Category Archives: friends


Penny, the visiting dog who waddles in for pats. (Photographs by Marylin Warner)

Penny, the visiting dog who waddles in for pats. (Photographs by Marylin Warner)

All we need love & a dog

Mom and I hold her great-granddaughter Grace's Flat Stanley project.

Mom and I hold her great-granddaughter Grace’s Flat Stanley project.

I’ve been asked, many times, exactly what it is I do when I visit my mother each month.  From my house in Colorado to her assisted living apartment in Kansas, it’s a round-trip drive of 1,300 miles.  English poet George Herbert wrote, “Every mile is two in winter,” and between November and March, I brace myself for bad roads.

In Colorado I’m busy with friends and family, writing and editing, organizations and activities, and taking hikes with my husband and our dog, as well as being open to all kinds of plans and adventures.  In Kansas, within limits, Mom and I might eat the foods I bring, take walks outside in nice weather (I walk and she rides in the wheelchair), watch television and “play beauty shop.”  She will ask questions, sometimes the same ones again and again, including asking if I’m someone she knows, which is the nature of dementia.  I also know that we’ll sit quietly together in the living room while she naps.  In other words, I spend a lot of time waiting.

Before you nod off or retch in your shoes at this Dickens-type dreary scenario, let me say this: I’ve also found that while I wait, I learn. A lot. Seriously. And I always leave a little smarter than I arrived.

For instance, because I have time to read magazines and newspapers and flip through the channels on my mother’s television, I learn information I never would have had time for on a regular, busy day.  Some of what I learn is a little strange. Like the article about the wife who donated one of her kidneys to save her husband’s life…and now she wants it back. It seems he was mighty grateful at first, but now he’s having an affair, and she’d like to give the kidney to someone who deserves it.  Anyone want to debate that issue?

There are also happy lessons, reminders of  “the kindness of strangers.”  There is always some quiet, kind, unexpected gesture from one of the caregivers that reminds me that the little things make a big difference. And then there’s the man who visits the residents and brings his little dog Penny to waddle in for pats and smiles. Or the friends who’ve sent me amazing links that finally I have time to watch: this Tchaikovsky Flashwaltz at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem is the most stunning example of  “the kindness of strangers” I’ve ever seen. Please, do yourself a favor and invest two minutes…you’ll be astounded:

I also glean all kinds of health information from the magazines stacked in the mail room. Seriously, I now know the most important times to drink water to be healthy:   2 glasses of water after waking up helps activate internal organs             ~ 1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal  helps digestion  ~ 1 glass of water before taking a bath/shower regulates blood pressure  ~ 1 glass of water before going to bed helps you avoid a stroke or heart attack.    Yea! for H2O!!!

Mostly, though, each month I’m reminded of basic truths:  1) Our mothers were right ~ a smile does make all the difference;  2) When we pause to visit with someone who is sitting alone or has nowhere to go, it’s a very good thing for both of us;  3) Slowing down, taking time to wait and think, to watch and listen and learn, is actually a gift.

February is the shortest month of the year.  No matter where we live, no matter what our age or health or economic status, for all of us there are only twenty-eight days this month.  If you have an opportunity to sit with an elderly relative or friend who knows who you are–or doesn’t even know who she is–who is healing from surgery or just hoping for a visitor, I encourage you to welcome the opportunity. You may have to sit quietly for a while and wait, but there’s a good chance you will learn something important.

Leave it to the Brits to have fun!  The Little Tikes for kids (on right) is now for adults, too. I learned that they're windowless, have seat belts, and can go up to 70 miles per hour!

Leave it to the Brits to have fun! The Little Tikes for kids (on right) is now for adults, too. I learned that they’re windowless, have seat belts, and can go up to 70 miles per hour!


Filed under Colorado Springs, Dementia/Alzheimer's, Fort Scott Kansas, friends, importance of doing good things, lessons about life, lessons for great-grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, Special days in February


"Sunshine and Shadow" quilt that reminds me of my parents' lives (photographs by Marylin Warner)

“Sunshine and Shadow” quilt that reminds me of my parents’ lives (photographs by Marylin Warner)

Ray and Mary Shepherd's engagement picture

Ray and Mary Shepherd’s engagement picture

Their 60th Anniversary picture; Estes Park, CO

Their 60th Anniversary picture; Estes Park, CO

My parents were married for nearly sixty-eight years.  They were best-friends-forever; their marriage was built on love, respect, hard work, faith and family.

The first quilt I ever made was a wall quilt diagonal version of the Amish pattern, “Sunshine and Shadow.” When I look at it now, I see the fabric of my parents’ life together. Bright, vivid or subtle shades of sunshine…until the shadows of Alzheimer’s and dementia wove their way into the pattern.

In this pre-Thanksgiving post, I thank all of you who have encouraged and participated in this blog. Those of you who submitted your poetry, Christmas memories and Mother’s Day greeting cards to the blog’s writing contests in my mother’s honor; those of you who write personal comments to us, open comments on the blog, or share your own experiences and stories; those of you who drop by for a visit, try a recipe, comment on your writing projects and ours ~ I’m thankful for you all.  My mother would be, too, if she could understand how wonderful you all are.

If you would like to get a closer look at Fort Scott, Kansas, where I grew up and now visit Mom each month, for some excellent pictures from blogger Claudia’s recent autumn trip, go to             Fort Scott was a pre-Civil War fort in southeastern Kansas, and it still has miles of brick streets and fascinating Victorian homes; it is also the boyhood home of writer/photographer Gordon Parks (visit Ft. Scott Community College and the Fine Arts Center and Gordon Parks Center).

Last week I shared two of my mother’s Haiku poems with you. Diana Bletter of  wrote this in reply:   Mother’s lamp gone out ~ Her words do not come easy ~ Love is what remains… “That’s the haiku I wrote for you and your mother after reading your post. The poems and art and love remain behind! Marylin, thanks for sharing this! It is a great reminder for me after the loss of my own mother. Thank you. ~ Diana”

My thanks to you, Diana, for the poem and the reminder that yes, in many ways, we are all in this together. You’re in Israel; I’m in Colorado, traveling every month to Kansas, the state where you also once lived, and yet we met through our blogs.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.  According to the 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, 1 in 9 Americans age 65-85, and 32% over 85 have Alzheimer’s or dementia.  Last year I posted a piece on Pat Summitt, who coached the U.S. women’s basketball team to an Olympic Gold medal in 1984; she also coached TN’s Lady Vols basketball team to 8 national titles. In April, 2011, she faced her toughest opponent when she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. A year later she retired from coaching, but her determination to win continued.

“I hope I can encourage others living with Alzheimer’s disease to continue living their lives,” she says. “Keep fighting, keep living, keep making the most of every day.”

Pat Summitt, whose hardest opponent now is Alzheimer's

Pat Summitt, whose toughest opponent now is Alzheimer’s


Filed under art, Dementia/Alzheimer's, Fort Scott Kansas, friends, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren, Things to be thankful for


Cheryl Maberry Blacklidge

Cheryl Blacklidge


“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.

“Even longer,” Pooh answered.  ~A.A. Milne, author of  Winnie-the-Pooh

Dear Mom,  You have received a special message from the daughter of some special friends.

Cheryl (Maberry) Blacklidge grew up in Ft. Scott. Now she lives with her husband and son in Mississippi.  Enjoy her birthday letter to you, Mom!  Love, Marylin



When I realized that it was your 95th  birthday, I decided it was way past time to write to you and let you know something that has been on my mind for quite some time now.  Recently I read Debbie Macomber’s book God’s Guest List.  It is about all the guests that God sends to each of us as gifts though out our lifetime.  You are certainly one of those guests/gifts he sent to me. I hope you somehow know what a wonderful gift you have been to me.

My first recollections of you are from some of my earliest days at First Christian Church.  I love to hear the story mom tells about how you and she were the first two women to break the “hat rule” and attend church hatless. Thank you – I never have cared much for wearing hats.  I also  remember you always going out of your way to welcome, with that beautiful smile of yours, everyone who came to church. There were also those great CGF dinners that you helped us cook and then enjoy, as we talked about God, church, and life – not always in that order, but all three were always included.

Our families have had such a close connections since our first meetings through the church.  You and Mom worked together on so many projects, from VBS to painting the Sunday School Rooms to working in the kitchen to prepare Sunday church dinners. I know Daddy and Ray always felt a close connection through the church and through the Masons.  I’ll never forget hearing Daddy and Ray visiting together not too long before Daddy died.  Their conversation was mostly about memories, but shortly before Ray left that evening, they hugged and agreed that they had felt like brothers throughout their friendship.   It still brings tears when I remember the closeness they shared that night.

Because of you, I know Marylin and David (as well as their families) and consider them to be dear friends.  David has been such a strong and faithful leader at First Christian Church, and in Fort Scott.  He has also “been there” for me when I needed any kind of help – like the Sunday morning when I called him in panic to tell him that someone had hit and seriously damaged my car in the night and I didn’t know what to do about it. He calmly assured me that he would see to it that the body shop would take good care of it.  David convinced me that it wasn’t the end of the world.

Marylin has been there for me many times, also.  Marylin welcomed me into her home so many times and then even invited me to live with her and Molly the summer that she and I attended classes at Colorado College.  She is the kind of friend that no matter how long it has been since we visited, our conversations start off as though we have talked just the day before.  I know I could go to either David or Marylin if I had a problem and they would be there for me, just like you and Ray always were.

Happy Birthday, Mary. Love from my family to yours.  Cheryl

Cheryl's retirement picture

Cheryl’s retirement picture



Filed under birthday celebrations, Debbie Macomber's GOD'S GUEST LIST, Dementia/Alzheimer's, First Christian Church, Fort Scott Kansas, friends, lessons about life, Madison Mississippi, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren, Things to be thankful for


Grace Shipley's engagement picture.

Picture of Grace Shipley’s engagement to   Ivan Ray Shepherd

Grace's son Ray at one year, and at age 5, two years after Grace's death.

Grace and Ivan’s son Ray at one year, and at age 6, three years after Grace’s death.

Dear Mom,

When your granddaughter Molly came for a visit and brought her children, Grace and Gannon, I reminded you that Grace had been named for Dad’s mother, a devoted and loving young woman who died of meningitis when Dad was only three years old.  When I told you this, you shook your head and said, “Oh?” And later, when I tried again, you asked, “Do I know her?  Was she my friend?”

No, Mom, you never actually knew Grace Shipley Shepherd.  But I do believe that you two became friends because of your grateful heart for the woman who gave birth to the baby…who grew into the man you married.

You don’t remember this, but thirty-eight years ago you wrote a poem to Grace.  You sometimes felt her presence, the spirit of the woman who lost her battle against a horrible disease and could not stay to take care of the little boy she loved so much.  You also wrote some beautiful, very personal letter-type essays to Grace, but I know you wouldn’t want those shared, so I won’t.

Here, Mom, is your poem “To Grace,” your tribute and comfort to the woman who had to leave her child behind.  Sometimes during clear moments when I’ve shown you pictures of Dad as a baby, held by his smiling mother, Grace, you pause and close your eyes.  I like to believe that now Dad is gone, reunited with the mother he lost too soon, he and Grace both smile and send their love and thanks to you.

TO GRACE, 1897-1922   ~  by Mary E. Shepherd

I watch him sleep, so like a little boy,

Content so long as his hand touches mine.

Husband, dad and granddad kind and dear,

The glint of dreams come true when our eyes meet.


I think of how, a three year old, he lost you,

His mother, whom he loved so very much.

You were so ill, a terrible pain within you,

Unable to express the love you knew.


Then when you died he sat in his daddy’s arms,

Aware that something great had left his life.

And when he looked upon your lifeless face

He searched in vain for the sweet smile he knew.


No one could take the place of his lost loved one,

Though his dad was good and did the best he could.

Grandma became the one who understood, his mainstay,

To help him through the years a young boy knew.


For fifty years my dearest, my husband and a little boy!

I’ve known the love you planted in his heart.

Kind, good, and loving, he shares my life each day,

As many paths we have traveled, side by side.


Together we have loved our little boy:

The one you gave to me.  

Engagement picture of Mary Elizabeth and Ray(Grace's son)

Engagement picture of Mary Elizabeth and Ray (Grace’s son)

Mary and Ray's great-grandchildren, Gannon (left) and Grace, named for Ray's mother, Grace

Mary and Ray’s great-grandchildren, Gannon (left) and  Grace  (named for Ray’s mother)


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, friends, lessons about life, making a difference, Mary Shepherd's poetry, memories for great-grandchildren, Spiritual connections


Chicken soup. It's not just for colds and flu.  (All pictures by Marylin Warner)

Chicken soup. It’s not just for colds and flu. (All pictures by Marylin Warner)

Dear Mom,

When I began writing this blog, my goal was to remember, collect and record as many special memories about you as possible so your grandchildren and great-grandchildren could know how special and wonderful you are. Along the way, you’ve had hours and days when your dementia took a break, and I’ve read to you some of the blog posts and comments from the readers.

This week I would have loved for you to be alert and aware enough to read a very special email from a wonderful friend you and I met through this blog. (  In our blog last week, I reminded readers about the upcoming April 10 “Encourage a Young Writer” Day. Here is an excerpt of Darla McDavid’s reply:

Hi, Marylin:

I spoke with Chiara for Encourage a Young Writer Day.  Chiara is a fourth grade student who wants to write “adventure and fantasy books” when she grows up. I told Chiara your mother’s name and age, and explained how Mary would love to be standing with her right then to encourage her, if only she could. Then I spoke in Mary’s name and encouraged her to follow that dream. Chiara smiled as she listened.She said to tell your mother “Thank you,” spoken in that pure, sincere way of a child…

With many, many thanks to Darla. Because of her kindness, April 10 also became the day to Encourage an Older Writer and Her Mother.  Each month when I visit you in Kansas, Mom, I will read aloud to you Darla’s full account of working with Chiara. During one of our visits, I believe you will understand and know what a gift this was. To Chiara, to you…and to me.

For the rest of us, it’s no secret that we live in difficult times, face pressures and problems, and often feel overwhelmed by the many demands and disappointments. How do you survive…and thrive?  If you have an experience, a special technique or routine for meeting and defeating obstacles, how about sharing it with others?  In the words of Marcus Aurelius, “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”

Here are the full details for an excellent writing opportunity from Santa Fe.

30 Days to Sanity: We Want Your Stories!

Do you have heartwarming, insightful, and powerfully moving true stories about how to stay sane in this chaotic 24/7 world? A co-author of the New York TimesBest-selling book series Chicken Soup for the Soul is currently seeking personal stories to be included in 30 Days to Sanity, an online stress/resiliency program. We’re looking for inspirational true stories that give a personal account of an event, an obstacle overcome, a strategy to remain sane, or a lesson learned that helps the reader discover basic principles they can use in their own lives.

Some of the topics we will include are: Getting to Know Yourself, Your Needs & Dreams, Getting Your Priorities Straight, Learning to Listen to Your Heart, Discovering Your Passion, Setting Aside Time for You, Balancing Work & Family, Building a Soulful Community, Learning to Love Your Body, Taking a Mini-Vacation or Playcation, Setting Limits Both at Work and at Home, Putting Technology to Work for You, Making a Meaningful Contribution to the World, Growing From the Bumps in Your Life, Making Technology Free Times to Truly Connect, Creating a Space Just For You, Making Sacred Time for Your Family, Eliminating Time Wasters and Energy Suckers, Managing Technology, Banishing Your Guilt, Celebrating Your Gifts and Strengths, Expressing Appreciation to a Friend or Loved One, Asking for Help or Support, Discovering an Attitude of Gratitude, Using Life as Your Teacher, Cultivating Compassion, or Comic Relief (humorous stories about funny things you’ve done while stressed).  Submit as many stories as you’d like.

Story Length: Up to 1,200 words  Submission Deadline: June 1, 2013

Compensation: $100 one-time use fee for each story accepted for publication

Submit to: stephanie@30daystosanitycom or to 30 Days to Sanity, Box 31453, Santa Fe, NM 87594-1453 (please keep copies as we are unable to return submissions).

How Do You Stay Sane During Rough and Tumble Times???

Do you turn lemons into lemonade?

Do you turn lemons into lemonade?

Do you pray and light a candle?

Do you pray and light a candle?

Do you cuddle with a buddy?

Do you cuddle with a buddy?


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, friends, importance of doing good things, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren


learn in kindergard.

playground horse



Dear Mom,

Years ago, I got you the book by Robert Fulghum, ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN. Your favorites from his list of the basic rules included these: Play fair, Don’t hit people, Clean up your own mess, Flush, Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody, and Share everything. (You once laughingly said that children could be counted on to share their mother’s age, chicken pox, and bad words. I think you were adding to an Erma Bombeck list with some of your own.)

Robert Fulghum shared his favorite information in his book, and everyone who read it learned something. I was thinking about that when I recently came across this quote by Carl Sagan: “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” If we combine and paraphrase Fulghum and Sagan, we have this inspiration: Somewhere, something basic and honest is waiting to be shared with others.

So here’s an idea: why don’t you and I share our favorite quotes, and see how many of our blog buddies respond by sharing their favorite quotes? Think of all we could learn!

Okay, we’ll start with you. Because of the dementia, you probably don’t remember your favorites, but I do. One that you shared during both happy and sad times to keep things in perspective is from Ecclesiastes 3:11—“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven…”

One of my favorite quotes is a touching reminder of all those who’ve gone before us and made a difference in who we are. It’s by Native American writer Linda Hogan: “Walking. I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.”

And now, Mom, we’ll wait for our blog friends to comment or share their favorite quotes. You taught me this: everyone has something to share, and we can all learn from each other.

Molly's yarn and clay Indian wall hanging.

Molly’s yarn and clay Indian wall hanging.

Pottery plate from Taos, NM(all photos by Marylin Warner)

Pottery plate from Taos, NM
(all photos by Marylin Warner)


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, friends, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations


TinMan & girlfriend IMG_2189

Goodbye Oz: The Tin Man has moved to Abilene, KS

Dear Mom,

In several polls to determine readers’ favorites from Dorothy’s traveling companions in THE WIZARD OF OZ, Tin Man is often in third place. Sometimes he even comes in fourth, behind Toto, her little dog.

But no matter. In this blog, this week, The Tin Man is our featured star. He’s in love! Really. We don’t know his girlfriend’s name, but you have to admit, they make a shiny couple. If we can’t quite see the attraction, we’ll chalk it up to love being blind. As Albert Einstein said, “You can’t blame gravity for falling in love.”

We can give the credit for the creation of Tin Man and Dotty (I named them that) to the staff of the Dickinson County Transfer Station near Abilene, Kansas. Their creation is not a monster made of body parts dug up in cemeteries like Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN, but a fun couple made of disposable electronics recycled into something new.

In THE WIZARD OF OZ, two of Tin Man’s lines make him my favorite character. The first is when he’s about to lose his friend Dorothy: “Now I know I’ve got a heart, ‘cause it’s breaking.” The other is his wisdom about the measure of love: “It’s not how much you love, but how much you are loved by others.”

That’s the quote I dedicate to you, Mom. You have always had a tremendous capacity to love others, to respect, accept, befriend and help them. And now, at 94 when your dementia, frailty and confusion limit the love you can offer others, the Karma of love has come full circle back to you. Can you feel the love, Mom? I hope so. It’s there.

grandma kiss Gannon

Mary Shepherd sharing love and hugs with great-grandson, Gannon.
(all photos by Marylin Warner)


Our nation dumps between 300-400 million electronic items per year, and less than 20% of that e-waste is recycled.

junk in landfill


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, friends, importance of doing good things, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren











Dear Mom,

I was in third grade when I first saw THE WIZARD OF OZ  movie on television.  I remember being amazed and somewhat frightened by the  Kansas tornado, Dorothy and Toto waking up in a strange world of good witches, bad witches, munchkins, and flying monkeys; a yellow brick road leading to the Emerald City, and three strangers who travel with the girl and become her friends: Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion.

It was years before I actually read L. Frank Baum’s novel and realized the many differences between his book and the movie version. Supposedly, there were over forty, but the surprising one for me as a reader was the difference in Dorothy’s character in Baum’s book. Dorothy was not the movie’s damsel in distress who needed to be rescued. She was a strong, capable young girl who took charge and rescued the situation, herself, and her friends.  “If we walk far enough,” Dorothy assures the others in the book, “we shall sometime come to someplace.”

The someplace they reach is Oz, but the guard blocks their way, saying, “Nobody gets in to see the wizard. Not nobody.”  That doesn’t stop Dorothy. Even though the Wizard turns out to be “a very good man…just a very bad wizard,” Dorothy doesn’t give up.

There have been countless essays written and theories debated about the characters and symbols in THE WIZARD OF OZ.  For instance, what’s more important to pursue, a brain, a heart, or courage? Or, which is the better lesson to learn, how to follow good or how to fight evil?

And finally, once you leave, can you ever really go home again? That’s the question you answered, Mom, by how you’ve lived your life in a spirit of love and acceptance. You saw leaving home as a natural, necessary journey for your children. Things would change and so would we, but of course we could always come home again; a part of our hearts would always be there, and our family would always welcome us back with open arms.

In the book, Dorothy’s slippers are silver; in the movie they are ruby red, but the message matters more than the color. She clicks them and says the magic phrase again and again.  She had the magic answer within her all along: “There’s no place like home.”


Filed under art, autumn lessons, Dementia/Alzheimer's, friends, movies, Things to be thankful for


Nancy’s favorite family photo, 1995

4 roses: three have already bloomed, one is still in the process
(photo by Marylin Warner ~ a tribute to Joel, Adam, Seth…and Nancy)













What do you say to a woman who is fighting breast cancer?  What do you say to a woman when her almost 13-year-old son dies in a plane crash? And when her 11-year-old son dies, too…along with her beloved husband?  What can you possibly say?

In this case, the most meaningful answer is what Nancy Saltzman says to us.

If there is one must-read nonfiction book for you to buy for yourself or to give to those you love this season, it’s the honest, unforgettable, touching and inspiring RADICAL SURVIVOR: One Woman’s Path Through Life, Love, And Uncharted Tragedy. In the book’s 242 pages—with 62 ordinary, wonderful pictures—you are welcomed into the extraordinary lives of the Saltzman and Herzog families. From the first chapter, “How To Build A Survivor,” you share in the joys and sorrows…and the triumph of love, hope and determination.

The author, Dr. Nancy Saltzman, is a treasured voice throughout Colorado, an educator, writer and a strong, loving reminder of what it was–and still is–to be Joel’s wife, the mother of Adam and Seth, and a cancer survivor.

November is Thanksgiving, and it is also American Indian Heritage Month. Chief Seattle wrote: “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are wound together. All things connect.”

Saltzman’s book gives thanks for years, moments and memories; it also reminds us of the true web connecting us all with what is important, real…and lasting.

Thank you, Nancy, for RADICAL SURVIVOR, and for your kind support of this blog. Last month I read your mother’s letters to you (from your book) to my mother. The web of connection between mother and daughter is strong, as is the strength of the web that even death cannot break.


RADICAL SURVIVOR by Dr. Nancy Saltzman is available on Amazon. For a signed copy and 2-3 day shipping, go to

Celebrating the book: Nancy and friends


Filed under autumn lessons, Dementia/Alzheimer's, friends, importance of doing good things, lessons about life, making a difference

The Sunshine Award

Thank you, Judith Evans, for The Sunshine Award. Your blog– –is a delight to read, and I’m honored by your support of my “Things I Want To Tell my Mother.”

Now, to answer the Sunshine Award’s eight questions:  1) My favorite Christmas movie is IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. I love the story, but I also always wished for my own angel-friend who needed to earn his wings by helping me.     2) I love all kinds of flowers, but the peony ranks at the top, especially white peonies because of their soft beauty and richly sweet fragrance.  3) My favorite non-alcoholic beverage is iced latte coffee.  4) My passion has always been writing: playing with words and ideas, telling stories, creating places and people who face big problems but find unusual ways to solve them. As a child, I had to learn to separate fictional story people, places, problems and solutions from real life.  5) My favorite time of year is autumn. When I was growing up we loved to rake leaves, jump in them, then rake them again so our parents could burn them at the curb. Nothing was better than the smell of burning leaves on a crisply cool evening. Leaf burning is no longer allowed, but I still love the sound and smell of fallen autumn leaves crunching beneath my feet as I take my walks.  6) My favorite time of day is dusk ~ the quiet, soft time just before dark.  7) My favorite physical activity is walking. This year I vowed to walk EVERY day–no exceptions, no excuses–and today is Day #238. On goal and still walking!  8) My favorite vacation place is Italy: Rome, Florence, Venice, the Blue Grotto, the Italian countryside. My ideal vacation would be to return with my husband, our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.

And now, my favorite part of receiving The Sunshine Award is sharing the award with fellow bloggers. Please visit the sites of my nominees and enjoy their blogs.  A prairie woman choosing to enjoy each season, in weather and in life; wonderful, uplifting and inspiring photography and poetry.                                                                              The journey of an imperfect mama, told with honesty, insecurity, humor and encouragement.                                                                                                                                 Gentle, inspiring insights that turn everyday simple events and situations into profound lessons.                                                                                                                                    Books, activities, encouragement and fun for children and their parents, grandparents and teachers; a valuable resource for children’s writers and a helpful guide for positive parenting participation.


Filed under friends, lessons about life, making a difference, The Sunshine Award, writing