Monday, July 16, 2018

True Friends

First I would like to share my definition of a true friend with you: 'A true friend is one who has been with you long before birth. You bonded in the heavens, fondly embracing each other's entirety, and vowing to walk throughout your earthly journeys and beyond together.'

Aside from my immediate family, I've been blessed with five true friends: Barb, Dolly, Anita, Ruthie, and Karen. Barb and Ruthie have returned home, while Dolly, Anita, and Karen continue to travel with me towards eternity.

You probably find my idea of a true friend strange, but it makes perfect sense to me. When you initially meet somebody, if it happens to be one of your true friends, there's an instant connection however subtle it might be. There's something about that person that is familiar although you can't seem to put your finger on it at the moment. It's like you know so much about each other, you think alike, your experiences are very similar, and even any quirkiness that presents itself is considered 'normal' to you both. As time goes on, you begin to recognize each other, certain qualities, some negative traits, and a sincere understanding of the importance each one is to the self-actualization of the other.

Of course your ability to recognize a true friend takes a while, maybe as long as ten years or so. Yet, for some unknown reason neither of you entertain any thoughts of walking away from this relationship because, in truth, it's not possible to relinquish the love of a true friend. Once a true friend, always a true friend! At times you may find yourselves miles apart having little to no contact for years, and then, out of the blue, one decides to call the other. From the first hello, your conversation flows easily, laughter resounds, and fond memories are recalled. You make plans to meet and, come hell or high water, nothing in the world will stop you from getting together.

A true friend is happy for the successes of the other; a true friend grieves when the other half suffers loss;  and a true friend is more than willing to stand up for the other in times of chaos and conflict.

True friends have disagreements, but none are ever so divisive that would threat to sever their ties. Explanations are offered and apologies are always accepted.

Your definition of a true friend most likely is different than mine, you are entitled to your own opinion. But, for me, my definition is not only plausible but in my mind, a certainty.

There may be more true friends out there I've yet to meet, or have already met but don't entirely recognize. If so, I eagerly await our reunion! For now, though, I'm quite happy with my five true friends and cherish our relationships beyond measure!

Blessings and Peace

Monday, July 9, 2018

You CAN Teach Old Dogs New Tricks!

Our sweet Shadow will turn sixteen this October. For the past two or three months, she's been slowly losing her eyesight. Now, completely blind, with a large percentage of her hearing gone, and very little in the way of scent, the only way she gets around is by touch. When she comes downstairs in the morning, she feels her way with her paws, touching the carpet of each step which signals that she's on the right path. I've laid throw rugs in the kitchen so she can make it to the family room door without much difficulty.

Once outside, her challenges however increase dramatically. In the beginning, she'd walk briskly and crash head-first into the patio bench or rocker which diminished her drive to find her favorite potty spot. The poor girl would simply lay down and refuse to continue. I'd have to pick up all thirty-five pounds of dog and carry her into the grass. If she needed to do more, I'd let her wonder around the yard, but without a good sense of smell, her ability to defecate was limited.

I began searching the internet for a solution to dog blindness. I read an article which strongly advised against coddling older dogs with special needs, but suggested to try and teach them how to navigate their world differently. Since the ideas presented in the article weren't very helpful, I thought that with my dog's apparent reliance on touch, I needed to come up with a plan that utilized touch to the fullest extent.

Now when it's time to go out, I give her a pat on the butt and say, 'outside.' I think she recognizes the intonation of that word and immediately gets on all fours and heads for the door. When I open it, I touch her head and say, 'down.' She feels for the doorstep with her paw and carefully steps out. From that point on, I use my knees, calves, shins and hands to guide her to the grassy area, just a little nudge here and there is all she needs.   I've stopped picking Shadow up and she is bumping less and less into obstacles that once kept her from moving forward.

I've also used loud clapping to inform her of my location. She'll turn towards me and slowly follow the sound as best she can. If she stops, I realize she's waiting for my touch so I approach and first pat her head, then knee her butt indicating she should begin to walk again. I stay by her side, using my legs and hands to lead her to the patio. This time when I say, 'up' Shadow knows to climb the step which brings her safely back into the house.

Shadow is living proof that you CAN teach old dogs new tricks! And I am living proof that she CAN teach this 'old dog' a few new tricks as well!

Monday, July 2, 2018


Last weekend, I received a lovely wall hanging from a sweet lady for our 50th  Wedding Anniversary. When I say I, it's because my hubby had never met her before, and she specifically stated it was one of her favorite sayings and it was for me. Now that I've established sole custody, I'm ready to write today's post.

Aside from the soft, beautiful pastel artwork that is the canvas background, the quote goes like this:
                                 'And now here is my secret,
                                  A very simple secret,
                                  It is only with the heart
                                  That one can see rightly.
                                  What is ESSENTIAL
                                   Is invisible to the eye!'

I placed this hanging on the wall directly beside the bed so I could see it first thing in the morning. I especially like its simplicity with a slight touch of mystery...any time a secret is involved, there's got to be an unknown, and after reading the quote for the umpteenth time, I realized 'the unknown' for me was, 'What is ESSENTIAL?' Those words keep rolling around in my brain demanding I give them my time and thought.

I believe the root word for essential is essence, and essence in my mind refers to 'the totality and the core being of one devoid of any superficial trappings or add-ons.' So what is my essence, the totality of me, my core being devoid of any superficial trappings or add-ons?

Since I've never taken the time to seriously consider this query, my explanation may be primitive, but nevertheless as honest as I can be. Thought, heart, and spirit best describe my essence. Thoughts are a large part of my existence, they enter my consciousness many times without provocation, and demand immediate attention. If an idea is truly persistent, it will keep popping up until I sufficiently give it the respect it deserves. At times, a solution is called for, at other times, mere reflection is enough. I think a lot so maybe that's why some see me as quirky or strange, both of which are not far from who and what I am. No offense taken...ever!

Heart is synonymous with love in my opinion. And love is the Life Force that permeates my core being. I call it, 'Life Force', you may refer to it as 'God,' 'Divinity,' 'Creator,' or any number of titles that suit your beliefs.

This Life Force infuses me with energy in the form of the 'Spirit.' and it is this Spirit that calls upon me to love all people and being somewhat instrumental in bringing about world peace. Now if I always did what the Spirit requests, I'd be canonized Saint Florence Frances Agnes and there'd be a statue of me in our church.We would be at peace within ourselves, our families, our communities, and ultimately in our world. Since we obviously are not totally at peace in any of these categories, I must confess that I run rogue often, ignoring the Spirit within  choosing instead the superficial trappings and add-ons that are fleeting and oh so unproductive!

There you have it, folks, what I've determined to be my essence, at least for now. I also have decided that my essence is always changing, so you can be assured that another post dealing with this topic isn't far behind!

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, June 25, 2018

If Only I Could

If only I could tell the wonderful man who chose me to be his bride some fifty years ago what it meant to me then, and what he means to me be his partner in life, to work side by side, to laugh and cry together, to share his bed, to live each day in hope and love, to look with faith towards our future...If only I could...

If only I could express how grateful I am to the wonderful families that were blended together on the day we be embraced in their circle of life, to realize their support is a constant, to be accepted for who and what I am without reserve, to always know I have someone to confide in and someplace to belong...If only I could...

If only I could let the children we were blessed with know how truly amazing they are and how honored I am for them to call me, 'mom' be the first to hold them in my arms, to nurture and guide them, to be there in times of joy and sorrow, to understand their frustrations, to offer advice when needed. to chase away the darkness...If only I could...

If only I could sit down with each one of my seven awesome grandchildren and explain how precious a gift they open my heart for them to see where they reside now and forever, to share the stories of my life with them, to encourage them to set and reach their goals, to teach them to embrace diversity, to implant the seed for world peace within all seven...If only I could...

If only I could impress upon my dear friends, both old and new, what an integral part of my life they've been and continue to realize how empty each moment would be without them, to know how much they've enriched every experience we've shared together, to believe that I will always be there for them, to be assured that they are never alone...If only I could...

If only I could find the words, the right words that convey exactly how I feel about all the people in my life who have unselfishly given themselves to me, who have loved me unconditionally, who have accepted my talents as well as my foibles, who have sheltered me and kept me safe...

If only I could....

Monday, June 18, 2018

Human Trafficking Alert!

I was both shocked and saddened to read that human trafficking runs rampant in our area. Since I know next to nothing about this horrific  assault against humanity, I plan to attend this informative session at the Norwin Library this Tuesday. Hopefully you will realize its importance and be present as well.

Blackburn Center on Human Trafficking

Did you know Westmoreland County is one of the top gateways for human trafficking in Pennsylvania?
The Blackburn Center will be presenting “Human Trafficking in Westmoreland County” at the Norwin Public library.
Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, or abuse of power of a position of vulnerability for the purpose of exploitation.
  1. An estimated 27 million people are enslaved around the world this very moment.
  2. An estimated 13 million children are enslaved around the world today, accounting for nearly half of trafficking victims in the world.
  3. The average age of a young woman being trafficked is 12-14 years old.
The program is free, but registration is requested. Please contact the library at 724-863-4700 x3 or stop by the front desk to sign up.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Longing For 'Home'

Lately I've had this longing lying just below the surface of my consciousness. I've been unsettled for some time and yet couldn't identify the cause. After trying very hard to discover why, I decided if I left it alone eventually it would reveal itself or subside.

In the wee hours of today, I finally realized what had been nagging me for months, I was longing for 'home.' Now I'm not talking about my family residence, nor am I referring to heaven, but where I truly believe all mankind begins its earthly journey, the ocean.

I clearly remember the very first time I stood on the shores of the Atlantic. The ocean's vastness was inexplicably awesome, yet a strange familiarity like I'd been there before washed over me. Being only twenty-two at the time, I had no clue as to the significance of this oddity. As I matured physically, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually, I began to contemplate the origins of humanity and the Life Force that was directly responsible for mankind's existence. Since water is the key element in the survival of all living things, years later I concluded everything must have had its beginnings in the sea. The ocean is our ancestral 'home', I believed it then, I believe it now.

I haven't walked along the shoreline in a few years, nor have I sat alone watching the sunrise. I miss the sounds connected with the beach at daybreak, the waves roaring in the distance, the cawing of sea gulls flying overhead, the peaceful silence that speaks volumes to me. It is during these times that my body is replenished with energetic vitality, my mind, with inspirational creativity, and my spirit, with renewed love for all.

This summer's schedule is packed with occasions and activities that leave little time for a quick jaunt to Myrtle or Ocean City, and in September, since my hubby and I are going to Switzerland to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, the earliest I could satisfy this unfulfilled yearning would be sometime in October. I've never been at the ocean in the fall (or have I?), and have always thought it would be a perfect time to go 'home' crowds, plenty of cool ocean breezes and wondrous sunsets.

Currently I haven't come up with a plan, but like most things in life, if something absolutely needs to happen undoubtedly it will whether by design or by default. The possibility of returning 'home' in the near future calms my restlessness, putting a smile on my face and hope in my heart!

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Creativity Blocked

According to today's horoscope, my creativity seems to be blocked. Ya think? After an eighteen month hiatus, I began writing again. Everything was going well, deciding upon a topic, even coming up with a temporary title was easy until I hit a brick wall, and haven't been able to climb over, go under or around it so I just quit!

I'm not a person who gives up easily, but I can't seem to ignite the spark needed to create a fire of ideas. My mind is cave-like, dark, cold, empty. This isn't the first time I've been in this predicament, and I'm certain it won't be the last. Matter
of fact, although I'm not consciously aware of anything worthwhile going on at the moment, I believe creative thoughts are bouncing around underneath the surface, waiting patiently for the opportune time to make an appearance. 

When a writer can't do what a writer does, it's very frustrating. But, forcing the issue isn't the answer for me. Trying to put something down on paper only serves to aggravate the situation more, not help. Better to separate myself from the project completely. Now I'm not talking divorce, just giving me and my creativity space to rejuvenate and return to our relationship with renewed vigor. It may take a few more months, maybe even a year, but one day when I least expect it, the right idea will pop into my head and the story that has been hidden for so long will suddenly reveal itself. When that time comes, I'll be ready to write it down and share it with the world.

'One Color, Many Shades' must be given life. I strongly believe it's message is vital to the eventual realization of world peace. By no means am I saying I have the key to this long-awaited treasure, but I do think this little children's book has it's place on the map that will one day show us the way.

However, until my creativity freely flows again, I'm in lock-down. The only way to emerge from this dark, cold, empty place is to wait it out. Hope to see you on the other side sooner than later.

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Myth of Meditation

Some folks shutter at the mere mention of the word, 'meditation'. They conjure up images of ancient prophets, sitting cross-legged in the barren desert, with eyes shut and soul apparently traversing another world. These misguided people truly believe meditation is beyond their capabilities, and are unwilling to take that first step towards centering themselves. Hence, the myth of meditation.

'Centering oneself' is a functional definition for meditation, and we all can do it! There is no mystical power needed to collect your physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional being. First find a quiet, peaceful place where there is little chance of disturbance. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, taking in air through your nostrils and releasing it through your mouth. Practice will enable you to breath more deeply, which is key to the centering process.

Next clear your mind of superfluous thought. In other words, seek to free yourself of everything and anything that can disrupt meditation. Again, as you continue to practice, it will become easier and easier to ban unwanted thinking.

From this point, what you choose to concentrate on is personal, but I'm more than happy to share my own channels with you. I begin by calling on the Creator, the Life Force to hover over me. I ask that this energy penetrate my skull and seep deep into my brain, harmonizing each cell so that they work in sync with one another, creating balance. Don't panic! This initial effort may seem difficult at first, but after a few attempts it becomes second nature to you. I promise.

As I continue the centering process, I invite the Life Force to enter into every part of my self, filling me with renewed energy to face whatever challenges the day may bring. During this time, there is a warmth that washes over me, providing a sense of peace and well-being.

Nearing the completion of my meditation, I ask that all that is detrimental to my body and soul be released into the atmosphere and evaporate into thin air. Lastly I again focus on my breathing, and when ready, I open my eyes.

There you have it, folks! Call it what you want, 'prayer', 'centering', 'meditation', but whatever name you choose, hopefully I've dispelled the myth of meditation. You can do it, and once you begin, I believe your lives will take on a more positive, peaceful existence.  I know centering has had a huge impact on my own.

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, May 14, 2018

DO NOT Sit Down!

Yes, my left foot hurts at times, and my left knee doesn't bend like it once did, but play a peppy tune and I'll be out on the dance floor, lickety-split (no, I don't  mean DOING a split, silly!). 

My hubby stands by the bay window and studies the GRASS. Strange fellow? Yes, but aside from this weird preoccupation, he's always a 'man on a mission!' He's anxiously awaiting any new growth that will give him the opportunity (excuse) to cut the lawn for the third time in less than two weeks!

We're both members of today's Senior Citizen Society, folks who are supposed to act their age, but absolutely REFUSE! We will not be relegated to the rocking chairs of old; we will not hire people to do chores that we can very well do ourselves; we will not stop learning new and interesting things; and we will certainly not SIT DOWN like needy, dutiful children!

The misconstrued idea of being 'elderly' is what contributes to the poor health and sedimentary life-style of so many people over the age of sixty. Although these very same folks lived robust, industrious lives either at home or in the work place, when they 'officially' become seniors, all of a sudden their energy and productivity mysteriously evaporates. Presto change-o, instantly aged! They think of themselves as 'old' so they behave accordingly.

Years ago our parents and grandparents lived functional, fruitful lives well into their eighties simply because they thought of themselves as being able to contribute to their families' needs. Wonder why there are so many filled-to-capacity assisted-living and nursing homes today? I don't think it's because seniors have become more feeble at a much quicker rate, but rather due to their early acceptance of growing old.

I've witnessed so many family and friends who sat down one day and never got up to do anything useful again. Their bodies rapidly declined, their minds turned to mush, and they became isolated and alone. Of course they died much earlier than necessary because they gave up on life far too soon.

In my estimation, every recliner and rocker in America should come with this warning label attached:

So fellow seniors, no matter what aches and pains you have, no matter how many candles are lit on your next birthday cake, and no matter how many of your kids, grandchildren, or neighbors shake their heads in disapproval, choose to dance, cut the grass, or paint the town red! Live your lives to the fullest, and when the young have something negative to say about it, OFFER THEM A SEAT!

Monday, April 30, 2018

National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day!

If you're thinking about adding a pet to your household, seriously consider going to your local Humane Society before spending hundreds of dollars on an animal complete with lineage papers. Mind you, I have nothing against purebreds, but with so many dogs and cats sitting behind cages without little chance of being freed, you could be a savior to one of them.

Over the years we've had four dogs, two purebreds, two adopted from shelters. Sassy was a female Schnauzer and Tibbit, a male standard poodle. Sassy was  somewhat difficult to train, and after months of trying we ran out of patience and gave her to a friend who had more success than we did. Tibbit was two years old when we got him, already trained, and fit right in with our family from the get-go. Unfortunately one evening after letting him out for the night, somebody abducted Tibbit from our backyard and sadly we never saw him again.

Our first adoptee was a terrier-beagle mix female with a peppy personality, hence the name, 'Pepper!' She loved to run around the yard chasing anything in front of her, and if need be, going after her own tail when nothing else caught her eye. This little character was my son's 10th birthday gift, but after a week or so of feeding, walking, and playing with her, he receded into the background, thus affording me the opportunity to be chief caregiver. When it was time to have Pepper spayed, we dropped her off at the shelter and expected to pick her up the next day, but instead we got a phone call telling us there was a problem during surgery. Pepper's brain was denied oxygen for a significant amount of time, her lips turned blue, and they weren't sure she'd survive. Our sweet munchkin came home a few days later, but was never the same happy-go-lucky girl from that moment on.

Years later, we adopted Shadow, a female black Lab/beagle mix and for 16 glorious years she has been a joy! We got her at nine weeks, and can honestly say she's been a delight from day one. Training her was a breeze, actually I truly think she trained herself 'in spite of us' instead of 'because of us!' After introducing her to our outside area, within a few days she completely respected the boundaries, never leaving the yard unless leashed and going on a walk. Shadow will not take food from anyone other than myself or my hubby. She allows all seven of our grandchildren to pet, play, and roughhouse with her without grumble or growl (she still holds a grudge against my son for teasing her as a puppy though). However, Shadow is our protector, and when someone approaches the house, she barks incessantly until we give her the Ok!

At her age, our sweet girl sleeps a lot now, but when awakened, she instantly returns to her happy self...most of the time (again she holds a grudge against Lori for approaching her when sleeping). Her appetite is great, and her mobility is hardly compromised. At night she loves to cuddle up next to me and snore away. My hubby likes to do that as well. I guess the old saying that 'men are dogs' has some truth to it after all!

I know the day is coming when Shadow will leave us. I look into her eyes occasionally and tell her that she is the best friend I've ever had and will be sad without her. I know she understands what I'm saying, and I'm certain she reciprocates the same feelings towards me.

Perhaps you think that Shadow was lucky to be adopted by our family, but believe me when I say that we are indeed the lucky ones! She is the best shelter dog we could have ever hoped for, and if you are thinking of getting a pet on the National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day, you'd be wise to visit your local Humane Society. Who knows, there could be another 'Shadow' waiting just for you!

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Norwin High School Student Council...A+!

Yesterday we had the privilege of attending the 32nd Annual Senior Citizens Dinner presented by the Norwin High School Student Council. Since this was the first time we'd ever taken advantage of this yearly event, we had no idea what to expect.

We were warmly greeted by smiling faces and respectful welcomes. One of the students led us to available seating and asked if it was to our liking. Although we didn't know the folks around us, we soon became 'friends'. The afternoon began with an opening prayer. We were then served a scrumptious turkey dinner complete with all the trimmings and a fabulous dessert, apple pie with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. The teens were there to satisfy our every need, refilling our coffee and removing finished dishes in the blink of an eye. They treated us like royalty!

Once dinner was over, the students directed all 500 of us to the school auditorium for performances by the Norwin Show Choir, and the Norwin's Select Orchestra, both of which were an awesome delight! Each group received standing ovations from a very grateful audience!

Just when we thought things couldn't possibly get any better, the Student Council president began distributing prizes donated by community contributors. Literally well over 50 lucky folks won gorgeous baskets filled with everything from movie night essentials to car wash needs. To honor the veterans in the auditorium, a special raffle was held whereby recipients received a military hat and a gift card from a variety of area businesses. My hubby was the fortunate winner of a $25. gift card to Denny's, one of a favorite breakfast stops.

Another of the council members conducted a audience participation activity. He asked each of us to stand, and then began asking those of us who were younger than 70 to sit. He continued until one person remained standing, she was 98 years young! Wow! Her name was Mary and she was a prize winner as well.

Lastly we were thanked for our attendance and the wish that we'd come back again next year. Of course we intend to be there, who wouldn't accept an invite to such a glorious afternoon!

You know, we only seem to hear about our troubled youth in the media these days. The reporters should have been at Norwin yesterday, they would have had plenty of positives to write about regarding the young people who prepared and presented the 32nd Annual Senior Citizen's Dinner at Norwin High School. The mannerly behaved, well-spoken, talented teens we encountered are a proud tribute to both their families and the administration, teachers, and staff at Norwin who have been instrumental in raising such fine human beings who are the hope of our future!
Once again, our sincere thanks to all who treated us to such a beautiful event! Hope to have the opportunity to experience it again next year!

Blessings and Peace to all!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Back In The Saddle!

Well, you might say I'm back in the saddle since I started writing again after being idle for 18 months, give or take a few. I'm a firm believer though, if inspiration is missing it's like banging your head against a brick wall, nothing of any value is going to shake out no matter how hard you try! And in the end you'll have wasted tons of time to no avail.

Speaking of back in the saddle, here's a little story from my misguided youth. While attending a picnic in North Park when I was a sophomore in high school, our resident chaplain came riding into the grove on his stately chestnut mare whose name I can't recall at the moment. I wanted to mount her so badly and ride off into the sunset, but there was a problem, this beautiful creature wasn't saddled! (technically this story is not about being 'back in the saddle' for obvious reasons)

"Father Ryan, can I ride her," I asked pleadingly?

"Only if you've ridden bareback before," was his reply.

"Tons of times," I lied! And with that said, the goodly priest handed me the reins.

I guided the horse over to a picnic table upon which I quickly climbed, threw my right leg over her back, and sat up as straight as I could before signalling her to move.  At first she trotted slowly around the grove effortlessly. I was becoming a little antsy, so I gave her my shoe, ever so slightly of course. Stupid me! Father Ryan's horse immediately went into high gear, galloping towards the hedges that separated the picnic area from the parking lot. No matter what I did, she seemed to pick up more and more speed, and in an instant, she was flying over the hedges like Pegasus of Greek mythology with me aboard!

What happened next, I totally deserved. After her leap, the horse lowered her head and I somersaulted over her mane like an untrained Olympic gymnast.  I was splattered on the hard, hot pavement like the cracked egg, Humpty Dumpty!
Father Ryan rushed over and stooped down to see if I was alright. With only a bump on the head, and two scraped elbows, I wasn't any worse for wear. Relieved, our dear chaplain commented, " I don't think you've ever ridden horseback before, my dear, and I'll see you in confession next week!" And with that he mounted his mare and rode towards the stables, shouting over his shoulder, I forgot to tell you, she's a jumper!"

But I digress... Oh, yes, I've  finally started a new children's book that I've tentatively entitled, 'One Color, Many Shades!' It usually takes around 4 months to complete; story, illustrations, and finally publication. I'll keep you posted, so until then, riding bareback, forget about it, I'm back in the saddle...

Hasta la Vista, Baby! Giddy up, girl!

Monday, April 9, 2018


When someone says they're going to 'church', do you envision a majestic building with ornate paintings on the walls, huge statues of various figures towering over you, rows and rows of pews, and in the center, an altar accented by candle lights and white linen cloth?

Or do you define 'church' as a group of people, embracing moral and spiritual beliefs,who live and work together for the good of themselves and others?

My hubby and I are one of the couples who are elated to be listed as founders of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, North Huntingdon, PA. In 1978, because of the huge influx of members to St. Agnes Church on Clay Pike, the bishop decided it was necessary to build another structure to accommodate an overflowing membership. At first folks grumbled about being 'thrown out' of a church they'd attended for years and contributed to its prosperity, but it took only a very short time before we came together and embraced the challenge before us. We started from scratch in a fire hall and built the cozy church on the hill that for the last forty years we proudly call our own!

From its inception, not only were the bricks mortared together, the paintings hung, the statues erected, the pews installed, and the altar placed as the focal point of worship, but the wonderful people who became St. Elizabeth Ann Seton's first parishioners, also blended together into one big happy family!

Anybody who visits our church either to attend Mass or one of our many functions is always struck by the family-like spirit that welcomes them with a friendly smile and a warm handshake. Nobody is viewed as a stranger at St. Elizabeth, but rather a potential son or daughter!

Except for those who have joined our church most recently, I believe I know just about everybody who is an active member. I call them by their first names, I ask about how the kids are doing, and I would do anything to help any one of them in their times of need. And, without a doubt, I certainly believe that they would do the same for me and mine. If this isn't family, I don't have a clue as to what 'family' should be!

I oftentimes look around and see that many of the folks who took part in the building of our church are no longer with us. I think back to the great times we had doing everything from polishing pews, putting lights on the Christmas trees, teaching CCD, working at bingo, setting up tables for the parish picnic, and even playing poker in the church hall as part of an annual fundraiser. My soul  remembers each and everyone of them with fondness, and I can honestly say they were as much a part of my family as the family I raised under my own roof.

I guess by now you've figured out the definition I use in reference to 'church'.
Yes, it is a building, but more importantly, church is family, and I've been so blessed to have been a member of my church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, for forty glorious years!  Amen! Blessings and Peace!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Easter: New and Renewed Life

I think the story of my own birth is a good way to begin a discussion on new life. I was born in Baba's house on a September Saturday in 1944. It was suppertime, and my Mom couldn't wait for her favorite meal, steak smothered in onions, and mashed potatoes drenched in butter. Unfortunately her water broke and sent her into labor,denying her the pleasure of actually eating the dinner she'd looked forward to all day. Instead she retreated to her upstairs bedroom and waited for Dr. Stimetz to arrive. Since the good doctor lived next door, she was by my mother's side in minutes. As Mom pushed, and the rest of the family nervously waited in the hallway, eventually I entered the world, kicking and screaming, or so I'd been told over and over again while growing up. 

After thoroughly examining the newly-born babe, Dr. Stimetz handed me over to Baba to be cleaned and clothed. As my grandmother whisked me down the stairs and into her kitchen, she secretly rejoiced over the fact that I was a girl. Again, I know this because over the course of many years, she mentioned it at least a million times. Baba filled her huge mixing bowl with warm water, and carefully placed me inside its white walls. This was the same bowl she used every Easter when making the dough for Paska, the special Slovak bread we enjoyed only once a year during the holy season of the Resurrection. As she gently washed the afterbirth from my tiny body, Baba noticed that I appeared to be struggling to breathe. She placed me in a soft towel, dried me, and then rubbed a dollop of Vicks salve under my nose. However, because of the powerful strength of the vapors, instead of alleviating the congestion, I turned blue and stopped breathing altogether. To have this precious new life for such a short time was something my Baba refused to accept. Quickly she began CPR. Within seconds, I let out a garbled cry, and voraciously began sucking air into my deprived lungs. When Dr. Stimetz entered the kitchen, she found my Baba clutching me closely to her bosom with tears streaming down her face. In a shaky voice, she told the doctor what she had done. Dr. Stimetz comforted Baba by saying that this infant was destined to do something special since she had been given new life twice in the course of just one day, a rare medical occurrence by any standards. Whatever it was that I was meant to accomplish, I hope I've made at least some strides in fulfilling my purpose. From that life-saving moment on, my Baba and I shared a unique bond that only grew stronger and stronger with every passing year, and will remain alive and well always and forever.

Spring and Easter are favorites of mine perhaps because they arrive together with warm temps, gentle breezes, and soft rains. Both the season and the holiday are symbolic of new and renewed life. Whether coming into the world newborn, or awakening from a winter's sleep, all life is pure and fresh again. There is a joy and lightness of spirit that fills the Earth unlike at any other time of year. 

Monday, March 19, 2018


From the time I was child, I had a keen interest in card playing. I'm not talking about 'Go Fish' or 'Old Maids' though. Every holiday after the dishes were cleared from the dining room table, my Zedo, uncles, and cousins would dig into their pockets and pull out all the cash they had. Zedo would shuffle the deck and a three hour poker game ensued. Although I was too young to participate, I would stand on my grandfather's left side and watch every check, raise or fold that happened throughout those 180 minutes. Occasionally Zedo would point to some cards in his hand and slightly nod. I knew that meant that those were potential winners, and excitedly waited as he threw down the duds and picked up ones that could complete a flush or straight. When he was lucky enough to get the right cards, I'd remain stone-faced as the rest of my insides trembled! Zedo would raise low so that as many as possible would remain in the game. As the group dwindled, usually one of the guys would hang in there, sure that Zedo was most likely bluffing. Zedo never bluffed!

As I got older, I learned to play Gin, Pinochle, Hearts and a bunch of other variations. My hubby enjoyed cards as well, so in the early years of our marriage  we'd spend weekends with friends and family playing the night away either for bragging rights, money, or both!

Currently we haven't found folks that know the games we play or don't have the time. When I'm finished doing marketing online for my children's books, I'll head over to the Facebook GameRoom to play some Hearts. People from all over the world plug in and either accept or decline your offer. Bids range from 20-500 coins. The first time you enter the GR, you receive a number of free coins. If you run out however, you then must purchase coins in order to continue playing. I've never once had to buy coins and have been playing Hearts for over six years!

What I truly love about this game is the mental gymnastics it takes to outwit your opponents. If you play long enough, by the cards in your hand, you can actually predict what the lead-off person will throw. Throughout the game, individuals will try to divert your attention by getting rid of a particular suit. This tactic can be used to set the rest of the group up to 'shoot the moon' thus adding 26 points to their total, or simply eliminate the possibility of oneself from being caught with the Queen. I'm not about to give a tutorial now, but if you're familiar with Hearts you know what I'm talking about.

I just finished a game with Mehmet, Lillian, and Rhonda. After the first hand, I was low man on the totem pole with 24 points. Mehmet, 0, Lillian, 1, and Rhonda, 1. Next round, I had 49 points and looked like I was doomed. However in the third round, I took in all the hearts as well as the queen and handed each of the players 26 points! For the next thirty minutes or so my three opponents continued to add to their count while I remained at 49. When I won what would be the last round, I elected to increase their scores and wound up winning the game! I had 64 points while Rhonda, the loser,  had 103!

In the GR, you can challenge anyone on the list of players. Over the years, we've formed a little group that knows Hearts very well and enjoys playing folks who have similar skills and experience. We love to test each other with crazy moves and sneaky plays. Oftentimes, I'm the QUEEN OF HEARTS and I owe all of my playing prowess to my Zedo for allowing me to listen and learn!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Winter Freeze

I think I was about ten when I fell in love with poetry. At first, anything that rhymed caught my attention, but as I grew my poetic preferences matured as well.  When I was a sophomore in high school, my English teacher, Sister Rosemarie entered one of my poems in a national contest. After months of waiting, I received a letter saying my submission was selected and would be published in the National Poetry Anthology come spring. Finally the day arrived when my teacher handed me the official book, was asked to read my work to the class, and was graciously applauded for my success. I was on cloud nine!

Funny thing though, I couldn't tell you where that prized possession was now if you paid me, and I haven't a clue as to what the title of my poem might have been. Over the years, my writing has evolved, but every now and then I return to my beginnings and scratch out a poem or two. Since this winter has been hanging on like a bad cough causing me great angst, I decided to pen my frustrations in poetic fashion. Since I rarely do poetry now, I'm not promising national contest quality, but hopefully WINTER FREEZE will strike a cord with some of you. Enjoy!


Like the arrogant thief
Who creeps into a home
Taking valuable treasures,
So too, the Winter Freeze
Seeps under the door frames
Stealing warmth.

Long days foster dejection,
Despondency leads to defeat.
My happiness is gone.
Joy and laughter cease
Replaced with soulless stares.
I retreat.

With frustration mounting,
Hot anger bubbling up,
I relinquish my spirit.
Depression weighs on me,
Helplessness abounds,
I surrender.

Death is everywhere now.
Nature has lost its fight,
The world compromises.
I die a little, too.
Devoid of thought and zest,
I succumb.

When, if ever, will it end?
Frigid cold, howling winds
Chafe the skin, dry the throat.
The Winter Freeze pities not
Woman, man, or child,
It's power.

Why am I abandoned?
Does God not hear my cries?
Despair knocks me down.
Yet with little breath left
 And determined purpose,
I rise.

The absent sun appears
Warming the desolate earth,
Restoring faith once again!
As Spring begins to emerge
So does a Winter's prisoner,
I celebrate!

I'd like to know what you think, but since poets tend to be somewhat wimpy when it comes to reviews, please be gentle!

Blessings and Peace

Monday, March 5, 2018

PA Gun Laws: Outdated and Highly Ineffective!

Here is a synopsis of PA Gun Laws as reported in yesterday's Trib:
#1  a) No one under 21 can purchase a handgun.
      b) Those 18 or older can purchase long guns.
#2  a) Those under a PFA order MAY have guns and weapons confiscated for the duration of the order.                          
#3  a) Those under a PFA order can relinquish weapons to a dealer, friend or relative while serving the order.                        
#4  a)  Anyone committed involuntarily for mental health issues cannot purchase a weapon.
      b)  Anyone judged incompetent cannot purchase a weapon.
#5  a)  Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of domestic violence from purchasing or owning a gun.                              
#6  a) Licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks on both handgun and long gun purchases                         .
      b) There is no similar requirement for purchasing rifles/shotguns from private parties.

Let's now examine each of these mandates from a common sense perspective.

#1 a) clearly negates #1 b) According to the law, a handgun is a 'no-no' until you are officially an adult, but allows you to purchase a long gun way before your brain is fully developed! Makes no sense in my estimation, but what the hell do I know!

#2 & #3 So those who have been issued a PFA order are still permitted to own a weapon unless the judge deems it necessary to confiscate it. And if they cannot own a weapon under the law during the time the PFA is in effect, by all means hand it over to a friend or relative for 'safe keeping'!  It has been shown again and again that the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence or stalking is when they've filed a PFA against their abuser. Having access to a gun or the ability to easily repossess a weapon from friend or family gives the perpetrator the 'go-ahead' to make good on his promises to seriously injure or kill the one who has had the courage to fight back by filing a PFA. Remember folks, a PFA is merely a piece of paper that most deranged abusers hold little to no regard for, and have no power over them once they've decided to carry out their revenge. 

#4 a&b are simply ludicrous! Okay, so you've been involuntarily committed or judged incompetent and therefore cannot purchase a handgun or long gun. By the time such commitment or incompetency has been executed, these people already have a cache of weapons that they've legally or illegally purchased that even those closest to them are clueless as to their existence. Duh!

#5 Do you really think domestic violence convicts care about the federal law that prohibits them from purchasing or owning guns? They don't give a rat's ass about anything the government has mandated and can buy, steal, and own as many guns as their little hearts' desire. No, their purchases aren't legal, but, my dear people, to them, 'legal' is not in their vocabulary!

#6 a&b Legal gun dealers are required to run a background check on all handgun and long gun purchasers, but that same  requirement doesn't apply to private parties selling rifles or long guns. I, myself, bought a handgun for protection a month ago, and was allowed to walk out of the store, weapon in hand, immediately. I was told I'd receive authorization in about two months after the background check was concluded. I'm still waiting!


Although I don't know the gun laws for all 50 states, I wouldn't be at all surprised that they are very similar. Without any intentional disrespect or heartlessness to the countless survivors and families of the victims of mass shootings over the last 20 years. I still don't believe gun regulations will stop this insanity.  No matter how stringent we make our laws, those who choose to take up arms for the purpose of killing will not change their minds simply because our laws make it harder for them to obtain their weapons of choice. Sure, by making it impossible to purchase semi-automatics, and accessories that bump up their power is both necessary and perhaps somewhat effective. But hey, how about banning the manufacturing of these types of weapons altogether. Would it be impossible to obtain guns if such a prohibition was instituted? The answer unfortunately would be 'no' but it would definitely increase the difficulty over time!

I wish I could offer a foolproof suggestion that would eliminate the madness going on in our country today, but the many problems connected with this dilemma seem insurmountable. Hopefully somebody does have the answers and hopefully they come sooner than later!

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Taking the Podium

There are a number of reasons folks find themselves addressing an audience at some point in their lives. Whether taking the podium is job-related, politically necessary, or personally chosen, being a successful orator requires three important attributes both the speaker and the speech itself must reflect.

First and foremost, personal authenticity is essential. The speaker needs to briefly reveal his or her own history and background in a particular topic so as to give the audience confidence in the credibility of the person standing before them. Knowing their education and training is a huge plus towards keeping the audience's undivided attention throughout the session. However presenting these stats in a 'laundry-list' fashion isn't at all effect, but to a degree can actually appear boastful. Instead, the telling of the 'when, why, how' you chose and trained in this area of study reflects a human quality which most people find endearing. Lastly, find a way to sprinkle a little humor in with your introduction and from that moment, I can guarantee the audience will hang on your every word!

Secondly, the material you present should not be perceived as 'book learning,' but must be recognized by the audience as your sincere belief that its contents will bring positive change to their lives. They've come to hear you speak on a topic that they find interesting for a reason. Maybe they themselves have related issues, or perhaps someone close to them has been experiencing problems for years, so it is your responsibility to provide authentic material that both satisfy and offer a significant degree of hope.

Thirdly, including successful stories of how your message has helped others, is key to the audience's acceptance of your mission. Showing them how to effectively utilize what you've taught, and revealing testimonials from folks who have benefited from this material and these techniques, ensures audience satisfaction that their time has been well spent and definitely worthwhile.

Remember to express a heartfelt 'thanks for coming' to the group, and graciously speak with individuals who seek clarification or justification of sorts on a particular component you've presented.

Above all, be yourself. Of course, speak what's in your mind, the knowledge that you've accumulated over the years is invaluable. But, more importantly, speak with the passion that resides in your soul for the message you deliver so that its embers start a fire in the hearts of those seeking to hear it!

Take the podium, present with personal and factual authenticity, and back up your experiences with credible realities, spreading your truths with honest passion. A definite recipe for success, I promise!

Blessings and Peace

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Life Partner? YES!

It matters not if you're 'Adam and Eve,' 'Adam and Steve,' or 'Eva and Reva,' all creatures big and small were meant to have a partner in their lives! Family is great, friends are fantastic, but your partner, the one who walks in this world with you in good times and bad and all the other times in between, is absolutely essential to your well being and happiness.

Before I continue, let me be very clear; in the realm of humanity I'm not saying you and your partner will be together from your first meeting to your last breath. Throughout your existence, you may find yourselves alone for many reasons:
separation, divorce, death. At times the circumstances surrounding a partner's departure is out of your control, but being able to move on with your life and find another person who completes you is definitely within your power, if only you have the courage to start anew.

So, why a life partner? I think the answer is a no-brainer! As physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual beings, having that one person who satisfies your needs, and supports you in becoming self-actualized is critical.Without that someone, there is a vital component missing that leaves you unfulfilled, unable to be completely you.

From the physical standpoint:

When you're young, finding that special person is exhilarating! The 'dating and mating' part of getting to really know someone leaves you both satisfied and wanting more in the same moment. Hugging, kissing, touching and being intimate is what makes being human so wonderful! And if these physical connections are not just 'hook-ups' as today's young people refer to having sex, but rather the developing of a true relationship with an eventual partner, so much the better! As you age, not that intimacy isn't important, but you take great pleasure in the little things partners do for one another as well. Holding hands, caressing a cheek, rubbing shoulders, even applying suntan lotion are physically satisfying when done by a loving, caring partner.

From the intellectual standpoint:

'Two minds are better than one' is a truism in my opinion. Being with a partner over time is extremely beneficial to intellectual growth. It doesn't matter who has the higher I.Q. because each has their own special talents. While one may be mathematically inclined, the other has exceptional literary skills. One may have an acute vision for detail, the other sees everything from a global perspective. Whatever their strengths, the two have the opportunity to learn from each other and become better equipped in areas where they once were lacking.

From an emotional standpoint:

Humans are highly emotional creatures. When happy, boy are we happy, and who doesn't want to have someone to share their happiness with! But when sad, tears flow and hearts break. When angry, ugly words fly, and doors are slammed hard! When depressed, silence is deafening, and confusion reigns. To be alone when bombarded with these types of emotion can be devastating.  Everybody needs someone to rely on, to care enough for them to help carry the load. When there is a comforting  partner in the mix, little by little a person can let go of such negative emotions, and the longer you've been together, the easier it is to be yourself without the threat of judgement or rejection.

From a social standpoint:

Just recently a dear friend of mine expressed her sadness about coming home to an empty house with so much to say and no one there to hear it. Humans are social beings. YOU DEFINITELY NEED A PARTNER WITH WHOM YOU HAVE AN EXTENSIVE HISTORY!  Having the same friends, visiting the same places, reading the same books, dining at the same restaurants, sharing the same life enhances your social experiences tremendously. And from these shared interactions, you deeply appreciate having a partner who easily identifies with the people you know, the places you've been, the books you've read, the restaurants you've patronized, and most importantly, the life you've shared!

From a spiritual standpoint:

Perhaps the spiritual connection between two people is the most important. Being there for each other when miles apart, having hearts and souls lovingly entwined, and unconditionally investing in your personal relationship gives each partner a sense of belonging and peace. And when all is said and done, isn't it that sense of belonging and peace each and everyone of us is searching for?


I hope I've given you food for thought regarding the value of a life partner. I'm concerned about the folks who go it alone because I truly believe they're missing out on the very best humanity has to offer. If you notice, I never once mentioned marriage because taking that step is entirely up to the two of you. It isn't necessary to 'tie the knot' in order to live a fulfilling life with someone who loves and adores you and is willing to be there for the long run! Find that special person with whom you can willingly and happily share your body, mind and soul. Find that special person who is meant to be your life partner and nurture and treasure your time together!

Blessings and Peace

Monday, February 12, 2018

What IS 'Meaningful To Your Well Being?'

'To simplify is to make space for what's meaningful to your well being...' ( 

After receiving this succinct definition of what it means 'to simplify,' on a Facebook post last week, I began to consider what exactly IS MEANINGFUL TO MY WELL BEING. What is it that makes me complete, whole, wanting nothing more? 

I decided the best way to approach this question was to close my eyes and let the answers appear in my mind. Besides the obvious, all the family and friend faces that immediately popped up, which contribute to my well being immeasurably, I awaited for the revelations I rarely, if ever, think of as making me complete, whole, wanting nothing more.

To my surprise, the first image I saw was the sky. Admittedly, I love to stand in the wee hours of the morning, and look towards the heavens, realizing there is someone greater than myself orchestrating our great, big, beautiful world. On clear days, when the moon and the stars are in their rightful element, I enjoy spotting the various astrological patterns. I wait for the dawn to arrive and marvel at her strength to conquer the darkness of the night. I suppose one could interpret this initial contribution to my well being as an embrace of faith, an awesome wonder of the universe, a creative and poetic nature.

Secondly, I was visited by a room full of puppies! It's no secret that I love all animals, and especially adore dogs.  Our Shadow is 15 years old and the absolute poster bearer of the saying, 'A woman's best friend!' Canines are remarkable in so many ways. They are loyal, calming, protective creatures that ask for nothing more than to be fed, watered, sheltered, and loved. They instinctively know when you are feeling sad, sick, or just in need of some cuddling. Shadow came into my life when I was at a very low point, and I sincerely believe that if she hadn't, my well being would have been greatly compromised. 

Finally I saw myself in a far away land. I didn't recognize the topography yet strangely felt quite at home.  It was an expanse of mostly green grass dotted with a few mature trees. There were no homes in sight, nor were there any types of transportation around. I didn't see any people, but somehow I didn't mind. I think it was the sweet silence that appealed to me. If anything is meaningful to my well being, it definitely is personal prayer and quiet meditation. When engaged in prayer and mediation, my body, mind, and soul are made whole, I am peaceful and want for nothing, and I am complete. 

Notice the void of material things in my quest to unravel what exactly is meaningful to my well being.  Yes, I do have a lovely home filled with a lifetime of treasured memories.  And, yes, I have everything I need to live happily for the remainder of my days on this earth. But should some unforeseen tragedy strike, and all of these comforts suddenly disappear, my well being would still remain in tact because it is fueled by faith, freedom, creativity, wonder, loyalty, prayer and meditation.

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, February 5, 2018

The 'C' Word

Nobody wants to think about it, talk about it, and certainly not hear it in a conversation with their doctors in regards to the results of a recent health assessment. I don't believe there is another word that strikes more fear into us than 'CANCER'! Yet everyday in every city in every part of the world people are diagnosed with one form or another of this devastating disease. With all the research, technology, focus, and money that has been poured into finding a cure, why do millions in this day and age still receive the tragic news that translates into a death sentence more often than not?

Seriously, I want to know the answer.  Our primary physicians, oncologists, and cancer specialists who work in the trenches day after day, watching their patients suffer excruciating pain, trying their very best with the treatments available to them, must also witness the wailing and heartbreak of the family who has just lost a mother, father, wife, husband, daughter, son to this monstrous avenger. I can't begin to imagine the degree of failure and guilt these doctors on the front line must endure time after time.

So again I ask why?  I know there have been great strides in finding cures for certain types of cancer, and if found at the onset, many can be relegated into remission for longer periods than ever before. I think these situations are indeed cause for celebration for those who have 'won the battle' at least temporarily.

But with cancer being around for decades, one would expect there to be much more in the way of curative progress than is currently available.  Testing should be more sophisticated by now, treatment more humane and effective, and results. definitely more positive.

My mind keeps returning to a day in the Sixties while sitting in a teachers' faculty dining room discussing the sad news that one of our own was diagnosed with cancer. Just weeks before, she appeared healthy and robust, but was now hospitalized with little chance of recovery. One of my fellow educators told of a letter she received from her sister. a nurse, who was working in a German hospital. According to what her sister had to say, there did exist a cure for cancer, but probably would never be utilized on the general public. The sinister  hypothesis she gave for why the cure would only be relegated to the 'chosen few' was monetary in nature.  Treating cancer patients had become a million dollar industry then. a billion dollar market today, and there was no way the medical establishment and pharmacutical companies were about to forego their profits in lieu of the peoples' return to health.

At the time, I thought the nurse's conclusions to be ludicrous, and didn't believe what she had to say for one moment. Surely the drugs being developed and the CEOs of the companies bringing them to fruition to provide hope and possible cures for cancer patients had the highest of intentions. Furthermore, I had no reservations about the medical profession's sincere efforts to wipe out this horrible disease before the end of the 21st century.

Sadly my Pollyanna attitude back then was just that, a pie in the sky belief that altruism would trump monetary gains every time, especially when people's lives were at stake. I'm a lot older now with cynicism replacing idealism at a rapid rate these days, and according to the odds-makers, a possible candidate for cancer myself at this stage of my life. Though I don't fear death, if I had the choice, I would definitely chose something other than the prolonged, agonizing suffering of cancer. Hey, having my parachute fail to open while skydiving, be eaten by a shark while swimming the ocean blue, or being trampled by an elephant while on safari, in my opinion, are far better ways of dying than being treated with chemo and knowing that after all the misery I would endure, and believing that I could have escaped the terrible pain if only those who could have prevented it would have!

Monday, January 29, 2018

THE POST: A Film For Our Times

'Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in The Post, a thrilling drama about the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post's Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents. The two must overcome their differences as they risk their careers - and their very freedom - to help bring long-buried truths to light. The Post marks the first time Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have collaborated on a project. In addition to directing, Spielberg produces along with Amy Pascal and Kristie Macosko Krieger. The script was written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, and the film features an acclaimed ensemble cast including Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Matthew Rhys, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bradley Whitford and Zach Woods.'
THE POST is the second film my hubby and I have seen in two weeks. THE GREATEST SHOWMAN was the first. Up until now I couldn't tell you the last time we went to the movies but both of these were certainly well worth our time. Any project (THE POST) Steven Spielberg is associated with is excellent, and when coupled with the likes of Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, SUPERB, AWESOME, CAPTIVATING, THRILLING are just a few of the words that might do this movie some justice!
Spielberg tells the story of the Vietnam War (
which was one of the longest ever engaged in by our country. Thousands of soldiers gave their lives and thousands more were physically, mentally, and emotionally damaged. The American people were constantly told of how important this conflict was to ensure the freedom of the Vietnamese, and of how dependent they were upon our continued presence.

Unfortunately the data we were fed, beginning with our country's relationship with Vietnam under the Truman administration through that of Richard Nixon's presidency, was based on falsehoods. We were actually losing the war we should have never been involved in from the get-go. To admit this after so many years, so much bloodshed, and so much political manipulation was something Washington would never have even considered. Only when the government was exposed by the New York Times and then by the Washington Post for the gross mishandling of the Vietnam conflict, did Richard Nixon sign a ceasefire in January, 1973.

I believe this movie should be required viewing in every political science class in every high school in the U.S.A. I don't know how much today's teens know, if anything, about Vietnam, but since that war was such a pronounced part of our history, it would be a disservice to them to graduate without studying it as well as its devastating aftermath.

Our young people must realize that elected officials are human beings who make serious mistakes using poor judgement at times. They need to learn to discern what is right and just and true, and be willing to act upon their beliefs no matter what consequences might befall them. Some may even pursue a career in politics, and to those I strongly suggest they consider the past as a precursor of the future unless a different course of action is implemented when necessary.

I ask high school teachers across America to use THE POST as a springboard to initiate discussions on decision-making skills, freedom of speech, foreign policy and what situations warrant an act of warfare.

I was a teacher when the Vietnam War was in full swing. I worked side-by-side with a woman who lost her son in that horrible conflict. I listened to her lamentations and watched the tears roll down her cheeks. She would never see her son marry, have a family, and succeed in his chosen career. And all she wanted to know was "why"!

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Am I Hanging With The Wrong Crowd?

At 73, I hang out with my 55+ crowd. I like to split this group into two different entities. There are those who talk about their aches and pains, doctor appointments, Medicare, cemetery plots, and who inherits their money when they kick the bucket. They believe they already have one foot in the grave and lament the fact that they've missed their chance to do this, that and the other. Fun folks? Hardly, but I've known them forever, love them to pieces, and tolerate their dire dispositions.

Then there are the ones, unfortunately not very many left, who accept that at our age, aches and pains are to be expected and ignored, doctors don't know much, are planning to be cremated, and intend to spend every dime enjoying themselves before they cross over to the other side. Fun folks? ABSOLUTELY! I've known them forever, too, love them to pieces, and always look forward to visit with them to share precious memories and laugh till tears roll down our cheeks!

Recently I've begun hanging with a much younger crowd. And when I say 'much younger, I'm referring to kids in their twenties, thirties, and forties! Sound crazy? In the beginning, I thought so, too. When the house next door went up for sale, a young couple bought it, and before long, they were stopping by just to hang out, inviting my hubby and me to their parties,and bringing us cookies just because. They'll do anything for us that we can't do ourselves, and we in turn, are there for them whenever they need us. Every time we're together, our conversations are upbeat and current. They tell us about their work, their plans to start a family, the many vacations they've been on, and about the ones they still intend to take. We talk about the first years of our marriage, the crazy things we did, and how we've managed to stay together for fifty years! I give them gardening tips when they ask, and my hubby tells the young hubby to ALWAYS make his wife happy. Both couples, we and our sweet neighbors, consider ourselves very lucky to be in each other's lives despite such a wide difference in age. Matter of fact, since we first met, the topic rarely comes up. Besides how could it when we're busy having so much fun!

Then there's this newest crowd I'm hanging with. Five months ago, I decided to take a Zumba class. Since I'd never taken one before, I was a bit hesitant, but since I love to dance I figured I'd give it a try. Who knew what would evolve from that fateful day?

There are folks of all ages who regularly take this class, yet I found myself hanging with those twenty-to-thirty years my junior. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy everybody, and talk and joke around with all of them. However, after a few weeks, it was the young people who invited me to lunch, to tag along to a presentation, and to try out things like ginger shots and smoothie bowls. I truly enjoyed their company and began looking forward to spending more time with them.

When I first told my hubby about this presentation I was going to attend, he was a little leery since I didn't know the girls very well, and was concerned how the evening would go. From the time I hopped into the car though, I felt I had known these three for years. We talked about many things, and never once were at a loss for words. We made a three hour detour to do some apartment renovations, ate at Coscos and then proceeded to the  night's destination. If this seems a little weird to you, I totally agree, it was more than a little weird (10/16/17 blog post), but if you remember yourselves when you were their age, you can easily put it into perspective.

When I told some people about that night, many thought my decision was a bit risky to say the least. Others said I should stick with folks my own age, and more than a few reminded me to act my age! For one fleeting moment I wondered if I was hanging with the wrong crowd. What if I were being foolish and simply trying to recapture my youth? What if I somehow barged in on these young people and they didn't have the heart (or the guts) to tell me to get lost?

Luckily I'm an extremely intuitive person and would definitely know if any of my queries were credible. I believe I'm ABSOLUTELY hanging with the right crowd, and I know this because I have learned so much from them from the very beginning. They are smart, talented, witty, and a little quirky; they are respectful, accepting, and for the most part, nonjudgmental. They say and do silly things and laugh with and at themselves, that's a big one! Sometimes they're a little risque and try to shield me from their devilment, but little do they know I'm well aware of anything that's come down the road in the last 50 years or so! I find their protectiveness endearing, but I guarantee you nothing they can come up with  shocks this old broad!

I don't have the answer as to why I've been blessed with my 'new peeps' at this time in my life and I don't really give a damn. I just know one thing, I AM HANGING WITH THE RIGHT CROWD! And to all the naysayers out there, stop talking about aches and pains, doctor appointments, Medicare and all the rest, and go in search of the right crowd that can put pep in your step, enlighten your minds, and warm your hearts!

Blessings and Peace

Monday, January 15, 2018

Up In Arms!

On a bright Saturday morning nearly eight years ago now, I received a phone call from my brother, Dan, begging me to come to his house, it was an emergency. I quickly dressed, grabbed the car keys and flew out the door. Normally it would have taken me about 20 minutes to get to Homestead, but I swear I was at his back door in ten. Since the door was locked, I peered into the window, but could only see the kitchen table and my brother's empty chair. I ran to the neighbors and asked to use their phone. I called 911 and in very short order the police and paramedics arrived.When they busted the door down, my brother was lying on the dining room floor with the phone still in his hand. He was already blue and nothing could be done to save him. I believe I was the last person to talk to him before he died. 

Since I was his only sibling, his wife in a nursing home, and his son in jail, and me being the executor of his will, it was my job to dismantle his home. After we buried him, my hubby, Barry, and I began packing up everything that could be salvaged. As we cleared out each room, we trashed outdated and unusable items and only saved a few cherished pieces.

While my husband was in the kitchen, I lifted the mattress in the master bedroom and found a 38 revolver. I knew Dan purchased a gun many years ago when his son first started using and selling drugs. He always said it was better to be safe than sorry. Just the sight of the weapon made me nauseous, and yelled for Barry to come to my assistance. We were glad to have found it though, since my nephew was due to be released soon and might have gotten his hands on it. We took the revolver home that day and have kept it under lock and key.

Fast-forward to last week. A friend on Facebook was looking for a few people who might be interested in taking a firearms course. If she could get a group together, the cost for each would be discounted by 25%. Over the years, I had actually inquired about getting the gun registered in my name. Nobody seemed to know exactly how to go about it, so I figured it wasn't meant to be. But when I asked if she had any knowledge regarding registration, my friend suggested I call the place where the course was being offered. I was told that since I was the executor of my brother's will, legally I was the owner and registrant of the gun. There was nothing more I needed to do according to the law.

My first one-on-one lesson with a certified instructor is scheduled for this week. What happened to all the squeamishness I suffered when I found the gun those many years ago? Well, let's just say that after watching the news every single night I've come to the same conclusion my brother did, it's better to be safe than sorry! Immoral people, addicts, and the mentally-ill are up in arms now, carrying guns to wreak havoc on anybody they deem a threat.

My nephew, who has been in state prison for seven years, will be released this November. He used to be a sweet kid with a drug disease, but after all the time he's spent with hardened criminals, who knows what he's become. Since I'm his only living adult relative, although I've made it very clear that he isn't welcome in my home until he receives help, most likely he'll look me up. Sadly this fact alone is enough for me to become adept at using a firearm for my own protection.

From now on, I will be up in arms, but for no other reason that to ensure my safety as well as the safety of the people I love. My home is my sanctuary, and I will not allow anybody to violate it. I plan to learn every aspect of this revolver,  how to handle, load, maintain, and, yes, even fire it if the need arises.

There are those who strongly disagree with my decision, but I think that in today's world, being up in arms is not only a good idea, but a necessity. Possessing a weapon, knowing how to use it, and always being aware of your surroundings is wise in this day and age. To stick your head in the sand and be in denial is foolishness. The choice is yours!

Blessings and Peace

Monday, January 8, 2018

Soup! It's Not Just For Lunch Anymore!

Yes, my New Year's resolution is to lose weight....again! However this time I'm super pumped because my hubby and I are going to Switzerland in September to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, and there's absolutely no way those 'Swiss Misses' are going to look hotter than yours truly!

The biggest problem I've always had when starting a diet was what to eat for breakfast. No matter what I had chosen in the past, it was not beneficial to weight loss. Donuts, danish (just kidding), a bagel, toast with peanut butter, even cooked oatmeal left me hungry at 10:00 and from that moment on I'd opt for high calorie foods for the rest of the day.

About a month ago, I was invited to a juice bar in Irwin called 'The Green Berry' (209 Third Street), and introduced to Jen, the owner and operator of this cozy shop. Jen not only makes some of the most delicious smoothies I've ever tasted, but she's always willing to answer any questions about the ingredients used, the healthy benefits of eating fruits and veggies, and where to go on the web for free recipes to try at home.

Saturday before last, while waiting for Jen to prepare my order, I complained about not knowing what a 'good breakfast' consisted of. "Soup," she said emphatically! Making a pot of vegetable soup with some ginger and turmeric is not only filling, but has the right properties to aid in weight loss."

I'd never ever thought of soup as a breakfast food. I went on 'Medical Medium.' a website Jen suggested, and found the recipe, 'A Healing Broth,' which consists of sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, ginger, turmeric and water. The only thing I did differently when making this soup was to substitute chicken broth for the water, but don't believe any negative repercussions have resulted from the exchange. I made it on New Year's Eve and have lost 5lbs. in seven days.

For lunch Jen suggested smoothies and again provided two terrific websites for a variety of healthy recipes. 'Oh She Glows' and 'Fully Raw Kristina' offer plenty of choices from which to choose so you don't become bored with lunchtime meals.

For dinner I have a protein, lots of veggies, and even a single portion of something starchy.

Around 8:00 in the evening, I'll have a cup of  'skinny popcorn'. I'm never hungry and am delighted with the quick results I've seen on the scale!

I truly believe it's the SOUP, my first meal of the day, that sets me up for success.
According to Jen, there are several cookbooks on Medical Medium loaded with lots of soup and smoothie recipes! I intend to order one or two before the day is over!

I'll keep you informed of my progress periodically, and all I can say is, 'LOOK OUT, SWISS MISSES, because this HOTTIE is coming to town!

Monday, January 1, 2018


You are so lucky to have lived through another year becoming a better person, growing, learning, laughing, and living every single day the best way you know how!

With the arrival of 2018, you’ve been given the chance to live yet another year to become a better person, growing, learning, laughing, and living every single day the best way you know how!

I have faith that you believe in yourself enough to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, and turn each one into a fruitful success.

I earnestly hope you don’t take life too seriously, but rather see the humor in your mistakes and be able to graciously laugh at yourself. 

 And I truly love you simply because you are!

I wish you Blessings and Peace of mind, body and spirit for the ensuing 365 days! Happy New Year!


Beautiful dreams,
Loving relationships,
Exotic adventures,
Spiritual renewal,
Spellbinding surprises,
Intellectual curiosity,
Nature’s best,
Gentle breezes,
Sunshine and roses!


Playful pleasures,
Eventful moments,
Ambitious aspirations,
Calming seas,
Energy of life!

Love ya’ll