Happy (Birthday) Friday!

It’s my big day. It’s the day I get to remember where I’ve been and think about where I’m going. I’m moved by the greetings and phone calls, texts, messages, FB Posts, it’s really fun. I appreciate it so much. Thank you all.

It’s just been a beautiful day so far. We went to the garden center. A couple of bucks later, I have two hydrangeas to plant, one is supposed to be 5 – 7 feet high! Holy smokes! Another one is a little dwarf at 18 inches to 24 inches. It’s a replacement plant. A mum bit the dust, so the hydrangea will replace it. So we unloaded the car, and now is a steady rain, just enough to hang inside. And it’s fine with me. We went to lunch at Addy’s for their Monster BLT and it was great. Socially distanced, of course. And now, it’s home time.

The older I become, the more I remember past birthdays. As a young couple we sure didn’t have any $$ leftover. Mothers Day and my birthday fell in the same pay period. I had to choose which event I wanted a card for. I left it up to the kids. The ex would get a coffee cup, put clothespins in it, and the kids were so proud to present it to me. Their little faces always brighten up. Good memories.

When I turned 40, those kids gave me a great gift. We lived in a different house. When I went to bed the night before, they blew up 40 black balloons, and stuffed them inside my 1989 Pontiac Grand Am. They fell out when you opened the door. I left them in the car, I had a chuckle all day at work. A young guy helped me out to the car with my stuff that night, in the rain, him carrying my birthday cake, me holding an umbrella over his head. The balloons fell out in the puddles by the car. I about died laughing. Great memory!

These are the really exciting times. I’m writing my novel, have ideas for some children’s books, and one for families. Thanks to the Babe, my daughter Becky, and friends who are encouraging, I’m writing and enjoying it a lot. This year will continue to be a good one, despite the quarantine, Coronavirus, and masks. I’m grateful to God for His blessings and mercy.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Today is National Poppy Day. I love it’s on my birthday, as I love the flowers, and love the Poppy campaign the VFW does to help support Veterans through the funds raised from donations for the handmade flowers. Please support them if you see them out this weekend. Many Memorial Day services are cancelled, and that is sad. Our Post is having a small ceremony, Don Bacon will speak, and we’ll have Sloppy Joes for lunch afterwards. It will be a small, socially distancing event. God Bless our Veterans who gave their all so we may have the freedoms we have.

The 1970 graduating class of Archbishop Ryan Memorial High School is sharing something with all the kids who weren’t able to graduate normally this year. We had to cancel our 50th Class Reunion this year! We’re shooting for 2021 instead. Someone posted a little quip that’s 100% truth at this age, “We just hope we are still alive in another year!” And we do. The celebration will be sweeter when it’s safe to go out and mingle. And it gives us another 12 months to crash diet and get into shape for people we haven’t seen in years.

In the meantime, this meme is my slogan, my anthem, my brand and my toast to living a most excellent year ahead. I’m happier than I could have ever imagined, and am so grateful for friends old and new, young and old, authors and songwriters, and those I’ve yet to meet. I’m praying for another 30 years as long as I know what’s going on. Hugs to all of you who have inspired me to do this journey, the things I’ve always wanted to do. Some of you don’t even realize how much you influenced me. Thank you. God Bless you. See you back tomorrow. Back to work then!

Saturday, Happy Saturday

Today is my little brother’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Steve! Hope you have a nice day and get to do something fun. As you’re in your 60s now, hoping you’re able to start looking at retiring. Yes, health coverage is expensive. And you’re not getting any younger, either. Just hope you have good years ahead of you.

When Steve was born, I received my first store-bought birthday cake. Our dad’s cousin Joann bought it. It was a bundt cake and had a doll in the center to look like a girl in a dress. I don’t remember what the flavor was or what the color was, but I remember thinking she was beautiful. Mom was very practical, cutting the first servings out of the back of the “dress” and keep the front looking perfect. I felt so special! I was six years old at the time. Just finishing kindergarten. The world was my oyster!

Another cloudy day today. It is supposed to be rainy today. Still no visit to the nursery, but we are going to visit the grandkids later today. The Babe saw them yesterday, and he said Gavin has really gotten tall. He’s going to be eight in June, and it amazes me how fast they grow up. He’s got some neighborhood friends now, and is riding bikes with them much of the day, when he’s not doing school work. His dad is working from home, so he’s got the best supervisor there is. I love how these Dad’s express and show their love for their kids. When we were kids, men were pretty reserved about emotions, especially about kids. I’m glad they are able to express themselves now.

How will you make today beautiful?

You never know for sure if someone really did write the quotes you see for Facebook memes. For instance, did Mark Twain really say the one above? If not, he should have. I started to research who may have said it, but got hijacked into mindlessly searching other things, and I ended up distracted. So it’s back to work. The most beautiful day of our life? I’m going to work some more on my grandson Cody’s little wall hanging of a hedgehog family. It’s so cute and it’s tough on the eyes for sure. Very tiny holes to do counted cross stitch. This is definitely a work of love. I’m imagining Cody while I work on it. I’m hoping he sleeps beneath it many, many times during his little life. I did buy a pattern for a hedgehog quilt too. That will be fun, too.

The Babe rolled out some sod yesterday, around the area he poured a new landing at the bottom of the stairs off the deck. She was a pretty naughty puppy this morning and tugged at the corner of the sod. She picked up the whole piece and pranced around the yard with it. It looked hilarious. I was not amused because even though we got it for free, it’s a bad habit for the pup to cultivate. We gave her a stern look, a talking to, and I hope she leaves the stuff alone now. We’ll see.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate your support. I’ll see you again tomorrow, you know I’ll be here! Stay safe. Keep your distance. Make today a beautiful day!

Hump Day!

How much we wish our lives away! Most of the talk surrounding the days of the week is we wish it were another day. Not like, “I wish every day was my birthday,” but more to the tune of, “I HATE Mondays!”, “Almost Friday!”, “Friday Eve!” and so on. Why isn’t today good enough? There are movements among self-help groups now that everyone should know they are “Enough.” I agree.

Maybe this “Enough” movement ought to include the thoughts that each and every day of the week ought to be “Enough.” I don’t think we find enough joy in each twenty four hour period. If Mondays have the bad rap of being the worst day of the week, the first Monday after daylight savings time begins is always tagged as, “the worst day of the year.” Sad. You could have the best day of your life on that day, but you don’t think it has anything to offer. Kind of how we view people sometimes. “She’s old, she’s not hip with the times,” “She’s too young to teach me anything,” and a good one, “She has such a pretty face, it’s too bad she’s overweight.” Think about it. It’s all a bunch of hooey!

Know you are enough. Preach it to the choir if you must. And also know each day of your life is more than enough to do the things you can do to make your day and your month and your year wonderful. I know this from experience. In being a very broke single Mom, I found happiness in the fact I got to make all decisions for myself. No one hassled me if it was wrong If it was wrong, I just made a mental not not to do it again.

If the car broke down, I could have chosen to complain and grouse about the situation. But I could be happy if it only cost $50 to fix instead of $500. You can find something in every situation to be positive about. When my dad died of cancer at 64, I was glad I had someone that the kids and I missed. He was a great man and a good person. A lot of people are estranged from their parents for any number of reasons. But Dad was always present as much as he could be, working at night. He was a good example. He was kind.

It’s Wednesday and so far, Monday and Tuesday have been challenging. I’m happy it’s food night at the VFW and we’ll meet with our friends again. Check in with everyone, and make plans to meet on St. Patrick’s Day at the Post for their dinner. We can use today to plan for a week from now, but I’m not going to waste the next week and all those days have to offer me in terms of living. I can wait as opposed to, “I can’t wait until . . . ” Our lives can be perfect and fulfilling right now. Not when something else happens. It take a mind set change. Be a maverick. Be living in the moment. Be aware of today, not just wishing for tomorrow. This day is enough. You are enough.

Thank you for reading today, I love when you take the time. See you tomorrow, as I’ll be right here. Have a great Wednesday!

Throwback Tuesday (3-3-1961)

I’ll never forget how mad I was this day in 1961. Our mom was at the hospital getting a new baby. I wanted a sister. I already had two brothers. One older, one younger. I thought it was time for a sister. My friends all had at least one. Why couldn’t I have one?

I vividly remember getting ready for school, Grandpa Jewell would drive us to school. We spent the night at his house because our dad was at the hospital with Mom. I’ll never standing in Grandma’s kitchen, next to the sin, and our dad came through their door and said, “Mom had a boy. You have a new brother!” My eyes immediately filled with tears. I turned around and walked fast up the stairs to the bathroom. I cried it all out. My older brother was happy, my younger brother Steve didn’t understand yet, and I was devastated. I got over it when Mom brought this creature home. Sort of.

There is always something about babies. Many people love them. Many people don’t. It’s all good. I happen to love them. Over the years I helped Mom with the creature and learned to entertain him while she was busy. Dad worked nights, so we had a very different schedule and home life than anyone else we knew. Timothy Michael and I became friends. Best friends. We can count on each other. It’s a wonderful relationship. I’m blessed. He’s blessed.


My baby brother, Tim. Happy 59th Birthday, Man!

Like many kids of the 60’s and 70’s, Tim had some moments of bad behavior. He has learned from them and made amends. He was married to his kindergarten sweetheart from 1996 until she passed away from cancer. He’s a widower now. I’m sad she is gone, because she was a sister to me. It was a role I didn’t know enough about for a long time. Laura had a beautiful heart and she loved my brother deeply. I know he loved her the same. He was a wonderful caregiver for her.

Tim’s wife Laura on their wedding day, 1999.

Time has passed and we still miss her. One day, I know, he will meet someone again and have a beautiful rest of the story with her. It just takes time for things to be right. Tim and I laugh about a lot of things, and we have each other’s backs. Our dad is proud of him, I know. Tim changed his life from what it was in the 80s to what it is now. And now it’s good. He’s kind, generous, caring, a hard worker, a good friend, an honest man, and lives up to what Dad told me about Tim before he died, “Tim’s going to be ok.” Yes, yes he is.

This is a great day to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, milestones, and life in general. I love Tim’s positivity, and the fact he can laugh when he’s rather be grumpy. There are so many ways he reminds me of our dad. In all the good ways. I know Dad’s smiling on you, Tim. He knew before any of us that you would be the good man you are. Happy Birthday! Love you. And thanks. Because of you, I always had my own room!

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. Hope you will stop back again tomorrow, so we can visit again. I’ll be here.

Happy Birthday, Addison!

Today, thirteen years ago, the Babe and I became Grandparents. What a life altering experience! It’s been quite a ride, and I pray the next thirteen years is as memorable and filled with love. The day Addison was born, we made a trip up to Sioux Falls to attend a wedding shower. I was helping throw the shower for Dan’s niece, Michelle. We knew Tracy was experiencing something, but didn’t think anything would come of it. We arrived, set the tables up, and had to turn around and go home. We hoped to make it back in time, and figured we would. It was about three and a half hours to get there. Nothing was happening yet, she was in the L&D room, her mom Sandy and Aunt Sharon were there, along with Grandpa Randy and Grandma Peggy.

It so happened February 10 was also Grandma Sandy’s birthday. How fun to become a Grandma on your birthday! Sandy passed away ten years ago from lung cancer, but she enjoyed her grandkids so much in the short time she lived after they were born. Sandy and I became good friends, and talked a lot about her kids growing up. The Babe and I married when our kids were all adults, so I didn’t experience them growing up. Together we have five kids, and now four Grandkids.

It was a beautiful thing to hear Sandy and Dan talk about when they were expecting Blake all those years ago in Sioux Falls. They talked about how broke they were (we all were, back in the day), and the cradle the Babe made. He made two more, one for each of his grandkids. It was truly a labor of love. They were one couple who could get past the divorce stuff and be friends. I’m sure they took the long way around to get there, but it was a wonderful thing to see. We would all be very lucky to be in that mindset for our kids of divorce.

I waited until everyone else held Addison, and the room was packed with people. Grandma Sandy brought her over to me, and said, “You haven’t had your turn, yet.” She placed the little pink baby in my arms. The tears came for both of us, and it was a beautiful moment. I think of Sandy often when the kids do something funny or even naughty, and how we talked so much. And that moment I first held our girl.

“Being a teenager means you’re not a little kid anymore”- Addison, on turning thirteen.

Sandy was still working when Addison was born, and I was not. Luckily, I got to watch her when the sitter had something else to do, or later when she couldn’t go to daycare due to the sniffles. I had so much fun with her. I think we have a special bond, and it would be there even with all the other grandmas Addison has. Her family extends as far as she can see, and it’s awesome. When I made them all Christmas stockings, she asked if we could make one for her daddy’s sister’s baby. We did. She is generous, happy, knows her own mind, expresses herself in times of trouble, and isn’t afraid to tell the teacher(s) if someone is treating her or someone else badly. She just gets it. She’s always “in” to go for ice cream, too.

We have watched countless dance recitals, classes, demonstrations, and competitions. This girl loves to be on stage dancing a solo. It amazes us a kid can learn to do that. We didn’t have experience speaking in front of people until we became adults. Glad they teach kids that now. So when they’re not kids anymore, they’ll be comfortable dancing, giving a speech, directing their workforce, etc. Addison has a heart of gold, and I pray she always looks at life with the joy she does. She loves her family so much, and her cousins in Maryland and Minnesota.

Thanks for reading today. It’s my pleasure to see you here, where I’ll be tomorrow. Hope you are, too. Now, it’s back to the book rewrite. Have a blessed day.

Such a Sunday

On this day, in 1979, my beautiful daughter Rebecca made her appearance on earth. She was about a week late and I was so ready for her to be born. She is an ultrasound tech (I think that’s her title) in Colorado. She lives with her husband, Brian, and her baby girl, Kayla. She has been in Colorado since 2001. I am sure she will never return to Nebraska. She was a very independent child, and it should not surprise me that she is a very independent woman. That independence keeps her very busy and engaged in life, and I rarely get to see her. I hope that someday that changes. I had always made time for my kids if they were to come visit. I cancelled a quilting class with someone I really wanted to see to go visit when Kayla was six months old. It was easy to give up quilting with my idol to see my daughter. I do not see people going to this length to be with family most of the time. Life is just different than it used to be. We can change that if it fits our family. If not, Mom’s like me need to find other purpose in life. Mine is creating. Writing, quilting, and sewing.

We have been away from a television and news all day. It is a shame, Kobe Bryant dying with one of his daughters. He was a very talented basketball player, and I’m sure he has influenced many kids to play the game. I hope he could influence the same kids in making good life choices, in understanding hard work, dedication, keeping promises, work ethic, business ethics, and working towards a good moral character. These things leave a bigger legacy than being a star basketball player. Work on a legacy of good character and you will be great at other things.

Yes, we live in a fragile world. You never know which turn will be the one where your time is up. Make the most of every moment you have so you have no regrets. Too many people wait and end up sorry they did. Don’t. Make that phone call today. You won’t regret it.

Today was busy, too. The Babe and fellow VFW Post 2503 Honor Guard members had their photos taken. They are a group of the best guys. They are good to me when Dan is ill, and all have a concern for him out of camraderie and respect for his work as Quartermaster. I love to see them all look out for each other. They take me aside from time to time to make sure he’s ok. It’s heartwarming.

The weather will be kinder this week. I am spending time in my studio and making sure detail are fleshed out about my additional characters for the novel. Like anything else, once I dive in, it will all start to fall in place. Gotta start somewhere. Going to do a little reading tonight, catch up on the newspapers, the novel I’m reading. Cozy up and love your family.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. I’ll be here tomorrow and hope you will be too.

Wonderful Wednesday

Today is a special day for the world. It is Rick Tiger’s birthday. I want to wish him a happy day and hope for many more for him. Rick is a storyteller/singer/songwriter, and the Babe and I met him a few years ago.  He has written many beautiful songs. Check out his catalog of songs, and you’ll likely find something you like that he wrote. Today in my studio, we’re being serenaded by Rick. I love being able to create my own playlists. Google Rick and you’ll see his many accomplishments. It’s a great story. Here is a link to his website. http://www.ricktiger.com

It’s also a special day because they have nominated a very special friend of ours to the Rocky Mountain Country Music Awards, Jimmy Weber, as Musician of the Year.  Wow! No one works harder than Jimmy to achieve what he has. I’m delighted for him, hope he wins. Find more info on
Jimmy go to: http://www.jimmywebercountry.com

Back in time, both Rick and Jimmy, these creative people have been where I am. Just starting out. They are two of the many people who inspire me to create, who I listen to when they have talked about their dreams and encouraged all of us to just to out and follow ours. Good stuff! If anyone enjoys my writing as much as I enjoy their music, it will thrill me to death. Until then, I’ll be here in my studio, working on my dream. Just like they did. Dan and I love both of you guys!

Meanwhile, back at the Raabe Ranch, I am studying the second part of Pinterest training. An online group is offering guidance as the Nebraska Writer’s Guild did on posting in Pinterest. I’m amazed by the numbers provided for how long a shelf life advertising has on Pinterest. About 8,760 days. 24 years. WOW! Let that sink in. So I believe I’d better learn this pronto!

I also had a call yesterday from Constant Contact, an organization that works with WordPress helping collect email addresses. It is something I’m looking at. I realize full well Mail Chimp does that for free or darned near. It’s all about finding out about choices and how to spend my time well. The Constant Contact call was from expressing interest, not a cold call. I like that. I also like he could quote a lot of my blog posts. I know, he’s a salesman. At least they took the time to read some of what I wrote. More looking at options to come.

YES. Yes. yes. Some folks believe retirement is the time to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’ve always had hobbies. Mostly of the “girly” kind; sewing (garment construction, quilting, and decorating), embroidery, crocheting. I’ve created many, many gifts for people and clothed myself, even sewing business suits for me. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot. Mom told me the other day my maternal great grandmother worked at Clarkson Hospital. Her job was sewing the nurse’s uniforms. Hats, dresses, cloaks, all of it. Mom said, “You come by your outstanding sewing skills naturally.” That made me happy to make that connection with Great Grandma Riss. Mom is not sure whatever happened to Grandpa Riss, no one said. So many disappearances back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. So many questions that will never have answers. So glad to have those hobbies.

And in February, I’m joining others in the private Facebook group in a 30 day creative challenge. I will focus on a creation every day that I will either draw, write (maybe poetry), or photograph. There are prompts given, and it’ll be another great experience. The last time I did this artistic challenge, I overloaded myself with too many things. I did not finish the month and I was exhausted. Note to self: hard as it is to accept, you’re not in your 20s anymore. Or 30s. Or 40s. Or 50s. I refuse to go further until it’s time to! I have a few good years left!

I’ll let you know when I successfully pin some real Nebraska authors’ books to a board on my Kathy Raabe, Author Pinterest page. Until then, thank you for reading along today. I will be here again tomorrow, and I’d love to see you here! Stay warm, be careful out there!