Tuesday, July 3, 2018


A few days ago, I received word we were granted access to The Kilns on our upcoming holiday.
 The Kilns is where CS Lewis lived for most of his adult life.

I can't explain how difficult this was to achieve. I'm over the moon excited.

This is a photo of me at the front door on a previous trip. Imagine both my elation and deflation as I was right there...front door! And then told I didn't have access to go any further. SIGH. I was so disappointed. I was able to peek inside, which only fed my hunger for more! A future trip was already being planned while turning away from that 'oh so close' dream.

After many years, I'm going back. This time with full access to the place! Oxford, here I come! 

Because I'm spending my free time finishing up my itinerary and getting ready for this glorious trip, I've decided to take a hiatus from my blog until August 27. 

Rest assured I will have plenty to write about in the months to come! Lucky you!

Be blessed and I hope you all are having a lovely summer.


Thursday, June 28, 2018


I'm off to my happy place in about a month.

What better time to think more about what I'm eating and which exercise I should be doing.

I've started a program called Visibly Fit in 84 days. Nope. It's not a diet. It's a completely different way to "Keep an open mind to necessary endings and new beginnings to become the best version of myself."

"Think of eating as a privilege-the cleaner I eat the better my mind, body and spirit will operate."

I'm on day 12. From time to time, I'll update you on my progress.

Monday, June 25, 2018


This past week, I've spent lots of time with my writing "peeps."

My friend Stacy held her book launch for her 4th novel, Open Circle.
If you'd like to take a peek at the trailer for her book, look up Stacy Monson on the web!

Over the weekend, I traveled many miles to a writing retreat where I reconnected with friends from Dallas, Texas and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I love when I can gather with like minded people who get me and my need to write. It's such a gift.

Most of these writer friends know my fascination (okay, maybe obsession) with England.
I walked into the retreat wearing one of my favorite shirts. It simply states...

England is my Happy Place. 

The group shouted out, "That's such a Gail shirt!" I was pleased! See...they know me!

I've been struggling with social media and how I am going to deal with it while on holiday across the pond. Do I leave my phone at home and only take my Lumix camera?
Stay off Facebook completely while away?  To me, the dilemma was real! That is, until my friends gave me a piece of their minds!

You see, I so badly want to just stay in the moment. I want to look for the swans and watch them glide across the Thames. Really watch. I want to be like that elderly woman I saw on someone's post the other day. She was standing among all those folks taking selfies and snapping pictures on their phones. They were completely missing the joy of the moment.

I don't want that. I don't want to miss a thing.

Enter those writer friends...

Two gasped as soon as I remotely suggested I might not post! Eeeek...

"You can't do that to us!"

They shouted at me! Really. They did!

"We've listened to you talk about going to England for how long, and you are not going to "bring us along?"  "Why would you do such a thing?"

I sighed and stated, "I don't want to brag. It seems like all I would be doing is bragging!"

They laughed. Yep. Laughed.

"You brag? Anyone who knows you knows that's not even remotely like you!"
"You must post. We are going to be so mad at you if you don't!" "In fact, you should facebook live when you get to Downton Abbey!"

I have not a clue how to do that, but I'm going to try and figure it out.

I have my answer.

I'll be posting!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Must sees

Our itinerary is just about set, with Windsor being among the must-sees of places and things to do while in the United Kingdom.

Found this video of the castle. The excitement is mounting.


Also, the Royal Ascot takes place this week.
I was just watching a video clip of last year's festivities. The commentators waited with bated breath to see which color the Queen would be outfitted in as she rode by carriage into the arena. She does have the fashion sense down. Last year it was a jade color. I'm voting for yellow this year.

The royal fascination continues.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Making Memories

My daughter is in Iceland. ICELAND. I'm over the moon excited for her.

She is there with her college roommie and having the time of her life.

Whale watching, hiking, tracking down puffins...it's almost surreal as I look at her photos.

There is a whole world out there, people. Amazing, wonderful places to visit. All you have to do is believe you can get on a plane and then land somewhere you've never been. Whether it's Iceland, Spain, England or Israel. 

Start dreaming it and don't stop until your feet hit the ground on a land you never dreamed you could possibly go.

What are you waiting for?   

Monday, June 11, 2018

Counting the days

The countdown has begun.

48 days to my happy place.
I wonder how many photos I will take on this holiday? Hmmmm...

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Huge Fan

From glasses to purses, earrings and planners, I'm a huge fan of Kate Spade.

How devastated I was to hear the news her life has ended so tragically.

I'm still processing. I think we all are. And we should. How could someone who seemed to have had it all, been so unhappy?  We just can't know what is going on inside someone.
Once upon a time I was visiting a Kate Spade store and found this post card. I had to have it. It screamed 'Dare to dream.' I brought it home and soon framed it. It sits on my desk right where I can see it everyday.

If only Kate knew just how much her creative genius made so many of us smile. I love my planner. It's so colorful.
And my earrings...
A gift from my daughter at her wedding rehearsal dinner.

I'm sorry Kate Spade felt she had no way out. I'm sorry for those she left behind.

Mental illness is raw and ugly and real. It makes no difference whether rich or poor, young or old. I pray some good will come out of this tremendous loss. My prayers are with her family.

Monday, June 4, 2018


My nephew graduated from high school and thus, we celebrated his milestone this weekend.

Graduations stimulate much pondering. Its about the 'what-ifs.'

I've read the question What are you passionate about? much in recent weeks due to this season of one chapter ending, and another beginning. 

So, what am I passionate about?
It's a loaded question.

I've finally named my Mini. After several months of pondering, meet Diana!
I love my car. It's not that I'm passionate about a car.  They rust and break down and definitely don't last forever.
Maybe its the years I've dreamed about having one. I'm not sure. But, as Dr Seuss would say...
Oh the places you'll go.

I believe now more than ever you must dream big dreams. And then, go after them. Because no one is going to do it for you.  
For reasons all my own, I love England. I was with a lot of family this weekend and it was the first time most had seen my Mini.
I found it satisfying when they said, "Of course you bought a Mini. It is so you." None were surprised when I told them I was soon off to my happy place. My family associates me with England.

I'm researching exactly what to do while there with great anticipation.
Oxford is on the list.

Specifically, Blackwells.
It's a famous bookstore in Oxford that's older than old.
Miles and miles of bookshelves are waiting for me to peruse.

Mostly though, its about a dream. A big one. And maybe I will never achieve it, but it's my dream. My passion. To have a book on a shelf with my name on it. And to say it out loud somehow gives it possibility.
I just don't want to get to the end of my life and say... I should have gone after that dream. What if I had?

I never thought I would get to England once, let alone three times. It seemed too far fetched to even consider such an outlandish dream.

I'm having the time of my life pondering all that is in store this holiday. It's right around the corner.

What if I didn't go after the dream of traveling to England? I shutter the thought! 

Passions. What are yours?

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Round Two

I had my ear surgery on Tuesday.
As far as I can tell, the surgery was a success because my ear is feeling so much better.

I'm still quite groggy from the effects of the general anesthesia, but am sleeping it off. Amazing how much sleep is needed to just get back to normal.

So, I'm off again to rest.

Monday, May 21, 2018

This weekend

I could link photos and articles about a certain HUGE wedding that happened this past weekend. But, decided you have already seen them all unless you are living under a rock!! 

Gotta love a royal wedding.

I think I loved the cellist (harp too!) probably the most out of everything at the wedding. We had instrumentalists at our daughter's wedding and it was lovely.

I'm excited to visit Windsor on our upcoming trip across the pond. It will have even deeper meaning as we tour the village.

Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018


When was the last time you received a handwritten note?

Better yet, when was the last time you wrote one?
"It's a dying art."

"In contrast to a phone call, a handwritten note doesn't arrive demanding to be read when you've just sat down to dinner; it courteously lets you know who sent it even before you open it;"

"...the act of writing them enables you to choose better words..."

Isn't that last line so true? I think so.

I'm doing good with writing a letter a day in this year of my jubilee.

Doing this is so inspirational for me.

Recently, I was on the receiving end of such a letter. Handwritten. And just the right words speaking to me as I wait for my ear surgery.

By the way, it's next Tuesday...my surgery.
But wow, I adore this note. On these days when I am waiting for my ear surgery, it has been a salve to my soul. It feels like medicine. And maybe, just maybe, if I read it enough times, the pain in my ear might just go away...if only for a little while.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Count down begins

Lifetime Channel aired Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance last evening.

Yep. I watched.

And all those shows starting tonight on PBS? Can't wait to watch. 

I'm a devote anglophile.

So excited to view the wedding on Saturday. Doubt I'll even go to sleep! I wonder what thoughts are going through Meghan's mind right now. She's getting married to a prince, in a castle, in England.

Crazy fun fairy tale come true.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


Tomorrow morning I was supposed to be getting nauseated due to having an IV put in my arm. I had myself all mentally prepped.

Tomorrow I was to have my ear surgery.

But now it's cancelled due to the dictating of my insurance company stating it won't be covered.

My ear still hurts and I'm tired.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Wedding Watch

PBS has a great show about the makings of a Royal Wedding. A week of shows, that is. Just in time for the big event.

I thought you'd want to know! 


I'll be watching them all. I know you're not surprised.

Thursday, May 3, 2018


Yippee! NOT.
Surgery for me is imminent.

My ear is not cooperating and therefore, I must have another surgery.
I get nauseous just thinking about it.

No one loves surgery, but I think I'm the biggest chicken of them all.


And this time, intubation is needed. A tube down my throat. Yay. I can't wait.

The surgery is soon.
I'll let you know.


Monday, April 30, 2018


By now, I'm sure you've heard the name of the new prince.

Just in case...

Prince Louis Arthur Charles.

He will be known as His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge.

The pronunciation of his first name is Lou-ee, not Lou-iss.

It's growing on me.


Thursday, April 26, 2018


So much snow this winter has delayed my workout on the steps of Stillwater, MN.

Tonight I finally started my weekly routine. 

The steps were getting pretty rough, so over the past six months, they got a face lift.
They look pretty nice, but trust me...they still kick my butt climbing up and down all those steps. NOT EASY!

The view from the top.

There's still snow on the ground and greenery to be grown, but nonetheless, I made it through my first workout of the season!

No workout is complete without a chai from Chilkoot Cafe. It makes finishing my routine that much more sweeter when I know I can stop in and finish my night with the best tea ever. 

My work is done!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Big News

It's a boy!

The Duchess of Cambridge has safely delivered a boy!

Waiting on the name...

Thursday, April 19, 2018

No repeat

I'm really hoping my souvenir bear doesn't find its long lost twin due to a repeat surgery. UGH!

My ear is BEARing (no pun intended!) its symptoms once again. I see my ENT next week. Here's hoping another surgery is not in my future. I'd like it to be anything but that.

I get on a plane in a few months. I'd rather not be in pain! SIGH.

I'll let you know! 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Finding a new author

Found a new author!
I'm intrigued  because her book, Becoming Mrs Lewis, releases in October.

Guess who Mrs Lewis is?

Yep...Joy Davidman. Otherwise known as CS Lewis' wife. Need I say more?


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Highly recommend

Have you watched a movie that you just can't get out of your head?

I'm still processing, Only The Brave.


Based on the true life events of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots, it's an epic movie about lost causes (you will know what I mean when you watch it) and huge loss.

I'm still pondering the lessons of this show. 

If you see one movie this year, let it be this one.

Also, look up Brendan McDonough.

I want to see this movie again!

With the weather coming our way AGAIN, its a definite possibility.

Snow, and lots of it, is forecast for our area.

It's getting really old! 

Monday, April 9, 2018


This past weekend, Once Upon A Prince premiered on the Hallmark Channel.

The movie is based upon the book written by my writer friend, Rachel Hauck.

I grabbed my bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream and hunkered under my blanket. The fire was crackling in the fireplace. It was a relaxing and lovely way to spend a few hours viewing a dream come true for a writer friend.

A sort of prelude of what's to come on May 19!

The movie was cute, but admittedly, the book was better. Isn't that usually the case with any movie?
A book takes at least a year to complete with edits and final okays.
There just simply isn't enough time to fit every detail of the book into a two hour movie.

Regardless, her book is a movie! Success indeed. A dream for any writer. I'm so very thrilled for Rachel. She must be beyond ecstatic. I wonder how many times she has watched it?!

I would watch it over and over. The best part would be seeing my name flash across the screen.

I can't even imagine.
Congratulations, Rachel. Such an honor.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

White Space

See all this white space on the page?

It pretty much mimics what it looks like outside my window. Spring is hiding.

It's snowing AGAIN as I write tonight. Its been a crazy long winter and it just won't let go! 

Snow is forecast for the weekend. Oh joy! I shouldn't complain. It's more time to stay inside and read!

Monday, April 2, 2018


In case you didn't know, there's another royal wedding in the works!

I would love to be there in the midst of all the hustle and bustle that most certainly is going on in Windsor and at the Palace. May 19 will soon be here.

About those bouquets...
Did you know there is a tradition concerning royal brides that dates back to the 1840s?

Queen Victoria planted a myrtle shrub in her garden after she married Prince Albert. Myrtle is referred to as the 'herb of love.' 

The Queen most certainly loved her Prince Albert.

Ever since, royal brides have plucked a sprig of myrtle from that same shrub and placed in their own bouquets.

Gives great meaning to the old adage...something borrowed, something blue, something old, something new!   
Something old, to be sure. What a thought to be part of a tradition where few brides have such an honor. We're talking Queen Victoria here!

I'm confident Meghan will follow tradition as well.

The excitement is getting palpable. What will the dress look like? The bouquet? The cake?

All I know for sure...I will be buying every magazine and book detailing the main event!


Thursday, March 29, 2018

So worth it to go see

Just returned from the movie, I Can Only Imagine. 

Dennis Quaid plays the dad. I think this might be his best performance ever.

Never heard of the movie?

Look it up!
There are lots of trailers online about the movie. Better yet...just go see it!

Bring a tissue.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Reading material

When I heard a new book was coming out about Prince Harry, I grabbed my 20% coupon and darted off to Barnes and Noble.

I'm getting to know Meghan through the pages of this non fiction story.

In case you're wondering, these two are truly in love. It's a real life fairy tale.  The American gets her prince. Its a lovely story with a Happily Ever After.  The two managed to dodge the press for at least six months of their courtship. Yes, he's a prince. And yes, we want to know all the details and get a glimpse of the two whenever we can.

I'm so guilty. If I saw the two of them in public, I know for sure I would run to them and take a picture. Ugh. That just sounds so juvenile, but alas, so true. I love the royal family.

Those who are in the public eye most definitely pay a price. Their privacy is taken from them whenever they step out.  Judgement is eminent with their every move. Wearing no make up, the wrong pair of jeans or a poor choice of outerwear...its all up for scrutiny.

For that, I am more than thankful I'm just a citizen living a great life and no one's looking.

"To whom much is given, much is expected."   These two have been given much. It's a heavy burden to be part of the royal family. So much pressure. But, they seem to handling it well.

Can't wait for the Royal Wedding. May 19 can't come soon enough. I'll be the one up early glued to my telly.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

28 years ago

28 years ago at 10:39 a.m., a baby entered the world. A baby girl. 

Kayla Gail
She is perfect (mostly-wink wink!) and she is ours.
It was a rough delivery. Most are. Especially when there's no time for helpful meds! I'll spare you the details, but wow, Kayla came fast and furious.

I wouldn't let her out of my sight. We bonded!

When Great Aunt Alice saw Kayla for the first time, I remember her saying, "She's the most beautiful baby anyone has ever seen."

I just smiled and Alice kept on..."No really, she's the most beautiful baby anyone has ever seen. Most babies are ugly, but not her. She's the most beautiful baby anyone has ever seen!"

Tell me how you really feel, Aunt Alice!!  Bless her soul!

Baby toes are so cute! 

Every little girl needs a dolly.
Chillin' with Gpa. One of my treasured photos of my dad. He's Kayla's angel now. I know he's watching over her.
  Kayla has her father's demeanor. She's always happy.
The two are so much alike. Full of adventure.

Kayla is 28 today. I've been looking back at her photo albums. What a stubborn and extremely strong willed child she was. I have to say her personality has served her well.

She is a delight to our family. Now 28 and married with a life of her own, it's a joy to be around her and watch her as an adult.

Mother and daughter. The two of us couldn't be more opposite.

The more people around her, the more Kayla thrives. NOT ME! I definitely get my energy being by myself.

Tea for me. Beer and wine for her.

Beach holiday for her. England surrounded by gardens and books for me.

Numbers girl =Kayla.

I had to put this song in here. It's totally Kayla and definitely not me! My kids absolutely HATE driving with me! I'm THAT slow! 

Do you remember this song? Can you drive 55? 

Happiest of birthdays, baby girl. I love you forever.


Monday, March 19, 2018


Meet Michelle, my writer friend.
To know her is to love her.
She's pretty wonderful.

We've gotten to know one another over the past few years and found we have some things in common. We both love to write, both of us are blessed with very supportive husbands, and we both have survived the valleys of mother issues. (That's all I have to say about that!)

Not long ago, Michelle gifted me with her latest published work.
She is living my dream.
Michelle writes on the inside cover...

".....and to all the other hopeful novelists out there yearning to be published. Keep writing-your day will come." 

She's the best.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Favorite Son In Law

March is a busy birthday month for our family.

All three of my kids have birthdays.

Yep. Three kids. Two boys and one girl.

Meet David. My son in law. He's on the left. The goof on the right is my hubby!
This photo was taken in Panama City. Pretty sure this cinched the deal. If David could handle us on holiday, he can deal with us anywhere!

David is an excellent golfer. Yes, I know. He's mini golfing in this photo!  But, I'm telling you, he can golf with the best of them. Pretty sure he'd give Tiger Woods a run for his money! Family members run scared when they go up against David in a round of golf. Yes. He's that good.

When David joined our family, so did Finley. She's David's niece. Don't you just want to squeeze her little cheeks? She's so stinkin' cute!
A Christmas stocking with his name on it sealed the deal. Means he's officially one of us! 

I love many things about my son in law, but one that is really important to me is how he treats his grandmothers. It's quite obvious how much he loves them. To me, this is a huge character trait. Genuine love for those older than him. It's a joy to watch. Such a special bond.

Of course, I love how he loves my daughter. Unconditionally. He truly completes her. We are the blessed ones to have him as part of our family.

March 13, David turned a year older. So did his sister, Katie! Nope. Not twins. Katie is three years older than he. I'm thinking Katie probably didn't appreciate having to spend her three year old birthday at the hospital because her new baby brother just stole her day! Forever!  I think it's kind of special to share your day with a sibling. Not many get to say that. David is good to his sister. Another thing I love about him!

We love you. Happy birthday dear son.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Air date

Remember my writer friend, Rachel?
The one whose book is being made into a Hallmark movie?
Once Upon a Prince.

Well, we have an air date.
Saturday, April 7.

Check out the preview.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

1/4 of a century

March 9, 1993 my sweet boy arrived.

He's not so little anymore. He's a quarter of a century tomorrow. Half my age.

Oh what a ride its been thus far.

This is one of my favorite photos of the two of us. He had just walked me down the aisle for my  daughter's wedding.

I could go on and on about Mark. He is simply a kind human being. We just love him so much.
The kid knows how to enjoy life. (Sometimes maybe a little too much??!)

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy.
You are certainly one in a million.
I will love you forever. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Nine Years Ago

Once a long while ago, a girl  happened upon a quaint little village in England...
Every corner she turned took her very breath away. Spires pierced the skies, English roses climbed archways...it all was so enchanting.

As if it couldn't get any better, a red Mini Cooper with a British flag a top its roof appeared from nowhere.  Giddy doesn't begin to describe that moment. The girl  knew right then that someday she would own one. She didn't know when, but it would happen.

Throughout that trip, the girl subconsciously took photos of Coopers. She hadn't realized just how many until recently.
This one's her favorite! The trip may have come to an end, but she kept the dream alive and one day, the Happily Ever After happened!

That very girl who traveled to that quaint village was me. My dream of nine long years  has just come true.

I am now the very captivated, overjoyed, charmed, enchanted and jubilant owner of a Mini Cooper!

Jubilant. My year of jubilee continues!

It took me awhile to decide which color and other fine details, but it now sits in my garage as I write!

I'm trying to find the right name for her.

Serendipity? Hmmmm...Diana? Not quite sure yet.

She's smiling though, don't you think?
I love my flags! Does this surprise you?! After much contemplation, I decided against the red. Too flashy for me. I like to live under the radar!

I'm still a bit in awe of the whole thing.  Just this morning as I walked into the garage, I was taken back. Still hard to believe I own a Mini Cooper! It's all a bit overwhelming.
And to think it all started as I dreamed a little dream in a quaint little village across the pond nine years ago.

Any dreams you're working on?
They do come true you know.