Category Archives: Family

Good Friends

A Wondering Spirit via Marianna Bellantoni

We just came through a health scare.  Relatives and friends  embraced us, offering care, help, love, and support. How priceless that is!  At times like this, you realize just how very lucky you are, and that you are not alone. Wonderful people helped us through this, and out to the other side. How on earth do you ‘thank’ them?  Other than the obvious, I will try to show each of them how important they are to us and concentrate on being there for THEM whenever they need us.


Filed under Attitude, Family, Friendship

Thursday Joy

Photo posted by Jeff Jett on LinkedIn

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Awe-Inspiring Photography, CUTE!, Family, Jeff Jett Photography, your 'awwww' for the day


That Guy Steve

The second load of laundry is in, the groceries are put away. We’re going to devote ourselves to CHILLIN’ today.

Hope YOUR day is wonderful, too.


Filed under Cherishing the Quiet Day, Family, taking care of yourself

Happy Saturday


We are enjoying a nice, quiet Saturday.  Our most stressful thing today has been trying to program our thermostats upstairs and downstairs. :0)  We THINK we have it done now.

We don’t have anywhere we have to be, so we can do a clean-up of details. I’m going to try to do a quick session or two of weeding flower planters and pruning roses, plus checking on the garden. I’ll keep the sessions short and drink lots of water in-between.

It’s good to be able to enjoy the calm today. Our son is with us. All is good.


Filed under Cherishing the Quiet Day, Family, taking care of yourself


About Signs

Having a health scare is just that -scary.  Trying to get help for it is a character-building exercise at a time you’re under great stress. Once the initial hurdles have been jumped over, another of life’s realities rears its ugly head – you have to take charge, doing whatever is necessary to get the help needed.

Yesterday was a case in point. I have almost no tongue left because of biting it so many times while I was on the phone making my way through the bureaucratic maze, trying to get tests scheduled and appointments made.

I had been told we would receive calls regarding where and when we should show up for tests and referrals to various specialists. I was given a card with a phone number to call in case that didn’t happen. I was to use it if I didn’t hear anything in a week.

When I called the number on the card, I found that the ‘referral department’ doesn’t actually handle referrals – they give you phone numbers to call – one of which was the ‘scheduling department.’ It turned out that the scheduling department didn’t actually schedule the tests, they ‘authorized’ them. I received another number to call to actually schedule the tests.  The finally scheduled group of added tests will help the specialists figure out what is needed and who should do it.

You get the picture.

It’s bad enough to go through the health scare. The problem is compounded when you finally realize that even though you HAVE TO go through the maze – endure the system – in order to get help, you are your own best advocate. You have to steadily, persistently, keep pushing until you actually get the needed tests scheduled, the actual appointments scheduled to see the specialists, get the results of those, the plan of attack to fix the original problem, the guidance on how to best care for the person who is sick and isn’t in a position to deal with this.

We are thankful. Our son – who lives and works in Thailand – wanted to come to help. He did and is here. He is keeping us calmer, more able to slog through the mazes, phone trees, delays, frustration, attitudes, and emotions, actually injecting some much-needed humor, as well as calm strength.


Filed under Challenges, Changes, character-building exercises, Family, taking care of yourself

Delightful Experience

Poets & Quants

My husband and I signed up to be a host family for a 16-year-old young man from Italy this school year. We have been planning for this for some time now and August 6th the students were to arrive.

Due to a health problem in the family, we were forced to contact the coordinator and opt out. We were really disappointed, but really didn’t want our problem to ruin the year for our young man. Happily, the lady was able to find another family.  We had been texting for some time. When I got the go-ahead, I contacted him and explained our situation, being able to assure him that his plans wouldn’t be changed, other than the host family. He told me he would let me know when he got here.

I figured that when he arrived, he would be swept up into lots of activity and that we would probably not hear from him. I then received a text from him, saying he would like to meet us! We arranged that he and his family would meet my husband and me at a local restaurant yesterday.

The meeting could not have been better. It was was wonderful to be able to hug him and enjoy talking with him and seeing him smile.  I felt like I fell into a hole because I had to look up at him. :0)  He is a really nice looking, friendly young man.

His host family is a delight. Young, energetic, already into school activities because they have two boys, 17 and 13, on football teams at the school, plus a lovely 4 or 5-year-old daughter. Our young man met another boy on the plane who lives in a different part of Italy. He is with another family here, close by!  The three boys will have a blast this year. They are traveling to St. Louis today – after football pics at the school – to catch a Cardinals game.  As you can tell, this is a WONDERFUL situation.

They will let us know the soccer schedule so that we can watch him play. We are making plans for a cookout at our place, and dinner at their place – with our young man cooking! – in the future.

What could have been a sad situation is now a joyful one.


Filed under Cause for Celebration, Challenges, Delightful Surprises, Family

Happy Saturday

Aww Station via Marianna Bellantoni

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Filed under Amazing Animals, CUTE!, Family, your 'awwww' for the day


Inna Kashkovar

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Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, Family, Friendship

Friday “Awwwww!”

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Family, your 'awwww' for the day

Happy Fish?

Because of life getting in the way lately, I’ve gotten behind on my responsibilities around the house.   Yesterday I finally vacuumed our first floor – first the tiled areas and then the carpeted ones. I have a very nice vacuum. The only thing it could do better would be for it to run itself. (We actually HAD one of the round turn-it-on-and-it-runs-around type thingies at one time. It would regularly get stuck under something or wedge itself into a corner, or choke itself to death on the dog and cat hair, so we gave it up.)

Another thing I had neglected was the aquarium. I finally cleaned that out yesterday, putting in different decorations, clean water, new filters, etc. The fish didn’t say anything, but breathed sighs of relief when I put them back in their now clean home.


Here you can see all four of the fish. We have one that has gotten huge – they were all about the same size when I bought them – about an inch long. The largest one is now at least three inches long in the body, and then has a long tail. All seem to be doing fine.


Somehow, the girl-in-the-bathtub’s feet broke off quite a while back. I glued them back on and the fish don’t seem to mind it that she isn’t perfect.

I’m not sure if the weather will cooperate and I can finish getting the garden back in control or if I’ll have to tackle more projects in the house today.

The best thing is that we have Lunch Bunch – our every Friday meal with long time good friends in about an hour. Our son will go with us today, and it’s been years since our friends have seen him. I look forward to the reunion.

Have a happy day!


Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Friendship, Housekeeping - Maintenance

A Son’s Love


Our son is giving me some lessons on how to get the most out of my iPhone.  I have access to a tutorial, but I never seem to give it first priority. Last night we sat down together and he showed me about six different things I didn’t know I COULD do –

  • I have moved the icons I use most to the first page where I can find them more easily.
  • I have learned to pull down from the top of my phone to access search.
  • I have now used Google Maps to enable the GPS function.
  • I can swipe from the bottom up to access airplane mode and other useful things
  • I learned to use the button on the side of the phone to switch my phone from ring to silence, and back again, rather than going about it in a totally more bumbling, laborious way.

We’re going to continue my lessons, and I have to say I am feeling empowered!

Besides my phone lessons, I’m getting my hugs bucket filled. I’m laughing so much my stomach hurts at times. He makes me feel calm and better able to deal with a health issue our family is facing. My husband and I are SO lucky to have a wonderful, caring son. We treasure every minute with him.


Filed under empowerment, Family, kindness, taking care of yourself

Humor as a Stress Reliever

Sometimes we aren’t sure which way to jump, which path to take, what is in our future.

One of the many things my dad taught me was to stand back and try to see the humor in any situation. He had a bad accident, falling off a horse when he was three, leaving him with a shortened left arm with an almost useless hand. He learned to use humor to keep kids from bullying him. He would make them laugh so hard they forgot his ‘disability’ and took him into their group. He used jokes and sarcasm to make his views known. An example of this was he would say, “Nice skirt” to me – when he actually thought it was too short and I needed to change my clothes. Whenever he was in a group, you would soon hear laughing. He passed his ability to see humor in most situations on to me. Just before he died, he scrawled on a napkin, “Remember me laughing.” Though it took me awhile, I do. What a strong, smart man he was!

I have used his lessons many times over the years. I can never win an argument, for example, because I can either easily see the other person’s point of view, or I ‘see’ us having a ‘discussion,’ see the humor in the situation – or the fact that what we are ‘discussing’ has little priority in what is important in life, and the tension dissolves.

Many times life throws us curves that challenge us on seeing the humor.

We’re in the middle of one right now, and things have been difficult. Our son is now home with us, helping with the situation. He brings CALM, caring, good sense, a healthy sense of the ridiculous, love, and lots of hugs. He has had us laughing several times already and he’s only been home a day.

I found this on the net this morning, and it made me smirk. A good reminder to keep my head on straight and be extremely glad my two guys are together. Together we will figure out in which direction we should go.


I Need Real Help

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, Family, taking care of yourself

A Dog and Her Ball

We are having a bit of a confrontation at our house. WE want Amber to FETCH the ball. SHE wants US to play TUG OF WAR….

Amber truly loves a ball. She will tolerate the really hard ones, but prefers the soft, squishy ones. She doesn’t seem to have a color preference, but it’s obvious that her true love is one that squeaks loudly.


She squeaks the ball as she brings it to us, hopeful that THIS TIME we’ll grab the slimy ball and give it a vicious tug. She has a strong grip, so we can never take it from her. Finally, after we have failed to play her game correctly over and over, she drops the ball at our feet. We throw it, she leaps to get it, and brings it back – not to GIVE it to us – but to offer it again for a great game of Tug of War….


Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

Some Days

Bookish Buzz via Cathy Ruggiero

We got an email that the newest Nora Roberts’ In Death series paperback will be delivered tomorrow.

I decided to celebrate its coming by re-reading all the books in the series – 48 to be exact – before I allow myself to read the latest. I’m on book 7 right now, deep in Eve Dallas’ and Roarke’s world in New York City in the future.

Due to a health issue in our family, our son came home last night from Thailand. We picked him up at the airport about midnight, getting home about 1am this morning.

Two huge reasons to celebrate!


Filed under Family, Reading is FUNdamental

Unattended Children

Captain Safety – Yard Bird


Design You Trust


Sad and Useless


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Family, Funny Signs - Humor


Terrance E Stock – LinkedIn


Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, Family, Friendship

Reprieve from the Heat?

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

Jeff Jett just posted this beautiful photo on LinkedIn. Since we’re under heat advisories here in Arkansas, it was so REFRESHING to see this! I hope it gives you some relief, as well as an ‘awwwww’, too.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Family, Jeff Jett Photography, Mother Nature


Beautiful World via Marianna Bellantoni

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Family

Happy Saturday

Inna Kashkovar – LinkedIn

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

Fresh Fish

My fish didn’t complain, but I have neglected them since Mother Nature fried so many of our things. I finally took the time today to vacuum their aquarium, put in fresh scenery, and nice fresh water.


The largest goldfish is almost too large to swim through the barrels, but the other three do it regularly.


Things will settle a bit more, but the fish definitely have a new lease on life today.


Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Update on Amber


Sweet Amber is healing from her ‘adventure’ (whatever it was) recently.

I am leading to her being clipped by a car or truck, or being kicked by a cow. She had a deep skinned place on her head (you can see the scab has come off and pink skin is there), Her left eye was badly irritated with a red rim around it and a scab on the outer corner, skinned places on both front legs, and she was limping badly.

She is MUCH better now. All the skinned areas are healing. We’re not sure if she will grow hair on the place on her head or not. She is still ‘favoring’ the left back leg, but not limping badly. She is able to do one of her favorite things, jump up into the back seat of the truck to GO!

She is again very responsive, wanting to be wherever we are. We are very lucky. She was pretty badly hurt. We’re HOPING that she has learned a lesson and will not do WHATEVER IT WAS again!


Filed under adventures, Amazing Animals, Family

I Ain’t Dead Yet

via Jackie Lyons

I have to tell you I’m patting myself on the head right now. Why?

Usually technology does a great job of kicking me in the rear – to the point it’s difficult to sit at times. Today I received an email from the 16-year-old boy for whom we will serve as host parents for the next school year starting in August. He’s from Italy and he plays soccer. :0)

The email said he wanted to chat via Whatsapp and gave his number.

After panicking, I managed to find Whatsapp in the Apps Store on my phone and installed it. Then I tried to add Alessandro to my contacts there. No way, Jose’ over and over again. Finally, I emailed him asking if he could send me an invitation, since I wasn’t having any luck on this end. We juggled quite awhile and finally connected! We chatted awhile for the very first time. He sounds like a really nice guy and I’m looking forward to meeting him in person.

Meanwhile, I was able to assure him that Greenwood High School does, in fact, have a soccer team and that they would be happy to give him a chance to be on it. I think that was his most important concern.

I finally managed, after messing around with my regular contacts list on my computer, to edit his information correctly, so now we are truly connected. I made sure he knows that he can contact us any time with questions or concerns – and so – our adventure begins!

It’s good to know that I met the challenge and prevailed. I ain’t dead yet!


Filed under adventures, Challenges, Family

Maybe Not ‘Forever’

On the way back from the grocery store this morning, I asked my husband, “Will you love me forever?”

He said, “Maybe not forever, but I’ll go for the next 1,000 years.”

I’ll take it. :0)

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Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, Family

Adjusting our Body Clocks

I told you recently that my husband and I signed up to be host parents for a 16-year-old boy from Italy this school year.

Alessandro will arrive August 6th. School starts August 13th.

We have been setting our alarm clock for 8am – feeling virtuous that we then get up to let our doggies out for their morning run. If we didn’t do this, we tend to stay up ’til all hours, sleep fitfully many nights, would sleep in to try to catch up, making our poor doggies wait.

Since our day will start at 6am for the school year, we are proactively trying to reset our body clocks so we won’t be complete zombies, unable to function.

Today we started getting up at 7am. The sun was up, so it was easier than I thought it would be. I didn’t say anything to my husband about what I was doing last night – resetting the alarm – and he either didn’t notice, or didn’t say anything. It’ll be interesting to see when he realizes. :0)

Starting the last day of July, I’ll set the alarm for 6am. I don’t even know if the sun will be up then. That will be harder if it is also still asleep. Hopefully, by the 6th, we’ll be more used to getting up. By the 13th, the first day of school, I hope the 3 of us will be handling it well.

So far, we got up and got the grocery shopping out of the way early. I have an hour more to try to get my to-do list done – unless I end up asleep in my chair…


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, Family

Poor Amber

Amber was slow coming back from her morning outing this morning. When I went to look for her, she was at the door in the garage – HURT.

We bathed her VERY carefully and checked her over. Besides the deep scrape on her head, she has scrapes on all four legs. She is limping a bit, but is getting around okay. She wanted to eat and drink and has kept everything down. I put antibiotic ointment on all the scrapes and gave her a doggie pain pill to help her calm down and rest.

So far, she’s resting well. We are watching her like hawks in case we need to take her to the vet. I honestly think we have done most of what the vet would have done and that she’ll be okay.

We have no clue what happened. I wish dogs could TALK!  Poor Amber.


Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

Our Dog Just Taught Us Something!


This is Amber, our 2-year-old, 94-pound yellow lab. I just let her in a few minutes ago. She was panting. She plopped down, legs splayed, chin on the floor. Suddenly, she lifted her head and panted a few seconds, then plopped her chin back down on the floor. She did this over and over.

LESSON:  You can’t pant with your chin on the floor.   :0)

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

My Husband is a Keeper

Life Buzz

I started to go into the kitchen a few minutes ago. I was kind of wandering around, trying to get my bearings on fixing dinner. My husband took one look at me, came over and hugged me, and said, “You’re on strike. This was a super stressful day and we’ll call in and go get fried rice.”



Filed under Family

Flourishing Fish

I don’t know when I bought these four gold fish. I had a large bowl I was using as a tank. It quickly became apparent that these fish were actually doing well and that they needed more room. We bought a 5 gallon aquarium, with filter, oxygenator, etc.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say they are now at least 3 times the size they were when I bought them.  I usually end up cleaning out the aquarium once a month, depending on how their water is looking. I scrub everything, vacuum the stones, put in new, treated water, change the decorations, hook everything back up and then carefully add the fish again.

The only ‘trick’ they do is that when they see me coming and hope I’m going to feed them, they all bunch into the same corner and wiggle their little bodies, looking right at me. For some unknown reason, this melts my heart.

They never say anything about the change in decor. I do see them checking things out each time I change things, so I hope this keeps them from getting bored.

Since I talk to my plants, I also talk to the fish. We don’t have any deep discussions about the state of the world or anything. I basically make noises, sounding like an idiot, while they wriggle and blow bubbles at me.

Works for us!


Filed under Family

Dogs are the Best


“Never judge a dog’s pedigree by the kind of books he does not chew.” ~ Unknown



“Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.” ~ Unknown



“There is only one smartest dog in the world, and every boy has it.” ~ Unknown


email from Bill Lites

“It is not an easy thing to inflate a dog.” ~  Edward Abbey


email from Bill Lites

“Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.” ~ Unknown


email from Bill Lites

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”  – Will Rogers


Filed under Amazing Animals, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Family

In Memory of Sweet Mona

A good online friend of mine, very talented Paul Miitaru of Romania, lost his sweet pet, Mona. I wanted to share a couple of his photographs of her to pay tribute to her memory.

“My Mona” – Paul Militaru Photography


“Mona” – Paul Militaru Photography

SO sorry for your loss, Paul. Mona definitely won the lottery when it came to finding you.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Family, Paul Militaru Photography

A Delightful Way to Remind Your Kids


Filed under Bethany Kerr, Family, Watercolors I Love