Monday, August 28, 2017

Let's try this blogging thing again!!

Yes, it's been awhile.  I've posted once in 2017!  I don't have a good reason, either.  So let's catch up...
I retired from East Leyden High School in January.  So many times you hear people who have retired tell you that you know when it's time.  And so many things in my life were changing that it became very clear to me over the holidays.  So it was an incredible goodbye that started as a little conversation in the dean's office and quickly grew to epic proportions.  But it was an amazingly emotional day!  I have been extremely blessed to work with wonderful people at Leyden, and as they say, you don't miss the job, you miss the people.

So with that free time, I first planned a trip to see my Texas Sisters!  Long overdue and desperately needed!  Oh, how I love these girls!!  Laughs throughout the week!!
Yep, the pic is a bit dated!  The laughs are not!
Then there was a trip to Arkansas to visit PG's daughter and the love of her life!  Went fishing on the Little Red River and caught my first fish.  Life on the river...pretty much outstanding!!!
Yeah, I'm not touchin' it!!
Jill, Steve, and my PG
Next up was a trip to Florida to spend a few days with my middle sister.  She's dealing with some health issues and my youngest sister and I decided we needed to make it a road trip.  And because I'm an early riser and middle sister lives 15 minutes from the ocean, I drove down to take in a few sunrises.'s been a while since we've returned, but I'm haunted by the beauty and peace I feel watching the sun rise!  Even if it was behind clouds.
Road Trip!!
Atlantic Sunrise!
And I have resurrected the Cubs fan in me.  Long ago, I put it to sleep because I was convinced that I was a jinx.  When I watched, they lost.  I've decided it's not on my shoulders.  As a result, I have enjoyed each and every game (win or lose, but flying the W is so much sweeter).  And I took in a game with my BFF and Susu!!  A great W, great seats, and just a holler from my guy, Rizzo!!    
Hanging with these two is so fun!!
See all those seats behind us?  Yeah, our seats were AWESOME!
Then, of course, there was the solar eclipse on August 21st.  So when you have the time and can make some last minute decisions to travel south to the path of totality, why wouldn't you?  Okay, so it wasn't last minute, but I found out we were incredibly lucky to have stopped where we were because we actually experienced a cloudless totality.  I wish I could find the words to describe the feeling I had during that.  All I've got is a picture or two.
Totality 8/21/17
Grassy area minutes before totality
Grassy area during totality (zoomed in)
So what's next?  Well, a short trip to Switzerland with my BFF, Murph.  We'll be living like the locals while we visit Murph's OTHER BFF, Andrea!   Ohhhh....this will be epic!!!
Looking forward to a few days of living like a local in Switzerland!
And during this time, I've been volunteering for The Unity in Community Foundation. I've been using my talents to get letters out to sponsors, work on the foundation's website, and other behind-the-scenes things to get ready for their annual fundraiser/food drive on September 9th.  Yeah, I'm not going to let those skills I excelled in while working get rusty!  Anyway, this year we are raising funds to help a local resident in need of a kidney transplant.  You can get more information here.  There's even an online auction that will end at 3 p.m. on the day of the event.

So, if you are looking for a date night on Saturday, September 9th from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., show up at the Underpass Lounge in Franklin Park.  Tickets are $20 and that gets you entry into the door prize as well as great food by Chef Armando, served by some of the best Advanced Catering students you'll ever meet!  You'll also have an opportunity to bid on the silent auction items, enter raffles for things like wine, gift cards, services, as well as enjoy the music and laughter of hanging with those who come out for our community.  C'mon out and support our community.  Hope to see you there!!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Celebrating a Birthday!

38 years ago today was the first day of the most important job I have ever held.  It's a job I hold to this very day.  I've had other jobs during this time, but those weren't full time jobs.  I only worked 40-50 hours a week at those jobs.  But this most important was 24/7.  38 years ago, I became a Mom.

We celebrated my son's birthday yesterday, and I was trying to tell my kids that even though we are celebrating THEIR birthdays, it's still a bit of a celebration for me.  Every year, I walked down memory lane thinking about the 24 hours prior, labor, and birth.  It doesn't stop there.  I think about the fun times throughout their lives.  I think about whether there were times I would have handled things differently, knowing what I now know.  I think about whether they are living their passion. Whether there is still something I could do for them to help them live life more fully.

Yes, my son is 38.  One would think I can stop being a Mom.  And to that I would say, "Never."  Can any mother really say that you get over wanting what's best for your kids?

And then they go and have kids of their own.  So you also want to see the grandkids live life to the fullest.  Yeah, this job never ends.  But it's been the most important and rewarding job of my life. And I'm so glad I decided to say yes to the job offer!!

Happy Birthday, Jim!  
I love you with all my heart!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

One Little Word - 2017

Since 2009, with the exception of two years, I found One Little Word that would be part of my guidance system for the year.  It all started with a blog post by Ali Edwards in 2007 in which she said, "A single word can be a powerful thing.  It can be a ripple in a pond that changes everything.  It can be sharp and biting or rich and soft and slow."  Usually, my word finds me.

In the past, I've had Gratitude, Serenity, Simplify, Truth, Create, and Curiosity.  Some have carried me through the year and others didn't play a big part.  For 2017, I'm looking forward to the guidance of my word. I'm looking forward to how things will be affected in my life when I practice and embrace
Image from
pa·tience  /pāSHəns/   noun

  1. the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
  2. the ability to continue doing something for a long time without losing interest, especially something difficult.   

2017 will also be the year I retire from a pretty neat job.  I've been incredibly lucky to have good bosses throughout my working career, and the one I have now is the best!  But it's time.  Everyone who willingly retires will tell you that you know when it's time.  And the time for me is now.  I've got a lot of things that are pulling at me right now.  Things that just might let me use my one little word this year.

One last thing before I go...I purchased an amethyst necklace from my friend Liz' Etsy shop.  It just spoke to me. And for some reason, I thought the amythest was my birthstone so why wouldn't I buy it.  Turns out that it's not my birthstone, but when I researched what the amethyst helps with, impatience was one thing mentioned.  See how that word you choose keeps coming up?  This happens to me every year.

So, I shall keep you posted on how I'm doing with my patience practices!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

I started this post after right after the Cubs won the NLCS games.  I'm posting it after they won the World Series, but I like where the message was going.
Generally speaking, I don't spend a lot of time watching sports.  I used to say that I was bad luck for the Chicago Bears.  Every time I watched, they lost.  I didn't have a lot of patience to sit and watch a whole Cubs game, so I didn't.  Believe it or not, it never dawned on me to watch highlights.  (Yeah, I really need to talk more about the Cubs with my BFF and die-hard Cubs fan, Murph).
White Sox?  Well, I grew up on the Nort' side so being a Sox fan was never something that was even considered.  Hockey?  Loved it when I was much younger, once my ex-husband taught me about the game.  Then I lost interest when there were too many fights.  Found my love for the game again after watching one of our students, Brody Roybal, as part of the gold medal winning team in the Sochi Paralympics Sledge Hockey games.

I bring all this up because I have reduced my already shortened sleep schedule by getting totally hooked on the Cubs.  Some may call me a bandwagoner.  I'm fine with that.  But here's the thing. This team has an energy that is beyond anything we've seen before.  And you can feel it!!  And it feels like it all stems from their manager.  I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Joe Maddon meditates every morning.  He's just so calm.  And c'mon, what kind of manager would just tell one of his players, when asked for any more advice, "Try not to suck."  He's just so ... great!  I get the feeling he meditates.  He's just so calming.  Watching the way these guys interacted was fun.  I think it was what we needed during this ugly election season.
So here we are after their come-from-behind World Series win, after the parade honoring them, after a week of not too much sleep for what is probably half the Chicagoland, no make that nation's population (cuz there's Cubs fans everywhere).  BFF got to see them win in game 7.  I couldn't have wished anything more for her.  I just may get back into baseball next spring!!  And I might even start watching the Bears.  God knows they couldn't be doing any worse.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Mother Nature vs. Big Pharma

I am a Wellness Advocate for doTerra essential oils.  I've been dipping my toes in the essential oils pool for a little over a year now.  As with most people I know, my life is busy and runs in many directions.  But I find that when I take the time to come back to learning about the oils, my life is a little less crazy.  And I really, really want to share some of the information that comes my way.

Let me start with my latest Ah-ha moment.  My oldest brother and I took a road trip down to see my youngest brother in Kankakee this week.  My oldest brother has Parkinson's disease and, as with most Parkinson's patients, deals with tremors.  Early in the roadtrip, he reached for his meds and roughly 20 mins. after taking them, the tremors stopped.

I told him about a video I saw on Facebook about a man who also had Parkinson's and he vaporized cannabis oil.  20 mins. later, the man's tremors stopped.  My brother asked, "Temporary?"  Yes, it was temporary.  "Well, I get the same things from my meds already."

Here's where the lightbulb went off in my head.

Okay, not so much the lightbulb, but a real world correlation that I can relate to.  Something I can tell others on why using essential oils is so important to me.  My brother could likely achieve the same effect using plant-based, organic oils instead of synthetic meds that often have side effects.

We live side-by-side with plants.  We live off the fruits and vegetables that these plants provide. We use plants to flavor our foods. We can decompose plants and create earth.  Trees take up our expelled carbon dioxide and provide us with oxygen.  There's a reason we live and breathe and ENJOY our relationship with plants.

So why is he reluctant to consider using it?  I think it's because Big Pharma has managed to have people believe that what gets created in a lab is better than what Mother Nature creates.

I'll be the first to admit that sometimes I just don't connect the dots as quickly as I should.  Just check out the video called "What is an Essential Oil?" on my doTerra website at  It's basically saying the same thing I'm saying here.  But if you stop and just think about our need for plants, just that alone, it makes sense that their existence in our lives is beneficial for all.

Okay, I've rambled long enough.  But I'm not done, so expect more posts about this.  It's a growing passion.  And those who know me well will tell you that when the passion grows, I become more vocal!!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

QR Code? - No Thanks!

As you probably know, I'm nearly a fanatic when it comes to wanting companies to CLEARLY label whether or not their product contains genetically modified (genetically engineered) product.

The U.S. House and U.S. Senate did a "great" job of pushing through a bill that would mandate that the FEDERAL law is followed above a state's law when it comes to labeling.  It is currently on the President's desk, awaiting his signature.

In essence this is what the bill calls for: Each product will have a QR code on it's packaging.  Those who are lucky enough to carry a smartphone (and have decent enough cell coverage AND data minutes available), can scan that code to find the information they are looking for.  That is, AFTER they add the QR code scan app to their phone. It will look something like this:  (if you scan this, it'll bring you right back to this same blog post.)

Here's the thing.  I don't really want to legislate or control what companies put in their products.  But I don't want them to have the ability to pull the wool over my eyes.  I want to make informed decisions on the foods I buy.  For myself and my family, I choose to not use genetically modified foods whenever possible.

So here's my solution to the issue: If a product has a QR code and nothing more stating whether or not it contains GMO (genetically modified organisms) or GE (genetically engineered), I just won't buy it.  I'm hoping others decide the same.  If you're changing your label ANYWAY, to conform to the new law, add the simple text as well.  If not, bye-bye.  I'm not interested in wasting the time to find out about your product.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Embracing Love and Peace

I've mentioned this before. I don't watch the news. When the channel gets switched to the news in my house, I leave the room. I won't listen or watch the political channels and I won't get into discussions about any of it. That's not to say I don't know what's going on. I do. I just don't expose myself to the details. It gets in the way of my path in life, and that's to be positive and grateful, and to choose love and peace.
I will say that this week, it was difficult. Such violence in the headlines make my heart heavy. I was truly grieving for humankind. And I found it was hard to let it go.

I love these words by Martin Luther King:
"Returning violence with violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." 
A few years ago, I read something (and it bothers me that I cannot remember the author) about starting small (in your own backyard) if you want to change the world. That's what I'm doing. I'm choose to find and embrace the good in this world.  If you listen to the news, you'd be inclined to doubt whether you can find any good. There's plenty. Just don't count on the media to show you.

Go out and experience it yourself. Smile first. See what comes back at you. Assume that the driver who is taking that parking spot you were waiting for has just received some bad news. Just make the assumption there's good in everyone and I'm pretty sure you'll find it in most.  And you'll be kinder and gentler for it.

Love and Peace, my friends.  Love and Peace. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

My Bit Part to Foster Peace and Joy

In this sure to be, (what's the word I'm looking for?) bizarrest? political season coming up, we can already see all kinds of ugliness (yes, that's the word I'm looking for) thrown around.  We see plenty of it already on Facebook.

I've decided I'm not going to play on that court. But I'm not walking away from Facebook because I do find some joy.  And I'll be sharing those joyful posts.  Whether it's pictures of my grandkids,
Little Miss as Anna (Frozen) 
Mr. C finds a frog in his back yard

or gratitude proclamations,

or songs that make you realize there's a lot of RIGHT in this world,

I'm going to stay positive.  I'm going to exude positive.

As I've said before, over and over (borrowed from

And with some luck, this will spread and we'll bring more peace and joy to our world.  We need it right now.  And it's within each of us to make it happen.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Keeping in Touch

Has this ever happened to you?  All of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, a friend you haven't heard from in a while comes to mind.  It's not like you kept in constant contact with them, but every few years, you'd touch base.  

That happened this week.  So as I usually do, I did a Google search seeing if there's info on where she might be living.  And I found an obituary.  My heart sank!  Totally caught off guard.  And I'm sorry I didn't know sooner.  I'm sorry I didn't have an opportunity when her loved ones were grieving most, to tell them what she meant to me.  
Carolee Long Thomas - 1943-2013
A friend, a mentor, an angel.
You see, she's one of those people that have such an impact on someone's life that she's unforgettable. She recognized something in me when I worked with her at AT&T, then called me when there were openings at Verizon.  I honestly would not be where I am today had she not opened some doors for me.  And now she's gone  I have no regret about not telling her, because I did. She was my mentor and friend. She called me her angel.  I went back and found the last email exchange and cried my eyes out.  

So why am I telling you this?  Because I realized that I went through a silent time with friends where I didn't reach out, didn't answer emails.  I don't know why. I didn't journal at the time. I'm sure it was some sort of depression.  But I'm back. Reaching out is important to me. I'm hoping to blog more. I want to honor the friendship I had with Carolee to make sure I don't go into some lapse again.  And if that happens to you, reach out to someone.  Just one person who will protect you when you need it most, but will understand until you are ready to blossom again.  I'm just sorry I missed reaching out to her one last time!  
Rest in peace, my friend!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Do You Like To Read?

Do you make time to read?

I love to read, but I go in spurts where I make the time each day to read a little.  At the top of my stack right now is "Rising Strong" by Brené Brown.
Love her books, love her Ted Talks. I'm a fan. She's just so AUTHENTIC!!

The last book I read (and HIGHLY recommend for my creative buddies and creative wannabes) was "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Another good one. By the end of the book, you'll be calling her "Liz" like she's an old friend.

My home is one with lots of books.  Sometimes, they are books I am not really all that interested in reading, but my PG sees them and asks me to pick them up for him.  Always with a promise to read them.  But he never gets around to it, saying he never has time.  I, on the other hand, try to make the time.  I find that I bounce between making art, meditation, and reading.  I'm still trying to find the mix that works where I get them all in, but that's still a work in progress.

But I've given a lot of thought as to why my PG has difficulty making time to sit and read.  Then I found this article by Jess Burnquist.  It nearly moved me to tears.  If you love or hate to read, it's a great article to check out and to help you understand those who don't like to read.

Tomorrow starts spring break!  I'm taking the entire week to get ready for gardening, do some reading, get back to meditation, and just address the things that I love.  Yeah, there will be some binge watching, too.  But I'm okay with that.  I can multitask when I binge watch.  Maybe I'll blog a little, too.