Revolution of Kindness – My Week 2

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My week this week seemed both long and short, all at the same time.  It was long due to not feeling well, thanks to Mr. Pancreatic Cyst which will soon be a thing of my past, as well as computer training class for work.   I love messing around with technology for the most part.  Okay, the fact of the matter is really that I used to love computers and all things technology, but that was a time when I had more patience than I seem to have these days.  It’s not that I didn’t enjoy my computer class, I enjoyed the people in my computer class and the trainers very much.  They made it bearable.  My problem was simply that I am no longer as quick at learning new things.  I used to pick up technology so quickly.  Now, trying to just get my eyes to re-accommodate from the computer screen in front of me to the one projected at the front of class is tough.

Lucky for me, the trainers were there to help every step of the way.  Each time I said, “where is that?” or “I can’t see how you got there”, there was a trainer by my side.  I even told the one trainer, Kim, that she should simply pull up a chair because I was going to need a lot of her expertise and she looked uncomfortable squatting down next to me.  What kindness she showed, and all the trainers, for that matter.  Their kindness to help those of us, me in particular, to “get it” with the 2 computer systems we use on a daily basis.  I could spend some time just getting tutored I think!  I’m a special kind of student these days!

Showing kindness is something we don’t always see.  When looking for kindness, I also saw unkindness, but tried to sort of unsee it.  One place I saw kindness was in my daughter this week.  I have seen this before in my kids but I have to point this out because it happened this particular week.  My second daughter, Bear, the one who graduated high school today, was very kind to me and to our family this week by doing that which she loves to do already.  She cooked dinner for us a few times which was, as usual, delicious.  As a surprise, one night, she also made us brownies.  She has always been thoughtful.  Last Sunday, she had a baking day so she could bake some goodies for her teachers.  She made mention that she is, by nature, a caregiver.  She is absolutely that, a nurturer. She gave me unbidden hugs, just because.  She made this a much better week.

Now we begin week three. We are asked to begin another journey in our Kindness Revolution.  Check out what’s happening on Niki’s awesome blog!  It’s truly a wonderful journey for me so far.  This week is going to be very challenging.  I can be very kind, but also very selfish.  I can be loud and sometimes, I don’t see things as I should.  I’m human.  I will always be human, but I am trying so hard to be a better human.  Come join us in our Revolution of Kindness.  It’s truly inspiring!


And She Sings

wp-1463862322895.jpgWhat a beautiful day for a Senior Honors Voice Recital.  My daughter, AKA Bear, and 2 of her friends, had their Senior Honors Voice Recital this afternoon and it was so lovely.  The stage was set simply with baby grand and one simply stated floral arrangement to the side, better to focus on the vocalist you know.  My daughter went first and sang like the angel she is.  Well, most of the time.  N and S went after Bear then repeat the sequence.


What great joy to see them all, but to hear the angelic voice of my daughter while I sat serenely, for a change, in the second row was such a joy.  Today’s word prompt just happens to be sing.  How appropriate for our family.  I can’t tell you how much music means to our family.  It is the beating of the heart of our home.  It is what we go to when we are sad as well as happy.  Music is the glue that binds us.

I’m attempting to attach videos today for the very first time which I guarantee are terrible quality, but hopefully you can hear the voice of my daughter.  I do hope you enjoy even half as much as we did.


My Baby, the Artist

This is my Katie.  She is my artist.  This is her Bob Ross drawing/painting that she did.  Yes, she drew him.  She’s 14.

Often we hear parents say how awesome their kids are and they are incredible kids.  They each have their own unique talents.  Well, this post is a post specifically dedicated to my youngest daughter, my baby girl.  She is a true artist.  She is not an athlete.  She is not, by any stretch of the imagination, great at math, but when it comes to using her mind for creativity, well, she excels like no one else I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. She doesn’t think like the rest of us.  She is special.  She is extraordinary.  The kicker is, she’s only 14.

Another piece done by Katie Hylin, my daughter!

I wanted to share some of her artwork with you today.  Now I will tell you that she not only excels in art, she also can listen to music and within a day or maybe two, she will be playing the piece.  She had a couple of years of piano lessons that I insisted on and when her teacher moved out-of-state, she informed me that she was done with lessons.  Please understand this young lady is most definitely a free spirit.  She doesn’t see the world like the rest of us.  She sees the world from a completely different view.  It’s really very refreshing when you actually try to see things her way.


She is very relaxed about most things.  She dress not to be fashionable, but to please herself.  She wears short overalls with tights and a tank top and makes it work.  I don’t think I could ever make that work, even in my youth.  She is always sticking up for the less fortunate and for the underdogs.  She is soft-spoken most of the time, but she can be wild and crazy.  Her favorite music to play on the piano? Well, it isn’t Mozart or Tchaikovsky, that would be me.   She prefers video game music, movie soundtrack music and other random stuff you wouldn’t be familiar with.  I know some of it drives me crazy, but deep down I’m so proud of her.


So here is a shout out to my baby girl.  She will be finished with her freshman year as of tomorrow.  My husband and I are praying to God for some good grades, but she probably isn’t as concerned as we are.  It’s just not in her nature.  This world has been cruel to people like her.  She has anxiety and suffers occasionally from panic attacks.  They were really bad after my mom died, but lately they’ve been much, much better.  Her artwork keeps her grounded which is what she needs more than anything else.  I hope you enjoy it half as much as we do.  We think she’s pretty extraordinary.

Katie and her makeup as the Cheshire Cat! Yes, she did this herself.
Another drawing.  She posts some of her work on Instagram.  You can follow at

My Hope for Our Future

It’s graduation time again.  This year, I have another daughter graduating from high school.  She is very bright and studious.  She exemplifies a student in her attitude.  As my dad would say, she is a worker.  I’m very proud of her.  I should be.  I’m proud of all my kids.  They are naturally good kids and so far, none of them have given us any trouble.  I hope that trend continues.  This one, however, has been mature beyond her years her entire life.


When Clare was 2, she was very small and dainty.  I remember very vividly a day when she and I were home together.  Her older sister was at pre-school and Clare was playing quietly with her green, Mardi Gras beads.  She held them up to the window sill and said very clearly, “Mom, my necklace is approximately this long.” I was bewildered that she should say such a big word and use it correctly.  I might point out that she had just turned 2.  Most of the children her age were speaking in very short sentences but her sentences were very complex.  I stared at my child, asked her to repeat herself just in case I hadn’t heard correctly.  I had.  The look on her face was one of incredulity.  It was as if she couldn’t believe I didn’t know what that word meant.  This is my child.  This is my overachiever.

In kindergarten, she would come home from school every day and sit down immediately, without having to be told, and do her “homework”.  I have NEVER had to tell her to do her homework.  She always has done it and she has always done well.  She has also always done extra credit when it was given.  As I say, she is a worker.  I wish all 4 of my kids would do their homework so easily.  My oldest has to study on her own now that she is away at school but she had to be coaxed some when she was younger.  My younger 2 have always been terrible about doing homework.  It amazes me that they all came from me!


These are my children.  These are our future.  They are my hope but they also have their own hopes and dreams which will lead them to their own desires and destinies.  Clare will start her pre-med studies this fall at university away from home.  Her older sister is in nursing.  My younger 2 will do other things unrelated to medicine, I’m certain.  They each have their own paths to follow and things to accomplish along the way.

20141206_204318.jpgMy oldest daughter, Emma, is an extraordinary vocalist.  She started her college career, as many do, not sure what she wanted to be, but began in music education.  She loves music, but was scared to death to think that all the hard work and hours put in would leave her without a job at the end of her college years.  She has now switched to the field of nursing and loves it.  She is compassionate and empathetic and will be an invaluable nurse.

In high school, she not only succeeded but excelled in music.  She achieved the female solo for the All-District performances her sophomore and senior years and went to All-State Honors Choir both her junior and senior years.  She got her silver cross, an accomplishment which is not easy to achieve in music which culminates with a beautiful solo recital at the end.  She was succeeding in college as well, but wasn’t happy.  One needs to be happy to have hope  and to be our hope for the future.

Clare has excelled in the classroom and in music as well.  She has a very high GPA, she is in the National Honor Society and French National Honor Society, but musically, she didn’t go for her silver cross.  She opted to go the route of senior recital instead.  For once, she chose the option of less stress.  She made All-State Choir her Senior year. She has no notions of majoring in music.  She will major in pre-med and something else which is still undecided.


As I say, our children are our hope for the future.  There is no denying that.  We’ve all heard people say that, or sing it.  It’s how our world continues.  My hope is that I’ve done a good job rearing them.  I pray often that my children will be independent, intelligent and strong.  I want them to always make the best decisions they can but to think about things before they do make a decision.  I want them to make their future bright, as my oldest 2 are now adults, in the eyes of the law.  To me, they will always be my baby girls.  I still have 2 more that I can make a difference in and I hope that they listen sometimes.  I hope they will be like their older sisters and succeed in life.


Ah, the Hot Flashes

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Gotta love Maxine

A hot flash and I’m awake.  God save us all.  Well, those of us women who are going through menopause and those who have survived it understand this phenomenon.  For those of you who have this lovely path to look forward to, well, you will survive too, but it sucks.  Yes, those are very harsh words, my dear friends, but they are true.

I will tell you that there are lovely things out there that can help.  Medications, hormone therapy and the like, but me being me, well, I just have one medication that helps, usually.  It’s an antidepressant and it’s magnificent.  I started taking it after having my hysterectomy several years ago.  It helps with so many things.  I’m not crying all the time like I did immediately post operatively.  I usually can sleep, but not lately.  I usually don’t get these blasted hot flashes, except for lately.  Well, maybe it was great and just isn’t as wonderful as it once was.  I don’t cry anymore though and my mood is much improved.  There, reason enough.

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Tonight however, I’m not sleeping and I am having an annoying hot flash.  Lord have mercy, you can be absolutely frozen one minute and the very next one feel as though you’re on fire from your head to your toes.  It’s the only thing I just don’t understand.  I guess it’s just another reason we are the stronger of the two sexes.

Can you imagine men having to go through all the things we as women have to put up with?  And we start so young! First, we start our periods when we are mere babies, only to have to put up with that every 4 weeks, if we’re lucky and are regular, for decades just so we can have babies.

Can you really imagine a man having periods with the pain, the cramps, the headaches, the bleeding, the moodiness, the tampons!  It’s bad enough having to train men to go to the store and buy the pads and the tampons and  get it correct.  In my house we have myself and then there are my three daughters ages 19, 18 and 14.  Imagine my poor husband having to keep everyone happy in the feminine product line!  He’s really good and knows everyone’s preferences. Can you imagine though, if it was him that did the bleeding every month instead? I’m telling you, he’s a very strong man, but when he stubs a toe or hits his arm even remotely solidly on something, the “Ow” can be heard very clearly throughout this house.  Pain is not something he’s accustomed to. I suppose you could say, he just doesn’t do pain well.  He’d be writhing and in a ball for days if he had to have a period every month.

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One of my favorite sayings

Then there is me.  I’m the one that my girls say, “oh, you’re so lucky you don’t bleed anymore, mom.” Ha! If they only knew.  I had my share for enough years.  My time every month was wrought with such pain and there was no ibuprofen over the counter so I had to suck it up.  I didn’t stay home from school.  And there were plenty of times I bled through my clothes.  As if I’m so lucky? It got so bad at the end and I don’t miss that old saggy bag, AKA my uterus.  It served me well.  I have 4 beautiful children.  I am too old to have anymore now anyway.  I’ll wait, hopefully a very long time for grandchildren.  Then I can spoil them rotten!

Ah, hot flash averted once again.  Now, it’s back to my usual freezing self.  Poor hubs can’t understand why his normally freezing wife is suddenly hot and sweaty for mere moments of time.  It has to be difficult for the male of the species to understand us.  We are so complicated and awesome in all that we are.  And he  has to deal with me.  I’m not only complicated and awesome, I’m creative and anxious about life in general, but getting less so on the latter.  Talk about getting in a little deep.  He did that to himself, but says he wouldn’t change a thing. He’s a smart one, I’ll give him that.  Smart about giving me the right answers.dbbee6a4b1ad96765de6eed426fe372e

I can’t imagine being anyone other than who I am.  I am woman.  Hear me roar.  Well, sometimes I might just meow a little, but most days I will roar.  We women are very strong.  We’ve been created that way.  It takes a great deal of strength to go through life and have to deal with all the things we do every single day whether it’s being a mom, having a career or doing both, like me.  Every day is an adventure that we are blessed to have.

Of course we are strong because who else could handle having periods or going through menopause while just living life and getting on with things. Who else could have babies? The pain of carrying a child, never mind the labor and delivery. Certainly not men.  They’re too busy doing the manly things that they do.  Don’t ask me what exactly that is.  I really don’t understand them most of the time.  There are those men who try to keep up and do a good job, but as women, we need to be proud of who we are and go get them.  If you are a woman, you are a tigress!  Roar loud and be proud!

Proud Mama Moment


There are times for all parents when their children so something that makes them say, “That’s my child! I did that!”  I had one of those last night.  I didn’t get to take any pictures though.  My daughter, Clare, was inducted into the National Honor Society.  I couldn’t be more proud of her.  She has always been so focused and bright.  Out of my 4 kids, she has always been the one that I never had to ask, or plead with in some cases, to do her homework.  She just does what she has to do.  There was a time, in Kindergarten, when her grandparents had come back from Florida after spending half the year there, and Clare informed us that she had to do her homework first before she could even say hello.  That’s just her, the worker.

She is very blessed to go to a college prep, parochial high school where she has received an excellent education with other kids just as bright as she is.  Unlike her though, some of the others don’t have to put forth the effort like she does.  That is where Clare is different.  I have tried so many times to explain that she has something so special within her because she isn’t afraid of the hard work and effort it takes to succeed.  Unfortunately, she just doesn’t get it.  She continues to say she’s “sub-par”.  Last night proves that she is far from  being “sub-par”.  She is superior.  She has gotten into all the universities that she applied to and now it’s up to her to decide where to go and which one is the best fit for her.  She will begin studying pre-med in the fall.

Her focus and diligence is incredible.  She puts her mind to something and makes it happen.  She decided that food is love and that she enjoyed cooking.  Last week for her French project, she made raspberry and chocolate macaroons as well as Coq au vin. Sure wish I was in her French class.  Both recipes were delicious.  That’s a benefit of being her mom.  She makes perfect crepes without a special crepe pan, the best chicken Parmesan sandwiches and so many delicious dishes that I couldn’t even to name them here.  She cooks from her heart and you can feel the love she has in every dish. How I’ll miss that next year.


The NHS ceremony was more than just a ceremony for the inductees.  It was held in the beautiful motherhouse chapel adjacent to the school.  I looked around to see all the parents and some grandparents there.  I hadn’t asked my dad or my brother to come.  I knew that they would be busy with dad’s eye meds at that time.  I also knew that Clare would be leaving directly after the ceremony for musical practice.  As I looked around during the Mass, however, I kept thinking about my mom.  I know how proud of Clare she would be.  I felt that she was there watching over her and as if she was sitting next to me.  Tears, unbidden, began streaming down my cheeks.  The more I tried not to thing about it, the more tears followed.  Oh how I miss my mom, especially on days like that. Clare and Mom had a very special relationship.  That’s not to say that mom didn’t love my other children just as much, but Clare and Mom were a lot alike in many ways.  Clare would  walk down to mom’s and help her with her hair in the evenings from time to time.  That was their time to chat and gossip and catch up on the ways of the world.  They just understood each other so well.  Life is never going to be the same when you lose someone you love with such intensity.  We learn to go on and re-establish the relationships we have just a little differently because that one dynamic that was so dear is no longer present in the physical state.  I know mom was with us last night, at least looking down on us from above and probably singing in heaven, “that’s my granddaughter.  She is beautiful, isn’t she?”