No place for anything but gratitude on Thanksgiving…

Thanksgiving this year was just one of those events in my life where I said, Yep…can’t do anything about it…just get through it. Poof…seems as soon as I released my attachment to what it should be, what it’s always been, and stopped ruminating…I began to find some peace, joy and gratitude!

Except for the young hen turkey instead of a Tom….and too much sage in the dressing and not really understanding how much less milk is needed for Yukon yellow mashed potatoes rather than russets, the food was excellent and the 5 ingredient corn casserole was the best one ever and I did not miss the green bean casserole AT ALL (possibly the first holiday in 64 years without it).

I went with a tongue in cheek comment from our youngest daughter that we could just zoom while we all ate our meals in our 3 little units….so we set the IPAD up on the table and everyone zoomed in for our meal…our family time clocks are all different but this way we get to enjoy each other 3 times in the day. he and I have saved dessert for the next daughter’s meal and then we will get dessert the second time for the second daughter’s meal. We did this recipe except put it in a graham cracker crust.

Easy peasy. And our two year old Rhoads rolls in the freezer didn’t rise appropriately for the occasion, I did find that the drawer under the oven was a great place for them to do their best. It gave me the idea that in the future this will be a perfect place to keep food warm as I prepare a meal.

So with gratitude, my friends, we hold you all in love and light as we hold each other up!


Passing on the stairway

If you know me or have read my blogs before, you know that I was left with boxes and totes full of “stuff” when my parents passed. I’ve experienced many moments of angst wondering why they would hold onto this junk. But I’ve also had many moments of thanksgiving that they held into all of these treasures.

Last month, I spent a week entertaining my quarantined self going through totes and boxes looking at each picture and reading letter after letter from parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents of my parents. It was an incredible journey as I was able to glimpse my parents as young adults and better understand their lives and the lives of all of those relatives who went before me paving the path for me.

I found these two small bottles in one of the totes and placed them on a shelf in my office. I kept them out, mainly because they were old/cute/tiny. Although I have no frame of reference and I cannot read the small print other than Spice…I was thrilled that one of them still holds perfume from the past. This morning I took the cap off of the empty bottle and the scent IS STILL THERE! I realized (with a weird sense of connection) that I was savoring the scent of a feminine ancestors passing me on a stairway in a different place and time.

I am grateful for the blessings in my life!

Healing the mind in conversation

Our Spirit Group facilitator, Mary, helped me through an emotionally challenging, teary discussion by having me switch to referring to myself in the 3rd person rather than as I. Using this process (while cumbersome at first) really works in taking the sting out of words. Later on, during a counseling session, a therapist used the same method with He and I which made honest conversation easier to acknowledge.

Here’s an excerpt from an article I found from Psychology Today:

“When using third person or “non-first-person” pronouns during self-talk, you do not use pronouns such as I, me, or my. Instead, you speak to yourself (either in a hushed tone or silently inside your own head) using pronouns such as you, he, she, it, or your own first or last name. In recent years, a wide range of studies has found that third-person self-talk can improve emotion regulation and self-control by facilitating self-distancing and reducing egocentric bias

Years ago while learning to cope with and live with my relationship with my mother, I began to refer to her in conversations by her given name. While I absolutely did not have the gonads to call her Helen to her face, I recall the feelings of less lethal emotions when I gave myself permission to not refer to her with the beloved name of Mom. Of course, mom wasn’t actually the name she preferred…it was Mother. It’s highly likely that Mother is a loving name spoken from children to their beloved. But in my case it was a “formal” expectation which was another knife wound that separated mother and daughter.

In a FB conversation with a friend this morning, I referred to mom as Helen….and that’s what brought this whole train of thought coursing through my brain like a slow meandering stream. Use it if it feels good. We all have uncomfortably charged conversations

Until next time….

Annual Renewal

The loveseat enveloped my body last night when our day of Christmas celebration was over. There was the buoy effect as I tried to sink in but I was just too inflated to actually feel comfortable. “Why” I screamed in my brain as the melancholy set in. Now begins the day after Christmas.

Unlike several of my friends, I have never been the day after Thanksgiving shopper nor do I look forward to bargain shopping the day after Christmas. Manic buying, shopping, cooking, planning and the joy of Christmas decorations ends at sunset on Christmas Day. The week before The New Year has always been the week of renewed hope. I like to think of it as I have been loved and nourished on Christmas which gives me the courage for the “start over” week….and the new year!

So onward and upward…this beautiful sunrise reminds me I have my week of hope, love and renewal beginning.

Until next time…..

This morning

Preparing for Christmas Eve brunch.

  • Throwing the ingredients for monkey bread into the greased angel food cake pan, I reflected on how many times I have cringed while greasing the cake pan all the while wondering why you aren’t suppose to grease an angel food cake pan.
  • Wondered if my mother somehow knew I greased angel food cake pans which drifted into remembering my mother and Aunt Frances cooking every holiday meal together and even after 80+ years still arguing about it.
  • I had coffee with my dad (where ever he is) in his red and black Christmas flannel shirt and I repledged my undying love for him. My best qualities…the ones I don’t take credit for, I got from my dad.
  • Realized the Christmas cry was going to happen at some point today.
  • Made “company potatos” from a beloveds recipe and I hope she knows I miss her so much today!
  • Wondered if the girls and their families have the slightest idea how much I love and cherish them.
  • Turned on the cold water in the sink to rinse a dish and wondered if I just scalded “him” in the shower, felt bad, then snickered because he’s probably cursing.
  • Realized I am feeling so much gratitude for the love around me.
  • Commencing Christmas Cry.
  • Merry Christmas!
  • Imagine our surprise!

    At first glance, it appeared Katy and Adam went all out on wedding reception decorations.  On closer inspection, we found that the money spent was actually courtesy of:

    He rented the Court Avenue Bridge for a rally.   (Our niece, Ashley’s husband).

    Reception guests were greeted with upbeat music and mostly positive energy from the crowd!

    Kate and Adam’s friend and photographer, Scott Steen, captured the love at the reception….one of my favorite pictures includes this one……if you look closely you can see how much Jaxon enjoyed the photography session….he was looking for  rocks to throw in the river … Rocks, Rocks, don’t move rock….or ….. willing a huge blast of smoke so the guy and his camera would disappear…..POOF!

    ….and here’s our family

    Until next time…..

    My Sunday with Thomas the Train


    I cannot exactly say why…but seeing Thomas the Train in person was very exciting.  I suppose it is a movie star sort of thing…or perhaps just enjoying the simple things in life…

    Baldwin City, KS has this carnival like event organized so it is very painless for visitors.  We met Brenda and John, Jenny, Justin and Jaxon at the elementary school and boarded a school bus for the very short journey to the depot.  I always enjoy the little eye roll and expletive when Jenny and I arrive wearing similar clothes or similar pattern…but nothing prepares you for the little tickle of joy when you are wearing the similar bold stripes of your son-in-law!


    I adore this beautiful, innocent picture of Jenny and Jaxon!


    Aboard the 20 minute ride up and down the tracks with Thomas – first pushing – then pulling.


    Baldwin City has a very nice downtown area…Jaxon loved the fountain…Granny and Gramma aka NENE and NINA provided him with our stash of pennys for the fountain. A collection of rocks were placed in Nina’s purse for a trip down to the pond when he visits this week.


    John and Brenda headed to IKEA and the rest of us met at our nieces/cousin’s home in Shawnee,KS for dinner and to visit his Brother and sister-in-law visiting from Minnesota.  It was great to hang out with the fam.  Unfortunately the only picture I took was of the pan of brownies that Aaron made.  That just seems a little wrong…but actually they were very right!  Thanks, Aaron.


    Until next time….

    It was a really pleasant Monday….

    Angie – “my” nurse from Dr B’s office was my first conversation this morning – she called to tell me my blood tests from Friday all look excellent.  I’m actually feeling a little depressed and nauseated tonight and I know it is all mental.  I feel like I’m coming to the end of this diverticulitis run and may be getting closer to getting this left kidney out of me.  Jenny and I were reading about kidney cancer the other day and apparently there is a 10 – 12 percent chance that a kidney mass as big as mine may not be malignant once they get in there.  That’s like 10 people in a room with kidney cancer – one of them may end up being benign.  I’m going to kind of hold onto those statistics until I know something definite!

    Had lunch with Mike and Kim at Cracker Barrel in Liberty…they were traveling through from their visit with Amber and family in Oklahoma City.  It was a totally relaxing visit…and you can’t beat relaxing, loving people!

    Yesterday afternoon, he brought a sheet in from the garage, a little planer (I think that is what it is) and 3 sticks, planted himself on the coffee table.

    IMG_3699 IMG_3700 IMG_3704

    What are ya doin?

    Jaxon was out today.  Nails were pulling up on the decking…between the 3 of us – we got them hammered back down.




    Until next time….

    All you really have to do is get family together

    for entertainment.  I believe that several minute to minute happenings in my 3 days of Christmas could more than likely keep a movie audience enthralled for a year…Just the scenarios…not necessarily the events themselves.  I’m sure it is true in every family gathering…some stories or things that happen become the lore of many Christmas to come – passing down from generation to generation.  While I want to belly laugh my way thru some of these stories right now – I know that it would not be appropriate because what happens at Christmas needs to stay with Christmas…but a few stories may squeeze out to some of you privately.  I share/you share because after awhile you want to hear other family stories so you won’t fear your Christmas get-togethers with your family in the future. :0 you know what I’m talking about!

    I really hope Candyland is still a popular children’s game.  I had a fleeting memory yesterday of the many hours my dad spent playing candyland with me when I was a kid and I want to play the game with Jaxon.

    As I see the clean Christmas dishes sitting on the counter, I am trying to figure out what to do with them this year.  The boxes they came in 10 years ago are becoming tattered..still have good padding though??  I am so not the person who should be responsible for putting them away…I received very little of the attention-to-detail gene.

    I don’t know what we are going to do today to entertain ourselves..the Christmas let down.  I hope you all felt a little love this holiday season to get you thru the next few months of winter!  That and be sure to run some of those family stories around in your brain to cement them so you don’t forget them…

    Until next time….

    Hard decisions…

    Julie’s visitation was last night (Friday night) and our nephew’s wedding rehearsal and dinner was at the same time.  Same situation with today’s funeral and wedding.  I was feeling a lot of emotional angst as to what I should do last night.  My friend, Deb Williams, gave me what I believe was the best advice…she told me to be with my family.  Family comes first. So that is what I did.  I believe it was the right decision although my Katy said that she was sure the family would understand because people die and no one expects it.


    I love this picture…especially because it appears that we have a photobomber…That’s George…he is the oldest of the Brown brothers and he was sitting at the table with me.   In the background on the left is “him”, their brother Lee who is father of the groom.  Sean – the groom and his brother Ryan.  This is probably going to be the family event of the year…all of the cousins except one will be together in one place which is the first time since 1996 at their grandfather’s funeral. 

    Today Sean and Lindsay say, I DO.  Lindsay is already family but now we will get to call her Lindsay Brown…yay.

    He and I are relaxing this morning, I got up to get a cup of coffee away from our irritating Words of Wonder game on Facebook and the view of the backyard made me stop in my tracks.


    For a split second, I thought to myself…WHAT ARE WE DOING leaving this view.  I suppose if I didn’t have these thoughts something would be wrong with me.

    It’s going to be a great day…

    Until next time….