30 Days of Gratitude – Day 30

Blogging and most of all – my readers!

I have managed to post every day in November, woot!  I am fast approaching my 1 year anniversary of blogging.  Although I had hoped to post every single day of this year that didn’t work out and that’s ok.  I’ve shared snippets of my life, glimpses of people and things that I love, painful memories to help me heal but most of all I have tried to share my enthusiasm for life.  I’m grateful that I found the words to write on here and am so very grateful “to see” with my camera to share images with you.

I’m grateful for YOU = my blog readers!  Thanks for taking a few minutes to read this, to press “like” (Word Press members) and those that subscribe or “follow” me.

When I started this series, I didn’t pre-plan my daily theme.  I wrote from my heart each day.  I will confess that I struggled a few days while family drama and mood swings played a part in my distraction.  I went back on day 25-ish and made a list of all that I had written about so far.  I laughed when I saw that being thankful for Fridays was written about twice – oops but again that was how I felt on those days so it was ok.  I then thought about the last week of November and wanted to make sure I covered everything important.

The excitement I felt Thanksgiving morning summed it all up for me – I am all about FAMILY.  No one is perfect and neither is a family.  I can honestly say I’ve been there for them and they’ve been there for me.  We’ve had disappointments, disagreements and drifted apart, the 3 D’s.  Time dilutes misunderstandings and the awareness that time is short helps soften the hurts.  Then there is never enough time to spend with them.

Thank YOU again for making me a part of your day!

30 Days of Gratitude – over and out


30 Days of Gratitude – Day 29


I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday!  I was thrilled that Gitte, Moni and Josh were able to sit at the holiday table with us (Mom, sisters and hubs) this year.  Of course, it never feels like enough time to have fun and visit!  BUT I truly enjoyed being with all of the family that could gather and we really enjoyed the delicious foods to celebrate another Thanksgiving!

It was important to me that I had traditions when my boys were growing up.  I had home décor for Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and of course Christmas!  I know I went overboard with my Christmas décor but I loved all those things so much.  We would take the boys to see the train village in Blackstone and would drive around looking at Christmas lights.  I would also bake cookies so that we had a plate for Santa.

Now that I’m an empty nester, I find that having traditions is still important.  When I first lived with Ray I told him I wanted to put the Christmas tree up on Black Friday so we did.  I love our Christmas tree on its revolving base and I’ve filled it with sentimental ornaments that I enjoy looking at every day.   When we moved into this apartment I had to downsize my Christmas décor as well as everything else.  So I only kept things that I really and truly love.

Another tradition that I continue from when the boys were little is my love of Christmas music.  I was fortunate to purchase a 25 CD player stereo years ago (at a great clearance price ~ score!).  I have more than 25 wonderful Christmas CDs to listen to and will load them up today.  I’m partial to my instrumental Celtic Christmas music because it’s soothing as I unpack the ornaments and load up the tree.  But closer to the big day I will want to hear my traditional songs sung by Frank Sinatra, Dean, Burl Ives and others…as well as today’s contemporary artists like Mariah, Michael Buble’ and Celine Dion.  But I can’t wait to hear the Live Mannheim Steamroller we bought last year…goose bumps happen!

So today I’m grateful that Ray doesn’t mind helping me set up the tree!  He’s not a Grinch at all.  I’m grateful that I have wonderful memories tied to ornaments given to me over the years.  I’m grateful for the reason for the season.

What are YOU grateful for today?

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 28

Thanksgiving Food

It’s been a whole year since I have eaten delicious home cooked turkey and all of the fixin’s!  I’m looking forward to it but as many of us discussed this holiday food at work this week – it’s really about the sides and desserts, aka carbs!

Dressing vs. Stuffing – I call it dressing especially because mine is not stuffed in the bird’s privates, lol.  It’s fascinating to ask others what they call it.  Google says they both mean the same thing, well duh.  But it’s Southern to call it dressing.  I’ve tried a new recipe for my gluten-free dressing and it’s made with tortilla chips (UTZ Multi-Grain Tortilla Chips with flax, sesame and sunflower seeds, omg)!  I’m all about cornbread dressing and this one was so simple.  Open a bag of chips, chicken broth, celery and onions, spices and bake!  My, my how good it smelled last night and this morning I just need to scoop out a portion to go.

I was quite the busy bee last night since I also made mini pumpkin cheesecakes as well.  I was able to keep the sugar out of the mixture by substituting coconut sugar instead but I did use boxed GF gingersnap cookies as the crust and they had sugar cane juice in them.  I’m allowing myself a bit of sugar but a whole LOT of CARBS today.

My taste buds are waiting…

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 27

Our Pets

I’ve been blessed to have my little Spooky girl for 15 years now!  She is more Ray’s cat now than mine – she’s such a slut because he gives her treats every morning.  She even makes this meow that sounds like Ray-ee!  I kid you not.  I confess that she made me jealous because she was MY cat.  She comes to me on the couch sometimes to lie in my lap while I read but most of the time I’m just a bridge between one end of the couch and the other since she uses me to get to “her” man. {sigh}

Hanging out while I take my bath

Hanging out while I take my bath

Then there is Bud.  He’s been a star of this blog for many, many days.  I swear that God sent him to me.  He had been dropped off at my mom’s old house – the Cat Haven.  He would not come to her (the cat whisperer) or my sister Judy.  The first time I stepped out on the stoop – bam.  He ran to me!  I fed his tiny starved body and he couldn’t decide whether he should eat or get loved on.  It was one of those profound moments in time.  I had to sit down and rub him for a long time because he was obviously in need of love and affection.

I called Ray soon after and told him “I love you” in my trademark super sweet voice {the queen of manipulation, lol}.  That’s the opener for big news or a major purchase I want to make.  He laughs and says “now what do you want” because he knows me so well.  He had serious misgivings about adopting this little critter.  He wanted me to leave Bud with Mom over the weekend which I just couldn’t do because Bud is a major leg winder and could have tripped my mom who just recovered from a broken hip!!

It was and is a tough adjustment for Spooky.  Bud is high maintenance.  He can be aggressive even though I had him snipped.  But for all that he brings a lot of happiness to our household.  He has Ray wrapped around his paw since Ray will keep the darn balcony door open for Bud to come in and out at will for hours at a time.  Baby, it’s getting cold outside!  Shut the door.  Stop spoiling the Bud.

Bud also just plain loves us.  He has rituals every day of laying on my chest while he kneads the leopard print snuggie I wear this time of year even if the lap top is on my lap.  He will plop himself over by Ray for manly belly rubs and sometimes climbs up and lays on Ray’s chest like “here I am – look at me instead of the football game.”

I love to come home from work and Bud and Spooky run down the hall to greet me!  Bud is very vocal with his greeting and leg rubbing takes place.  My little girl is more patient but lets me know she’s glad to see me.

I’m so grateful for both of them.  I just wish they would use the toilet instead of the litter box.

What are YOU grateful for today?  Take a moment to tell me about your beloved pets…

Quick morning cuddle

Quick morning cuddle

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 26

GiGihood (aka Grandmotherhood)

We interrupt this daily post of gratitude to share a very special message.  Brandon announced that he and Kiesha are expecting my 2nd grandchild!  It’s funny that I had planned to write about my feelings for my grandson Chance tomorrow but I will do it today instead.

I remember in 2010 being shocked when Brandon told me that they had a baby on the way.  Part of it was vanity that even though I was in my mid 40’s I didn’t feel like a grandmother!  The other part was a major concern that Brandon didn’t have health insurance yet with his new job.  Thankfully they did and were fully covered because they certainly didn’t need a huge financial burden placed on them so quickly in their marriage.

I was blessed to watch Chance come into this world and I was thrilled to take care of him as often as possible.  We bonded and he survived having his GiGi take his photos A LOT.

Last December, my heart broke when the trio went to Texas before Brandon went into Basic Training.  I wouldn’t see that cute face for 6 months and when I did see him again, I worried that Chance wouldn’t remember me.  I was so thrilled when he hugged me right away and chatted with me over lunch that day!

They have settled in Kentucky which is far but not horribly far.  When they came back to visit in early November, I asked Ray to take my camera and capture some moments with Chance and his GiGi together.

This photo speaks a thousand words

This photo speaks a thousand words


Moments that I shared with my two boys but don’t have on film have helped me see the importance of documenting our relationship.

Teach Your Children Well – CSN

You, who are on the road, must have a code, that you can live by.
And so, become yourself, because the past, is just a good bye.
Teach, your children well, their father’s hell, did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they picked, the one you’re known by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh, and know they love you.

And you, of the tender years, can’t know the fears, that your elders grew by.
And so please help them with your years, they seek the truth before they can die.
Teach, your parents well, their children’s hell, will slowly go by.
And feed, them on your dreams, the one they picked, the one you’re known by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh, and know they love you.

Love image – Quirky Twerp “Our Love” 

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 25

Holiday Plans

There was a lot of stress and turmoil in my life last year.  Of course, after I typed this I’m laughing because that is the case this year too.  Oh well.

Today I’m grateful that my Mom and sister Judy have invited “us sisters and hubs” to Thanksgiving and that Deb and Wayne will be able to make it.  Last year we didn’t get together for T-day.  I cooked a belated Thanksgiving feast for my sons, daughter-in-law and grandson to enjoy with Ray and me here in our new digs.

My mom is 79, my sisters and I are in the autumn of our lives.  Time is precious.  We have the sense to appreciate what we are – a FAMILY.

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 24

My in-laws, Cliff and Jeanette

Ray and I drove to Amelia County yesterday to visit Cliff and Jeanette.  The autumn foliage is still quite spectacular in our section of my great state of Virginia but as we drove farther west there were more bare trees.  I don’t mind that a bit since I have a thing for trees all year long {smile}.  We had to stop so I could take some photos of a mama pig and her baby piglets.  So freakin’ cute!  I haven’t loaded them into the laptop yet.

Jeanette cooked her “meat pie” recipe which is a beef and bean casserole with cornbread on top.  One of my favorite dishes!  We spent the afternoon with them catching up on events and watched a little college football and the David Blane special they taped.  Then we started the drive back in the dark.

I’m so grateful for Ray’s parents.  They welcomed me warmly into their family.  They’ve shared their vegetable garden harvest with us for years.  Jeanette never batted an eye when she found out I was allergic to wheat.  She looks at cooking as an adventure and helped me adjust after my first two years of thinking it was so hard.  Jeanette is one of the craftiest women I know.  She quilts, knits, crochets, scrapbooks, makes cards and she had a great love of photography too!  Cliff is funny and has years of stories to share.  These two octogenarians are active around their property.  They remember the Great Depression and appreciate the little things.  I’m proud that they are “plugged-in” and communicate by email and that they love their Kindles.

What are YOU grateful for today?