Friday, December 29, 2017

Looking Back and Looking Forward!

As a new year begins (!  This is like the book "1984" and tv show "Star Trek" all rolled into one), I look back to see what we lived through in the old year.  It was a year of ups and downs.  Downs in that the president I greatly admired was replaced by someone whom I have no respect for.  It was a year of violence and a year when mother nature seemed to be on the warpath with our nation.  It was a year in which we lost my husband's sister to cancer which brought about the realization that we were not quite prepared for our own final plans.  But with all of that, this was a year of joyful times.  Our immediate family made it thru an entire year in good health.  My oldest son received his DMA (doctorate) in music which he has spent a number of years working toward.  My husband and youngest son went on the Honor Flight in September and it was a memorable experience for both of them.

There were a number of mistakes I made in the past year as well as before that I wish I could change (hindsight is a wonderful thing) but I have found that dwelling on those only causes more inner pain to me and that is something I do not have time for at this stage of my life. In this new year, I am focusing on looking forward and learning from the mistakes in my past.  For that is the only way we refrain from repeating them.  And as always, I look to my faith to help me.

"Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God's upward calling, in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)

2018 will be my year of Creativity...not only in the artistic sense but in what I can do to bring growth, fun, color and adventure to my small corner of the world.  I do not need to try and send my creativity out into the whole world for validation nor compare what I am doing with what others are accomplishing.  It is only the value of my creative offerings to me and mine that is worth measuring.

 "Some of us will make tiny ripples and others will send waves crashing, but each one will forever change the surface of the water."  (Robin Dance on

What will guide you in 2018 in your corner of the world?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Inspiration the Week before Thanksgiving 2017

At this time when it seems that there is so much to be stressed over, depressed over and just ready to give up on...let us remember to be grateful for what and who we have in our lives and most important, to tell those people everyday how much they bring to our lives and to thank them.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11

                                                                 Butch - 1967

                                                           Butch - 2017

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans; that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

War is never a good thing and when men and women go to war to fight and sometimes die, that is a sad and terrible thing.  But as much as we don't want to admit, there have been times when some people have seen going to war as a good and noble effort.  World War I and World War II were wars that were described by authors and poets as a grand adventure (not my opinion).  Then came Korea which everyone kept saying was not a war but a "police action" (war by another name, in my opinion).  Vietnam became a war not only in Asia but here at home.  Those boys who went to war were not looked at grandly but were labeled as "baby killers" (among other words).  Vietnam veterans didn't come home to parades and pats on the back, they were told not to wear their uniforms when landing in the US because it could mean trouble.  Vietnam veterans were told to be quiet about their experiences and for the longest time they were (some are still silent).  At present, there is no draft, so men and women go to war because they believe they want to serve their country in the most noblest of causes. 

In the last few years, we have started to thank our veterans for everything they did or are doing for us.  We honor them at parades, concerts, dinners, programs, etc.  We show our gratefulness thru our contributions to organizations that help the wounded warriors of the present and the forgotten of the past.

My father fought in WWII and came home to parades in his hometown.  My husband was in the Vietnam War and he came back to no cheering, just silence and a request that he not wear his uniform. 

Two months ago, my husband went on the Honor Flight.  It was an experience he still speaks about.  But I will never forget what he said to me after landing at the airport and seeing the crowds of people welcoming them home, shaking his hand, thanking him for his service.  With tears in his eyes, he said to me, "This was the best part of the country welcomed me home".

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

In honor of All Saints' Day

St. Theresa of the Little Flower has been the patron saint of the women in my family for as long as I can remember.  Her novena is the one we say when we are going thru difficult times and need to send added prayers to God.  Her philosophy has always been that the little things we do can sometimes be more important and more needed than the larger things.

My prayers to St. Theresa include condolences and understanding to the victims of violence both by man and nature that have occurred this year.

Saint Theresa, the Little Flower,
please pick me a Rose from
the Heavenly Garden and
send it to me with a Message
of Love.
Ask God to grant me the
Favor I Thee implore and tell
Him I will Love Him each
day More and More.

Monday, October 30, 2017


                          From my husband, the lover of Halloween. . . Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Yesterday morning I woke up in the dark.  A high wind rain storm had started during the night and the power had gone out in the early morning hours.  I did not know the time as my bedside clock was out.  It was so dark in my bedroom that I could not see anything not even the shapes of the furniture.  It was total blackness even the view out of the bedroom window looked totally black.  My anxiety built up sharply.  I have never liked the dark.  It has been that way since I was a child.  That is the reason there is always some kind of light burning when I go to bed at night.  It doesn't even have to be in the same room.  Just enough light for me to see.  The sight of that light fills me with a sense of safety and security.  I don't know why just that it does.

Yesterday morning I woke up in the dark.  I lay there trying to make out where the bedroom door was.  I went back and forth on whether I should get up and try by touch to find my way to the kitchen to get the flashlight.  That debate ended when I realized my body was unwilling to move from the bed.  I clutched my blankets tightly and closed my eyes and tried to breathe my way to a calm place.  In my head, I said my favorite prayer, the Our Father.  I repeated it and repeated it and slowly I started to feel that calming sense of safety.  Something told me to open my eyes.  I did and as I looked in the direction of my bedroom window, I could see that the early light of dawn was beginning to appear. 

Now some people might say that when the power went out, it was close to sunrise and it was all coincidental that I had started to pray at that very moment.  But to me, I believe what happened was that God took my darkness of fear and gave it light and put me in that safe, secure place until the dawn came upon me.

"For you, LORD, give light to my lamp; my God brightens my darkness."  Ps 18:29

"God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all."  1John 1:5

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Oh, save me from Halloween !!!

My husband loves Halloween and I do not.  When my 71 year old husband goes into a Halloween store, he turns into a mischievious 6 year old.  He has to press every button to make ghosts dance, witches cackle, werewolves growl and vampires slurp.  He also spends a good amount of time trying to convince me into putting a giant, inflatable monster on the front lawn.  Oh, save me from Halloween !!!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October 1 - Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

                                              (this post is reprinted from October 1, 2016)

St. Therese's teachings of how to be holy, how to be a child of God, and to be close to God, she called "her little way of spiritual childhood." She learned that being holy is very simple – it involves trusting God with confidence and doing ordinary things in life with great love. Her "little ways" is about doing little things to please people, bring a smile to someone's face and heart, reaching out to let people know they are special – and accepting disappointments with patience not anger.

                                                          "My God ...I love Thee!"

                                                                               -St. Therese of Lisieux

Friday, September 29, 2017

The UP Honor Flight

My husband and son went on the Honor Flight this week.  My husband is a veteran of the Vietnam War and has been looking forward to this trip for months. Our youngest son was going as his guardian (they don't allow spouses to go).  Both of them were excited about going to Washington DC and seeing all the memorials.  They left at 4 in the morning on Wednesday and spent the entire day moving from one place to the next in comfortable air-conditioned buses.  My husband said that everyone that was running the honor flight was friendly, caring and respectful of all the veterans.  Even people they met at the memorials were friendly.  Many came up to the veterans and shook their hands and thanked them for their service.  But my husband said his favorite part out of the whole trip was when they landed back home and there were hundreds of people standing on the tarmac waving flags, posters and cheering.  Being a Vietnam veteran, he never received that kind of welcome the first time.  In fact, he had been told to change out of his uniform and into civilian clothes so there would be no trouble when they landed.  Wednesday, almost 50 years later, he and the other Vietnam veterans received the welcome they deserved.  I thank the Honor Flight people for giving my husband and son a wonderful memory.  The look on my husband's face when he got off that plane in a crowd of well wishers, yelling "Welcome home" and "Thank you for your service" is an image that will stay with me forever.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Let me show you a picture of...

My husband and I are at that age when we find ourselves with people who invariably say, "Let me show you a new picture of my grandchildren."  We smile and ooh and ahh at the picture and listen to all the wonderful grandparent stories.  We are fine with it because it is something all grandparents do.  We are fine until they ask, "Do you have grandchildren?"  Most of our friends know the answer to that question but there are always a few who genuinely don't know.  No, we do not have grandchildren.  We have a grandpuppy. 

My son and daughter-in-law have this adorable dog named Snoofer whom we have affectionately dubbed our grandpuppy.  We do all the normal things grandparents do, we buy him gifts, we go to visit him and are sent pictures and stories by his "mom and dad". 

When we first told people we had a grandpuppy we thought they would think us quite odd but it seems there are many people who have grandpuppies.  So when I am asked if I have a picture of my grandchildren, I am very happy to pull out a picture of my grandpuppy, Snoofer.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!

Today is the birthday of our Blessed Pope Francis.  I wish him a happy birthday and share some of my favorite quotes by him.

"Peace is a precious gift which must be promoted and protested...Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake.  War begets war, violence begets violence."

"Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads ... to those who have quit or are indifferent."

“The most important thing in the life of every man and every woman is not that they should never fall along the way. The important thing is always to get back up, not to stay on the ground licking your wounds.”

“The media only writes about the sinners and the scandals, he said, but that's normal, because 'a tree that falls makes more noise than a forest that grows.”

Monday, September 11, 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017


It is not officially Autumn yet.  There are still a few weeks left of the summer season, at least that is what the calendar says.  But here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it seems that Autumn is showing up early.  Gone are the temperatures that hovered in the mid 70s with sunshine lasting till almost 10pm.  These have been replaced by temps in the 50s and 60s and in some cases, 40s.  Shorter days with darkness until after 7am and beginning at 8pm bring a somber feeling this month. The colors of summer are starting to fade away and in their place are bursts of the Fall colors of gold, red and orange.  Clothes have changed from shorts and sleeveless tops to long pants and sweatshirts.  It is becoming "sweater weather" as my mom used to say.  Deer walk across the field frequently enjoying the delicious apples on the trees and small creatures are starting their annual hording of food for the coming winter months.  Geese are calling their goodbyes as they fly overhead toward their southern winter home and plans are being made to put away deck furniture, cover the bushes and plants, store the lawnmower away for the season and prepare the snowblower for the coming weather.  Meals are beginning to change as well from corn on the cob, steak on the grill and tart lemonade to hearty soups, stews and chili, homemade bread, hot chocolate and black coffee.  Heavy quilts and cozy flannel sheets have been put on all the beds and soon every window in the house will be closed tight against the freezing cold temperatures of the outdoors.

Yes, Autumn will officially be in about two weeks but here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we do not go by the calendar.  We know the change of seasons by using our 5 senses which are after all more accurate than a calendar.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

This is the American Spirit!

For many months, this country has been divided by race, politics, religion, gender and so much more.  It has seen violence, hatred and bigotry.  America has been a country moved far away from the ideals we hold dear. 

In the midst of all this, the true picture of America has emerged.  Not a country of hate, racism, bigotry, violence but a country that stands together in the wake of disaster.  We saw it after 9/11.  We saw it after Hurricane Katrina.  We now see it in the midst of Hurricane Harvey.  People coming together to help those in need.  Strangers helping strangers.  Helping not for any gain but for the simple reason that we are Americans and when faced with horrible disasters, we come together as one nation to help our fellow citizens. 

Do I wish we could be like this always without a disaster bringing us together?  Absolutely!  Will it ever happen?  I have faith it will.  But for now, I am grateful that I live in a country where there is an abundance of good samaritans.

Friday, August 25, 2017

I Don't Understand You But I Love You Anyway

I have two boys and I don't understand either one of them.  My sons are the total opposite of each other. 

My oldest is a musician.  Since the age of 12, he has always loved music.  He began playing a clarinet in middle school then changed to the bassoon.  He has played the saxophone, oboe and accordion.  He has composed music.  He has played in a jazz band and a polka band.  He plays in the Reno Philharmonic and teaches music at the University of Nevada Reno.  I did say he loves music and he does to the max.  I have sat in audiences and watched him play, watching that moment on his face when the music completely takes him over and he is in his happy place.  I have listened to him talk about composers and their music, the different gestures that a conductor uses during a performance and how he composed a piece of music he had been working on for a long time.  Do I understand what he is telling me?  9 times out of 10, no, I do not.  Does he believe I understand what he is telling me?  No, he does not.  How do I know this?  He has told me.  But he has also said that he appreciates that I listen and try to understand.

My youngest is into cars.  He loves cars especially jeeps.  He loves to take an old broken down jeep, take it apart and put it back together into something spectacular.  He has had a torn apart jeep in my garage for years and an old car in the side yard.  He has a jeep and a truck on the property where he lives.  He talks to me about what he is doing and planning to do with them.  He discusses car parts, engines, roll bars, tires, modifications and colors.  He shows me pictures of cars as examples of what he wants to do.  I smile as his face gets that excited look when he has gotten a part of one of his jeeps done or when he has seen another vehicle he wants to work on.  Do I understand what he is telling me?  9 times out of 10, no, I do not.  Does he believe I understand what he is telling me?  No, he does not.  How do I know this?  He has told me.  But he has also said that he appreciates that I listen and try to understand.

No, I don't understand my sons.  One likes classical and polka music...the other likes rap and new age.  One likes fishing while the other thinks its boring.  One is a reader of books while the other prefers car magazines.  One is content to be a homebody, the other never seems to stand still.  One loves football while the other can take it or leave it.

Now don't get me wrong, there are things they do agree on.  They both love dogs (not cats like their mom).  Their politics are more liberal and both do not like the current administration ( I am with them on that).  They don't believe in organized religion but will go to church with mom if  I ask them to. They both know the importance of family and demonstrate that in many ways every day.

Yes, my sons are very different from one another but I also know that these 2 brothers are there for each other, no matter what.  I may not understand alot of what they tell me but I do know that for sure and I do know that they love me and their dad almost as much as we love them.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

In Response...

In response to the events of the past few days having to do with the rally in Charlotesville, NC...a few quotes to think on.

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
― Audre Lorde, Our Dead Behind Us: Poems

“Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. It's just plain wrong.”
― Muhammad Ali

“No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them”
― Elie Wiesel

“We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization - black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.... What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

“Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
 --Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Joyous Gift

My oldest son came home for a visit last night.  He lives in Nevada and because of cost, it is difficult for the family to get together on a regular basis.  He tries to come out to see us once a year and it is always a special occasion when he does.  My youngest son lives here so he comes by the house 3 or 4 times a week.  Last night he came just as his brother came in.  It was wonderful to have all of us together (even though we missed our daughter in law--school started in Nevada this week). 

So there we are at midnight, sitting around the dining room table, laughing about the fact that their dad refuses to wear glasses and therefore can't read the aspirin bottle, their mom goes to webmd on the computer rather than her regular doctor, the oldest son doesn't like beards but grows a goatee and the youngest has a goatee but wants a beard that will make him look like one of the Duck Dynasty brothers.  We talked about so many things both serious and nonsensical.  I miss that table time so much.  But then I realized that even with all the ups and downs we have gone thru, the family is still together, still depending on each other, still loving each other and that to me is the most wonderful joyous gift I could ever have.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A look Back 25 years

25 years ago today, my dad passed away.  It doesn't seem like its been that long.  There are so many memories I have of my dad but I thought today I would share just a few.

1. Golf. My dad loved to play golf.  Every chance he had, he would play and when he didn't play, he watched golf on tv. His favorite thing to say was that since he was too old to win the "green jacket", he was counting on his grandson to win it.  Dad also said that he had a deal with God that when it was his time to go, he would do it on the golf course.

2. Louis L'Amour.  My dad loved to read westerns and his favorites were written by Louis L'Amour.  He was very excited one year to travel to Minnesota and visit L'Amour's home town and purchase an autographed copy of one of his books.

3. Crossword puzzles.  He loved doing these and he got me hooked on them too.  I would find one from the newspaper that he had been working on and then try to finish it.  I never did but it was a neat game we played.

4. Fix-it Man?  He thought he was but I am sad to say he was not.  Dad gave it a good try but it just didn't seem to work out the way it was supposed to.  The big joke was that dad always kept a large roll of neon green duct tape in the car.  Whatever needed fixing, dad would duct tape it.  He would be delighted to see all the different kinds of duct tape they sell today.

5. Singing.  Dad loved to sing.  He couldn't sing but he loved to do it anyway.  When we would be in the car, dad would be singing as he drove.  We would put our hands over our ears and ask him to stop.  Dad would laugh and say we had no appreciation of talent.

6. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  My dad loved the UP.  The green forests, trees, hills, winter snow...all of it.  It reminded him so much of his home state of Vermont. 

25 years ago today, my dad passed away.  And you know that deal he said he had with God about death and the golf course?  Well, he was right!  My dad had a heart attack and passed away after playing the ninth hole.  Dad and God had a deal all along!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

God's Hand In My Life

I’ve noticed that even though I may not immediately recognize it, God has a hand in my life on a daily basis.  Yes, I know that God is in my life all the time but I don't always see it.  Sometimes things happen that seem so ordinary, so small that it seems they are not important enough to be the result of the hand of God.  However, during one of my morning "sit-downs" (as I like to call them) with God, I focused on recent events that I could see had God's hand in them.

My husband's sister died about 3 weeks ago.  His brother went to Chicago to handle arrangements and clean her townhouse to be ready for sale.  When he returned he told horror stories of what he found in the house.  He said that it was a mess.  It was dirty, stinky and had cat feces all over one level.  This was a surprise to me as I always thought of my sister-in-law as a very organized neat person.  My husband was also upset about this because he felt that just wasn't the kind of person his sister was.  My husband and his brother went to Chicago about 2 weeks ago to do final paperwork as well as look over the property.  When he returned, he told me that although there was a lower level of the house that reeked of cat, the rest of the house was extremely organized and neat.  The clothes in all her drawers were clean and folded, her closets were organized.  Everything looked like the sister he knew.  He was quite relieved.  Losing a loved one is very difficult but finding out they are different than the person you remember only adds to the grief.  I am glad that God had a hand in easing some of my husband's pain.

God's Hand was evident when my husband had gone to Chicago with his brother and left me home alone.  I have not been by myself in a long time but I was not overly concerned.  In fact, I made a point of telling my husband and son that I would be quite all right and looking forward to the quiet time.  The first night my husband was gone, I was surprised when my youngest son showed up.  He said he had just gotten off work and thought he would come home and spend the night.  He knew that I didn't sleep well when I was alone (he remembered when his father worked midnight shifts and I had a difficult time sleeping) and felt his presence would be calming.  It was and I did sleep quite well.  I did tell him in the morning he didn't need to come again because I would be ok.  However, the second night, we had a very intense although brief storm.  The power went out and I was left in the dark.  I have been in the house without power before but never without my husband.  Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck.  I had a lot of conversations with God that night.  Then about 11:30pm, my son showed up again.  He said that he felt he had to come home after work because I needed him.  The relief in my heart when He came in was overwhelming and at that point, I knew that God had made sure I was not alone to face the dark that night.

I believe that God communicates with us in any way He can. He speaks through His word, He sings through His songs, He whispers in His wind and He works through His messengers in the common events of our days. If we look and really see, we will see His clues that let us know He is there.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Inspiration for Monday, July 17

My children are adults now and they still do this.  Often my son shows up at the house after work.  He makes himself a snack, takes a shower and stays the night.  His comment to me is "I just wanted to be home tonight."  I like that alot.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

I Love America because of...

1.  The beauty.  I am sure that many people think their country is the most beautiful.  I think America is beautiful.  The mountains, hills, valleys, deserts, plains, forests, lakes, rivers, everything about it just yells, "Look at me!!  I am beautiful!"  Yet, the most beautiful parts of America is not its landscape but its people.  People who came to this "new world" from so many other places and created a country so unique that it cannot be duplicated.  That is the true beauty of this country.

2.  The people.  Yes, I love the American people.  We are a people who argue, fight, and debate but we are also a people of fun, laughter, kindness, support, hopes and dreams.  Yes, we divide ourselves thru politics, religion, color, gender and beliefs but we also come together as one country when we need to.  Just look at 9/11 if you don't agree with me.  We are a people who volunteer to serve in the armed forces to protect not only our country but other countries as well.  We are a people who take care of those who need help with food and shelter, protect those who are too young, too old or unable to care for themselves.

3.  The freedoms.  We are a nation who have rights to speak, live, pray and believe without persecution.  Yes, we do...even when there are some or many who don't agree with any of it. We are a country who believes in the words of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and our National Anthem.  We believe in the American flag which just the sight of can bring tears to the eyes of many people whether they are American or not.

4.  The imperfections.  No, we are not a perfect country made up of perfect people.  Humans are imperfect and because of that, mistakes great and small are made.  We do not do everything right all the time but we are also a country where we have the opportunities and abilities to change what is wrong.  These changes can come in the forms of the right to protest, the right to vote and the right to voice our opinions.

Today many say that America is going downhill and that it no longer is the beacon it used to be.  Yes, it seems that this country is in a deep, deep hole but she has been there in the past and has always risen up from it.  I believe she will do that again.  You can say I am wrong or looking thru rose-colored glasses and that is your right in this country. 

However, on this 4th of July, I am proud to stand up and voice my love for this country and to proudly call myself an American.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

44 Years of Mountains and Valleys

Marriage is a series of mountains and valleys. There are ups and downs, highs and lows, events that we could not have foreseen when we first started. In the beginning, you have an idea of what marriage will be like and then reality hits you in the head and you find that it isn't even close to what you thought it would be.  There are those times when everything is going the way it's supposed to go.  Life is filled with romance, laughter and good times.  Then suddenly you hit a rough patch...inlaws, money, jobs, responsibilities or just those tiny habits that annoy you.  And with every rough patch, you are faced with a you ride it out until the high comes back or do you give up and walk away?  Now days, it seems many find it easier to throw in the towel and hit the road.  Now I am not saying that every rough patch requires staying power.  Sometimes the rough patch is more than that and leaving is the best choice.  No, I am saying that just because life has led you into a valley, it might not be bad enough to throw the marriage away.

In 44 years, my husband and I have encountered our fair share of mountains and valleys.  We have seen friends and family end their marriages for one reason or another.  We have, in the heat of the moment, threatened to leave the other and go it alone.  But in the end, we always start climbing the mountain again...together.

I remember something my mom told me the morning of my wedding day when, in my nervous state, I asked her how she and dad had stayed together so long.  She said, "When those times come and you are not sure you are on the right path with the right one, think about tomorrow or next week or next month or next year.  How do you see it...alone or with him?  That will be your answer."

In 44 years of mountains and valleys, I have never been able to picture my life without him.

Happy 44th Anniversary, Butch....Love, Ellen.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"5 Things I Am Glad Were Invented"

There have been many things invented in the world over the years that I like very much and there are some that I scratch my head and say, "What was the purpose of inventing that?" However, there are 5 things that are my very favorite inventions and I thought I would share those with you today.

1.  Sticky Notes.   These are a super invention.  When I was teaching, these were an important item on my school supply list.  They identified papers, were mini notes to myself and others, became part of lessons and activities, super organizational tools and so much more.  At home, they were great for attaching notes for husband, sons and myself onto mirrors, tv screens, refrigerator doors, telephones and the occasional backpack and or child.

2.  Caller ID.  This is such a simple but great invention.  No more answering the phone thinking its friend or family but instead finding out it's a telemarketer (and yes, I am on the "do not call" list but still get calls). 

3.  Mute Button on TV Remote.  I love this button.  Press it and the most annoying commercials (which are most of them) become just a picture of moving mouths and politicians become automated robots that are easier to look at without hearing all the empty promises.

4.  Slo Cookers.  This is one of my favorite kitchen appliances.  Put the ingredients in the slo cooker in the morning and by dinner time you have a meal.  This is an especially great alternative to turning on the oven in the summmer and turning the kitchen into a sauna.

5.  Coffeemaker.  I adore coffee.  My day starts with coffee and keeps going thru the day and into the evening with coffee.  I love being able to set the timer and wake to the sensual smell of coffee first thing in the morning.  I love how I can make a new pot of coffee in less than 15 minutes.  Growing up my mom had one of those coffee pots you used on the stove.  Many a time, it was forgotten and then there was boiled over coffee all over the stove.

Your 5 inventions might be entirely different from mine and that's ok.  Sometimes progress brings good things in the midst of all the negatives.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Fathers' Day

To my dad, Joaquin Gomez, who has been gone 25 years.  You taught me that there is nothing I cannot do if I set my mind to it.  You taught me the importance of family.  You taught me to judge people not by their race, religion, gender or lifestyle but by their words and actions.  Even though you are not here in body, I know you are with me in spirit.

To my husband, Butch Fassbender, who has been my partner for over 40 years.  You are the most wonderful father to our sons.  You have given them your time, love and guidance throughout the years.  You have been there as the backer for their dreams, the shoulder for their questions, the laugh when they are down and the heart when they feel alone.  No matter the circumstance, they know they can count on you always.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

God's Reminder

It was one of those quiet Mondays.  My husband and I had finished dinner and I was watching the tv news with disappointment in the behavior of some of the humans on this planet.  My husband was outside finishing up some yardwork.  There was a knock at the door and who should be there but the little girl who lives across the road.  In her arms was a bouquet of beautiful flowers that I knew had come from her property.  She handed me the bouquet and said, "these are for you because you love flowers."  I smiled so big and hugged her, telling her "she had brightened my whole day with her thoughtful gift."

Sometimes in the midst of disappointment in some, God sends a reminder that there are good examples of His creation.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

June 3rd Thought

On my desk, I have a daily calendar that not only tells me the date but also gives me a thought for the day.  As I flipped the page to June 3rd, I was struck by the daily thought.
                                 "God adores the sound of your to Him often!"

How often do I talk to God.  I just mean talk to Him not in prayer but in conversation as in talking to a friend or family member.  Since I do not always pay attention to that specific activity, I decided to take my daily quiet time to answer the often do I talk to God?  I realized that I talk to God all the time and not always about anything special, just life in general.  For example, today I mentioned to God that whoever invented coffee was a gem and should get points for it.  I talked to Him about the beautiful day He created this morning and all the lovely birds, chipmunks and squirrels who came to enjoy the bird feeder.  Watching the news, I wondered if He was ever sad or angry at how His children were taking care of His planet and each other.  I made my daily requests of His care of my sons in whatever they were doing and asked Him to keep at least one eye glued on my husband who seems to forget how old he is and not capable of doing things as he did when he was in his 30s.  I discussed the patience I sadly lack and I laughed at how it must be His doing that I am looking and sounding like my mother every day.  Yes, I think I can safely say that I talk to God often.  How often do you talk to God in your daily life?  Think about it...the answer might surprise you.

Friday, May 12, 2017


In honor of my mom on Mother's Day, I decided to list all that is her in me (no, I am not talking about her genes).

1.  Hands.  This year I noticed that my hands look just like my mom's.  It's hard to explain how I make this connection....a hand looks like a hand.  It is not like the color of your eyes or the shape of your is just your hands.  But when I look at mine, I can see mom's hands.

2.  Voice.  This was brought to my attention by my sons.  They tell me that many times I sound like my mother.  In fact, some people who knew my mother have told me that it is very surprising to hear my voice and think it's my mom speaking.  Of course, I know that sometimes the things I say are my mother.  When those times happen, I always say that I am "channeling" mom.

3.  Faith.  My mom was not an active member of the Church in her later years but she had a great faith in God.  She always felt that God had a purpose for each of us and until that purpose was fulfilled, we would continue upon this earth.  As she got older and her body was slowly breaking down, she wondered what God had left for her to do before she could go to be with my dad.  This was something we talked about alot. Her rosary gave her great comfort.  In those times when pain filled her body and fear filled her mind, she drew solace from just holding it.  I have also found that my rosary is a way that I connect with my mom in times of need.

4.  Family.  Family was very important to mom.  This is something she definitely instilled in me.  There is nothing more important than family.  We take care of each other and there is nothing we would not do for each other.  She loved her children, their spouses and her grandsons especially her grandsons.  She was so proud of all 3 of them and was very supportive of them in everything they did.  I try very hard to be like my mom that way.  My family is everything to me and even though I may not always agree with their choices, I make sure that they know I am in their corner no matter what.

5.  Sense of Humor.  My mom had a great sense of humor.  She could make anyone laugh.  Sometimes I was not even sure she knew she was funny.  All my friends would say, "your mom is a stitch!"  When I would tell her this, she would look surprised and say it wasn't true.  But she could make you laugh over the most simple things.  I have a sense of humor although my husband and sons say that usually I am the only one who finds something funny.  Most of the time, they laugh just watching me laugh at something I find amusing.  That's me...the entertainment.

6.  People Watching.  Mom loved to people watch.  She would always find a seat in the back of the theatre, middle of the mall, etc.  She always wanted to sit where she could watch people.  Of course with people watching comes commenting...another thing she loved.  I find myself doing it as well much to the amusement of my family.

7.  Football.  Mom loved football especially Notre Dame football.  The standing rule was...don't call her on Saturdays because she was watching Notre Dame football.  Mom would yell at the tv and sometimes stomp out of the room after a very bad play.  I love football but I love Detroit Lions football (yes, I am one of those fans).  It is hard being a Lions fan where I live.  I am surrounded by Packer backers but I am still loyal to them.  Thank goodness my sons are too.  I tend to yell at the tv and stomp out after a particularly stupid play but usually my youngest son is right behind me.

8.  Coloring.  For as long as I can remember, my mom loved to color.  She would always sit and color with me in my coloring books.  After awhile, she would get her own and spend an hour a day just coloring as sort of a get away from the daily grind.  Buying mom coloring books and sets of colorful markers became one of the annual Christmas presents I got her.  Mom looked forward to that small amount of time she spent coloring each day.  She said it was like meditating.  I am a colorer too.  I usually color before bed.  It rests my mind so that I can sleep peacefully.

9.  Animals.  Mom was a dog person.  I am a cat person.  But to mom and me, our dogs and cats are not just pets, they are members of the family.  They are spoiled and treasured and grieved over when they pass.

My mom grew up in an era when women got married and made their families their careers.  She was a stay at home mom.  She left all of the family decisions and finances to my dad as he was the head of the household.  She did everything around the house and wouldn't even consider asking dad to vacuum, cook or do laundry.  Those were women's chores.  Yet, she always taught my sister and I to grow as strong, independent women who did not need to have a man take care of us but could be equal to him.  Because of this, I have taught my sons to cook, do laundry, etc.  I have always told them that women were not put on this earth to wait on them.  That they should be equal partners in their relationships.  The most important thing my mom taught me was to be sure and let my children know how proud I am of them, how I support them always and love them no matter what.  Her last words to me were, "I am so proud of the woman you have become. I love you".

My hope is that when my time comes to leave this earthly life, I will leave a legacy where my sons will be as proud to have me as a mom as I am to have had you as my mom.

                          HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, MOM!  I LOVE YOU AND I MISS YOU!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


The calendar says it is spring but here in the UP that is not always the case.  We were spoiled on Saturday with temperatures in the 60s and absolutely beautiful outside. Sunday, we woke up to snow.  Not enough to pile up but enough to cover the grass and the bird feeder in the maple tree.   So far this week, it has been chilly and gloomy but there is no snow.  I am okay with that.  I am a person who has an intense dislike for snow and cold.  If I had the power, winter would start on December 1st and end on December 31st.  A white Christmas and not much else is fine with me.  I look forward to spring as it reminds me that summer is on the way.  But I digress, so back to my thoughts on spring.

This morning I had my coffee in my favorite cozy chair near the front window and surveyed spring.  The bird feeder in the maple tree has become a favorite gathering spot for a variety of birds, squirrels and chipmunks.  My husband says they eat too much and threatens never to refill the feeder again but he always does.  There are beautiful buds on the maple tree as well as on the lilac bush and white birches.  I watch them impatiently each day waiting for those first leaves to appear.  The barn cat who lives on the farm across the road has made his springtime journey across the field and I smile as I watch the little bundle of blonde fur run, stop, look around and then run again.  The sound of raking means that my husband is beginning on his seasonal obsession...the grass.  The plastic coverings are coming off the windows today so when those warm temperatures return, the fresh air can fill the house and chase the stale winter out.  Spring is here at my house. 

It may not be totally spring in the UP yet but there is always hope it will come soon to stay.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Easter Haiku

                                                            His death on the cross
                                                           all our sins are forgiven
                                                             and we will be saved.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Haiku for Palm Sunday

                                                         The King comes this day
                                                          upon a donkey He rides
                                                            Palm Sunday is here.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

My Rosary

In times of stress, worry or fear, we all have something that brings us peace and comfort.  For small children, it can be a teddy bear or a nightlight.  As we get older, it can take the form of a well-worn quilt, a cup of our favorite tea, a cozy chair in a sunny corner or it can be a Bible with favorite scripture verses and prayers.

For me, it has always been the rosary.  I developed this love for the rosary as a young girl.  My mother as well as my grandmother and aunts had always felt that nothing could give one greater peace than the feeling of the beads moving across the fingers while silent prayers were spoken.  Many a time, my mother would begin a novena whenever she felt someone in the family was in need of extra help and not a night would go by that she would not pray the rosary before bed.  In the last weeks of her life, when the pain would get to be too much, she would always ask for her rosary.  Just holding it in her hand brought a sense of peace that was so very apparent on her face. 

I myself have a number of rosaries.  A pink one I received for my First Communion at the age of 7, one with irish green beads given to me by my husband as a reminder of my irish roots and one with beads carved into the shape of roses blessed by the Pope given to me by a priest friend after his trip to Rome.  However, the one which comforts me the most is a rosary made of blue glass.  It was my grandmother's and upon her death, it was given to my mother.  She never used that rosary.  She kept it in a small box in her jewelry case.  10 years ago, my mother gave it to me.  It goes with me everywhere.  It gives me great comfort just to hold it in my hand, feeling each bead just as my mother and grandmother had done in years past.  However, holding the rosary in my hand is really secondary to the prayers which are said with it.  Each prayer is another movement closer to our Lady.  Each prayer is a whisper for help, a call for understanding, a hope for clarity, a plea for intercedence.  It is the love in your mother's eyes as you confide in her, it is the soft touch of her hand when you feel so alone and it is the warmth of her arms hugging you when you are afraid.   It is a reminder that no matter what my life is throwing at me, my heavenly mother Mary will hear, understand and comfort me.

“The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families…that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.” -Sister Lucia dos Santos of Fatima

Friday, March 24, 2017

God's Hug (addendum)

I found this and decided this is something I need to remember when I am so overwhelmed with stress that I cannot sleep.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

God's Hug

The other night the stresses in my life overwhelmed me.  They overwhelmed me to the point that at 2 o'clock in the morning I found myself sitting at my dining room table with a cup of tea and my Bible instead of sleeping in my bed.  So many questions and worries were running thru my head that my brain just refused to shut off and let me sleep.  I thought of my dad, gone now over 20 years, and how, when I was a young girl, his tight bear hugs and the smell of his Old Spice aftershave made every worry just disappear.  Oh, how I missed that.  I called to him quietly at 2am and hoped he would hear me from heaven and send me some comfort.  I opened my Bible searching for the words of my heavenly Father that would bring me peace and found myself reading the words in Isaiah 41:13,

 "For I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'"

As I read His words, I felt a comforting warmth spread over me as if two strong arms had wrapped me in a protective hug.  I knew then that I could sleep and that the worries that had kept me awake would work themselves out with His help.  I am convinced that my cry for help was heard and that both my earthly father and my heavenly Father came to my rescue.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Lenten Inspiration 3/11/2017

"Lent is a favourable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ."-- Pope Francis

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Need To Apologize

Both my husband and I are retired, so we do all our banking, bill paying and grocery shopping at the beginning of the month.  Doing things on a once a month basis usually means that we spend a longer amount of time at the bank and the grocery store checkout.  Why I feel the need to apologize to people in line behind me or checking me out or helping with my groceries I do not know, but I do it (to the amusement of my husband).

Yesterday, we went to the bank first.  I had deposits to do, transfering of money from one account to another, money orders and double checking on my tax refund.  It didn't seem like it took a lot of time but I found myself turning at one point to the gentleman behind me and apologizing for having so much to do.  He smiled and said "no problem".  He also looked a bit confused as to why I apologized.  I don't know why I did it, I just did.

At the grocery store the same thing happened.  I shop only once a month therefore I have lots of groceries.  On top of that, I have become a coupon clipper since retiring. Now, I am not an extreme coupon clipper.  I do not carry around an entire book filled with coupons.  I mainly have about 15 to 20 with me when I shop.  However, after the woman checked my groceries thru and I handed her my coupons, I felt the need to turn to the woman standing behind me in line and offer my apologies for taking so long.  She smiled at me with the same confused look as the man at the bank.  When the man bagging my groceries offered to push the cart out to the pick up lane for me, I thanked him and then  apologized to him saying, "this is what happens when you only shop once a month".

My husband finds all this apologizing I do very amusing and in the past has asked why I do it.  But after 43 years of marriage, he has stopped asking.  He chalks it up to "Ellen being Ellen".  I don't know why I do it.  Most of the time, I don't notice I have done it until after the words are out of my mouth.  But I suppose I could be saying something worse so I am not going to worry about it.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Lenten Mission 2017

"We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures: we are the sum of the Father's love for us..."  St. Pope John Paul II

Lent is a time for reflection and self-examination. So I decided that as my Lenten mission I would spend each week of Lent choosing one word that I use to describe myself and then focusing on what God's perspective of that trait really is in His eyes.  So often I find that I define myself by the negative traits I have and wish to "fix" them but never really knowing where to start to accomplish it.  Instead of seeing myself as a sum of negative traits, I should be looking at how God sees me as His child.

Lenten week #1

I say: I have felt like a failure when objectives I want to accomplish just seem to fall apart.
God says: You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Philippians 4:13

Lenten week #2

I say: I have felt guilt about things I've done in the past, even though I've confessed it all as sin and don't do it anymore.
God says: I blot out your sins and remember them no more. Isaiah 43:25

Lenten week #3

I say: Sometimes I have felt so unlovable. How can God possibly keep on loving me?
God says: Nothing can separate us from his love. Romans 8:38-39

Lenten week #4

I say: I tend to be such an insecure person at times.
God says: The righteous are as bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:1

Lenten week #5

I say:  Sometimes I am so unforgiving, holding grudges against those who I believe have hurt me.
God says: Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. Ephesians 4:32

Holy Week

We say:  I have felt alone and depressed.
God says:  I command you; be firm and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord. your God, is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

God sees us as his treasures, his children.

Search the scriptures to learn more about how God sees you and ask him to help you see yourself through his eyes.  Then will you understand your true identity in Him.

(I wish to apologize for not giving credit where credit is due.  The original basis for my Lenten post came from the following website   
I liked the post so much that I took it and tailored it to fit me.  I apologize again for not citing the website.)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Presidents' Day 2017

Presidents' Day was established not to only honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln whose birthdays are celebrated this month but also to honor all the Presidents who have taken on the monumental task of running our country.  Although much can be said about all the Presidents both positive and negative, we all have our favorites.  I will not go into who are my favorites and why.  I am avoiding politics these days.  Instead, I would like to share a favorite quote by President Abraham Lincoln

                                      "I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.
                                       I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him."
                                                                                                          --Abraham Lincoln

Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

I wrote the following post for the school newsletter when I was working as a teacher.  A friend reprinted it in the church newsletter this year as well as posting it on facebook (with my permission, of course).  I want to share it with you on this Valentine's Day.


Valentines! Who can resist them? Valentines help us to remember family and friends. But what about the valentines God sends?God sends valentines? Why not? Valentines are expressions of love and God loves us all. So why wouldn't God send us valentines, not just on Valentine's Day but all year long! Think about how many ways God sends you valentines -- expressing His love for you. Look at all of creation around you, look into the eyes of smiling children, feel the warmth of a friend's arm around you when life is disappointing, listen to the laughter of a new baby or the stories told by grandparents, feel the peace that fills your soul when you sit in church and listen to God's Holy Word. These are just a few of the valentines God sends you each and every day. So when February 14th comes and goes and the flowers have lost their blooms, the candy has all been eaten and the paper valentines have been tucked away, remember there is One who will continue to send you expressions of His love, if you will only take the time to receive them.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Advice Sharing

The following was on facebook last night and I thought it was an appropriate way to handle the political situation that is stressing out so many people including my husband and myself.  Politics in the last few weeks has gotten so bad that my husband and I only watch local news and are allowing ourselves one rant about the republican government once per day with a time limit of 5 minutes.  We have found this to be a good way to lower our blood pressure on the topic. 

What do you think of the following advice?

Some Wise Advice Circulating:
1. Don't use his name;
2. Remember this is a regime and he's not acting alone;
3. Do not argue with those who support him--it doesn't work;
4. Focus on his policies, not his orange-ness and mental state;
5. Keep your message positive; they want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow;
6. No more helpless/hopeless talk;
7. Support artists and the arts;
8. Be careful not to spread fake news. Check it;
9. Take care of yourselves; and
Keep demonstrations peaceful. In the words of John Lennon, "When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game.The establishment will irritate you - pull your beard, flick your face - to make you fight! Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor."

When you post or talk about him, don't assign his actions to him, assign them to "The Republican Administration," or "The Republicans." This will have several effects: the Republican legislators will either have to take responsibility for their association with him or stand up for what some of them don't like; he will not get the focus of attention he craves; Republican representatives will become very concerned about their re-elections. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Inspiration desperately needed!

With everything that has been happening in the news in the last week, I found myself searching for an inspiration that will speak to me, sustain me and give me strength to cope with the coming days, weeks, months and 4 years.  I found that inspiration in Jeremiah.

“‘For I know well the plans I have in mind for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.’” —Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, January 16, 2017

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2017

 "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right."

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

HEALTH is my word for 2017

I resolve to be more healthy in mind, body and spirit in the year 2017.

I will be healthier in body by reworking my diet to include more healthy
foods and less junk.  To put more good nutritional value into my body and
less negative nutrition in.  I will move more even though arthritic knees and
an overweight body screams "NO!".  I will be more responsible in taking my
prescribed medications knowing they are an added value to my good health.

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have
been purchased at a price.  Therefore glorify God in your body."
1 Cor 6:19-20

I will be healthier in mind by using my strengths in my creativity and
intelligence that will exercise my brain power.  Some of these activities will
include:  reading, puzzles, genealogy, needlework, blogging/journaling.

"Anxiety in a man's heart depresses it.  But a kindly word makes
it glad."  Proverbs 12:25

I will be healthy in spirit by moving forward in my spiritual life.  I have not had
a church for 2 years and it is something I miss very much.  I will begin my journey
to find a new and welcoming church to be a part of.  I will start/join a Bible study
group.  I am interested in studying women of the Bible from Eve to Mary.

"Train yourself for devotion, for, physical training is of limited value, but
devotion is much more valuable in every respect, since it holds promise
of life for the present and for the future."  1 Timothy 4:7-8

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Is There Anyone Out There?

I have been writing this blog for a year now and although I have gotten comments from one or two people (comments I appreciate very much), I wonder if there is anyone out there reading what I write.  Am I writing for anyone else or am I writing to myself?