The Most Magical Time of the Year

Well, I was just done posting this and somehow deleted the whole thing! Ugghhhh! Yes, it was an accident. I was happy with my writing only to have to recreate the post in its entirety. That being said, what a wonderful theme to write  about, the holidays. 

Holidays are times for family and friends to gather and be merry. I’m nearly done with my interior decorations but we haven’t done much outside yet. I have shared some of my Christmas crafting in a previous post, and I am able to enjoy some of the fruits of my labor. I’ve also made gifts for friends this year, but I’m not quite done. does it ever seem like you are never quite done, or is that only me? 


Decorations are a big thing in our house and it’s so nice to enjoy them for those few weeks before we take them down and decorate for the next much smaller holiday of valentine’s day. With the discerning eyes of my 15 year old and myself, we have managed to whip this place into shape for Christmas but we have more plans, or rather, I have more plans. Bringing them into fruition is the next challenge. 

Our next big holiday tradition is baking cookies, or course. The 15 year old wanted to make cut out sugar cookies yesterday but alas, the 1nswer was a resounding NO! Am I a mean and cruel mom? No, but the 18 year old will be home Monday and would be so upset if we made those without her. That’s a family affair in this house! if you don’t like to war these cookies, you must have something wrong with you genetically! They are the best cookie in the world hands down. Granted, we make many other ones like Swedish spice cookies, peanut blossoms, and a variety of others. These 3 are the staples of our Christmas baking.

I can’t wait to have most of the family together. Tomorrow is the day I’ll get to pick up my baby girl from school!  She’s coming  home for a month ya’ll! My oldest girl will be in California for the holidays and my dad and brother will be in sunny Florida.  I will still have the boy and my minime. I will also have my sweet and dear father-in-law for Christmas.  He has to be the easiest guest ever! 

Being together and celebrating Christmas us such a special tradition. We celebrate the birth of Jesus by heading out to midnight mass each year. Usually, my girls are singing but this year they will not be which will be strange. With one in California and the 18 and 15 year olds at their dad’s Christmas eve, you will find me with my remaining  boys in our usual spot are the church listening to the joyous and holy music and liturgy, all the while I will be thinking of my mom and nanan who have passed from this earth to join in the heavenly celebrations with the saints. I will be thinking of my daughters, my son, my dad and my brother, praying for their joy and health. I will be thinking and praying for my friends and relatives hoping their Christmas is blessed by happiness and love. I will pray for those without home, family or friends to be with at this time of year. I will try to make a difference in someone’s life this year as a always try to do each year. I will try to be joyous and bring joy and peace to those around me and to those whose lives I’ve been blessed to touch, if only for a moment. This is my Christmas wish. What’s yours?

It’s a Birthday Coffeeshare Weekend!

I celebrated my birthday on Friday and what great friends I truly have. My friends took me out for dinner minus one of my besties who was trying to get her pool closed for the year as well as not feeling great. We had a blast! The 5 of us are out hearts out, fixed all the world’s problems over food and good wine and just had such a good time together it was hard to say goodnight when our evening was over. I am so truly and utterly blessed to have the very best friends in the world. Thanks to my T for managing to throw it all together and make it a memory that will surpass some of the other birthday memories that were not nearly so pleasant. 

Earlier in the day, I was blessed to go pick up my beautiful daughter from school and take her out for lunch at a great diner! What a truly fabulous gastronomic adventure! If you are ever in St. Louis and looking for a superior diner atmosphere to partake of, look no further than the loop. Fitz’s diner is phenomenol! The burger and the fries! Plus homemade sodas and floats that will absolutely bust a gut! We shared, and did not finish, a black forest float made with their black cherry soda and rich chocolate ice cream! Yummy! 

The best part of that was spending time with my girl! I missed her do much! Catching up on everything is so important in the grand scheme of life. A bond between a mother and her children can not be broken. Well, not in my case. My oldest sweet daughter even came home.

I didn’t get to see her until yesterday, but it’s so much fun to hug my girls. I miss them so much. She bought me the cutest clock and it matches my living room colors perfectly! 

I always say I will always love my kids even if I don’t always like what they do. I say this often to my youngest when he is driving Hubs and I crazy in the evenings over the old homework issue. Most of the time it’s been a lot better, but there are those nights when he is just so tired and we have both worked all day. When that happens, homework time leads to a screaming banshee child and it just stinks. Homework generally gets deferred to 6 am the next morning with me and then he’s like a brand new kid. This weekend he’s been terrific though. He even spent the night at his friend’s house and had a wonderful time doing so.

I have been on a baking kick lately. Its all about muffins. Cinnamon apple muffins more precisely. I make them from scratch. Although I prefer larger pieces of apple in mine, the family prefers the pieces to be diced very small. The tops are dipped into butter when the muffins come out of the oven and then into a mixture of cinnamon sugar. My 15 year old have me the greatest compliment ever. He said they were the best thing he had ever eaten. How cool is that for a mom to hear, especially when it’s not heard very often from a picky eater!

So that’s what going on in my neck of the woods. What’s going on in yours? You know I love to hear from you. Today I’ll be making homemade granola and some pumpkin muffins for the family! Family and food. What more could you ask for? Well… Maybe hockey and football…but that’s another story for another day! Take care and have a great day!

It’s About Time for Coffee

Good morning all! I’ve enjoyed a relaxing morning so far and am so glad you’ve made it here for coffee. I’ll admit, I started my coffee early this morning, as I seem to be awake very early these days. Hubs thinks I’m crazy to wake up as early as I do but he’s a VERY good sleeper in the early mornings. He doesn’t sleep well at night and needs his sleep. Me? I am out like a light these days. It’s nice for a change.

Coffee gets my motor running in the morning. I don’t need a pot. I just like my 1 or 2 cups unless I have company. Marz, my BFF neighbor, often shares coffee with me once the kids are at school. It’s wonderful. We can share the worries and joys of our world’s as well as solve all of the world’s problems all over a cup of joe. 

Whenever my oldest BFF and I go shopping, we have to have one specialty coffee somewhere. This, again, allows us time to solve all the world’s problems over our special java. Since we’ve known each other nearly 30 years (scary thought) we’ve solved a lot of problems, dried many tears and laughed over many funny stories over coffee. It never gets old.

When I lived up north, I used to share coffee by the potfull. I had a beautiful sister-in-law, Amy. We were well known for spending many hours drinking our cafe with cookies on my old porch or her basement. It was just what we did. We went to a family restaurant to escape the world and drank carafe after carafe. Amy passed away 3 years ago and I miss her still. When I see butterflies, certain flowers and hummingbirds, I think of my dear friend. I miss those hours but treasure the memories deep within my heart. 

Coffee in our American society is a social gathering. It’s a means of friendship and communication. In my Irish family, we drink tea. Many hours were spent with my mom over a cup of tea and cookies or biscuits, as it were. I’m missing my mom and will be thinking about her a great deal over the coming months. 

Thursday. The 15th, would have been mom and dad’s 56th wedding anniversary. It was the first one without her here. We all went to dinner with dad. He said he’s forgotten “that was today”. This week is his birthday and onward we go with birthdays and holidays. 

Family and friends should be cherished. Life is shorter than we think it is for we know not the time or place when this life will end. I’ve learned and relearned, assessed and reassessed things in my life over the last year and the one thing that is clearer than anything is that we truly need to love one another. Treat those people in your life gently and with care. Treasure them and tell them you love them each and every day or as often as you get a chance. Never let the opportunity go by to show them how much you care and appreciate them. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m doing my best. 

A Better Life

What a beautiful morning to be alive. No, the weather isn’t perfecr, although the temperature is lovely. The sky is somewhat overcast, but I began my day early this morning As I seem to do more often As I get older. 

 As I sit here drinking my cup of coffee, I marvel in the small gifts we’ve been given in this life. So many gifts. Even those with much less than me have something to be grateful for and that makes me smile. Just the thought that the less fortunate can be so grateful for what they have in this life. Yet there are so many with more than I have who are always wanting and expecting more. They are never satisfied with what they have simply because they are searching for happiness in materialistic items instead of seeing the true blessings which surround them daily.

I have been richly blessed. I have a truly loving family, a home to live in which always requires some maintenance or another, good on my table and clothes on my back. I wouldn’t say I couldn’t use a little more of this or that, but we have what we need. Truly, in the darkest times, God always provides for us.

Recently, hubs and I went to a Cardinals game and as we were headed home, a panhandler was approaching cars. One look at her and you could see that something was not right with her. Hubs and I talked about her misfortune. How sad for her because she was someone’s child, possibly sister or mother. Now she was there in the streets begging for money. I prayed for her. She did not approach our car, as the light turned, but my heart ached for her. 

Most of the time in our city, we are panhandlers in the same spot. They get in and out of a van and scam people on the same street corners, but my heart told me this was different. U felt that the best thing I could do for her though, was pray. Other cars had given her something. I pray she got some good and didn’t drink it or buy drugs with the money she got. 

The old saying goes, everyone has something. My thought is that this is more true than one realizes. Over the summer, when in was so sick, there were several times in was afraid I would die because I didn’t feel like I was getting any better. I can’t imagine having something worse, but there are many loving with much worse. So today, I choose to cherish my life and make the most of my days, each day. Life is so short and only God knows when he will call us home. I’m a very different person now than I was last year at this time.

Now, go out and make the most of today. Don’t let a day go by without seeing or talking to those you love. Let them know they have impacted your life. They may not know it. Don’t let another day go by without doing that one thing that you’ve been putting off forever. Take the trip, eat the cake, but if nothing else, tell them you love them and don’t end on a sour note.

Love and Care for your People

Ever worry about people you care about that don’t live with you? I do. Sometimes we don’t see those people all the time and if you’re like me, you worry. You worry needlessly, or perhaps because they need to be worried about because they do silly things like go on roofs to check them out at 80 years of age or go up 30 feet in the air on ladders to paint with no one to watch them while their up there the whole time. Regardless, I’m a worriwart. 

That’s where my faith comes in to help me out, but what about those who have no dai faith? What do they do? I have often wondered about this. I pray for my loved ones’ safety. I pray that God will watch them and keep them safe when I know I can’t. I used to be a home health nurse and drove hundreds of miles each week in all kinds of weather. I prayed each day to keep me safe so that I could come home and care for my family at the end of each day.

These are some of my rambling thoughts that come about due to several terrible accidents recently. One was of a nurse who was leaving for vacation with her husband and 3 year old daughter. I never knew her, but from what I was told, she was perfect. A lovely person, perfect mom and wife. She lost her life as their rv rolled over. Her husband and daughter walked away. 

Another terrible crash happened recently in our area when a semi truck and trailer rear ended a can killing the 2 small children in their car seats. The parents walked away. The van looked like it had been a sedan after the crash. Not a can at all. 

I know this is a depressing post, but love your loved ones and hold them close. Only God knows the day He will call them home. Also, don’t let them do dumb things alone. My dad will be 86 next week and hasn’t been on any roofs lately that I know of, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t doing silly things. He lives alone and is rather cryptic sometimes in what he’s been up to.  So, love them, visit them and talk to them. That’s my advice for today!

Blessings of Friendship

I haven’t been writing lately. Life has done that thing where it simply gets in the way. Life does that sometimes and thank God it does. What a joy to behold when we become so enthralled with family and friends, that we suddenly realize it has been a long time since we wrote anything. It’s been a while since I checked my overflowing email. What a shame I have no guilt about not checking my email. 

After such a summer as I have had. I suppose I’m making up for lost time. I’m spending time with my husband, when he isn’t tired from working, my kids, when they aren’t with their friends out somewhere or with my wonderful friends. 

I have to say that these friendships are the ones I treasure more than anything. My friendships are golden, as these friendships have lasted the rest of time. I suppose I’m particular in letting people get too close to me. Some of my friendships have lasted nearly 40 years and others 30 years. 

My dearest friends, and they know who they are, I don’t think I could live without. Even though we may go without talking for sometime, we simply pick up where we left off. We finish each other’s sentences and thoughts. We really can look at something and know what the other person is thinking. There may be a look between us or we may burst into hysterical laughter, but it is an unspoken and heartfelt understanding. 

Just over the weekend I was so blessed to see a dear friend I hadn’t seen in 30 years. Our time was too fleeting together, but the bonds that tied our hearts of friendship together remain all these years later. What an amazing and special coffeetime we had this weekend. We talked about so many things and the time just passed to quickly. If only he lived closer with his family. Another treasure for my heart to hold onto until we meet again.

My sweet overgrown”little brother”, a dear friend since childhood and his lovely wife and son were visiting this weekend, too. As kids, we played together outside every day. We would ride our rocket from his front porch to Jupiter. We had our own air guitar band as a tribute to the Beatles. I always win at basketball but He kicked my butt at baseball. He is a writer and a darned good one. He is working on another book. His dad was a journalist and second dad to me growing up. How blessed I am. 

So, between baking, caring for family and animals, creating BBQ sauces, and preparing myself for my second child leaving the nest, I’ve spent quality time catching up with wonderful friends.who could ask for any greater blessing!

Many Blessings

It is so easy to look around and see what is wrong with our life but this week I choose to focus on my blessings. I’m surrounded by blessings. Sometimes the things that seem most unlike a blessing brings the greatest joy to our otherwise mundane life.

Sure, not everything in life is the way I would like it to be, but usually that seems to be God’s uncanny way of answering prayers or getting me to be more tolerant of how things will be. It’s sort of how my relationship is with God. He opens my eyes in His way and I obediently say, “oh, now I get it”! I’m rather thick headed at times and so stubborn.

Ah, but I digress. My blessings. I have a husband that loves me and cares for me. No, our marriage is not a perfect marriage, but we are always working on it. We have come a long way from the kids we were and from the newlyweds we were. 

Marriage is hard work, make no mistake. My mother always told me that. She said “you can never change a person… they must want to change.” I’ve changed so much over the years. I’ve grown up, not completely but in the important ways. It makes marriage better. I am blessed.

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My children are such a blessing to me. Children are God’s way of making your life both much more complicated when your children become teenagers, esoecially, and filling your heart full of a love you could never imagine having. It is a love that empowers you to do great and powerful things. 

Before I had children, I wouldn’t dare think of confronting others over feeling that I had been wronged but when and if someone messes with my child, my mama bear comes out and I will hunt you down and eat you alive after clawing your face. Its an instinct. 

Sound a bit harsh? You don’t have children. Talk to a mother who has a child that has been picked on unbidden. She will go to great lengths to protect and defend that child. I love my children with every fiber of my being. I may not like their views or choices at times, but I LOVE them and I will fight anyone that get a in the way of their happiness.

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I am so blessed by my dearest friends. I have a small circle of the very best friends a girl could ever have. All I had to say is, “I’m feeling so down and need some girl time”, and my best friend and I spent the day together. We didn’t do that much but we were together chatting like we always have for the last 29 years. My other best friend lives right near door and I just have to call her or knock on her door and she is always there for me too. Then there are my  old friends that I can call or text at a moment’s notice and they are simply there. 

Recently, one of my old friends that I hadn’t seen or heard from in many years found me after many years apart. What a glorious gift. Time vanishes and I return to feeling like that teenager again full of life and silliness once more. What a beautiful blessing I could never have imagined having been given. I cherish this gift tremendously.

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The gift of music. My house seems to always have music whether I want it or not. My third child plays piano so awesomely and by ear for the most part because sheet music is for sissies and requires one to read it. He doesn’t want to read it and we don’t have any up to date, cool music. He plays everyday, eberthing from video game music to popular music. Just don’t expect any Mozart! 

I sat at the piano last night and was reading some of my old sheet music because I actually can and do read it. I was classically trained but am so out of practice these days. I wasn’t so bad that I should never sit there again, but music is such a gift.

I love when my child plays and his sisters sing together, when everyone is home. They think I’m corny for mentioning this I’m sure, but it is such a blessing to me. I love when they sing “Hallelujah”. Granted, they’re stuck with me joining with them on that one. I only join in on the ones I know and half the time they don’t know because I’m not even out there with them. 

Having the gift of music is such a blessing. I know that I was given this gift but to see that all of my children were blessed by music as well in their own way has blessed me once again.

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This has been a FTSF post. This week was on blessings! Please visit www.findingninee.com for more posts. 

A Ripple in Time

Life is funny. I was 16 thirty summers ago. Such a carefree time of my life. I had my first job working as a waitress that summer.

I had always loved everyone I met. I was also the most trusting and naive 16 year old thinking that people were naturally good. The people that. I worked with sprayed me with a hose and dumped me in a fountain just for the hell of it because they were bigger and stronger than me. I also had one of these co-workers keep bugging me for a date regardless of me telling him no repeatedly. That got ugly and I complained to my manager who just sort of laughed it off. Needless to say, I didn’t stay there long.

I learned a lot though, all things being said. I learned to be stronger and how to deal with people very, very different from myself. I learned to be independent and to sort of manage money, well a little bit. I was really good at the spending part. 

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Twenty years ago I was a brand new mom. I was married and was so excited to show off my beautiful baby girl to the world, all nearly 9 pounds. I felt like I had everything I could ever dream of having. A great husband, adorable baby, a home, and I would be starting a new job as an RN. How lucky could a girl be? 

 The summer of 1996 was magical indeed! Nothing could take away that kind of magic. I just wanted to keep that magic going. All the firsts out baby would and was performing. The hours of motherhood were tough, but I was tougher. My world was completely turned upside down by my little sweet bundle! 

All the hopes and dreams that come along with becoming a mother for the first time fueled me. We try not to live our own unseen dreams through our children, but it’s hard not to sometimes. You see so many possibilities in this new life but they become their own individual over time.

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Ten years ago this summer, I married my best friend. Together, we can conquer so much. I told Hubs once that I needed him to be my knight in shining armour. He, very casually, agreed. He is my fearless knight. He took on marriage full steam ahead and never looked back. Not only did he take on marriage to me, but he took on being a stepdad to 3 kids. Brave soul!

We added to our newly formed family the following year with our little bundle of joy, our little 8 pound boy.  I talk about Hubs all the time, but truly we have learned through our own trials and tribulations that marriage is work, very hard work. It’s the work that brings us closer though. I know without a doubt that I could never be who I am now without the unending support of my number one fan, my husband. 

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This summer has had it’s own trials and tribulations. My health over the last few months has been nothing short of mind boggling for me. I’m now finally on the upswing! If I didn’t have my husband and my family, I would have been more depressed than ever. My good friends checked in on me and visited. My support has been outstanding. This is all because of the ripples left behind of things I’ve done, people I’ve met, places I’ve seen.

We all leave ripples in our lives. Wee touch the lives of everyone we meet. It can be good or bad, even indifferent. You never know how the ripple will evolve. 

I married that boyfriend from 30 years ago, but not until 10 years ago. The little baby that changed my life 20 years ago is all grown up and living her own life away from home. She has flown from my coop. Little ripples of life that change your destiny? Sometimes, perhaps. I just like to think of it as God’s plan for us. 

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This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Our host, Kristi, from findingninee.com came up with this week’s sentence about “ripples”.  Go check out the other great posts!

Kill ’em with Kindness

Have you ever felt awful because of what someone said very nonchalantly? I had that experience yesterday while getting my pedicure. It was a special treat given to me by my dearest friend, T. She picked me up and sped me off for some much needed girl time.

We seemed to wait forever soaking our tootsies in the lovely warm, bubbly water, waiting ever so patiently for someone to start our tropical pedicures. Finally, one of the girls came over, motioned for me to take my right foot out of the water. She took my polish off, did the same with the left foot. But while she did the left foot, quite nonchalantly, she stated, “you did your own polish.” I nodded and said yes. I’m not that frivolous as to spend $33 to have someone polish my toes all the time. It’s a treat! She further went on, “I know. I can tell. You got it all over your cuticles.”

It wasn’t necessarily what she said, but how she said it. It was demeaning. And she only stayed at my foot, yes foot, for a minute more before another client, her client I assume, came and sat down beside me. I was waiting again.

I could have complained about her attitude or her lack of attention for sure. T and I had been waiting there soaking our feet for ages by this time, but I said nothing. Eventually, another lady and a young man came and have the two of us the loveliest tropical pedicures.

What’s my point? Well, my point is simple. What good would have come from raising a fit? Perhaps her client had called for an appointment. We were walking and they were busy. The new lady was as sweet as pie. T and I walked out with beautiful toes and we each got white flowers painted on our big toes to boot! I even tried something I’ve never tried! I have baby blue nails! And they’re really cute! I love them!

Killing people with kindness always works much better than anything else, I find. Let’s all be kind to each other!

Pampering Time with Ms. T

I’m getting out of the house with my oldest best friend in the world. She is rescuing me and taking me for a pedicure. Time to relax and rejuvenate with T! Or T time as I like to call it!

I’ve been cooped up since my surgery with the exceptions of difficult things like, the ER trip yesterday with my son. That took everything out of me. I also had to manage ‘Book and Fee Day’ at the high school with my daughter which involves too much walking eliciting way too much pain. I’ve had to pick my brother up from the airport which was not too bad, but I was more than ready to see bed afterwards, and my follow up doctor’s appointment, which meant more walking. As you can see, I’m ready for a little TLC with my oldest bestie.

We have been friends, or sisters of choice since neither of us was blessed with a sister, since 1987, the summer we graduated high school. We met while working at the movie theater in our mall which is now only a mere memory. We both worked through 2 different cinema companies there and have many mutual friends thanks to those days long past now.

T and I just clicked right away. We just became inseparable from the word go. We have lived through boyfriends and breakups, friendships and marriages, now children. I have my 4 children and my youngest is 9. Her one and only sweet boy is nearly 3. He’s the cutest little redhead you could shake a stick at. He’s full of energy and I’m glad he goes home with her at night. It makes me glad my days of potty training and chasing toddlers are in the past! But he really is the sweetest little guy! Such a smart one too!

So now, I’m dressed and pain pill has been consumed. I’m ready to get my wee little piggies all dolled up! Not that I have any place to go, but I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to share some special time with my special friend, kid free and getting pampered, if for only a little while. We can finally catch up on everything in the world of us! There’s always do much to chat about too! I love my T time just about more than anything! There isn’t much I’d be willing to leave the house for right now, but this is worth its weight in gold! Thanks T, for being such a great friend.