Sunday, June 29, 2014


I keep returning to Susan Mallery to lead me down a path of romance and fun.  I just finished a trilogy called the Bakery Sisters.  There were twists and turns and parts unfinished until the end of the third book.  It was far away from the real life of a summer swim team mom, sitting each morning at the pool for practice and spending the rest of the day convincing her kid that either video games are not the solution to his boredom OR that it was NOT okay to play outside when lightning is present.  Again, I feel compelled to say that her bedroom scenes are very detailed.  However, it is pretty clear when it is over if you just flip along a few pages and for me it doesn't detract from the story.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Resolution #18 Snail Mail

I know I did a resolution last year where I sent out cards.  And I am doing it again this year.  Here is a little bit about why...

In cleaning out my desk, I found a card I bought a few years back.  I bought it to send as a thank you note for flowers that I received for Mother's Day from my Auntie.  I was in Seattle, Washington with my family and it was a painted card of the Space Needle.  I brought it home and it promptly got misplaced with the scrapbook souvenir items.  I used a traditional card and sent it, wondering where that Space Needle card had put itself.  I found it later that summer and put it in my card drawer thinking I would send it to her another time.  This year in cleaning out my desk, came across it.  My Auntie died that same year, before I ever sent it to her.  I came across other cards I'd bought for other people that never got sent.  So, I took some time to send these cards.  There are two Christmas cards I bought for two different people.  Christmas in June!  I could wait, but then I would probably forget by Christmastime.  Or worse, they could be gone from my life.  

Think about it... to whom could you send card?  That Space Needle card, I am sending it to my cousin, my Auntie's son.  He became a father this year and I am behind on sending something for his little angel.  The card may not fit, but the sentiment is truly all that matters.  

Friday, June 27, 2014

Resolution 17 Clean out your desk

I am blessed (and cursed) with a desk that has a lot of storage.  It is really an office in a corner of my kitchen.  Nooks above the desk for easy access to papers.  Or easy storage of stuff with which I don't know what to do.  It has drawers.  Nice spacious drawers.  Now it has drawers that are organized.  The nooks have designations for what gets stored where.  I recycled the old computer games that don't work on today's computers... why was I keeping them?  You probably have a work space of some sort in your home that could use an overhaul.  A cleaning out.  A cleaning up.  It actually makes it more pleasant to sit at the computer now because instead of clutter, it is peaceful.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Resolution 16 - Volunteer

I have always been a big volunteer-er.  I have done the PTA thing from elementary through high school.  I've been the room mom, served on district level committees, band mom, copy mom, yearbook mom.  I've been the VBS volunteer and taught RE and mentored Confirmation candidates.  Now I have a young one and I am starting over.  Sort of.  This time around, I am choosier about how I volunteer my time.  There are things I love to do... I love to cook so making food for a staff luncheon (even though I am staff), I like to do.  I like keeping score for baseball.  It keeps me in the game.  I'm not interested in doing the PTA thing, again.  Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.  I want to help in my church, but I am waiting for the right position, the right time.  I actually hope it comes when my student is a middle-school student... that is a hard age to engage in church and if I am there, he'll have to be too.

Volunteering as a family is fun.  We've done nights at church where we've put together bags for the homeless and written notes to the home bound.  LRHB and I will cook and deliver meals to those who need them, post-surgery, new baby, dad on deployment.  Someone always needs a meal.  So I am asking you to look around at an opportunity that you can do, or do with someone.  Give back.  It feels amazing!  LRHB and I have committed to do a meal a month, 12 meals this year. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Celebrate Good Times

I am the proud mother of a college graduate.  My son graduated from college in just three years.  And, he graduated Summa Cum Laude (yes, I had to look up how to spell that) with his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with minors in Medical Physics and Music.  And he worked while going to school, as an RA during his second year and he was the Front Desk Manager for his dorm, assisted in Lab and worked the Chemistry Help Desk at the library during his senior year.  My son!  These are the moments that we need to just step back and rejoice!  God is good! 

One set of his grandparents were able to attend along with his girl, Aunt Phil, and we, his parents.  His other set of grandparents and brothers were able to watch it LIVE over the internet (I feel compelled to mention that there are a limited number of tickets each graduate receives which is why his brothers were not actually in attendance, but hanging out in the graduate's apartment).  We celebrated with a lunch at a Mexican restaurant that he loves.  We had an open house that evening so others could join us in celebrating his accomplishment.  

Psalm 118, vs. 24 "This is the day the Lord had made.  Let us REJOICE and be glad."  I'm not sure that this was the original intent of this verse.  However, I truly thank the Lord for helping my son become such an amazing man.  I pray he will be with him as he undertakes a most difficult task, the long road to becoming a doctor.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Resolution 15 - Clean Out Extra School Supplies

I am fortunate that my son's school does a school supply purchase program and that I can afford to take advantage of it.  In May, I click on the link in our weekly newsletter and enter my son's grade along with my credit card information.  In August, when he arrives at school, his supplies are there waiting for him.  No fighting the crowds in Target or Walmart or Office Depot trying to find the best price on crayons and folders.  However, each year at the end of the year, some of those supplies come home, barely or not used.  At some point, I learned that instead of putting those away in a closet, they go in a box for one of the many programs in town that collect supplies for students in need.  I also go into my school supply cabinet and clear out the extra boxes of crayons or markers we may have accumulated throughout the year.  Chances are, if we haven't used it in a year, we are not going to use it and someone else might benefit.  I would encourage you to consider cleaning out your school supplies, donating them to the less fortunate.

Back in the Kitchen Resolution 13 & 14

I mentioned I was going through my house, one room at a time this year, cleaning up and out.  Although I had worked on cleaning out some cabinets, I then paused in my great kitchen clean up/out.  Back to it, I filled my bucket with Murphy's Oil Soap and hot water and wiped those cabinets down (Resolution 13).  I must say, having done it last year, it was much easier to do this year.  Next, I moved onto my wooden chairs, table and bar stools.  My understanding is that wooden furniture needs to be oiled on a regular basis.  My (new) goal is to oil it once a year (Resolution 14).  

To visit Resolution 8, I was excellent at clearing out old plastic containers, misc baby items, wicker paper plate holders, candy making molds and kitchen tools I do not use, I didn't manage to eliminate the cut glassware or the abundance of cookie cutters and jello molds.  Some things hold too much sentimental value.  Others are too much of a pain to wrap and donate.  I think you can figure out which was which.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Dynasties:  The Lassiters

I grew up in the 80's so of course "Dynasty" the show is in my past.  In the back of some book, I discovered a tease chapter for another book.  So I investigated, discovering that that tease chapter was part of a SERIES that was titled DYNASTIES!  Destiny...

In the interest of full disclosure, they are from Harlequin and epitomize the romance genre.  I get to read one each month through September opening myself up for guilty pleasure for months.  I have, however, sworn off reading ANY MORE tease chapters at the end of books.  I have a substantial list of books that I want to read!

So a big money dude, dies and his will is a big hot mess.  I'm not really ruining the plot line by telling you that as it happens in the short novella that kicks off the series.  Next come the stories around the big hot will mess.  A "daughter" that was unknown by the family?  The nurse gets the big bucks?

You can find the story titles and various authors here:

I love reading in the summertime!

Friday, June 20, 2014


More from Susan Mallery...

She had some stand alone romance novels that I thought I would try out.  I have decide to wait until the end of the summer to read her Fools Gold Year 5 novels and I didn't really have enough time in May to commit to reading a series, so I thought I would give those stand alone novels a try.  Two of them involve friends and the same small town.  I read them backwards, which didn't really impact me because I have never read a romance novel where the couple featured didn't get together (unless it was in a subsequent book because it was part of a series and they still got together and this wasn't the case with these books).  However, as I was reading the second book I kept thinking... why do these people sound familiar?  Overall, her Fools Gold series is some of her best writing.  

Accidentally Yours is based on a ridiculous premise, but the characters are likeable.  Falling for Gracie has likable characters and an original story line.  It is the best of the three.  It involves characters that got together in Someone Like You, however they weren't characters I particularly liked nor did I love the story line in that book.

Resolution 12

Cleaning out LRHB's room happened over some time.  Initially, we cleared out a bunch of stuff in preparation for his room transitioning from his little boy room (Cars) to his big boy room (Sports with a few Cars things leftover).  This was accomplished during Spring Break (with appropriate bribes for hard work!).

Next, once I had Teen Boy home and a blank check for helping mom/wife (Mother's Day), we took apart the bunks in one room, moved one of the beds into LRHB's room and retired the Little Tykes Car Bed that he'd been using since moving out of the crib, like 7 years ago.  Next, to eliminate needing 3 dressers in his room and shelves for clothing in the closet, we moved the VERY LARGE dresser from College boy's room in the basement.  First, he isn't moving back for the next two years (we hope) and wherever he is going, he cannot take this dresser with him, but will be able to use the two smaller dressers as they are far more transportable.

Finally, we have been taking down the Cars decorations and adding MORE sports posters than were already there.  It is a project nearing completion and he likes it which is the most important thing.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lenten Journey

This year our family religion program came up with a lovely way to pray during Lent.  We took slips of paper and wrote the names of people we wanted to pray for during Lent on them.  Next, we put them in a jar.  The idea was that each day we would choose a name and pray for that person.  

The reality looked more like me realizing that we were a week in and hadn't prayed for anyone so we pulled a week's worth of names out and prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet, resolving to do better.  And a week later, repeating the same.  As we prayed, we created a prayer chain with the slips of paper.  

Due to our inability to think of enough for all of the papers, we had blanks slips of paper which in reality were a blessing.  In fact, I would deliberately leave some blank next time for the very reason that things come up, people get ill, have accidents, encounter tragedy, struggle and it is important to pray for the unexpected events as well.

I loved this "assignment" for Lent and would love to try it again.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


As I am afraid I often do, when I get sidetracked from making a resolution once a week and fall several weeks behind, I lose sight of the original vision.

I know that each person can be making improvements in their lives each day, week, year.  I started out realizing that sometimes when trying to fix everything at once, it can seem, alas it IS overwhelming.  So instead, I decided to make one change a week.  Sometimes it turns out to be a to-do list while other times it is truly adapting to a better place.

When I make these small changes and can assimilate them into my life, I feel better, I am better.  As I look back at how "far behind" I am this year, I am again overwhelmed.  So I am going to approach it one week at a time and it will hopefully be a combined to-do list and a self-improvement list.

Along these lines, I am taking a course this summer, a book study.  It is my third this year and we are studying this time:  The Power of Habit.  The first thing we have to do is decide if we are going to undertake changing a habit.  And that is where I have gotten derailed.  I am two weeks behind because I cannot decide on a habit to change.  You see, there are SO MANY that I could change.  The first thing we are to do is read 5 articles on habits, good habits, bad habits, habits of successful people, etc.  Near as I can figure out, I am not successful according to these standards and yet I KNOW THAT TO BE UNTRUE.

So far this year my resolutions have been:
  1. Put everything on your calendar - it is an ongoing process
  2. clean out stuff from your bedroom - still a weekly challenge to keep it in a state of clutter free
  3. clean out the dresser drawers - done
  4. clean out your closet - although I worked very hard to complete this task, there is actually more work to be done as I discovered when I realized I didn't even tackle a set of shelves
  5. drink water - ongoing process
  6. clean out the papers you don't need - you can read about that here:
  7. do your taxes - done, but due to complications, they need following up
  8. clean out kitchen cabinets - not done, in process
  9. strength training - ongoing
  10. prepare for lent - I prepared.  
  11. set a goal and take the steps to achieve it - you can read about the end here:
  12. Clean out a kid's room.
As I am doing the initial work for my class, I am rediscovering some items that have changed my life.  Okay, I may not have lost any significant weight since starting my resolution journey, but I would venture to say that I am close to where I was when I started (in spite of my 30 day healthy journey, more on that another day).  One reason might be that I have made eating breakfast daily a habit.  It wasn't when I started.  When I started I believed that if I skipped it, I could eat more later in the day.  Yet it is very unhealthy, I don't feel well when I skip it and in fact I eat a GREAT DEAL MORE later in the day.  I was reminded of this resolution and the fact that it is one that has become a habit while doing the reading for my book study.  It is considered by many a habit that will "change your life".  It was one of my first resolutions!  And I do it!  

Although the articles for the book study seemed at first to be overwhelming, when I printed them out and highlighted them, I discovered that the breakfast example is just one example.  Another one is #5 from this year.  I am energized to jump back in with both feet and optimism!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

#16, 17, 18, 19 Running Challenge

The running challenge continued with me preparing to do the 10K.  I was working out and fitting it in and my running lengths were improving, up to 25 minutes.

Then it happened.  On May 21st, I was at work, doing my after school duty of Kiss & Go (moms/dads/others picking up students in a carpool line), when the skies opened and hail rained down.  No raindrops to prepare you, just marble sized hail.  A little picture painting for you... to get to this Kiss & Go area, you must walk past the bus parking lot and up 2 dozen stairs to the top of a hill.  Not close enough to the building to retreat.  I was standing even further away than usual because the sky looked ominous and I was trying to get the kiddos loaded as quickly as possible.  The bruises have now faded, but only in the last 10 days.  When my parents came on June 5th, I still had the bruises from the hail.  On my back, my arms, my legs.  The small people were mostly protected by myself and Super J who works duty with me.  An umbrella and our bodies shielded them until we could get them safely into cars.  I don't tell you this to extol my virtues rather I am explaining how my running got derailed.  My head hurt for a couple days from the lumps I took there.  I couldn't train as I was bruised from head to toe.

Ironically, it was not my injuries that kept me from racing.  For I did race to pick up my packet in the pouring rain on the Friday evening prior to picking up college students for the long weekend.  And then the baseball tournament began.  We split the games on Saturday.  We split the games again on Sunday.  2-2 was good enough to make the semi-finals on Monday morning.  I moseyed down to my neighbor's house and greeted her as they pulled in from a long day of fun in the sun.  I said that LRHB's team made the semi-finals tomorrow morning and she said that I had to go be a momma... no racing for us.  And the team went on to win the semi-finals in a fabulous game of great batting and strong fielding.  And they held onto the lead in the championship game until the bottom of the 5th when the other team rallied and took command of the game.  I am so blessed to have a friend that shares the same values that I do... our kids are only kids for a little while and we have show up for them while we can.  One day, I might race that 10K.  I am so proud that I trained as hard as I did.  However, I wish I could tell you that I was still running.  Not so much.    Which makes me a little sad.  Unfortunately, not sad enough to get off the computer/couch and go run.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Club

Our book club chose Black Beauty for our most recent novel.  I don't ever remember reading it when I was a kid!  I loved that although some of the girls had seen the movie, none had ever read the book.  LRHB and I got a late start and finished it the afternoon of the movie watching.  Someone else hosted the evening for the first time and it was a lovely evening with spouses and good food.  Once again, the book was similar to the movie, but with enough changes to keep this century's movie watchers engaged.

It was interesting to note that due to the end of school year craziness, although we finished the book club book, neither LRHB nor I had time to read anything else.  We need to figure out some balance for the next time around.

We are choosing A Wrinkle in Time as our next book club book.  I like the idea of this story because it is completely different from the last one, and it introduces our readers to a series of books, like the Ramona and Beezus book did.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Time Flies...

I CANNOT believe it has been a month.  Although I am tempted to jump back into blogging with both feet and spend several hours writing today about books, book clubs, resolutions, races and life, I am instead committing to writing a little EVERY DAY for the next 8 weeks.  By then, I should have gotten caught up on everything, and it seems a realistic goal.

This week starts the 25th week of the year.  Going forward will require time to go back and research what I did when, what I read, what happened in my world that set it upside down and what goals I have accomplished.

Join me over the next 8 weeks while I recommit to myself, my blog, my goals.

And I am going to now play games with LRHB and prepare a great dinner for Hero Daddy on this day that honors daddies.