Please, No Socks or Underwear For Me

Our family has participated in a “Secret Santa” gift exchange for the last several years. (This year, I believe there are 17 family members involved.) Each person gets one name and buys a gift (spending up to $25) for that person.

What makes it so fun and special is that no one is going to give, or get, something that is…necessary. All gifts will be tokens of thoughtfulness. I think there are 4 main rules that we follow to amplify enjoyment. Continue reading

Dad’s Benediction

There is so much to be thankful for…that is what this holiday is all about. It is also a time to remember and honor memories.

My dad has a favorite blessing that he recites at family gatherings. (I have googled it and found no references.)

Let us bow our heads in prayer.

Lord God, gracious and merciful,

We acknoledge thy bountiful goodness towards us and give you thanks for our daily bread…

so richly provided by thee.

And we ask you to continue to bless us

with the benedictions of thy fatherly hands.

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,


Continue reading

Evolution of Breakfast

“Eat breakfast like a king,

lunch like a prince,

dinner like a pauper.”

This was the saying many years ago when I was struggling with my weight. I would eat a big breakfast and feel sluggish and drowsy for much of the morning. Was it the quality of the food? Was it the content of carbs versus protein? Was it the sugar, fat, salt…?

I’m not sure. Probably yes, yes, and…yes…

When I taught, I often skipped breakfast and had a snack around 9:30 with the students in my class. Although I sent home a letter with a dozen suggestions for “healthy” treats, the most common items were brownies, rice crispy treats, granola bars, cheese cheese-flavored crackers…it makes me tired just writing this. Continue reading

No White Walls

In college, my rooms were boxes with white walls enhanced with my personal belongings.

When Tom and I married, we lived in several apartments…all decorated with the same Hunter Green and tan items. The walls were always white from Eau Claire, WI to Memphis, TN, to Oak Park, IL.

We bought our first home in Sun Prairie, WI. Besides my garden outside, the first thing I did inside was PAINT. I painted mottled soft tan stripes in the master bedroom and deep raspberry walls sponge-painted with ivory in the guest room. I was just getting started. When we moved to my first house in Beaver Dam, I was ready. The home had sat unsold for several months before the previous owners decided to install new ivory carpeting on the main floor and paint every room with a fresh coat of clean white paint. When I moved in, my fingers itched to make it mine.  Continue reading

Rising Before Dawn

I always walk the dogs early in the morning. My favorite time is right at sunrise–whatever time that is.

Right now, it’s the beginning of November and I’m usually walking in the dark. 

When Daylight Savings Time (DST) ends this weekend, I will get a little bit more of that beautiful morning light again for a while. You see, in 2023, DST was from March 12-November 5. It’s lighter, later. Now we go to Standard Time…lighter, earlier. Continue reading

Oops, I Did It Again

It was the summer before Kindergarten. I was swimming in the kiddie pool at my neighbor Donna’s house. We were running around her backyard, and as I neared the wet grass by the pool, I slipped and fell. 

I can still feel the burning pain. Her mom picked me up and dunked me in the cool water repeatedly. Then she carried me home on the path that cut across the field that connected our houses on opposite sides of the block. 

I begged Mom and Dad not to take me to the hospital. 

The next morning, I remember Mom coming into my room to know what I wanted to wear. Since this wasn’t the way things went in the summer, I asked what was up and was informed that we were going to the hospital. You see, I couldn’t move out of bed, much less walk.

I wasn’t given crutches for weeks. I think I finally got them just in time to start school. Continue reading

You Go First

Growing up, our house was across the street from the Grand View Motel. We lived on the street behind and our home faced the 10 or so windows of the long, low building. Once a week, the owner would mow the grass and sometimes have his young son, Johnny, with him in the cab of the riding lawn tractor.

Mom asked me if I wanted to take Johnny to the “Welcome to Kindergarten” day. ( It was held on a day late in the spring semester when neighborhood Kinders would “sponsor” a child who would be entering kindergarten the following year.) “No way,” was the only explanation I gave when she asked me if I was interested in taking Johnny. But there was a reason that I didn’t want to be his special friend… Continue reading

Changing Lanes

I’m not sure why my son Kadon got his first car soon after he got his driver’s license…but he did. It was an almost 20-year-old, hand-me-down, 2002 Supercharge Pontiac Bonneville from his cousin Jessica. She got it from her brother Brad and his mom Michelle bought it from some mechanic for $3000 (a good deal I guess). It was named Jemall–it means “handsome” in Arabic (in case you were wondering, which I’m pretty sure you weren’t).

But anyway, to operate Jemall, you needed a screwdriver to stop the windshield cleaning system from spraying and wiping your windows if you dared to brush the button. When it rained, water puddled on the floor of the backseat. Pins held up the headliner. Ice and fog regularly formed on the inside of the windows. You had to manually lock all the doors because the automatic locks clicked, but nothing happened. And only the driver’s window went up and down. Whew, I think that’s it. Continue reading

Meeting Mr. Right

I had just bought a house and moved back to my hometown in July of 1998. By January 1999, I was separated from my ex-husband, living alone, having fun remodeling my old house, and excited about being single. 

Mom called me after work on Friday and told me that her friend Bonnie was looking for someone to go out to eat with that night–and mom wasn’t available. She told me to give Bonnie a call.

I did. Continue reading

Night Night

I’ve prided myself in consciously becoming a morning person. I’ve developed and practiced a routine to help me be successful at getting up early and starting my day positively.

Night Night

My Bed: Evie at the foot, Aubrey on the left, me hogging the duvet in the middle, and the 9 1/2 inches on the right is left for Craig.

One strategy to set yourself up for success is to begin the night before.

We all know a good parent needs to put predictable patterns into their child’s evening routine. There is dinner, bath, tooth brushing, stories, maybe a night-night song, and lights off.

Well, it’s the same with us grown-ups. Why do so many people fall asleep on the couch watching TV or lay in bed watching TikTok on their phone? I would be a mess if I did either of these activities! Continue reading