Get Real About Relationships

Loving somebody sometimes means letting them go. Not everyone in life is going to accept who you are, what you stand for and your character defects. But at the end of the day, some things won’t change.  And we are created uniquely for a reason. If you have to change for someone to accept you, don’t.

Too often in marriages when people marry young, they are not fully able to understand the commitment involved with forging a relationship with a lifetime mate.  They are twice as likely to end in divorce.  Interesting that Divorce360.com suggests the ideal age to wait is late twenties before taking that huge step.  Younger couples marrying can be more for reasons related more to the stage of development they are in, through no fault of their own. Thus when one changes or grows the other spouse is left in the windfall. How likely is it that two individuals will mature at the same rate?  Even if they do, often times, one looks at the other as they mature and realizes loving someone doesn’t necessarily mean they are a lifetime match.  What’s more, divorce is so easy to obtain. 

Success rates for marriages are compounded by ages, culture differences and so many other obstacles.  Dr. Phil has quoted studies that show women who have came from divorced homes are 59% more likely to divorce. If both parties have come from such a home, the rate increases to 189% per Journal of Marriage and the Family. Many between the ages of 20 and 29 believe they are looking to marry a soul mate. However, soul mates may not be the best criteria for picking a lifetime mate.  A soul mate is usually reserved for people in your life that awaken a deeper sense of purpose to your life, a deeper understanding of you.  Frequently, this encounter(s) or individuals actually leave your life, and are not permanent fixtures, such as a preacher, a teacher, or an author. This word, soul mate gets thrown around like the word love, carelessly and without really understanding what the word implies and means.

Lifetime mates are the relationships that contain mutual respect, being physically present and creating memories.  Your individuality is something that should be created and discovered by you alone. That is the piece you bring to a relationship. Too many use their marriage as one uses a co-worker, to enhance themselves. It should always be about giving and mutually building towards a common goal. It also takes work and is not something that comes easily like lust.

Relationships coming unglued is not limited to marriages, it spills over into families as well. Too many times, boundary lines are ignored and someone encroaches on another’s.  Codependency is said by some to occur to 96% of women at some point in their life. This means needs are often at the forefront of relationships. Thus, women who subscribe to co-dependent relationships can write off family when they feel there is no need for them in their life.  Once the need and attention is gone, the will to retain the relationship is too.

Friendships are easily created and disposed of with no real complications. However, if the relationship is built on the true components that make lasting relationships work; these can be some of the most committed relationships we experience as adults.  Infact, statistics show social networks,  having true friends in one’s live can improve their lifespan as high as 50%!  Grab a friend and go get lunch!

Part of the reason for the strong emphasis on friendships with experts in this area is that they tend to be built on validation of self. Friends show us we are valued, friends support our goals without any ulterior motive and to many, a great friendship is more invaluable than a family tie. It is entirely a relationship built on choice, thereby it can easily be disposed of so the work continues constantly to keep it fresh, intimate and supportive.

The magazine US News & Money, of all publications, put out on article on this topic of the need for friendships in our life. “ At the end of the day, a friend can be the emotional oasis that makes all the difference.”  Friends make you happy and way too often, families make each other sad.  Friends accept you and families are twice as likely to judge you and not accept your frailties.  This is regarding close friends, and it has been proven over and over again, they make a huge impact on our lives.  Have great friendships with even a few people and you are rewarded with living happier and healthier. 

What is surprising is that adults don’t take the skill sets they use to form mutually rewarding and satisfying friendships into the other relationships in their lives. Experts say marriages are so much happier when there is a solid foundation of friendship.  Spouses who lift each other up expounding on positives verses negatives make a union longer lasting.  Noone enjoys being put down and being labeled. 

Within families, too often bygones are not forgotten or forgiven.  Within a good friendship, there is no expectation of perfection.  Whether is it considered more hurtful when it is a family member letting you down or just pure lack of love, many families don’t believe in working things out. It has become a more disposable society we live in and it has transposed to our family unit. Divorce your spouse and cut out any family that makes you angry. The prevalence of negativity and unsupportive regard for one another is breaking families apart.

The good news is friendships, good friendships, survive the test of time and actually enhance as we age.  This is partly because we make time for those we care about, we listen with open ears and forgive them for their transgressions.  We allow them to be human. 

I suppose the take away is to evaluate what qualities you have in your best friendships.  Those are the qualities that should be mandating all of your relationships in life. If someone doesn’t accept you and treat you as a good close friend, don’t let them in your inner circle. This should be a special appointed place for few.   If they are toxic, let them go.  They will only serve to make you unhappy, unhealthy and those around you miserable.  

God intends for us to be loving and kind to each other. Some have that ability and many do not. This world is harsh, our inner relationships shouldn’t be. You are worthy of being loved and in equal standing relationships too. Let those who judge you, hurt you,  or mar you, find a way to make their own sense of peace, or not. You are responsible for yours!  

Make sure the relationships you foster are the kind that build you up and others. When your day comes to leave this earth, your legacy will be the quality of the relationships you had and not those you did not.


Radio Jammin'

I have been asked by friends why I don’t have or like satellite radio. When my husband first got his car, I got another sampling of it, and I never used it when I drove the car much at all! Simply said, I want to know what is going on.

When I am driving, I enjoy listening to music as much as everyone else. I am the person that is rocking to the tunes down the expressway. I also must remind myself, at stoplights, to pull the windows up lest someone hear my off key voice hollering out the words to one of my million favorite songs playing. But, what I don’t want is to be out of the loop of what is going on in the world.

Some days are so crazy, it is awesome on that darn ride to town to hear the news in quick sound bites.  The fluff is gone and the news is covered quickly, local news and only the huge national news stories for the most part.  Who enjoys, on a busy day, being bogged down by scrolling around on the internet or phone or having to watch TV to find out what is going on in our world.

Traffic tie ups are a part of life, in any region.  Who likes landing up in the middle of them with no warning?  Hello, another reason to listen to local news! So many times, I hear suggestions of things to avoid and even suggestions for detours.  What a time-saver.  Or if that black cloud overhead is turning into a tornado. I sure would like to know if I should be looking for a ditch to run to. You can’t get that off of satellite radio.

Most of us have a hard enough time keeping up with our own life let alone the agenda in the city. Local broadcaster’s jobs are to promote venues in the city. Listening to a local channel gives that, the quick synopsis of what is going on, where and when.   I also enjoy hearing feedback from callers or guests about the events in town. Supporting local communities and businesses is what makes our area thrive. I don’t have time to read a local paper so this is the next best thing.

A good radio channel should give you the taste and culture of the city, where you live, where to eat, best places to shop, what movie to watch, etc…  They know better than anyone we all suffer from some level of attention deficit.  A friend in the business told me recently, 6 second messages work good actually!  How many of us spit out what we want to say in around 2-3 minutes?  If so, that is a heck of a lot of wasted time, energy and words! Nobody is listening after a minute folks.You are boring people. I know, I have seen non-verbals aimed at me that say, "land the plane!"

So there you go, listen to the local radio for those of you, like me with some ADHD, interest in hearing more about your city and still having moments to jam to some music on the road!   

*Thank you Anna Marie for your inspiration on this! 


Jake's Dad: A Look Back

With my grandson turning 5, it made me want to reflect on what his father was like, at the same age. So with just a bit of digging I came up with wonderful reminders of his past.  It is always nice to reflect, not only on the joy and pain of motherhood but also to see the similarities they have with their own children. 

I hope my writing this does not embarrass my son. I am proud of the child he was and even more so of the man he has become. Having a mom that kept things together of his childhood and loves to write must be a nuisance of sorts. I often wonder what it would have been like to have had a mother like me.   Oh, I am far from perfect and sure made plenty of mistakes. But, I stayed around; I didn’t walk away and leave my children or stay out of touch for years during their youth. 

I have kept my son’s baby book and included pictures too in an album throughout those first 6 years of life. I wanted them to have it and I wanted to be able to reflect on it at times like this, when their children hit these milestones. Those memories are precious.

Mike was an only child and was doted on quite abit by everyone till he was about 3 1/3.  At that time in his life, his sister was born, Christina who I fondly nicknamed Boo.  I included a picture of him at that age so you could see what a precious face he had, so innocent. Constantly I heard his eyes were big and beautiful and how long his lashes were! Ironic because my daughter’s son is the one that gets those comments the most now.  His eyes are similar to his Uncle Mike’s.

Mike changed so much between the ages of 3 ½ to age 5. He grew up, went from being a baby boy to a little dude.  His interest went to so many things I see his son into, tow trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, and being a thrill seeker outside. He loved riding Big Wheels even though we lived on a hill and our driveway was rather treacherous. 

As Jake is, Mike could care less about getting dirty.  He digged in the dirt constantly, played with the trimmer if his dad let him, and hated with a passion, wearing nice clothes. His choice, sweats, the dirtier the better! I think he is more inclined to this day to prefer comfy clothes any time. But when it comes to Jake, I am not really sure. I see him dressed up so much more than Mike was. If I had attempted to dress Mike up that much, it would have created a World War in our house.  Plus he was very very hard on clothes. The knees went out quickly on everything! And his legs were so long, it was hard to find things to fit him.

Mr. I don’t care what I look like was totally different when it came to his room!
Everything had a place. And for some reason, unknown to me, his sister got such a thrill out of going in there and swiping everything on the floor just to see him get upset.  And unfortunately, since he was the older sibling, he was powerless to do much about it.  And one thing he did do, frequently, which is dead on like his son, is take all his trucks, planes and trains and line them up so that they are hypothetically hooked together in one long chain.  I would see him do this over and over again just like Jake does. (Or maybe his dad is doing it and passing it off as Jake, LOL!) 

Mike had a temper, like most little ones, when he was younger. My notes describe it pretty dead-on like what his dad calls Jake’s meltdowns.  But at age 5, they stopped.  Boy, was that a relief! With two kids, I am not sure how that would have gone over.  I think Jake’s are dwindling now, at least around Grandma and Grandpa. And that is when it matters most to us, hehe!

A really cool trait of Mike’s was his ability to be helpful with his sister.  He would play
with her, support her, and be the man around the house when I got divorced.  However, like most kids, that was not always true.  On days he was bored, he did get a kick out of teasing her!  But let anyone mess with her, she was defended, they had to go through him. 

His passion with Star Wars began at this age. Is that nuts or what?  Age 5!  Yes, that and the love of The Dukes of Hazzard. I have no idea how someone that young could or would like those two things so much but he did and as far as I know, still does.  Is there some gene or something for that to kick in so young?  He also was in love with playing Pac Man and I can admit he could kick anyone’s you-know-what. He was insanely good at video and arcade games.  Therein must lay the beginnings of his hand dexterity and his ability to master dentistry I suppose. Does Jake have that?  I am not sure honestly. He hates drawing and coloring. And Mike was an excellent artist at that age.  He could freehand draw just about anything you asked him to! 

I know his wife will be surprised to learn Mike loved running the vacuum cleaner. However, running it, not using it. So typical of the male gene, right, play house but not commit.  We all know the type and I can recall one day realizing that my son was grown up and a man, complete with qualities I didn’t put there! I think he even told me that, I am a man Mom. Basically that means back off and don’t try to be a mommy, just be a mom.  Good lesson actually!

He, by this age, had developed his love of pizza and meat, something he has to this day. And his hatred for vegetables was present as well. Fighting with him to eat them was like trying to win a war against an army with no one else on your side. He would do anything to avoid eating them, including throw up! So I gave up.  Vitamins was a mainstay for a while.  As even he says now my line, “You have to pick your battles.”

I have often told this story about my son. He was mechanically inclined when he was young. He enjoyed taking things apart. Unfortunately, it was anything; he had no discretion, and loved using screwdrivers. This list included some of the following; the telephone, the closet door knobs, the clock radio, the switch plates, basically anything he saw with a screw. And then, he sometimes forgot how to put them back together! It made life interesting and caused a lot of surprises, and predicaments.

Mike hated loud noises at this age. Most of his friends would find this unbelievable, but even something as small as a cap gun irritated his ears. Balloons, fireworks and such would send him to his room to avoid the loud bang.  But he was not a crier over it and never spoiled anyone else’s fun. He was a very good boy with a happy disposition. Like Jake, he enjoyed making people smile and being pleasant.

He was a great sleeper.  In fact, he insisted on going to bed if I tried to keep him up late!  How many kids are like that?  He just insisted I read him a book every night and then he would want me out of his room and to sleep he went.  His favorite book was one called Joe’s Big Trailer Truck or a a Curious George book. But it never failed, whatever time he went to bed, he was up at the crack of dawn, and I mean, early!  Like 6 a.m. as far back as I can remember! He was and is a morning person. 

Both Mike and Jake are happy boys.  Both were a delight to be around and enjoy typical boy things. It may sound cliche but it is so clear watching Jake, the small things are cute reminders of Mike. Jake has this ability to make you laugh that, anyone that knows Mike even half as well as me, knows that is his dad through and through.  Mike’s favorite song, at that age, was Jesse’s Girl by Rick Springfield because I think he loved upbeat music. Ironic that he did ‘…find a woman like that’ and no one could be happier for him than I! 


The Magic Trick

Sometimes in life you meet someone and know it was perhaps a chance meeting but it leaves an indelible mark on your life.  Such was the case with our dinner partners on our recent cruise.  What started out as a meeting of strangers grew into a quick close friendship that we will be bonded forever in a very special way.

Dinner time seems to be one of the highlights of any cruise.  Everyone seems to dress well, especially on the formal nights, which on our cruise was two evenings.  The waiters are so service minded, they literally place dinner napkins on the lap of everyone seated for the meal. The service received is beyond compare anywhere frankly. 

Since we were traveling alone, we were anxious to see who we would seated at our table. We wondered how many would there be, would it be people that we would have anything in common with, couples or families, etc.  Much to our delight, on the first night, we discovered it was a table for four and the other couple had the same questions we had, reservations about who they would be seated with at meals.

Quickly conversation ensued between us after they arrived and sat down on the first night.  Each evening, thereafter, we found ourselves looking forward to dinnertime.  We discovered our rooms were literally a few doors down from each other.  Thus, over the seven days, we began seeing each other over other meals and running into each other off and on.  We even went on an excursion together and shopping in a port also.   Sharing stories of our lives during this together time was a wonderful part of our vacation with both of them.

Len and Sylvia had been dating for a few years.  Sylvia had met Len not long after her husband had died in the line of a duty. Tony, her deceased husband, was a police officer who worked undercover often.  He was recognized one day on a motorcycle and killed, ran over by one of the drug rings he had busted.  Sylvia had been devastated but known his occupation put him at high risk.  Her children helped her move on and that, combined with her job, and her circle of friends was a major step in recovering from the loss of her beloved husband.

She met Len partially because they had so many shared interests and had mutual friends. Dating seemed to naturally evolve and progressed into traveling together as they both shared a passion for that as well. Over time, they became familiar with each other’s grown children and life’s stories.  Len was a retired police officer who had moved into detective work and worked high level assignments prior to retiring from the force.  This background really aided his understanding in Sylvia’s sense of loss over her husband.  Their relationship was very cozy, fun and they were just easy to be around.  Both are good people, kind-hearted and interesting lives.

Over our time spent together, we all four shared so many stories of our experiences over the years as we were all close in age.  Sylvia, like me, was a cancer survivor.  After losing her husband and then, soon after starting her relationship with Len, she had been diagnosed with cancer.  Thus, she began aggressive treatment.  Both of them had their share of hardships in life as most of us have as we have lived our lives.  The longer you live, the more experiences you garnish, some good, some bad but all stepping stones to who we become as we age.

Two days before the cruise was over, Len asked us to join them for a special dinner the last night of the cruise at an exclusive restaurant on the ship.  That night, dinner was outstanding and at the conclusion, a magician came to our table.   He put down a small black box and said he wanted to show us a magic trick.  He then lifted the lid to show a numbered die and so, the trick proceeded from there.

At the conclusion of this magic trick with the box, which he had used Len as the participant; we all were amazed at the trickery!   When he left the table, Len made a surprise announcement to us.  He told us that he also performed magic tricks on occasion. He asked Sylvia to affirm this which she readily did with a head nod.  Then he told us he was going to perform one right there on the spot.

He turned to Sylvia and told her she had never seen this one yet. He said he was saving this for a special night.  He went on to say that with new friends they both were so fond of; it seemed a perfect setting to show it.  He pulled out a black box, and said that before he would make anything disappear, he wanted to let her see what was in it.  With that, he bent on one knee beside Sylvia, where he was seated, opened the box and we all gasped. There was a breath-taking sparkling diamond engagement ring!  

Yes, it was magical!  Sylvia began to cry.  Len told her that he loved her so much and wanted to marry her. He said it was important to him that he do it in a special way that was magical and with special witnesses that she would always remember.  

We were speechless.  Waitresses came up with champagne glasses as Sylvia pulled the ring out of the box and kissed Len saying yes through tears! He looked at us asking us how we liked his magic trick.   Pretty impressive I think one of us uttered.

Sometimes on a vacation you meet strangers and experience life changing moments that you will never forget. Our trip was one of them. As we told both of them that night, we were honored to be a part of their story!  And we will never ever worry again about who we might meet at dinner. Sylvia and Len were the best part of the meal and they weren’t listed on the menu!

God Bless their future nuptials!  


Happy Fathers

A dear friend wished me Happy Father's Day today. I thought, how odd, I am a woman and Mother’s Day is past. I sat on it awhile and then followed up asking what is up with that comment.  She clearly thought I understood.  And once she explained I realized she was right, Happy Father’s Day to me! All the single moms out there trying to fill both roles know exactly what I am talking about.

Having children is difficult when you are trying to balance their ever changing needs with your own.  There is a different set of rules completely when there is only one parent in the house, there is no trade off, no off time, no hand off at the door at 5:00.  For some of us, there was no shared bathtub duties, no taking turns working on homework, splitting days off for sick days, doctor appointments or leaving early for sports games.

I don’t for a minute regret having full custody of my children but it meant wearing both hats. When my son needed a dad, many times, I was it. Being a woman, it was foreign to me many times how to handle certain situations. At times, when my daughter and I were at odds, there was not a vested father figure in love with us both in the house to help sort things out.  Thus, it was, at times, more challenging.

The other side of the coin for myself, and many women like me was the camaraderie that was developed in the relationship.  There was not much my children and I did not do together, including play together, laugh together, go out to eat, shop, cook, you name it. We had times where we were like the 3 Musketeers.  It was bound not to last but when it did hold, it was good. It was very good.

So I wanted to end this day by saying I am glad that I had the chance to try to be all things to both of my children.  They may not always see my efforts as successful but I did the best I could.  And I am certainly glad they have provided my grandchildren with wonderful loving fathers that are indeed present for both of them.  

The video is just a small salute of sorts to the men in my immediate life as they are all fathers & grandpas that count. Click Here to view video


Wow, It's Beautiful Now!

New Flowers that were expected to die
I think the prettiest thing in the world was sunflowers in the back of our yard in Dayton,Ohio when I was a little girl. I use to climb up our big hill and look at those huge stalks with the flowers that seem to tower over me and think they were magnificent. That looked like sunshine that you could stare at without feeling like your eye sockets were getting burned like when you looked at the sun on hot summer days.  There were also some vegetables up there, a small garden with the sunflowers on the side, and I remember some fruit, strawberries in particular. As much as I enjoyed that small garden, seeing it anyways and eating what is in it,  it didn’t take long into my adult life to figure out that I was not born with a gene to plant.

But unfortunately for my ex-husband, he thought it was a lack of exposure. He felt that, with enough experience I would grow fond of it, my children also. With a brother that had a degree in horticulture and with his many years of working a side job in the nursery business, he was quite well-versed in landscaping and gardening.  In sharp contrast, I was limited to knowing the difference between a tree and a bush, most of the time anyways.

Thus, I was thrown in my thirties into a world I was not ready for or adept at in the least. It struck me as funny but he found it anything but humorous. I suppose, because of this, I found it even funnier. It is kind of like when someone messes up at church and you aren’t suppose to laugh and then it becomes twice as funny. This boyfriend  soon to be fiance, decided his goal in life was to upscale my yard. Before I blinked it seemed, my kids and I were pulling into a yard that was once fronted with   the 3.5 shrubs with a perfect line of marigolds or petunias  in front  to a montage of plants all across the front yard complete with railroad ties etching out areas.  Each tree was surrounded by flower beds completely full of flowers in bloom!

Let’s just say, at that point in my life, when folks asked me where I lived, I was into landmarks for directions.  Given the way our yard looked, especially in comparison to others, it stood out. I said our home was situated in the yard that looked like Fantasy Island’s set, particularly in the backyard! Oh yes, we even had steps cut into the hillside in the back complete with plant beds going up both sides of those steps and across the top of the hill. If that is not enough, the above ground pool was torn out of there, eye sore he explained.  In its place, he put in a hand-laid stone patterned tile patio in a geometric shape, complete with flower beds on each side.
I recall people coming down the street and asking to come to the back of our yard just to gawk at it and even some to take pictures.  If he would have let me, I would have charged. I was a single mother and needed the income.  Once he moved in, it is safe to say, our yard looked like he single-handedly had bought out the nursery!   
The house quickly sold, mostly due to all the landscaping, curbside appeal I was told by the real estate agent is what it is referred to.  I was commended for my work and thought process, though I told her repeatedly it was not due to me. She didn’t believe, she thought I was a mastermind, like somehow I had this whip and got this man to work his buns off doing all this stuff. If I had that kind of power lady, would I be living in an average sub-division?  Would my kids and I be starving and eating out for nights out at Taco Bell?

Eventually,  we moved to a 5 ½ acre plot of land I had bought with the profit from the sale of my home and used what was left for a down payment on the purchase of a new house we were going to have built. I had made out like a bandit on the sale so had plenty of money to buy the land and build the next house.  No thought came to mind that with all that land, more yard work and this time round, I was going to be pulled into it big-time and my kids! Nor did I even think for one minute who could attempt to outdo what was done on the other home, I mean this plot was huge in comparison to the other place!  Who does that?

Before the foundation was even laid, we were going out there doing land duty. This consisted of cleaning out nasty tree limbs, hatching or some word like that that entailed getting our arms and legs all scratched up and throwing a million nasty things into a big huge ugly smelly fire. We hated it, that is three of us and one person loved it, him.  And time-frame for doing this was usually starting at like 6 AM. and maybe him calling it quits at 7 PM. if we were lucky. Our only break was lunch which consisted of a hot dog cooked over that nasty fire and a bag of chips. It was eaten because this was hard back-breaking work for us. At times we were breaking down tree stumps.

It was a never ending job. About the time it was cleaned up beyond recognizable from when it was first purchased and I had foolishly believed a lot of the natural look would be left, more plans came rolling along. Next in place was a garden and a greenhouse. A greenhouse was built out of fiberglass panels from my employer at the time, that was quite large compared to what normal neighbors would have in a yard to start plants from seedlings with shelving units inside and special lighting, etc…  For a city girl, I was way outside my comfort zone. This is the same girl who stared at sunflowers but didn’t plant them!

I have to stop and explain to you, none of the three of us, my daughter, my son or I were into this at all!  No, we were not even good sports about it. His idea of start time was like a farmer, when the sun comes up, and we were not like that ever.  In fact, if he woke up early and it was still dark and wanted us working, he made the sun.  If the project was huge, he took large projection lights and beamed them on the garden or the area we were to be working on so light was not an issue. Can you picture the three of us city people out there with this guy humming so excited to be out there in the country and the three of us feeling like we were walking through hell’s gates? 

The size of the garden to us was like a doggone farm! When the corn came in, he must have planned it the year it came in the hardest to be out of town. It was a killer crop.  We were commanded to shuck it all and freeze it. There was so much to pull and hull, I had to borrow a pick-up truck and literally drive it through the rows of corn for us to pull it off the stalks, row after row, truckload after truckload.

We hulled till our first layer of skin went numb and began to peel from blisters.  Then we blanched the cobs in the large dishwasher and sat for hours on end cutting corn off the cob and bagging it for the freezer.  for us to load up corn, hull and then blanch in a large dishwasher we had.You can imagine the joy of my two teenagers, sitting at a table for hours on end and no ear pieces to gab on the phone. I told them they could invite friends over to help. Amazing, no one came.

The tomatoes were so plentiful we use to play baseball with the rotties to try to get rid of some. I tell you everything that went in that garden grew like wildflower! He was constantly getting horse manure from horse farms and I don’t know if that was it or what but we had a regular working farm and it about killed me!   I made all kinds of sauces for weeks on end.  The work involved was insane. How anyone could ever find that fun was beyond me.  My kids and I felt like indentured servants. Most of the time I let them slip off feeling certain they would run away from home anyways if I made them stay.

I vowed, when I left, I would never plant another damn seed in my life!  There were times when he would hand us 20 bags of seeds and we would head to the green house and have to plant row after row of seeds. We would each be told there was to be no more than 3 seeds in each hole and exactly how deep and big each hole had to be. And then we would each be checked on.  I thought he liked to live on the wild side letting me plant them. If he wanted perfection, he picked the wrong three people for planting because my two kids were right up there with me when it came to green thumbs. And they were loving it as much as me!

When I moved to Tennessee, luckily my husband now was not into planting, horticulture and landscaping! Yes, a match made in heaven or should I say on earth?  I quickly learned, as you have to have a base of plants around your house anywhere you live to make it look presentable, that rock is beneath everything in Nashville. Underneath the entire state of Tennessee, apparently is a rock. What a perfect excuse to not over plant or over worry if nothing grows.  You gotta love that?

It is so hot much of the time in the south that laboring in your yard is a must only for those that enjoy sweating profusely and own stock in the water company.  And when I did attempt it, I had zippo luck as before. I realized that no wonder they say it is the land of cotton!   Very hard unless you are persistent to get things to grow here.

But we tried. We have put things out, yearly. We have added and taken things away time to time. But, something happened. This spring something changed. Call it my green miracle. All of the sudden, spring and now summer has come and my yard looks like paradise!  I am flabbergasted.

Our magnolia tree that floundered for years but has steadily hung in there. This
Magnolia Tree, 2nd life
year it is like it has gone through a southern revival of some sort! It has gotten big, more beautiful and is full of blooms!  When you walk by it, it smells wonderful.    

 The perennials, every single one we have planted every year, even some that haven’t blossomed before came out to show their color. Each one we planted are gorgeous are in full bloom. They each are a different color so it looks vibrant around our yard.  I picked different ones each year thinking maybe certain colors didn’t like me. I was getting superstitious and thought also maybe one color grows better than another?  The plant that looks like a weed with pretty purple flowers on it is growing like a huge weed now all over the place! My flowers I put in the pots on the porch usually look dead by now are still alive and new buds are coming out. You can see their blooms from the road out front!

If one of my neighbors is reading this and watering my plants and putting plant food in our stuff, wow, are you nice!!!!  Please don’t stop!  You will be killing my idea that a miracle is happening right in my own yard!    It is astounding I have not heard the braking sounds in front of our house, 
yet anyways. Someone must be looking at our front yard thinking wow, new neighbors live there!

You know, there have been some disappointments this year that have befallen me. Who doesn’t have that happen right? It is so easy to concentrate on what isn’t right, what was wrong in the past. But what really matters is not what was but what is now. And for me, an easy reality check is to look outside and instantly be reminded God wants me to know the world is still a beautiful place indeed! My yard, it’s beautiful. Just look at it, how in the world did that happen if it weren’t for God? Take time to look for your miracles starting today!


Happy Birthday Grandson Ty!

As more and more children get diagnosed with autism, the field opens up to continued
hypothesizes of what causes it and the best ways to treat it. These include the practical to the outrageous.  I am astounded by the reactions of the public, in particular by those untouched by the diagnoses directly. And I must admit, frankly I was in that class as of 4 years ago. That was until the advent of my darling grandson Ty Ryan’s diagnosis in 2011.  Now, as he celebrates tomorrow his sixth birthday, May 29th, we honor not only his birth but his advances with his therapy.

Herein lies a boy whose parents were told he would never speak. And yet, one day I will never forget, his mother proudly called me to tell me she had placed him in his car seat. As she was driving down the road and dodging traffic, she clearly heard him say Mommy, not once but twice. 

This is a boy, who though autistic children are often times incredibly difficult if not impossible to potty train at a reasonable age, has been trained at an appropriate age.

Most autistic children will not make eye contact with strangers. Ty will most definitely do this and in addition to smiling says hello when prompted.

The list goes on and on of accomplishments of this astounding little boy.  I think it is due to parents that are steadfast in their devotion to pushing him the extra mile, getting him the best therapists and also getting great therapy. And I also believe he is gifted. 

The last but the single most important element in this soon to be six year old’s life is the presence of God.  He is surrounded, at all times by Christians, friends that believe in the power of prayer.  They believe in prayers for him, his family and for praying for continued progress on his journey.  His milestones show that the prayers and faith are working.  Also we all know that due diligence and positivity matter.

As a grandmother of one of these very special chosen children of God, please no longer ask me what is wrong with my grandson.  Refrain from asking me if my children did something to provoke this condition I  find this question offensive actually.  God makes things in life happen for a reason. I did nothing to provoke cancer and they did nothing to create the condition of autism. Let us celebrate his life! 

Do not look at my grandson with anything but joy.  Do not reflect on him sadly. He enjoys his life and so should you. Children pick up on others perceptions of them. It is wrong to label him anything but a child.

 If you see me, my children or anyone else struggling to control a smaller child, do not stare, nor be judgmental.  Kindly look away.   You are not always aware of the child’s condition, what the parameters are. 

I recall being at the Zoo Easter Hunt in line to enter the event and my grandson was upset. Everyone in the line was staring at him. This does nothing to aid the situation, not for him or any child for that matter.  What is the purpose of staring?  It simply embarrasses the child and he is receptive to feelings also. Please don’t embarrass autistic children; they have feelings just like everyone else. Give them their privacy when they are uncomfortable. 

I am in awe of the progress Ty has made and of all the hurdles he has climbed. It feels like he is continuing to defy the odds set before him.  Please continue to pray that better forms of therapy will arise and more research dollars are funded to continue the effort for this special population. May the next 6 years of young Ty’s life be even better than the first 6! 


Your proud beaming Grandma

Birthday Video for Ty Click here to View