Happy Anniversary

Today my husband and I celebrate 29 years of marriage.



Where did the time go? We blended two families together-6 kids! We are now 11 grandchildren, 3 great-grand children, and a significant number of significant others (all whom I am  glad to say we love dearly).  It was a great deal of hard work and sacrifices along the way…

but let me go back 29 years…

After dating for almost 2 years, we decided to plan a vacation with the kids. After much research we chose a houseboat on Lake Mead in Nevada. It sounded like a great idea! By this time we knew we were going to get married and in fact had matching wedding bands made. It had come down to settling on the specifics of a wedding. Lake Mead, if you don’t know, it  just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada-and as you probably do know is a hot spot for weddings. It wasn’t much of a leap at this point to decide to elope and allow the houseboat, with all of the kids to be our honeymoon.

Without saying a word to anyone, we made a plan. We didn’t even tell the kids until we were enroute for fear they would not be able to keep such a big secret.  At the time we worked in real estate so the only person who knew was the printer who in advance of the wedding printed up my new business cards. It was how we would spread the word to our co-workers. We told the kids to be sure to pack one nice outfit but due to the rush of last minute preparations I did not follow up on their chosen wardrobe. As a result, we were a bit of a rag-tag looking group for the wedding which did not matter in the slightest.  I grabbed the newest dress I had which my sister had given me for my birthday the month before.

Needless to say, most of preparations for this trip were focused on the things we would need for 7 days on the houseboat. We purchased 56-6 packs of soda (okay, a bit of overkill and math isn’t my best subject anyway),  blow up tubing and toys for the lake, sunscreen, food, games, and all of the expected things one might need in the middle of a lake in the brutal desert in mid August.

As we made our way on the just under 4 hour drive to Las Vegas we announced to the kids of our pending nuptials.  At this early stage in our relationship we were in no way the idea of a blended family but they took the news rather well we thought.  Perhaps they were just anxious to get to the vacation on the lake.  Who knows. There were no cell phones in those days so no worry of them tipping anyone off.  We would make the appropriate calls to family after the ceremony.

When we arrived in Las Vegas,  I settled the kids into our two hotel rooms at the Landmark Hotel (we almost cried years later when this hotel was imploded). Thommmee made arrangements including a limo to pick us up and take us to a cute wedding chapel-the limo ride a real treat for the kids!  Our group somehow managed to pull ourselves together and before we knew it we were standing before a minister reciting our wedding vows . There was no Elvis look-a-like or any other corny theme (well, just my cheesy fake flower bouquet).


It was just simply a beautiful moment.

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  We were soon off then to a buffet dinner in a hotel I cannot even remember.

With a whirl of activity and before we knew it, we were honeymooning on a lake in confined quarters with a group of kids. I couldn’t have asked for more perfect honeymoon!  The kids still talk about what a great trip it was.

29 years ago already and it has been a beautiful journey. Of course that is not to say it was always easy or even fun, but it was our journey . When people see us with our family now there is not usually a mention of a blended family. We don’t consider them your kids or my kids but our kids-our family.  We believe that God has blessed us and brought us to where we are today. We are grateful, we are thankful.

At 25 years we renewed our marriage vows.


It only gets better!


Happy Anniversary to the most amazing husband-my husband-my Thommmee. Here is to the next 29 years!


Life is a journey…

Like many people, I have the best of intentions of eating right and exercising more. Like many people, I often do not meet my goals-in fact too often throw the diet and bathroom scale out the window! I want to be healthier, I follow blogs and Instagram that offer marvelously healthy recipes, visit websites that attempt to encourage and motivate and like many people have a gym membership that is currently being ignored and a bike that is gathering dust at the side of the house.


Oh, I have bad knees, a busy schedule, birthday parties to attend and…well…frankly I have many other excuses too!  I’ll do well for a few weeks at a time but before I know it I am pretty much back to where I started. Maybe not all the way back but far enough.

One day I was catching up on blog posts and came across a posting that caught my eye at Blue Jangmi. She was participating in a Whole Food Challenge. The idea of the challenge is to remove specific items from you diet for 30 days, restart your metabolism,  and change the way you think about food.  When you reintroduce items you can possibly determine if certain foods are causing you problems.  You can then eliminate these foods from your diet. Also, after 30 days, you will have (hopefully) broken your bad food habits and maybe then you can begin healthier eating habits-right? Sounded good. I chuckled and commented to her that although it sounded nice, I just didn’t have 30 days in my life where I could avoid eating certain things and so good luck to her.  She kindly replied letting me know that there was never a perfect time to do something that was important for yourself.

…And I couldn’t stop thinking about it!
…And I decided to do it!

I didn’t talk about my decision very much because, frankly, I didn’t know if I could really do it. What started out to just be a personal challenge with some hopes of success turned into a meaningful journey. I committed to the September 2016 Whole 30 Challenge.


I relied on Instagram for most of my information, motivation, and encouragement. I began to follow other people who were participating in the challenge and before long not only was I using some of their recipes but I was posting some of my own. I began to experiment and try new foods. Instead of just zucchini and yellow squash I tried acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash. I learned to drink my coffee black, to forgo artificial sweeteners, to create a pumpkin chill that  was husband approved,  and make scrambled eggs with grated sweet potatoes (who knew you could do so many things with sweet potatoes???)

I read product labels for hidden sugars and started using something called coconut aminos instead of soy sauce to enhance the taste of some foods. I stared making my own ghee (a clarified butter) instead of actual butter. Full fat coconut milk and avocados became a part of my diet. No more wine with dinner (for 30 days anyway) or bread…but somehow I didn’t really miss it all much. (well, maybe the creamer in my coffee)

In a short while I noticed changes in the way my clothes were fitting. Since you’re giving up your relationship with food and your scale, I was not supposed to weigh or measure myself the entire 30 days.

Did I actually feel better you might ask? Well, yes and no. I was sleeping better but my joints still hurt. I didn’t have any specific food issues previously so I couldn’t judge changes in that way. I seemed to have more energy and I was not hungry between meals. My favorite meal of the day was dessert and I didn’t ( and don’t) even miss that!! Apples seemed to satisfy my sweet tooth most of the time.

I did feel a sense of accomplishment when I completed the entire 30 days.

I lost 11 pounds and a week later I was down 15 pounds. By November down 20 pounds. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a ways to go. The funny thing is I rather like maintaining this paleo-ish eating style. As we entered into the holiday season I knew there were many eating opportunities/challenges before me  and I took advantage of some (and maybe many?)  But… I needed to remember one of my favorite quotes:

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

So I planned and tried to make choices that worked for me.

During this time, one of my daughters  was busy jumping out of airplanes and challenging herself. She bought a motorcycle. She was learning to make changes in different ways  Her thoughts were if she can do this she can do anything!!  She was an inspiration to me! Anything is possible….


I am happy to announce she eloped this past weekend!

(talk about moving out of your comfort zone!)

While I had no plans of jumping out of an airplane, don’t like motorcycles,  and happily married to Thommee for almost 29 years, I was excited to see where this journey might take me.

A January Whole 30 Challenge began this month and I jumped back on board.


I felt the tune-up would help keep me on track after the holidays. It is going great. I will complete this challenge on January 30. I plan to continue on a somewhat Paleo diet. I love zipping up my jeans and tying my shoelaces. While my path might be somewhat modified, I found many people and supporters making this a life mission. They inspire me too! I am in awe of their dedication to good health but I don’t think it will happen for me in quite the same way. We all need to find our own journey and what works for us, right?  It is amazing what a few changes and attitude can make…and we can always learn and grow.

If you would like to review my journey, check out my Instagram. If you are curious about this Whole 30 program, just click on the link.

Any obstacles you are facing these days?

Happy 2017


Time, retirement, & life

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I recently commented to my son  that time did not seem to move so quickly when I was working! Now the days seem to fly by and I seldom have enough time to accomplish all that I want to do. This past weekend we had two granddaughters to visit. During their two-day stay, we  shopped, cooked homemade pizza, made two batches of strawberry jam, decoupaged  jars, painted wooden birdhouses, watched four movies while snuggled on the couch, went to church, and visited with more family before we dropped the girls off .  I think they were ready to go, and well, I guess Thommmee and I were ready too. We came home and took a nap!

It seems like most of our days are like that. We often have a family birthday party or some other event to attend or some project going on at home.  Thommmee is painting the house and the yards are getting a spruce up at the same time. (We have not even started on our vegetable garden yet!) We have managed to get to the gym at least three times every week (no small feat). I have a boutique coming up in less than two weeks so have been busy sewing-doll clothes, aprons, banners, and a few other assorted items .  All of this has not left enough time for much of anything else!

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I hate to sound like a cliché, but I have no idea how I found time for a full-time job. I do know that I do not miss working at a ‘real’ job and love the life of a retiree. It is  an amazing feeling to know your time is your own and you can choose to do something-or choose not to. Although I was fortunate enough to be a full-time mom for some years, and a busy working mom of five  for many years (and we know a mom is always very busy), this is different. I love being home, staying busy in many ways, visiting with people, and most of all, spending time with Thommmee! Life is different now. As I have moved into this phase of my life, I find life is new and fresh!  A former co-worker told she is retiring in a few days. I cautioned her that she is going to love it!!

So ( if I may) offer a few words of ‘advice’ in regards to retirement. My suggestions are:

1.  Save! You are not going to care about the one more pair of shoes or purse or dinner out.

2.  Money is not everything. Most of us can do with a bit less.

3. Have faith. I believe that God has taken incredible care of me up to this point. He has given me the tools I need so I will allow myself to trust  that He will not abandon me now (this was the hardest for me).

4. Realize your priorities. Wherever you are in life, figure out what is really important and don’t waste time on the things that are not.

5.  Be kind.  It is really easier than we might think (still trying )!

6.  No regrets.  Don’t hold on to past mistakes or injustices. When I am nearing the end of my life I hope I will not worry about what might have been (at least that is the plan).

7. Love (or at least like a lot). I have found that it is the people in my life that make the difference.

8. Embrace change with open arms or change where you are doing!

9.  Appreciate and be thankful.


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 Life is good!


One month into my retirement!

Time is flying by! Funny, when I was working the days  did not seem to pass so quickly. Last night I mentioned to Thommmee that retirement was almost like Christmas morning-every day!  Days now feel  more like a new opportunity to explore and enjoy my life. Just a check in to see how I am doing. I put together a list, in no particular order of importance, of 20 things that came to mind of the changes in my life since retirement.

1. Up early every day & excited to start the day

2. Enjoying the sunrise more often

3. No rushing

4. More time to blog

5. More time to read

6. More time to spend with Thommmee

7. Off to the gym at least 3 times each week

8. Lost 5 pounds

9. More time with family

10. More time with friends

11. More time to sew & craft

12. More time to cook

13. Able to attend Wednesday morning Bible study with Thommmee

14. Can stay up past 8:00 PM!

15. Time to plan healthier meals and be more active

16.Time for catching up with people with long phone calls & emails

17. Less time on Facebook & game apps

19. More time to read my Bible & devotional

20. Enjoying the sunrises more often

Hmmm…..pretty good for the first month! I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

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