Monday, August 31, 2015


She grew up away from the bustle of life in London at an estate called Althorp.

How refreshing it must have been for her to get away from the click of cameras and the paparazzi chasing her every move.   The drive to the estate surely put her at ease.

 On this date in history, she died.  I remember the day well.  It took my breath away.  I could not believe she was gone.  Her death shocked the world.  What a tragedy.  I watched the news coverage for days.  I bought every magazine and newspaper article printed, and I made sure I knew the time difference to  watch  full coverage of the funeral.
I watched as the hearse made its way to her final resting place.  The island in the middle of Oval Lake on Althorp property.  Right then I dreamed of one day visiting these peaceful grounds.  
So much has changed in the years since her death.  William got married to his love, they now have two adorable children, and one day, he will be king.  I am quite sure he finds the time to get away and row a small boat to the island.  There he can reflect and be alone at the grave of his beloved mother in peace.  Noone is allowed on the island.  Only family.
Not sure how long fans of Diana will be able to visit this sacred place.  I am so grateful I got the chance.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

On a stick

It's that time of year again.

The Great Minnesota Get Together.

The Minnesota State Fair commences today.

12 days of people watching and gorging on every kind of food you can imagine, all  served on a stick!

Deep fried candy bars
pronto pups
funnel cakes
cream puffs
fried green tomatoes
mini donuts
and everybody's favorite:  SWEET MARTHA'S COOKIES!

The list of food is endless.  I have talked to many who work out and save up calories so they can "spend" them on deep fried gluttony!

One stand that I always remember going to with my dad is the  "All you can drink" milk.  For .25, we would get some of those famous cookies, and then go to the milk stand and eat and drink until the cookies were gone.  I know for sure it's not .25 anymore!

Did you know that over the course of the state fair, 26,000 gallons of milk are consumed?
22,000 rolls of toilet paper gets used!

To get an overview of all the fun, here is the  state fair website.  Be sure to click on all the food booths.  Makes me full just looking at it!

Are you going?
What do you like to do at the fair?

Monday, August 24, 2015


Yesterday I saw someone wearing  a sweatshirt with LONDON England stitched on it.

I couldn't resist.  I had to ask her if she had been, and if so, what did she enjoy the most.

She lit up when I asked.  I get that.  Just the sheer mention of England brings a smile to my face and pure joy to my soul.

Tower of London seemed to put a spark in her eye the most.  Oh if those historical walls could speak.
It made me come home and look at my photos again.  I loved the mini trip back in time.  

This is the building where the crown jewels are kept.  And no, there was no touching OR trying them on!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

What's yours?

Yesterday I read something interesting.

The question was asked,  "What's your unfair advantage?"

The blog went on to comment about  the topic.  Many chimed in on their unfair advantage.

"Fast reader"
""Husband works from home"
"Eye for detail"  to name just a few.

The obvious next question:  What's mine?  So, I thought.  And thought some more.

A ha!  My teeth!  White teeth to be exact.  I have had many tell me that "your teeth are so white.  I want teeth like yours."
My unfair advantage?  Answer:    I work in a dental office.  Teeth are what we do!  I get to brush and floss numerous times a day, and I get my teeth cleaned every six months if not sooner.   I have access to the latest in teeth whitening, and the newest toothpastes.  If I need an xray taken of a tooth, all I have to do is ask!  Yep.  Definitely an unfair advantage.

Here's the site if you would like to read.

Monday, August 17, 2015

This book

CS Lewis is, by far, my very favorite author.  Admittedly, he is not an easy read.  His works are deep, and I would definitely not classify them as "light reading."  However, his works have  helped me during some of the darkest moments of  my life.

One such book is this one.  A Grief Observed.

I have read it many times.  The book is really a journal.  CS Lewis wrote it after his wife Joy died from cancer.  His words speak volumes of the tumultuous emotions that come with grief.

I found myself digging for the book this weekend.  I use it to process feelings of grief when I learn of someone's passing.   There are no words that will help in any way when someone we love dies.  Sometimes it is best to say nothing and let a book do the talking.

That is why I like to give this book.  Such wisdom lies between the pages.

"....Perhaps the bereaved ought to be isolated in special settlements like lepers."

"...whenever I meet a happily married pair I can feel them both thinking, "One or other of us must some day be as he is now..."

"...the act of living is different all through.  Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything..."

"...her voice is still vivid.  The remembered voice--that can turn me at any moment to a whimpering child...."

Grief is a part of life.  I think sometimes its there to remind us to live.  Really live.

I have no idea where I found this quote, but I wrote it in my bible so I would see it enough to keep it fresh in my mind...

"The wise remember the brevity of life.  Exercise may buy us a few more heartbeats.  Medicine may grant us a few more breaths.  But in the end, there is an end.  The best way to face life is to be honest about death."


Thursday, August 13, 2015


When I heard the news that a writer friend passed away this week, it got me to thinking.

Death does that.  Makes you think.

Someone asked my mother in law in the weeks before her death if she had any regrets.  She  replied without hesitation.  "I can honestly say that I have done everything that I have wanted to do, and said everything that I needed to say.  No regrets."

Can I say that?  Can you?  No regrets.  What are my dreams?  Goals?  What really matters?  

I'm learning from others...

Like these for instance.  Walk a country road as often as possible.  
                           Shop local farms
                            Embrace vintage!  
                            Find your tribe.  (Love this one!)
                             Surprise someone.  Make them a pie! 
                              Hang twinkle lights year round!
                             Use vinegar
                              Wear an apron!  (Do you have one?)
                             Go for a picnic
                                Count your blessings
Some dreams of mine...

Be published by the time I am 50.  3 more years to go!
Visit all 13 presidential libraries
Travel to England again
Take my kids to Hawaii-hubby too!  
Read 50 books a year
Build a little free library and place in my front yard

What are your dreams?  You don't have to tell me.  You just need to know them yourself.  



Monday, August 10, 2015

My writing friend

This weekend I learned of the passing of my writer friend.

Her name was Marion Stroud.

She lived in England.   We never met in person, but she was so good at emailing me with writing advice.

I am so thankful I had the wisdom to print them all.  They have always meant a lot to me, but now---well----they are priceless.

One said email quotes, "Well done getting your entry in-so good to set and reach a goal.  I wish you the very best for it..."

Another speaks of her visits to the doctor.  "...CT scan today and then on Friday seeing the oncologist when the results of the scan will be discussed (wobble wobble) and future treatment options (if needed).  Your continued prayers for a clear scan result and wisdom as to "where next" would be greatly appreciated....."  I love her honesty--"wobble wobble."

We spoke of meeting face to face in Bedford.  That's where she lived.  Lucky her.  Anna, the Duchess of Bedford started the whole British afternoon tea tradition there.  It would have been lovely.  I just know it.  

She left quite a legacy with her writings.  I can only hope to leave such a mark.

"Every day comes just once in a lifetime.  Today you are creating tomorrow's memories.  Invest in positive memories, for childhood memories mould the person of the future."--Marion Stroud

"One of the greatest gifts that we can give to anyone is to listen to them; not just to hear what they are saying, but to listen to them with love, aiming to understand the feelings that lie behind the words."--Marion Stroud.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

I still do

August 6, 1988.  The day we got hitched.
Compared to today's norm, our wedding day was pretty hick!

I found my dress at the nearest JCPenney, squished between  much more fancy gowns.  It was the first one I tried on.  Fitted in the middle with lace in the short sleeves, I knew I'd be walking down the aisle in that dress.   I spent $99.  I wonder if it still fits...

The day was a scorcher.  We married in a small town church without air conditioning!  The pastor gladly forfeited his vestment for much lighter  attire.  Many guests sweat buckets, but smiled their way through the receiving line granting their best wishes.  
We proceeded to perspire at dinner  in the  church basement.  On our wedding invites,  it is referred to as the church parlor.  Sounds so much better than the basement don't you think?  We dined on chicken salad- complete with the grapes mixed in, croissants, chips, pickles, and wedding cake that we made with my mother in law.   Truth told, she made the whole thing.  We maybe helped put a rose or two on top!  
The "church circle" ladies served the meal.  We paid all eight of them fifty bucks!

The flowers were fake, but not our love.

Lots has happened in these 27 years.  Some sad, but mostly good.
We have two great kids, jobs, health, our home, laughs...but best of all--each other.
What a gift to walk through life with my best friend.

August 6, 1988 was not just any day.  It was the day we said "I do"-forever.

I hope we are defining by example what legacy and love looks like to our children.
Yes, that hot day in August,  27 years ago today,  is still a day worth celebrating.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Summer reading

"always good for a squeal"
"turns away like a baby refusing its spoon of stewed carrot"
on holiday
Waldorf Astoria
Trapp family lodge
Discover New England
double decker red bus

The greatest joy in reading is going places you have never been.  
 I am calling this book research!   I first saw this advertised in one of my tea magazines.  I made the trip to the nearest Barnes and Noble and  found it right away.  (last one on the shelf!  Whew!  When you want a book, its hard to wait if it needs to be ordered. )  This book has opened my eyes to more ideas for a book that I am in process writing.  The book is underlined, circled, and starred so that I can refer back whenever I need a light bulb moment.  Its a book about tea, and mother/daughter relationships, and cupcakes!  Oh the details about the sweets in this book.  Wait until you meet Gracie and the red decker bus!
I wanted the adventure to last, but it was so good, I read it easily in two evenings.
If you are looking for a bit of England, tea, and that complicated relationship between a mother and her daughter, this just might be what you are looking for!

I hope the summer is finding you reading!