Thursday, December 28, 2017


Transformation: a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.

I can't say I've had a dramatic change in my appearance in 2017. Although, I did try to keep in shape for my daughter's wedding!

I have learned much about redoing and reshaping. Focusing on one word does that. Transformation. 

Mostly, I've finally accepted the fact that I can't change others. Only me. I could spend another year concentrating on transformation. It's a loaded word. As I look back on my journal, there has been change.

C.S. Lewis once said..."isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different."

Keeping a journal helps me see there has been progress. Great progress.

April 1 ...It's a beautiful spring day. Beautiful. A new month. A transformation time. I'm still learning things are not at all perfect, and I can't control any of it. But, alas there is good. My short story releases April 4. I can't quite wrap my brain around that. It's a crazy thing. I love to write, and yet I'm still pretty scared to do it..

I'm still scared. Weird, but I am.
I've been spending some time looking back so I know how best to move forward. I'm turning 50 soon. Knowing another birthday is just around the bend makes me look at where I've been and where I want to be.   I've got some pretty crazy goals for the next 3, 10, 20 and 30 years. Its been a great lesson in dreaming.

"I don't know where I'm going, but I sure know where I've been...and I've made up my mind. I ain't wasting no more time."
                                         -Whitesnake. (The 80s were the best!)

I'll never get it right. Life doesn't work that way. I'm grateful for being able to look in the rear view mirror and say I'm better off this year because I took the time to focus on my one word. Transformation.

What's my word for 2018?
WONDER: A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar or inexplicable.

2018. Here we go.

Thursday, December 21, 2017


May we all stay in a constant state of wonder as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Happy Christmas. 

Monday, December 18, 2017



                       "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

This morning in my devotions I found his quote. Such wise words from the English author.

It's such a busy time of year. The hustle and bustle to buy gifts, attend parties, finish writing greetings to friends and family,  bake those cookies, rush to's all good things. I'm telling myself to be fully engaged in all that I do today, and every day.  Don't just rush through my day. Savor it.

It's about time. 'Time is money' or so they say. As I kept reading, TIME IS LIFE leaped from the page. 

I get to choose how I spend my 24 hours each day. And so do you. I want to spend it well.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


What are you reading these days?

I have book club this evening. I can't wait to enter into discussion about Alongside.

Here's what I'm learning...

It's a great read about helping others in their trials. A sort-of 'how to' guide in saying and doing the right things when others are hurting and need our help.

It's not about you is emphasized over and over throughout the pages. Yep. You need to be like a little elf and help when you can without getting in their way, or worse yet, making it about you.

Newsflash...It's definitely not the time to be talking about your ills and those foot in mouth statements about "my aunt got cancer and she died." UGH. SIGH.  Don't say that.

We like to say things like, "Let me know what I can do."  Nothing like giving the person one more thing to do when they don't have the energy or the time to do that one more thing.  Be courageous. Think about their need and do it for them. Know what they need. 

And I love this line...
"It's not your journey. It's theirs."

I'm so much looking forward to others' perspectives tonight.


Monday, December 11, 2017

Unexpected Wonder

Last night I was privileged once again to spend time with my writer friends.
We enjoyed a Christmas gathering. 

We ate and laughed and played a game.
Each of us brought a wrapped book. One by one we rolled the dice anticipating a double so we could steal a wanted book from each other.  Much laughter ensued. I knew it would be a fun night.

One thing I didn't expect...
A tea towel stitched with Elizabeth and Mr Darcy! My friend Julie made it for me.
She MADE it. I love receiving a gift that is handmade. I realize the time involved in making such a gift and moreover, I am astounded Julie took the time out of her busy life to make it for me.

I love it. Thank you so much, Julie. What a treasure your friendship means to me.

Thursday, December 7, 2017


I have a lot of emotion regarding the influx of sexual harassment making the news.

Harassment in general. 

I will just keep it at this. NO means NO.

Enough said.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The theater

Admittedly, I am not a great photographer!
I need to take a class on how to operate my new camera. Night shots in particular! 
Friday night we went to the theater! Now Playing...A Christmas Carol. That's what it says on the marquee! 
The set. The show is about to begin!
It's a tradition. I take my family every year to see this classic tale of transformation. 
What can Scrooge do at the end that he can't do at the beginning?

Realize he has the gift of a second chance. Scrooge embraces the joy of giving. 

Greed robs you. Especially at Christmastime. 

The Guthrie Theater does a phenomenal job each year with this production. We once again were reminded of our choice to live in joy OR be a "bah-humbug." I choose joy.

While on holiday in England next year, the Dickens museum is on my itinerary.  If you get a chance, peruse the website. Click  the video on the home page.  It will make you put it on your bucket list too! 

Also, this movie...The Man Who Invented Christmas. The story of Charles Dickens.

Have you seen it?
I haven't, but will be soon.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


Christmastime is here.

What's your favorite Christmas song?

Here's mine.

Especially start listening around minute 1:03

Monday, November 27, 2017

Big News

They're engaged!

Prince Harry will marry his love, Meghan Markle.

My 2018 year of jubilee will include watching a royal wedding. YAY for Harry and Meghan. Something spectacular for England to look forward to. Can't wait to hear the date for  this enchanting event.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Thanksgiving. A day to give thanks for all of the many blessings we take for granted. 

We received the news last evening of yet another setback for our friends. Their little guy (18 months) was diagnosed with a brain tumor a few months ago. Dang cancer.

He has already endured more surgeries than a little tyke should ever have to, and yet yesterday was another. Fluid was found. And so he spends Thanksgiving in the hospital.

As if that weren't enough, his mother serves our country and will be leaving on Monday for a tour.
(I could really go off on a tangent concerning all those NFL players kneeling right now...SIGH) 

Instead, I will be grateful for every single person who walks through my front door today. I will sit in wonder at all I have.  Things like health and food and water and a gem for a husband and 3 great kids and TIME and sight and smell and taste and feel and hearing. For friends in Spain and England and here in the USA. For jobs and a warm bed. For tea and chocolate.

Oh I have so much. May I never take any of it for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 20, 2017

A long time

On this date, they were married in Westminster Abbey at 10:30 a.m.

70 years. 70

That's a mighty long time to spend with the same person. And for the Duke, she's not just any person. She's the Queen of England. I'm sure it hasn't been easy to step behind your wife and let her lead one of the strongest countries in the world. What a legacy this royal family has.

I found some interesting facts about their wedding day.

These two met at a wedding! I didn't know that.

Did you know the very first wedding in Westminster Abbey was held on 11 Nov 1100? King Henry I married Princess Matilda of Scotland. I love that name. Matilda.

Queen Elizabeth had 8 bridesmaids. My daughter had 7!

2000 guests were invited. Whew! Good thing we didn't have that many. I can't imagine the bill!

Here's an interesting fact. The Queen used clothing rations to help pay for her dress! Rationing measures were still in place following WWII. Many across the UK sent her their coupons to help. She couldn't use them. That would be illegal.

She wore two pearl necklaces. I love pearls. SIGH.

A sprig of myrtle was placed in her bouquet. A tradition that started with Queen Victoria when she was given myrtle from Prince Albert's grandmother. Wish I would have known that. I would have placed some in my daughter's wedding bouquet. Shoot!

Queen Elizabeth's bouquet was placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. A royal tradition.

The cake was nine feet high! Yikes! That's a lot of cake! I still love our cake the best!

Happy Anniversary to the Royal couple.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Have you seen the ads for those meal delivery services?

Companies such as Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Plated, all would like to make it easier on you to prepare a decent meal.

I vowed I'd never do it. Seemed lazy somehow. I mean, really. How hard is it to find a parking spot near the grocery door,  run in, breeze past the dessert aisle without buying the tiramisu, and finding yourself in the longest line to check out?

Apparently, it's difficult on any given day and the masses have chosen Dinner in a Box! Who can resist gourmet recipes, super fresh ingredients, AND never have to leave your house!

The half off coupon enticed me. No. More like intrigued me. So off I was to my computer ordering my first box from Hello Fresh.

I assure you, everything is fresh.
I received three meals. Each one in their own bag full of ingredients.
You are given the perfect amount for each recipe. The portions are generous. No waste.
Who would have ever thought groceries could be delivered to your doorstep. It's like we have come full circle. There used to be such a thing as milk being delivered to your front step! History indeed repeats itself!

Just the right amount of cheese!
In just about 30 minutes, dinner is served.

A great alternative to fast food!


Monday, November 13, 2017

Dreams come true

Christmas time is here.
The holiday movies are beginning on the Hallmark Channel here in the states.

I can only imagine what it must be like to see your name on the screen.
My favorite author, Robin Jones Gunn, is likely pinching herself. Over and over again. Her dream has come true. Her books have been turned into movies!

Finding Father Christmas premiered last holiday season, and just yesterday Engaging Father Christmas was shown for the first time on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel.

How exciting.

The books shine the light on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  

"Come in! Come in, and know me better."
                                                    -Spirit of Christmas Present

The setting for these books takes place in the fictional town of Carlton Heath, London, England.
A place that is simply enchanting.

Robin Jones Gunn is a brilliant storyteller. She knows how to pen a novel.
There is mystery. And love. And forgiveness.
A lovely story you won't want to miss.


Thursday, November 9, 2017


Wondering about the sleepover?
Success I say. Success!
Indeed an understatement. We had a blast. 

Stayed up much too late. We ate and talked and laughed.  Not much has changed between us.
Being real with someone dear brings such peace and joy. 

As Thanksgiving nears, I am so very grateful for this friendship. It's one of the biggest blessings in my world.

Onward to next month's gathering. We're making plans for a Christmas tour. Let the merrymaking begin.


Monday, November 6, 2017


Fast becoming one of my favorite websites...
Enter the contest to win a copy of the Crown!

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Meet Alicia.
My forever pal since the 5th grade.

We haven't spent much time together since our junior year in high school, but we've managed to stay in touch.
We were bridesmaids for each other in our weddings,  and always send Christmas letters. 

My daughter just got married and I wanted to be sure Alicia was there.
We literally screamed and danced around when we saw each other. Giddy. That's how we roll. We thoroughly enjoy each other's company and can pick up where we left off when last seeing each other.

While at the wedding, we decided enough was enough. We must plan to spend time together at least once a month. 

And so it has begun. We've been through a lot in our lives. The tales are crazy unbelievable. It has made life more meaningful for both of us.

Sleepovers were our thing growing up. I spent many many nights at her house. I loved her parents and had a secret crush on her brother, Ed. What girl didn't? He was a babe! I say was because sadly, he has passed away. A story for another time.

Alicia and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning giggling and having facials with those masks that would harden on our face until we could peel them off! Funny the things we remember.
Footloose was our go to movie and we ate way too much chocolate.

Alicia texted me this week and asked if I wanted to come over for a sleepover at her house. Would I?
Took me about two seconds to say YES!
I can't wait!
We are going to have a sleepover! THIS WEEKEND!
Complete with jammies and wine and Hallmark movies!
Did I say I can't wait?
I am so looking forward to spending time together with her.
This was us at LOLO's restaurant in Stillwater last week. We are committed to our time together. 

I do hope you have the joy of having an Alicia in your life. I am so very grateful I have been gifted such a dear friend from the early parts of my childhood.

Our hubbys are the best as they understand our deep need to be together. I would do anything for my sweet friend.

Monday, October 30, 2017


When planning my first visit to London, I was advised to take a black taxi to our hotel upon arriving at Heathrow.
"It will cost you a bit, but not having to deal with the tube is so worth it."

I'm so glad I took that advice. I  was tired from the flight and didn't need the hassle of trying to be alert in a city I didn't yet understand. Besides, black taxis are an icon. An experience. My first adventure in London!
Black taxis are the cleanest ride ever. Not a speck of dirt inside. I was giddy when I slipped into my seat. The cabbie was professional and quite patient with this American anglophile. He asked me why I was so fascinated with England. He truly wanted an answer! I simply replied, "This is where Diana lived. And the best authors in the history of the world came from here." I gazed out the window enjoying my first views of this idyllic place. I was here. In my happy place. I was home.

Did you know that all cabbies go through rigorous training to drive us around the streets of London?
The training is called The Knowledge.

It takes drivers nearly three years...yep learn how to navigate the confusing roads.
The drivers have to memorize streets and hotels and attractions. MEMORIZE.  No GPS for these cabbies. Isn't that impressive? I think so.

I will only use black taxis in England. It's all part of the experience of taking a holiday across the pond. Ubers and mini cab drivers exist, but  I know how hard it was for the cabbies to get their license. They know the way and will never get lost.

Oh, and the sound of the diesel engine in the black taxi still echos in my mind. It's a beautiful kind of rumble. One I will never forget. 
  As if I have time to read another blog...I find this one. I love it. It's written by a black cabbie! The stories are fascinating. Worth the read!

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Craving nostalgia in the form of candy?
Jordan, MN is the place to be.

You can't miss it. A yellow building longer than a football field begs entrance just off the freeway.
The skies treated us to quite a show before we wandered inside. Breathtaking.
  Welcome to the boondocks!
Remember these?!!
Snap crackle pop in your mouth!
Quite simply, this place is filled to the brim with sugar.  A child's dream.

Licorice, peanuts in chocolate, taffy, chewy this chewy that, gum drops...its all in there. The challenge is to walk away and not buy everything in sight. 

I ran to this!
Others found relief here!

Such a fun field trip. Guaranteed sugar highs will likely result in tooth decay! But the trip down nostalgia lane was worth it.

Monday, October 23, 2017

A Date

Let the good times roll!
We have a date for a holiday across the pond!

July 27.

I'm a bit over the moon right now.

As you can imagine, the research begins as to what I'd like to see and do.

I'm not excited at all, said NO ONE EVER who begins making plans for an international holiday.
(smiling big here!)   

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Next year

Next year is an important one for me.

Like it or not, I'm going to be fifty. 

I've decided I need to embrace the age.

I want to like it. Actually, I want to LOVE it.

So, I'm working on 50 things I'd like to do next year. Some are big, some small.

As you can see, in both 2008 and 2011, I succeeded in finishing a walking marathon.

I HATE running. Loathe, detest, abhor. They all fit. Running is for horses.
I decided a long while ago that running was not for me.

Walking, on the other hand. Now there's a sport I can wrap my brain around.

Months ago now, my husband's uncle passed away at the age of 98. He walked 2 miles every single day. I believe that was significant to his health and longevity. 

I sat in the pew and pondered his life while we waited for the funeral to start. I had this epiphany while I sat.
Uncle George was 98. I am 49. Exactly half his age.
It really was something to consider.

What haven't I done that I'd like to? Do I have any regrets yet? Because if I do, I'm still around to fix it.

Not everyone is gifted fifty years. I want to make the most of every single hour of every single day. No regrets.

I'm starting my list, and this marathon is on it.
Yes, I've done it before, but never at 50! I just want to do it again.

It's a fun marathon.

There are food breaks every 3 miles, along with water and potty facilities! That's a plus right there.

I'm excited just thinking about entering and finishing next year.


Monday, October 16, 2017

My reward

Look what just arrived.
The latest copy of Anglotopia appeared in my mailbox this weekend. Great timing, as I made my writing deadline. You can bet that today I will be wrapped in my blanket, reading.

Look at a few of the articles inside.

Foyles bookstore!
Can't wait to read this article about the post boxes in the UK. I love writing letters!
Wordsworth. I love his famous quote..."To Begin, Begin."
Easy, right? Just begin.
On my list of places to visit. Twinings Tea.

Want your own copy?
Visit Anglotopia's website.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Think of me these next few days.
I'm feverishly trying to finish an entry for a writing contest.

I will have to hit SEND by Sunday.

For some reason, the Top Gun theme song keeps me awake!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Getting closer

Remember this?
Miss the theme song? Click the site below.
Don't you just love the music?

Hubby and I are starting to think about when we can actually visit Downton Abbey. (Highclere Castle is the real name!)
I  get so excited just thinking about actually going. I would love to walk through the town and go to the farm where Lady Edith would visit Marigold.

Oh how I miss The Dowager and Isobel, Anna and Thomas.
The characters are not real and yet look how popular the show was. A story is all about the characters and how much we relate to them.

I'll keep you posted as to when we land tickets.  Keeping my fingers crossed.   

Thursday, October 5, 2017

My dad

On October 9, my dad would have celebrated his 73rd birthday.

John Lennon was born on October 9 too. My dad always used to tell us, "Did you know John Lennon shared my birthday?!"   Every year we could count on him saying he wished he was as famous as John!

Oh, but dad, to us you were memorable. 

My siblings and I have strong work ethics. All thanks to our dad. He made us work our butts off. Lazy would never do. We are grateful to him for instilling this very important value. He showed us by example what it meant to work hard.
Here's a picture of my dad chillin' with my daughter.
Here he is as a young lad with the family dog, Shep. My Aunt Lil and my dad were inseparable.
I love this photo of my dad. It sits on my desk. It was taken in Germany. He was so thrilled to be able to be there when my twin nephews were born.

Life stinks sometimes. Really stinks. I remember everything about the day my dad died. It was so not fair. He was just 54 years old. I cried for months. Maybe even years. It all was such a shock. I think about him a lot. I can't help it. What if he would have lived? I hit the replay button in my mind because I don't want to forget the last time I saw him.
My sister and I were going to an event and we happened to stop by our family home. Dad was there and we laughed and talked. Before we left I remember distinctively telling him I loved him. I'm so grateful I did. It would be the last time I would see him alive.

I have no regrets. Such peace in that.

My heart aches for all those suffering from the unimaginable acts of evil displayed by one very sick individual this past week.

It seems so surreal.
I know for sure that  those families grieving just want their loved ones back. There are no words.

I don't know what to do except to pray for peace. My heart continues to be with those hurting in Las Vegas.