Grace and Wellness

sunlight-through-the-fog-2

With the help of a good friend I am beginning a journey towards better self care. It’s not that I wasn’t good at it before but you know how it goes. Get busy, neglect sleep, eat poorly, and forget the exercise. The typical stuff of a mid life woman who tries to do too much.

I procrastinated about this wellness focus for months, waiting until my schedule finally cleared enough to give mental space (and energy) to the idea. My friend said to do this alittle at a time (thank God) and she sent me encouraging emails with her own health and wellness tips.

First up, a plant in my room. Sounds so simple but a plant provides oxygen and that can only be good. Second, I ordered a good book- Food Rules by Michael Pollan. I couldn’t resist skimming the first few chapters and wasn’t surprised. Eat more plants and don’t eat things that have more than five ingredients on the package. Right!

Of course it was a few days before Thanksgiving when I read this. I gave thought to what I was going to be eating on the holiday. Turkey, well, only one ingredient there. Baked yams and pineapple, pretty good.  Hawaiian rolls, probably not so good but delicious. Mashed potatoes made with Yukon golds, butter, and a little cream. I thought this really wasn’t so bad.

The pumpkin pie was made from a can that needed condensed milk and eggs. Mom made homemade crust with flour and crisco, a big no no I’m sure but heck, it’s the holiday right? Plus I am not going to tell mom not to make pie. 🙂

All in all, I would say I did not overeat on Thanksgiving. I felt fine afterwards. I cleaned up the kitchen and sealed up leftovers for the next day. No need to cook dinner tonight!

I think the hardest thing about health and wellness for me is putting myself first. Life is ongoing around my house. There are always things to do and some kind of agenda. Even though I no longer work full time, I have a million mundane things to do (laundry, housekeeping, dog, babysit Penny, help my mother). Prioritizing is key. The one gift of menopause has been the recognition that I can’t do it all. I don’t feel guilty saying no anymore. I’ve done the committees, the grunge work, the volunteering. It’s ok by me to say no.

Making an effort at better self care is good. Not feeling guilty about what I don’t accomplish is a challenge. Setting realistic expectations is the order of the day. The grace is in turning it over to the universe.

I hope you have a wonderful week! If you have any tips for self care, I’d love to hear them.

 

Sunlight through the Fog

Foggy Morning Beauty

Early Morning Beauty

When I took Jordan out early Thursday morning, there was a beautiful mist. Everything was covered in a soft white glow and the glorious super moon was still present in the sky. I was so taken by the sight of it all that I went back in the house for my phone. Snapping photos while enveloped in the mist, I was witness to the magnificent dawn.

My wedding season ended last Saturday and I’m looking forward to no commitments for the next few months. This break will give me the freedom to do whatever I want- a luxury in my mind. I am a worrier by nature (I come by it honestly!) and so it takes an effort for me to let go of thinking too far into the future, i.e. next year’s season, will there be enough events, will there be too many? (oy!)

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”
– Leo F. Buscaglia

What do you worry about? (Maybe you’re not a worrier- lucky you!) For as long as I can remember, I hold too much weight on my shoulders. I’m a recovering perfectionist you know, one of God’s most needy children, and it is only through faith that I’m able to work at turning things over. When I saw the sunlight through the fog that morning, it reminded me that God can be the beacon through my worry. The worry is the fog, the sunlight is faith.

“Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.”
– Henry Ward Beecher

Faith is a deliverance from worry. It is a breath of fresh air, a dark chocolate bar, a new puppy. It reminds me that everything will work out in its time. The one thing I try to remember is that I cannot solve my problems all at once. Honestly, sometimes waiting it out proves more helpful. Rather than force solutions, I pray, turn it over, and let God provide the answers.

This week, for the first time ever, I joined my church women’s group as they made homemade nut rolls (yes, from scratch). They sell them and donate all the profits to charity. This has been going on for AGES but I was always too busy to participate. This year, I wanted to help. I showed up at the chosen time; one of the ladies was making dough, the other was mixing nuts with various ingredients for the filling.

Over the course of the next half hour, other women showed up. I was told to bring a rolling pin and I did. Soon there were several of us rolling. I can’t tell you how therapeutic this was. I rolled dough for a while then I helped spread filling. I think we made at least 30 nut rolls that morning.

When it was all over, one of the ladies made lunch. Delicious scrambled eggs with fried potatoes, Greek salad, feta cheese and pita. My favorite part? A warm from the oven nut roll, cut up in big chunks. Boy was that good.

I told an Orthodox friend later that this experience inspired me. She said ” Treasures In Heaven”. I asked her the meaning of that and she said, “What you do here on earth will bring you treasures in heaven.” To work with these ladies (I was the youngest one there I think), spend time with them, learn from them- it was something sweet. And I’ll tell you. I didn’t worry about a thing when I was rolling dough.

Rolling out the doug

Rolling out the dough

Spreading nuts

Spreading nuts

Just before baking

Just before baking

The finished product!

The finished product!

Looks wonderful, doesn’t it? If you have an opportunity to make treasures in heaven, wow, I encourage you to do so.

To you and your family – have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

For another inspiring story, check out my latest post on the Orthodox Christian Network. Click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practicing Spontaneity- Meeting Vivian!

Meeting Vivian- What a Joy!

Meeting Vivian- What a Joy!

“I had to leave Deep Run before I learned how special this part of the world is. I hope you will understand that long before I did.” Vivian Howard, Deep Run Roots

As a recovering perfectionist, I am not always good at spontaneity. And being a wedding and event planner further cements that. I like to plan, plan, plan for my events so things go as smoothly as possible. Better planning makes less anxiety.

So it was with a bit of hesitancy that I purchased a ticket to Vivian Howard’s “Deep Run Roots” book tour and bought my plane ticket within 24 to 48 hours of seeing her social media post. By the time the first 24 hours had lapsed, the one location I wanted to go to (with two events on two different nights) had sold out. The second closest tour site to my sister Mary was in Greensboro, North Carolina.

I bought the tour tickets first, then made the plane reservation. I figured the Greensboro location would sell out just as fast and I was not waiting. This was a big deal for me – it was as spontaneous as I ever could be.

Mary picked me up at the airport and the fun began. I won’t go into detail here; I listed my favorite places with links below. Suffice to say I had a wonderful time eating, shopping, and visiting with old friends. The weather was picture perfect and a good deal warmer than at home.

So the time to meet Vivian was coming closer and closer. Mary and I headed for Greensboro from Winston Salem around 4:30pm. The start time at Scuppernong Books was 6pm. We arrived around 5:45pm and line was already building. Vivian had started early.

meeting-vivian-first-glance

The first time I saw Vivian’s show on PBS “A Chef’s Life”, I set the DVR to tape every episode. I loved the stories, recipes and the way Vivian interacted with the locals. Asking them for their tales, stirring the pots along side of them, and thanking them for teaching her. Her gratitude, respect for her deep roots family, and ample grace comes through. She is also very human. Vivian never shies away from exposing her own frailties, frustrations, and mommy guilt.

I admit to a tear in my eye while I was waiting for her. I’m not sure why but I’m guessing it was gratitude. To my higher power, my sister, and the universe for making it happen. I hoped to be inspired by meeting Vivian- to see that maybe we all can keep the faith about what we are doing. I love writing and blogging and I bet she does too.

vivian-shes-fabulous

Her cookbook “Deep Run Roots” is heavy, large and gorgeous. There are stunning food pics and detailed explanations along with her recipes. I expected a big cookbook- and it is- but it is also a storybook. One of the first pages is the “Don’t You Dare Miss This Introduction!”. Her wit, humor, and love of food is evident throughout.

Whether you buy this book for yourself or a friend, it’s truly a treasure.

Last thought:

One morning I took a hot bath at Mary’s and opened my Pandora app. Guess what came up:

 

Here’s the links!

A Chef’s Life

The Book Tour:

Vivian’s Website

Scuppernong Books

Where I ate during my visit:

Sweet Potatoes

Crafted

6th and Vine

CinCin Burger Bar

Atelier Bakery

Ketchie Creek Bakery and Cafe

My favorite Winston Salem Shops:

Earthbound Arts

The Other Half

vivian-3

hugging-vivian

Thank you Mary for taking these pictures!

Life’s a (Nantucket) Beach

nantucket-cover-photo

Nantucket- Land of Idyllic Beaches

I have been going to the beach ever since I was about ten years old. My family’s favorite spot for years was Ocean City, Maryland. Life is truly wonderful at the beach, isn’t it? Many a fond memory began for me in Ocean City.

Happy to explore North Carolina beaches, Siesta Key Florida, Panama City Beach, Myrtle Beach and many others over the years, I never thought of going to a beach town in the off season. Recently Jim and I spent a whole week in Nantucket, an island about 20 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Of course I’d heard of it! Who hasn’t? I’ve listened to stories about Nantucket and hoped that someday I would visit. A few months ago Jim said he had the third week in October off. Our close friends were willing to join us and had connections there. It seemed like the perfect opportunity.

We flew into Boston, drove to Hyannis and had lunch at the Black Cat Tavern. We walked up the plank onto the Hyline and enjoyed a one hour cruise to Nantucket. The only way to get there is a boat. 🙂 It’s an island, after all.

hyannis-signage

I could go on and on about what we did, things we saw, but I will reserve that for a few links at the end of this post. What I really want to tell you about is what it was like to be at the beach in an off season and truly relax.

First, it’s much quieter (of course). The weather is cooler which when you get to be my age is ok. The cost of a three bedroom house was about 1/3 of the price it would have been in peak season. There are no lines at the restaurants. The weather was in the 60’s and 70’s and absolutely beautiful. The tourist destinations are much less crowded.

port-view-nantucket

Picture perfect Nantucket

Now the relaxing part. I love that we made no plans. Literally the week unfolded one day at a time. We’d get up in the morning, drink a big pot of coffee, watch CNN for the latest news, talk about what we were doing, get dressed and head out for the day. Breakfast was big or small, depending on how we felt and if we were going to have lunch or dinner somewhere. And many times, we decided at any given moment where we were going.

Since I’m an event planner, it was a big deal to not plan anything. I always say I do details for a living so I don’t want to do them on vacation. I tried to keep from piping up about what we were doing and when, and I think I did a good job of keeping quiet. Relishing the spontaneity became a simple pleasure.

We ate lunch out some days and dinner only a couple of times. We cooked at the house on the grill and made amazing meals. We drove on the beach in a red Jeep and obeyed the signs that warn- “You will get stuck! You must take your tires down to 15 lbs!” (haha!) I saw sea lions for the first time ever. I think my mouth dropped open when I first realized the nose in the water was a seal and not a dog.

Here’s some of my favorite shots of the week. My friend Lynda’s photos are designated by “LZ”. There’s also a beautiful seal video at the end- thank you Lynda!

Art work in Hyannis

Art work in Hyannis

View from the boat

View from the boat

#6 Weymouth

#6 Weymouth

 

pretty-good

Couldn’t resist this shot

See that blip?

See that blip? Yep, a sea lion!

LZ - My favorite Lighthouse

LZ – My favorite Lighthouse

LZ- Or maybe this one?

LZ- Or maybe this one?

the-four-of-us

Thankful for good friends.

gnome-sign

Got a chuckle out of this.

yellow-windowbox

Window boxes like out of a magazine!

LZ- Pumpkin paradise

LZ- Pumpkin paradise

the-wauwinet-woodie

The Wauwinet’s Woodie

The Wauwinet

LZ- The Wauwinet Hotel. Gorgeous. We ate lunch on the patio.

LZ- Ed and Lynda

LZ- Ed and Lynda

jim-and-i-at-light-house

Jim and I

LZ- Picturesque Jetty

LZ- Picturesque Jetty

LZ- Jeep Ride

LZ- Jeep Ride

beach-fence

LZ- Yours Truly, barefoot on the last day

LZ- Yours Truly, barefoot and talking to the sea lions

It isn’t until I get away for a solid week that I realize how much I needed a vacation. Nantucket was the perfect thing. And when you go away with friends you’ve known for thirty plus years, it makes it even better.

Nantucket, hope to see you again soon.

Where we ate:

The Black Cat Tavern

Fifty Six Union

BYB- Back Yard Barbeque

Toppers at the Wauwinet

The Fog Island Cafe

Places to Visit:

The Lighthouses of Nantucket

The Whaling Museum

Petticoat Row Bakery

Bartlett’s Farm

What’s your favorite beach? Leave a quick comment and tell me about it.

Life in Pennyopolis

Penny discovers napkins

Penny discovers napkins with Grandpa Jim

“Everything is ceremony in the wild garden of childhood.”
Pablo Neruda

I stood next to Penny while she played with her new toy- a small plastic basketball hoop. As she plunked the ball through the net, the crowd cheered. When she put it through a different hole behind the hoop, numbers would count down on the screen.

throwing-hoopsThis was fascinating to Penny. I sat behind her, not wanting her to fall backwards, while she stood and put the balls through the holes over and over. Every now and then she would turn around, look at me and smile. It was like she was saying “This is so cool isn’t it!”. I was right there with her, discovering new stuff all over again.

My granddaughter Penny was born on January 24, 2016. If you do the quick math, she is now almost nine months old. I raised my own two children, Michelene and John, plus I helped with my grandson Gavin (now 15 years old- wow!). I’m blessed to spend consistent time with Penny these days.

Life in Pennyopolis (as I like to call it) is like looking under rocks all day long. What we take for granted on a daily basis is brand new to her. Every day is an opportunity for discovery, exploration, and learning.

The day starts out with a good breakfast. Scrambled eggs and the comfort of nursing with her mom. Then maybe a short (or long) nap and it’s playtime. There’s at least an hour or two of solid play before the big afternoon nap.

Lots to do in this fancy toy!

Lots to do in this fancy toy!

I know we all have things to do in our adult life but I think we could take a lesson from children. What if our day was made up of learning, relaxation, exercise, and play? We do have work and grown up responsibilities but what if we allowed ourselves the chance to learn something new or really relax? And, connect with others. Penny is a very outgoing child. She loves to meet new people and usually offers them a big smile. People feel drawn to her, just by virtue of her warm and happy personality.

Every time I spend the day with Penny I am reminded of how simple childhood (and life) can really be. Do we need fancy things or lots of money? No. Even with a basket of napkins to amuse us, life can be enjoyable. 🙂

How about elaborate entertainment? No need for it as there is always music. Penny loves music and will often move herself easily to rhythm. Since she was born, her dad has played his guitar and she has listened.

Penny’s mom Jess has a second degree black belt and they do simple exercises together. Penny giggled and laughed the one day when I was witness to this. It was heart warming.

What if we played simply, laughed more, and lived with less? Getting down to basics has it advantages. More down time, less clutter, more happiness. Reaching out to love, connect, and socialize (without substances or social media) allows us to connect on a fundamental, spiritual basis. This is truly the way to live.

“Play is the highest form of research.”
Albert Einstein

penny-with-apples

Punt and Kick

 

football

Punt: to kick (as a football or soccer ball) with the top of the foot before the ball which is dropped from the hands hits the ground.

black-and-gold-sports-cars-10-free-wallpaper

This wasn’t what I saw, but this is nice!

It’s football season and if you’re from Pittsburgh, chances are you own something black and gold. Driving home from watching Penny the other day, I saw a black/gold car and couldn’t believe it at first. But then I realized- I can believe it- such is the way of the Pittsburgh Steeler pride around here.

Football reminds me of punting. And kicking. Especially when it comes to something challenging or upsetting. A good friend of mine posted on social media this morning. It was a distress call, a cry of pain. I messaged privately and asked what happened. The answer was- someone overdosed.

This is happening a lot around here (and I’m sure) in many other places. Drugs are mixed with other things, with tragic results. I bet if we all thought for a minute we could think of at least one or more persons who have lost their lives in the past year in this way. And it doesn’t have to be drugs. It can be a myriad of other things, including health issues.

How many things do we have control over? The answer- None. We only have control over ourselves (and sometimes we don’t have that either). We can set boundaries with other people with regards to what we are willing or not willing to do. But in the end we can only control ourselves.

If you’ve read my book, you know that I had to surrender when certain parts of my life became unmanageable. It was too difficult to keep fighting at times (and I am a fighter). I see no surrender lately in the political campaign. It makes me feel bad for the candidates when they can’t feel the beauty of tossing in the towel (at least not till later). 😉

So at every turn, they punt. And kick. And slander and beat the other up. I am watching posts on social media, choosing to hide the ones that make me judge others badly or make me not want to be friends with them. I heard something recently that as Christians, we need to be above all the mud slinging, just as Jesus was. He was a great example of peace. Ever been in a tug of war game? How hard did you try and win? Try laying down the rope and walking away. That was Jesus.

As tough as it is when we lose someone we love, I say this. Feel your feelings. Get all mushy in them, as if you are in a wonderful warm bath for hours and your skin gets all pruney and wrinkly. Then, get your football and go kick a few in the back yard (or where you can’t hurt anyone). When you’re tired and worn out, take a rest. After that, pull up your pants by the belt hooks and get back in there. There’s work to be done.

Philippians/4-13 I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

 

 

 

God Delivers

Cook Forest 2016

Cook Forest 2016

“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.”
Chad Sugg

There’s a chill in the air when I wake up at dawn. The grass is covered with dew and my legs get wet when I walk Jordan outside in the morning. Our garden has turned pale and most of the tomato plants have withered.  I see trees dropping leaves to the ground; fall is here.

The days seem to fly by anymore. Where did the summer go? It seems to have passed by in a blur. This was the first time in years that I didn’t mind the heat (hot flashes are finally backing off!) and I relished more backyard activities than ever.

throwing-hoops

Beautiful Penny- now 8 months old!

I did so much this summer. I helped my mom, babysat Penny (love it!), and hosted the baptism. I coordinated eight events for my business (x 2 or 3 pre-planning meetings each plus rehearsals and day of duties), entertained fussier details than ever before, and accommodated bigger expectations. I am thinking that my days as a planner are numbered and my days as a writer are coming in closer. There is a fine line between control and grace. I started my event planning business as a way to bring grace in closer to brides and their families. Thankfully, this has happened many times. But sometimes the personality clashes, obsession to details, and unreasonable expectations begin to do me in.

When it seems that I am about over the edge, God sends me a sign. Last weekend’s wedding was a good example. It had a daunting weather forecast. The ceremony and reception were due to take place in a botanic garden, with a tent attached to the back of a gorgeous, 100 year old barn. The prediction was thunder and rain at the exact moment of the outdoor ceremony. If that wasn’t bad enough, more stormy weather was in store the rest of the evening.

At the rehearsal the venue coordinator suggested a last minute tent over the lawn (the ceremony area). The groom and I looked at each other and quietly said NO. The family was in agreement. No tent. We practiced a rain plan ceremony inside, on the dance floor, as a backup just in case.

Morning dawned on wedding day. I started watching the storm path from 9am, checking it each hour. I do this primarily because I feel responsible for the safety of the guests. The barn is a large outdoor structure and 138 guests were expected. Dancing and a sit down, three course dinner were part of the evening.  I said small prayers all morning, lit my candle next to Panayia, and turned the rain issue over to God.

By early afternoon, the storm was moving away from the garden site. By 3pm, we had placed all the chairs for the ceremony out on the lawn, such was our confidence in the predictions. The storm completely veered off to the north, leaving my bride and groom with a partly sunny, beautiful wedding day. Perfect temperatures- not too hot or cold- were the miracle of this day.

God delivers. That’s all I can say. Grace presents itself in the most obvious ways sometimes. I told the family that my perfect wedding weather average was pretty good but even I was impressed! I don’t claim to have the pipeline; I just have faith.

white-chairs

view-of-the-tent-and-garden

A gorgeous day for a wedding!

Check out my latest post on the Orthodox Christian Network by clicking HERE.

Penny’s Baptism

With Paul and Kristina at Altar

From L to R, Godmother Kristina, John, Jess and Penelope, Godfather Father Paul. Thank you to Joe Indovina for these pictures!

On Sunday morning, July 31, I walked Jordan outside very early. We live next to a large field and lately, I noticed two young bucks with emerging antlers were often there to greet us. On this day, there were three. Three young bucks. They stared at Jordan and I for a moment and then dashed off.

Three GardeniasI took note of this and then looked at the gardenia plant I had been nursing for three months. It had three gorgeous blooms. My first thought was three for the Holy Trinity of my church. These spiritual signs felt significant to me. I often look for signs of God in nature.

John and Jess arrived at our house before we all departed for the church. I realized I forgot to tell Jess that Penny would get her new christening dress after her baptism. I decided to check my vintage stash and I found a little white dress that I knew was from a past baptism. Jess said it would fit and it did. Penny is wearing it in the picture below. My mom told me a day later that it was my sister Mary’s baptismal dress.

PK and Dad

There were so many other special things about Penny’s baptism day. Aunt Joy sent a beautiful heirloom ring that was given to her by her parents on her sixth birthday. Gold and tiny, I gave it to Jess for safekeeping until Penny is a little older and can wear it. My friend Daleen sent an embroidered handkerchief that I placed in the box with Penny’s dress. My friend Cathy sent the very first card and it was on the gift table at my house. It was Jess’ departed brother Alex’s birthday weekend and I thought of him many times. Friends came from miles around, as far as Minnesota, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Penny was in her usual joyful mood. She is such a happy child! Smiling at everyone, including her godparents Kristina and Paul, made us all feel blessed to be a part of this amazing day.

Christening box

At the picnic at our house afterward, Jess’ mom Ann had “Penelope Katherine” bottles of wine for favors. John made his special brisket (awesome!); Chris’ Watermelon Feta salad was a huge hit. Aunt KC brought her famous stuffed grape leaves. I made American potato salad (10 lbs worth!) and topped it with shredded cheddar and crumbled bacon. That was definitely popular!

The sky got a bit dark at times and I felt a sprinkle while in the yard during the picnic. I held my breath and hoped it wouldn’t pour. It didn’t! We had 40-50 people at our house and getting them all inside might be a bit challenging! Later I found out that only a few miles away was a downpour enough to create puddles on the road. There are some things that are grace, pure and simple, and this was one of them.

I will have a lifetime of memories from Penny’s baptism day. Thank you God for such a beautiful day! Here’s a few more pictures I want to share with you!

The Stockdale Gang

The Stockdale Gang greets Penny

My Magnificent Church, Holy Trinity Ambridge PA

My Magnificent Church, Holy Trinity Ambridge PA

The Font

The Font

Penny in her carrier

Beautiful Penny

Father Emmauel and Paul

Penny loved Father Emmanuel's bible

Penny loved Father Emmanuel’s bible

Amma and Boston

Amma and Boston

Women Photo

Kristina, Penny, Me and Jess

Around the Font

The Celebration

Father and Penny

Father Emmanuel captivates Penny

Happy

It’s over! Back to Mom and Dad!

Penny and her buddy Alex

Penny and her buddy Alex

Cain Family

Family

John Jess and Penny back of church

John, Jess and Penny

 

 

Summer Reflections

My Pink Rose

My Pink Rose bush

The morning that I am writing this I have opened all the windows, in every room of my house. This has become a pattern with me on warm summer mornings. Before the air conditioning turns on, I walk around opening windows. Letting the fresh breezes in, as well as the sounds of birds chirping, makes me feel lighter somehow and sets in motion a quiet start to the day.

When I’m in a calm mood, I light a candle and do a spiritual reading or two. I like to sit outside with my coffee, soaking in some early morning sun and centering my thoughts. When the day gets off to a hectic start, sometimes it’s harder to do this. But try I do, and many times I manage to squeeze in one or the other, time outside and/or the spiritual readings.

This summer is the best for me so far in terms of mid life. It has been a rocky few years with hot flashes and I’ve not wanted to be outside much. This seems to be shifting, finally, and I can stand being outside for longer periods. I can tolerate warmer temperatures, even needing a sweater on chilly evenings. I’m relieved at this and can almost remember what it was like to love summer.

Next year Jim and I will turn the big six oh. I’m actually excited about the landmark. I feel like I can at last say, I’m too old for this or that, plus I can own my silver hair more fully, I can tell someone I’m just too old to commit to that, so sorry. For the last couple of years I was planning the big landmark party (in my head) that I was going to throw for Jim and I, for this big birthday. Now my enthusiasm for it has gone right out the door. It’s been replaced by a desire to have a week at the beach with my kids and grandkids. Jim is game for this thank God.

Penny’s baptism is coming up and I’m excited to be planning that. Everyone is coming over to our house afterwards so my event planning skills are of good use here. I’ve already got my lists- what I’m going to serve and how to set everything up. I even mapped out my calendar- when I will do what- after long sessions of questions from my mother prompted me to just get it down on paper. Inviting immediate family members only kept the list down. It’s hard to draw boundaries with that. I want everyone here but it’s in my backyard, with limited space, I have to set parameters with myself as well or I will go crazy with worry as to where everyone will fit.

My days are filled with taking care of mom, babysitting Penny, meeting brides, and grilling whatever catches my eye at the farmer’s market. I’ve eaten fresh peaches, zucchini, onions, and tomatoes already and I’m loving it. Every now and then the committee in my head chastises me for not working more, for enjoying this time with my family too much, for not making a full time income. But I tell it to stop, that I am loving this time that I have with my mom and grandchildren. I will never get it back and so there. I’m going to love it.

Here’s more pictures of my summer so far. I’m blessed.

Penny's from Heaven

Penny’s from Heaven

My June Wedding, Tara and her Bridesmaids

My June Wedding, Tara and her Bridesmaids

Meeting an old friend, Drema after twenty years.

Meeting an old friend, Drema after twenty years.

My favorite sunrise picture

My favorite sunrise picture

Lillies at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

Lillies at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

Jim and Michelene's jars of honey and lotion at their Honey Party

Jim and Michelene’s jars of honey and lotion at their Honey Party. Katherine’s Daughter events is their sponsor 🙂

Mom looking at pictures of her brother's recent trip to Greece

Mom looking at pictures of her brother’s recent trip to Greece

Another June couple, Nichole and Arnold!

Another June couple, Nichole and Arnold!

The new house built across the street- I think it's sold.

The new house built across the street- I think it’s sold already

Dundee Farm, Sewickley, where Michelene and I promoted Beefuddled Farms, her and Jim's honey business

Dundee Farm, Sewickley, where Michelene and I promoted Beefuddled Farms, her and Jim’s honey business

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
Henry James

 

 

As Sweet as Honey

My daughter Michelene and granddaughter Penny, on a beautiful summer day.

My daughter Michelene and granddaughter Penny, on a beautiful summer day.

She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

Tupelo Honey, Song by Van Morrison

We are in the full throes of summer aren’t we? It’s July already and there’s lots of sunshine, beautiful flowers, and fourth of July fireworks. Perhaps you’ve already been to the beach and back? I am enjoying delicious fruit pies (peach!), the birds singing outside my window at early dawn, and honey (strawberry) moons.

I remember now what it was like to relish the longer days of summer. Instead of wishing for cool fall weather all the time (the hot flashes are finally backing off!), I am enjoying my morning coffee outside with a good book. I try to leave my cell phone in the house. Why ruin a perfect morning with technology?

I’m also spending lots of quality time with my granddaughter Penelope Katherine. She’s as sweet as tupelo honey. 😉 She just turned five months old and I can see her personality developing right before my very eyes. The little things she does, like touching my face with her sweet hands just melts my heart. God bless Penelope.

My husband Jim and daughter Michelene had their first Honey Party in June. It was a great success with thirty guests who sampled different seasons of honey, learned to be good bee ambassadors, and had ice cream sundaes topped with the honey they spun that afternoon. The future bee ambassadors, the children, are just magic. I love how they participate, ask questions, and smack their lips over the ice cream sundaes.

Love the little one with the raised hand!

Love the little one with the raised hand!

Simple pleasures are the best. Lately I am relishing those. It doesn’t take much to make me happy these days. I’ve done four events already (for my wedding/event business) and learned something at each one. My book has done well, actually it has exceeded my expectations. I started a new page on Facebook called “Recovering Perfectionists” and I’m enjoying the quest to find material to post.

Ah, what’s next? I am trying to take it easy (honest!). I love to challenge myself but lately status quo is just fine. Good enough is really good enough. I want to take time to stop and smell the honey. I’ve got a big lavender patch outside of my door and I often sit next to it. It’s ok to take time for ourselves. The bigger stuff can wait.