Monday, October 31, 2011


There are those friends that will always be there for you, that you can count on no matter what, a true friend that wants only good for you.  Treasure them because they are forever.  Time and distance can't change that.  I've been very blessed to have such friends. They have helped me through some very difficult times.  Thank you for being there for me and loving me for who I was and am.  I love you equally.  My prayers and thanks go out to you. God knows the good  in your heart for being such a friend.

Be happy and God bless you.


Hard, hard lesson

Grandpa Wiebenga and  my sister Doris on our front step.  
My grandpa was a big, beer drinkin’, grumpy Dutchman who always said what he thought.  He was the very special man in my life that made me feel special.  He was my step grandfather, but I never thought of him that way in that he never made me feel like we were not of the same blood.  He spoiled us and made me laugh.   He was not afraid of show us open affection.   Others may have seen him very differently and I now look back and think that many adults may not have liked him because of his curtness, but children see very differently especially when they are spoiled and sugared up.  He traveled from Illinois to see us almost every week end and he would take as many of us kids that wanted to go to Martha’s in Hurstville.  We would sit up to the bar and drink all the pop we wanted and eat candy and chips.  He bought me my first bike and first party dress.  These were luxuries that my parents could not afford.  I still have the beautiful yellow party dress packed away as a memory of him.  He died when I was a teen ager.  His death was the first real death I remember dealing with.  It was very hard on me and I grieved his death for many years.

The great lesson he taught me was a hard lesson, but he taught it well and I’ll never forget it.  It was my birthday and I was sitting on his lap.  He asked me what I wanted for my birthday and being a polite child, I said “nothing”.  He pulled out a beautiful birthstone ring and said “Oh, I got this for you, but since you don’t want it, I will take it back.”  And he did.  It hurt, but I learned if you want something then ask for it.  I did later in life go out and buy myself a birthstone ring because I really wanted it and as a reminder of the lesson.  The lesson is how are people to know what you want if you don’t ask for it?  I love and miss you grandpa even after 50 years.

Another lesson is that sometimes the harder the lesson the quicker you learn from it.  In this case, I sure did.

Be happy and God bless you.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Isn’t it interesting to be in the same room with people and experiencing the same moment and people see and hear things very differently.  Good listener, bad listener, points of interest noted, humor, compassion, etc. determine what one hears and says.  One person does not pick up on a conversation because it is of no interest to them.  Another listens very closely because they care about what is being said and respects the person saying it.  The conversation triggers a thought and other person's  mind races onto something else then not hearing what is being said. The next person listens because there is humor in what is being said.  We all can hear the same thing and yet hear it very differently or not at all.  I consider myself a good listener, but I have my own prejudices which can come into play when I listen so recognize that I don’t always hear what was intended (plus I have developed a hearing loss at my age).  One of the most dangerous things of all is to attempt to read between the lines as we listen because we can’t really be sure if we are correct.  I try to just listen openly so I can to continue to call myself a good listener (try be a key word).  I noticed lately that good listeners are getting harder to find.  In thinking about this, I’ve come to the conclusion that we are all just hearing differently because of who we are, our attitudes towards other, and our interest in the subject matter, etc.

I come from a very large family and learned early in my life if I wanted to be heard I had to talk louder than my siblings.  Often we would all be talking at the same time.  Later in life, I thought that I was speaking too loudly so made a point of trying to talk quieter.  Recognizing now that how loud I am is not as important as what I am saying, what I am saying, and is it being heard correctly.  Words are powerful and words misunderstood or not heard correctly can be hurtful.  I want to focus on having my words heard correctly, not just heard.  I’m going to notice my surroundings and pick my words carefully.  I’m going to work more on stopping and thinking before I speak and I’m going to continue to work on my listening skills still recognizing that is very hard sometimes.

You are beautiful!!!!

You are unique
You are special
You are created in God's image
You are ok
Don't let anyone tell you other wise.
Walk tall and be proud of who you are.

Dear God,
In this moment, I hold your acceptance.
You love me completely, just as I am.
You see my great potential within,
and you nurture my heart.
In this moment, I let your acceptance be my own.
I accept others as yours.
I hold high everyone’s inner greatness,
always seeking to serve the highest and best within all people.


Be happy and God bless you.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I am who I am because of the choices I have made in life.  I’ll confess that I have made some pretty bad ones over the years, but they have made me who I am.  All my life experiences add up to the person I am and I love myself unconditionally even though I’m far from perfect and have made many mistakes.  God forgives me and I forgive myself.  Luckily I have been gifted with the ability to learn from poor choices and grow and learn.  I’ll continue to make bad choices in my life, but I believe at this point in my life I’ll make many more good choices than bad.  Believing is half the battle.

Be happy and God bless you.

Be Strong

Easier said than done isn't it?  I know how hard it can be.  Life is hard work.  I tell my grandsons often that life is not fare and don't expect it to be.   I often fall or take a step backwards, but in the end I always find the courage to go forward.  There is no alternative that is acceptable to me.  Surround yourself with positive people, have great faith and believe in yourself is what works for me.  Positive people will help you want to go forward.  God will give you more strength than you will ever know and if you continue to believe in yourself how can you fail?  And if you do, that is ok.  Pull yourself up and learn from it.  Abraham Lincoln failed over and over again most of his life. His life was filled with heart ache after heart ache. Look at the great world hero he became because he kept going forward and dealt with the present.  I find that in most of my heroes.

The hardest lesson for me and it took most of my adult life to really learn this lesson is that you must stay away from negative people.  You can not be strong when you are surrounded by them.  They suck needed energy from you, and life is tough enough without the good being sucked out of you. They do not want you to succeed.    If you have people in your life that say you can't, or shouldn't, or that put you down you need to seriously look at whether they should have a part in your life.  That does not mean that you do not have to respect and care about all people, it just means pick your battles carefully and wisely.  I found myself being strong for others and not for myself and it left very little for me when I needed to call upon it.  Hard, hard lesson to learn but I have learned it.  I'm very selfish about who I lend my strength to now.  It helps when it is appreciated and really needed.  Make sure you save some for yourself.

There are people that are so unhappy with their life that they hate everything and everybody.  You can't change them.  You can only change yourself.  Let these people be a very small part or have no part in your life if possible.  I'm sorry to say, there are an awful lot of them in the world so you can't avoid them entirely.   Stay away from all pessimists as much as you can.  It is the optimists that will bring strength and happiness to your life.   I hope you have a pool of optimists to call upon.  If not, start looking for more.

Be strong and God bless you.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Common Sense??????

Do you think that common sense is all that common?  I don't believe it is any more.  It seems to be a rare commodity.  I prefer to call it God's sense because he seems to only be blessing a few with it making it very uncommon.  Many of our politicians and government people making decisions sure are lacking in it and it shows in that they are hurting people, not helping them.  It is simple, it is about people, not the politicians.   We can't hurt the poorest of the poor, the helpless, the ill, the vets who have earned much more than they ever have received, the seniors who have worked for a lifetime, and the disabled.  God, please gift a few more people with your sense and make our politicians mindful they need to serve all the people wisely and with compassion.


This day is full of beauty and adventure,
help me Lord to be fully alive to it all.
During this day, may I become a more thoughtful person,
a more prayerful person, a more generous and kindly person.
Help me not to be turned in on myself but
to be sensitive and helpful to others.
Let me do nothing today that will hurt anyone,
but let me help at least a little,
to make life more pleasant for those I meet.

When night comes, may I look back on this day without regrets; and may nobody be unhappy because of anything
I have said or done.

Lord God, bless this day for me and all of us.
Make it a day in which I will grow.


Great way to start your day.  Be happy and God bless you.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


The difficulties in life are meant to make us better, not bitter...

You Rock

You are unique and special.  There is no one else on this earth with your talents, life experiences and special qualities.  Embrace them and love yourself for who you are.  Continue to grow and become the even better person you can be.  You Rock!!!!!!!

Be happy and God bless you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Amazing People

I'd like to start including information on some amazing people that have become my heroes.   My heroes all seem to be people who have overcome overwhelming odds and have done great things with their lives.  We all have it in us if we have the courage.

Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt movement in Kenya in 1977, which has planted more than 10 million trees to prevent soil erosion and provide firewood for cooking fires. A 1989 United Nations report noted that only 9 trees were being replanted in Africa for every 100 that were cut down, causing serious problems with deforestation: soil runoff, water pollution, difficulty finding firewood, lack of animal nutrition, etc.

The program has been carried out primarily by women in the villages of Kenya, who through protecting their environment and through the paid employment for planting the trees are able to better care for their children and their children's future.

Born in 1940 in Nyeri, Wangari Maathai was able to pursue higher education, a rarity for girls in rural areas of Kenya. She earned her biology degree from Mount St. Scholastica College in Kansas and a master's degree at the University of Pittsburgh.

When she returned to Kenya, Wangari Maathai worked in veterinary medicine research at the University of Nairobi, and eventually, despite the skepticism and even opposition of the male students and faculty, was able to earn a Ph.D. there. She worked her way up through the academic ranks, becoming head of the veterinary medicine faculty, a first for a woman at any department at that university.

Wangari Maathai's husband ran for Parliament in the 1970s, and Wangari Maathai became involved in organizing work for poor people and eventually this became a national grass-roots organization, providing work and improving the environment at the same time. The project has made significant headway against Kenya's deforestation.

Wangari Maathai continued her work with the Green Belt Movement, and working for environmental and women's causes. She also served as national chairperson for the National Council of Women of Kenya.
In 1997 Wangari Maathai ran for the presidency of Kenya, though the party withdrew her candidacy a few days before the election without letting her know; she was defeated for a seat in Parliament in the same election.

In 1998, Wangari Maathai gained worldwide attention when the Kenyan President backed development of a luxury housing project and building began by clearing hundreds of acres of Kenya forest.

In 1991, Wangari Maathai was arrested and imprisoned; an Amnesty International letter-writing campaign helped free her. In 1999 she suffered head injuries when attacked while planting trees in the Karura Public Forest in Nairobi, part of a protest against continuing deforestation. She was arrested numerous times by the government of Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi.

In January, 2002, Wangari Maathai accepted a position as Visiting Fellow at Yale University's Global Institute for Sustainable Forestry.

In December, 2002, Wangari Maathai was elected to Parliament, as Mwai Kibabi defeated Maathai's long-time political nemesis, Daniel arap Moi, for 24 years the President of Kenya. Kibabi named Maathai as Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife in January, 2003.

On October 8, 2004, Maathai was the recipient of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her contributions to sustainable development, democracy and peace.  She became the first African woman, and the first environmentalist, to win the prize.

Wangari Maathai died in Nairobi in 2011 of cancer.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


 "Life will only come once, so make the most out of it."

"God didn't give us all things to enjoy life, but life to enjoy all things."

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

"Mistakes are not intended to down us rather they make us stronger."

"God sometimes puts us in the dark for us to see the light."

 "God is able to do immeasurable deeds."

"Where God guides, He always provides."

 "God's help is only a prayer away."

 "God without man is still God. Man without God is nothing."

"Prayer changes things."

Monday, October 24, 2011


I wear a silver crucifix around my neck every day, but not to show others or as a piece of jewelry.  I wear it to remind me what Christ did for me.  He loved me so much he died on the cross for me.  My crucifix is a constant reminder of his love for me.  I wear it on a long chain so I can see it often and when ever I see it, I take it in my hands and thank Him or ask Him for His love and strength.   It is a great trigger to bring prayer to mind more often.

Years ago when I taught CCD 7th grade classes, I told the class the story of the woman willing to walk with a pebble in her shoe to show her love for Jesus.  I had gathered a lot of small pebbles and gave them to the youth to paint a cross on so they could carry it in their pocket to remind them of His love for us.  Whether you are Christain or not, we all need something to give us strength.   I hope that everyone has someone or something like my crucifix or the pebbles that they can call upon when they have a need to be reminded where they can find strength and love.  If not, put a pebble in your pocket.  It sure makes life easier for me because I know I am always loved and He walks with me at all times.  He is a constant in my life that I can always call upon.

Be happy and God bless you.   


I'm passing this on from Stephen, a foster son of mine.   I’m so proud of him.  He is a real hero.   Thank you, thank you, thank you for your service Stephen and Andrew and all the others who have served in our completely volunteer Army!!!!!!  May God speed our proud soldiers who will soon be coming home from Iraq.  Make sure you honor and thank any one you know that is serving or has served for you.  They need to hear it.  

I don't know if Stephen wrote this or who wrote it, but it needed said.  It is very well written.

"In World War II, 11.2% of the nation served in four years. In Vietnam, 4.3% served in 12 years. Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War on Terror. These are unbelievable statistics. Over time, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting worse. Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10% veterans with only one person having a child in the military. Taxes did not increase to pay for the war. War bonds were not sold. Gas was not regulated. In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen to out of the goodness of their hearts. The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their families. The volunteers. The people who swore an oath to defend this nation. You. You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on. You’ve lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart from kids you’ll never get back, and beaten your body in a way that even professional athletes don’t understand. And you come home to a nation that doesn’t understand. They don’t understand suffering. They don’t understand sacrifice. They don’t understand that bad people exist. They look at you like you’re a machine – like something is wrong with you. You are the misguided one – not them. When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan because YOU WERE THERE and can’t understand the “macro” issues they gathered from books with your bias. You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at that. Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and your pay, while they ask you to do more. But the amazing thing about you is that you all know this. You know your country will never pay back what you’ve given up. You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them. Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than normal for having worn the uniform. But you do it anyway. You do what the greatest men and women of this country have done since 1775 – YOU SERVED. Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group. Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few. You are the 0.45%"
Stephen in Iraq.

Andrew in Iraq

Sunday, October 23, 2011


“We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.” –Dalai Lama

A hug is a powerful way to communicate your caring for another person, and it can feel great and greatly improve one’s mood. 

A good hug should let you feel someone’s heartbeat. The kind that tells the other person you’d hold them up if they needed it. The kind that says we’re not so different and I have faith in you.   Hugs are good  for you. Scientific studies have shown that hugs help us. Four hugs are said to be necessary daily for our survival; eight are suggested as the amount needed for good maintenance, and twelve hugs are said to be the level required for growth in an infant.  Have you had your daily recommended allowance of hugs today?  Maybe that is what is wrong with the world.  Hugs are deeply embedded in some cultures and is part of a greeting between two people.  We definitely need more hugging in the world.

Studies have proved that oxytocin levels are increased through hugging, and that this is especially beneficial for women.  Oxytocin is a "bonding" hormone. The hugs also reduced blood pressure in this study, reducing the risk of heart disease.  A good hug should last at least 6 seconds to really get the oxytocin levels to increase. 

Like a good laugh, a good old-fashioned hug is something that is such a simple fix for today’s complex lives.
Who can you hug? (Make sure you have their blessing though.  Don't be afraid to ask.)  Hugs, they are a very necessary part of our life.  How are you going to get your 12 hugs a day?  I need to work on it too.  I need my grandkids around me everyday.

Serious Business

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."  ~ Victor Hugo

Life is too often serious business so you need to be able to laugh as often as possible.  I usually laugh even when life is serious.  It helps me handle the rough times.  Abraham Lincoln said:  "With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die."   I try to find something funny in the situation and the bad medicine goes down easier.  It is also important that you be able to laugh at yourself.  There sure are a lot of examples I can give you because I laugh at myself often.  I'll share one of my "Lives Most Embarrassing Moments" stories.  While vacuuming my car out at the local car wash wearing a very full skirt, the powerful vacuum hose caught my skirt and sucked it up showing a lot of legs (I mean a lot of leg!).  There was a battle to get my skirt out of the very strong suction.  Of course, there are on lookers to laugh at my predicament.  I could have been devastated or see the humor in it.  I chose to laugh at it and tell the story the rest of the day to everyone who would listen about my newest “most embarrassing moment” story.   Remember, to gain control release control or fake it until you make it.  

"The most wasted of all days is that in which we have not laughed."  ~ Nicolas Chamfort

Laugh, be happy and God bless you. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ol' Lady Pants

Saw this picture and I just had to share.  I feel sorry for the women that wear thongs.  I personally am glad I am an old lady now and get to wear comfort rather than something that appeals to a man.   One of the funniest lines I ever heard on TV was from the Drew Carey Show when Drew was dating an older woman and one of his sidekicks said “You mean you saw old ladies pants!”  I laughed out loud just hearing it and still remember it years later and laugh.  I confess that I wear them, love the comfort of cotton and consider myself lucky to be 65 and able to make such choices.  It ain’t all bad being old.

Laugh, be happy and God bless you.

PS:  I wear ol' lady comfortable shoes too.  Poor girls that wear those high spike heals.  My mom still tells me at my age to wear "comfortable walking shoes".  I wear flip flops as long as I can get away with it in Iowa's weather and she thinks they are dangerous.  See, I'm becoming an ol' lady like her.  I'm so proud!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Grandma's Rule

A friend posted this on Facebook this morning and it made me laugh.  I had to share it.  When I took my last foster parenting class and discipline was discussed, they explained that when talking to a children and having to explain something that you could always impose "Grandma's Rule".  Grandma's rule is you do not have to explain anything, you just have to say "Grandma said so!"  Don't you just love it?  Thou shall honor your mother and father sure works for me.  I use it and it makes me happy!  I think the older I get the more I will use Grandma's rule.  Isn't it great?

Be happy and God bless you.

Mindless Entertainment

Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty when they say you should not be doing something that is fun or makes you happy.  When you were a baby, you were amused and laughed at silly things like people playing peek-a-boo or you tossing something on the floor and people picking it up over and over again.  Somewhere along the line, people are discouraged from finding simple joy in what I call mindless entertainment.  We do not always need to be productive.  So go ahead and enjoy it (as long as it is legal).  We all need simple things in our lives that give us pleasure without much effort on our part.  I play games on my computer, friends of mine like to read love stories, my mother and sisters enjoy watching NACAR, my sons enjoy watching sports.  It all adds up to you finding enjoyment and happiness from very little physical or mental effort and usually at little or no cost.  We all have our own entertainment that brings us pleasure so go do it.  You owe it to yourself.

What’s your pleasure?  Be happy and God bless you.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cherokee Legend

In my genealogy research, my great grandfather was Cherokee so I love it when I come across a Cherokee story.  Will share one today.

Cherokee Indian Youth's Rite of Passage

A Cherokee Indian boy's father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him, and leaves him alone.   He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sunshine show through it.  He cannot cry out for help to anyone.  Once he survives the night, he is a man.  He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each boy must come into manhood on his own.  The boy is naturally terrified.  He can hear all kinds of noises.  Wild beasts must surely be all around him.  Maybe even some human might do him harm.  The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold.  It would be the only way he could become a man!  Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold.  It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him.  He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We too are never alone.  Even when we don't know it, The Great Spirit is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.  Just because you can't see God, doesn't mean He is not there. 'For we walk by faith, not by sight.'

Lucky vs. Unlucky

Some people may say they are unlucky because they have never won anything or life has been kinder to other people.  I stop and look at people in 3rd world nations, or people that have just lost everything  because of some terrible happening like a tornado, fire, earthquake, etc.   I am so lucky because I have more than so many.  It is the glass half full or half empty philosophy.  I want to look at my glass being ½ full.  It really has been more than ½ full in comparison to the majority of people in this world.  I was lucky enough to have a mother and stepfather who provided me and my 7 brothers and sisters with all we needed.  I knew I was loved. They taught me a strong work ethic and values that have made life good for me.  I had a home that I’m lucky enough to still go back to.  My mother is still living and lives in my childhood home. I was born in the United States of America and was given an excellent education.  I was blessed with 2 sons I adore and grandchildren that are my life.  God has blessed me with good health even though he blessed me with the challenge of my grandmother’s and father’s diabetes.   Oh I’m am very, very lucky.  Thank you God for all you have given me and mine. Thank you also for the hard time to make me know good times.

Take a long look at all you have to be thankful for and what makes you lucky.  Are you an optimist or a pessimist on life?  Pessimists are seldom happy.   Don’t look at the bottom on the glass, only the top half.  If you are looking at the bottom you might want to re-evaluate your life.  Take control, make some changes, and become a happier person.

Be happy and God bless you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Beginnings

In order to know happiness you need to also know sadness, hurt and pain.  Unless you know hurt, you can't know it's opposite happiness or appreciate it.  After going through bad times, you need to be able to get past them and allow yourself new experiences to return to happiness.

I went through a painful marriage and divorce and it took away almost all of my self esteem. Starting all over and beginning again was terrifying. Thank God for giving me a son, because it is through my son I started to regain my self esteem.  I had to support him so worked hard and through my job my self esteem grew even greater.  You need to take small steps and keep doing the best you can and most of all, pat yourself on the back when you take a step.  I realized I was a good mother giving me strength to make life better for both of us.  I loved my job because it made it possible for me to support my son and myself and it showed me I had great worth.  I was good at what I did and my self esteem just kept on growing until I could look forward and not have to look at the past, the hurt, or the pain.

My lesson is that you must know sadness to know joy.  You must know hurt to know happiness.  You must pat yourself on the back, because often no one else will.  Your road to happiness is to take small steps that you can be successful at so your self esteem can continue to grow and take pride in who you are.  Do not stand still any longer than necessary.  Keep taking those small steps forward.

Also remember happiness is sometimes very small things all around us.  Take time to look for it and appreciate it.  Peace is a very quiet happiness.  I find peace in a thousand little things a day and it all adds up to a happy day.

Be happy and God bless you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another Happy Memory

Yesterday while watching an old black and white movie, the Iowa Corn Song was sung and it brought back a flood of wonderful childhood memories.  Born and raised in Iowa and being proud to be from Iowa, as children we would sing this song loud and proud.  I thought I would share the Iowa Song with you today since it brings a smile to my face.  If you are from Iowa and even if you're not, sing it loud and proud.  Iowa is a wonderful place to grow up and raise children.  You must love snow though.  Being brought up here, I love my 4 seasons.  With the fall the farmers are in the fields now busy picking corn and beans and our trees are wonderful colors.

Iowa Corn Song     
    Let's sing of Grand old I-O-Way,
    Yo-Ho, yo-ho, yo-ho
    Our love is strong-er ev-'ry day,
    Yo-Ho, yo-ho, yo-ho
    So come a-long and join the throng,
    Sev-'ral hun-dred thou-sand strong
    As you come just sing this song,
    Yo-Ho, yo-ho, yo-ho
    We're from I-O-way, I-O-way.
    State of all the land,
    Joy on ev-'ry hand.
    We're from I-O-way, I-O-way.
    That's where the tall corn grows
    Our land is full of ripe-ning corn,
    Yo-Ho, yo-ho, yo-ho
    We've watched it grow both night and morn,
    Yo-Ho, yo-ho, yo-ho
    But now we rest, we've stood the test.
    All that's good we have the best
    I-O-way has reached the crest,
    Yo-Ho, yo-ho, yo-ho
    We're from I-O-way, I-O-way.
    State of all the land,
    Joy on ev-'ry hand.
    We're from I-O-way, I-O-way.
    That's where the tall corn grows
    We're from I-O-way, I-O-way.
    State of all the land,
    Joy on ev-'ry hand.
    We're from I-O-way, I-O-way.
    That's where the tall corn grows

What songs trip a great memory for you?

Be happy and God bless you.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Small Wonders

We all have big wonders in our life like family and friends, but I was giving some thought to the small wonders in my life that bring great memories and happiness just thinking about it, listening to it, see it, or touching it.  We all have a memory of our most favorite song that gives us pleasure each time we hear it (or have to sing along with it); greatest thing you ever ate; greatest movie you ever saw and could see over and over again; heroes, mentors, etc.  Thought I'd share some of mine with you.  Would love to hear some of yours.

Greatest Movie - Grapes of Wrath.  Love all the writings of Steinbeck.  Love this movie because of the great black and white photography, the actors, and the story line.  Just a great, great movie.  My second would be Jane Eyre.  Another old black and white with a young Orson Wells in it.  Both equally as sad.

Greatest Food I ever ate -  When I was young my Grandma Lindley fixed sweet breads.  My granddad was a butcher and farmer and nothing went to waste.  I did not know what I was eating, but the memory of the taste still lives with me over 55 years later.  I wonder if I would love them as much if I had them now?  Second would have to be my mother's homemade chicken and noodles (made with much love to make it twice as good).

Greatest Song - I can't hear Sitting on the Dock of the Bay by Ottis Reading without breaking into song.  And God help you if you are near by and have to listen to me cause I can't sing.  Second would have to be You're my Soul and my Inspiration by the Righteous Brothers.  Don't think the Righteous Brothers ever made a song I didn't like.

Greatest singer - Love Muddy Waters and B. B. King.  Don't know why people have to use alcohol or drugs to get high.  I can get high just listening to them sing.  Eddie and Staci took me to see B.B. when he was over 80 years old.  That man can still sing.  What a wonderful memory!!!!

Greatest book -  Think I talked about favorite books in an earlier blog.  I had to look at favorites by decades.  Always looking for that very favorite.  If I have to pick right now I would say Hawaii because it was like 3 or 4 books in one.  Love books that have to do with history.

Greatest author - John Steinbeck's books:  Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, East of Eden, and  Tortilla Flat.  I love the way he talks about humanity or lack of humanity.

Greatest Poet -  Maya Angelou.  She also wrote several books I love.  She is one of my heroes that I admire greatly.

Greatest Artist -  With prejudice, I have to say Grant Wood.  Since he lived near Maquoketa in Anamosa and is considered one of America's greatest, I admit that it is not the art alone that I pick him.  He tells wonderful stories in his art work.  Visit Anamosa's Pumpkin Festival in October and you can visit where he had his artist colony.  I enjoyed the tour.  Of course, my really favorite artists, without saying, are my son Eddie and my grandsons.  My home is filled with their art.  They really are very talented.

Favorite TV Show -  My two favorite TV shows have been cancelled.  I loved Monk and still am able to catch some of his old reruns once in awhile.  I was lost when they cancelled Lost.  It controlled my life.  I dropped everything and managed my life around it.  Maybe it was a good thing that happened.  Right now I can't say there is much TV that manages my life.  I do like Kathy Bate's new show Harry's Law.  I really like her as an actress.  I watch a great deal of TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and the Food Channel when I watch TV.

Favorite hobby - My genealogy research is my favorite.   I have not burnt out on this hobby yet like I have many.  Again, it has to do with history and I can place my family in history going back many centuries.  It is my proud heritage and legacy to my children and grandchildren.

Each of these are great wonders to me and bring me much pleasure.  If I had to do my top 10 of each or even 20, I would have a long list of things that bring me pleasure.  I have a lot of pleasure right at hand if I just pick it up.  What wondrous joys I have awaiting.

Be happy and God bless you.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


What does Sunday mean to you?  It has changed over the years to me as I have grown older.  As a child, it was a day of Sunday School and a Sunday chicken dinner with all 8 of us kids eating together (mom always ate after we were all fed).  As a young adult it meant church and a free day to hang with friends.  As a young mother, it meant taking kids to church and visiting my dad in a nursing home after church.  It now means spending part of my day with my immediate family.  I miss the Sunday dinners.  Maybe it is time to look at old traditions that have fallen away and try to bring them back.  I'm going to give that some thought.  With traditions come happy memories.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I took my grandson Saylor to our Little Bear Park today and as I sat there on this beautiful day, I reflected on how amazing it is that kids raised money for this park to be built and the community built it through volunteer work.  It is amazing what can be accomplished when people set a goal and work together.  It was a lot of money and hard work, but the park stands in tribute to the kids and community people that wanted it for our children.  Many life lessons in it.  It is all about community.

Be happy and God bless you.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Letter to my grandsons

I have told you how much I love you and how much joy you give me, but I don't think you can ever really know how deep that love and joy is.  Spending time with you gives me so much joy.  You fill my heart.  Going longer than a week without seeing you is unbearable for you are my greatest happiness.  I think of you many times during the day and you bring a smile to my face just to think of you.  You are one of my greatest blessing.  God truly blessed me when he gave me you 4 boys to love and to love me back.  You are my legacy to the world and I know you will do me proud.  I am so proud of you now. 

Always be happy and may God bless you.

My 4 hearts:  Sam (Dear Heart), Sawyer (Tender Heart), Sal (Sweet Heart), Saylor (Brave Heart)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Life's Great Moments

Remember when you used to play in the leaves.  We would rake high piles and jump in them or make and design the outline of a house.  We found great fun in playing outside and at no cost.  We need to get back to those simple things again.  Happiness doesn't cost money.

We'd play hide and seek with the neighbor kids at dusk.  We were very lucky because our neighborhood had so many kids.  We hated to go in at night.  We would pull our sleds to the top of our dead end hill and go all the way down the block.  If we got up enough speed maybe we made it to the next hill and did 2 block.  We'd hang onto each other feed and do a snake on our sleds.  We would play baseball in the vacant lot with dads on Sunday or go down and help the old farmer behind us feed his chicken.  We built a hut out of branches and new grass clipping in the vacant lot. We always had wonderful adventures that did not cost a dime.  Our children, through television and the media have been sold a bill of goods that they need video games, expensive toys and equipment to play to be happy.  I'm as guilty as the rest buying things for my kids and grandchildren.  I'm now trying to create experiences and memories that will last much longer than a thing.  My time is my gift to them.

Saylor and Josh making a snowman together.  It was free !

Through our failures we learn and grow, making failure a good thing.  Just make sure you learn from them and not keep making the same mistakes.  Remember "Insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results."  Failure can be a stepping stone to where you want to be.  

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Each one of them is Jesus in disguise."  Mother Teresa.   Remember that when we touch other people's lives.

One of my great Heroes.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Watched Music Man today and they have a great line in it which says: "Make today a day to remember".  It would be nice if we could do that with all days.  We need to make as many days as possible special to have great memories to remember.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Oh Happy Day

Grandson Sal spending the weekend.  Josh, Sal and I picked up my foster son Donny (lived with me for over 6 year). He now lives in Mt. Vernon at a group home. We spent the day at Palisades Park on the Cedar River picnicking.  Beautiful day, beautiful weather, beautiful park.  Think we all got our daily recommended happiness allowance.  I told Sal about Donny's handicaps before we got there to prepare him and later realized that was not necessary.  On the way home, Sal said "I don't care about Donny's handicaps.  I really like him."  All 3 boys filled my heart today.  That is them over by the rapids in the upper right corner.  They're so tiny you can hardly see them.  The fall color only added to the experience.

Friday, October 7, 2011


No one has ever called me a perfectionist and I have never wanted to be one.  I do my best and that is good enough.  The Shakers deliberately introduced a mistake into what they made to show that man shouldn't aspire to the perfection of God.  Flaws can be beautiful.  God did not make me great at anything, but He did gift me with a lot of little gifts.  With the gifts and lessons I have been taught by my parents and experiences, I have adopted the philosophy: in the whole scheme of things, does it really matter a day from today or next year.  That has been a good philosophy to live by.  I'm not sure how a perfectionist can enjoy life.  Remember mistakes build character.

Be happy and God bless you.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Memory Boxes

I recently read that a person should keep memory boxes and thought wow I am really on the ball.  I have been doing it for years and even made them for my grandchildren.   I have collected old hat boxes for myself and they are filled with little things that I have saved to remember a very special moment in my life that made me very happy.  Going through them on occasion brings the nice memory back and makes me happy all over again.  It is like banking happiness. What treasures I have collected.  They have some beautiful boxes now at your arts and crafts stores that work great for memory boxes.  The ones I made for my grandchildren were made with them in mind to store there early memories.

Short and sweet today.

Be happy and God bless you.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Food = Happiness

Food can make people happy for many reasons.  The sharing of food with friends or family is usually a happy experience.  If there is a gathering it is always made better with food.  Eating great food can give you much pleasure.  As you can see, I must be quite happy from my size and love of eating.  In my life, food often equates happiness and pleasure.  It calls up many wonderful past memories.  I'm sure some people might argue some of this, but they haven't had my mother's chicken and noodles.  They scream love and happiness to anyone who eats them.  Only a happy cook can make great food.

PS:  Make that chocolate and I'm in heaven!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Life, A Social Experiment

Tonight my son Eddie and I were talking about my grandson Sam losing his football game and how it would be a social experiment on how he took the loss.  I told Eddie all of life is a social experiment.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Enjoy life by doing something you love.  I have an obsessive personality so usually become obsessed with new interests I love.  When I learned how to crochet, I made an afghan for each of my 5 sisters and 1 for my mother.  I crocheted baby blankets until I was burnt out but really enjoyed it while I was doing it.  I have done some creative quilting for my grandchildren and special babies in my life.  It has allowed me to use my art and sewing skills to give a very special love quilt to a baby I love that was joining my life.
The last quilt I made.  I made this baby quilt for Olivia, my foster son Andy's little girl.  She likes giraffes.   Picture does not show it well, but the giraffe is holding an embroidered sign with her name on it.
I used to do a lot of cross stitch and embroidery but I burnt myself out on both.  I do not have one thing I made for myself.  I gave them all away as gifts.  That also gave me much pleasure, the giving of a gift filled with much love I put into something.

I love to garden, but can't do as much as I used to.  There is something about getting dirty and producing your own food.  I love to can and look at the bounty of my work.  I love to grow herbs and dry them for the winter.  Collecting recipes and cooking is a passion of mine.  So much so, I've written a cook/gardening book for my grandchildren full of family recipes, how to grow the fruit or vegetable, and personal stories that go with them. Is there anything that makes you happier than eating great food with friends or family?

I love genealogy and haven't burnt out on that yet even though I have been doing that for over 25 years. There are always new questions and more to learn and I love history.  My research allows me to see my  ancestors in history.  It allows me to share a very proud heritage with my sons, grandchildren, siblings and I have shared it with relatives I have never known.  Word has spread among my extended family and I receive calls from all over asking for information.  Sharing our genealogy gives me great pleasure.

Hobbies have made my life fuller. I can get lost in them.  What hobbies make your life fuller and give you pleasure?

Be happy and God bless you.

Kind Words

Words from another hero of mine.  I hope that the church makes her a saint because she was one.  She taught us much by her example.  She taught me to keep life simple and all people are important.  Life can become complicated enough even when you are keeping it simple.  Be kind to everyone.  It is much easier to be nice and there is where happiness comes from.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Take a chance.  99% of the things we worry about never come to pass.  Don't think about the negative, only the positive you will receive.  New experiences and change may be good things.  I have always had faith in tomorrow.  It has made life easier for me.  My plan is usually different than Gods.  He likes to slap me once in awhile and let me know who is really running thing.  It makes me realize I must trust in God's plan.   To gain control, release control.  The more we try to control things, the more unhappy we are when it does not go our way or the way we planned.

A favorite poem of mine:

The Plan of the Master Weaver

My life is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me;
I may not choose the colors--
He knows what they should be;
For He can view the pattern
Upon the upper side
While I can see it only
On this, the under side.
Sometimes He weaveth sorrow,
Which seemeth strange to me;
But I will trust His judgment
And work on faithfully.
'Tis He Who fills the shuttle
And He Who knows what's best;
So I shall weave in earnest,
And leave to Him the rest.
Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needed
In the Weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

(Author Unknown)