Why Do You Write Books Like This?

This past weekend, I had a book signing at a Kroger store in Little Elm, Texas. My author table was located near the cash registers, so folks would stop with their full grocery carts and chat for a few minutes on their way to the busy check-out lines. Some would buy books and others would wish me well and go on their way.

Around noon, a woman about my age stopped to look at my books. After looking through them both and remarking on the button box on my table, she asked, “Why do you write books like this?”

I was silent for a few beats, not sure whether to be offended or intrigued by her question. No one had ever asked me this particular question before. People have asked how long I’ve been a writer and how I got started writing books, but never “Why do you write books like this?”

I gave her the short answer which was that my books are stories about my own childhood that I want my children and grandchildren to know. However, I’ve been thinking about her question ever since Saturday, so you are going to get the long answer.

All of my books (so far) are based on true stories about events that really happened in my life and are some of my most treasured memories. I think there is value in sharing good and funny and heartwarming memories as stories, especially when they are touching or entertaining.

I also write about people like my grandmother because I want them to be remembered. People die and memories fade and we sometimes forget the essence of who they were. My grandmother adored children and especially her grandchildren, and her kind and constant loving ways made my childhood very special. It is our responsibility to pass on the love from previous generations.

I also want those who are the ages of my children and grandchildren to know about some of the old things like button boxes and canning jars and clotheslines that used to be a part of every household but aren’t so common anymore.

As our world becomes more crowded and land becomes developed, there are fewer and fewer family farms left. I want the generations coming up today to know a little about farm life and what it was like to have to do farm chores like gathering the eggs when one was afraid of the chickens.

There are a lot of children’s books on the market and as a mother of three I read many of them to my children. Just between us…there were times when certain books would come up missing at our house because I just couldn’t read them again and again without my eyes crossing. There are books that children love to read, and then there are books that both children AND parents love to read. My hope is that my books fall into the second category.

Finally, I try to write wholesome books with beautiful illustrations that are pleasant and leave the reader with a feel-good ending and then for added value, some factual information after the stories.

At the end of “The Button Box” is “A Short History Of Buttons” and after Which Came First? I included “Fun Facts About Chickens.” In my new book, “The Day The Turkey Came To School” (coming out this summer) I have “Turkey Trivia” after the story. These additional sections add an interesting and fun piece for both parents and children to enjoy together.

My daughter once said jokingly (I hope) that I couldn’t write “edgy or dark” stories. Oh I could, but I choose not to write that sort of thing. The world can be dark enough and I want my books to be positive and uplifting. Nothing makes me happier than hearing from my readers that “The Button Box” made them go in search of their own family button box or made them tear up as they thought about their grandmother.

One of my favorite stories came from a woman who attended a Texas Button Society weekend event in Waco, Texas. She bought my book, Which Came First? and was reading it in bed in the hotel that night. She said she was laughing so hard while she read it that she woke her roommate who was asleep in the bed next to her!

After I gave the woman in Kroger my short answer, she said, “We need more books like this” and she bought them both.

I write the books I do because I want them to touch people’s hearts and/or their funny bones and give them some special moments with their families.

Thank you to all for your support of my books. It is truly a privilege to be able to write them for you!

 

 

A Day For Dads

This Sunday, June 18th is Father’s Day.  I’m thankful that my almost 80 year-old dad is still here and in good health so I can celebrate the day with him. When I asked him if there was anything he would like to get for Father’s Day, my dad said, “No, I really don’t need anything.” Well, that’s not the point of getting something but apparently his attitude is pretty typical.

A recent survey by the online shopping website, Retailmenot.com, found that what dads want most for Father’s Day is quality time with their kids. According to the survey, most dads don’t expect store-bought gifts and would rather grill and chill with their families. Even though dads say they don’t really want anything, it’s estimated that Americans spend one billion dollars each year on Father’s Day gifts.

I’m also thankful that this year is a special Father’s Day for my son, Ryan.  He and his wife, Paige, welcomed their first child and my first grandchild, Graham, on September 17, 2016.  I’m hopeful that Ryan has a really fun first Father’s Day!

While Mother’s Day became an official holiday in 1914, Father’s Day is a fairly new holiday in our country. The person who is credited with the idea of a Father’s Day is a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd. Her father had raised six children alone on his farm in Washington State after his wife died in childbirth with their last child. Mrs. Dodd thought it would be nice to have a holiday that honored fathers.

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Mrs. Dodd went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to garner support for her idea of a Father’s Day Holiday. Her efforts were successful and the first Father’s Day in Spokane, Washington was observed on June 19, 1910.

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While the first Father’ Day celebration was held in Washington in 1910, Father’s Day did not become an national holiday until much later even though support for the holiday was spreading across the country. There were two bills introduced in Congress that would have made Father’s Day an official, federal holiday but they were both defeated.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended that Father’s Day be observed throughout the nation.  Finally, in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation which designated the third Sunday in June as a holiday to honor fathers, but it was President Richard Nixon who signed the law in 1972 which made Father’s Day an official, annual, national holiday.

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So, I asked my dad a second time if perhaps there was something that he might not need but might WANT for Father’s Day? He said he wouldn’t mind winning the lotto so he could help out his family. He’s such a dad. And, of course, I’m going to buy him some lottery tickets!

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Author’s note: In other countries–especially in Europe and Latin America–fathers are honored on St. Joseph’s Day, a traditional Catholic holiday. In Western Christianity, the Feast of Saint Joseph on March 19th is the principal feast day of Saint Joseph, husband of Mary and Earth father of Jesus Christ. In countries such as Spain, Italy and Portugal, this is also their Father’s Day Holiday.

The Golden Chairs

A couple of years ago, my parents started giving me things.  I’ve heard this is quite common with people who are getting up in years and I remember my grandparents doing the same thing.  It seems like people want to make sure their possessions will be in the right places after they are gone.  Up until now, the items they’ve given me have been things like Christmas decorations they know I’ve always loved.

This past week, my parents gave me two matching 50-year-old chairs.  They are pink, stained, smell like 50 years of cigarette smoking, and I love them.  I remember the day they were delivered brand new to our house.  It was the summer I turned seven and they were the most beautiful chairs I had ever seen. 

The fabric was off white and metallic gold and they appeared to shimmer in the light.  My little brother, Jeff, and I called them the golden chairs.  Whenever we played hide and seek, the golden chairs were home base and they were our favorite places to sit when we read books or watched TV. 

I remember during my teenage years, my dates sitting nervously on one of the golden chairs trying to make polite small talk with my parents.  Sometimes, the golden chairs were a hot seat when one of us would come in after curfew and find mom or dad or worse, both of them, waiting up for us.  The chairs were one of those constants during all the years we were growing up.

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This is not one of the actual “golden chairs” but the fabric is similar!

At some point while I was in college, my parents got new furniture and I came home to find the golden chairs missing from our living room.  “Don’t worry” said my mom when she saw the anxious look on my face, “They are just in the basement.  The fabric on them has gotten pretty worn.”

When I was 29, my parents moved from the house my brothers and I grew up in.  I helped them move and was relieved to see that the golden chairs were still in the basement storage room.  My mom said she was planning to have them updated for the living room in the new house.

She had them re-covered in a pink fabric to go with their new, pastel-colored sofa.  It was a bit of an adjustment to see the golden chairs in pink but I was glad that my parents were using them again.  It was fun to see my sons and daughter and niece run for the pink chairs the way their mom and dad had run for the golden ones!

When my parents moved to Texas five years ago, they bought new brown leather furniture that was more in keeping with the style of their house.  The pink chairs moved with them but they were relegated to an extra bedroom and didn’t get used much. 

I hadn’t thought of the pink golden chairs for a while until last week, when my parents asked me if I’d like to have them.  I was delighted!  I think most of us can relate to loving items that are special because they’ve been a part of so many years of family memories…you know, Christmas decorations, golden chairs, button boxes…

The chairs will need to be reupholstered and re-padded to remove the cigarette smell, but I am so excited to have them!  I took them to an upholstery shop today to get a quote and was told that they appear to be in great condition for their age.  So now, the search begins for just the right fabric…possibly something in off white and metallic gold.

Author’s note:  I will post a picture of the golden chairs some time this summer after they have been redone!  I’d love to hear about the family treasures you have that hold so many memories for you!

Sometimes, That’s All We Can Do

Author’s note:  Many of you know that I work two days a week in a local pharmacy.  At some point I hope to become too busy selling my books to continue at the pharmacy, but I am so incredibly grateful for the people I have met and the things I have learned during my time there.  This is a story about something that happened yesterday while I was working.  I am making no judgement…it is simply food for thought for us both.

Yesterday at the pharmacy, a customer came in about an hour before we closed.  It was a couple minutes before 5:00 and he was there to pick up a compounded medication for a pet.  He was dressed in a dress shirt and pants as if he were on his way home from work. 

I didn’t find the medicine in our “will call” bin, so I checked with the compounding lab and they said they were just finishing the medication and that it would be ready in 10 minutes.  I gave this information to the customer and asked politely if he had time to wait…telling him that it might be only five minutes as they were often quicker since they usually give worst case scenario times.

His face twisted into an ugly sneer and he said, “No, I don’t have time to wait!  I was told the medication would be ready.”  And then, he turned abruptly and walked out while I stood behind the counter dumbfounded.

When you work in a pharmacy, you are accustomed to dealing with sick people who don’t feel well and might sometimes be grumpy because of it.  But we don’t often see rudeness from someone who is picking up medication for a pet.  Most people are usually grateful that there is a compounding pharmacy in town that can make exactly the right medication to help their animal friends.

During the last year and nine months that I’ve been a part of this world, I’ve come to realize that pharmacy workers tend to be very kind and have a genuine desire to help people (and animals) feel better.  The last thing a person needs if they are sick or if their family member is sick, is for the people in their local pharmacy to behave in a way that makes their day even worse.

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The compounding pharmacist walked out with the medication right after the customer left.  How I wished he had stayed.  That last hour dragged for me.  It’s amazing how we can talk with many people in a day, and one single interaction has the power to lift us or discourage us.

We never know what other people might be dealing with in their lives.  Sometimes something as innocuous as a potential 10 minute wait might be the last straw for someone, like it appeared to be for my customer yesterday.  I said a prayer for him on my drive home.  Because sometimes, that’s all we can do.

It’s A Garden That I Carry With Me

I come from a long line of women with green thumbs.  My mother and both of my grandmothers loved to garden and were really good at it.  My paternal great-grandmother was famous for her gardens on Jackson Street in Elkhart, Indiana, and even sold flowers from them during the Great Depression.

My maternal grandfather was also a gardener.  One of my favorite pictures of him was taken when he was around 80 years old.  It’s a photo of him behind his roto-tiller, turning the soil to prepare it for the planting of his annual vegetable garden.

I have a theory about those who love to garden like I do.  I think gardeners are creative people at heart.  There are a lot of creative people in my family…writers, songwriters, artists…and most of them are gardeners too.

If you’ve seen my book, “Which Came First?” which is a story set on my maternal grandmother’s farm, you will notice a lot of flowers in the pictures.  The book was dedicated to her and the flowers are a nod to her love of gardening.

The gardening process is very much like the creative process…one starts with nothing but a blank piece of ground or a blank computer screen or a blank sheet of paper…and creates something (hopefully beautiful) out of nothing.  Then of course, you sit back and critique your work and make mental lists of all the things you could do to make it better!

One of the hardest parts of my recent move was leaving my perennial gardens at the old house.  It had taken me seven years of careful tending to get them up to speed and I moved just as they were really thriving and coming into their own.  (I’m hoping the new owners are enjoying them!)

I had moved from the Midwest where I was very familiar with the flowers and plants that grew best in that climate.  When I moved to Texas seven years ago, I planted a Midwest perennial garden that spring and it promptly burnt up in the hot Texas sun that first summer.  The next year, I tried again but I still didn’t get it right.

After losing two complete perennial gardens to the Texas heat and sun, I finally wised up and did my research on Texas plants and gardening before my third try.  My third spring in Texas, I finally knew what to plant, what not to plant, and which plants I could plant here in the shade.

My third try was a charm as they say!  And this year, my gardens were looking mighty fine just about the time we moved.  So, here I am in a new home with no gardens.  I’ve scouted out my yard and decided on a spot for my new garden but it’s a little late in the season in this region to plant this year.  I do have a blank slate for next spring and I’m excited to plan it on paper before the actual planting begins.

For now, I will have to make do with my planter gardens:

*The two pots that I planted with succulents…those of you who garden know these fleshy-leafed plants that store water in their stems and leaves are very popular right now!

*My Energizer Poinsettia from last Christmas that just keeps on blooming…remember what I said about having the green thumbs in my family line!

*A pot and a hanging basket of multi-colored Begonias that I bought to support a co-worker’s daughter’s school fundraiser.

*A sometime flowering Kalanchoe plant I bought at the farmer’s market in Denton last summer…that looks like it is about ready to flower again.

*One “Early Girl” tomato plant that promises both flavor and an early appearance of fruit…we shall see about that as it only has yellow blossoms right now.

*And finally, a brand new Aloe Vera plant (which is also a succulent) to replace the one I accidently left outside on a night when we got a rare freeze in Texas.

I’m partial to Aloe Vera plants because my mom always kept one in the kitchen when I was growing up.  She believed the sticky gel-like substance in the leaves was good for burns and cuts.  It’s a pretty little plant that does double duty as a self-regenerating first-aid kit.

I will tend my little hodge podge garden in pots this year but next spring I will be chomping at the bit to start anew with my perennial planting.

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Author’s note:  If you are looking for a fun houseplant, Aloe Vera plants are very easy to grow and have been used for a variety of medicinal purposes for at least 6000 years.  The ancient Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality” and it is said that Cleopatra used the gel as part of her beauty regimen.  Native Americans also used the gel from the plant and called Aloe Vera the “wand of heaven.”

 

The Cousin Adventure

Four of my cousins are in town…Marcia, Deb, Pam and Bob.  They made a 1000 mile road trip from Northern Indiana to come visit.  Pam is in her 50’s like me and the other three are over 60.  They left in the middle of the night Sunday night and took turns driving and sleeping.  It took them 15 hours to get to North Texas.

Originally, it was going to be a girl trip…my three girl cousins…but then their brother got wind of their plan and said he wanted to go too!  I asked what all of their spouses thought about their road trip, and they said that all were supportive of the four siblings having this fun adventure together.

Their mother and my mother were sisters and best friends…Edie and June.  They loved one another so we loved one another.  I didn’t have sisters so I especially looked up to my older, girl cousins.  Pam was younger than me but the same age as my brother, Jeff, so they were always close.

With my mom and aunt in 1984 at Pam’s wedding

My first birthday celebrated with my cousins!

Since our mothers loved being together, we spent a lot of time with one another when we were kids.  I was younger so it probably wasn’t as exciting for my older cousins to be with me as it was for me to be with them.  We grew up playing together at one another’s houses and often celebrated our birthdays together.   We trick-or-treated as a group every Halloween and we spent every Christmas Eve together at our grandmother’s house.

Cousins in the 1960’s!

We spent many nights at one another’s houses too.  Marcia and Deb taught me about hair and makeup and clothes.  Bobby taught me how to throw a football and a baseball.  We loved playing “Is the wolf out tonight” and “Kickball” in their big front yard.  Sometimes we would fight, usually about whether or not someone was out in a game, but those disputes never seemed to last very long.

We rode horses together across the fields and country roads near our homes.  We played jokes on one another.  One day, we were swimming at the local creek just down the road from their house and we all came out of the water covered with leeches.   I still remember standing on the edge of the creek screaming at the top of my lungs, “Someone get them off me!”

My brother, Jeff, on a horse at our Aunt’s house

Their mother was a second mother to me and mine to them.  She was the one I talked with when my own mother just didn’t understand.  She was the only one who called me “Jannie” and to this day, I can still remember the sound of her voice calling my name.  One of my fondest memories is the time my aunt and I spent together in the summer of 1984 planning the decorations for Pam’s wedding reception.

Celebrating Pam’s wedding in 1984

When our grandmother was still alive but was getting too old to do the work herself, we would organize a spring cleanup of her property every year.  All the cousins would meet at her farm and trim and rake and plant and paint and repair.   We would all bring a dish or two to share and have a big potluck meal when all the work was done.  There would usually be a horseshoe tournament at the end of the work day too!

My Mom and Grandma at a spring cleanup work day.

Marcia drove me to the hospital when I was in labor with my daughter.  I had been in Indiana visiting family when my water broke and I wanted to get back to Michigan and to my own doctor. My husband and my father were both out of town for work, and my mother kept my sons while Marcia drove me to the hospital.

My contractions were five minutes apart when we were making the hour-long drive to Kalamazoo.  Every time I would say, “Here comes another one,” Marcia would floor the Ford Explorer we were in.  She kept telling me, “Don’t worry, I won’t let you have this baby on the side of the road…I’ll pull in behind a gas station if the baby starts coming.”  Needless to say, we laughed during the whole drive back to Michigan and she got me to the hospital before Anna arrived!

Marcia holding my daughter, Anna, Easter of 1994

When her oldest son wanted to attend Western Michigan University and play baseball there, he lived with my family for a summer so he could play with the college summer team.  Later, he played in the minor leagues for the Cubs and was able to play professional baseball in Canada and Japan.

Marcia’s son, Brent, far left, celebrating Ryan’s 4th birthday in the summer of 1993 when he lived with us.

As adults, my cousins and I have celebrated the happy moments of life together and we have mourned together during the sad times. When my brother died 11 years ago, they were all there and just as devastated as I was.  When you love the same people, you hurt when they do.

With my brother, Jeff, at his wedding reception in 1990.

When our grandmother died, Bobby and I both spoke at the service for her.  When their mom died of cancer nine years ago, my cousins asked me to speak at her funeral.  It was such a difficult task for me but I did it because I loved my cousins so much and because I had loved their mom so much too.

Bobby and me this week at Babe’s in Sanger, Texas.

Two years ago when my oldest son had an October, Halloween-themed wedding reception, my cousins were there and in costume to help us celebrate the big day!  (Blog post:  And Zombies Came To The Wedding, October 2014.)

Last September, I had the privilege of doing a book signing in Northern Indiana and of course, my cousins were there to support me and to celebrate my new book.  This picture of the four of us girls is one I will treasure always.

Their Texas road trip adventure has been such a gift for all of us.  My cousins felt it was important to visit and to spend time with their aunt while they still could.  And my mother has been so happy to have this time with the four of them…as have I. How lucky we have all been to share our whole lives with one another!

My cousins and me with my mom this week.

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Mother’s Day Can Be Bittersweet

Before I became a mother, I used to go home every year for Mother’s Day.  I would spend a wonderful day visiting with my mother and with my grandmother.  Since my love of flowers had come from them both, I would often give my mother a gift that had something to do with gardening, and my grandmother an Azalea plant or a flat of Snapdragons…two of her favorites.  If we had time, I would help her plant the flat of flowers.

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As my family grew, I would also have my children with me on Mother’s Day and they would bring me coffee in bed and little gifts they had chosen with their dad and the sweet homemade cards they had each made.   It really didn’t matter to me what we did; I just wanted to be surrounded by them and their love.

Mother’s Day is a bittersweet holiday for me now…as it is for many of us for various reasons.  My beloved grandmother is gone and hopefully spending time in a more beautiful garden somewhere.  Now that she isn’t here to visit, I’m so glad I have those memories of time spent with her on Mother’s Day. 

My mother hasn’t been the same since her stroke five years ago.  We will spend Mother’s Day together and maybe it will be a good day and I will see glimmers of the woman she once was.  It will be a different Mother’s Day than it used to be, but at least I can see her face and hear her voice and remember the way things were before.

My youngest child lives not far from me and I will get to be with her on Mother’s Day.  I’m very grateful for that time with her because I know how busy her life is these days.  My other children live across the country and I will hear from them and they will probably send lovely gifts that will mean a lot to me.  But it isn’t the same.

Every mother wants to spend Mother’s Day with her children.  More than dinner out, flowers, candy, jewelry…what we really want is time with our children…even after they are grown up adults with lives and families of their own. 

So, I will do my best on Mother’s Day to not be sad and to be grateful to and for the people around me.  I will, however, remember the many Mother’s Day holidays when life felt perfect and I thought I was the luckiest mom ever.

If you have the chance to be with your mom on Mother’s Day, don’t miss the opportunity to give her some special memories that she will treasure all of her life.  Because one day, you will treasure those memories too!

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Friends Are Friends Forever

During the past two weeks, we moved into a new home and mid-move, we had out of state friends come to visit.  You might think that’s a terrible time to have company, but it wasn’t.  When my dear friend, Susan, contacted me a month ago about possibly coming for a visit during April, I told her we would be moving the week they were coming to Texas from their home in Michigan.

“You don’t want us coming when you are in the middle of a move,” she said.  Oh, but I did.

The older I get, the more I want to spend time with my friends.  They say that friends are the family we choose and I believe this to be true.  We don’t get to choose our family, but we do get to choose our friends.

I’ve been friends with Susan and her husband, Ron, for over 30 years.  We met when our oldest children were just babies.  Ron was beginning his electrical contracting business and was still the guy doing the work in the field himself.  He came to do some electrical work at my house and we struck up a conversation about us just moving to town and both of us being new parents.  Ron and Susan invited our family over for dinner and the friendship began.

Over the years, each family welcomed more children, we met one another’s parents and extended families, and we shared the stuff of life…both good and bad.  We watched one another’s children grow up and spent many days and nights with the two families together…sharing birthdays and holidays, kids’ games and performances, family celebrations and challenges.

Susan and I both lost a brother during the last 30 years, our homes changed, my marriage ended and when I married again they welcomed my new husband into our friendship, and time saw the three of us grow from young parents into middle-aged empty nesters.

The last three years saw the marriages of three of our combined five children and a first grandchild for me.  Through it all, our friendship has endured even when life was busy on both sides and we didn’t see one another as often.

So, when friends with this kind of shared history wanted to visit and we were in the middle of a move, it really wasn’t a big deal.  We ended up having a welcome break from moving, and a wonderful three days spent together.  What a gift this friendship has been!

And, having overseen the wiring on four of my previous homes, Ron knew me well enough to know that I would want to have some electrical work done on my new house.  So of course, being the friend that he is, he packed his electrical tools and brought them on the plane and on his vacation, to Texas!

I’m always intrigued by the forces that bring people together as friends.  While I have treasured long time friends like Ron and Susan, I also have relatively short term friendships that are very important to me too.  There is no time requirement for friendship!

Yesterday, I was having a discussion with a couple of friends at work about friendships and how you know someone is a good and true friend.  Here’s a list of what we decided:

*Your personalities mesh and you simply enjoy being together whether you are talking or not.

*You have shared experiences and understand the important people and events in one another’s lives.

*You are flexible and understand the demands on each other’s time and can pick back up with the friendship no matter how much time has passed since you were last together.

*You have similar values for how you want to live your lives.

*You know you can depend on one another.

*The friendship is important to each of you and there is effort to nurture it from both sides.

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Author’s note:  I would love to hear your feedback on what you believe makes a good friend or friendship!

Downsizing And Liking It

In the past week, my husband and I moved from a house that was almost 3200 square feet to one that is 2200 square feet.  As you can imagine, we had to get rid of stuff…lots of stuff.  It’s true that our belongings tend to expand to fit our space.  Unfortunately, the reverse doesn’t happen.  Belongings do not shrink to fit a smaller house without some effort.

Photo by Jeff Hull

We knew we would have three fewer rooms and a lot less storage space, so a couple of months ago, we set out to lighten our load.  After two garage sales, multiple trips to Goodwill, many items sold on Craig’s List and nextdoor.com, we almost fit into our new house.  We do have a random desk sitting in front of the fireplace in our family room that I hope to work in somewhere.

According to thestreet.com, we are part of the Baby Boomer trend that started in 2014 toward downsizing to a simpler way of living.  Twenty-eight per cent of Americans who are ages 55 – 59, say they will downsize on their next home purchase.  Now that the Boomer generation is all over the age of 50, they have tired of “going big” and are opting for smaller homes and vehicles.  Boomers still want the amenities and comforts they are famous for, but on a smaller scale.

It took us a year of talking about it before we ultimately decided to downsize.  Several factors entered into our decision.  One was the fact that we rarely used our upstairs space and in fact, did most of our daily living in just four or five rooms.  We realized that we had used our formal dining room just one time in all of last year.

We were also tiring of all the yardwork that went with a big yard and a pool.  While I know I will miss having a “cement pond”, I won’t miss the constant upkeep and the trips to the pool store for supplies.  I’m looking forward to the lower water and electric bills that come with a pool-free home!

Photo by Jeff Hull

I think as we age, we begin looking at all the stuff we’ve accumulated and decide that it really isn’t all that important in the whole scheme of things.  I told my husband I was tired of hauling stuff from house to house because it had belonged to Uncle So and So, or my grandmother, or my mother had given it to me, or it might be valuable, or I might need it someday, or or or…  It was time to move all of these things to new homes and people who might actually use them and to simplify our lives.  Of course, I didn’t get rid of everything; I still kept the items I love and use such as my grandmother’s mason jars.

The only item I had trouble parting with was the piano that all my children had played for years.  It was so connected with my memories of their childhood and had become like a part of the family.

I offered it to each of my children and all of them declined for various reasons.  Then, the people who bought the piano through Craig’s List were so excited and happy when they saw it that letting it go was easier than I expected.  It warmed my heart to think of their two young daughters learning to play on it just as my own three children had done.

As empty nesters, it was fun to choose a new home that fits us and our needs without having to worry about space and comfort for anyone else.  By moving to a smaller home, we were able to zero in on the furniture and possessions that we both really like and use and to get rid of the items that neither of us wanted any longer.  It has been very liberating to simplify and not feel as bogged down with stuff.

And now that we are in a smaller space that requires less upkeep, we should have more time to spend on the fun activities we enjoy and to travel.  Since we have a new grandson, I am looking forward to more trips to see him.

But first, I must find a place for that desk!

Where Did The Time Go?

Thank you to those of you who visited walkdownthelane.com this week!  As you know, I normally post on Wednesdays.  However, we’re moving into a new home and I simply ran out of time to write today.  I hope to be back on schedule next Wednesday with a new post.  Thank  you for your support of my blog and books…I so appreciate it!

Janet