Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,
It is Sunday night, 5 days after your 82nd birthday.  I am sure it was quite the celebration for you and I imagined all day on Tuesday how you, your mom and dad, Uncle Danny, Uncle Pete and Aunt Janie must be spending the day.  I sang you Happy Birthday and you were kind enough to give me a snow day to stay home and celebrate your day.  Had you been alive and here with me, I know we would have spent it in the snow building snowmen and using my hats and scarves to dress them with.  Then you would have insisted on us making Snow Cream to eat with a Fresh Coconut Cake I would have baked for you.  We would have eaten that early in the day of course so that we could make huge banana splits together to eat in the evening.  Remember how I would come home to Richmond for your birthday and would stop somewhere first and buy a Banana Split to bring home to you and one for me and Butter Pecan ice cream for dad?  You didn't care if you got a present, just as long as we could have our ice cream together.  I looked forward to your birthdays for that reason almost as much as I look forward to my own birthday, hahahaha.  So I guess my question for you is, do they have banana splits in heaven and if so, are they as good as they are here on earth?

Yesterday, Robby and I went home to spend the day with dad.  We went out to the cemetery to spend some time with you but it was sooooo cold.  There was still snow on the ground and the pond was partially frozen.  But the ducks were still out on the pond and the fountain still ran.  As you know, I always feel such peace when I am there to visit.  How I wish I was able to come every week so that we could spend more time together.  I always have so much to tell you, even though I have conversations with you everyday on my 84 mile commute to and from work.  Somehow it just isn't the same talking to you in my car, all alone, as it is when I am sitting there at the cemetery where we said our last goodbyes.  I am sure the people who pass me on 81 often wonder who on earth I am talking to, hahahaha.

Once we got back to the house, Bill came over and brought his girlfriend Teri over for us to meet.  Jess, Joe and Olivia came over too.  It was so nice to see Bill so happy and Teri is a really wonderful girl.  She was so easy to talk to and is very down to earth.  You would have liked her very much, of that I am certain.  It was so great to see Jess and Joe.  They are such a cute couple and Olivia is just the sweetest little bundle of love.  You know me and babies, I had to have my hands on her the whole time they were visiting.  Even when she was crying, I didn't want to hand her back over to Jess, I just wanted to find the way to soothe her and make her happy.  She loves to stand up and hold onto your fingers and dance.  And let me tell you, she is quite the little dancer for a 6 month old.  It is so great to have a baby around again.  Brings back such wonderful memories of Garrett, Reed, Evan and Trevor.  Daddy loves that little cutie pie too, very much.  It is so cute to see him hold her and talk to her.  I know he never thought he would see the day that he would become a Great Papa.

Leaving dad to come back home is never easy.  I hate leaving him in that house alone with nothing but memories.  But you would be so proud of how well he is doing.  He stays busy in his playhouse and just finished his 16th clock.  He has no idea who he will be giving this one to, but he made it anyway.  As nervous as it makes me thinking of him in that playhouse alone with power tools, electric saws and his other "toys", I know it is his therapy and it is what gets him through each and every day.  I believe that you watch over him when he is in there and protect him from harm.

As for me, I have come a long way from where I was this time 2 years ago.  I don't miss you any less, if anything I miss you more.  But I have been able to heal some and know in my heart you are in a better place.  I feel your presence when I need you the most and know that you are right there with me.  I know you have been watching over my boys and see the wonderful things they are doing in their lives.  I know you know that I am in a loving place in my life and am the happiest and most at peace with myself and my life as I have ever been.  Each and everyday seems to bring me a little more peace than the day before.  I don't know what exactly to attribute this overwhelming sense of calm and contentment too, but I am so grateful for it.  Good things keep coming to me and an inner strength I have never known before has taken up home in my soul.  Burdens and guilt I have carried with me for years have been lifted.  Life is good!!

Well, I guess that is all I have to say for now.  I love you so and wish so much that I could call you on the phone like I always did on Sundays.  It doesn't seem fair that I get to talk to you whenever I want, but I never get to hear you talk back.  Funny how that is, right?  There were so many times when I was younger that I would have given anything not hear you talk back when I was talking to you, or screaming at you, or crying at you.  Now I would give anything and everything just to hear one more word come from your mouth.

Happy Birthday, my dear sweet momma.  I love you with every fiber of my being.
Your loving daughter,
Doodle Bug

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Weekend In Pictures

This weekend was so much fun.  Time spent with my sweetie, time spent with amazing women and the bonus of our first snow fall.  A perfect weekend by any one's standards.  The best way to explain it is to just show the photos.

Dinner on Saturday night was a birthday celebration for my dear friend Harrigan.  She turned 31 earlier in the week and to celebrate, we had a pasta making dinner and clothes swap.  For those of you unfamiliar with the clothes swap idea, it is basically getting to go thrift store shopping for free in your home.  Friends bring clothes, baby items and housewares that they no longer want or need and then you can swap and take what you want.  Even if you have nothing to add to the swap, you still get to go through everything and take what you like.  For this Thrift Store loving gal, it is a dream come true.  All the joy of thrift shopping without having to pay any money, cooking and eating with friends, drinking wine and cappuccinos and eating dessert and the fellowship of about 25 fabulous women.  What could be better?  I don't know, but would love to hear if any of you know of something better.

Menu for the night.

Freshly made balls of pasta dough.
Rolling the pasta dough through the pasta maker the final time.
If there is one thing this group of women can do, it is eat.  We made plenty of pasta so no one would leave hungry.
Homemade sauce with garden tomatoes, garlic, onion and olive oil.
What more could you need?
Harrigan putting the finishing touches on the dessert......
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Burnt Salted Caramel Crèam Cheese Frosting.
Dessert and wine
Homemade Fettuccine with tomato garlic sauce, Kale and brussel sprout salad with pepitas and cranberries and cabbage.
We should all open a restaurant together and take turns cooking and talking in the kitchen.
What a wonderful group of women.
After a perfect night, I woke this morning to the glorious site of freshly fallen snow.  Oh how I do love snow!!!!!  It brings out the kid in me.  Couldn't help but go out and get some photos of the magical beauty that is the snow.  Enjoy.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

We Are Family

Yep, that is my family.  Not all of it, but a good bit of it.  In that photo is missing my oldest son, who lives in California, my oldest brother, who was in Texas for the Holiday, his daughter Meredith, who was spending time with her other PaPaw who is in the hospital, my niece Jessica and her husband Joe and their baby Olivia, they were in Massachusetts with Joe's family, and my nephew Dane and his wife Callie. He is in Texas in the Air Force and she is visiting him there before he is sent off to his next post.
We all gathered together at my brother Dan's house in Williamsburg for Thanksgiving.  It was such an amazing day.  Our family really is so wonderful.  I use to think that is was my mom who brought us all together, and it probably was.  But what makes me so happy, is that with my mom gone now, we make the effort to get together and spend the Holidays together.  Even though we aren't always able to be physically together, we are all there in spirit, and I feel that.  Life is hard.  We all have our own families, responsibilities, schedules, etc. but we still make time.  We still find a way.  It isn't easy, it isn't spontaneous, but we make it happen. 
It is true, I cried like a baby when we had to leave Thanksgiving night so that we could get my dad back home so he could be ready for his dialysis treatment in the morning and the rest of my family, kids included, stayed behind and continued to celebrate together.  But, there were tears of joy mixed in with those tears of sadness.  Joy that my kids felt comfortable staying behind to spend the night with their aunt and uncle so that they could visit with them longer.  Joy that they were welcomed into my brother's home as if it were their own and could stay as long as they pleased.  Joy that no matter how much time passes between our visits with each other, we pick right up as if it was just a matter of hours that we were all together last. 
My family means the world to me.  I am the only girl and the youngest of four children.  I was and am still spoiled rotten.  NOT spoiled ever with material things, but spoiled with unconditional, un-wavering love from my family.  From my earliest memories, I have ALWAYS known that I was loved dearly by my mom, dad and all 3 of my older brothers.  I never, ever doubted for a minute or even a second that I was loved.  And I hope with all my heart that no one in my family has ever doubted my love for them.  Our family is not perfect.  We have our share of ups and downs and misunderstandings like all families do.  But love always prevails. 
I have been in some dark places recently in my mind.  This happens to me from time to time.  Bouts of depression are something that I battle constantly.  But this Holiday season, even with my depressive times, I am starting to see how lucky I really am.  I am fighting it and choosing to see the happy moments and the beauty in life.  It is easy for me to dwell in the sadness and darkness.  It is easy for me to be sad that my mom is not here to be with us.  But what I have realized is that doesn't change anything.  It won't bring my mom back and it won't make the memories I could be making, happy ones.  I know my mom would not want me sacrificing happiness in order to keep her memory alive.  That isn't necessary.  Her memory will be kept alive even if I am happy and am enjoying the life that I still have to live.  My mom loved the Holidays and would want all of us to enjoy them and
celebrate them as she raised us to do. 
The past two days, I have been doing a lot of thinking and soul searching.  Through my art, practicing yoga and just sitting and being, I have come to an inner peace and happiness I have not known in a while.  I am in charge of my happiness.  I am in charge of my misery.  It is my choice to be one or the other.  I choose happiness. 
I leave you with a few photos that I took of some of the things that make me happy.  Sites I see everyday that make me smile.  Simple, un-pretentious sites that make me happy.  May they make you smile too.  Happy Holidays to you all.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Gentle, Easy Couple Of Days

I knew Friday when I left work, that this weekend would again be one with little activity.  Rest and relaxation were the only two things on my menu for the weekend. Saturday, I watched as the sun rose over the mountains and settled myself in front of the wood stove for the day, with my blanket, my art supplies and journal.  Robby had left early to go hunting so I had the house to myself for the morning hours.

I love the early morning and the time I have to reflect on life.  Something about being in a quiet house, the world just waking up and the animals outside beginning to stir, is so comforting to me.

Sunlight streaming through my kitchen window.
Ever since my mom died, these last 3 months of the year are more difficult for me.  Finding joy in the Holidays is a struggle, being bothered to prepare for the Holidays is almost paralyzing.  Not being at my best both physically and mentally, doesn't make it any easier to cope.  But I try to think of my mom and how much she LOVED the Holidays. Even with all the work she had to do to prepare, when we were all younger, and then later trying to figure out how we would all somehow spend time together, when we all had our own families and lives going on, she decorated, baked, cooked and celebrated the joy that Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas brought.  Even on the morning of the day she died, she told my dad that after his dialysis treatment was over, they must go get candy to hand out to the handful of kids that would show up at their door that Halloween night. This year my dad went overboard and bought much more candy than would ever be handed out to the 6 kids that might come by, but he bought the candy.  He has taken over where mom left off.  He knew she would have wanted it that way.
So, as I struggle to make it through these last few months of the year, I am trying to see the beauty again in the simple and small things.  Not just the obvious beauty of the living, but also the beauty in objects whose prime has passed.  The rose hips left behind from blooming roses, the dried plumes of my ornamental grasses and the dried leaves which have fallen from the trees.  There is beauty everywhere and a reason to celebrate life, even in death.  I know my mom would not want for me to continue to mourn her.  She wouldn't want to know that for at least 3 months of the year, I slip into a dark place that is hard for me to work my way out of.  But I take the time to work my way out, and with camera in hand, I see the beauty that mom would see too.

 And while this weekend was a weekend of the three R', relaxation and reflection.  I leave you with one of my favorite poems by Mary Oliver.
Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert,
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell
you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean
blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Weekend of Rest.......Mentally and Physically

Today has been a day of healing for me.
Both mentally and physically.
I am fighting a cold and sore throat that I am certain one of my darling little 2 year olds gave to me at work.
I am also trying to catch up on rest, if not sleep, that I have been lacking for the past 2 weeks.
For whatever reason, my brain has decided that sleep is not necessary for me, and staying asleep
for more than 2 hours at a stretch has proved impossible lately.

When I am nursing a cold, I like to stick with natural, holistic remedies.  Me and medications have a love/hate relationship.  I love what they do when they work, but I hate how they make me feel in the process.  So I try and stay away from them.
 Ingredients for Turmeric Lassi that I made last weekend to help ward off this cold and boost  my immune system. 


 Today's drink of choice to help soothe a sore throat.  I am not able to drink caffeine anymore, so I am really glad that my favorite Tulsi tea is caffeine free.  A lot of time, I will make up my own lemon ginger tea, but today I just was not feeling it and took the easy way out.  I have had my tea kettle on the wood stove for most of the day, keeping my water hot and ready for whenever my tea cup ran low.

Healing the body is one thing, but healing the soul is another.  The past two weeks have been tough ones for me and I am working through a few personal things.  Nothing earth shattering,  just things I need to deal with.  Today, I decided not to think about those particular things and I would let another part of my mind take over.  I brought my paints out next to the wood stove, set up a nice area to do some painting and found a lesson in Tamara Laporte's Life Book 2013 course that Mindy Lacefield was teaching and got busy.  It was so fun to paint like a child and just let go.  I have been in such a funk lately, I forgot how much doing my art makes me relax and lets my mind just shut off.  It was really, really nice.

I just painted this one right into my art journal knowing that I would probably be journaling throughout the day and weekend.  It's called A Bunny Party and it just makes me smile.

Next was a Mindy Lacefield inspired self portrait.  I really love the way Mindy paints.  Her whimsical, colorful approach to her art is so happy.  And her techniques are such that I can make them work for me. 

 Tomorrow I will do more of the same.  Probably more journaling with pen and paper so that I can dump out some ideas and thoughts rambling around in my little head, that other people don't really need to read nor probably want to read.

I have a few photos to post before I sign off.   They are of the wood box that my sweet hubby designed for me, using old doors that we found in an abandoned barn. Robby built it and I sanded the wood down to a smooth finish and then covered it in a clear finishing wax.  The paint is all the original paint on the doors.  I simply love it and especially love the shelf he added so that I can create little arrangements of some of my favorite objects and change them out on a whim.  We have our wood stove burning from October until well into March and sometimes even April.  That means we go through a lot of firewood, so it is nice to have something so pretty holding our wood and a few of my favorite things.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Day Before


Tomorrow is the day.
October 31.
A day that no longer means Halloween to me, but marks the anniversary of a day that I will never forget.
A day that I remember every little detail of and play over and over again in my head.
I don't think that is normal, and after two years, I would think I would have learned to not do it still.
But......I haven't.

Tonight I will think about that last phone conversation.
Why I didn't notice something different other than a touch of tiredness in her voice.
Why our strong connection to each other, being the only females in the family, didn't alert me to something that was terribly wrong, brewing.

She comes to me often now, in my dreams.
I can see her completely..
I only use to be able to see her body and never her face.
In my dreams, I know she is gone, but has come back to tell me something.
I wish in my dreams, I could tell her all the things I need to say.
But I only listen to her.

Yesterday morning on my way to work, I was listening to Carbon Leaf.  One of my favorite songs, Block Of Wood, was playing.  I listened, really listened, to the lyrics and played it over and over again.  The sun was coming up over the mountain to the right of me, and there she was.  The sun always rises in the same place each morning on my way to work.  But somedays, not nearly as often as I would like, it is different.  It hits the right side of my face, through the car windows, and warms my skin.  It is in that moment that I know, it is her. 

Things are a little mixed up for me right now and I am working through some things.  Even though she can't do a thing about them, it's nice to know she is still there, trying to hold me up, as I muddle through it all. 

I love you mom and miss you more than I think you could have ever imagined I would.

Block Of Wood
Grab your heart we need to leave
There's no time to cry or grieve
For the fallen family tree

Rise above the flooding plain
Crouching low to duck the flame
Generations against the grain
Up in smoke and down the drain

If the fire, if the flood
Burns the tree and thins the blood
If your tears don't want to dry
I can help you cry
Through the night
Through the night and day
I can't your pain away
But I can help you cry

We'll cut the branch from this tree
Carve a place for you and me
A wooden seat that we can string
From a branch where we can swing

We'll take this block of wood
Carve it down and sand it good
When finished it will be
A souvenir of the family tree

And if the fire, if the flood
Burns the tree and thins the blood
If your tears don't wanna dry

I can help you cry
Through the night
Through the night and day
I can't take your pain away
But I can help you cry
Through the night
Through the night and day
I can't take your pain away
I can try but

God help me please
Come save the family tree
My friends I broke them all
When falling off the wall

In the ash I found an ember
Something warm to help remember
A block of wood that used to be
A strong tall family tree

A strong tall family tree
Blowing in the breeze

Cry through the night
Through the night and day
I can't take your pain away
But I can help you cry
Through the night
Through the night and day
I can't take your pain away
But I can help you cry


Lyrics taken from


Saturday, October 5, 2013

30 Years Later I Can Finally Say.........

Tonight, many of my high school friends will get together in my hometown, to celebrate 30 years of our graduating high school.  I won't be there to celebrate with them, but I have enjoyed catching up on Facebook with many of them.  So since I can't be there to talk about what life has brought to us over the past 30 years, I thought it would be a good subject to blog about. When I graduated from high school, I really was clueless as to what I wanted to do with my life.  I went away to college and chose a major in Physical Education.  Why?  I have no idea!!!!!  I had no idea what I wanted to do but had to pick something and that is what I chose.  That didn't last long.

This was me 30 years ago in my Senior Portrait:


 This photo really does just crack me up.  It so does not represent what I looked like in high school at ALL!!!!!!  I was not even allowed to wear make-up until I turned 18 but you would sure never know it from this photo.  I was also NOT allowed to color my hair or have a professional color my hair.  Clearly, this is not my natural hair color though.  I worked as a lifeguard during the summers and this particular summer I really, really wanted to have lighter highlights in my hair.  Knowing I couldn't go and have it done or get my friend Karin to do it, I took matters into my own sneaky hands.  I took a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, yep, the stuff you put on cuts, and poured it all over my hair while I was working at the pool, sitting in the sun and swimming in chlorinated water.  I was certain that it would give me the desired effect I was looking for and yeah, I was WRONG!!!!!  My hair was a lot longer than this picture shows, but I had a lot of it cut off so as to not have to look at so much horrible copper-brassy colored, dry, damaged hair.  My mom didn't say a word when I came home from work that day.  I guess she figured that my having to live with what I had done was enough punishment for me.  And of course, Senior Portraits were scheduled to be taken about two weeks after I had done this to myself.  I would forever have a photo to remind me of the error of my ways.  So between the heavy handed make-up the lady at Caston Studio put on my face and my horribly short, fake colored hair, I ended up with a photo that resembles someone I don't even know.

This was my high school picture the year before.  Notice I have on no make-up, my hair is pulled back and I put absolutely no effort at all into trying to look good for picture day.  Truth is, I remember completely forgetting it was picture day and I had on a hoodie sweatshirt all day because it was cold.  When they called my name to go down to have my photo taken, I just ripped off my sweatshirt, didn't brush my hair at all, sat down and smiled. Snap, picture was done.  We wore our cheerleading uniforms that day which is why I am wearing that sweater.  Funny thing is, this has always been my favorite photo of me in all of my years of school, besides maybe elementary school.  It looks like me, I was being myself and I was comfortable in my own skin.

"Comfortable in my own skin" is something I really never was in school.  I never felt like I fit in anywhere or with anyone.  I remember always feeling like I had to be someone different for every group I was with so that they would like me.  As a result, I never really had a "click" I belonged in.  I was just kind of friends with everyone but not really anyone's friend.  Actually, that isn't really true.  My best friend since I was 12 years old has been Karin, but at one point in high school, she dated one of my ex-boyfriends and he didn't want us being friends so I had a good 2 years or so of us not being able to hang out together or talk to each other, but that is another story.  (why do we as high school girls let boys control us like that?  so dumb!!!! ) 

My parents were really strict and that didn't help my social life any.  I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16 and I had a really early curfew, plus I had the fear of God instilled in me by my parents, so I didn't push the curfew thing or dare be late.  Don't get me wrong, I still pushed some limits, I just made sure I was done pushing those limits by 11:00 so I was home on time. I was not a saint for sure!
I met my high school sweetheart my senior year and he fell in love with me inspite of my awful hair :)  He had already graduated from my high school but took me to my senior prom and we dated for 5 years after that.  I broke up with him when I met the father of my 4 boys.  It wasn't a very pretty break up by anyone's standards, but I did do it in person, unlike today when kids send text messages or a tweet on twitter to let you know they are breaking up with you. 

I think the reason I was so quick to break up with my boyfriend was because I felt like I really was never going to be the type of girl he would want to marry.  He was working in the corporate world and I really didn't see me being the corporate wife.  I was too much of a free spirit for that and didn't think I would ever meet those standards.   Meeting someone who was from out of town and knew nothing about me gave me the chance to try to be as authentic as I could be.  And I was.  And that was enough.  For a while.

I went on to marry that man I broke up with my high school sweetheart for.  We were married exactly 1 year and 9 months later.  Looking back, it wasn't really a very long time to have been dating someone before you get married to them. When we met, he lived in Northern Virginia, I still lived in Richmond.  I packed up my belongings and moved to Northern Virginia 6 months after we met so I could be closer to him, we were engaged 6 months after that and married 9 months after that.  To make a 14 year long story short, let's just say that I gave birth to 4 AMAZING sons who are the reason for every breath I take.  I discovered that I am a really, really simple person who really, really loves life's simple pleasures.  I tried really hard to be the wife who loved wearing make-up, going out to social events, making small talk and talk about important worldly topics, but it just wasn't me.  I just really wanted to be at home with my kids and be good enough just as I was, not trying to be something I wasn't.  I had spent so many years of my teens and early twenties being someone I wasn't, I was tired of the game.  Some people are lucky enough to know exactly who they are, what they want and the path that they are going to take and stick with in life.  Then some, like me, take a little longer to find the confidence to believe in themselves and love themselves enough to not compromise any longer.  Don't laugh, but in Katy Perry's new song ROAR, she pretty much sums up how I spent the first, oh 38 years of my life.  These are the lyrics that ring so true to me:

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sit quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything
This is not a good way to live one's life and it brings a lot of sadness and heartache.  Being on my own was hard and I went through some really, really tough times that I don't wish on my worst enemy.  But when I came out on the other side, I was a new person who was ready to live my life as my authentic self since I had finally figured out who that was.  I was lucky enough to find a man who loves me for exactly who I am.  I told him all of my flaws and my past mistakes and dumped all of the baggage that comes with me at his feet and he didn't even flinch.  For once, because I finally was happy with the person I was, I was able to let someone love me completely and I wasn't afraid he would leave.  Robby has been my rock through some really tough times over the past 9 years that we have been together.  He loves my boys like they are his own and when my mom died 2 years ago this month, he watched me completely fall into a million tiny, little pieces and he patiently put all those pieces back together again with love and patience.  He loves me without makeup, doesn't mind that I don't want to color my hair anymore and am letting it go gray.  He is blind enough to think that the art I create is good and he is brave enough to eat anything I cook and place in front of him.  He helps me pursue my dream of raising free range, organic chickens and eggs and has promised we can have some more animals once I quit my job.  He helps me tend the very large organic veggie garden we have and even helps with the canning and preserving of all the extra we have.  Now, Robby is a hot blooded male and he does love it when every now and then I decide to put away my hippy, tree hugging, granola, crunchy-ways for a few hours and dress up a little, put on a little bit of makeup, wear my hair down and wear some shoes that aren't my Birckenstocks, hahahaha.  Lucky for me, getting dressed up to him means I can wear tight fitting jeans,  a blouse or sweater and my cowboy boots or a dress and my cowboy boots!!!  (gotta love those country boys)  We fit perfectly together, but it took me 38 years to find that perfect fit. 
Robby and I have been married for 3 years.  I am soooo happy I decided to be brave and get married again before my mom passed.  She loved Robby so much and knew how good he was for me and to me.  I truly believe our wedding day was one of the many, happiest days of her life and I am so glad she was here for it.  She certainly was surprised out how my life turned out and what it was that truly made me happy in the end.  She NEVER imagined I would live out in the country on 80 acres and have the dream of living off the land.  She certainly never thought I would grow to love cooking as much as I do considering I did not know how to cook one thing when I moved out of my parents house when I was 20.  I know it must have been so hard on her watching me take so long to "find" myself and settle down.  I have a gypsy soul and that is not easy for a parent to live with, I know, I have a son who has my same gypsy soul!!!!!  You never stop worrying about what will become of them. 
This is me today. My hair is only colored on the ends but that's because it is growing out from my last coloring job 2 years ago. The lovely "platinum" highlights are God's gift to me and I wear them proudly. And as you can see, I am not wearing makeup :)
And this is me wearing my favorite accessory, that ridiculously huge smile that appears very often and that I am proud to say, I am actually famous for :)  Okay, I admit, I did blow dry my hair straight this day.  Humidity was low and I wanted to change it up a bit, hahahaha.  By the way, I am so stinking happy in this photo because I scored two awesome vintage books to use in my mixed media art, for a whopping 50 cents a piece.  Now that will make this girl SMILE!!!!!!!

Wow, this has really turned into a long post and I am not sure it even went where I started out thinking it would go.  BUT, I do know the point was, I was reflecting on my life over the past 30 years.  It would be nice to have been able to go to my reunion tonight and talk to the people that knew me way back when.  I would love to know if any of them felt the same way I did in school and if it has taken any of them as long as it has taken me to get where I am happy with my life.  I guess that is part of the reason too that I didn't  make a bigger effort to go.  It is easy for me to chat on Facebook with people and they like what they see and read, but what if when I really showed up in person, I wasn't who they thought I would be?  I like to think that, that young, incredibly insecure Debbie is really gone, but I am not sure I am really ready to test it, hahahaha.  I know I wouldn't have the energy to change on the spot and be someone different, so they would just get what they get.  But on second thought, I probably should have gone because I am pretty sure they would all think I was just fine:) 
30 years later I can finally say......... I love myself, I love my life and I can't wait to see what the next 30 years have to show me.  Happy 30 Year High School Reunion to me and all of my 1983 J.R.Tucker High School classmates!!!!!!!!