Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How 2014 Changed Me Forever

The Year 2014 in Review

I filled this out last year. It is a good way to review the year and keep it for posterity. 

  1. What did you do in 2014 that you've never done before?
Since 2014 will forever be remembered as the year Richard died I can say that I had to plan a funeral for my husband. I've never done that before. I hope to never do it again.

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions? And will you make some for this year?

I don't make resolutions. I set goals. My goals for 2014 were: Organize my home; do some freezer cooking; set up a family budget;
use more coupons; get smarter about saving; use Hospice better; weight loss/exercise; forgive myself; worry less, love more. I didn't do so great with organization. I did get in some freezer cooking and I liked it. I set up our budget and then refined it after Richard passed in July. I was horrible with savings. I did use Hospice better towards the end. I am not great with coupons. Weight loss/ exercise dropped off the list. I still need to forgive myself. I didn't worry less but I did a whole lot of loving more. And yes, I will have new goals for 2015. Stay tuned. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 

I cannot think of a single person, close to me, who gave birth.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

As we all know, my husband died in July. He was my husband, my lover, my best friend, the father to my boys and the best Papa any grandchild could ever ask for.

5. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

I would like to have patience. I will always want more patience. I want to have energy. And I desire change.

6. What dates in 2014 will remain etched upon your memory? And why?

Of course, July 21, 2014. The day that Richard died. And August 2, 2014...the date of his memorial service. Nothing else in 2014 impacted my life as much as those two days.

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

My biggest achievement was the A To Z Challenge in April. I wrote about care-giving. And giving the best care that I could give to Richard.

8. What was your biggest failure?

Last year I said that my biggest failure was at having patience. I have to say that is still my biggest failure. Too much stress=loss of patience.

9 Did you suffer illness or injury?

Thank goodness I did not have major illness or injury this past year. But I have suffered...grief. It is the worst I have ever suffered and I am not sure when it will end.

10. What was the best thing you bought?

I would have to say that "Alice" is the best thing I bought. I placed her in the backyard right outside the dining room window and she made me smile each and every day that I looked at her.

11.Whose behavior merited celebration?

Last year this honor went to the two grands who live with me. And I am giving the honor to them once again. I cannot imagine having gone through this past year without them here with me. 

12. Whose behavior may you appalled and depressed?

This one is easy for me. I am appalled at the behavior of people in this great country of ours towards police officers. Those very men and women who go out daily, putting their lives on the lines, to protect all of us. I am appalled that people are not able to see all of this for what it is. Nothing more than a political statement to keep the country divided: whether by politics or race or economy. They do not want us to talk about the REAL problems in our country. Of course there are a few bad police officers. Just as there are a few bad people in any profession. But the three big incidents that have divided this country were not about bad police officers. It was about criminals not doing as they were asked by the police. They were breaking laws and refused to obey. I cannot believe SMART people are idolizing criminals. And the intense media coverage is getting police officers killed. People need to STOP! Join together and make this country great again!!

13. Where did most of your money go?

Without a doubt, the grocery store. That is where I spent the biggest amount of money in 2014.

14. What song will remind you of 2014?

Heaven Got Another Angel by Gordon True

15. Compared to last year, happier? or sadder?

No question here. I am much sadder. But there will be recovery this year. I will never forget him. But I will learn to cherish his memory and be happy again.

16. Thinner? or Fatter?

I am exactly where I was at this time last year.....not knowing. I don't weigh myself anymore. But if I had to venture a guess...maybe a bit fatter.

17. Richer or Poorer?

Poorer, no question. In losing my husband I also lost half my income. But we will make it!

18. What do you wish you would have done more of?

I wish I would have done more listening. More talking with Richard. More holding his hand. More expressing my love to him.

19. What do you wish you would have done less of?

It would be easy to say I wish there had been less grieving. Less crying. But that cannot be changed. Last year I wanted to do less bitching. I think that is still what I would have wanted to do less of.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

We had a small celebration on December 22 and then spent Christmas day with just the kids. We watched TV and ate spaghetti!

21. What was your favorite TV program?

This year we fell in love with "How To Get Away with Murder"....good show! Can't wait for it to start again in January.

22. What was the best book that you read?

I read several really good books. You can go here to see my favorite 10 for the year.

23. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I don't think I made any new discoveries this past year. I still like all genres! Didn't find a new artist this year. But I did fall in love with two songs:

Let it Go...from the movie Frozen

Happy sang by Pharrell Williams (you just have to move to this music)

24. What did you want and get?

I wanted easier days and quieter nights. Sadly, I got what I asked for.

25. What was your favorite film this year?

As many of you know I am not really into movies. But I have been watching some with the kids. None of them really stand out to me however. Maybe The bittersweet as I found it. 

26. What did you do on your birthday? And how old are you?

I turned 63 this past April. And I did what I always do on my birthday...quiet celebration with family here at home.

27.How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

It didn't change. I still live in yoga pants or shorts with tee shirts. That is my style.

28. What kept you sane?

The same thing kept me sane in 2014 that kept me sane in 2013. And I hope he keeps me sane in 2015. I do not know where I would be without the support of my son, Justin. He always has my back. Even when he is annoying the sh** out of me. I love him more than I love life!

29. Which celebrity or public figure did you fancy most?

I am just not a 'fancier' of celebrities. And most public figures just piss me off!

30. What political issue stirred you the most?

You can go back and read what I said at #12. I firmly believe the hype that surround Ferguson, Missouri this past year was all political. Kept our mind off the real problems in America. Hopefully that will change soon.

31. Who did you miss?

Last year I wrote about how I missed my husband and the man he used to be. 2014 will be the year that I really miss my husband. The physical body of my husband. And I miss my brother and my sister. The ones who are not around that much!

32. Who was the best new person you met?

All of my new blogging friends are the best new people. And my 'old' friends as well.

33. Tell us a valuable lesson that you learned in 2014.

The lesson that I learned in 2014 is that life is SHORT. Too short. Keep your loved ones close and let them know how much you love them. Time will fly. They will be gone. And you can never have that time over again.

You can go here to compare this review to 2013. And you may copy these questions and do your own post and let us all know how 2014 was for you.

Happy New Year to all of my family and friends. Most especially to all of my wonderful readers. May 2015 be a wonderful year for all of us.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014


I have been thinking about my word for 2015. I will link up with One Word 365, just like I did last year. This is going to be my focus word this year. It will guide me as I make my way into a new kind of life. Because that is what I will be doing in 2015. I will be forging a new life. I will begin to live my life as a single woman. A widow. A single mother raising two teenage grandchildren. It is not the same life that I had back in January 2014; when my word for the year was HOPE. Hope took me all over the world. It led me into dark corners and helped me find light at the end. I lost hope. And I found hope. And now with hope in my heart I will need to

to become different
to undergo a modification

Won't you join me as I go on this journey?
As I decide to make changes in my spiritual growth; changes in my attitude; changes in my home; changes in my appearance; changes in my views.

"And changing your life comes down to changing your habits, one small step at a time, but the first and most important step is to change your story."
That is my plan!
I am going to change my story.

“The only thing standing
between you and your goal
is the bullshit story you keep
telling yourself as to why you
can’t achieve it.” Jordan Belfort

Do you pick a single word to shape you?

My 10 Favorite Books of 2014

Today I join Carol Knits to link with others the 10 Favorite Books of 2014. Wouldn't you like to join Ten on Tuesday? Or just tell me in the comments what your favorite books for the year were. Here are mine:

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn-I still think about this book. What a wild and crazy read.

2. Blue by Lou Aronica-This book is about a 14 year old girl who is dying and her connection to a fantasy world and a young queen. Awesome read!

3. Forgive me Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick-An intense book that takes place in one day in the life of a teenager who wants to kill his friend and then himself. I will never forget this book.

4. The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian-I will forever remember this book for that ending. The one that blew me away. The one I never saw coming.

5. What Alice Forgot by Lian Moriarty-This book will have you asking what would you think of your life if you suddenly found that you didn't remember 10 years of it.

6. Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt-This book is about a 14 year old girl and the love she had for her uncle who died from Aids. Powerful!

5. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult-From this book I learned so much about grief! Another book whose ending will blow you away.

6. Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult-A story about a little girl who is seeing God and creating miracles. Or is she?

7. Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen-The story of a boy, filled with anger and rage, who is banned to live alone in Alaska and cure himself. Recommended by my grandson who at one time could really identify to the main character. 

8. The Color of Heaven by Julianne MacLean-This story helped me to learn there is always hope after death. A very poignant story.

9. Room by Emma Donoghue-A tale about Jack, a five year old boy, and his ma who are locked in a Room and their escape. I will never forget Jack.

10. The Confession by John Grisham-Just because who doesn't love a good John Grisham book!

Monday, December 29, 2014

My Simple Woman's Daybook-December 29th Edition


December 29, 2014

Outside my window...

It is dark and party cloudy. I could see just a bit of the moon peeking through the clouds. It is only 25* and the temperatures will be dropping here in the next day or two. 

I am thinking...

I am thinking about the end of the year. The kids are having a few friends over for a Teen New Years Eve party. Should be fun?

I am thankful...

I am thankful that the holidays are soon to be over. It was hard. Just as I knew it would be. But we did survive. Just as I knew we would. 

In the kitchen...

Monday..Chicken Mac & Cheese
Tuesday...Spaghetti with garlic bread
Wednesday...Pancakes and eggs
Friday...Grilled Blue Hake, scalloped potatoes, Brussels sprouts
Saturday...Ham & Beans; cornbread
Sunday...Chicken enchiladas, Mexican rice

I am wearing...

I am wearing dark grey yoga pants with a light grey tee shirt. And socks!

I am creating...

I am just not into much creating right now. I am trying to keep my head above water. 

I am going...

I am going to soon be working on my 2015 goals for the year. And picking out my word for the year.

I am wondering...

I am wondering what direction our family will go this year. And what direction are of you will take.

I am reading...

I am reading Sara's Game by Ernie Lindsey (a freebie from Barnes and Nobel)

I am hoping...

I am hoping the book is good all the way to the end. So often the freebies aren't worth my time. But I keep trying them just in case.

I am looking forward to...

I am looking forward to the kids going back to school. I know that sounds terrible. But we all thrive on schedules and we are just way off.

I am learning...

I am learning that just because I have already raised two teenagers it isn't necessarily easier the second time around.

Around the house...

I start getting antsy about Christmas decorations as soon as the holiday is over. I need to remind myself that according to the 12 Days of Christmas, the season doesn't end until January 6th. What do you do about your decorations? Are they already down?

I am pondering...

I am pondering my 2015 Word. This year my word was Hope. I had hope, I lost hope, I am recovering my hope.

A favorite quote for today...

One of my favorite things...

New Year's Eve has always been one of my favorite things.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

The kids' practices all resume now that Christmas is over. So I will be taking them every morning. New Year's Eve will find us celebrating at home.

A peek into my day...

This is the best picture I have. It is my tomato cage tree. I only made one; not the forest of trees I wanted. Maybe next year. And I think I will use the bigger bulbs so it will show up better. Harley put the bow on top. Next year I will try to find stars, I think.

I will NOT be linking up with Peggy this week at The Simple Woman's Blog. She will be back January 5th for the link up.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Reviewing 2014

While January brought national news of recreational marijuana shops opening in Colorado and trying to find out if Governor Christi knew or didn't know about the closing of the bridge, our family celebrated Darian turning 16 and Papa turning 81. It was in January we first saw Richard have those crazy twitches. And I started to wonder if this would be his last year.

darian turns 16Richard's birthday

February brought crazy weather and we had ice dams on our roof. I had never heard of such a thing. But I learned much on how to remove them, prevent them, and pray they wouldn't cause much damage. And Harley turned 14. The Seattle Sea Hawks win their first, ever Super Bowl.

ice damnsharley birthday

March brought March Madness and Kansas had three teams participate. Sadly, none of them made it to the end.Malaysian Flight 370 disappeared; never to be heard from again.  Richard was beginning to fail. But I had hope. And I found Hope all over America.


April brought the A-Z Challenge and I made new blog friends. And wrote a lot about being a caregiver. Kathleen Sibelius resigns as secretary of health amid the
many problems with  And I turned 63.


May brought Paige and Harley graduating from the 8th grade. And Paige turned 14. My two got out of school on May 1 for a very long summer ahead of us. I had the house painted. And Richard continued to decline.We were so thankful that he got to attend both graduations.

harley graduates 2paige turns 14paige graduates

June brought many camps for Darian. He went to Colorado and camped outside with the Boy Scouts and then he went back to Colorado for wrestling camp. We missed him. And June was bad for Richard. And for me. And for all of us. I am not going back to visit any of those posts. But you can if you want. But I did paint the front door!

darian in colorado10446475_4330258270583_3766000823071217907_nIMG_20140624_202019758

July found Darian and Harley going to Chicago for a mission trip. A big learning experience. My cousin came to visit. The end began. The struggles started. And then Richard died. The worst July of my life.
Papa's last picturae
Last picture with all the kids! Taken one week before he died
darian chicagoharley in chicago

August was all about grieving. The finality of it. The paperwork. The sadness. The loneliness. And the end of summer. Robin Williams commits suicide. A black teen is shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. And there were many, many ALS ice bucket challenges across America. We participated here as well.

September brings a fresh school year. Darian is a junior. Harley and Paige start high school as freshman. The news is full of Ebola and ISIS. Danny turned 43. Justin battled a bad case of pneumonia and back difficulties. And I grieved. I wrote 31 Letters to Richard.

darian and harley go to schoolfirst day of schoolpaige learned gold

October finds us moving on. Justin turned 39. I was reading more. And writing. And grieving. Darian and Harley are in debate at school. And life just goes on.

Justin's birthday

November finds us trying to figure out how we are going to celebrate the first Thanksgiving without Richard. Debate season ends.  Darian goes on his first date. I write a poem. And the grieving continues. Stories of Ebola, Ferguson, Missouri, and same sex marriage continue to monopolize the news.


December starts basketball for Harley and wrestling for Darian. And Christmas without Richard. And more grief. And Microsoft kills it's clip art gallery.... And police officers that are killed just for the sake of killing. And we made it through the season. And it was hard. But we survived.


I am wishing you all a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014



To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

This book is a page-turner. I read far past being too tired to read. I enjoyed the book and it will be one that I will not quickly forget. I recommend it to you!

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Simple Woman's DayBook-December 22nd Edition

FOR TODAY...December 22, 2014

Outside my window...

Outside my window the sky is dark and cloudy. It was so cold and windy today at the cemetery for Sherri's funeral services. Tomorrow it is supposed to rain with a high of 41*

I am thinking...

I am thinking that it doesn't matter when someone dies the first holidays will be the hardest...whether they left us in July or just a few days ago.

I am thankful...

I am thankful for my family. I really am! Sometimes it is just hard to have family and I cannot imagine if they weren't around. Now think about that!

In the kitchen...

Monday...Today we had leftovers
Tuesday...Ham and Cheese Omelets
Wednesday...Pork Tenderloin and Scalloped Potatoes, Corn
Friday...Biscuits and Gravy
Saturday...Potato Soup

I am wearing...

I am wearing grey sweats, a black and shite tee and socks

I am creating...

I am not creating....

I am going...

I am going to try to relax the rest of this week. We had our Christmas here yesterday. Then the funeral today. Justin will be working the holidays. And the kids and I will pretend it is over. Because it is!

I am wondering...

I am wondering how the holidays will be for those who have just lost their loved ones. It makes it so hard just before a holiday that I find hard anyway.

I am reading...

I am currently between books. I just finished reading Room which I will soon review for you.

I am hoping...

I am hoping for peace and love and moving on in the New Year!

I am looking forward to...

I am looking forward to another year.

I am learning...

I am learning that it just never leaves me. It is always right there bubbling away under the surface. I am tired.

Around the house...

Around the house things remain festive!

I am pondering...

I am pondering how long to leave all the decorations up this year. They do not sparkle for me. I have no spirit. I am down tonight. As if you couldn't tell. It was a hard day. Very hard. 

A favorite quote for today...

One of my favorite things...

One of my favorite things is Lindor Truffles and I have 3 bags tucked away for special moments. 

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Harley has basketball practice tomorrow; Paige will come for a bit and I'll take her shopping; the rest of the week there are no plans. 

A peek into my day...

Never too old to visit Santa. And get a candy cane. We found him on the street corner when we were looking at Christmas lights on Saturday night. The kids thought he was 'hauntingly' like Papa. Can you see the resemblance?

I am linking up for the final time this year with Peggy at The Simple Woman's Blog. Won't you join us.

Dear Grief

Kate Motaung, the hostess of Five Minute Friday, is hosting a special writing link-up on Monday, December 22. She is asking that we write a letter to grief. As you know I have written a bit about grief on my blog lately. I accept her challenge.

Dear Grief:

I remember the first time that I met you. It was in January of 1959. I wasn't quite an 8 year old girl. So young, yet so much sadness already in my life. This was the year my dad committed suicide. And left behind 5 young kids. The grief at that time was brief. I don't think I really had the ability to understand death. Or that it meant he would be gone for a lifetime. I wasn't capable of feeling intense grief at that age. Thank goodness kids are resilient.

With this very Christmas season you are once again visiting my house. We recently lost my granddaughter, Paige's, other grandma. And then another call came to tell me my best friend's mother died on Saturday. It seems that we are surrounded with you right now.

Through the years you visited me time and time again. I've lost grandparents, parents, a child, dogs and cats, friends and in-laws. And every time I paused for reflection and sadness. But you were fleeting at those times. You didn't stay at my side. You didn't smother me.

And then you paid another visit. In July of this year, when death took my husband. I felt you come in the door. I knew you were standing, just out of the light, in the corner. Waiting. Waiting to grip me by the throat. Waiting to squeeze my heart until my chest felt as if it would rip open. Waiting for the continuous flow of tears. I feel they will never stop. I feel your intense hug. I want you to go away. And yet I beg you to stay. Don't leave me yet, grief. 

What I have found in holding onto you, my friend, is that I am holding onto memories. I am re-living moments that were so important to Richard and me. Now I look through hot, wet tears and miss him. At any given moment a memory will flood over me and I will feel as if I am drowning. But the fullness in my throat soon passes. The deep, red-hot pain in my chest passes. The tears begin to ease. And I just simply remember him. 

Surely the day will come when I tell you good-bye and you will silently creep away.The way that you came.You are not a friend. You are just you. You will visit us all at one time or another.

You will probably pay me more visits. But I don't feel that any will ever be as intense as this one has been. Don't be offended if I don't like you much right now. I need you to go real soon. Maybe only visit me 'lightly' if you know what I mean

I am linking up with Kate at Heading Home on Monday, December 22 with my Letter to grief.