See the light, be the light…

This past weekend, I went to a retreat with 18 other women. I almost didn’t go. 5 times. I came up with multiple excuses, mostly related to someone else needing me to stay home – even though they didn’t. They needed me to be there, to relax, refresh & reconnect.

When I returned home and my husband asked what we did, I wasn’t sure what to say. Time was strange last weekend – it seemed to go slowly and quickly at the same time. We laughed, we shared, we connected, we caught up with ladies we knew and met new friends. We did crafts, played, ate and sat by the fire. For some reason, I was reluctant to share our spirit connections. Um, I’m an author in a Wild Woman Book of Shadows book… spirit connections shouldn’t be a shock. We connected with loved ones who have passed, we acknowledged and celebrated the light in each other, we shared stories and shed old patterns. We challenged each other to level-up, be the light and share the joy. We did yoga and sound therapy, stayed up late and giggled.

This was our first retreat without our friend. She attended many in the past and this was the first one since she passed away. We could feel her presence. She sent so many signs… some were subtle and some were huge. The photo above is the fire we had one night. I was going to snap a picture because I love the cozy feeling of a campfire. After I took the picture, I noticed the green light to the right of the flame. This was not visible when we were just sitting there. It danced off to the side as I held my phone up. I was able to get a video of it. Again, we couldn’t see it just sitting there, but it was amazing. We knew it was her spirit celebrating with us.

Last year I was spinning a lot and was nauseous, so I made a conscious effort to stay grounded. While we were visiting after breakfast, I knew I needed to step away. I went to the porch, sat with my coffee and a grounding mat. I did some meditation and was setting my intentions for the day. This was the largest group of people I had been around (for the longest time) in a year. I realized it was a little much for me and I needed some time alone. The difference is, that I took the time. I actually put myself on the list of “things to take care of.” While other people might have had big breakthroughs, my small one was a big first step for me. I struggle to add myself to the list. I tend to want to do/help/give and I forget about myself. Don’t forget about adding yourself to the list!

My other “big deal” was that I sat in our circle, far from the door or the kitchen with my back to the window. You may be thinking, “So what?!” It’s a big deal for me because I like to look outside. I couldn’t do that where I sat. I also like to either be by the door so I can quietly escape or to be by the kitchen in case someone needs something. And I acknowledged this step. Silly as I may sound, my friends also recognized this change and pointed out how different it was for me to do that.

My weekend take-aways: 1) add myself to the list 2) acknowledge small steps 3) my family cannot read my mind 4) releasing control is ok 5) allow the support and friendship. There were lots more, but this was a start.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. Add yourself to the list every day. see the light, be the light.

Bear with me…

5:40pm on Tuesday, I went out my front door and to the mailbox at the end of our driveway. I thought I might take a walk, but decided against it (thank goodness). I went to the back and let the chickens out to free range a bit. I figured there were some extra worms and bugs in the trees for them. They love to scratch in the leaves. I grabbed two containers to pick raspberries in the garden. I was almost done picking the beautiful fall berries (& getting eaten by mosquitoes), when my phone rang. My husband and son were in town and getting ready to go to a movie. “There is a bear in the yard,” he said very matter of fact-ly. “Not funny,” I said. “No, really, there is a bear in the front yard, it’s walking by the pine trees. The neighbor just called and told me.” Again, I said, “Seriously, this is not funny. I’m in the garden and the chickens are out.”

My heart started racing as I walked quickly past the pumpkins and closed the garden gate. I kept my husband on the phone. As I walked past the shed, I could see my chickens. They were still out, but a little frozen in place. They were quiet. I walked quickly towards the coop, whispering for them to go inside. When I looked up and to the left, there was the bear. “Oh my goodness (& some other words), the bear is right there. What do I do?!,” I whisper/yelled to Cameron. Just as I spoke, the bear ran the other direction. It had been less 50 yards away from me. I quickly got the chickens into the coop and shut the door.

The neighbor came over to make sure I was ok and that the bear was gone. It appeared to be just one. We’ve had skunks, raccoons, fox, mink, badgers, pocket gophers and now bear. (Apparently a mountain lion also but I never saw it). I checked on the cat, luckily he was in the garage because I hadn’t let him out after supper. He was sitting on his ledge, probably watching this whole ordeal. He kind of looked at me like “Nope, I don’t do bears. I’ll protect you from mice or birds, maybe a fox or deer… but bears?! You’re on your own!”

I called our oldest son in Montana and told him the story. He said to call the DNR or the state park since we live right across from state park land. I called and left a message with the state park. I texted my “holy cow” story to some friends and family, let Cam know I was ok, then I called my parents. I went back through the Nest camera footage to find a pretty good view of the bear coming through the front yard. We joke about me being a mama bear, but I didn’t think I would get that close. 6:13, the bear lumbered through our front yard. Ironically, it went right past a wooden bear totem in our trees… something that was here when we moved in.

“Bears are more scared of you than you are of them?” Um, I’m not so sure about that. I have no idea if it was a mom or a two year old – IT WAS A BEAR, that’s really all that mattered to me. I’m sure it would have been more interested in my raspberries than my chickens but I’m glad I didn’t have to find out.

This is Greta. Greta is glad the bear is gone.

Regardless of its meaning, I’m glad it’s gone… for now. Tomorrow, my lunch break will be spent removing all bird feeders (even though they were empty), cleaning up the chicken treats and making sure we don’t have anything else appealing to bears. I obviously cannot remove the berries, but they are behind a fence, so maybe that will deter it a little. That’s enough excitement for one night! This week, I have my mammogram and I’m going to a retreat. I’m sure I will have some time to think about the bear and what it represents.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Hopefully there are no more bears with me, just peace instead.

What if….

Matthew West has a new song, talking about living life to the fullest. My sister thought it would make a good blog post. She’s right, only I don’t feel like I can give it justice. I’m not doing these things. I’m not going all in or prioritizing right. Yes, I’ve crossed some things off my bucket list. I’ve checked off some of the things I knew I wanted, and added to the list with things I never dreamed of. But I don’t feel like I live every day to the fullest. I feel like I hold back, I underestimate my abilities, I assume infinite tomorrow’s. There’s always a someday or a maybe when… does that mean I’m filled with regrets? I’m honestly not too sure. Yes and no.

The thing with regret is, I usually think it as something in the past that I did, instead of something that I haven’t done yet. I do have some “I wish I would have” moments… things I didn’t do. I’ll let you read his words and see how it resonates with you.

What If – by Matthew West:

[Verse 1]
I’ve heard ’em say before to live just like you’re dying, yeah
Wish I could say that’s how I am but I’d be lying, yeah
Lying in my bed at night one too many times, I’m thinking
What if? (What if?) What if? (What if?)

[Verse 2]
My biggest fear is waking up to find what matters
Is miles away from what I spent my life chasing after
Is my story gonna have the same two words in every chapter?
What if? (What if?) What if? (What if?)

[Pre-Chorus]
But last I checked this heart inside my chest, is still beating
Well I guess it’s not too late

[Chorus]
What if today’s the only day I got?
I don’t wanna waste it if it’s my last shot, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
No regrets, in the end
I wanna know I got no what-ifs
I’m running ’til the road runs out
I’m lighting it up, I’m right here, right now, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
No regrets, in the end
I wanna know I got no what-ifs, yeah

Verse 3]
See I refuse to be a should’a, would’a, could’a been
I can’t go back in time, I don’t have a DeLorean
What I’m tryna say is I don’t wanna say these words again
What if? What if?

[Pre-Chorus]
But last I checked this heart inside my chest, is still beating
Well I guess it’s not too late, no no

[Chorus]
What if today’s the only day I got?
I don’t wanna waste it if it’s my last shot, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
No regrets, in the end
I wanna know I got no what-ifs
I’m running ’til the road runs out
I’m lighting it up, I’m right here, right now, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
No regrets, in the end
I wanna know I got no what-ifs

[Bridge]
I’m gonna dream a little bigger, burn a little brighter
Stand a little taller, closer to Your fire
Dig a little deeper, reach a little further
Love a little harder
I’m gonna dream a little bigger, burn a little brighter
Stand a little taller, closer to Your fire
Dig a little deeper, reach a little further
Love a little harder

There it is. I feel like I take steps forward and steps back. An open book, then a closed up clam shell… ready to take on the world, then not able to move… cleaning like crazy, then unable to put my clothes away. Adulting is hard. Please don’t give up. People need your light. It’s ok to not shine bright each day, just don’t forget about your flame.

I’m wishing you peace on your journey of enough. Peace for your heart, peace for your body, peace for your soul. May you be surrounded in love and light. Maybe the song will spark a “what if” for you too.

Someone must have…

Last weekend, we moved our son 853 miles west to Montana State University in Bozeman. We packed up 2 (pretty full) vehicles and got there on Friday afternoon. He took care of a few things on campus & we went out for supper. Move in day (Saturday for us) was scheduled in 2 hour time blocks. It went pretty well. Since it’s been 29 years since I moved to college, I wasn’t sure how things would go. We unloaded the vehicles and hauled some of the gear up the 3 flights of stairs, used the laundry carts and other carts into the elevators for the big stuff. Thankful for a cool, breezy day, we didn’t have to start the fans right away. The open window was enough to keep us from sweating.

The room is pretty small and has seen a better day. I’m thankful he is in an actual room and not a temporary arrangement like some students. We set up the loft, put down some carpet & started putting things away. He took care of his clothes and soon realized he probably brought too much. (Fewer $2 laundry loads I guess?!) He happens to be right across from the bathroom. My husband went in there and snapped a pic of the bulletin board. “Please do not wash your bike in the shower.” Not even making that up… it’s a laminated poster…. because someone must have done it before. I will always remember one of the rules from my college handbook I found amazing was “do not loft a water bed”… because someone must have. Can you imagine the mess that must have made??

Somewhere there is a notebook or a list of “things to add to the rule book” because someone must have tried it. It made a mess, created a hazard or resulted in damage. 29 years ago, I started out in a 2 room suite with a shared bathroom at the University of North Dakota. My 2nd year, I had a single room in the freshman/women’s dorm because I was a resident assistant. I thought I’d be an RA for the room and board discount. I also thought I might want to go into counseling field… until I was an RA. That changed my field pretty quickly. I was a Physical Therapy major with a Theater minor, thought of switch to psychology or counseling, ended up with a Mass Communication major and a Sociology minor, working in manufacturing. My point is… not everyone knows what they want to do. Granted, there are some people who just know what they want to do. I was not one of them.

4,000 freshman arrived on campus last weekend. Some flew, others drove… some had u-haul trucks, others had a couple of bags… some are local, others traveled long distances… some had family and friends along, others were alone. One thing will unite these 4,000 young adults – they are now all Bobcat Freshman. Will someone do something silly that will end up as a new rule for future freshman? Maybe. I hope my son is not one of them.

I fully thought I was prepared for him to go, then I wasn’t, then I was. I’m pretty sure everyone thought I’d be a mess and would be sobbing on the way home, but I wasn’t. A few tears shed when I wrote him a letter & put it in a favorite childhood book… a few tears when I hugged him goodbye. We didn’t have a fun “last week together,” or special meals before he left. Several circumstances prevented that. We didn’t acknowledge the last meal we’d share around our dinner table or how empty his room would be. So maybe I’m in denial… or maybe I’m just happy for him and proud of how far he’s come. I will miss our end of the day conversations and even waiting up for him to come home. I know things won’t be the same, but 1 day into this, I don’t know yet what it will look like. As my mentor said, “You’ve spent a year preparing for this, sharing your feelings and surrounding yourself with people who support you. You’ve created more new things aside from your kids. It’s ok to just be happy.”

So, to him and all the freshman, in the advice of my husband, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Don’t be the someone who must have washed their bike in the shower, or other crazy things. Have lots of fun, learn new things, meet new people & find your independence. Advocate for yourself and also be open to new opportunities. And call your parents every now and then, they probably miss you.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. We got this, we will get through it, and we will learn something about ourselves along the way.

I’d rather be “a little much…”

Color within the lines… follow the rules… don’t make waves… sit and listen… From the time our children are babies, we can’t wait for them to talk. Then they turn 2 and we wish there was a volume control. They may go through teen years where they rarely speak at all to us,but can talk to their friends non stop. They get ready to go to college and we wish we could talk to them in person.

As we get ready to send our oldest son to MSU Bozeman, I thought it would be fun to have their school colors (blue and gold) as my nail color. “It’s a little much, mom,” he said, after I excitedly asked what my son thought of my new (self done) manicure. It got me thinking about how many times I was a little much in my life… and how often I played it safe. The “little much” stories are lots more fun, although most people would say I tend to play it safe.

This past weekend, our youngest son and his buddy were in a bowling tournament. They started bowling last year, and something just clicked. They were both hooked. Soon they began learning the bowling terminology, talking about different types of bowling balls, shoes and lane oil patterns. They bowled with masks and had to take a break when the bowling alley shut down for a while. They signed up for the hometown/Midwest tournament and practiced a few times a week. Some days their scores would be low because they were trying out new things. 265 bowlers signed up for the tournament. The first day, he didn’t want to wear his new bowling shirt because he didn’t want to “look too professional.” So he wore his lucky bowling shirt, which is a Christmas/Dunder Mifflin shirt. He had a great day and got his highest score. He advanced to the semifinals in 2nd place. First place was the buddy he bowls with!

Day 2 (not planning on this being a multi day event), he decided to wear his new bowling shirt. He stood out, he was a little much. It was awesome. Even the announcers commented on how awesome his shirt was.

They both bowled well, and he ended up in 3rd place. His buddy was first. In bowling tournaments, the kids win scholarship money. Since we are navigating college expenses with his brother, having a head start on scholarships is a wonderful thing! I was proud of them for how well they did, but also how polite they were and how much fun they had. He went up to the organizers, thanked them and said he had a great time. I did not prompt this, he did it on his own.

The awesome thing about his shirt and my nails is that we each love them. It didn’t really matter what anyone else thought. It was fun and made us happy. Win/win. Sometimes you’ll find JOY outside of the lines. We will be packing and driving almost 900 miles one way. At least it will be below 70 instead of 95!

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. I hope you’ll take a chance and do something you wouldn’t normally do.

Spending time…

“Time is money…” “Spending time…” “Wasting time.” Somewhere along the way, we began to equate time and money. Maybe it’s because we’re paid by the hour? Or maybe we realize how valuable time really is?

“Days of Our Lives” is still a soap opera and it must have enough followers to continue to produce shows. Although I haven’t watched it in many years, I’m sure some of the same characters are still there. I could probably pick it up and be able to follow along despite a 20 year break. “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” Who would have known a TV show opening lines would have so much meaning? Time slipping away like grains of sand in the hourglass. I can picture the grains as events… moments… good or bad, happy or sad, all slowly moving to the other side. We don’t know how many we have. Each person’s is different.

Only God knows how many days we have. Some hourglasses are small and some are large. For many years, I couldn’t picture myself growing old. It worried me. “Did this mean I would die young?” I wondered if it was a premonition. It bothered me that I couldn’t envision a 95 year old me. That was probably around the same time I thought 47 seemed super old though. I’m not sure. Now I find it fun to think about the what if’s. Twenty five years ago, I didn’t imagine my life today. Marriage (grain of sand), two sons (grains of sand), 3 main jobs (grains of sand), 4 different houses (grains of sand), published author, cottage food baker… it wasn’t all on my list. How have I spent my time? Did I wisely use my grains of sand? Either way, I don’t get them back.

Tonight I spent some time with our youngest son, who is learning to drive. I spent time with him at the bowling alley. I spent some time with the cat. I spent some time talking to our oldest son, as he prepares to move to Montana next week. I spent some time making supper and dessert (spent time=saved money). Spending time seems like it has a positive spin. We also waste time too. Sometimes the wasted time adds grains of regret or guilt. These too, we cannot get back.

The passage of time has been on my heart a lot lately. Not only because of our son moving away, but seeing my great nieces and nephews change, seeing my parents age, seeing my grey hairs become more plentiful… all reminders of the passage of time. It can seem so fast and so slow all at once. I know there are some moms who will be missing their kids and others who can’t wait for summer break to be over. It’s ok. It’s ok to not have the answers. It’s ok to feel “all the feels.” It’s ok to spend your time however you want. Your journey is yours. Embrace it.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. (And if you want to spend some of your time reading a good book, I still have some for sale! )

The village changes…

Shopping at Target, I walked by the cute little newborn onesies & mini dinosaur socks on my way to the dorm room supplies. Instead of sippy cups, I’m looking for water filter pitchers. The mental list is a long one, so I try to write random notes when I think about it… extra forks & spoons, ibuprofen, scissors, Kleenex etc. There is a Target in Bozeman. I’m not sending him out into the wilderness alone. He is fully capable of getting anything he needs. This isn’t an episode of Survivor.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I think your village must shift around this stage of life. The village changes to support the moms. I cannot speak for the dads, I feel like many of them don’t talk about this stuff. I’ve seen my village shift over the last 8 months. From supporting me while I looked through senior pics, to helping get ready for graduation open house, and now as I navigate the “last 16 days”””… it’s my friends and family who have picked me up. My village is changing.

  • A friend reminding me to journal out my feelings and (safely) burn the paper…
  • My sister sending an encouraging card…
  • A friend helping me navigate trying to get residency for a new state …
  • A friend listening to me wonder out loud about financial aid and logistics…
  • My sister sending a text to let me know she’s thinking of me…
  • Encouraging words from a friend who has been there…
  • A hug…
  • My husband’s patience as I order another “must have” from Amazon or Target, based on the Bobcat parent group or the ‘Grown and Flown’ group…

I feel like I’m prepared for this some days and other days I read an article about time flying and my eyes get misty. It’s so confusing to feel excited for him, nervous, sad, guilty and happy all at once. It’s strange because we didn’t have a senior year of “lasts” since he was enrolled at the tech school at the same time. It seems like the summer has flown and now I’m starting to use my packing list. I did pick up some extra Kleenex today and a really cool fan came to the door step from Costco.

The past 7 years, I’ve learned to ask for help (more than before). I’ve built a support system and had it shift and change. I’ve tried to prepare him to be out in his own, and he’s made me proud so many times. My village is changing and that’s ok. I’m thankful for those who have stuck with me and continue to support my roller coaster ride.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. If your village is changing, that’s ok… and if your new college momma is randomly teary, let her tears flow. Next time she will be sharing about the fun college adventures of her new adult.

This was a lot…

This was a lot… a lot of preparation, a lot of planning, a lot of moving things & painting things, a lot of pulling weeds, a lot of mowing, a lot of baking cupcakes, a lot of pictures, a lot of lists, a lot of folding chairs. It was also a lot of friends & family helping out, a lot people showing up and a lot of memories made. We celebrated our son’s graduations from Tech School for welding and from high school this past weekend. We had a nice stream of people, a few sprinkles of rain, and a calm evening. Two of his high school buddies from his old school came for the weekend. The smile on Dallas’ face was worth all of the preparation. To hear him tell welding stories to the party guests and show off his certification welds made me happy.

I know he loves it. I know he will love Montana. I know he will make more friends and new memories… memories that I won’t be a part of. Seeing all of the pictures from when he was little made me nostalgic. Not sad, just nostalgic. I’m not sad that he is growing up. I’m not sad that he’s moving away. I will miss him for sure. I just wish I could have a little more time with that little boy farming on my carpet. I wish I could get back the year that I had cancer because it seemed like a blur. I wish I would have had the words to calm worries and mend broken hearts.

But I have a lot to be thankful for. A lot of conversations at bed time, a lot of cookies made and eaten, a lot of side hugs when my hands were full of something else. I don’t tell him how proud I am of him because I want him to be proud of himself… to seek that pride on his own instead of looking for someone else to fill it. But I am proud of him. I’m proud of how he came back from failing classes to accepting help. I’m proud that he can carry on a conversation with adults. I’m proud that he can be his own advocate. I’m proud he found a unique skill and learned how to improve on it. I could go on, but you get the idea. Is the kid perfect? Nope. And I don’t expect him to be. I’m proud nonetheless.

So I sat by the fire on Sunday night, reflecting on the week. There were a lot of emotions from the book launch, to graduation prep, to the party and the cleanup. There were a lot of cupcakes left over and a lot of things to put away. I’m thankful for it all.

I feel like summer can begin now. We were able to go tubing down the river with my sister and nieces and Dallas’ friend. The weather was perfect and it was a great way to top off the weekend. The quiet time by the fire was what I needed to. It may have been a lot, but it was also just enough.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Excuse me while I go make notes for a party four years from now….

Doors, roses and dancing…

We traveled back “home” for the graduation of our son’s former classmates on Sunday. He went alone on Friday to see some more kids and attend a few extra open houses. As we drove up to the school in the middle of nowhere, I knew the day would be almost as emotional for me as it was for the moms of the kids on stage. I forgot Kleenex in the car, but I managed to hold it together.

I held back tears as I talked to other moms before the ceremony. Parents who my son grew up with. Field trips and birthday parties, Halloween around the neighborhood on scooters… now young adults stood before us, eager for their next steps. Pomp and Circumstance played and the lump in my throat got larger. Where would he have been? Who would he walk in with and sit by? What stories would be told of his high school years if we had stayed? Then the choir sang, “I Hope You Dance,” and I leaned over and told my senior that I should have brought tissues. He looked shocked. “What for?!” It’s a touching song. Through all the struggles of raising kids, moving and changing schools, I still always want the best for them. I know it won’t always be easy, and that’s ok. The seniors handed roses to their parents and I’m sure I would have lost it. I would have tried to take 100 pictures so I wouldn’t miss a thing.

When he walked across the stage for his tech school graduation (before high school finished), I wasn’t even able to be there. When he walks across the stage this Friday, I will be there in person, but it’s just not the same. 322 kids instead of 43. Very few he has connected with, and since he was mainly at the tech school, he wasn’t involved in many activities with them either. He is so ready to move on. I can relate to that part. I vividly remember being ready to graduate. I didn’t move as far away, but it was a change. It’s the independence that I longed for. He’s ready for that independence also. I hope we’ve given him the skills to do well, and I hope he will dance.

The words give me chills. Here is a reminder. LeAnn Womack’s “I Hope You Dance”…

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.I hope you dance… I hope you dance…I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance,
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’,
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’,
Don’t let some Hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years
And wonder where those years have gone.)I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.Dance… I hope you dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years
And wonder where those years have gone.) I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.Dance… I hope you dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years
And wonder where those years have gone.)

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. Moving may have closed a door, but it opened a different opportunity & many friends remained. Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens for you too.

Out of the spotlight…

My mom recently turned 80. She has never liked the spotlight. She probably won’t like the attention, but she deserves to be celebrated. We couldn’t go see her on her birthday because our son was exposed to Covid and had to quarantine. It broke his heart and mine too. We want her to know how special she is and how much we love her.

Where to start? My mom is the oldest of 10 kids. I remember stories about the one room schoolhouse and the farm they grew up on. I remember big Christmas get togethers and family reunions filled with laughter and food. But it’s the small things too that make her special. My oldest son says she makes the best toast. My youngest son says she makes the best mac and cheese. Everyone is convinced her scalloped potatoes and ham have some secret ingredient because we can’t quite replicate it. Not only the food she makes, but her smile, her warm laugh, her hugs and the way she loves her family makes her one of a kind.

She has always been an example of giving. As a church secretary for many years, she was often a listening ear to whoever was waiting for the pastor or happened to stop by. She would write notes to people in need of a smile. She listened to many hours worth of teen heartbreak and drama (and I understand now how difficult that must have been.) She went to my band/choir concerts, 4-h events, track meets, plays, basketball and wrestling to watch me cheer. She’d make pizzas and malts for me and my friends before a game. Many slumber parties and sleep overs were held on that orange shag carpet and my friends always knew there would be treats.

She taught me to sew, how to bake, how to do laundry and how to write thank you notes. She showed me the importance of faith and giving. She used to have “Hobby Club” and “Homemakers” and Bible study meetings. Aside from her weekly hair appointment, those were the few “self care” things she did. She is an example of how to show up for those you love. It’s one of the reasons I was sad that I couldn’t show up for her. It was beyond my control, but sometimes lack of control is hard to accept.

80 years is a big deal. I’m sad to have missed most of the last year with mom, but know it was important to keep them safe & healthy. Too often we wait to tell those we love what an impact they have on our lives. So, to anyone reading, I hope you tell someone today what they mean to you. None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. If your loved one has passed, sit quietly and talk to them as if they are still here. Their spirit is with you.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. Mom, you’ve always been more than enough and I’m forever grateful God chose you to be my mom. It was worth the wait!