Living My Life in Blue

I have big news for readers of my inspirational novels! On December 1, just in time for Christmas, I will be hosting a Launch Party on Facebook for my new series which takes place in the Ozarks! Join me from 4:00-6:00PM Eastern Time for my Facebook Live event. I will have copies of my new book, Dessert Fire, Mountain Rain, on hand for you to purchase via a special link, and you can watch me sign your book while I answer questions and talk to readers. Leave a comment with a question, and I will answer it live during the launch. Keep checking my website and social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), for more information about the launch and the series.

Have you ever heard of the Blue Zones? These are the areas of the world where people are the healthiest and live the longest. Many of them are in and around the Mediterranean. Sardinia, one of the Blue Zones, was featured in the Zac Efron Netflix Special, Down to Earth, which our family thoroughly enjoyed.

I’ve often told my girls I want to live to be over a hundred. It’s not that I’m not looking forward to spending eternity in the next life with my Lord and Savior (God willing), but I’m enjoying watching my girls grow, looking forward to grandchildren, and only in recent years have met my true tribe of female friends. I want to live as many more years as I’ve lived so far. And this is why I’m fascinated by the Blue Zones.

Read more

2020 – A Year to Be Thankful

2020 has been quite a year. What started with Katie’s Homecoming, my trip to Houston to see friends, Rebecca’s law review presentation, and my surprise 50th birthday party, took a sharp turn into no social events, no in-person school events, and no family gatherings. I keep hearing how bad the year has been, and I certainly don’t want to jinx anything with two months left to go, but I realized yesterday that 2020 was a pretty darn good year.

Every year, I make photo calendars for my family. I plug in as many pictures as I can find using my own camera roll, social media, and photos sent to me by others. I highlight different people each month, based on birthdays and anniversaries. I make sure I cover all of the special events each person took part in over the course of the year.

Read more

Have Your Cake…

Did you know that today is National Dessert Day? Yep, it’s the day on which you can indulge in a decadent concoction with the knowledge that you are just doing your part to celebrate the happiness that can be found in a bowl of fudge ripple or a slice of blueberry lemon cake. It’s your chance to bake something sweet or order dessert or…

Take the family to the ice cream parlor. Because, while there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a perfectly torched plate of Bananas Foster, I’d like to suggest that it isn’t the dessert itself that we love and take pleasure in. It’s the people we share it with and the occasion on which we share.

Read more

10,000 Plants

Let me just start by saying, I am the daughter of a master gardener. No, he doesn’t hold a degree or a certificate of gardening, but my father can grow anything. He and my mother have had the most exquisite gardens for as long as I can remember. Even their back deck vegetables are always perfect.

I did not inherit that gene.

For years and years, we’ve talked about planting a vegetable garden, but we always knew it was a bad idea. As I’ve said here before, Ken has always traveled extensively, and in the summer, when he went away, we went with him. We knew we’d never get to enjoy the foods we planted, and we wouldn’t be able to properly maintain and take care of the gardens. When he was alive, my father-in-law brought us beautiful tomatoes (Katie’s favorite) and lots of corn from the farm on which he and Mom lived, and my parents have kept us well supplied with cucumbers (Morgan’s favorite). For everything else, we shopped local produce stands and the farmer’s market.

Then, everything changed…

Read more

My “European” Vacation

The Europeans do things right when it comes to vacations. To them, a vacation isn’t simply a long weekend or a week at the beach with a drink in one and a cell phone in the other. No, their vacations last for an entire month, and the cell phone, email, What’s App, and all other forms of communication are for family business only. In Italy, August is typically the month where everyone–yes, almost the entire country–goes on vacation. Any major projects being tackled on July 31 will have to wait to be completed after August 30. It was something my husband had to get used to when he started working for an Italian company but something I wished we, as Americans, embraced.

When I realized that all of my children were going to be out of college/law school for approximately four weeks over Christmas, I decided that a European vacation was in order for me. So, between December 10 and January 7, my entire focus was on my family, my friends, and my Savior.2020 Leonetti family values

Not only was it the best thing I could have done for myself and my family, it taught me some valuable lessons… Read more

Keeping Track

We laughed this morning, in my cardio class, when the instructor had to set her Fitbit before class to track her exercise, saying, “If it’s not tracked, it doesn’t count.” The reason we laughed is because we all understood exactly what she meant. I once forgot to wear my Apple watch to class and felt like the whole class was for nothing because if I couldn’t show that I was there, how could I prove I actually did the work? I know, it sounds crazy.

I’ve been thinking about it all morning, and I believe there’s something there to consider. We’ve all succumb, in one way or another, to the fitness-tracking craze. My father keeps track of the miles he racks up during the day as he walks in the neighborhood and around the house. I like to monitor my steps to make sure I’m not sitting for too long. I know some people who follow every calorie they burn, every “ring” they close on their exercise app, and even how many deep breathing pauses they take.

All good stuff, I’m sure, but let’s stop and think for a moment about what we’re tracking and why. Are they the minutes or steps that really matter? Are they the things that are going to make a difference in the end. And I mean that end.  Read more

New Year, New Strategies

New Year’s resolutions are tricky. So often, people choose ones that are so lofty, it’s impossible to reach them. Other times, resolutions are simply not easily added to our daily routines and are forgotten or just fall by the wayside. This year, like everyone else reading this, I am determined to keep my three 2019 promises to myself, but I’m not off to a good start! So, I’ve come up with some strategies that will, hopefully, help to keep myself on task.

I don’t usually share my resolutions, but I want to hold myself more accountable this year, so I’m going to share them with the 1000+ people reading this! I’ve set three goals for 2019:
1. I want to continue getting back into the routine of saying a daily Rosary.
2. I want to make it to a gym class at least three times each week.
3. I MUST stop saying, “I already told you…” to my husband!

Yesterday was January 1st, and I was determined to start the year off right. I was going to say my Rosary before Mass, but, of course, we had an issue with the altar ministries that I had to sort out, so that didn’t happen. All day, I intended to fit it into my schedule, but in all honesty, I never took the time to make it happen. So, FAIL, right off the bat!

Enter, strategy one: Read more

Scouting the Future

For the past fifteen years, my three daughters and I have been active Girl Scouts. Over the years, many have questioned us about our decision to remain involved. We’ve heard every excuse to leave: Girl Scouts isn’t pro-life; Girl Scouts exploits girls through the sale of cookies; Girl Scouts only cares about making money; Girl Scouts is too time-consuming; Girl Scouts doesn’t care about the girls or the volunteers; Boy Scouts is better; and so on.

IMG_2074.jpeg
Rebecca takes a break on the paddle board.

This past week, my three girls and I spent seven full days at the Girl Scout campground closest to our home where I am the director of a week-long summer camp, and my girls are all counselors. Rebecca ran the boating program, Katie worked with the high-ropes and zip line course, Morgan assisted with a Brownie program, and I spent the week running the camp for the twelfth year. This camp is the number one reason why we continue to be a part of Girl Scouts, and it fully exemplifies every good thing about the organization that everyone overlooks. If you find that hard to believe, I’d like to share with you some of the responses from our post-camp surveys. Read more

Mountains, Body, and Soul

I took a walk early this morning in the area described in my book, Summer’s Squall. The rest of the family left well before dawn to climb Redcloud and Sunshine, two of the five over 14,000-foot mountains in the San Juan range of the Rockies, where we have a second home. We all climbed Uncompahgre Peak last week, and I’m still plagued by sunburn! Read more

The Rhythm of Life

In my Wednesday morning cardio class, we always begin with music that has a slow beat. Over the course of 45 minutes, the music gets faster as the beat increases. Our breathing becomes strained, heartbeats race, and movements grow more rapid as our instructor calls out the steps in that day’s routine. The class flies by, with a short break here and there to get a drink and take a breath, then resuming at a faster speed, all of our thoughts and efforts focused on the precision of steps, proper breathing, and keeping up with the pace of the music, until we welcome the cool down with its smaller, slower movements and calming breaths.

This morning, it occurred to me what a perfect metaphor the class is for life. We start out slow, unsteady, unsure of what lies ahead, focussing on learning our steps and finding the right beat. The majority of our lives are spent running the race, fighting for our breath, making our movements in the world larger, faster, more meaningful. And then, in the blink of an eye, we’re forced to live at a less hectic pace, find a slower rhythm, breathe a little easier, knowing we made it all the way through and have come out stronger, smarter, and more aware of the person we have become. But have we? Read more