Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Here in America we celebrate Thanksgiving today.

It is a great day to reflect on all that we have, instead of what we don't have.

As the turkey begins to cook, I am thankful for so many blessings.

Too numerous to list, may I just use this post as a reminder that not just today,  but everyday... let us be grateful.  
Breathing life is a gift.  Let us not waste one minute.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Being real

The friendship started in of all places...a dental office.

He got my attention with that accent.  Gets me every time...that English one.
We spoke throughout the appointment and by the end,  John had invited my husband and I to his home for tea with his wife Yvonne!
Little did he know I would take him up on that and soon the date was set!  I do wonder about that conversation when John got home.

 "Hey honey.  Met this woman at the dental office.  She seemed nice so I invited her and her husband for tea.  You don't mind do you?!"

Much has happened since that grand afternoon of tea and scones.  Mostly magical stuff like dinners at their home, a trip to the UK...(I know...I am still dreaming about that enchanted place.)   A  trip to Cancun (right about now would be nice again.  It is rather COLD here!  I am remembering tea by the sea!)
We have gone to the Diana exhibit at the Mall of America...Althorp trumped MOA by far!
The Science Museum and Exhibits to get a taste of what we were about to see in Mexico.

And there was that one time we almost burnt the neighborhood down...shhhhhh...that's our secret!

There are countless memories that are safe in my mind.
As I sit here, I still can't believe it.
We  have done so many wonderful things with these dear friends.  I am thankful.  But, mostly I am grateful for "being real" with them.
No time for games or drama.  Just real.
I've learned a lot from them.  It's not hard.  Both are geniuses.  Really.  They are.  Trust
But, it is not even"the smart" that impresses me.
They question me and ask why and expect an answer.  They are not afraid to tell me when I need to stop worrying and live.
They have that down good.  Living.  

They have reason to complain these days...yet they don't.  I've complained a lot.  Just ask my husband.
They make me better.  Isn't that what a friend should do?  Make us accountable.  And that is exactly them.  Real.  They do real.

I am still in awe over a gift I received just days ago.

An English Garden Quilt.

The time that Yvonne put into  this quilt humbles  me.  She  did it for me.   Me.  I do not know why we continue to receive the priceless blessings of such a friendship.   I am forever appreciative.  My children love them and I have to quote my son.  "We know why you are friends with them, but why are they friends with you?!"  Utter honesty.  Gotta love him!   All I know is REAL is a beautiful thing.  And we have it.  I am never letting go.

How about you have a REAL friendship?  It is a gift.  Don't ever take it for granted.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Where have I been?!

Just this week, I came across this you tube video. 
I have played it over and over.  It is that good. 

Both my kids have said, "Mom, where have you been?  This is One Republic...."

What can I say...I am thinking I need to get my nose out of my books a little more often!

Enjoy this thought provoking video.  Yep.  It is THAT GOOD! 

Monday, November 17, 2014


My friend Chris just let us know that her mom is nearing the end of her earthly life.

"Pray for mom's peaceful passing.  She's ready."

When grief arrives for someone that I know, I like to give the book written by CS Lewis.  A Grief Observed.   This wise author from England knew grief...losing his mother at a tender, young age.  He saw death in the war.  He married Joy Davidman later in life, only to lose her about 3 years after he married her.

He writes..."No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.  I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed.  There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me.  I find it hard to take in what anyone says."
CS Lewis died in 1963.  The same day President JFKennedy was assassinated.  He left a legacy of literature for future generations to imagine and dream.   I know that his book on grief has helped, and will continue to bring comfort to all those who are in the midst of this life's greatest emotion.  GRIEF.

Have you read it?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Letters to Juliet

Don't you just love a movie that takes you to somewhere you have traveled?
Makes you sit up and take in the scene a little closer doesn't it?

Recently, I viewed the movie Letters to Juliet.  Filmed in Italy, it brought me back to our trip there earlier this year. 
In the movie, there is a scene where the characters are walking in the piazza del campo.  I leaped from the couch and excitedly yelled out loud, "I've been there.  I sat right there on the ground!"  No one was home but me.   I didn't care!  Yay for happy memories in Sienna!  

I am forever grateful I had the opportunity to visit that enchanting place, and ever so thankful I took the time to write every day in my journal about our experiences. 

Here is the trailer for Letters to Juliet.

Towards the end of the movie, a letter is read out loud. 
It goes something like this...
and If?
are two different words, but put them together...What if?  and you have two words that have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life. 

I found that profound. 

Do you have a favorite movie?  What is it?

Monday, November 10, 2014


I happened to be out one day with a friend and she brought me to this great store I had never been in before.
I was sucked in pretty quick to the corner of the store where journals were displayed.  Didn't take me long to find one I couldn't live without.
Then there were the cards and tea and chocolate...
We were just about to check out when I saw it.
 "What is that?" I asked excitedly.  

 The cashier replied, "Gift wrap."
I couldn't resist.  I bought a sheet of this gift wrap and it now hangs in my writing den.
I took a few other pictures of things that inspire me in my room.
Found this at IKEA.  Nothing screams England like the red telephone booths.  Notice my collection of Beatrix Potter tales.  One day I will be back in England visiting Hilltop.

My picture frame filled with pictures of Althorp, my London book, Big Ben
picture and my teapot.  Tea is an every day habit for me.

What inspires you?


Thursday, November 6, 2014

6 letter word

The word might as well be a 4 lettered dirty word.


I am confident most of us know someone who is dealing with it right now, or... a loved one has been taken from us because of it.

My mother in law never was sick.  Something was not right.  I went with her to the doctor and soon we were checking her in for tests.  It took awhile for all of us to figure out that we weren't on just any floor.  Nope.  We were on the oncology level.
We had 3 more weeks with her.  3 incredible, amazing weeks to somehow try to say goodbye to this wise woman who we all adored with all our hearts.
Even in the end, she thought of others.  Our son was the only grandchild she did not get to see graduate from high school.
She wrote him some words of wisdom in her own hand and put some cash inside the envelope.    She laughed as she said, "my account will probably be closed by then.  Not a good idea to write a check!"  She then made me promise not to give it to him until the day he graduated.  That would be almost a year later.   I still remember that day.    That letter is worth more to him than anything he could ever buy.
My kids were devastated by her loss.  We all were.  Still are.  There is a void.  She lived with absolutely no regrets.  We are grateful for her legacy.
I keep a gratitude journal.  I highly recommend it.  An account of all that there is in daily life to be grateful for.  This week my fingers are getting a workout!  I am filling the pages of my journal with thankfulness.  

Our dears friends, John and Yvonne, have spent most of this year dealing with the trials that come with a cancer diagnosis.  They are handling it with much grace and positive attitudes.  We are so incredibly blessed these two are in our lives.  We are better people because of them.  This week they received wonderful news.  The treatment is working.  Their doctor has told them to resume normal living.  This includes travel.  The planning has commenced!  We are rejoicing.

Then...some other dear friends.  Tom and Barb.  Barb has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her surgery was on the 4th of this week.  Imagine the surgeon as he begins to cut and finds NO TUMOR!  It was there just  days before,  and now it is gone.   There is no other explanation but to know that God intervened on her behalf.  It is simply a miracle.  I had to go and visit her last night and touch a miracle!  Such unspeakable joy.  We are again, rejoicing.

At work this week I heard of another cancer miracle.  A young girl...late teens...was diagnosed with 3 stage ovarian cancer.  So very rare and yet, it happened to her.  And now, 6 years later she is cancer free.  The stories are everywhere.  3 times in this one week I have heard good news.  Great news.

Gratitude.  Its a beautiful thing.


Monday, November 3, 2014