Tag Archive | daughter

Cozy Introspection

Today is the last day of my 3 week vacation. I’ve never splurged with this much time off at once before but with vacation time that I would lose if I didn’t use it, well I HAD to use it. And I’m glad I did. The first week was busy prepping for Christmas. The second week was slow and casual with time visiting with friends and family with whom I seldom get to enjoy in an unhurried and quality way. And this week has been preparing to move my daughter to her apartment for her co-op semester and me setting intentions for my 2013 year ahead. I’ve been busy in a lovely way and I don’t regret one minute of taking the time off.

Today, as I wrap up my time off, I’ve had the pleasure of sleeping in, enjoying an at-home massage, and some day dreaming of the year ahead. I have much to be thankful for and more to look forward to. Here’s a few:

> I start a new job (same Company) on Feb 1.

Wedding-Ring-Ceremony1> My son will be getting married in July to a lovely girl and that will be a wonderful celebration.

happy-birthday> This will be the big year of birthdays in my family – Grandma turns 90, Mom turns 65 (yes, I am adopted lol) , I turn 50, my sister and her husband turn 40, my other sister and her husband turn 30, my son turns 25, and my cousin turns 20. We will have a wonderful celebration for all those milestones.

> My 50th birthday will bring an opportunity for me to give back with plans for my “Great Giving Day of 2013” where I will perform 50 acts of kindness on my birthday 8-13-13.
forbesprettiest-towns-05-g> And during my daughter’s final co-oping semester I will meet up with one of my dear friends for some rest and relaxation in Cape May, NJ. I have such a love for Victorian era homes and decor and this little town has long been calling my name to come for a visit.

I’m sure God has other delightful surprises in store as well. As I sit by my cozy fire with my cup of tea and sweet dogs by my side, I can say with great appreciation that life is good. Vacation was wonderful and I have much to be thankful for.

Count your blessings too, and be blessed.

Excuses, excuses

Today I have to laugh at my daughter. She’s a really smart girl with lots of ambition and well on her way to a successful career. Well, that’s how I describe her on most days. Today she went to complete some paperwork for her new job and then headed to school for her projects. She’s been gone several hours and I was sure she was making great progress in her busy day.

Then she showed up back at home with her little girl voice on telling me all the reasons she “couldn’t do stuff.” I was laughing out loud at her laundry list of procrastination. She was cold, her friend didn’t show up, the lights wouldn’t come on, she forgot her ruler, her favorite coffee house coffee tasted bad, etc, etc, etc. In the end she sat in a dark, cold classroom watching TV on her laptop. What a funny girl having a silly day. Now, her only desire is a hot cup of  coffee and a warm blanket to get her back into a better way before going out with her boyfriend. Since she graciously brought me a cup of hot chocolate, I guess I’ll cut her some slack.

We all have days like that don’t we? Things don’t go as we expect or want. The desire to simply sit and stew in it all seems like the thing to do to avoid another bit of disappointment. We all have excuses and leaning on them for a day here and there won’t end the world or severely disadvantage us. But if they become the norm we’re in trouble. If we always have our eyes on the problems and not on the goals, we really won’t get where we dream to go.

Tomorrow is another day.Hang in there Maria!  Keep dreaming, keep doing … and be blessed!



I had an interesting conversation with my daughter this weekend. We were talking about times in my life when I could “feel” that I was exactly where I was destined to be. I know we are always on the exact right path but there are moments that with intense clarity I have been aware of “arriving” at a destination. It hasn’t happened a lot but it is such a cool moment of realization when it does. She’s not experienced this yet but then again, it didn’t happen for me until my 30’s either. Here’s a few examples:

> The first time I recognized it was an evening a couple of days after I moved back to Cincinnati and was in our new house. I felt drawn in the middle of the night to go downstairs. I lay fully awake but totally at rest on the couch. The moonlight was streaming in the window. I looked around the room and something shifted in my consciousness. With complete confidence I knew that this was the house I was meant to raise my children in. The other homes were lovely, and right in the moment, but this was the “destination.” I felt so much comfort in that moment.

>Then there was the time I found the antique buffet for my dining room. It seems kind of silly or strange that I got that strong sensation about a possession of furniture. But I knew the moment I saw it that it was the piece I had been looking for over the last 5 years. It “spoke” to me and I knew it was coming home with me, even though I had to wait about a month to get it. Everything that didn’t fit in my much bigger china cabinet just settled into place in this piece. It almost felt like I had owned it before. It looked and felt familiar to me in a strange and deep way. If you don’t believe in past lives that’s not possible. If you do …. well maybe I did.

> And I felt it when I saw my dog Gracie. I had thought about a dog for a little while but then it was if there was a calling on me that was urging me to look for a dog that month. I had decided on a couple of breeds. And then, out of the blue, and very much out of the ordinary, there was an ad on the bulletin board at work for a pure breed Bichon Frise. That was my #1 pick in breeds.  Those are expensive dogs and you almost always have to get one from a breeder but I was not prepared to spend top dollar if I could adopt a dog that was going to lose its home. There she was – for just a couple hundred dollars, including cage, bed, toys, food, carrier and all the other stuff a dog could need. I prayed on my way over that if this was the right dog that it would come over to me. Well I got there and saw her as I pulled up. I heard the bells go off. And as I went into the living room to talk to the owner and sat down Gracie jumped into my lap and didn’t move until it was time to leave. Yep – she was my dog and she went home with me that day. I still see it in her eyes when I look at her.

I know some folks will say, oh yeah, that kind of thing happens all the time. And instincts and intuition do happen often for me. But that slow motion clarity of “knowing” and of “arriving” isn’t all that frequent. Well, at least not for me, even in my heightened intuitive states.

What about you – do you have great intuition? Do you follow it? Do you have any “slow motion moments of intense clarity?” I’d love to hear your stories.

Be blessed!

Bonding in girl land

Today was a really good day in “girl land” at my house.  My son is engaged to a very sweet girl named Becca. They’ve been together for 5 years now and are making plans for a summer 2013 wedding. My daughter is a bridal consultant for a local store here in Cincinnati. And today was bridal gown shopping day. For me it was a double blessing to be shopping with my soon to be daughter-in-law and doing so with the help of my daughter, the expert.

We had so much fun! Amidst a flurry of satin, taffeta, sparkles and flowers, there were giggles as we went through the process. And a few extra laughs as we witnessed the process for other brides. Part of the fun for me was seeing my daughter in her element and with so much confidence and poise as she helped with the selection. But the best part was watching Becca go from nervous and shy at first, to confident and sure of her choice in the end. Her face lit up a bit brighter when she knew she had found “the one.” Of course, there were just few tears on my end looking at her knowing how gorgeous she felt and how lovely she’ll be on their special day. Yes, it was a wonderful bonding moment in “girl land.”

I wish you happy bonding moments with your loved ones. Be blessed!

Ballooning Around

Do you have a bucket list? I do. I’ve had it for about 12 years or so and long before the movie came out. I remember hearing an inspirational speaker talk about how people come to the end of their lives and regret the things they didn’t do more than they ever regret the things they actually did. He encouraged everyone to create a list of 100 things they wanted to do before they die. But don’t just create it – actually start doing them, with a goal of 1 or 2 things a year. He went on to encourage variety – yes, most of us will have places we want to see, but we should sprinkle in things we want to do or accomplish. And if you finish the list, keep adding to it.

He was effective in his talk and I was inspired to create my list. Although I have to admit it’s hard to come up with 100 things. I’ve never actually hit that number but I have over 50. Mine range from travel to learning sign language to painting  a picture and sewing a quilt and lots in between. I figure as long as there are things not yet done, the list is still alive. As I’ve been whittling away at the list I also add the date of when I actually did it. It’s fun to pull it out and remember and dream up some more.
My first item to check off was riding in a hot air balloon. It’s something I had always wanted to do and by golly I was gonna start there. I did that adventure for my 40th birthday. My 14-year-old daughter was the only one in the family with the desire to go up with me. So we got up early in the morning to meet the pilot. We got to see them raise the balloon, an unexpectedly fun thing to see in and of itself. We got into the balloon’s basket with the pilot and rose to the sky with the roar of the fire that fuels the balloon. My husband (now ex) and my son drove around following the balloon’s path so they could pick us up at the end point, wherever that would be.

While we were in the air it was a fun and surreal experience. The pilot was a friendly woman who would talk a little but mostly left us to our own conversations. I was in heaven during that trip. What I found astonishing was the sensation of floating but also how quiet it was when she didn’t have to fan the flame. While we were very far up we could see so far – it was a lovely August morning and the view was spectacular. And when we were right above something we could hear clearly directly below. At one point there were a few kids playing by a pool below us. We could hear them holler up to us and wave. So we hollered and waved back much to the delight of those kids.

As we were nearing the time when we should land, out pilot commented that we’d actually get a little bonus time because the balloon’s path had drifted over one of the state penitentiaries. We all enthusiastically and laughingly declared that we were decidedly NOT going to take it down in the middle of the guarded break area as the prison entertainment of the day. So we’d just drift along further down the way, thank you very much, and land elsewhere.

But that was not the last of the adventure. As we were nearing the alternative landing site that she chose, the pilot was bringing us down at a nice gradual pace. Suddenly as we approached about 10 to 15 feet from the ground she saw wires – telephone wires right in our path. With that she yelled an urgent “hang on” and dropped the basket like a lead balloon right in that spot. We landed with a thud and the basket rolled over on its side. We were thankfully close to the ground and no-one got hurt but I remember the sudden spill and our ungraceful roll out of the basket. We all jumped up, unharmed and thankful that she had turned her head at just the right angle to see the wires appear against the background. Disaster averted and our blood pumping a little faster we were clamoring to tell our story over birthday breakfast. What an exhilarating experience to cross off the bucket list. One that I will always treasure and frankly, long to repeat.

What’s on your bucket list? If you don’t have one, I highly recommend it! Daydream your list into life and be blessed!

My Fashionista

Well, it’s official. As of around 2:00 this morning, I no longer have any children in my household. My youngest, Maria turns 21 today. I have such mixed feelings about this. As I tell her, you may not be “a baby” but you’ll always be “my baby”. This never sits well with her but it makes me giggle none the less.

I’m sure she’ll demand I remove this post as soon as she sees these pictures, but, alas it is in the parent’s handbook that we get to embarrass brag on our children as we see fit. I intend to do so.  Grab a cup of coffee  Girlie-goo and chillax about it!

Here’s to you Maria – you’ll always be my little princess. I love you and could not be more proud.  Happy Birthday!

Wonderin' and Ponderin'

Little Flower Girl

Aloha to grade school

Beauty of the Ball

Sr. Year

Off to College

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The People in the Window

When I was a little girl I was always known to be a daydreamer.  It was my escape from the world and reality that I would rather not be living in.  One of my frequent daydreams has actually remained with me through the years.  It’s a classic one we all know. I’m the girl out on the street or in the car or bus.  The weather outside is raging and it’s either raining or snowing.  You know – the kind of weather that makes you feel cold to the bone no matter what the season is.

And then you see them.  Smiling people sitting in the little diner enjoying the warmth of the cozy atmosphere.  Or maybe they are home and their loved ones are gathered around for a meal or party.  You see them laughing and sense that you can almost hear them as well.  They might be looking over their shopping treasures, playing a game, or just sitting with heads close together sharing a secret or reminiscing.  In those moments it always seems dark outside and so warm and welcoming as you look in their window bathed in light.  If you try hard enough you can nearly smell the coffee or hear the crackle of a fireplace that is central to the scene.  You can pick out the details of their appearance – the warm scarf around the neck or the twinkle of their earrings as they nod their head in conversation.  I cherish those daydreamy scenes because they evoke a sense of sentimental nostalgia.  They plant the seed of desire for the cozy company of friends and family close in proximity to the starkness outside but light years away from the ache of loneliness or the shiver of  the cold.

So that brings me to today.  I was pleasantly surprised by a chance opportunity to have lunch with my college aged daughter.  We don’t often get to steal away those moments to pause and catch up.  As we were sitting in the little local coffee shop that is our favorite, it got really dark and started to pour down rain outside.  It was not the gentle sprinkles of late spring but the hard driving rain of a quick storm.  We were sitting at the tall cafe table in the alcove surrounded by the 3 big picture windows. As I looked up to glance out at the rain I saw the cars slowing at the stop light.  There she was – a girl passing by in a car just looking back at me.  In that moment it struck me as only daydreams that come true really can – we were the people in the window!

It gave me pause and I took a mental snapshot of that moment.  I was in a cute, cozy little restaurant with my favorite girl.  We were laughing and chatting and enjoying both the atmosphere and each other’s company.  We had things to share and giggle about as we enjoyed the sweet taste of the flavor-spiked coffee and hot chocolate that we so enjoy there.

I know I will cherish this day for a long time.  In our spontaneous, brief moment over lunch we got to be the daydream.  We got to be the people in the window.  I feel blessed!

Be blessed too!


I recently sent my foreign exchange student back home after being with me and my daughter for a full school year. The experience was something I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school day dreaming about jetting off around the world on adventures. So this past year I decided to take advantage of my daughter’s final year of high school and make this happen.

Our student was a lovely girl from Norway. From the very beginning she seemed to fit our family well – she liked similar shows and activities as my daughter. She wanted to dabble in American sports and she signed up for several sports throughout the year. She worked hard in the beginning to get a handle on the US school system, and a Catholic private school at that (nope, she wasn’t Catholic, and she wasn’t religious in any form). Things got off to a great start.

We hit some snags but that’s to be expected along the way. I’m not sure if it was cultural or just the personality of our student but she didn’t bond with us in the tight way I had heard other students do with their families. At times I felt like she was simply on a 10 month vacation and sometimes I felt we were in her way because of our conservative beliefs and behaviors. We’re not monks of course but we certainly couldn’t compete with the California lifestyle I later found out she wished to have on her exchange.

At the end of the day I have no regrets. I’m glad to have done it. I’m glad to have provided this experience for my daughter and for our exchange student. But I’m also left wondering. I ponder whether the lack of bonding meant little to no influence in the life of this girl. She was polite and genial (well, for the most part). But I can’t put a finger on whether or not my dream to have her here had much impact on her at all. I wonder if our faith and what she learned about our culture has changed her heart or her behaviors in any way. I wonder whether she went home wiping her brow, glad to have gotten through it. I wonder if I will ever see her again. 10 months is a long time to give emotionally, financially, and spiritually. I feel a connection to her as a mom in a way that I’m pretty sure she doesn’t reciprocate. So I wonder and ponder and muse at the level of influence we had on her. I wish for her all the dreams of her young life. I hope that she remembers us and her time here fondly. I hope that a glimpse into our life plants a seed of faith for another day. I wish her love and happiness. And I miss her.