Jump, You Have to Jump

Fear. It’s a grightening word. And it is the reason why many people play it safe and never take chances. And they never jump.

The definition of insanity is the do the same thing and expect different results. And yet we do it all of the time, waiting. Waiting for this job, or that relationship, or that situation to change, when we are doing the same thing day after day, tuck in doing the same thing but expecting change. Waiting for the change. And then we get impatient and exasperated and exhausted when the change doesn’t come.

I have long said that if you don’t like your circumstance, or job, or relationship, or just whatever, you can change it. If you are feeling stuck, you can change that. Especially if you feel stuck and have no idea what to do or have to do it. It’s OK, because even though that feel terrible, it actually isn’t isn’t. It comes back that that old saying that if you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there. You have to jump, you have to take that chance…it’s scary, but it will work out. And I know what I am talking about.

When I was 18, I went on a job interview to be a DJ at a local radio station. I had no idea what I was doing, I just wanted a tour of the station and knew they would give me one if I went on the interview. And I got the job. Did the same thing 4 years later after college at an interview for a TV station and got the job. And moved to a new city, even made new friends that I still have today.

Years later I got out of radio and felt stuck. I had no idea what I wanted to do, just knew I wasn’t really happy and didn’t know what to do about it. So I went against my mother’s wishes and moved from a small Georgia town up to the big city of Atlanta. I literally packed up a UHaul with all of my belongings, and moved without a place to live or a job. I talked to two people who were renting rooms, met with one of them and sighed the lease same day I drove up. My landlord was shocked when, immediately after signing the lase, i asked him to help unload the moving truck. I got two interviews that week and landed a lob. I jumped – moved up on a wing and a prayer, and it worked. i spent 17 years inn Atlanta, with good times and bad, but it all worked out.

And then I moved to Texas. My parents had died, my family imploded, I had just broken up with my then boyfriend. And I was just stuck and heartbroken. In every way, from my soul, to my toes, all the way up to my head. And when I said I said I was scared, my friends reminded me who I was, and that I could do anything I wanted. So I jumped. I said a prayer, rented a house online – sight unseen – packed up a van, drive 1,00 miles and landed. Three weeks later I met the love of my life (whom I just married), and life is amazing. But I had to jump to get this life that I love.

Here’s the thing though, if you really want to make some changes, you have to get out of your comfort zone. And that is what the jump is. You cannot stay comfortable and accomplish anything extraordinary. The moves I have made and chances I have taken in life – and there are for too many to mention on a short blog – were extremely uncomfortable. I didn’t know if things were going to end up as I hoped. I am not particularly fond of change, and I most certainly do not enjoy being uncomfortable. But if you want to change your life – you better get uncomfortable, or at last come to terms, with being uncomfortable. At least for a time.

I was terrified. Sometimes a cried I was so scared, and I definitely prayed, sincerely, eyes squinted shut, through sobs, and probably barely audible (Dear God, I have no idea what I am doing. But I need this change, so if this is something that is your will – and Please make it your will – then please point me in the right direction. I will go where ever you show me I should go, I will follow you. So just please, please, guide me, because I am scared , the stakes are high and I don’t know what I am doing. And make it so obviously that I have no question that this is where you want me).

It’s scary, but worth it. How will you ever know what life God wants for you, what those possibilities are , if you stay safe on the cliff? For years I have written that we get to build the life we want, (read about it here > ). I f that is true, then we can change the trajectory of our lives at any time, at any age, at any stage, at any location, at any point. It is all about our decision, all about if we are willing to take the risk. But I have a job, bills, this, or that. You’ll still have those things whether you jump or not. So you might as well make the change. And don’t worry about those who don’t like your decision, because those who truly love you will want you to be happy and have the life you always wanted.

Life is short. Too short to always play it safe. Too short to always stay on the sidelines, wondering what if? Jump/ Take the chance. I did. and now, after all the heartbreak, I am living my fairytale. I have the life that I always wanted. But only because I jumped. Join me, won’t you?

The Week of It

It has been a fabulous week of back to reality after the wedding of my dreams. There has been a lot of bad weather here in Texas, and a few days before the weeding, the skies opened up and it was a monsoon of rain for several days. Aaaand a huge puddle of water on the floor due to a leak in the roof. In between picking friends and family form the airport, breakfast with bridesmaids and general wedding stuff, I was talking to the insurance company, the contractor and the adjuster. Yeehaw.

And both of us were back to work, as we are taking our honeymoon in the fall. So it was back to work, and bills, and housecleaning, and laundry and life. Except it was better. Because I am a wife now, with a husband. Because we are together, bound by law and in God’s eyes. We are building this life, this love, this everything to be exactly what we want it to be. And there are blessing all around.

Indeed, I have never felt as beautiful as I did on my wedding day. It was truly magic. It was supposed to rain all day, but the clouds parted and the sun was shining for most of the day. It was glorious. And those I love and who love me where there as witnesses. And life will never be the same.

And that is the thing about love, it transforms our lives into the spectacular miracle that only love can make it. Because life without love is…nothing. And now I know what my parents talked about when they spoke about their love, and how they felt about each other, and all of the miracles it took to bring them together. And I know that they ae smiling down on my, and my husband.

And I understand why it didn’t work with any of my ex’s. Why all of the others, many of them quite nice, were just not quite…right. And I see the bullets that were dodged, and how it was such a blessing to not end up with some of them – the alcoholic financial exec, the narcissist that cheated on me with prostitutes and strippers, the one who ghosted me to mow his lawn, the one….and on and on. I understand all of those unanswered prayers. Because God knew there was someone for me, right here in Texas. He knew we were meant for each other even before we met. And maybe I sound like a mushy sap, and I am. And that’s OK, because I am also ridiculously happy.

Life is short. And finally I found my person. My partner. My love. And life will never be the same. Even in the every day ordinary of day to day dealings. And I will never be the same either. And that is the best answered prayer of all.

My Main Wedding

“I have found the one my soul loves.”

It was the happiest day of my life, like a dream of a fairytale, but was reality. He is mine and I am his. My best friend, my confedante, my partner, my love. For the first time in my life, I know I truly have a partner, unconditional love, and someone for whom my heart does not want to be without. He is the most patient man I have ever met and teaches me Grace every day.

And I was blessed to marry him this past weekend, in the eyes of God, on a 27 acre estate, with our friends and family present. Life is bliss.


The Rush to Breath

It is a few days before the wedding and life is a crazy rush to get everything done. Getting the house ready, running last minute errands, sending out emails, answering questions, making sure everything knows where they are supposed to be and when, writing vows, going to alterations and fittings, picking loved ones up from the airport, practicing the first dance so I don’t trip or throw my new husband’s back out, organizing pre wedding gatherings, makes for busy and hectic days. Add to that a leaking roof and water all over the foyer, finishing up a freelance project where the clients refuse to pay the amount agreed upon (if you hire an editor, let them edit a complete document, not a half finished one you are still writing), getting legal involved, and a few ex’s popping back up (no, thank you), and trying to drink water and stay hydrated…It’s a lot. Enough to make anyone exhausted.

And sometimes when things get hectic we get overwhelmed and forget to breath. In the midst of all the hectic extraneous noise, it’s easy to get carried away in the kinetic energy of the moment. So what do we do when we find ourselves frazzled by the everything that is life? What I have to remind myself to do is take a moment, breath, pray, and have faith that it will all work out. Because at the end of the day, I am marrying the best man I have ever known (not counting my Dad). And at the end of the day, that is all that matters.

And maybe that is the key to life – focusing in on what is truly important to put things into proper perspective. In 10 years, what will matter is that I married this man, not that the house was perfect or the first dance wasn’t.

Yes, in this day and age of information all of the time, and being busy as a sign or status, we can cut out the noise. And we do that by stepping away and breathing to simplify our thoughts, calm our minds, and amalgamate what is meaningful and essential in our lives. Even if we feel so overwhelmed that we are gasping for air, we can slow things down enough to be manageable. And that is what I have had to do, even as the wedding to do list seems to grow by the minute.

It is the rush to breath, so to speak, and slow things down. Time will continue forward, even if everything on my to do list isn’t done. And that’s OK, because the things that are truly important to me are already right there.

Life is short. Too short to be so overwhelmed and busy that we forget to enjoy what is important and right in front of us. So cross your to do list off you to do list. Breath and look around you. And take the time to enjoy the beauty in this life you have created.

The Day is Almost Here

Hi Mom and Dad,

It feels so strange to be getting married and not have you here. No Mother-daughters moments getting ready, no Dad walking me down the isle. And yet here I am, just a few days away from one of the happiest days of my life. And I am beyond excited, and happy, and every emotion that comes along with planning a wedding and getting married. But you guys are really not here, not in the physical sense. And that is so very strange.

And I just wanted to say that, or write that, out loud. Because when I write it, it’s real. I wish you could have met this wonderful man, because I know you both would like him. Dad you would enjoy talking about engineering, and beer. Mom, you guys would stay up talking about about politics and the state of the world. Both of you would enjoy discussing history with him, as he is incredible well read and knowledgeable.

Dad, two wonderful men are walking me down the isle to give me away, two because they have some huge shoes to fill. Mom, you would like my mother-in-law too and I am blessed have her in my life.

I know you will be looking down on me, smiling at my wedding. Just know that you are loved and missed. And you are always in my heart.

A Glimps

It seems that life has been so busy and full lately, and I just want to soak every minute, every second up like a sponge. Between wrapping up contracts, shopping for new contracts, interviewing, planning the wedding, dinner parties, bridal showers, exercising and trying to lose that last 5 pounds…It has been crazy. And wonderful.

Sometimes in life, maybe you do get everything you want. Maybe somewhere after puberty and all the hard work of being an adult, somewhere in between hope and laughter, and in the space that separates fact from fiction, our dreams become reality and we find happiness.

And what a long strange journey it has been to where I stand now. To be here now, with a full heart and more love than I knew a life could hold. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this really is my life, and yes I do deserve it.

And I wonder would I be here now if I had not taken the roads less travelled? Would I have found my way here, in this place in this moment, if I had not had the struggles, heartaches, missteps and adventures leading up to now? Which begs the questions are we the sum of our parts in that respect?

Yes, I think we are, even though we are also more than the sum as a whole. I don’t know if I would still be in this exact place if a million little moments, miracles, and decisions didn’t line up exactly so. I do know that every experience in my life has made me who I am now. And maybe that is the glimpse into the future, knowing that all of our collective experiences lead us and build our lives into one huge, wonderful, complex novel.

We write the chapters of our lives with each step and decision that we make. And we are free to change direction nd start over anytime we want. We are never too old, too young or too anything to start over, change direction, make a new decision, or new direction. So if you feel stuck in life – whether it’s a job, or city, or relationship, you can change that with one decision. That is all it takes.

So take that chance, take the step, make the move and write the next chapter – make it whatever you want it to be. No one can change you life except for you. Remember that.

A little over three years ago I moved 1,000 miles away to where I am now. I was devastated from the death of my parents, family drama concerning the will, and a broken relationship. And then I woke up one morning and realized I didn’t have to be there any more. Some people called me crazy, but most of my friends reminded me of who I was, and that anything was possible. They helped me pack and move. And life wasn’t perfect just because I moved, but it did slowly get better, as my heartache healed.

Life is short. Too short to be stuck when you don’t have to be, and you never have to be. If we are the collective sum of our parts and experiences, then you have nothing to loose and everything to gain. Take. The. Chance. I promise you it’s worth it.

Living the Dream

The day is getting closer, the plans are being finalized, the vendors are secured, the evweything is almost done. All of the planning and dreaming and loving and the sweet and wonderful anticipation. It is all coming together.

It is almost here, the day I marry my best friend, my partner, my love. The only thing that could make it more peefext is my parents, but they will be smiling down at us. My Mom will find a way to be with me, they will send a sign that says I love you. They will find a way to make their blessing of our union known.

Family and friends will be close. And they day will be ours.

My life is bliss. At this moment, I have everything for which I have prayed. And for this I am humbled and forever thankful. My heart is full.

Scam, Bam, Thank You Ma’am

These scams are getting pretty sophisticated and scary. We all know about the Nigerian Prince who needs you to send him money, in cash or Amazon Gift Cards. Or the business mogal who needs you to transfer some money for currency exchange. But what about other scams that seem legit?

An ex from 17 years ago contacted me today (no, that is not the scam). He said a rude man called him looking for me, and passed on the information. I called and it all sounded very official. I am being sued. Didn’t I recieve the letter of notification? It was sent to my address…I owed $XX amount of money on a credit card opened on this date, closed on this date.

Except it was a credit card that I never had, and account that was never reported on my credit report. I told the man this and he immediately became beligerant.

And when I said that I would need to verify everything before making any payments, he became extremely beligerant and unprofessional, accusing me of being argumentative, and reminding me he was under no legal obligation to offer me any kind of payment plan.

I had to laugh. A payment plan? On an account I don’t have, for an card that doesn’t exist, and an amount I never charged, for things I don’t own?

The first of many red flags is how defensive he got when I said I needed to verify and do my due deligence first. In this day and age of so much fraud and ID theft, any collection agency will understand the desire to verify. That is your (and My) legal right, especially if you have no idea as to the account or charges. Any reputable agency will work to get fraudelent charges straightened out, though you may have to show documentation to prove it’s fraud. If they don’t, report them.

Life is short, too short to be taken in and ripped off by fraudsters and criminals. If they do not accept you verifying the information, they are not legit. And the fact that they contacted my ex made it seem more urgent and legit. They had my ex’s name, number, and even his address, which has been separate from mine for over 15 years. Credit to my ex who called letting me know. I imagine it must have been both concerning and unnerving to get a call like that. Don’t fall for it. These guys know what they are doing.

Good Taste

There are many fun things about planning a wedding. Things like getting the dress, getting pictures made, picking out the decorations, flowers, venue, and deciding an the wedding party. But by far, one of the most things about planning a wedding…the tastings! Oh. My. Gosh. I didn’t know such delicious things could even exist.

So far there has been the wedding cake tasting, the bar tasting (where they mix up whatever drinks you may want), and the catering menu tasting. And they have been delicious and fun. Next will be the cupcake tasting. And this girl loves a good cup cake.

While there is still a ton to do before the date, things are slowing being checked off the list, and both of us are getting more and more excited.

And that is the thing about life, that you should be present, truly present and engaged if you want to get the most out of every moment. We forget that sometimes, as we constantly check our phones and watch Tik Tok videos. We forget that there is a whole other life out there, waiting for us to step into it. Enjoy it. LIVE it.

I remember when I was taking care of one of my nephews, and I made him put his phone away and stop playing video games for a day. You would love thought I shot his puppy. But at the end of the day, he understood. Because during that afternoon, he looked up and laughed, stepped out of his comfort zone, had new experiences, met some new people and even learned a few things.

Technology is great. But sometimes no screen time is the best time. Pu the phone down. Turn the video game off. Walk away from the computer…and LIVE. Actually talk to people, ask questions, laugh. Make memories that aren’t Instagram ready. After all, some of the best things in life are not only free, but non online.

The age old question of if a tree in the forest falls and no one is there to see it, does it really exist? The answer is yes, And if you need any proof, just look at everything that happened and everything mankind was able to accomplish before all the social media. Indeed, people still fell in love, had families, ran businesses, took vacations, they still lived life, even when there was no internet, Facebook, MySpace, (OR SpaceBook as I call them) Instagram, SnapChat, Telegram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Tik Tok, Reddit, YouTube, etc.

Life is short. Put down your phone and taste the cake.

Six Years and a Day

Hi Daddy,

It’s been six years (and a day) since you left. When it happened, I knew I would miss you forever. But I also knew you were so happy tp be with Mom again, because that is all you wanted. How life has changed since then. I think you would be proud of the life that I have now, that I have made for myself. I think you would be proud of the move to Texas, proud of my business, proud of the partner whom I have chosen, and who has chosen me.

But then I realized a harsh fact: I would not have this life if you and Mom were still here. Meaning I would have no reason to leave Georgia and every reason to stay. I would have stayed there to make sure you and Mom were well looked after and taken care of. And unless I could have gotten you guys to agree to move to Texas with me – highly unlikely – I would have stayed to look after you.

So while I love you and will always miss you every day, always miss your laugh, your smile…You, I am happy in this life. You and Mom passing was the springboard upon which I launched this part of my life. What the two of you taught me is the firm foundation on which I build. And your love is the fertile ground in which my my life and love for everything in it grows. Just as God’s love flowed through you, so does both your love and God’s love flow through me. Even though you and Mom aren’t physically here with me, I know that you are here every step of the way. Because you gave me the tools I needed to be wonderfully, beautifully, blissfully happy, even in your absence.

There are so many things happening in my life that I wish you could see, about which I could tell you. So many things that make me wish you were here. I will settle for when you visit me in my dreams, and smile, and hug me, and tell me funny things.

I carry you in my heart, always, Daddy. Thank you for everything. Most of all, thank you for being the best father in the entire world.


Your PJS

Those Texans

One of the best things about living in Houston is the annual rodeo, and the rodeo cookoff. Everyone is familiar with the rodeo, but the cookoff is a another thing completely. All I can say is, if you love Bar B que, it is the place to be!

Rodeo cookoff is comprised of over 250 teams that come together is the spirit of good food to complete for the prize of best bar B que in Texas. Being on a cook team is an honor, there is a waiting list for teams to join. The teams pull out all the stops, bringing in tons of meat, drinks and fun. Huge tents are set up that have full bars, air conditioning (a must even in February/march). And most of the tests bring in bands to play to entertain the crowd. While many bands are local, still more are brought in from all over the country. They range from well known and like locals, to up and coming artists, to even a few headliners.

Outside the line of tents and cook teams, the heavy smell of delicious bar b que is in the air. And as it gets later in the day, more people show up until it’s shoulder to shoulder. Just outside of the tent area is a full carnival, larger than most fairs that make tours around the country.

Getting into a private tent is also an honor, and if you aren’t part of a team, you have to know someone. Fortunately my fiancé did and we were allowed in. The atmosphere was festive and everyone was having a good time. A band was playing and after having a quick drink, it was time to quench my curiosity and taste the Bar B Que. It was fall off the bone tender and so delicious I had to try not to make a big mess of myself. Our group was laughing, talking, eating, and most importantly having a great time.

After a few hours of eating, drinking and listening to the bands, y man and I set out to walk around the tents and eventually the carnival. As a rodeo newbie, this was such a fun experience, from all the wonderful smells, to the delicious food, to the people watching to the fact that all proceeds to go charity.

Life is short. Eat good food, make good friends, and enjoy life. And especially get out and enjoy what life has to offer in your own city. While I love to travel, there is a wonderful quality to knowing what your community has to offer.

Ex’s and Ghosts

There are moments when you realize just how lucky you are to be with your partner. When you understand with perfect clarity why it didn’t work with any others and how blessed you are to have love of your partner. While I realize this every day, how incredible blessed I am to have my man, I was reminded again recently.

There have been many articles written on the whys of ghosting, from both points of view of the “ghoster” and the “ghostee”. Personally I have never understood why people ghost others. Unless your life is in danger, there seems to be no reason other than cowardice honestly.

Part of being a mature adult is having those uncomfortable conversations. And whether it’s the “It’s not you, it’s me” or “We’re in different places,” or whatever, talk, it should be done especially if you have been dating for a fair amount of time. And it should be done face to face if at all possible. If you are not mature enough to handle the breaking up part of dating, then you are not mature enough to date.

I have been both broken up with and the one ending the relationship. And neither is pleasant, but you do it because you are a grown. You do it because that is the right thing to do. You do not chicken out and taken the coward’s exit.

Having said that, we all have those ex’s that surface every few years, for…whatever reason. I have only been ghosted once, and that was enough. The man and I had been dating almost a year. Everything was fine, there were no issues of which I was aware. He offered to cook dinner for my friends and I, but bailed at the last minute because he “needed to mow his lawn,” (not joking). I never heard from him again. Until today, 5 years later.

Linkedin is a professional site, so I was surprised to find a message from him saying hello and that he hoped I was well.

After I recover from shock, to be polite I respond that “I am fantastic, hope you are too,” thinking that would be the end. No, the ex felt compelled to catch me up on the last 5 years, right down to what his kids were doing.

Thinking Linkedin is a wildly inappropriate please to reconnect with an old flame, I respond simply that I am very happy and getting married. That is usually a signal to most men that they should move on. This was not the case. Instead, this ex that ghosted me 5 years ago responds in a way that is pure arrogance, “I am happy for you! He is a lucky man. remind him of that, often.”

One of the blessings of being older is you really don’t care who you offend, or how you are perceived. So I remind him that he ghosted me 5 years ago, bluntly asking him why he was contacting me, on a professional site and what did he want?

Apparently he was rather upset that his bad behavior was called out and the door was slammed in his face, because he incredibly defensive and told me he was blocking me.

Life is short. Too short to deal with arrogant narcissists. Ladies, if he slides into your DMs without an apology, or explanation…have a good laugh then slam that door so fast, so loud, and so hard, that he will have to pry that doorknob out of his arse. That’s what he gets for disrespecting you in the first place. And be thankful when you find a real man who knows how to treat a woman and a lady.

Say Goodnight Gracie

It’s always hard saying goodbye to a pet. Especially so soon after such a recent loss of another. But that is where I found myself this past week.

Gracie. Miss Gracie Girl, to be exact, came to me almost 9 years ago. She was a rescue kitty who had come from a horrible situation where she was in a house with dogs that were kept in kennels 22 of 24 hours. Those dogs eventually started busting out of their kennels, and in fits of energy and kennel rage, would chase the cats in the house and kill them.

Little Gracie survived those conditions by hiding, and not ever coming out really. I cannot imagine the fear and trauma those conditions would cause any animal, imcluding the dogs.

She lived in my guest bathroom, under the sink for the first 3 months she was with me. I put a comfy bed under the sink and she had plenty of room to stretch and decompress. Food, water and litter were in the bathroom, just outside of the cabinet. I have no dogs, so she never had to hear barking or fear death.

At 4 months she crept out of the bathroom and lived in the guess bedroom, mainly underneath the bed. I would spend time with her every day and take naps in the room to get her used to me. At 6 months I started picking her up and placing her in the bed with me, for snuggles, pets, and treats. At first she would run back to her safe place under the guest bed. But slowly she began to trust and would stay and socialize, accepting scratches and pets.

Then her personality really came out. She was playful, sweet, affectionate and loved exploring, especially outside in the fenced yard, where she came to feel safe, knowing she could come back in whenever she wanted. She would chase bugs, lay in the grass, and do other happy cat things.

And so the years with her passed by. And she moved with me to Texas. Once here she became more and more friendly, coming out to say hello to guests. She would frequently sing to her favorite socks that she carried around, her song interrupting many Zoom meetings as my coworkers stopped mid word. I would reassure them that she was not being tortured, nor was she in any pain, she was just singing. Loudly.

She was diagnosed with hyperthyroid at the ripe old at of 16. And for 2 years I gave her medicine everyday to keep her from losing weight. And after 2 years, hyperthyroid finally caught up with her, as it always does. She was 18, and getting weaker every day. She was having trouble swallowing and was skin and bones. But she ate and drank every day, even though her condition would often make her throw up. So I made the decision to call the vet to come to the house.

It was the right call, but never an easy one. When we adopt a pet, it is a promise to love them to keep them safe, healthy, and to do the kindest thing so they don’t suffer.

Miss Gracie Girl was rare- a female orange tabby. And she knew it. And I will miss her little spirit. Life is short, especially with pets. Always love on them when you can.

The Best Things in Life

There is a saying that the best things in life are free. I do have to agree. And the best thing in the entire world? Love. Loving others and feeling loved is a wonderful thing. And this month, my birthday month, seems to be an extreme expression of being loved. This past weekend I did a first for me – through myself a birthday party. Complete with a theme (the 70’s, in all of it’s disco glory), catered food, costumes, and good music. I invited friends that I have made in the short 3 years that I have been here in Texas. And it was fabulous.

In addition to my friends here in Texas, one of my best friends flew in from Atlanta and my “sister from another mister” flew in from South Carolina to celebrate with me. Everything, from the moment they arrived, to decorating, to the party, to a tea at St. Regis, to a fabulous dinner, to them flying back out was a reminder of how much I am loved. And that is not to brag, it is actually quite the opposite actually.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our daily lives, and the rat race, and everything in between, that we forget to look up and look around at all of those who love us. Sometimes we are too busy, too unassuming, or simply too un aware, of all the love that is around us. And it is a beautiful and wonderful thing to be reminded.

And I was reminded in spades, as my friends arrived to celebrate with me. As my in-laws helped decorate (there were disco lights, disco ball balloons, lava lamps, beaded curtains, and glow bracelets). And as my friends came to eat, drink, be merry, and celebrate me. And everywhere I looked there were smiles and fun being had. And then I saw my wonderful man, who had been pretty quiet about his costume, as he came out in full 70’s disco, complete with groovy round sunglasses, 70’s wig, paisley shirt unbuttoned half way down and a peace sign necklace. He went all in. As did several other friends.

There were people talking and laughing everywhere, inside, outside, and even some kids in the pool.

And my heart was thankful and happy. When I moved here three years ago I was pretty broken. Coming off the death of both parents in less than a year, all the family drama associated with being the executrix of the will, and having had a relationship end shortly before the move. I was heavy with grief and sad in my soul. The move to Texas was a new, fresh start after devastating loss. And as I looked out at my birthday party, at the smiles and laughter, at all of my friends who had come to celebrate, including those who flew in from out of town, at the love of my life having a fun time, I realized things have come full circle. And this year is going to be the best one yet. Because of all of the love, that wraps around me like a warm blanket and provides a soft place to land.

Life is short. If you are unhappy where you are, or if you just need a fresh start – move. You are not a tree. Go where you can rebuild yourself and your life. Go find your self again, find your purpose, and your joy again. And when you get there, celebrate yourself and others will celebrate with you. The best things in life are truly free, because friendship, love, making memories, and sharing a good life are priceless.

The Birthday Month

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living it well. – Voltaire

The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age. — Lucille Ball

Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter. — Satchel Paige

Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come. — Lucy Larcom

Every age can be enchanting, provided you live within it. — Brigitte Bardot

Oh it is that time of year again, my birthday month! Oh, how I love it. The holidays are over, and just when you think things are gong to slow down a bit…it’s time to have more cake and celebrate another year. And to be honest, I have always considered my birthday to be the start of the new year for me. I It’s not really a new year until I have celebrated my birthday. Then, I can start all of those resolutions.

And thought it is not a popular opinion, I do love getting older. Always have, always will. There is just something magic about it. About how we change, our bodies change, our lives change thorough out the years. The things you learn and unlearn. The adventures and experiences. May I never sit still and be an old lady, no. While I do want to grow old I want to do so gracefully. And bee unabashedly unashamed of my age. No Botox, fillers or filters. And while other ladies are living up for such things, I’ll pass.. First that stuff freaks me out a bit, second I am proud of my fine lines and wrinkles. I’ve hard for them.

It is also important to realize that growing old is not a luxury not afforded to everyone. And maybe you realize that more as you get older. But also the last few years have taught me this in spades. I said that to a good friend over the summer after he was complaining of getting older and gaining weight. He actually died about a month later.

I went to a someone’s birthday party in November, and she was sobbing almost the entire night she was so upset about her milestone birthday and the fact that she was getting older. I almost wanted to slap her. Getting upset about it doesn’t do anything – time is still going to pass. You are still however old, and time isn’t topping – unless you die. So why get upset about it? At least she was alive and had friends and loved ones to help her celebrate.

So on this milestone birthday I will also throw a party, which is something I have never actually done. I usually just go to dinner with friends or my man. But this year, this wonderful year that all these amazing things are going to happen, there will be a party to celebrate. Indeed friends are flying on (if airlines and the FAA don’t have another major malfunction), the cake and catering are ordered, the theme chosen, and the pool is heated. Because I am alive, and here, and loved.

And this celebration will continue the entire month, as it does every year. But for some reason this year is special. maybe because of all that is coming this year, all of the celebrations, and changes, and people and everything. I remember when I was younger and I would wonder what this birthday would be like, what I would like like and what my life would be like. And while it looks much different than I thought it would be, it is the best life that I could have ever dreamed.

Life is short. We only have this one life. We are only here for such a short period of time. Let or birthdays be reminders to celebrate not only ourselves, but our lives as well. Don’t worry about those little wrinkles, or if things are drooping a little bit. Look around, and see all the good that is in front of you, surrounding you. Appreciate every moment, every year that you have. And celebrate it, every day.

The Review and the New

The beginning of the new years is a time when many look back and reflect upon the past year, and what they want for the next 265 days. Maybe it is human nature, maybe it’s part of being self aware, maybe it is our quest to always keep searching and improving. But whatever the reason, none of us are really immune. And as I think back of this past year, with it’s mix of ups and downs, and ins and outs, I am sure that I have much for which to be thankful.

My career was fantastic during the past year. And while there were challenging clients, for the most part, all of my projects were very enjoyable with amazing teams. And I have learned that accomplishing high goals means consistency, perseverance and excellence. If people know what they can consistently get from you, then they trust you, your word, and your work.

I had to say goodbye to several dear friends this past year. One owned a distillery, one was my first director on stage, and one was a good friend from high school. And I also said goodbye to a dear pet. These losses taught me once again not take take a single day with those you love for granted.

I have learned about Grace and patience as my wonderful man has both of these in spades when dealing with me, a red haired, strong willed, spitfire of a woman. Every day this man amazes me, and I am beyond blessed that he is mine. Every day, he embraces me with truly unconditional love that I had only read about in books and fairy tails. He is as steady as the Earth herself. He teaches me about God’s love, and how to be a better person every day, and he does it by example. And every day I am thankful that he is mine and I am his.

This is reinforced as hear I bits and pieces about the lives of various exes that made me cry over the years. The ex-finance ex lost another job and is selling another house to relocate who knows where, again. Another ex continues to chase the youngest and easiest in Brazil and other countries known for trafficking. One laments online how ever girl he meets is a sociopath. Still others seem to walk from one disaster the next. I see all the bullets that I dodged over the years, and how many times those unanswered prayers were truly a blessing. It is true that God hears conversations you don’t you, sees things that you don’t. I have learned to trust this over the last year.

We made the new house a home in 2022, settling in quite nicely, unpacking, hanging, organizing, repairing, entertaining as we have friends over, and swim a lot. There were gatherings and conversations, laughter and a few tears. We have made this space a place we love, and a place where our friends feel warm and welcome.

I have also learned the power of being inspired, and having a reason to achieve beyond your own desires. It is different when you are working toward something. And it is gratifying and fulfilling to work together, as partners, in achieving what my man and I both want. We discuss our goals on a regular basis, and we work toward them together. We move as one unit, in mutual respect and support.

I have also learned the value of health. I started 2022 in physical therapy after ignoring an injury that got increasingly worse. Now it is much better, but still something that must keep up. As it turns out, exercise doesn’t just keep you in shape, there are actual tangible health results that I had not had to experience before, because I had never been injured.

I’ve learned the power of relaxing and downtime as well. I can be a bit of a work-a-holic, and working from home doesn’t always help. So my man getting home form his office forces me to stop and change direction. Balance is a struggle for most and we are no exception. How can you get everything done? I have found the secret: First, make peace with the fact that you can’t. Second, have a schedule that includes time to relax. While that may sound counter intuitive, for me it seems to be the key to me not getting exhausted and overwhelmed. And if I can stick to somewhat of a schedule, then I can breath.

And so I say goodbye to this past year 2022. It seems it was a bad year for many , but it was quite a wonderful year for me. It wasn’t an easy year, but they never are completely. However, it was a great year, filled with great lessons, conversations, trips and moments. Mostly because, all because, of love.

Life is short. And now that my life is calm and wonderful and filled with so much love, I can see the tattered landscape of the past. And I say goodbye to that as well. It is a new era, a new year. But saying goodbye does not mean that we forget or let go of the good stuff. For me, it means that I cleanse myself of the bad, but hold onto the lessons and wonderful memories. It means that I carry all the good of them in my heart and use them to enrich the year ahead. And that is what I wish for you.

Jazz it Up

When you adopt a pet, it is a promise to keep them safe, healthy, happy and make sure they are loved. And also a promise to never let them suffer if they are sick. In return we are given pure, unconditional love and joy.

Yesterday I had to let go of Jazz who had lymphoma. He was a love-bug and always wanting to snuggle. He would raise his arms to be picked up, insist on snuggling at night, often sleeping on my head or right under my arm, and was always purring. I was honored to be his human for 10 years. I will miss him.

As the crazy cat lady, here are a bumch of pictures of my wonderful cat that I loved dearly.

The Exciting New

It comes every year, with parties and people, and resolutions, and new beginnings. It is the new year. And as I look out over rim of the past year, I feel my heart smiling. Indeed this year has been about building up, settling in, being present, and enjoying all of the everything that has come to fruition.

Indeed, there have been notes and letters, websites, contracts signed, and peoms scribbled across napkins and envelopes. There have been books read, and left open, meals cooked, eaten, and cleaned up, glasses of wine consumed and copious amounts of love made. And for the first times in so many years, there have been more smiles than tears, more laughter than frowns, and more hugs than I could count. There have been promises and proposals, trips, plans, drives, and adventures. And yet…

And yet I have a feeling that this next year will be even better. Because there is love, there is family, there is all that I have ever wanted and never knew existed right before me, begging to contain my heart. Because this year, we have worked hard and laid the foundation on which this next year, and many, many more to come, will be built. We have planned and discussed and are moving as one in our lives and goals.

And so for this reason, and this man and our lives together, I am ridiculously happy and perpetually excited to see what amazing advenutres we will have together.

Life is short. So raise a glass, have a tpast, and ring in the mew year, with all of its promise and mystery. This year can be whatever you want, whatever you make of it, because it’s a blank slate.

Some random shots of the year we leave behind as we bring hope to life for the new.

The Great Season

The holidays are a time of both wonderful and hard, with all of the hectic energy, parties, decorating and shopping. Since I have lost family members I am also acutely aware that it may also be hard for those who have lost loved ones, or those who are alone.

It is the slow week between Christmas and New Years when everyone is recovering from the hectic holiday season. And indeed this is one of my favorite weeks of the year. The quiet week of in between, as we wrap up the last in order to make room for the first part of the new. Everyone is settling in and resting up. It is the time for warm tea and hot coffee, fuzzy blankets and all that is comfort.

And as I reflect on the past years I have to smile and my heart is full. This year has been the wonderful everything. There has been much hard work, but it has been beyond worth it as we built the next chapters of our lives. We moved in, unpacked, made memories, discussed dreams, and are building the life and the story that we want.

And this Christmas was even more spectacular and joyful than any I have experienced in many years. The house and yard were almost decorated to the point of obnoxious, but not quite. The house had Christmas in every room, and the 2nd annual Christmas Tree Competition. There was hot chocolate, spiced apple cider and neighborhood festivities, parties, and most of all love. So much love as my in-laws came over and celebrated gifts, family, and a delicious Christmas dinner, – the fist my man and I hosted.

This life now is so different from what it once was, almost unrecognizable. Indeed I have a hard time believing this is the same life, my life, but on a different plane of existence. I think back to the holidays of the past, with my parents and sibling. We would drive to Mom and Dad’s place, spend time wrapping in warm blankets, visiting and catching up over hot coffee. Then stay up all night Christmas Eve wrapping gifts, laughing and drinking wine. How can that be the same life?

Indeed, it seems my life has been split in two – before and after. And it is hard to grasp all those memories of so many years ago, in places that no longer exist, with people who are no longer here. Indeed, thinking of my past holidays before my parents passed is like an out of body experience. And I wonder if everyone experiences such?

And maybe that is the things about life and love and the holidays and memories. That as we get older, and as families shrink, change, and grow again. how do we reconcile the life that we once had with that we have now? Or nary the two shall meet? Perhaps the latter, and perhaps that is why the sweet in the bitter still makes us smile, even as a tear dances on the rim of our eyes, never escaping down our cheeks? And maybe that is why pictures are worth a thousand words.

Life is short. So celebrate what you have, and what you had. There is room for both, as both continue to shape our lives and who we are.

Lit Up

It seems that after Thanksgiving and before Christmas is the busiest time of year for many people. Work, family, shopping, decorating, parties, and just a general rushing around before the lull after the new year keeps everyone extra busy. And my life is no exception. This year has been an wonderful mix of everything and the kitchen sink. But it has been glorious. I don’t think I have ever been so happy about being so tired and overwhelmed but so happy.

And that is the thing about this time of year, it is crazy, joyful. sad, overwhelming, hard, soft, and everything in between. As we get ready to let go of the old and ring in the new while holding down the fort, decorating the tree, and wrapping it all up, it’s easy to need a moment of quiet reflection to take it all in.

Work has been crazy with starting a new contract and wrapping another one up, and there have been very long hours, little sleep and dark circle under my eyes. But the work has been meaningful with a wide audience. And then there is all the decorating. My wonderful man loves Christmas and the more Christmas lights there are the better. We only had time to put the trees up last years because we moved in 2 weeks before Christmas. So this year we had to make up for lost time.

The yard is fully lit, as in we don’t even need to turn on the outside security lights. We could pull up a chair and read a book it is so bright. And it is beautiful. The inside is just as bright with the garland and lights up the staircase, down the banisters, along the hearth and on mantle. The decorations are everywhere, wreaths hung, and every trip to the store is a “oh, this would look good…”

But the best thing for me, is looking at my man’s face as he looks around at our home, and he smiles and lets out a contented sigh. “It feels like Christmas,” he says, beaming from ear to ear, unable to hide his child-like enthusiasm for the holiday season.

And so we launch into the social aspect. This past weekend was the neighborhood Sip,n Stroll, where houses set up tables of drinks for adults and children, along with snacks, music, as other neighbors have a chance to walk around, sipping and meeting your neighbors. It rained but that didn’t stop us or our festive visitors who came with coats and umbrellas, eager for some spiked apply cider and good conversation. It was glorious and fun. We were going to have a blow-up movie screen playing A Charlie Brown Christmas, but the wind lifted the screen up and sent it flying down the driveway, with me chasing it in the rain. Another time, on a still night, then.

Celebrations continued the next day with a Christmas party for friends that went from 1-11pm. Everyone was there to eat, drink, and be merry, as we opened gifts, laughed, and enjoyed being with good friends that are our chosen family. Indeed the event was full of surprises and an over abundance of love.

And that is the thing about being with someone who loves the holidays as much as you do – you get to have a great time, even when exhausted. Because you are making memories and creating a home. The truth is, the holidays are still a little hard for me after losing so much of my family. I still miss my parents and always will around this time of year. And that’s OK.

One of the things that I realized over the last few days is that in addition to loving my man very much, I am also very thankful for him and his family and friend oriented view of life and the holidays. I love the fact that he loves celebrating Christmas for all of his friends and family, and now we get to do it together. His has a life – giving way, meaning that he gives and loves with all he is and all he has, which is similar to myself. And when two givers get together, magic happens.

The holidays were hard the last few years of my parents life because they were so sick and I was the one who did and created the holiday magic for the family. And I always felt like I failed at it a bit because I wasn’t as good at it as Mom was. And I was creating from a deficit as Mom and Dad were so weak and siblings weren’t really interested beyond collecting gifts. It was exhausting to do myself, to bridge the deficient. After the family was gone. I created out of desperation. I didn’t want to be alone, so I invited everyone I could and tried to establish as many “new traditions” as possible since the old ones were gone. The thing is you really cannot create that way and you can’t force it either.

But now we are creating from a place of love, peace, and abundance, and it makes all of the difference. Everything is multiplied and nothing is forced. It’s all easy and flows from our hearts to those whom we love and back again. And that love, our love, lights up the sky, lights our hearts and lights our path as we make this life together. It lights our life and makes celebrating effortless. All the work is worth it. And maybe that is the secret of life and love, find someone who makes it all worth it, even when you are tired.

Life is short. Celebrate it. Decorate it. Share it. And make the most of it. Because we only get this one little life for a short time. Make it spectacular. Make it lit up.

The Untraditional Grateful

Thanksgiving is a very traditional holiday, filled with family, friends, and lots of the traditional foods. But this year was a very non traditional, at least for me. My family was extremely close growing up and the holidays were an especially happy time. Mom would start cooking days in advance, and all of our favorites would be on the menu. In addition to turkey and fixings, there were always yummies like cheese balls, sausage balls, Fantasy Fudge, the Burch family World Famous Cheesecake, pineapple upside-down cake…The list goes on and on.

I loved our Thanksgiving dinners. Afterwards we were all in a food coma, Dad napping and us girls chatting while sipping wine.

Since my parents have passed, it has been a mix of new and old traditions. Everything from Day before Turkey Day Tacos to driving to see family, to lots of food, and after dinner Zoom calls with loved ones. Last year it was last minute, as we had planned to go to Georgia to see my family, but had to cancel due to the house (finally!) closing the day before. It was Chinese food left overs, wine and lot’s of love at the table with my almost in-laws. This year we were planning to see my cousins, but they had their first grandchild born a few days before, so we made other plans.

We still went to Georgia, but we saw friends I had not seen since before moving to Texas. We were invited to eat with one of my best friends cousins whom I had not met before, but who welcomed us into their home with warm smiles, hot turkey, and cold drinks. Then back to my friends farm where we spent time catching up and feeding the animals. There was also time to see more friends in Atlanta, those who I had missed and had not been able to see for years.

And even as Thanksgiving will never be the same as when I was younger, and many of those traditions will not continue, there is plenty for which to thankful. There is plenty of joy. And that is the thing about life, we are constantly rebuilding, developing, and creating our lives. Just because the holidays will never be the same because loved ones are gone, doesn’t mean that we cannot still find the joy of the season. We just have to find new joy in our own time.

And that’s OK. Because our lives are ever-evolving brilliant works of art, a best selling novel with twists and turns even we don’t see coming. For me, I have found joy in celebrating with those I love and who love me, be it friends or family. And there are always things for which we can be grateful, if we look hard enough. Chances are we really don’t have to look that hard. And if you have lost a loved one, and don’t feel like celebrating, that’s OK too. Take time to cry and reflect. Take time to miss them. But know that they would not want you living in sadness and grief for an extended time. You can smile through tears and laugh through heartache. And eventually, you will feel joy again.

Life is short and so is the holiday season. So look around and find what makes you smile, what gives you joy, and pay attention to who you are with when your heart is full. Take lots of pictures and make the time to connect, because we never know what might happen in the year ahead. If you can’t do old traditions, do you best to make new ones, or participate in someone else’s traditions. Why not? Life is what you make it. So celebrate now and worry later.

The Crispy

Summer changing to fall and winter happens a little later in the year here in Texas The leaves start to have the slightest color of red or gold creeping across them, the nights go from being 89 to a nice 80, then eventually down to 75. And slowly the water in the pool goes from a nice 95 to 68 and COLD when you first get in. And the breeze starts to get just a little cooler. Even now in December, the highs are int he low 80S, the lows at night in the 60s, maybe low 70s.

The change might be undetectable to some, but I pick up on it immediately. And it is perfect. After a ridiculously hot summer that went from winter, to a week of Spring, to triple digits in May, the cooler temperatures are more than welcome. Even the plants in the gardens are responding to it being cooler – everything is growing. The garden is suddenly bursting with life that was simply scorched in the heat of the hot summer sun.

And to me this change in temperatures also signals a change in pave. A slow down where we can catch our breath a bit, Indeed, work has been fast and furious with many tight deadlines, long meetings and late night writing sessions. While I am so blessed to have a full plate of work during the recession, the start of the holidays has been a nice break from the hectic.

there have also been many home projects that have added to the chaos. Having plumbers out to prepare and connect the pool heater and generator, and inspectors to make sure everything is up to code. New HVAC systems and discovering a few leaky places in the roof, and having roofers diagnose the cause and cost of repairs and replacement. Getting a new water filter, softener and reverse osmosis system put in which came in handy during the boil water order. And let’s not forget the chimney inspector and the news that the chimney needs to be rebuilt for safety. All that in the same month.

So now I am ready for the longer nights of cozy weather, warm blankets, fuzzy socks, hot tea, Hallmark movies, and cuddles on the couch. I am ready for the slowdown and hibernation of the season, as the decorations go up, the lights some on and the AC goes off (eventually). I am ready for the crispy in the air and the bowls of chili and delicious creamy soups.

As good and blessed as this Summer has been, I am ready for all the Fall and Winter brings and all the wonder that they hold. The Christmas lights and decorations are already almost complete, Christmas shopping is all done and life is good.

Life is short, so enjoy each season as it comes. They all have something wonderful to offer, and I am looking forward to the slowdown from all the hustle and bustle of the summer and the Crispy of this winter.

Stay For a While

It’s been a minute since my last post. Somehow life gets busy with everything, then everything in between. And I have found myself my often this passed 6 weeks or so with so many ideas of what to write, but too busy or tired to take the thoughts down. I hate when that happens. Writing for me is such a natural form of expression – a joyful noise, silently existing on the page, waiting to be read in the colorful descriptions of black and white words.

And yet in the crazy business of work deadlines, searching for and obtaining new clients and contracts, neighborhood social gatherings, and endless home projects, I am exhausted and tired of looking at the screen all day to even think about a post. It’s on those days that sinking into the couch, watching tv, or curling up in bed with my man and the cats is the most wonderful thing in the world.

And so my mind wanders to the idea of balance. Indeed, working, exercising, reading, staying hydrated, completing the ever growing To Do list, travel, keeping in touch with friends, and trying to catch my breath…can all seem impossible at times because where is the time to do it all?

And there en-lies the question that begs for an answer. And the truth is, I don’t know. It seems that something has to give sometimes, because we simply cannot do it all. And maybe that is the answer, simply knowing and understanding that it will never all get done. Because our lives are a constant work of art in progress. So maybe the secret is the counterintuitive and to just slow down. If we can’t get it all done, then why not slow down enough to breath, and enjoy?

Maybe the key to balance is accepting the TO DO list will never be done, because we have a new task for each one that is crossed off. And that’s ok. Why are we in such a rush then? We are only competing against ourselves.

Life is short, too short to stress out, overwhelmed by everything. Breathe, take a few steps back and play as hard as ypu work. You’ll be glad you did.

Authentic Imperfections

Something I wrote a few years ago

Merriam-Webster defines authenticity as real or genuine, not copied or false, true and accurate And this is one of the many things for which I am thankful. In life we hear the term “authentic” thrown around a lot. But even with the definition, what exactly does it mean in life?

To me it applies to the kind of people I have in my life and how I want to be myself and with others. It means that nothing and no one in my life is fake. No one is pretending. The older I get the more important this is for me. When I was younger, I am not sure if I didn’t notice it is as much or if it has just gotten worse and more widespread with social media. Indeed, it is easier now than ever to pretend to be something you are not.

If you are depressed, you can slap a few pictures up on Facebook and voila! You and happy and life is perfect. Put a filter on a selfie, and suddenly you look better than you do even on your best days. I refuse to use filters. Don’t get me wrong, I am a very vain woman, and I am acutely aware of my flaws. But to cover them up completely and make myself unrecognizable for the sport of it. No thanks. Our flaws are what make us our most beautiful and out most human.

Truth be told, I want people who flawed in my life. I want the authenticity of imperfection, of vulnerability. Why? Because I am light years away from being perfect. I am clumsy and can fall, trip, stumble, fumble or spill at the drop of a hat. Most of the time it is funny, sometimes embarrassing and most of the time needs up in laughter. Well, at least it is not boring. I love when someone is authentic and imperfect around me. When they are vulnerable and admit some silly thing about themselves. IT makes them relatable and human. Because we are all acutely aware of our flaws. And it is nice to not have to hide them for acceptance.

I want to know when the people in my life and having a hard day, or are lonely, or are scared or are depressed and why. I want to know when they are sleepy and what kept them up? Was it a hot night? Or was is worry? Because we are all in this together, so I want to celebrate the good and be there in the bad. That is what makes life, life. And that is what keeps it from getting so lonely.

I have also long said that those who are fake will hurt you more than those who are authentic. Why? Nothing is wrong with sparing someone’s feelings, but to lie about intentions, motives, outcomes, or facts? Who has time that? It causes more drama than it is worth. People who live like that are manipulative and usually have their own agenda. My agenda? TO be the best person I can be today, hopefully better than yesterday and to be kind to my fellow humans. There are a few other things, like win an Oscar, travel the world, etc. but you get the picture.

Don’t hide that from me, your authenticity and vulnerability. Let’s laugh, cry, win and lose together. Because we are all broken in our own beautiful and magnificent ways. Our imperfections and cracks are where the light comes in and shines to highlight our many facets…throwing off brilliant colors of light. We are the prisms of life. So, let’s shine authentically, beautifully, brilliantly, and let our imperfections be the beacon of others who are trying to be authentic too.

The Happy Bliss

Sometimes in life we get to a place where we are so happy, and so fully living in the moment, that we have no choice but to drink it all in, every moment, every second. And this is my current position. Life is bliss.

And there is a happiness to all of the busy that I am. And even when exhausted, after a busy day of working and goal setting and reaching, there is such a level on contentment that has never existed until now.

Life is short, so let it be blissful. Stay tuned.

The Other Side of the Tracks

There are always two sides to every coin, and two sides to every set of tracks. And this past weekend was a prime example. And on the other side of the tracks, away from the bullies, we hosted a wonderful dinner party with amazing neighbors that are fast becoming friends.

Part of making a house a home are the memories you make there. We want a house full of good times with friends and family. We want our house to feel warm and welcome to those who enter, so that they feel relaxed and at ease. We want conversations by the fire, drinks on the patio, and smiles all around as we build ties that bind.

It makes a big difference when you know your neighbors and when you don’t. I’ve lived in both, and the former is much better than the latter. And in an increasingly digital world, many don’t talk to their neighbors, which is a shame because your area can be your community. I think the best way to fight loneliness, which is especially a problem in the senior community, is to know those close to where you live. Your neighbors are part of your world, they are the ones who can help out in a pinch or check on pets when you are out of town. they ae the ones who can offer support when you need it and have wine with you as children play together. My last neighborhood was like that and they are still some of my best friends even though I moved. And I am lucky enough to have built relationships like most everywhere I have lived. Indeed, some of my best friends over the last 20 years have been my neighbors.

Our new ‘hood has a dinner groups, where everyone is assigned a group and takes turns hosting. It’s a great way to get to know those in the subdivision and have some delicious food. Each one we have attended has been fantastic and this past dinner was our turn to host.

And so my man and I spent a few week getting the house ready, as we are still decorating and deciding how we want our home to be, look, and feel. I took care of the house, my man took care of the food and garden. It was a flurry of activity as we excitedly checked things off our to do lists. In the end we didn’t get everything done but it didn’t matter. We make a great team together and it showed.

Our guests showed up one by one, for cocktail and hors d’oeuvres out back. The weather was beautiful, the company great, and the conversation interesting. We are blessed to have such a great mix of people in age age and interests. It is a joy getting to know them. It is a joy to live where people are so friendly and eager to learn more about each other.

The people of Houston constantly impress me with their kindness and hospitality. I have only been here a little over two years and in the neighborhood 10 months, but I know that I am home. I realized, as I looked at my guests in that moment, that this is a space where memories will be made and a life full of wonderful will be lived. I am truly excited and I have everything for which I have prayed and my life is full. I am beyond happy here, I am blissful.

Life is short. Soak up every minute, be thankful for it, even for the not so shiny parts. It’s all part of building an amazing full, well-lived life.

Neighborhood Bullies

“I realized that bullying never has to do with you. It’s the bully who’s insecure.” – Shay Mitchell, Canadian actress, model, entrepreneur and author. 

“Bullying is so common that it’s viewed as almost ‘normal,’ but it should never be.” – Choi Si-won, UNICEF regional ambassador for East Asia, actor, and singer

“You can’t be against bullying without actually doing something about it.” – Randi Weingarten, American labor leader, attorney, and educator. 

I think bullying n general is for cowards. – Eddie Alvarez, American mixed martial artist Lightweight Division One Champion

These days it seems that every group has bullies, which is something I will never understand. And it seems especially prevalent with women. There always seems to be a group of nasty “mean girls” who take pleasure in knit picking and making sure everyone one else is miserable. They love to be catty and cause drama, Those people get on my last nerve. And I don’t play well with bullies because I can’t stand them.

Unfortunately our wonderful neighborhood has these bullies as well, who showed there asses over the weekend. Anytime someone makes comments that they disagree with, these rabid hyenas pounce, aggressively dominating the conversation and gaslight anyone dares challenge them. They will be nasty then criticize others for responding. I don’t cotton to that well.

There have been small discussions on our group neighborhood chats over the last few months when they jumped on innocent comments like being willing to donate to certain neighborhood funds, or just anything in general. I really can’t find a pattern. I am new to the hood and they smell fresh blood, so they better establish their dominance with me and make sure I fall into line. Except I don’t. And I didn’t.

Our neighborhood is fighting off three apartment complexes that developers are building because we don’t have the infrastructure to support the increase in population. These developers are not paying any taxes either, so there is no money being put in for the needed infrastructure improvements. About 97% of our neighbors agree to fight these developers, the remaining 3% are the bullies. Unprovoked, they started bullying everyone about how fighting the apartments was not the right thing to do because it would make no difference and more people in the area would mean better stores for their shopping. I, along with a few others disagreed, and boy did they get ugly insisting that they were right. The main girl was so bad, even one of her own was actually brave enough to suggest that “maybe she was coming across a bit aggressively.”

But the real ugliness didn’t start until the next morning, when I relayed their view points to others who did not understand the hold up on certain efforts concerning them. Wow, you would have thought I accused them of murder. I didn’t share their view points maliciously, just as a matter of fact since all of them were so adamant and the discussion was out in the open on that channel. The bullies didn’t like at all because apparently they have been misrepresenting a few things. The result? Many attacks against me, them calling me names, and being kicked out of a social media group the main bully runs because I didn’t back down (I’ll try to overcome my tears of dismay). And more than a hundred messages of support from other ladies in the neighborhood who had been also bullied by them.

So why do people, especially women, bully others? I honestly don’t know. Maybe it is insecurity, maybe it is a controlling nature, maybe they have been bullied on their own lives. Or maybe they are just low evolved, petty bitches with nothing better to do. What I do know is that they create toxic environments where no one but other bullies can survive, unless you are extremely quiet and have no back bone, none of which apply to me. I am a very live and let live, mind-my-own-business type of person. And I’ll will help anyone in need. But try to bully me…and you get what you get.

Life is too short to deal with or tolerate bullies. Don’t seek them out, but don’t allow yourself to become their victim either. It will cause some unrest and some loss of friends, but that’s OK. Trust me. Some short term strife caused by standing up for yourself against bullies and getting them away from you will actually make things more peaceful in the long run. And trust me, once they find out they can’t run over you, they will extract themselves from your life. In that respect the trash will take itself out. And you can get on with the businesses of having a fabulous life.

The Best Day

Rarely are there days that measure up to the fantasy in life, and if we are lucky, we get a few of those. And indeed, this day surpassed anything that I had imagined. And I had to savor it for a while, enjoy the wonderful splendid before sharing,

The trip was planned for months and we were both excited. We were going with great friends and my man’s God daughter up into the Colorado mountains for day hikes and good unplugged quality time spent together. A beautiful cabin where we could see the stars, hear the crickets, and enjoy the clean fresh air. We would cook, laugh, drink, hike, and have a great time. It was beautiful. The day before we left was a flurry of activity getting everything ready and packed. And then the morning of the trip, I only forgot one thing as we headed to the airport – my make up bag. But we were going hiking in the mountains, I wouldn’t need make up anyway…

The best day started out like any other – coffee in my PJs, but with the added benefit of siting out on the deck enjoying the crisp mountain air. Then it was time to get ready for our first hike. I was a little nervous as I haven’t been hiking at that elevation in a long time.

The start of the hike was good, but hot and I was sweating. The young girl who was with us had never been hiking or at that elevation, so I was thankful when she wanted to stop quite often to rest, because then I didn’t have to ask. As we hiked up toward the middle of the mountain it got cooler and soon I got a chill. My man and his best friend noticed that the clouds were gathering in the distance and it looked like rain, a lot of rain. At first they thought the weather wasn’t moving fast enough to get us, but they soon changed their minds as we picked up pace to the top of the mountain.

At first it was just a few sprinkles, then a few more and increased until it was a good rain storm. I was thankful that I had my raincoat and put it on as we headed up toward the peak. And then I felt several small hits on my head through the rain coat and looked to the ground…Hail? Was it actually Hailing? Yes it was. The last track to the top was a sprint as we all headed towards a hiking shelter. The five of us, soaking wet, got in laughing and happy for the structure, complete with benches, tables, nap space, and a primitive bathroom. We ate lunch and rested as we waited out the storm.

When the rain cleared it was time to walk around outside and explore the views. Our friends asked me to check on my man who was sitting up on a rock, while they looked around a bit. As I slid beside him and asked how he was, he answered that he was good, and was just thinking about what a long journey it had been. Me, not thinking anything of it, responded with something like, “Yes, but the rain and hail didn’t last long and look at this beautiful view!” I was about to find out how wrong and clueless I was.

He smiled, let go of my hand, stood up, turned around, and then dropped to one knee. He was almost halfway though before I actually realized what was going on. And in that moment, the whole world stood still.

“I love you. Will you marry me?”

I was shocked and had no idea he was planning to ask that day. I started crying and I wanted nothing more than that moment to l last…I took a deep breath and said…”Maybe,” and smiled ear to ear. And then burst into tears and said “YES!”

And that was the best day. A day that I was reminded of all my prayers that were answered when this man and I found each other. A day that will forever make me smile and ever so thankful that such a wonderful man loves me . And how blessed were are that we have a love, deep in faith, that will last.


An on the humorous side of fantasy versus reality, when a woman thinks about the moment the love of her life proposes, she automatically assumes she will look good – hair and make up done, and wearing a great outfit. In the reality of the moment…I forgot to pack my makeup so wasn’t wearing any for the trip. My hair was pulled back in a common pony tail, and a but frizzed from all of the rain and hail. I was wearing wet hiking clothes and I looked like a confused squirrel. And it made no difference. In that moment, I felt like the most beautiful woman in the world. And I am the luckiest and most blessed woman in the world to have this man by my side, in love.

The 86th

Happy bithday Daddy. You would be 86 today. It’s still hard not having you here, not buying you socks, not hugging you, singing happy birthday. It is still strange to do other things today, or this weekend, that is not your birthday. This day, this weekend was always reaerved for tou.

Yes here I am, having a wonderful time with wonderful friends without you. And as wonderful as it is…I nevwr want to forget to take time to recognize this day.

So I hope you are having a greatbday today. I hope you are with Mom and everyone you love. And I hope you know how much I loce and miss you.

Adventures and Balance

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” – William feather

Sometimes you have to step away from the desk and saddle up for an adventure. We all need to play as hard as we work, and we all need some adventure to remind us that we are alive, that there is life beyond our daily grind at our desks and Zoom calls. And so the Human Spirit calls for exploration.

I have long said that one must always remain curious about life and the world around us. As a write, it is my inquisitive nature that leads to many adventures. I am constantly looking to see what is in this room or around that corner. I just want to see. And there is where we find the magic.

This past weekend it was another visit to New Orleans to see friends from Belize. A quick trip to see them, see new things, and try new food. A quick trip to remind us that there is more to life than work and planning. The recent loss of friends has made me even more aware of this fact. The term work hard, play hard has taken on new meaning. There are things to accomplish, for which I am working extremely hard, but there must also be balance to be healthy. And I think that is one of the biggest secrets to happiness – balance. Something for which I strive but often come up short. Which is one reason I think that I haven’t been writing much as of late, which hopefully will change now that there is ore balance, more fun and more hard play to balance the level of work.

Life is short. And balance is key to insuring we keep our curiosity and sense of play in tact.