A Time to Grow

Last spring, my husband did something he should not have done. It wasn’t entirely his fault. He got caught up in yard work and wasn’t thinking and pruned all of our hydrangea bushes. Let me repeat, last spring…he pruned all of our hydrangea bushes. For anyone who knows about gardening, you know this is a big, HUGE no no! We didn’t have a single blossom all summer, not one. Kind of fitting for 2020, I guess.

All summer, I kept hoping we would see a bud, but we had nothing. It was disappointing but a powerful lesson to learn…

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Better than Chuck E. Cheese

Rebecca as an award winning actress

There was a beautiful, tear-jerking scene toward the end of last week’s This is Us (I know, right?) in which Kate calls her mother to thank her for giving the three “triplets” a childhood in which they never knew they didn’t have money. She told her mother that their homemade Halloween costumes and big, backyard birthday parties with homemade cakes “were better than at Chuck E. Cheese.”

Boy, can I relate to that, and I think my girls can, too, if not now, then when they have kids of their own.

Until my girls were in high school, I made every Halloween costume they wore. They were simple and inexpensive and were often made of materials we had around the house or purchased from the Dollar Tree. Despite all that, the girls loved them, and some even brought home trophies, winning accolades over the most expensive store-bought costumes or the hours-long, detail-oriented ones of Pinterest fame. Even thrift shop dresses and grandma’s old stole can turn an ordinary girl into an Academy Award Winning Actress (who traded her Oscar for a Prettiest Costume trophy).

My mother taught me to a make what you can, buy what you must, and use more imagination than money, but the key ingredient was always love. Mom loved us, and she loved showing us how much she loved us, not by breaking the bank, but by putting her heart into whatever she did (and still does).

And something else Mom taught me is something that I can’t help but wonder if so many moms have forgotten in the past several years: The more you spend on something…

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Hidden Treasure

Here is my bargain of the night from last week’s local auction that Ken and I always go to…

There were two big boxes, one completely sealed, and one open just enough to see that there was some kind of plant inside. Nobody wanted them, so I thought, heck, I’ll take them. I held up my number and got them for $6.

The next afternoon, I opened the boxes, and guess what…

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Hope, Affliction, and Prayer

I’ve put off writing this for a long time – several weeks in fact. It’s not because I’m uncomfortable talking about it but because I’m sick of hearing about it and talking about it and thinking about it. I’m writing this only because I’d like to start a conversation that comes from the people and not from the doctors. That’s not to say that I don’t believe what the doctors have to say but because I don’t believe they are talking to each other about what they are hearing from us, the patients. Maybe they are, but too many times in the past couple months I’ve heard, “My doctor has never heard of this,” or “My doctor says it’s not a symptom,” or “My doctor looks at me like I’m crazy.”

We’re not crazy. We’re just hurting, confused, and looking for answers.

Maybe if we can start a conversation about what we’re experiencing, we can find the answers that everyone needs and hopes for. I know that’s my hope and also my prayer.

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In Order to Form a More Perfect Union…

This morning, I hugged and kissed my baby goodbye and watched her drive away, beginning her five-and-a-half hour trip and fourth semester of college. I told her all of the standard things a parent should say, “Don’t speed,” “Be careful and pay attention to the road,” “Make good choices,” “Study hard,” and “Have fun.”

As I watched her go, I thought about the other goings on of the day–those taking place across the bridge, as we say here on the Shore. Today, we do what our Founding Fathers intended for us to do–we welcome a new administration to lead our country. I thought about the implications of that transition and about how my daughter will be impacted by our country’s leadership and how it will impact her.

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A Little Bit More

When I was a little girl, I loved all of the Christmas specials. It was a big deal in our family when they came on TV. We all gathered in our basement recroom, the popcorn popper whirring the kernels around in the melted butter, the scent filling the air, as we waited in anticipation of shows that could only be watched when they aired that one time each year. My favorites were always The Little Drummer Boy and The Year Without a Santa Claus. I loved the latter because it proved that nothing could stop Christmas from coming–not a blizzard, not a heatwave, not a feud between two warring brothers, not Santa being sick, or lack of belief in the world. Mrs. Claus was determined that Christmas would happen no matter what.

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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.

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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.

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Your Message to the World

Today, it seems that there is this great desire to be somebody, to gain the praise of millions, to become YouTube or Tik Tok famous. Everyone wants to make their mark on the world, be it for a moment or a lifetime. I think it’s quite natural to want to make a lasting mark, to leave behind a legacy, to create a name that will be remembered forever. We all want to believe that there is more to our lives than our meager, daily existence. We want to feel that we’ve delivered some kind of message to the world.

We’re all looking for a way to stand out, to be noticed for something, to be remembered for something.

But is it possible to make a name for ourselves, to deliver a message to the world, without ever becoming famous?

I truly believe it is, and here’s how we can do just that…

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Setting the World on Fire

My middle daughter leaves this weekend to head back to school for her senior year. She’s so ready. She misses her friends, her studies, and her routine. She wants what we all want–for life to return to normal. Of course, normal is very relative these days, and her final year in college will not resemble anything she has come to know as normal. Still, she’s excited to embark on this transitional journey of senior year.

I remember my senior year of college. I was so certain of what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to work at the National Archives, doing research, writing papers, and recording and preserving history. That desire came about gradually over the course of my four years. I had gone to college determined to be the next Peggy Noonan, writing memorable, quotable speeches for future presidents. My love of history won out over my love of politics, and I began seeking graduate programs in historical preservation. When I moved home after graduation, with no money in the bank, I took a job at our local library, hoping to put away enough money to pay for my next degree. I had been accepted into both George Washington and American Universities, and neither was inexpensive. In a move that evidently surprised nobody who knew me, after spending a summer working in our local library, I ended up going to library school instead. Isn’t it funny how a simple summer job can change the course of one’s course?

My story is not unique.

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