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There are few people in the world who will remember you as a kid.  Your parents and grandparents, of course, and siblings, naturally.  Some choice friends, maybe. But what happens when your grandparents and then your parents have passed. Your sibling is a boy and you are a girl, and things were just different in the perspective of growing up as you knew it. And now you are getting up there in years and feel far from and have trouble remembering the little kid you used to be from way back when.

Then you go to a wedding, and there she is.  Your cousin. The cousin who rode two buses from Trenton and wound up on your doorstep on a hot July morning at 9 am with a shopping bag stuffed with clothes for her week stay at your house. The cousin who spent the summer with you chasing boys, playing card games, swimming in the pool and talking deep into the night about nothing at all that meant everything in the world at the time.  Who spent each and every holiday with you. Who sat outside on the steps of your grandparents row home in their Polish neighborhood sharing your hopes and dreams, talking about boys and eating penny candy without a care in the world except when the holiday dinner would be ready and whether Grandmom made her famous lemon meringue pie. That cousin whose mom was your mom’s sister and best friend.  Whose mom was your godmother. And she is the soul sister who knows you better than most.

Years have passed since you’ve last seen her, and yet you pick up where you left off like it was yesterday.  That cousin who makes you laugh so hard you cry and raises a glass with you as you reminisce about the puny, stupid little kids you used to be and the games you played and your mutual weirdnesses, including boys. You joke about your families and remember things you thought you had forgotten long ago. You spend the night head to head talking about this one and that one, and you are kids all over again.  No one knows your history quite like she does, and no one ever will.  You connect with your past like a time machine, and there is comfort and coziness in the feeling of being back where you used to be way back when in your mind.

She is your number one.  No matter what has happened in between nor how far away you live, she is the one who knows you best.  She’s the one who can make you belly laugh til you cry than sob like a baby when its time to say goodbye, not really knowing when you’ll see her again because distance is the enemy. She’s the one who will always be connected to your heart like no other. She’s my “Cuz.” And I love her with all my heart. XOXO








We’re missing our Bailey this morning…Mr. Personality. One moment he was running around full of life; the next he was on his side gasping his last breath. Life is fragile. We’re not exactly sure what happened, but after 11 years of laughing at his gregarious antics and comical presence, the house is still. His mom cat and brother search for him. They can’t understand where he went. Sadness engulfs us. It doesn’t seem fair that his life was so short, leaving us with an aching void and hole in our hearts.

Brother Brindle with Bailey on the right.

Brother Brindle with Bailey on the right.

Losing a beloved pet is one of life’s most difficult tasks. It’s always too soon. The source of our quiet comfort and companionship is gone. The warmth of their bodies on our lap and sweet purring has grown cold and been silenced. We weep at the loss of this love, this creature comfort, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

For now we will move on and go through the motions of life trying not to cry. We will often lose that battle, but we’ll dream about the day when he and our other furry friends that have passed will greet us in a loftier place. They’ll run to us and jump on our laps, purring softly as we pet their sweet heads, mending our broken hearts and filling us with joyous celebration.



The most wonderful, albeit craziest time of the year is upon us…somewhere between Halloween and New Year’s Day. This is the most hectic period when we will run around and exhaust our fleeting energies in preparation for the holidays. We will more than likely not take the time to stop and smell the roses. And when it’s all said and done we will look back and say either “that was the best time,” or more likely, “is that all there is?”

I have lived most of my life in anticipation of what would come tomorrow. I have to tell you that I’ve missed or have not appreciated a lot of what happened in the present while I was busy looking to the future. Sort of like the quote in John Lennon’s, “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” Life happens while you’re making other plans. I was a big dreamer who had lofty ideas of how my life was going to turn out. Some of those dreams came true, but most did not. Shooting for the stars was not what it was all cracked up to be. Sometimes when I look back in my “coulda, woulda, shoulda” mind-set, I wonder about how I could have lived those days differently in the now, instead of wasting time dreaming about the tomorrows. I wonder about the life that happened and how I could have appreciated it more by living with a different mind set in the present.

dogs-flowers_102227Well, it’s too late for me to look back, and it’s nothing but a waste of time anyway. These days I try really hard to concentrate on what is happening right now. Little things that make me happy like my grandsons’ laughter when I do something that they think is funny (which is usually something simple since they are only eighteen months old!). Or breathing in the cool air on a crisp autumn morning. Today is a prime example. It’s absolutely gorgeous outside. Or cooking a delicious pot of chicken soup – nothing beats that aroma wafting through the house. How about the taste of a freshly baked apple pie? Or your dog’s silly smile as she romps in the park? A phone call from an old friend you haven’t heard from in a while? The snow silently falling and covering everything in perfect white?

As we frantically rush through our holiday preparations, all I ask is that you just stop yourself from time to time and just breathe. Take a break from the shopping and the baking and cooking and decorating and look around you. Observe your family for a moment as they gather around the table. Where would we be without them? Savor the tastes of the season. Breathe in the scents. Join in the laughter. Don’t make it all about the work. Enjoy the play. Have some fun. Because before you know it, these will be the good old days.




Old Friends

like bottles cast out to sea

in time, though lost

and tossed

and searching

somehow always find their way to shore again.


Memories are too strong

bittersweet years

filled with laughter and tears

they live on.


Years pass…yet time stands still

Everyone grows…yet nothing has changed

You turn around and yesterday’s child is still there

the people the same

the warmth alive

the love aglow

and I’m thankful to know

that the good memories outweigh the bad

and the happy times more than the sad are remembered.


As life goes on and people fade in and out

I realize more and more

that the oldest friends are the dearest

and the times we shared the most cherished

and our lives together

have only mellowed and aged

like fine vintage wine.




It’s been a week since I had to make the decision to say farewell to my cat, Booie He had been sick for a little over a month, and I kept hoping he would get better. In the end the cause ended up being liver failure. I prayed to God to take him naturally because making a decision to end an animal’s life is so very hard in all of its emotions. But that was not to be the case. People say it’s the kindest thing you can do for your ailing pet, but I’m torn on that one. But he is now free from his suffering.

Booie was one third of the “Three Amigos” that became a part of my family 11 years ago. His Mom, Meow-Meow, wandered by our house one day when we lived in the country, and she never left. She had a litter of kittens shortly thereafter, and she and her two sons, Booie and Colin have been part of my family ever since. It’s been wild and crazy with them, and Booie wasn’t the easiest cat in the world to love. He was skittish and hyper and hid more often than not. He survived and adjusted to three moves in his lifetime, and only got really friendly and cozy in the last year. Although he was odd, I loved him just the same. He’s left a void in the house, and the two other cats often search him out. It’s heartbreaking to watch.

Three Amigos

Three Amigos


Molly, Skylar and Shana

I’ve been an animal lover since my earliest recollection, which is four years old. I was highly allergic to cats as a youngster, but still insisted on rescuing a white cat that was hanging out around our house. Since I couldn’t take it into our house, I had grand ideas to build him/her a little wooden house in our yard and even gathered a few pieces of wood for the project. I don’t know what ever happened to that cat. I think it must have been owned by someone in the neighborhood because I never saw it again.



My first dog Gigi lived to a ripe old age of 16. She was always at my side like Lassie. She followed me wherever I went, which was kind of neat. She never wandered from my side, sort of like a guardian angel. I was 6 when I got her and 22 when she passed. She is the only pet I’ve had that went naturally and peacefully of heart failure. Since then I have had a barrage of pets, mostly rescues, that have brightened my life with so much joy. I can still remember each and every one with such fondness: Chipper, Peaches, Tasha, Spike, Shana, Wendy, Molly, Ozzy and Skylar. They mostly came in twos, sometimes threes. All quirky and funny and full of love.

Shana and Wendy

Shana and Wendy

Molly, Ozzy, Skylar

Bella, Ozzy, Skylar


I really don’t understand people who don’t like animals. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I feel happiest when I’m surrounded by my pets. In fact, I’d rather spend time curled up with my dog and two cats more than anything else these days.

And I can’t help to think that some day, if I’m lucky enough to have lived my life well enough to enter the pearly gates, I will be greeted by all my furry and feathered friends. I imagine that they’ll run to me, tails wagging feverishly as they circle me prancing and frolicking around me, ecstatic to see me as much as I will be to be with them again.

I’ll be surrounded by their love once more…that’s my hope and dream anyway.


My angel Molly




greatest…just happened to come in two!

From the late-night phone call nervously announcing their impending premature birth, to running frantically through the airport barefoot (no time to put my shoes back on) as I try frantically to catch the next plane to Florida, to the long ride to the hospital and past the four security checkpoints, to the maternity room for my first “love at first sight moment” with these two precious little baby boys, I’m hooked. Twin grandsons! Imagine that?!? Doubly blessed! Twice the love!

Now I’m this grandmom-type person called “Mimi.” As any grandparent will tell you, there is absolutely nothing that can describe that proverbial soft spot you immediately develop in your heart the first time you see them and hold them. As you breathe in their sweet scent, the joyful tears pour from your eyes as a knot forms in your throat. You remain speechless, sobbing uncontrollably as you kiss their precious, little heads for the first time and gaze at them in wonder.

I have to tell you this brand new role as granny is pretty darned cool! It’s indescribable. It’s the next best thing to becoming a parent, only better! This all-encompassing capacity to love is surprising, especially coming from a jaded heart that’s almost given up on love. I’ve turned into a pile of mush, wanting to do nothing else but cuddle them in my arms and protect them from the big, bad

A few months have passed since that miraculous day they entered this world. They’ve already grown in such leaps and bounds. I’m trying to slow life down so I can savor every tiny milestone, but it’s not working. I miss them when I’m not with them.  The moment I leave their house, I want to go back because I’m afraid I might miss something. The tug on my heartstrings is awful.  The greatest joy so far is the big toothless grin I get when they see me. Do they really recognize me?!  I feel like a rock star. Be still my leaping heart as my cup runneth over with love! I melt into a puddle when I hear their baby babblings as they discover their voices, which startles them at first. I can hardly take the preciousness, if that is a word. It’s just so priceless!

I’d like to gush on, but for your sake I won’t. So much more is yet to come, and I can’t wait until tomorrow to see what they’re up to and to report on their adventures!  Mostly, I can’t wait to see how long I can continue to travel on this earthly journey to watch them grow into the very best men they can be. Their parents will make sure of that. God willing, I’ll be here to see for a very long time to come.

But for now, all I want to do is rock them and sing them sweet lullabies as they contentedly suck on their bottles, looking up at me wide-eyed and curious with those big blue eyes.  They’re probably wondering who this lady is. What do you think, kids?! Just call me Mimi!



Because You Can


Do you ever consider doing something simply because you can?

I read a phrase this morning from my daily devotional describing an early morning wake-up call from a bird just outside an open window. The bird tweeted (literally) softly breaking the silence of the night. With that, he/she led the way for all the other birds that slowly followed suit filling the air with the reverberation of a melodious cacophony. The writer made the observation that the bird sang simply because he could and led the way for a symphony of nature’s orchestra at their finest.

Consider all the things you do in a day that you take for granted. Getting out of bed, making your breakfast, driving your car, working, taking care of your children, walking, running, biking, swimming.  Some of these things others can’t do and wished they could.

We are all given specific gifts and talents that were especially designed just for us.

Take me, for instance.I love to write. Good, bad or indifferent, it comes to me fairly easily. I get an idea and usually go for it. So I write because I can. A doctor heals because he/she can, a teacher teaches, a fisherman fishes, a salesperson sells, a dancer dances, a government official leads, mothers have children, all because they can. On and on it goes. Every person you come in contact with follows suite. Not only every person, but every being. Birds sing and fly, fish swim, cats meow, dogs bark…you get the picture. It comes naturally. It’s a gift.

What a travesty it would be not to use the gifts you have been blessed with simply because you choose not to. Consider the alternative.  What would happen if the morning songbirds decided not to sing…how eerily quiet.  Or the sun didn’t rise…how dark and depressing.  Or you couldn’t walk or see or hear or be a productive being on the earth?

Are you doing something simply because you can? I hope so. You never know what a beautiful, melodious cacophony it will lead to.  One you actually start and are part of, so just try.  Just do it.  Because you can.




Well, it’s here…Christmas Eve. By this time tomorrow, the festivities will be just about over.  The gifts unwrapped, the food eaten, the libations poured. Months of hurried preparation and anticipation will wind down to a relaxing yawn and feet up on the couch.

This year is a quiet one for me, unlike years past when my kids were young. Life has evolved into a solitary calm where I have the time to ponder the meaning of this magical night. Right now there is a soothing silence, and while I’ll still recall with fondness the craziness and excitement of Christmas’s past, I’ll enjoy the contented peace of right now.

I took a walk early this Christmas Eve morning and admired the beauty of the sunrise. Amidst the pandemonium of wondering about the Christmas of this year, I turned around to walk back and spied the full moon lazily drifting into the invisibility of the morning light.  With all the gaiety of the season and serious maddening rush, the fact that nature carries on serenely with the rising of the sun and setting of the moon, with birds flying, rabbits scurrying and deer peering through the brush is somehow heartening.  It is ageless and has been evolving in this manner since the beginning of time.


Years and years ago on Christmas Eve, even before Andy Williams sung about “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” a poor couple made their way in the cold night, wife riding on a donkey, husband leading the way through the darkness to a stable with a manger filled with hay. A Baby was born that night without the creature comforts of a warm bed. His parents didn’t have fancy food to eat or hot chocolate to drink or a place for them to sleep comfortably. There was no music or gaiety or parties to attend.  There was only the shadowed night and the sky filled with brilliantly shining stars, maybe a moon, and the warmth of the barn animals.  There was the promise of the sunrise of a brand new world where Our Savior would finally bring us the supreme present of redemption.

I ask you to find time to pause this Christmas Eve and think about what this sacred night is really all about. It’s not about having the biggest, most beautifully decorated tree. It’s not about the rich foods or the sweet cookies or the egg nog or the right gifts festively wrapped and placed strategically under the tree.

It’s about somehow finding a way to give thanks to Jesus for His sacrifice of coming to this earth as a fragile Baby without the comforts of wealth, with only nature surrounding Him, in order to save us.

On this Silent Night, this Holy Night, I wish you peace and joy and the insight to be truly thankful for the ultimate gift of Jesus.

Thanksgiving Reflections


ThanksgivingThanksgiving is the time, of course, for giving thanks, and you don’t have to think very hard or look very far to start counting your blessings. I like to consider myself a thankful person, even in the face of adversity. I’m not always as positive as I should be, but I’m thankful.  When I was a young girl, I used to make a little production about writing my blessings down on paper on Thanksgiving Day.  They would be simple, something like:  Thank you for my mom and dad and brother and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. Thanks for Gigi my dog who follows me wherever I go.  Thanks for my best friends Gayle and Tommy. Thanks for our color TV.  Thanks for my teacher Miss McGurk…I really like her a lot. It was all very simple and to the point because at that age you don’t think into the depths of what true thanks entails.

As the years have unfolded, giving thanks on Thanksgiving Day has become deeply reflective and maybe a bit more complicated. Not everyone gets to live in that Norman Rockwell painting depicting the perfect Thanksgiving. I’m embarrassed to say that some years, depending on where I am at that point, I become a bit arid on the subject. Circumstances like the loss of loved ones or financial blows or job changes that didn’t turn out for the better or health problems or loneliness.  I’m sure others who are going through the ups and downs of life may have similar feelings. It’s just that sometimes our perspectives get strained and fuzzy, and it’s hard to imagine that things will ever get better, even though they usually do.

At these times I like to try really hard to look at my daily life and at the little things that make me happy.  It mostly revolves around nature and pets.  Like admiring a gorgeous pink and blue sunrise over the bay or making wishes on the thousands of brilliantly twinkling stars in the clear night sky.  Enjoying the splendor of a full, round blue moon. I admire the spectacular magnificence of the ocean or the colorful array of autumn leaves or the ability to breath in the clear cool air on my daily walks. I snuggle with my pets who make me laugh as I enjoy their amusing antics. I try to savor good food and try new recipes. Mostly, I try really hard not to dwell on the “what ifs?”  It’s not always easy.

So, if I can offer a suggestion to those who need a boost on this Thanksgiving Day, if you’re losing hope…give thanks that tomorrow is a brand new day to begin again.

If you think you’ll never get ahead financially, give thanks that you have enough for this day.

If you’re lonely, have faith that you never know what surprises may be in store for you.

If you have a roof over your head and heat to keep you warm on these frigid winter nights, remember you are luckier than many.

If you’re sick, be hopeful in your doctor and medicine and that in time it will get better.

If you’ve had a good dinner and your belly is full, you are truly blessed.

If you can get up in the morning and move at all, try to remember there are those who can’t.

Minimize the negative; accentuate the positive, even when it takes all the strength you can muster up to do so. And just keep it simple.

For my expanding family, friends and loved ones. My faith. My crazy pets.  A place to live. My health. Work. Good food.  Creature comforts.  The beauty of nature. The promise of hope. In all of this I give thanks to my dear, sweet, generous God.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.