Thursday, January 2, 2020

Christmas Tree Follies-1

In a crazy sort of way, I thought an artificial Christmas tree could live forever.  Even though I cringed every year at getting our tree put together, once it was up, I was #allin for the joy of decorating and admiring how it would turn out. 

In 2019, putting it up was no different...except we moved the location of the tree this year from the sun room to the family room.  The tree stand creaked and cracked as we began adding branches this year (the whole fam helped).  Level by level, color by faded & frazzled color, branch by branch, it went up as expected...was decorated and looked glorious by night's end.

The weeks before Christmas came and went and we enjoyed the baubles and sparkles in the darkness of December.  There's just something so cheery about gazing on the love that our tree exuded.  I felt foolish in thinking about how much I groaned over getting the branches attached at the beginning versus all the joy it brought as we prepared for the Christmas season.

Just a few days after Christmas, as we were all in full vacation mode.  I was cleaning up my crafting room when my daughter ran downstairs to get me...

"Mom, we need you!  The Christmas tree fell!"

"Wait-what?  Are you kidding me?"

"No, come upstairs, the tree fell!  Dad's holding it!"

I secretly thought-oh, she's just trying to trick I played along and rushed upstairs.  I was reminded she wasn't kidding and this was a serious matter.

As I ran up the stairs, as soon as I hit the landing, my eyes zoomed to the tree!  Sure enough, it had fallen and several ornaments lay in disarray around the family room with a few who met their breaking points.  I was shocked and then suddenly, realized my husband was still trying to hold what remained of a three legged Christmas tree upright.

"What happened?"  I blurted in an exhaustive sort of way...

"Well, I just lightly bumped a branch when I was going behind the tree to add the wires for the Roku and the next thing I know I looked back and it had fallen."  said my hubby in a sheepishly sorry tone.

"So you couldn't react quickly enough to save it from falling before it hit the floor and the ornaments fell off and broke?"

"I didn't know it happened!" he explained.


I was angry with him for quite awhile as I cleaned up the broken glass and put the ornaments away in their boxes, took off the garland, removed the strings of lights and the layers of branches one by one...I know the tree was old.  I know it really wasn't his fault-the plastic stand base had become brittle and just couldn't take one more bump- I thought the tree could live forever.

So this year, ironically, we have no pictures of our family by the pictures of the gifts Santa delivered on Christmas Eve.  No pictures of the happy smiles Christmas Day brought.   I regret all of that thinking the tree could live forever.

Now, the tree has met its demise.  A new tree has arrived in it's place...a metal stand model (no more plastic), reaching new heights and put up as easy as 1,     2,     3.  Plug in and presto!  we have lights!  turned on with a remote no less.

I won't take for granted that it will last forever but I sure hope it lasts a long time.  Happy new tree and a happy new year...finding the new tree was its own adventure.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Breathe, Just Breathe

One of the blessings of this winter break has been the time to work on projects around the house without interruption.  There are so many of these projects just waiting for me to embrace them.  I love that they are calling out to me to try and get my attention! "Pick me!"  "No, pick me!"  "Choose me!"  "I need your attention!"

It just so happens that the one most inspiring project has been the cleaning and keeping of my crafting room.  It's become a "catch all" over the last ten years.  Around the house when no one knew what to do with something, its new home became the crafting room.  One of the things that landed in there was my dad's bag of coloring books which got passed back and forth between him and my mom as they were in separate nursing homes the last two years of their lives as they both had extreme health issues that were incompatible with cohabitation.  My dad passed in 2017 and my mom passed a year ago on New Years Eve.  Touching the coloring books felt off limits.  I just couldn't look.  I couldn't handle thinking about how much time they spent in the last moments of their lives with the books and colored pencils.  It calmed them, passed their time when we couldn't be there.

Finally a few days ago, I was  clearing the crafting room, going through the stack of books (one by one)-this is how my one little word for 2020 found me.  I opened the book to this page as it was marked by two pencils left in the book.  My dad colored the picture a few months before he died.  My mom got the books from him but her dementia didn't allow for remembering that he had passed.  She wrote him a note on the back of the page...she loved him and missed him so much.

Just Breathe
Steve Senior, Always think outside the box and embrace opportunities that appear, wherever they might be.   Good job!

After reading the adoring message she wrote to him, I flipped back to the colored design and seeing it, burst into tears...ironically, not being able to breathe is what brought my dad's life to an end.

After my tears subsided, I reflected and felt like my parents were angels just then, talking to me, whispering a reminder to take things slowly, calmly.  Then, consider things but remember to breathe, just breathe...embracing opportunities when they appear!

So that is how my #OLW2020 found me and I chose Breathe...

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Bronze Award

Day 11
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge

Girl Scouts work through so many neat activities like skating parties, cookie sales, philanthropy experiences and learning.  Tonight’s experience was another to tally in the “neat activities” column.

Each of the 15 girls in the troop choose activities to teach the younger scouts.  We learned about how to play chords on the ukulele, how to roller skate and even raise chickens.

It was organized for each younger scout to rotate through the stations, learn, receive a sticker and move to the next area.  It required each teacher to research their activity, design a visual to promote it and then teach younger scouts.  The girls had such fun learning.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Listening to A.T. 40

Day 10
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story

Hits from coast to coast-American Top Forty

Usually on Sunday, this is what plays
Songs we remember touching us in special ways

We listen with care and notice Casey’s voice
Then smile and nod when we hear the next choice

This week’s replay from 1978
Getting excited not wanting to wait

Hearing Casey’s review of the charts
playing the radio of our hearts

Counting down from forty to one
Playback of these tunes really such fun

Songs moving up and some move down
Listening to see which song gets the crown

Moving our toes and tapping the beat
Feeling like dancing, taking it to the street

Coming down with a little affliction
When Beegees and disco were quite the addiction

Ear up close to the radio sound
Glad American Top 40 still can be found! 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Parachute Slice

Day 9
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story

Seeing the parachute today brought back memories of my childhood.  I loved looking at the colors and seeing the parachute spin.  I smiled when I heard the director of the activity tell the students to rotate the parachute clockwise.  It looked fun to be holding onto the handles and move in a circle.  

After the spinning stopped, the next game they played was 🐱 cat finds the mice.  One student gets on top of the parachute and three go under.  Then the students ruffle the parachute as the cat crawls around to find the mice.  There were so many times the cat came ever so close to finding the mice but missed.  I heard children laughing and giggling-having such fun! 

The slice of parachute was spinning my memory back to my elementary gym days.  We all longed to play with the colorful, smooth material as it brought such smiles to our faces.  Up and down it would float:  staying in, running under, circling around...I wished I could be down on the floor playing too.

Friday, March 8, 2019

I Can Only Dream of Celebrating Dad’s Birthday

Day 8
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge

One of the things that brings me joy every year on this day is thinking about birthdays of two very special people, my dad and my husband.  For today’s slice I want to specially remember my dad.

I can only dream of wishing “Happy 80th Birthday Dear Dad”.  

I can only dream of how to  celebrate:  phone calls, singing, eating out for dinner and having cake and ice cream too.

I can only dream of hearing the hunky voice saying thanks and smiling that wry dad smile.

I can only dream of getting a big old bear hug-he gave the best!

I can only dream of wishing him “Happy Birthday” with a smile...trying not to cry...

I can only dream of watching him open a funny card with a silly saying about fishing-he loved it so.  I completely regret that I never got to his favorite fishing hole to chitchat the day away.

I can only dream of these things and hope  that he can see from heaven and know how much he is missed every. single. day.

Happy Birthday Daddy! I love you and miss you!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Choosing Kind

Day 7
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge

Do you have The Daily Wonder App?  I do.  I’m glad I do.  I love checking in each day to be inspired by the “Daily Wonder”. I usually share it to Facebook and Twitter because of the positive message to inspire others to #choosekind.

For example here is today’s Wonder:


There are other options too, such as the monthly calendar and the weekly Kindness Challenge! 




You might even get cute pictures like this from my friend Tara.  All because she thought of me in #choosingkind
It’s the new cool!
Tara's daughter!
Kind is the new cool!


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Photo Slicing

Day 6
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge

I love the idea of photo slicing!  Such fun!  Here is mine!

“Don’t wind her up before you go honey...”

Who could this be about?

What was the person thinking?

Why would they make this statement?

If you have a visual in mind, what would it look like?

Would it look like this?

I was inspired to go through my photos after looking at Kelsey’s Photo Slices.  The one I wanted to 





Now, filling in the blanks...the one who said “don’t wind her up before bedtime” was Natalie.

She was speaking of not winding up little Snowball, our only family pet for now.  Natalie was in the process of giving Snowy a treat.  Snowy is an adorable little guinea pig, don’t you think? 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Hey Siri

Day 5
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge

Today’s been a day.  I was full on busy at work which left me feeling drained when I got home.

Luckily we had leftovers to heat up for supper.  I’ve been laying on the couch most of the night.

I have not been much of a TV watcher over the last four years especially because of taking care of my parents.  But tonight was different.  I watched The Voice, This Is Us and just finished up with New Amsterdam.  I heard a message that just clicked with me when I heard it and how much things have changed over the past few years for those who watch TV.  “Hey, Siri.  Remind me to watch New Amsterdam.”

This set off a whole “Siri’s” of thoughts...
“Hey, Siri, remind me to write my daily slice of life.”

“Hey, Siri, remind me to go to bed.”

“Hey, Siri, remind me to wake up.”

“Hey, Siri, remind me to cook eggs for breakfast.”

“Hey, Siri, remind me to take a shower.”

“Hey, Siri, remind me to dry my hair.”

“Hey, Siri, remind me to take the kids to school.”

And on and on...
Would it just be easier for our own brains to remember than to direct someone else to remember what we are trying to remember?  Just wondering...

Monday, March 4, 2019

All About the Hunt-Pet Whisperer Part 2

Day 4
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge

The Pet Whisper’s Plea for a perfectly adorable guinea pig ate at my heart for hours.  I had a sickening feeling that the sweet Reese we tried out wouldn’t be there long after she went back into the cage.  (If you want to read what happened, here is Part 1).

I thought about how cute she was for hours.  I thought about how my pet whisperer handled her.  Nat even told me, the pet picks its care giver just as the wand picks the wizard.  “You know I’m referencing Harry Potter just a bit, right Mom?”  

Yes, I know...

So I went back to the pet store earlier today when I was out running errands.  I know it’s ridiculous that I had to check!  When I hustled into the store and got to the small pet aisle and looked into the bin, my heart sank when I didn’t see little Reese.  Oh no!  What was I going to tell my girl, aka the Pet Whisperer?  

Before we went out to dinner, the PW asked me about going back to the pet store.  I gave her the generic “you know if it’s not there it wasn’t meant to be” speech.  We agreed it would be ok.  I knew it wouldn’t be there but I didn’t want to break the news.  I hoped she’d handle it ok.  I know I’m crazy.

So when we headed back into the pet store together, she noticed it was gone too.  She didn’t cry or get upset.  She just said matter-of-factly, “It’s ok Mom. It’s all about the hunt that makes it fun to find a piggie!”

Wow! Just be continued.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Pet Whisperer’s Plea

Day 3

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers

After shopping for the new refrigerator, Nat and I had to run in to Petco and grab some supplies for our Guinea Pig.  We looked for the usual:  bedding, timothy, and finally vitamin c drops.  Of course we always look for the latest batch of new guineas.  They are so adorable.

Usually, we just look and don’t handle.  Today was different.  The pet specialist showed another family the chinchilla.  It was soft and fluffy but fast.  She saw us looking in the guinea cubbies and offered to get one out for us.

I decided to let Nat hold the one that looked like a Reese cup.  It was so soft and cuddly.  As we chatted with the pet store employee, Natalie confidently shared, “You know I’m a pet whisperer.”

The employee nodded in agreement and shared that she could tell.

The thing is, Nat looked so in love with the little guinea.  “Momma, can I please get it? Please!”

I wanted to let her get it.  I paused with, “We’ll see.”

We have to reason through this as this means we have to buy a bigger cage or have two separate cages.  We don’t know if the two guineas would like each’s a too be continued.

Will the pet whisperer get another guinea?  Stay tuned...

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Making it Happen

Day 2

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers Blog

Today, I joined the 73% of Americans who report working out one or more times per week.  Yay!  According to a survey by Timex on 1,000 people from Shape.  I have to admit that I kind of lollygagged this morning getting coffee, eating breakfast and surfing the web.  

My husband asked, "You going to the rec today?"  

I promptly admitted, "Yes, getting ready soon."

I am that kind of person who likes when other people cheer me on for my successes with working out.  I think that inspires me to keep going.  So, I posted a check-in to Facebook too-letting friends and family know that I am committed to getting fit.

I am glad I went-I feel better.  I walked or jogged over three miles and went about 8,000 + steps.  My commitment to getting fit is inspired by the promise from working at I Promise.  You can read more about it here if you're interested.  I have lost eighteen pounds so far and hope to keep it going.

Today's another tally in the making it happen column.  Are you inspired by others when it comes to getting fit?

Friday, March 1, 2019

Embracing the Train

Day 1

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for

Last night ended in happy exhaustion after snow tubing for three hours.  We ended up getting home pretty late for a school night which made getting up this morning extra challenging. Of course we were running late.

Kam missed the bus and I had to take him to school...

I got in the shower later than I expected...

Nat and I left later than we wanted...

So we arrived in the car line up at school and placed pretty far back in order...

That made me even later...

And then this-
the      w     o     r     l     d     's.     l     o     n     g     e     s     t.      t      r     a     i     n.

I knew this would make me even later than I wanted to be at school. As I sat there watching it pass, I decided to capture a little video of it.  

I knew what my slice would be-"embrace the train".  Sometimes in life there are experiences where I have been trapped by a situation.  Maybe I need to work more on "embracing the train"-the thing that's slowing me from getting where I need to be.  I may not know why at the time but there was a need for me to  s    l     o   w    d   o  w   n.  

So I end with wondering.
What is your train?

What should you be slowing down to notice?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Triple S Trick

Thanks to the Two Writing Teachers Site
for hosting the Tuesday Slice of Life
My girl, my “sole mate” helped me do something I’ve always had on my mind but just didn’t have the energy to make happen!

The story begins like every ordinary day.

I heard her singing.  Yes, singing.  Something about A, B, C easy as 1, 2, 3.  This went on for a bit.  I heard water splashing and thought about being in a pool.  Then I heard her singing again.  It was a different tune this time.  Something about having a feeling inside her bones, going electric baby when she turns it on.  Then I heard even more splashing!  I heard even more singing about the circle of life.  And how it moves us all.


I heard a curtain open.  I heard a towel shake out.  She started singing the again.  

The song was Try Everything by Shakira. 

“I keep falling down
I keep on hitting the ground
I always get up now to see what's next
Birds don't just fly
They fall down and get up
Nobody learns without getting it won
I won't give up, no I won't give in
Till I reach the end
And then I'll start again
Though I'm on the lead
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I won't give up, no I won't give in
Till I reach the end
And then I'll start again
No I won't leave
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail”

And somehow, the words inspired me and the perfect opportunity presented itself.  She picked me up!  This was my chance!  I was on top of the pile!  I had to do it!

The toilet water felt so cold.  It felt colder than I imagined.  She quickly rescued me from the frigid water and plopped me into a baggie.  I warmed up but had to stay there until she washed me.

I’m such

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Slice of Ts!

Slice of Ts!
Waking up thinking-
Plot twist
Two buses missed
Toothpaste spray
Two outfits changed
Tuesday morning meetings
Terrific lunchtime
Teacher talk
Traveling home
Tick tock goes the clock
Trimming teens hair
Taking timeout for supper
Tapping out a slice
Telling about the Ts

Ta ta

Monday, January 21, 2019

Dad's Hug

Created with Canva and found on Wise Old Sayings

I remember, waking up, thinking-that was a very real hug.  A hug from my dad as I slept?  It was the kind of bear hug only my dad could give.  It left me a bit breathless to be honest.  It had been a long time since I had a dream about him (he passed in 2017).  I thought deeply about how much I missed him.  After tearing up a bit, I thought I'd go back to sleep for awhile and remember to tell Kevin in the morning.

And then, around 8:30, the phone rang.  It's the kind of phone call you know can't be good when you see who's calling.  I lived this life-held hostage by who's calling for almost four years.  I drew the card of responsibility in taking care of my parents as the main care-giver.  They both had major health issues the last two years especially.  I love them dearly, wouldn't have it any other way, but it has been rough-tougher than anyone could imagine but I always took things one step at a time.

When that phone call came through, it was how my New Year's Eve was my mom's memory care facility.  They called to tell me she passed away in her sleep.  My heart ached so bad.  I could hardly breath-I screamed "Oh, no!"  I started sobbing hysterically.  I ran to my husband and hugged him tight for several minutes.

I knew some day this call might come.  I knew God would call her home.  I started praying for her peace after she fell and broke the hip...she lived a good life-eighty long years.

But, I wasn't ready to hear it...

-and then I thought back to my dream...maybe that hug was Dad's way of telling me, "she's home, back with me, everything will be ok"-an answer to questions to come at the end of the year...

All those worries have stopped.  No more doctor visits, no more fights with nursing staff, no more struggle to move, or to think.  They are together again, hand in hand in Heaven.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Strength-I Need It!

Created with Canva
When 2019 hit, I wanted to find my OLW one. little. word.  I reflected...

For 2018, my "One Little Word" was "Focus".  I thought Focus fit me at the start of 2018.  I had new things to Focus on:

  • my mom (since my dad passed in August 2017)
  • my family (kids and hubby have needs to)
  • my personal life (getting fit)
  • and my career (Instructional Coach)
All of them tugged at me.  At times, I thought my core was breaking with all the ways the tugging pulled me.

New things happened:
  • my mom's health issues + dementia caused even more decline (hospital stays and surgery)
  • my kids growing up a freshman and a second grader
  • my fitness goals got going
  • my career path accelerated as I jumped into the role of Instructional Coach at The I Promise School
I felt more challenged than ever.  Life, although focused, drove me nearly insane with stress, worry, and nervousness.

  • Could I handle all the things my mom needed?
  • Would I be the best wife and mom while trying to be the best daughter too?
  • Should I be exercising more?
  • Could I be 100% in career work with all of this other need pulling on me too?
As 2018 neared to the end, I reflected.  And then, the way the last day of the year began, no one could have expected.  I got a phone call...

December 31, at 8:36, from Mulberry, "Hello Amy.  This is Dawn.  I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this (a voice inside of me was already screaming NOOO!) but your mom has passed."

"OH NO!" I cried out in disbelief.

"Sometime between 530am and 8am she passed in her sleep." 
I just started sobbing hysterically.  I felt grateful that her struggle had ended but crushed that her being here with us stopped.  My heart hurt so bad.  The last time I felt this pain happened on the day my dad passed too.  The moment his heart stopped and the monitor flat-lined.  I felt such agony and anger.  I felt dizzy with despair.  I leaned into my husband for a huge hug.  I wondered how I'd get through telling my family, my brothers, cousins, friends and co-workers.

None of it was easy.  I plowed through with moments of tears and exhaustion...

After a week or so had passed, I reflected more.

I thought about what I need to make my life better for 2019 and that's how I found my #OLW2019, STRENGTH.  I need it.  I need it to help fill in the gaping hole left in caring for my mom and adjusting and prioritizing what I need, family needs and my co-workers need.

STRENGTH is what I need for 2019.

  1.        the quality or state of being physically strong.

    "cycling can help you build up your strength"
      synonyms:powerbrawn, brawniness, muscle, muscularity, burliness,
    sturdiness, robustnesstoughnesshardiness

                  (Google Dictionary)

I am working every day to live strong spiritually, mentally and physically.  I believe that with the focus on strength, I will get through this tough time and be stronger on the other side.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Touched by the Spirit!

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Weekly Slice of Life

Touched by the Spirit!

A story's backstory...

Rick owns a business.  He directs plumbers to make repairs and rehab projects where water isn't working.

Amy enjoys the teaching life.  She loves Spring Break-even though she is staying in town this year having to take care of things that aren't working.

These two souls met yesterday, over a plumbing problem!

Rick visits a nursing home to preach the word of the Lord every Sunday.

Amy visited the same nursing home when her dad rehabbed from respiratory failure.

Rick connects with people who have no one else-except the Lord-no family, no friends-but they have Rick.

Amy connects with Rick's mission to visit the lonely in the nursing homes.  His mom suffered from dementia-Amy's mom does too.  Amy asks how Rick dealt with the daily challenges dementia can bring.

Rick gives wonderful advice-deal with it one day at a time and ask the Lord for help.

Amy accepts this sound advice.  She prays for help daily...

Rick's visit touches the heart of someone struggling.  It's work from the Spirit of God.

Amy feels moved by the spirit during their brief meeting over a plumbing problem.

You never know when the words of the wiser will touch your heart, but when they do, celebrate and honor them.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

April Fools Dusting

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Tuesday Slice of Life
Slice 1

One of my favorite poems is this one:

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay. 

The poem ran through my mind as I looked out the window to see the yard around us coated with a blanket of fresh snow.  It looked as though someone had shaken powdered sugar from a giant sifter and covered everything with just the perfect amount of sweetness.  So I wanted to copy-change the words to one of my favs in honor of National Poetry Month.

Not Wanting White to Stay

Mother Nature’s April Fool is white?
She did this just for spite!
Her late evening sprinkle, a joke-
Giving the side-ribbing poke!
Then trees shake off, no leaf...
And torture of snow scene brief.
As the sun comes out to play-
white sprinkle melts...away!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Day 31 Journey-Don’t Stop Slicing

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

I was thinking journey-
and then it came to me-
a parody of the song “Don’t Stop Believing”!
I called it “Dont Stop Slicing”!
Enjoy!  We.  finished.  the.  challenge.

Cue the piano...fog machine...lights-

Just a bloggin’ girl
Dreamin’ in a busy world
She writes by midnight light
Slicing every day...
Just a dreamin’ girl 
Wants to be an author someday
She writes by daytime too 
Authors anywhere

A writer in the family room
The smell of wine and flowers in bloom
For a comment writers share the night
It goes on and on, and on, and on

Strangers writing
Up and down the comment list
Their cursor blinking
In the night
Desk lamp people
Livin' to express emotion
Thinkin' by their laptop in the night!

Workin' hard to meet the fill
We know slicers get a thrill
Thinkin’ anything to write the slice 
Just one more time!

All will win-
None will lose
Some were born just to write the blues
Oh, the slicing  never ends
It goes on and on, and on, and on

Slicers, writing 
Meeting in the blogging world
Their fingers typing 
In the night
Slicing, dreaming
Livin' just to post the slices
Writing somewhere in the night

[Instrumental interlude]

Don't stop slicin’
Hold on to that feelin'

Writing people
Don't stop believin'

Hold on
Commenting people
Don't stop connecting’
Hold on to that feelin'
Slicing Challenge