The Reenactment-Friday & Saturday

One of the bright spots in the sadness and celebration during the past week is the reenactment that took place with grandkids, Addison and Joell. And a new photo op happened with Gavin included.

Twelve years ago, when Grandma Sandy passed away, Addison and Joell were toddlers. Yes, toddlers. They held the funeral luncheon at the same place as yesterday. All these years later, Blake suggested the kids reenact the photo that was so meaningful to all of us. The love these cousins have for each other was apparent in spades.

Then and Now




Where did the last twelve years go? These two have been learning, growing, and experiencing life. And the adventures they’ve had! Addison is in high school, Joell in middle school. Their six-month difference in age is enough to make a year’s difference in high school. They both excel both in physically demanding endeavors; competition/school dance teams and competitive swimming. Joell is a thoughtful young man who tunes in well to the mood of the room. He might come over and give a hug on his own. He shows his love and affection for all his family, and isn’t afraid to. This is a wonderful quality.

These two are now including Gavin in their adventures. It’s fun for Gavin to be with the big kids; it’s fun for Joell to have a boy to share games with. They did another pose including Gavin this time. Another beautiful memory. Everyone, take more photos. Record your family living life. Include weddings, funerals, baptisms and graduations. You’d rather have too many pics than wish you’d taken one at every chance.

I appear in very few photos with the Babe. We are going to change that. We are attempting to take the time to record everyday life. The ordinary. The stuff we see day to day. Because, one day, one of us won’t be here. It’s part of life. The kids are learning those hard lessons. I believe faith is a huge part of dealing with death, loss, grief, and happiness. When we accept these parts of life with grace, it’s then we truly live. Learn by doing.

The Loves of Our Lives

We need to tell part of our family goodbye today as they return home. We all go back to our lives this afternoon. And they all have a space in them where our loved one was before. Lou, you’re always in our hearts. We will take your lessons in making the world a better place forward, spreading your love further, if possible, than you did. Hug your loved ones. And take photos. Lots of them. See you tomorrow.

Monday Memories

As a kid, Monday was a brand new day at school. We attended Mass every day (except Saturday) and then went to school. Every day started with Church, and I didn’t mind it. It was our routine. First Fridays of the Month were special celebrations; we had juice and a glazed donut after attending Mass. Those days, the rules were fast all night until after Communion. Shortly after I made my First Holy Communion, I believe we could eat three hours before, but eating at 6 a.m.. wasn’t on the agenda for any of us in 1959.

High school? I don’t remember Mondays too much. When we weren’t old enough to work, the weekends were usually whatever Mom made them. She always awakened early me on Saturday. No sleeping late in our house! And when I was dating in my senior year, she woke me by 7 a.m. on Saturday. I had to watch the little brothers.

Mondays didn’t matter when I was a young mother. Every day was the same. I was up early, and whenever they woke during the night. There was not the movement there is now when fathers actively take part in their babies’ care and rearing. Very interesting. I love the dads do what they do now. It is how it should be. Despite my experience (he didn’t do diapers and didn’t do middle of the night waking), I believe it should be a shared duty. You both made that baby, you both should share equally in the care.

It’s getting late, and I hope you all have a beautiful evening. Be safe. See you tomorrow.

Just One More, Danny Lang

Today is a sad day for those of us blessed to have known a man like Danny Lang. He died at the age of 91. And he lived every minute of his life. Every minute. If you knew him, you know.

You know the stories he could tell. You know the love he had for his four families; his actual family, his Marine Corps family, his Douglas County Sheriff’s Department family, and his VFW family. We could add to those his Honor Guard Family. These families are feeling the loss right now. A man who was larger than life.

You know the respect he had for women. He was a gentleman. He had favorites among his friends. The more he teased you, the more he respected and loved you. He would command the Honor Guard through their part of many funerals. He would instruct you if he felt you needed to be a little sharper presenting arms. And God forbid if you thought shooting from the hip was OK. Not on Danny Lang’s watch. I doubt anyone would ever try it now, either. He was all business in paying respect for a fellow veteran’s life. You didn’t cut corners. Period.

He would stop and ask you if you were ok. If you shared some hurt or difficulty with him, he’d pray for you. He’d check in on you periodically, just to see if you had a breakthrough and needed more prayers. He was deeply concerned about his friends. It was beautiful to have a trusted friend like Danny.

We all remember his friendship with Bob Podany, especially. Can you imagine the two of them in heaven? Bickering like an old married couple. They were the best. And now, we have our memories. Our lives are richer for having known Danny (and Bob). We admired him, learned from him, and loved him. He’s the lucky one. We’re left feeling his absence. But as long as we are alive, we have the treasure of memories and stories about Danny Lang. And the love he gave all of us. Especially if we wore shorts on a hot, July day. There is a small group of friends who saw him in shorts during a trip where he was escorted to a Marine reunion by a group of friends. They all had fun. Especially Danny.

Later today, we’ll attend his service, the dinner, and pay our respects. We’ll thank his family for sharing him and this day with us. And we’ll lift a glass to Danny. He was one of a kind, thank goodness. And we’ll all have just one more, in his honor. The time was too short, Danny. Thank you for all the memories. Semper Fi, Marine!

This is Thursday!

It’s a win when I know what day it is so far all day long! So far, so good. I’m not trying to make it any other day, and that may be because the Babe and I have meetings for the Post and Auxiliary later tonight. It is hard to keep up some weeks.

I read something this morning about keeping in the present, which adult children of alcoholics have a problem doing. It’s something many others do too. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Judge Judy says that all the time. And she’s right. That thinking changes nothing.

“I coulda been a contender,” famously quoted in “A Streetcar Named Desire” film.

“I would have done thing differently,” me, looking back on my life, knowing what I know now.

“I Should Have Known Better,” by the Beatles.

The second one could be any of us. I don’t regret anything that has happened before in my life. I would have preferred the Babe been my children’s father. He is a wonderful stepfather and grandfather. If any of us knew then what we know now, we all probably would have had different lives, and wouldn’t be who we are right now. As I said, I don’t regret what I’ve been through during my time on this earth. I am who I am because of it. I was dumb, then smart, then dumb, etc., and so it goes.

For us ACOA, it’s a matter of boundaries. Just like other issues we have, this relates to boundaries. You have to keep past in it’s own area. Otherwise, it overcomes present and future. I used to carry things forward, thinking it would help protect me. It didn’t. It only served to make me miserable. After my kids were gone from home and two moved out of state, it was hard for me not to be depressed. At 48 or so, I thought my life’s purpose was over. Raising kids wasn’t the only thing I could do with my life, but I didn’t know that then. No prior life experience allowed me to comprehend that, take it, and run with it.

Struggling can help build character, and boy, has it. So has learning to set boundaries. I’m still learning, and can guarantee you, if you are just starting to set boundaries, people are probably not as happy with you. The ones who are angry aren’t able to manipulate you anymore. True stuff. They weren’t your friends, anyhow. Or your true family.

Boundaries should also be honored by the one setting them in order to work. If you cross over, just to be nice, a good sister, or the fun dad, you’re telling everyone you’re not serious about the boundaries. If you don’t honor your own boundaries, why should anyone else? Your example matters.

The future is spotless. Nothing is wrong or right with us. We get to decide that. Live your own life. Now. Don’t look back, you’re not going that way! You may need to learn self-care so you can prepare for your future. I know myself well enough now, I’m certain if I’m over-tired, hungry, or can’t figure something out, I need to put it away, have a protein snack, and go to sleep early. It’s a necessity.

If you are still working for a living, you may think you have no say so how you spend your time. While you do have to do the work you were hired to do, it is up to you if you do it with joy, glad you have a career, or if you are curmudgeonly about it, groaning and complaining all the way. Many people would be thrilled to have your job or career. Gratitude helps us find more for which to be grateful. Good things will come your way.

It is still quite frigid out there. Make sure you dress warmly if you’re out where it’s cold. Spring is in the future! Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.

Hump Day, 2022

So here we are, the middle of the first week of 2022. How does it feel?

I’m pretty tired today. I woke up at 4:45 (yes, a.m.), and the restless night I had is catching up with me . . . at 8 a.m. It’d be easy to give up and lounge on the couch today. I have to resist that at this early hour, as I’d like to keep with my idea of having the house undecorated by Sunday this week. It was sweet, I asked granddaughter Addison if she’d like a couple items I’m not crazy about anymore. And she wants them! I’m happy I have something she’d like to have. It’s important for kids to have some thing from previous generations. I hope granddaughter Kayla will someday want something of mine.

I have a Grandma Book that poses questions for me to answer for one of them, maybe Addison will want it. We’ve had 14 years together, going on 15. I tell her how I’ll never forget Grandma Sandy handing her to me right after she was born. Grandpa’s and Grandma’s had the opportunity to hold her. Sandy brought this beautiful baby to me and said, “It’s your turn now, Grandma.” She smiled, and her brown doe-like eyes with awning-length lashes shone with her tears of joy. She was beautiful. And her heart was, too. I am so grateful we had a strong friendship, not the usual problem between the ex-wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. It was a gift for both of us. Sandy died of lung cancer about eleven years ago.

And now, this young woman is about to turn 15 years old. Wow. What memories! All good ones. She amazes me with her confidence. She’s all about sticking up for herself. I wish I had known about how to do that. It’s a gift to me at this point in my life. Yes, I say I’m late to the party. At least I made it. I’m grateful for that.

The Raabe/Shuck family up in Sioux Falls is about to grow again. Alex and Meagan Shuck will have another baby girl in May! We have so many birthdays in that month! The Babe’s Mom Liz was on the 5th, Mine is the 22nd, the Babe’s is the 24th. I better get to the fabric store for this little one! I think I owe Kenna a quilt, too (and Cory and Amber Davis’ Trisha, too). This Grandma loves to make stuff for babies. And toddlers. It’ll all get done some time.

Psychologically, we know if it’s cloudy outside, that makes a dome over this part of the earth and the weather becomes a bit warmer. It defies logic how our moods lift with sunshine and blue skies; after all, the cold deepens with clear skies! We have sun, blustery winds, and WCI’s of minus to minus 15 below zero. Wow! Lots of people go to Arizona, Texas, Florida or Mexico during this time in a Nebraska Winter. I don’t blame them, really.

These temperatures don’t do a lot for my arthritis, my broken ankle hardware, or my ailing shoulder. At the same time, I’m grateful I don’t have Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s terribly crippling. See? Yes, we can find positive things when we’re not feeling well, we are tired, we feel the ravages of aging and injury. I’ll be fine. I’m certain of it.

I want to straighten up the area around my sewing machine today. I didn’t quilt my cardinal quilt but want to get it done and displayed this weekend, too. Goals, all help a lot. I’ll get stuff done. We’ll be ahead of the game before we know. Small steps. Patience. It’s all part of our process of the word for my year. “Progress.” I have lots of ideas, lots of plans. Stick around, and I’ll share them with you! Stay warm today, stay inside if you can. We’ll see each other tomorrow!

December is Here!

Yesterday, I was amazed during my driving home discussion with Addison. She commented, “Grandma, can you believe the year is almost gone? Where did it go?” Sometimes we think our tots and teens don’t realize what’s going on around them. They pay more attention than we think. Keep teaching the lessons and being the example. Their characters are forming even as we talk. Just remember, we’re supposed to be their guardians and adults. We’re not supposed to be their “friends.”

Today’s point to ponder is this:

“God gave us a memory that we might have roses in December.” – James M. Barrie.

God never ceases to amaze me in His creation. Nature is colorful and melodious, and it follows the seasonal schedule God created for it. It helps us measure time, with changing seasons. Nature is gentle when you see a seed sprout in spring, or a baby bird learn to fly. It is a force to be reckoned with when the tornado, hurricane, flood, or blizzard comes. It reflects God and His power. Yet he still lets us exist. We are blessed.

Feelings have many meanings to us. Good and Bad. Some Positive, some Negative. As humans, we have fears. Probably too many fears at any given time. The feelings associated with certain memories may no longer be true. Memories can serve as reminders of pain. A scar on your hand may be the reminder not to touch a hot stove. Pain serves a purpose in your life. Keeping it in it’s place is the trick in living a grateful, giving life. It cannot be the focus for you to learn gratitude or remain grateful. Sometimes, the pain can be the best lesson.

A story from the past that served as an excellent lesson for me was about a guy we’ll call Carl. He was the first person I dated after getting divorced. We spent time together when the kids were gone. I refer to him as the best thing and the worst thing that ever happened to me. You see, all those years ago, after being a good Christian girl for all 30 years of my life, I needed to break the rules that ruled my life. I hadn’t dated since high school. I had no idea about the ways of the dating world in 1982.

Carl was a master manipulator who I fell madly in love with. I learned a very hard lesson. He was unfaithful, made promises he had no intention of keeping, and was a gas lighter. I didn’t know what that was while it was happening, but I sure do now. I’m glad to have learned what I did, and the scar tissue hurts if I poke at it. So I won’t go poking at it. For many years, I repeated this type of behavior, not knowing any better. Not a good thing. Old love songs sang of unrequited love, love hurting, and even love stinking. I wouldn’t want to still be believing that. That is where the Babe came in and taught me how wrong I was.

Lessons learned are worth their weight in gold. My bad choices ended about 25 years ago. Thank goodness! Not irritating that scar tissue is key for a positive outlook. A positive outlook enables you to have an attitude of gratitude. The more gratitude, the more your life changes for the good. You don’t repeat terrible mistakes that are bad for you. You learn new methods of dealing with everything.

I’m hoping the season approaching reminds us to prepare to be thoughtful and kind to each other. Christmas is the ultimate expression of love. We have an endless amount to do this month. Give up a few of the to do list items. That should free you up for more enjoyment than work. Take care this busy season. Remember to take it easy some time every day. It’s essential. You and your family will thank each other for it. Enjoy, don’t dread! Thank you for reading today. We’ll see each other tomorrow.

#800 Club!

As I’m sitting in our living room, fireplace blazing, dogs chewing on bones and napping, I happened to look at how many of these blogs we’ve shared. 800! Wow! That’s over two years! I’m grateful to each of you for reading. You’ve stuck by reading good blogs and not so good ones. You keep coming back, regardless of how you feel or how much time you have, and you check out what we have to say. I’m delighted with that.

Over 400 of you are following me; no, not in a creepy stalker way (I hope not!), but but you ask to be notified when we publish a new blog. I’m grateful for that! Feel free, please, to post a comment on the blog at WordPress, not just on the Facebook notification. I do appreciate a comment in the Facebook area; I believe others may open up and comment if someone will just start commenting on the blog itself. PM me if you’re not sure where to start. I’ll answer!

As the month of December is on the horizon, I’m looking forward to decorating our home for Christmas. Even without a lot of “company” during the season, I can still enjoy it. Why not? Sure, it’s a lot of work. Sometimes, we just need to do it and quit analyzing it to death. Mom and her sisters all went crazy with Christmas decorating. Mom still has more than ten trees, all decorated, in the various rooms of the old family home. Some she leaves up all year.

When I was a kid, it was an extravaganza when Mom decorated the house and tree. The fake mantle was always decked out, complete with the sequined Christmas Stocking her mother made for each grandchild. It was a nice thing of Grandma to do that. Mine didn’t have my name on it, so I let my daughter have it. I put her name on with glue and green glitter. She left it when she moved and got divorced, I think. Oh well. She can make her own!

In the 50s and 60s, we had the old antique looking glass ornaments. No plastic whatsoever. Chemically, I believe many of those had mercury and lead in them, but don’t know for sure. It blew my mind how you could see your distorted face in the glass balls. Yes, I was easily entertained. It’s one of the things the Babe loves about me.

Dad would wait until later in the month (probably mid-December) to get our live tree. Sometime as a kid, my grandma had a silver aluminum tree with the light wheel. A good friend of our folks, Alice and Jack, always got spectacular flocked trees, usually in white. Wow. Blew my mind. One year, she gave me a little mint green Kodak camera. I took photos of my little brothers, my dad, anyone who would sit still. Of course, the thrill came from waiting for them to develop from the camera store. You couldn’t just drop them by Walgreens. Click on the blue to check out the history of Walgreens, I found it interesting.

Grandpa Jewell had a Drug Store, Sundries, and Prescriptions. He had a pharmacist, Cliff Chase. Back then, much of the prescriptions were compounded. Mom said the Jewell family didn’t celebrate Christmas until she married Dad. Grandpa always kept the store open in case there was a sick child who needed medicine. Grandpa finally closed his store by 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, then re-opened the day after Christmas. Quite a feat, I think.

So, just like the Dad in A Christmas Story, mine had to haggle with the salesman. He always went alone, and teased us unmercifully about not being able to find one. One year, he convinced me we had to put it up and drill a hole into the ceiling so the top would be in my closet. Of course, I believed him. He would never lie! He was the King of Dad Jokes, before there were Dad Jokes!

After much grousing, he would set the tree up in the stand, and let the branches fall. Sometimes, they fell completely off, since he was also the King of buying Charlie Brown trees. He’d drill a hold into the skinny trunk, then put glue in the hole. He’d whittle the end of the branch until it fit. Once it dried, you never knew. Well, Mom did. She never let him forget it. We laughed as we grew older. When the Grinch came out as a thing, his favorite phrase was, “Bah Humbug.” Truer stuff never happened. My older brother and him exchanged a gift wrapped in paper with “Bah Humbug” all over it.

As I return to my novel for today, I am warmed by the memories of Christmas instilled in us by Mom and her sisters. My cousins all know what I mean by Christmas addictions. They’ve all lost their mom’s, so if they’d like to have their memories jogged, I’m sure Mom would love a visit for you all to view her tree addiction. I mean collection. It’s from where we all came! Thanks for reading today, our #800 Blog! See you all tomorrow!

Super Sunday! and Monday Reflections

It was such a great day Sunday at our VFW Post 2503. We had a lot of new people gathered together. We were mixed races, creeds, politics, religions, and heritage. We gathered to award money from donations, hard work, and what we earned from fund raising all summer. It was pretty incredible.

We had a board member from Nebraska COPS, the founder of Guitars for Vets Nebraska, and the founder of Moving Veterans Forward to receive their checks. It really made my heart swell. We’ve made a lot of new friends today. We have networked and we have new connections to make. It’s all going to be fantastic. And it seemed so effortless now that we are at the end of the summer. All it does is make us want to work harder for them next year.

To identify the people in the photo, here is a who’s who, from left to right:

Steve Cerveny, OPD, Nebraska COPS Board; Larry Quilliam, Commander VFW Post 2503; Ron Hernandez, Founder Moving Veterans Forward, Kathy Raabe, VFW Post 2503 Auxiliary; Peggy Ullom, Founder Guitars for Vets, Nebraska; Dan Raabe, Quartermaster VFW Post 2503.

What a great feeling it is to help coordinate to make the effort successful and effective. We will create new ways to help our Veterans who often suffer from PTSD, and are homeless. One condition seems to have a domino effect in the lives of some people. They may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope, lose their income, job, home, family, etc. In the past year, we have made many new contacts and friends by reaching out to organizations who can use our help.

The leader of the ABATE group and some of their members were present; they made a donation to us, and we turned it over to the two Veterans groups, MVF and G4V NE. How wonderful it is to share! I don’t have a photo of him, but want to share with you what ABATE is. They are a group of motorcycle enthusiasts. A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education. They dedicate their time and effort to educating the public, motorcyclists, and anyone who is curious about safety and rights of riders. We are so blessed to have this connection.

Ron Hernandez, Kathy Raabe, Peggy Ullmon, Jay Miralles, Dan Raabe

I’m writing on my laptop today. I left the Chromebook at the Post, and I really miss it! Every system works differently, and every keyboard has a distinct feel to it. This is no exception. While it works, my cheat sheets that appear to the right of my writing vanished. I poked around, trying this key and that key, it’s a test for my brain, I’m sure. All is good. The worst part? My laptop does not have a touch screen, which is a feature I will include on all future devices, trust me!

Today, it’s back to work around the house. Laundry, cleaning, all the stuff about life that’s not glamorous or fun. But it has to be done. And if you re-frame things you don’t like, you can make something positive out of it. For example, I can be grateful to God for the privilege of owning enough clothes to have plenty of clean clothes and be glad I don’t have to carry the laundry out to the laundromat. I had to do that with clothes and diapers from my oldest son. While his dad was in the Army in Germany, I saved money to buy a washer and dryer for the apartment. He took the money and bought a motorcycle. I should have wised up then, but I didn’t. And I would never have had another son and a daughter who taught me all about independence. She was a very independent baby and toddler. I didn’t want to squash her spirit like mine was. She still amazes me.

I’m just going to enjoy the warmth that’s in my heart right now from the weekend. The people are so phenomenal! And soon, we will dig in again, with a special project. More later! Have a beautiful rest of the day. Be kind to someone today. You’ll be better for it. Thank you for reading and see you tomorrow!

Happy Father’s Day, Dads!

Although this is a grainy photo, sent to me from a cousin in California, it’s a touching one. It’s my dad, with his dad. And I’m not sure of the story about the puppy. I wish I could learn the story behind the whole photo.

Thomas M. Jewell, Jr and
Thomas M. Jewell, Sr

Life is full of stories. They are carried through generations and shared, each adding their special enhancements to it. Unless it’s written down. Families of old have many nooks and crannies in them. Around the Depression era, many men left families to find work elsewhere. I have heard Grandpa was in an orphanage, the oldest of ten children.

With no father of his own, he took on the role of provider for his mother and siblings. As a child aged out of the orphanage, they returned home or struck out on their own. Back in those days, Father’s were the bread-winners, and they may be the disciplinarian. The “heart” of the family was the Mother, who took care of the family and home on her own. She worked 24/7.

My dad would change diapers, at the same time, he left most of it to Mom. He was a day sleeper and night worker, so we didn’t get a lot of interaction with him, really. I was always sure he loved me, though. He always took me to the doctor, always after school, and Mom made dinner so Dad could eat after the appointment, and go to work.

Dad knew I was scared of the doctor. He was a huge, tall man, with big hands, who didn’t enter the room, he burst into the room. I had a very badly infected ingrown toenail once, and it involved deadening the toe, and removing the infected flesh. It was so painful. I cried, Dad comforted me. At each follow up visit, he talked to me about the Army, and explained what all the items were in the room; what the gauze was for, the purpose of the swabs, and on and on. He distracted me from my fear and taught me a lot of things. That was my dad.

He was always there for me as I grew older. He suggested I re-do a science project once. I didn’t want to, but he said I’d be happier with it. He was right. He was always right. I loved watching him with my kids. He was such a good male figure for them. He had a bond with my Frankie that is still appreciated by my son. He loved my kids. And me. And he told me they were good kids, I was doing a good job. He always encouraged me. I miss him after all this time. I wish he could have met the Babe. They would have been fast friends. They will be, someday.

If you still have your dad, you are lucky. Even bad dads teach you something. Maybe it’s what NOT to be. Anyone who looks over you, keeping a protective watch can be a father figure. Many, many people who do not have Fathers in their home can turn out well. Sure, it helps to have two parents, sometimes that is not possible. Tell your Dad thanks today. Keep your memories fresh. They will be all you have someday.

Have a beautiful, sunny day today. It’s sort of breezy out, full sun. I plan to spend the day doing something fun. See you tomorrow!

How Cold Is It?

Mention was made a few days ago it has not been this cold since 1983. Oh, wow. One of the years that was so hard! I remember it well. It tried to break me.

I usually became very ill in January, every year. Sinus Infection, and it not only knocked me down, it started to bury me. It was so cold, I brought my car battery in the house every night. It was a few years old, the car was out all night in sub zero temps, and I could not afford a new battery. Don’t laugh. My friends who lived in Minnesota told me they did that very thing. It worked until my Income Tax refund came later in Spring.

I invited my husband to leave a year earlier. The kids and I were doing well. All things considered. I was doing well with my job, but not dating. I didn’t think it would be hard, but there were times I really needed someone for me.

Many guys I met immediately thought I was looking for a Dad for the kids. I told them, “No, they have a Dad.” Those guys were not the caliber I would have chosen. And so I kept on, raising kids, working, and going to school. Burning the candle at both ends, for sure. No wonder I got sick!

The world premiere of the movie, “On Golden Pond,” was held in January, 1983, in Omaha, at the Orpheum Theater. The Orpheum began as a Vaudeville Theater, and was one of many grand movie theaters in Downtown Omaha. Henry Fonda, who was from Omaha, was ill and could not attend.

I saw Jane Fonda on the news at the premier. She wore a pants suit. An elaborate one, but pants. Protocol at that time would have been an evening gown. It was just too cold.

The next day, I came home from work and saw a note on my door from Uncle Bob. Bob was Dad’s brother, and he worked for MUD, our local gas, water & sewer utility. The note said to call him. I did.

It seems they found a water main break in front of my house. Unfortunately, it was on my side of the pipes. I had to pay for it. I had no money. NONE. My uncle knew someone who could do the job. He waived the extra $300 fee for digging up frozen ground. Boy, was the ground frozen!

My parents loaned me the money, and the plumber started work two days later. They were finished as we had a huge snowstorm. My instructions were to turn the water back on when I got home from work. The commute was terrible, lots of accidents. I picked the kids up, came home, and went downstairs to turn the water on.

As I turned the valve, water sprayed all over me, my suit, blouse, hair, and I was in shock. I called the plumber, who worked in the cold all day, and told him he needed to come fix the leak. I had three kids, we couldn’t be without water in a blizzard. He wasn’t happy, but he did come fix it. We had water. Thank God!

I was sick from work for several days. It was awful. I was glad it had been over a year since the divorce. Being at the lowest low I’d ever seen, I was glad I didn’t consider getting back “together” with the ex. No, I can handle it. I had grown to believe it.

For all of these reasons, I won’t forget the last time it was this cold. It was a lifetime ago. I was 31. I’m looking down the barrel of 69 this year, 70 will soon follow on its heels. I’m so grateful for all the lessons learned. Yes, all of them. They helped make me strong enough to endure what lie ahead. It was one of those valleys you pass through on the way up the next mountain.

Thank you for reading – please, stay warm today. Help someone else stay warm. Yes, do what you have to do. Be Kind. Be Grateful. Be Courteous. We’ll see each other tomorrow.