Peaceful Sunday

While some folks are out there shopping for Christmas, we are chilling at home. Our favorite place. Everything we need is right here. It’s great. Being at a point in life where you can be settled is the best. It’s nothing you can buy, it’s nothing you can order from Amazon; it is a feeling inside of you that grows and makes you feel as if things are perfect. They may not be, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s the feeling things are perfect, because you know God is right beside you, guiding you, if you’d just listen. It’s the feeling everything will be all right. Things will work out. You can get through this.

It has nothing to do with age. Watch a toddler. Their whole world may be right in front of them. Given time and example, their imagination can take them anywhere. Read to them, and they will soar. They will learn how it can be enough to sit and read a book on a cold, Sunday afternoon. And it is. That’s what I plan to do later.

My current read is The Sewing Machine. It’s a lovely book. I put it down during the prepping for Thanksgiving then picked it up again yesterday. I was comforted by it, and now I have the feeling I will read a bit today.

This is Where I’ll Be This Afternoon!

And of course, it’s Sunday, so Yellowstone is in our future. The marathons are good to watch to refresh your memory. Hard to remember from season to season what things are referred to later. They’re important to the plot. The writing and acting is superb, in my opinion. I read a story about Rip’s famous scene where he plows into a bunch of bikers motorcycles, all parked in a row. It wasn’t in the script, but he checked with the director, the bikes were not worth much, they were just for show, and would be disposed of later. The reaction of the “bikers” was genuine, they had no idea he was going to run the bikes down. It was a spectacular move, a real Rip moment. How creative and effective!

I wrote some of my novel yesterday. 524 words, but it flowed freely. I was in a time crunch, so that’s all I did. I realized taking a couple weeks off was a good thing to do. Suspending my NaNoWriMo contest was a good thing to do. I needed the mental rest, not the mental fatigue. I’ve printed out all the chapters, and have them in a three ring binder, to begin editing later on. I have some more planning to do with subsequent chapters, and may do some of that later or tomorrow.

I plan to keep writing, counting the words. If I could get to 50K words by 12/31/2021, I’d consider it “won.” It’s just a guide, and I can keep going. We have some Christmas celebrations coming up, and I want to quilt a wall hanging to put up in the stairwell. No ladders will be involved, trust me! And I might start decorating little spaces in the house. It’ll be a good time to go through things again and donate anything I’m not in love with anymore. Great ideas! Slow and sure wins this Grandma’s race.

Have a beautiful day this sunny Sunday. Rest your mind and body. You’ll need it for the work ahead! See you tomorrow.

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Excuses Vs. Reasons

Jonathan Swift said, “An excuse is a lie guarded.” That is not far from the truth. We often delude ourselves as we delay work we need to do on ourselves, on our bad habits, on our addictions and on our silly excuses we don’t live our best lives. We all do it, you know. Me, too.

I know people who dwell on the wrongs done them as excuses why they don’t get something done, why they never found love, why after 50 years they didn’t do something differently. I’m serious. Some folks have excuses they blurt out like a litany in the Catholic Church services. It’s sad, but it’s also hilarious. Blame is placed on someone else. It becomes the excuse they use to stay frozen in place, where they think they’re safe. But they’re not. They’re unhappy, negative, and live a stagnant life.

Life wasn’t meant to be an existence that is static. As humans, we are created to experience growth and change. Our bodies are constantly changing, growing new cells, working to live, and craving more energy to keep alive. Our brains need new experiences, new challenges, new creations. Art, music, and reading feed our souls, minds, and beings.

Yes, it’s risky trying something we’ve never done before. But why not? It doesn’t hurt to try. Better yet, how about doing? Some folks have lied so much to themselves they believe their own excuses. I believe excuses are just that. Reasons, however, are valid. They are obstacles placed in your way; like I can’t do the 50 Mile Walk because I broke my ankle. That is a valid reason. An excuse is, “It might rain, (take an umbrella), I have to work, (you could take vacation).

Alcoholics and addicts have the best excuses ever. “Someone was driving at me the wrong way on the street.” Ha! You were the one that crossed the center line; it’s on you, not someone else.” “I lost track of time.” Sure, you were passed out somewhere and missed your surprise birthday party. When dealing with these folks, we have to keep track of their records.

Delusions may crop up in our minds about those negative, toxic relationships. They are no good for us. They are no good for the addicts or addicts either. The delusion continues when we let them back into our lives and they continue with their excuses without skipping a beat. “Maybe I was too hard on him.” No, you weren’t. An adult keeps their promises. An adult shows up. An adult doesn’t run scared. Another chance? Enter at your own risk. You may likely be the only one hurt. Don’t risk it again, unless you are certain the alcoholic quit drinking for good, the addict is clean. And they haven’t switched one bad habit/addiction for something else. You are worth more than that.

The more you practice making healthy decisions, the better off you will be. The only risks you may be taking are those on doing something you’ve always wanted to do. You. For yourself. We have a friend who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Coast Trail. In between, he had a double knee replacement. This may be a bit extreme, but he loved it. Do something and conquer it. You’ll stretch your world. You’ll become bolder, brighter, and a whole lot happier. Dwelling on the past and your excuses is counter productive.

Using myself as an example, I’ve snacked needlessly the past week or so. I’m horrified at how easily my resolve to eat healthy has gone out the window. The Babe is done with eating healthy. He’ll do what he does. I’m not fond of it, but it’s his decision. I refuse to make our time together miserable because I want him to be healthier. Why become a nag, making our life together unbearable? Not how I want him to remember me. Not how I want to be, either. I could use the excuse, “He brought home cookies, donuts, ice cream, chips and popcorn.” It’s not the Babe’s fault I caved on my own resolve. I need to step up, be responsible, and not blame someone else.

I will lose the 5+ pounds I’ve gained being naughty. I will be happier with myself and feel less sluggish. Keto friends, stay tuned! I’m loving putting on an outfit and the Babe telling me, “It’s too big.” What?? I haven’t heard that for a long, long time, if ever. It’s nice. And my knees don’t hurt like they did. I was close to asking for a replacement. Yes, I have a lot of arthritis in them, they’re bone on bone. But, the squats I did all summer must have strengthened a part of the knees so they don’t hurt. I’m amazed at what a 45 pound weight loss can do. You can do it to.

Once I stopped accepting bad treatment by others, I gained respect, love, and realization what I deserved vs. what I received. I gained the Babe. I gained self respect. I gained a new view of life. I am amazed at the last twenty five years of my life. I’m also amazed that at the age of nearly 70, I’m living a great story. I’m starting to share my story. It’s a story that could help others. I believe I’m being called to do just that. Stories about kids for kids; as Grandma Kathy, and stories about women for women; as Kathy Raabe, Author. What I’m learning, what I’ve experienced, and the risks taken aren’t so scary now. Time for some more big risks. Yes! I can hardly wait.

Thanks for reading today. More minor decluttering today. Getting stuff done. And some novel writing, too. Have a wonderful Wednesday. See you tomorrow!

Monday Mayhem

Gratitude journal? I may have skipped over it yesterday, but while I was vacuuming up enough dog hair to make another dog (from the deep recesses of the corners, edges, and under the easy chairs), I had the conscious thought of being grateful to have a house to clean; a dog that sheds as much as she loves us, and a good vacuum to clean the mess.

We’ve had a dog just about the entire time we’ve been married. The companionship they offer is incredible. Some are more independent than others, and some are needy. I think since ours are used to us being home, they really are happier with us being with them. It’s ok with me.

Today, I’m grateful for warm clothes and a warm home. I have things available to make me warmer if the house is cold. I have warm winter coats that helped me through many winters. I am fortunate to have always been able to afford one for myself and each of my kids when times were hard. One of my brothers always gave me a local grocery story gift certificate for Christmas. It was for $100. I was blown away, especially when the store had specials just after New Years Day where you could buy a package of meat, buy one, get one free. What a deal to get to use. I’m grateful for those times, also.

I’m trying a different grocery shopping service to pick up. I’ve used Walmart; I’m not pleased with them. I’ve gotten moldy sliced cheese (in a see through package), moldy turkey sticks, and lettuce with dark brown spots on it. I’ll see if Target is any better. I was pretty spoiled, just picking up groceries during the pandemic. The hard part for me is always carrying them inside and putting them away. My back is always out of commission for a couple hours afterwards. It’s a given anymore, and I’m grateful it’s not out of commission all the time. I can still do some things.

And in the midst of all of this, I’m looking at some of my daily readings for Adult Children of Alcoholics. Reading these help keep me thinking in the right way; working to become a better person. Remember, old, inaccurate, negative opinions need to give way to new, precise, positive realities. We all have enough, are enough, and can learn to give enough. The key to all of it, is to make sure we give to ourselves first. As ACOA and women, we tend to think of self-care as selfishness. Wrong! It took me a very long time to learn if I don’t care for myself, I’m no good to anyone else.

Once we firmly grasp that concept, there is no limit to the good we can do, the positive seeds we can plant, and the good feeling we can have by caring for ourselves and others. We will learn where to spend our time and where not to. This expression of sanity and recovery is shown by creating boundaries, caring for ourselves, caring for others, and ridding ourselves of the negative thinking we were raised with. It’s just not how to live our lives. Take a risk, step out, you’ll find many happy souls cheering you on! It’s a great feeling once you believe you deserve it.

As you go out into this world on a Monday in November, know you’re doing good for others by doing good for yourself. As they say on the airlines, put your oxygen mask on first, then help others. It’s OK. Share what you have. Throw your best fighting weight against the negativity. It has no place in our lives. Acknowledge it and destroy it. We can make a difference in people’s lives. Reflecting positivity back to everyone we meet. It’s a gift that keeps giving. See you again tomorrow! I’ll leave you with the words of Audrey Hepburn.

“Nothing is more important than empathy for another human being for another human being’s suffering. Not a career. Not wealth. Not intelligence. Certainly not status. We have to feel for one another if we are going to survive with dignity.”

Simply Saturday

After a restful day Friday, I think I’ll survive! The time leading up to Veterans Day was extremely busy, now I can settle down and concentrate on doing the rest of the month with NaNoWriMo. I am behind on that, and I need to plot some more scenes and chapters to finish. After that, it’s getting back to business to see if I can finish the month with 50,000 words more written for my novel.

A big part of the work with writing is learned through reading. I would imagine I read far more than 50,000 words a month. I’m reading a book now that is hard read; it’s the story of a woman who was molested by her grandfather. Her mother did not believe her. They had a volatile relationship through life. Laura Davis wrote other books; her “The Courage to Heal,” is a bestseller and has helped heal many women who had the same experience. A horrible one to have had experienced. I cannot imagine.

My father was a very proper man, my grandfather’s were also. A little girl should not have to worry about incest. She should be safe from her brothers and uncles, as I was. It makes me sick to my stomach at the thought of not being safe. My heart hurts for all the people who have to worry about such a thing. I’m glad I don’t understand how this can seem normal to anyone.

Laura Davis also has taught survivors to find their voices, write their stories, and hone their craft as writers. The trauma needs to be recognized to be healed. Sometimes healing never happens. Sometimes it is a painful back and forth as a survivor drifts between healing and not. If a reconciliation can happen, it’s healing for everyone.

The first book was written in 1988, when people barely talked about childhood sexual abuse. I cannot remember when I first heard about pedophiles. It was probably in connection with the Catholic priests who abused kids in our Archdiocese of Omaha. There were priests who taught at my high school on those lists. Several were abruptly reassigned and a new teacher would teach religion class the rest of the year. No one ever said a word. In the 80s, it was assumed pedophiles were homosexuals. Wrong again! I defend homosexuals to this day if someone mentions that in a conversation. A pedophile is not necessarily a homosexual. Get it right!

After absorbing the struggles told about this daughter and mother, the denials her mother made, and the rage her mother had at her own daughter, I need something to keep me from having a funky outlook this weekend. I’m choosing gratitude. Gratitude I never experienced this horror, and prayers no one I know experiences it. Life is full of difficult topics, and we need to learn how to walk with survivors just as we would with a cancer survivor, or an aging, forgetful person. Let’s choose compassion. Let’s choose caring. Let’s choose calm. Let’s not desert the survivors so they walk alone. Be an unrelenting friend. We all need one. I believe the pedophiles will receive what they deserve with a quick and just punishment by God Himself.

As you enjoy this sunny Saturday, remember those who hurt. Those who are homeless. Those who ache to have someone reach out and be a listening ear. Be a good human. We all need to work on that. See you tomorrow!

Another Tuesday, Enjoy!

It’s another beautiful, sunny day here at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. I’m spending the day at home, doing some much needed home tasks and trying to catch up on NaNoWriMo. Folks, it may take me into December to finish 50K words at this point. I’ve had to sacrifice writing time to participate in volunteering for our VFW and the groups we support. Believe me, it is worth it. The friends I’ve made and the stories I’ve heard, I’m truly blessed to be able to know these leaders and know their stories. Veterans Day is an important day. It’s when we thank our Veterans when we think of their sacrifices. This year it is important to let them know we’re behind them, we support them, and we will listen. They need that more than ever right now. The withdrawl from Afghanistan was a mess, to put it mildly. I’ll leave it at that.

Yesterday was an amazing experience. Liz Boutin, a local artist, is sharing her art work about PTSD with us for Veterans Day/Week. I was able to listen to her inspirations for the paintings, which was a gift. From her time as a Red Cross Volunteer while a military spouse in Germany, she was in the hospital where the wounded soldiers from Iraq were sent. Some stayed long enough for her to hear their stories. She was part of the worst things in these soldiers’ lives.

They would open up to her, preferring a civilian over a military doctor or shrink who would put the information in their records. She needed a way to release the burden she was carrying. Her own mental health was suffering. She started journaling about her experiences. Later, she discovered she had PTSD. Doing more research, she learned about how art is therapy for those with PTSD. Liz has poured her heart and soul into this art. And it is beautiful. Hard to see? Maybe a little. But for the depictions of what she’s seen and heard and experienced, it’s an experience that is well worth having. I believe she is gifted in the world of art, storytelling, and observations in her life. We’re so lucky she is sharing her art with us.

We also have many reps from the VA to discuss everything from registering you for benefits to letting you know what you can expect in the process. It’s a convenient way for you to get started. We will have representatives from Moving Veterans Forward, ABATE, 22 Veterans Suicide Awareness Group, and information available from Guitars for Vets, and the Centering Corporation, the oldest grief organization in America. I have learned so much from them over the past twenty years.

Come see us Thursday. Veterans eat free, and we have a bake sale by the Auxiliary, some merch from various vendors, and Liz Boutin’s art is for sale. Don’t forget about the food and clothing drive we are sponsoring for homeless Veterans. We want them to have warm clothing this winter. It’s the least we can do. Help them out. Learn something new from our information sharing day. We welcome you. Thanks for reading, see you tomorrow!

November 8-Grateful

Another day to have something declared as what I’m grateful for. So many things to count! The encouragement from my friends to continue writing has been very nice. Your friends who support you are good ones to have as you get your sea legs about you. I’m grateful for all of you!

Yesterday was my son Nick’s birthday. Forty six years old, I can’t believe how the time has gone by. Nick was a smaller baby than Frankie was, but he got much taller and filled out in high school. The fact he has a 5 o’clock shadow at 5 a.m. after shaving is probably enough to say he looked much older than he is. Probably never got carded like his brother did. It’s over, and I’m glad to not have to deal with those days again. Nothing ages a single Mom more than having a child who looks much older than he is. I’m grateful those single Mom days are over. It was hard, but I’d still make the same decisions I did.

So many people we know have had some bad health issues; strokes, heart attacks, cancer, are all hard to recover from. We’ve seen cancer, broken bones, heart disease, a stroke, and a host of other issues. We are so fortunate we are still mobile, living independently, and having a great future ahead of us. The Babe is 71 and I’m 69. I told him the other morning, I hope we get another 20 years together. You never know; with God all things are possible!

I’m behind on NaNoWriMo. I loitered today instead of getting caught up. The Babe put it well. “Don’t make it a job.” Well, it doesn’t hurt to do it every day, to spread it out, but it felt good to sort of play hooky. I caught up on Yellowstone, (until the Babe got home and caught the end of the NASCAR Race), wrote some scenes out, and recharged. It was necessary.

Today, I need to catch up with posting all the info about Veterans Day at the VFW Post 2503. Resource lists must be compiled, then printed and copies made. Any posting about the events should be available for those who check the Events on Facebook to plan their week. Today will be busier than the usual Monday for sure.

Not sure what we’ll be doing Thanksgiving, but I think we’ll cook. Not sure if we’ll get a turkey, but I think it’s worth getting one, I’d even make it later if necessary. The traditional food is so full of carbs, what I may do is only make a very small dish of dressing, sweet potatoes, and veggies. I will make the normal amount of mashed potatoes, gravy, and dinner rolls. That should balance out all good, shouldn’t it?

Keto is hard during the holidays, but we started it last November, and lost a lot of weight before New Years. I will not gain it back this year. And I won’t next year. At this stage in life it is too hard to lose 45 pounds and I don’t want to have to do it again. I need to stay on top of it. Last year, we skipped all the goodies for the most part, and I have three pumpkin smoothies in the freezer. Will it be as good as pumpkin pie? Give me enough whipped cream and it will. Heavy Cream, Whipped, is allowed on KETO. They knew what they were doing with that one!

Hope your Monday is a good one. Take care, and let’s see each other again tomorrow.

November 5, 2021-Grateful!

It’s been a long week. I was revved up and happy to be home today to get an early start on NaNoWriMo. And I did 1353 words on my difficult passages. It’s exhausting but a very important part of the story. I’ll be fine, but wow. Sometimes it’s hard to look back at what we’ve survived throughout our lives. Looking back from this point in life, at this age, I’ve got gratitude to God for His Mercy. I am sharing some of the very hard times, as a contrast to very good things that can and have happened. As my niece told me, “You’ve lived many lifetimes in your years.” She’s right.

The writing itself is going well. I do find I switch between first person and third person. I need to read up on that, if I need to do only one POV through the whole novel, it’ll be first person, I believe. It’s hard to stay put. My mind has been sort of boggled the past few days. First person is usually past events, third person can be the present, as it happens. I can switch between POV’s depending on what is being told.

When I’ve finished writing for the day I really am grateful for where life has taken me, through all the good and all the bad, it’s all part of who I am and why I’m the way I am. Walking through personal growth for parts of characters is a good thing to do. The whole point is to create a story that draws your reader in and makes them want to find out what happens.

We’ve got a fundraiser tomorrow night and I need to get a couple more items for the raffles. There are some good things out there, and I need to finish up our part of the evening. It will be a night of great music and seeing new friends and a couple older ones.

I have a bunch of stickers that read, “Live a Great Story.” I’ve come to love that phrase. I find myself talking more and more about good stories, and how things turn out. Everything is a story. Sometimes there are lots of good parts or bad parts, but there is always a beginning, a middle, and an end. You can change them up and change them down, and change the ending, making it more intriguing. It’s your story. Tell it how you like!

Part of what I’ve discovered this year is our deep friendship with our group of friends from the VFW Post. We have lost two men this year. One had cancer for years, and many health issues the past couple years. It was sad to see him deteriorate week after week. And how hard it was for his wife. But we all stuck with each other. I love that no one backed off or stayed away. Good friends don’t desert you in your time of need. It was very sad when Nugent passed away. He was such a nice, kind man. We miss his presence.

And later this summer, when Lenny died, well wow. For all the years I’ve known his wife, I didn’t really know him. He was always a crazy man, which was good, he was always out there, living life to the fullest. He really didn’t give a darned what anyone thought. I marveled at his ability to do that. What he didn’t want anyone to know was how generous he was. He retired from a very good job and so did his wife. He never forgot to be kind to Veterans, kids, little old ladies, or his grandkids. He had funny stories. Lenny lived a great story. Be like Lenny! Before he died, he made the Babe promise to sign up his grandson as a lifetime member of the VFW. Lenny is smiling down at Connor and his new membership card.

Thanks for the memories, guys. And your ladies, too. Our other friend is a widow, and she is fun and helpful to the two new widows. They tell me they don’t want me to join the club (NO! Me neither!). But one day, I probably will. They will be there to be a friend when I need it. Grief is messy, all over the place. I have an idea of the devastation, and know it’ll be much worse than I can ever imagine.

I have a lot of faith, God has taken me through so many things. He will continue to do so, and I can trust that won’t change. God doesn’t change, through all eternity, He remains true. We are the ones who change, who doubt, who stray, who get lost, who take the wrong roads, and forget what their goals should be. A whole lot of being human gets in the way.

Take care out there today. Make a great story in your day as you live your life. Be like Lenny. Keep your goodness to yourselves, it speaks volumes to be understated. You’ll do the same amount of good and more by being modest. Be kind. Spread that around because we need it. See you tomorrow!

November 3-Already?

Customer Service is a dream when you receive it. And a nightmare when you don’t. It’s even worse when they don’t believe you paid your bill in July. Yes, July of 2021. I’ve already provided verification from the bank for the online bill payment. Just around Labor Day. And yet, Phillips 66 tries to tell me I did not provide info even though the bank did. They want it faxed to them. Again. I asked the lady how does that help me know you’ll pay attention to it this time? No notification on the fax cover sheet or anything. So no wonder they lost it. But to treat me like a person who doesn’t pay their bills, not wise. I will no longer do business with Phillips 66. That makes me very sad, I did for over 31 years.

It reminds me of about ten years ago, my good credit record allowed me to have a lower interest rate at the old Sears Department Store. I received that account with the divorce, and I was able to use it for a credit rating when I hadn’t worked. It was valuable. I cancelled it after the Babe and I received a letter stating Sears would raise our interest to 18%. It wasn’t because of anything we did or didn’t do. We were still stellar customers. They just had to raise everyone’s. Well, we know how that turned out. Sears went under. Probably because people like myself decided they’d take their business elsewhere. Sad, really.

I am grateful for good customer service. And, it’s even better when an issue is resolved. I’m also grateful for the good credit I’ve enjoyed for decades. We are happy to have such a good record, and it wasn’t easy to do. We persevered, and are doing fine. What a blessing.

There was another customer service snafu that affected our household today. This one had to do with prescriptions being transferred from one entity to another. The former pharmacy was stellar in their performance. The new one performed poorly last month, splitting my order between two stores. This time, I opted to have them placed in bubble packs as they were previously and delivered. I had to check several times about the delivery, was told someone had to be home. We were. Several hours later, I called because I hadn’t taken any meds all day, waiting for the delivery. It had not been taken with the driver. Holy smokes.

Long story, short story, no lives were lost in either incident. I’m not happy with myself for being human and getting angry, but wow. The possibilities to get things right abound. The possibilities to get things wrong exists, and unfortunately, take a front seat at the least opportune moment. Two perfect storms formed today. Hope that’s the end of the bad luck and life lessons now. We’re ready for less aggravation for sure.

On the NaNoWriMo front, things are going along. I did another 1,667 words again today. The subject matter is tougher the more chapters I write, and it’s emotional. It will be more difficult as the time goes on. I’m still on target, though, and should be able to maintain the pace. There are numerous Facebook groups and ways to communicate with fellow writers. Two young women have little kids. I have to admire their persistence and dedication. At their ages, I had the energy to study late, get up early, and keep weird hours, too. I hope they do well, too.

Tomorrow will the the first morning all week I’ll get to stay home and get right to work. I’m behind on advertising our Veterans Day Dinner and Resources Info. Must catch up tomorrow. And Friday night is a Guitars for Vets Fundraiser supporting Toys for Tots. Great organizations in need of support. It’s going to be a fun night. Thanks for catching up today, we’ll get started early and will see you again tomorrow. Be Safe out there.

All Hallows’ Eve

So the other day when I was at the doctor’s office, he asked if I was giving out treats or not. I said I hadn’t decided yet. He told me they weren’t going to. He said it’s a perfect super spreader of COVID. When you think about it, he’s right. I’ve decided not to pass out any candy, then no one can pass things to us, either. It makes sense in this time of COVID.

Tomorrow is my big day, I’ll start writing 1,667 words a day for the whole month of November. I think it should be attainable. I’m already writing blogs a couple days ahead, then scheduling when to publish them. I love that about Word Press. The only thing is I still need to manually publish to my Jewell Publishing LLC page and my personal page, Kathy Jewell Raabe. It is all ok, at least I’ll pre-schedule the daily blogs, leaving more time for my novel. It’ll take a bit to put my mind back in the story, but we’ll get there.

When we were kids, it was perfectly safe to go out on Halloween, around your neighborhood, and collect candy from every house in the neighborhood. There were a couple houses that were pretty scary, and no one knew them well at all. We avoided that house like the plague. The old nuns told us we needed to dress like the saints, maybe our patron saint, it possible. We were told to especially avoid dressing in devil costumes. They may have even told us it was sinful to do so. Nothing could glorify Satan like the red devil costume.

Our costumes were pretty basic. For many years, my older brother, who was rather small in stature, wore a purchased skeleton costume. It had a hooded face mask that was cloth, and eye holes cut. We hated those plastic masks since we both wore glasses. Couldn’t see a thing through the fog! We had a box of old costumes from Mom’s sisters. An angel smock in white, all sorts of sashes, etc. My kids used many of those, too. Grandma sewed them and they were sturdy. I suppose I gave them to Goodwill after my kids were finished with them.

I’ve told my Halloween horror story many times. Here it goes again. In 1975, when I was very pregnant with my second child Nicholas, we lived in an old neighborhood, on a hill. Most of the neighbors we knew lived down the hill, where there were long staircases up the hill to the houses, then the houses had at least 6 – 10 steps up to the porches and front doors. Did I mention there were fences between many of the yards, and you couldn’t cut across the yards? My Frankie was just four years old and very shy. I held his hand up all 10,000 steps, down them, then up the next 10,000 steps . . . well, you get the picture. I was 24 years old and in good shape. I prayed not to have a Halloween baby all night. He wasn’t born for another week, November 7. What a relief! Gosh, he’ll be 46 next week. Where does the time go?

The days are pretty chilly now and look to be all week. It’s probably time to bring in the outdoor furniture, and batten down the hatches. More evenings by the fireplace, which is our favorite. So relieved we feel better and don’t have any lasting effects from COVID. We have some friends who have lung issues and memory/other issues relating to impatience, general personality changes, and some balance issues. We are very fortunate. More blessings.

On the Keto front of my life, I’ve done a little back-sliding. Quit doing squats and was careless with eating, so I gained 5 pounds. I’m back at it, before it turns into 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50. That is where people get in trouble. I’ll be too busy to think about snacks during November.

Once we’re finished here, I’m putting my plans into a 3-ring binder to get organized for tomorrow. Each chapter will have a divider, along with notes. Part of the writing has to take you where it goes. The outline/plan/scene descriptions help get you there. I believe it’s a combination of being a pantster (one who writes by the seat of their pants) and an outliner. My book coach, Sam Tyler, helped me see how much easier it was to outline. It lends a structure I didn’t have before.

My first NaNoWriMo in 2019 saw me crank out 40,000 words and I was ready to send it to someone to edit, print, and call it good. I believe most folks who do that don’t find success. I learned so much from Sam and from study on my own I cannot believe it. Sure, I’ll go back and see if I can resurrect what I wrote. Maybe there were too many characters to do them all justice. I went down a path where two brothers were in a moral/physical/and life struggle. One told the other he would kill him if he ever heard of him hurting another character. Truthfully, it scared me. I may need to talk with someone about that. I just find it interesting, and wonder where and how that conflict would have resolved itself. You almost never know what path you will find yourself on when you go the pantster way. I am probably now a Planning Pantster.

Friends, I hope you each find abundance in your lives during this Autumn Harvest season. The colors are so beautiful this time of year. I remember reading stories in our Grand School Literature class about Harvest. Living in Nebraska my whole life, I’m a city girl, but I live in the country now, sort of. Our little town of 4,000 + is seeing a building boom in the last five years. Many housing divisions are set to begin, a large chain grocery store, and several retirement centers are touting their future location. Something for everyone! Building homes, schools, community recreation areas are all great signs. My hope is they really build a new library in our neighborhood. It will be perfect for us (especially ME!).

Be careful out there tonight with your little goblins. I hope you all stay warm enough! Have fun, and we’ll see each other tomorrow! Be Kind.

Gratitude and Stuff

First, I’ll share with you what took up most of our day yesterday. I saw my doctor and all is well. He told me wait at least 90 days before getting the booster for the Moderna Vaccination. In his opinion, it’s the best vaccine and will offer 3 times the protection when we finally can have it. He also told me I have “super immunity” right now. Having COVID builds some immunity. The strain I had was the variant, so I’m immune. Good deal for not being very sick. I’m grateful it wasn’t worse. And, the super immunity will continue after I get the booster. His advice on mixing the vaccines? Get Moderna, it’s the best, and what I had to start with. I trust this Doc with our lives, so I value his opinion.

After I finished with that, I did an errand, then had a call from the Babe. He was in an accident while driving his truck yesterday. He went to the bank to make a deposit for the Post. A guy ran a red light, the Babe tried to speed up to avoid him, but still was hit in the drivers side rear wheel, truck box, and the side airbags went off. Poor guy can’t seem to catch a break! It’s been a tough year to be the Babe. And yet, although he’s discouraged, he’s grateful. I’m grateful. Had he been t-boned, we’d be having a different kind of blog today.

No doubt there are countless blessings bestowed on our family this year. The Babe isn’t negative about this latest speed bump on the road of our life. That’s one huge thing I love about him. He’s grateful. It’s easy to be a positive person with him. While talking to his kids and siblings, he kept saying, “It’s the hassle I don’t need, but it’s ok.” He took a ride in the ambulance because of the blood thinners that keep his arteries open. He banged his head pretty badly, then he was punched with the side airbag. Honda makes a remarkable product. Thank goodness he wasn’t in a Fiat or a Smart Car.

We are also blessed to have the best repair shop in Omaha. I’ve been a customer of theirs since the 1990s when the kids started driving. Dave’s Auto Body Company is the real deal, trust me. If you’re in the area and need this service, do it. You won’t be sorry. They also generously sponsor events at the Post. It their name is on it, it’s quality.

The folks at Enterprise Rent a Car are good, too. We haven’t secured a car yet, but previously have been happy with them. They’re on 90th & Maple in Omaha.

I’m grateful we have the history we have, the Babe and I. Having had weird medical stuff happen in my life has helped make me calm in times of stress and strain. Just part of the fire I have survived. I’ve developed a lot of trust in God that makes me know things will always be all right. Even if they don’t end “well” we’re good. We each have a deep belief we’ll be ok. God will keep us in the palm of His hand for sure. If we don’t have that hope, we’re doomed! We both have realistic attitudes and expectations at this stage in life. Blessed for sure.

My FBIL (Favorite Brother in Law) who is also my I/T Department had a great quip, he told the Babe:

“A Durango (the vehicle that hit the Babe’s) is 6,500 gross weight, while the Ridgeline is about 6,000. The Babe needs to fight in his own weight class!”

I must agree with that statement. Know we’re counting all the blessings God has thrown our way this year. It’s been hard, but we’re so grateful. We’ve survived having COVID, our son and son-in-law are recovering and healthy, and Gavin has barely had a symptom. Yes, let’s all count our blessings today. It becomes a habit after awhile. Thank you for reading today, and I’ll see you tomorrow!