that is I will keep looking and learning for the lessons in each test.

Best Laid Plans-Ha Ha!!


What was to be the weekend I got caught up on things (Ha-Ha), take a new exercise class, and meet up with a friend due to my family being away, turned into a weekend with my daughter who had strep throat. By the way, where did that come from? This is August not January! Now of course you never want your children to be sick but Saturday and Sunday turned into a great bonding experience. We truly turned this into a living in the moment exercise.

For example, we discovered Lucy and Desi episodes running, consecutively, all weekend. A win-win for us since we love the series from start to finish! In addition, dinner both nights was relatively healthy still and involved minimal effort. Yay-me! Healthy summer fruit was a side dish on both nights. Of course, Saturday night was a “cheat” night since we found a flavor of ice cream that my daughter has been wanting to try for quite some time. Jimmy Fallon’s-The Tonight Dough by Benn and Jerry. Now that she has tried it, she loves it! Our afternoon break, from Lucy and Desi, consisted of watching daily videos from favorite British You Tubers. Love keeping up on the vlogs.

Sunday brought a better feeling daughter and breakfast outside in our side yard. The bonding and viewing continued. Despite all of the television viewing, I was able to finish a book in one weekend. That is a luxury!! The day was finished off with favorite snacks and beverages to help a sore throat.

It is interesting to see, when you do not have a choice, how truly present in the moment you can become along with being aware of every detail in your surroundings. It was a gift in disguise!  I can always take a class another day. Time with my daughter was priceless!

Turning Points-Catalysts For Change



Back in May I decided that it was time to put some focus on me. It sounds selfish but the root of it is for my family. I wanted to work on me physically, spiritually, and hopefully develop a more positive outlook. This blog was one piece of it and it is a work in progress, although progress can be a bit slow.

I want to encourage others to think about what is their “catalyst for change” and hopefully use this as a spring board for change. It is so important to not let these events keep you stagnant or let them define you as a person.

Confession time: I have been guilty of both becoming stagnant and of letting these events define me over the course of the last 3 years. This time of year has been difficult because 3 years ago my life was shaken to the core. My husband, at the age of 46, had a stroke. I still have trouble verbalizing that fact. It felt like the floor had collapsed below me. During that time I could not or would not process the event and diagnosis. What we thought was simple dehydration, from working outside all day, had turned into the unfathomable. Thankfully, he was not left with any lasting effects. We did however find out he is a diabetic and he was finally able to immediately quit smoking.

Within months of this event one of our daughters, as I have written about, became injured. This in turn ended her softball playing days and she had to endure 3 surgeries and countless physical therapy appointments in less than a year and a half. Most recently, this past winter, she successfully stumped her team as to why things were not stable. I am happy to say that there has been some progress in that area and we are cautiously optimistic.

Fast forward to this Spring when it felt like I was finally able to let out a sigh of relief, dust myself off, and begin to develop the new me. I jumped back into hobbies I had previously loved and I began to venture into becoming healthier and more fit. By making this decision, I am exploring many new possibilities and even taking new exercise classes. As a result, I hope to encourage my own children to develop themselves and always explore new possibilities. I was also fortunate to reconnect with an old friend who has formed a wonderful group of women, with similar interests, who are encouraging one another in the areas of exercise and nutrition. This would not have been possible if I didn’t decide to be open to change and let that “catalyst” move me in the right direction.

The future is looking bright!

Gratitude SOS Kit-My weekend list of 10



In the past, before the days of numerous blogs, I kept a gratitude journal. Although I no longer do that, I have channeled my writing interests, into a blog, where I can still incorporate gratitude into my posts. This weekend was a much needed blessing after a long week. It felt like a huge sigh/breath was released. **Deep emptying breaths are always good to use when de-stressing.

Here is my gratitude list of 10 from the weekend.

1) Family movie night complete with favorite snacks. Conversation flowed, throughout the night, as we recapped the week.

2) An evening walk with my daughters. Love to do this! I learn so much from listening to the thoughts they each share.*I don’t just do the walk for the exercise.

3) Sleeping in with no alarm going off at an early hour.

4) Breakfast and tea, on the patio, with one of my daughters. Pure bliss! We were even fortunate to watch the sky clear and the sun come through as we sat together.

5) Getting caught up on the wash. A sense of accomplishment as a new week starts. “Starting with a clean slate.”

6) Time to read! One of my passions! I love reading and to have time to do so, each day, is good for my soul.

7) Time to write and publish 2 postings. This is a challenge to myself and I am happy to continue it. Writing is cathartic.

8) Beginning the day with prayer and church. A great way to start the day!

9) Spending 3 hours on prepping for school. A wonderful feeling of satisfaction knowing I am caught up. *At least for a day!

10) Supportive friends/family. Whether it was a text, email, private message, or even a new contact shared– it was noticed and appreciated!! So, thank you!!

All in all a wonderful and blessed weekend! I am thankful!