I’m on a Break!

I miss you and want to check in!

I’m on a break.

More succinctly, my blog is on a break. It is suggested I officially notify all my readers I have put my blog on the back burner – at least, for the spring/summer.

Thank you for asking about me, and Happy Fourth of July!

Life has a way of surprising us. Have you noticed? I did not think in a million years I would be BUSIER at this stage in our lives!

Funny, I am one of those people who scripts out my life… unintentionally. No, it has NEVER turned out like the script. Nonetheless, I have all these preconceived ideas of how my life should go. For example, my theme for decorating our house this upcoming Christmas, less than 24 weeks away, is already in the works. (Five Golden Rings!)

When our kids were young, I put my energy into accomplishing an all consuming amount of activities, work, goals – and, had extra ideas waiting on the horizon. I suspected, by the time our grandkids arrived on the scene, I’d have leisure time to read and write to my heart’s content.

HELLO! What happened?

I SAW The Groundhog in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania!

Since Groundhog Day – February 2nd – is my birthday, I have always wanted to visit Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, but never thought I’d have the opportunity.

Groundhog co-handler John Griffiths

My sister, Susan, offered to use her air miles and take me this February 2nd – announcing, we’d better do it before we get any older – not knowing if Gobblers Knob (the home of Groundhog Phil) is wheel chair accessible for out of shape senior citizens!

So off we went to Pennsylvania!

I thought I was excited…

How to Give Kids the Gift of Meaningful Christmas Memories!

I remember my dad cooking the turkey.

I remember my mom baking pies – evenings, after work – the week before Christmas.

I remember smells, excitement and the decorations. I remember taking homemade treats to a widow down the street. I remember hiding the gifts for my family under my bed. It was the most magical time of the year for me!

When I was growing up, my parents both worked fulltime right through the holidays. Of course, they would get Christmas off; but, we didn’t have the ‘traditional” festivities that included days of baking cookies or gingerbread houses. We did not lavishly decorate the inside and outside of the house, or have shopping sprees so many families love to incorporate this time of year.

Are You a Morning Person?

I am a morning person.

I honestly love waking up before the sun rises. It feels like it adds hours to my day, and everything is new and fresh!

My daughter is not a morning person.

From the time my daughter was old enough to talk, she wasn’t excited about talking early in the morning. In fact, she wasn’t excited about anything in the morning. I started her on vitamins. I was convinced – by the time she entered kindergarten – I would have taught her to be a morning person.

Seriously, I tried every ploy, bribe and threat known to mankind to train this child to appreciate mornings at a young age. After all, her dad and I were morning people. Her two brothers were early risers. What was her problem?

I remember sneaking into her room to set her clock ahead 15 minutes, thinking this might motivate her to step it up. I planned special mornings to go out for breakfast, before school, just to get her excited. I soon discovered “excited” was not a word in her vocabulary before noon on any given day.

As a young child, she had no energy to move quickly in the morning. Figuring she must have been unusually tired, I scheduled a doctor’s visit. She was fine.

Our kids had an early bedtime curfew of 7 pm, during elementary years; so, she wasn’t lacking in sleep. In middle school, it was 8 pm. How could anyone have been tired after 14 hours of sleep at night?

In the mornings, I would turn on all the house lights and play fun music on the radio before her school wake up call. Yet, I would be met with a glassy stare and few words as she methodically got dressed for school.

There was no breakfast conversation at all.

Getting her lunch made and her to the car, without tears being shed, was a huge undertaking. I never quite had a perfect record; but, I kept trying.

By the way, all my added stimulation in the house had my boys wound up like tops! And, they didn’t need extra motivation!

I will admit, Nancy was as close to perfect as a child could get. She was loving, obedient and careful not to be disrespectful. However, as the sun rose every day, she answered all my questions in two words or less, just to get by. She planned her school wardrobe and always finished her homework the night before. So, her mornings were as stress free as possible.

Maybe, the problem was the school? Should we change schools? No. Saturdays were the same.

Unfortunately, for years I took it personally. I must not have been a fun mom. How is this possible? Of course I am a fun mom.

She was a wonderful student. Her teachers loved having her in their classes. She had a hundred friends and, once she came home from school, she was a happy child!

Her high school years were less traumatic for me; because, I had resigned myself to accepting the truth. She would never be happy about mornings. There would never be any cozy mother/daughter early morning chats over a hot beverage. She was a night person. Her bedroom light was still on as my husband and I retired each night.

She always found jobs that didn’t require early morning clock-ins. I don’t think she had many early morning classes in college either.

It took years for me to accept Nancy would never like mornings.

Her fate was sealed when she married a man who was not a morning person either.

I am now convinced this morning person or not a morning person is an inborn trait, much like the human temperament.

I am also confident it can cross temperament lines, with no specific temperament owning this trait of morning person or not.

Upbringing will not change it.

I doubt one can grow out of it.

Therapy would be a waste of money.

Today, our daughter is still pretty perfect. She is a wife and mom of three girls, and still is NOT a morning person.

I have smiled a lot since her kids were born. Her firstborn is not a morning person either. My, oh my, it is now so funny watching her experience the exact things I lived through with her!

Nancy came over the other morning- on her way to take her daughter to a 0 period class. It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud. The pain on my daughter’s face prevented me from brutalizing her anymore than she was already obviously suffering with it being so early.

Ah, the circle of life.

I am blessed to live close enough to our kids and grandkids that I can have a mother/daughter coffee in the afternoon now.




We all know folks whom we would consider to be tight or cheap with their money. This is not the same as being SELFISH.

SELFISH is defined as (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.  This is one of those quiet, deadly sins that sneak up in our lives without much notice at first.

About a month ago, I was shopping in a relatively new store in our city, a type of décor shop where you can purchase items to decorate your home.

An interesting conversation took place next to me. Two nice friends were discussing a 3rd person’s dilemma of owning a new home and not having a clue as to how to decorate it.

One of the ladies said, “Why don’t you help her? You are a professional decorator and she would absolutely love your help.” To which the woman sweetly replied, “No thanks.”

The conversation escalated, “Come on, why won’t you help her a little? It won’t cost you anything; and, I bet she would pay you.”  The woman sweetly said, “Please drop it, too much effort.”

The story gets better:

My Results are IN!

For my Mother’s Day gift, I sent away (six weeks ago) to Ancestry.com for my DNA results, curious as to my ancestors’ beginnings.

I discovered I am 39% Dutch, 25% British, 25% Irish, 8% Scandinavian and 2% Jewish! I knew I was mostly Dutch; but, it is fun to see the extent of my grandparents’ and great grandparents’ history.

Of course, I immediately identified with Audrey Hepburn, a famous actress, who was also Dutch! I’m certain we are cousins! Look at the resemblance!

Born Audrey Kathleen Ruston, (did you know her middle name was Kathleen?) did you know Audrey was inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame? She loved performing and looking fabulous.

Ah, the similarities between us are mind boggling!

I enjoyed finding out about some other distant cousins: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt – both of Dutch decent and both Presidents of the U. S.!

Do you remember Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United States, and the first president who was not of English, Irish, or Scottish descent? Dutch was spoken in his house when he was a boy.

Thomas Edison, also Dutch, was an inventor and businessman.  Another Dutchman, Walter Cronkite, became a CBS Evening News anchor. Perhaps, my creative and inquiring mind comes from such as these?

Vincent van Gogh and Rembrandt may be the most famous Dutch painters. Okay, sadly, I have nothing in common with either of them.

My, it’s been so interesting investigating since my DNA results have come back!

Mother’s Day is Coming!

As Mother’s Day approaches, dozens of mother/daughter articles and artifacts are appearing on the horizon. The pressure is on.

Each year, we are inundated with more and more attempts to identify the perfect mother/daughter combinations and celebrate those who have the best mother/daughter/son relationships. I notice people “one upping” each other as to the remarkable mothers they have now on social media. Famous mother/daughter duos are featured in magazines.

This holiday can not generate competition. The playing field is even.

Every mother is a super hero in her own way.

From my childhood, there are plenty of mother memories that warm my heart and equally as many that send blood curdling shivers through my body, causing me to wonder how my mom lived through having me as her daughter.

WHY Does NO have Such a Bad Rap?

I was speaking last week to a group of young moms of pre-schoolers (MOPS). After I finished, a young woman came up to question my philosophy of teaching children the meaning of the word NO before they are a year old. I suggest consequences to make a small toddler obey his/her parents. Usually, it takes only two or three events before you have an obedient, respectful child!

No more yelling, threats, punishments or guilt.

This young mom had tears in her eyes as she described her 3-year old daughter as an adorable, fun-loving child to whom she has never given consequences. She has never told her NO because she doesn’t need to. “My little girl doesn’t obey me all the time; but, I honestly don’t think she understands it is disobeying. I would never want to squelch her free, creative spirit.”

I asked if her daughter comes when she calls her name. “Well, sometimes,” she smiled as though it was funny, “But, she is an absolute joy.”

I asked if she would respond to her mom’s voice in an emergency- maybe a warning about a hot stove, an oncoming car or a stranger who would attempt to grab her?

Her eyes widened…

My Dad Saved My Life!

I was probably 10 years old when our parents announced we were going on our first camping trip as a family. I believe we borrowed a very large tent, if memory serves me right; because, I never saw it again after that trip. My brother was allowed to take a friend so, counting my sister and me, there would be six of us in close sleeping quarters.

I remember getting brand new sleeping bags and helping mom with meal ideas. We had a large new cooler, for storing our food, and the Sequoia National Park campsite furnished the barbeque stove and picnic table.

This was going to be a trip of a lifetime! We had never been camping as a family.  I was so excited I could hardly sleep for days before our trip.

We drove, what seemed like forever, until we finally arrived at our destination. Our tent was pitched close to a creek!! Could this vacation get any better? Within minutes our shoes were off and we were wading in the ice cold water by the campsite.

Everything was going perfectly, until it was time to go to the bathroom.

Can Your Temperament CHANGE?

“Is it possible my TEENAGER’S temperament has changed?”

My first response: “A temperament is a pre-disposition.  A person is born with primarily two dominant temperament types (out of four) – and they are his/hers for life.”

A temperament can certainly take on different appearances, however, depending on age, living conditions, changes in life and various situations. The temperament does not change. BUT, one may notice new behavior, because circumstances have changed.

The most important information to remember-temperaments are transformed when you include God in the equation!

Each temperament has positive and negative characteristics.  So, when God takes over a temperament, He evens out the negatives and enhances the positives, using their finest qualities for His Glory. God created us, and our temperaments; therefore, it makes perfect sense to give Him the reigns if we want successful lives!

The mom, who prompted this post, asked me, “Now that my sweet daughter is a teenager, she is suddenly belligerent! She has turned into a totally different person. She refuses to talk to, or acknowledge, me or her dad because we have new cell phone rules in the house! Has her temperament changed?”