Friday, September 28, 2012

Busy week

It has been busy around here the past few days.  I love Autumn!  Fall brings cooler weather again, and even though I enjoy summer, I am not a fan of humidity. And while the cooler temperature causes my arthritis to flair up again, the rest of the pleasures make up for it. I have learned to manage the pain better, and go through the day accordingly.

It is also the time of year for Pumpkins.  Avery LOVES pumpkins and we play with them, read about them, watch videos of talking pumpkins, and color pictures of them throughout the year. Yesterday I took Avery to the local Pumpkin Farm.  When we took our boys there many years ago, it was your standard farm market with a few attractions and lots of Pumpkins.  Not now!  Goebberts Pumpkin Patch has taken the Pumpkin Farm to a new level and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the two hours Avery and I spent there.

There are two locations, one in Barrington, IL, and the one we went to in Hampshire, IL. Avery and I had taken my husband there last weekend to buy a pumpkin.  That's it.  Maybe to get a picture taken beside a big wooden cutout of an apple or something but mainly to buy her a pumpkin. 

One hour, three pumpkins, two apples, 12 Apple Cider Donuts and one gourd later, we walked out of there exhausted, with a very happy little girl. Since she enjoyed it so much, and we kind of rushed her through the experience, I decided to take her back when I could just watch her enjoy all those pumpkins!

Avery and her Pumpkin Patch

She played on this pile of pumpkins for at least 30 minutes while I snapped pictures and took video.  Her imagination amazes me!
Watching the dinosaur wake up

I had been warned by my daughter-in-law, who had just taken her over the weekend, that Avery would not leave the area of the Dinosaur. 

That's an understatement.
Tickling the dinosaur
The dinosaur played with the kids, burped after eating his pumpkins and then said excuse me, and would come over to the kids on the side to engage them in "discussions".  

This was by far her favorite time of the day.
The face of a happy little girl riding the train

We even took a train ride.  I had forgotten to purchase the train ticket when we came in the main gate.  She didn't care.  She ran and jumped on the train and the engineer walked over to her.  She said "HI!" and I asked if we needed a ticket or could I get one from him.  He said there was no way I was going to get her off that train so I could just pay him.

The people there are amazing and have found a way to entertain their guests in a variety or ways.  Avery and  I still didn't make it over to the big tent with the giraffes and all the other animals, but we did get to play with the baby pigs.  She got to feel their noses and giggled because they tickled.

This is definitely a day experience and I really could have stayed longer but I didn't know how long she would last and she was starting to get tired.  OK - I will admit, after walking around, jumping up and down from straw, hay wagons, firetrucks, and everything else, Gaga was the one who was tired.

I can't wait to take her back.  Thank goodness I have her every Thursday.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh what to do?

It's Monday and I am already feeling rushed. I thought by now, not working for so long, I would be bored. The truth is, I'm too busy to be bored. My problem is that while I am unemployed still on sabbatical, on the road to successfully trying to find a new career and purpose, I am dabbling in many things, trying new ideas, trying to find my niche.

It is a process.

It's all about the journey.

My son had suggested finding a career that gave me time for my granddaughter and that certainly is the goal, but I also need to be practical and find a way to earn real money.  Since I am going through this process in my mid 50's, the criteria also needs to include something that I can do in retirement the 2nd retirement for the rest of my life.

I love writing so my new career will include writing.

I enjoy working from home and I have the self discipline to make that work for me. I have a home office, even though I now share that space with Avery, and I am in the process of reorganizing and painting the room so that after 15 years in the same color, the room will look fresher.

I have had time to de-clutter and I have written about that in the past, but I always wondered what to do with special treasures that meant so much to us, that no longer fit in our home.  I am going through that with my Mom now.  She holds on to more than I do,  and what is worse is that she sends some of it home with me. I am implementing a process with her, that I will write about this week. It is hard to part with things that hold so many memories, even if they do sit in a box in the basement.  I have many things - Christmas items - that once belonged to my Grandma that I just couldn't get rid of.  Vintage ornaments that I really don't like, but she loved them, and they were hers, so I held on to them. It's time to take a picture, keep one, and send the others along. That is what I am helping my Mom of do now.

Perhaps I can add that to my list of new career criteria.  I am good at helping others part with their things. 

I enjoy "downsizing" so much now that I look at things through a new lens. I am always wondering if I really need it or if I just find it pretty.  Will it serve a purpose, or if I already own it, does it serve a purpose other than taking up space in a drawer, closet, cabinet or box?

Eliminating extra clutter has it's drawbacks though.  The other day I was looking for a bowl I had for years, only to realize it is now probably in someone elses kitchen because for so long I didn't use it - so I sent it with all the other things that had collected dust for years. Apparently, in a motivated moment I got a little carried away.  I will not replace it though.  It will probably get used a few times and then just end up sitting there again for another several years.

Regardless of where this journey takes me, I must say I am enjoying the ride.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One step forward, two steps back

Sometimes I feel like I take one step forward and two steps back. For example:


I was doing so well with my walking routine over the spring/summer.  Even during the extreme heat I was able to maintain distance and sweat the toxins out of my body. I had lost weight and was feeling really good. I completed a 5K in July and I was seriously considering trying to walk a half-marathon.  In Hawaii.

Then the allergy season set in.  With that came headaches, wheezing, and fatigue. In addition, once the weather started to cool down, my chronic back problem reared it's ugly head - so - for the past few weeks I have walked, but very slowly, and not every day.  I can feel the impact of that decision now because I feel sluggish. I got sick.  I feel irritable and stressed. That is how I felt before I started walking regularly.

This week I decided to get back on the horse (or in this case, treadmill) and get back to my routine again. I know I can count on my training buddy Avery to keep me motivated while I am with her, but I need to find a way to keep myself motivated at home.  Enter Pinterest..........


I mentioned my Pinterest addiction a couple of posts ago. I decided to use that as a motivating factor as well as a way to find "nutritious" recipes and Christmas craft ideas. So I found these pictures......

Pacific Islands
Cook Islands



Princess of the Pacific Islands Barbie
I am going to hang them in front of the treadmill and on the fridge.  If I can't afford to go to Hawaii, I will go to another Island in the Pacific.  This will be my motivation to achieve my weight loss and health goal.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday

TODAY is WONDERFUL because I am sick (well that part isn't so wonderful) and I have just laid around most of the day in my WONDERFUL bed or WONDERFUL screened (Sleeping) room and didn't get dressed all day. 

It is also WONDERFUL because I work from home - for so few hours - that I didn't have to notify anyone that I was taking a sick day.

I am glad for the WONDERFUL beautiful weather that I was able to experience while sitting in my screened sleeping room.

Today is also my third day back into my walking routine - and even though I was sick, and not feeling very energetic, I was able to walk on my treadmill thanks to my WONDERFUL sons!

I am thankful for this WONDERFUL Wednesday also because that means that tomorrow is "Take-care-of-Avery Thursday!"

And there is nothing more WONDERFUL to think about than her.

Avery with her WONDERFUL friends - the Rapunzel's

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Pinterest Addiction

Yes, it is true.  I can officially say, it has become an addiction.

Last night I was watching the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears (yay Clay Matthews!) and enjoying the game but as soon as half time started, I was at the computer again looking through Pinterest.  It occurred to me that I spend a lot of time on that site but what will I do with everything?

Today I am cooking.  I decided to go through my "Recipes I'd like to Try" folder.  I realized I have a lot of desserts in there but since I am trying to watch my sugar intake I would stick to something healthy. 

I decided to make Krista's Teriyaki Chicken and Rice first, that you can find on her blog "While He was Napping", then maybe I will try the Apple Pie dip and Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips listed on "The Peach Kitchen" blog.

I also chose Zucchini brownies for one of the recipes to try tomorrow with Avery. Yeah, I know, of the three, there are two desserts - but healthy ones.  Monica from the Yummy Life makes her Zucchini brownies with dark chocolate, whole wheat flour (or you can substitute with gluten free flour), and, well, zucchini! So that is a much healthier version of brownies than I normally make. And it will use up some of this zucchini.

As far as the addiction goes, if good things come from it, what is the harm right? If I use the ideas, it is worth the hours I spend on the computer. If I can figure out how to make money from some of those ideas, then that is even better!

But it would be nice to go to "Pinterest Rehab" - a cottage that is in the woods, along a lake, with a fireplace, a soaking tub (preferably near the fireplace and a window that opens), and totally disconnected from phones and cyberspace.

Now that is an idea!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday

This weeks "Wonderful Wednesday" post is about how I found out that I would have an article about my favorite Christmas gift published in VICTORIA magazine!!

I have read that magazine since 1991 when the mother of one of my son's friends showed me her copy and I fell in love. Every month when I get my magazine, I will take it with my coffee outside to my porch and browse slowly through the pages, savoring every moment. I said to my husband one day many years ago, that now I know what men feel like when they get a new issue of Sports Illustrated, or Playboy.

One morning a few weeks ago, I saw a blurb at the bottom of the page that asked if the readers had a favorite Christmas gift.  Of COURSE I did.  I have several but one always comes to mind quickly. So I went to the computer and typed out the story of my "Christmas Necklace" a homemade gift that my son bought one year at Santa's workshop at school.  I will not tell it here, but as soon as I can, I will link my blog to the page in the online version of Victoria Magazine.  Plus I will post pictures of my WONDERFUL necklace AND a picture of the page from the magazine.

No - I am not excited at ALL!!!

It was weird - I thought of all the resumes I have sent out over the past several months and I have been glued to the email waiting for someone to decide they are interested in my talents enough to call me in for an interview.  But with this letter to Victoria, I sent it off, didn't keep a copy, and forgot about it. 

But then.....

Last night I opened my email and there it email from Anne!!!

Here is what it said:

Hi Elizabeth,

I just wanted to let you know that we have selected your letter about your favorite Christmas gift to appear in our upcoming Nov/Dec12 issue of Victoria. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story with us. If you would e-mail me your mailing address, I will be happy to send you a couple of comp copies once the issue comes out. Take care, and thank you for reading Victoria!

Managing Editor
Hoffman Media

Isn't that WONDERFUL????

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How I came up with the name of my blog

I came up with the name “Grandma’s Sabbatical” as a description for unemployment after my position was eliminated at the non-profit I worked at.  Instead of looking at the experience from a negative perspective, I decided to use the time to my advantage, called it a sabbatical, and embarked on a new journey to self discovery and reinvention

Since I now had the freedom to create my own path, and the time to dedicate to making it happen, I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of being a writer. People around me had always encouraged me to write a book but I didn't know where to start. It seemed easier to start with a blog, and since I was unemployed, blogging about life as an “older” person trying to find a job, while trying to remain positive, made sense.

Also, as this was happening, my son’s hours at work were becoming more unpredictable so having more time, I was able to be a more involved Grandma. Since I absolutely love spending time with my granddaughter, and was wearing out my welcome with friends and family who were getting tired of hearing about my adventures with Avery, it seemed fitting to include some of those stories in my blogging.

My sabbatical has evolved over time and has included many different activities, such as deep cleaning my house, undergoing knee replacement surgery, gardening, cooking, crafting, weight loss challenges, entering a 5K for the first time, and learning about marketing. I had neglected many things over the past several years because I was so busy working and going to school part time, and living a stressful life. I decided to include them in my sabbatical plan because everything I did now included a purpose.  

De-cluttering and simplifying, created a peaceful and harmonious environment in which to live without "clutter" that wrecked havoc on my ability to think clearly. Gardening provided a way to sustain our healthy eating habits and provided a connection to nature.  Sitting in my yard with my camera filming squirrels and hummingbirds calmed me in ways I would never have expected. I was cooking again, even baking without burning anything! I made Christmas gifts, started to take better care of my financial health as well as my mental and physical health, and learned to appreciate the simple moments in my day so much more. And viewing life through the eyes of a two year old was absolutely amazing!

The result of taking this time to reflect and renew allowed me to find my inner voice again and gave me topics to write about.

I have been blogging for almost 6 months and have learned so much from others.  I started with one blog so I could learn about the process, have an outlet for my creative energy, and a place to hold the words. The farther I get into this new “project” however, the more excited I become. I am now blogging for others and even getting paid! 

I guess that means I am on my way to being an author!

Friday, September 7, 2012

11 Years

Today is the 11th anniversary of my "baby" brothers death. I woke up feeling out of sorts and immediately thought it must be from eating so much sugar with yesterday's sugary, gooey, goodness called Paula Deen's Zucchini bread. But after reflecting over coffee in my back yard screened "room" it dawned on me - it is September 7.

The day Patrick died. 

Patrick was my youngest brother who struggled with alcohol and drug addiction his whole life.  He was a very intelligent and big-hearted guy, who spent the majority of his adult life in and out of jail, prison, and drug rehab. His childhood was filled with one happy hyperactive moment after another but he found his way into my parents wine decanters at a very early age.  I thought I had learned everything there was to learn about living with addictive behaviors from him. For example:
  1. Do not leave wine decanters out and around for small children to help themselves to.
  2. Never encourage bad behavior by photographing them engaging in it (we have a great shot of him with a big smile on his face, about to drink out of my dad's beer can)
  3. Never let young children drink from your glass filled with an alcoholic beverage.
  4. "Help" for addictions is expensive, hard to find, and never works the first (or second or third) time.
  5. "Help" is never long enough.
  6. "Help" is extremely expensive.
  7. You need to be healthy and strong yourself to "help" the person with addiction.
  8. Prison is full of addicts who support each other.
  9. Talk to your children about drugs and alcohol and help them learn to "Just say no".
  10. Help your children find something they enjoy doing and encourage good, positive activities to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Yes, I thought I learned everything I needed to know from Patrick.  Until my own sons started down the same road.  Where had I gone wrong?  I did everything the "experts" suggested.  I set limits, I fed them healthy foods, encouraged them to do their homework, was involved at school and sports, and I promoted healthy physical activities to provide outlets for all that extra energy.

I read at least 101 books to them every night (and morning and during the day) so they would love learning, graduate from high school, and stay away from drugs and alcohol!! But it didn't help.  They still found themselves attracted to like minded individuals, finished school in the non-traditional way (via GED tests - my youngest took his while in prison), and have physical and mental health concerns I never expected my kids to have to deal with.

So what did I really learn?

  1. "Just say no" is bulls*** It works while the kids are in the DARE program but never lasts.
  2. There really is such a thing as peer pressure and parents need to be vigilant to help keep their kids strong enough to fight it.
  3. There will never be enough help, money, placements, treatments to help the addict until that addict wants that help and is willing to do whatever it takes to stay clean and sober.
  4. Follow through - follow through - follow through with consequences even if you are tired, feel beaten down, and exhausted beyond belief.
  5. Yelling doesn't work.  It makes kids shut down and ignore you. There is a way of stating your case, calmly, and giving the consequence without the need to yell.  It does work, unfortunately I never used this practice enough as I didn't learn about it until the kids were much older.
  7. Learn the serenity prayer and listen to yourself say the words - and find peace in what it means.
  8. Find humor in everyday things.  There were times when my guys and I would joke about something that some people would find inappropriate given our circumstances but you know what?  You have to laugh at yourself and your circumstances sometimes.  It doesn't mean you condone the behavior, but that you have accepted the cards you have been dealt and are moving forward with life. If I didn't laugh - I would have gone way crazy long before now. (some think I already did - but that is a topic for another day)
  9. I really didn't understand what my Mom was going though with my brother, because I was experiencing it from a siblings perspective.  It is very different than going through it as a parent.
  10. I would give my right arm to protect my grandchildren from addiction.
I learned many other lessons along the way too.  I became a much stronger woman than I ever thought possible.  I talked back to judges and police officers and many other authority figures who really didn't understand what our family was experiencing. The world of addiction comes with so many opinions and philosophies and unless you have experienced it you can't even begin to understand what another person is going through. Over the past 20 years we have had a lot of bad days but we have had just as many good days.  I learned that from Patrick too.

Appreciate the good days and accept the fact that with addiction, there will be bad days from time to time. He died 4 days before 9-11. We held his wake on 9-11 and one of my sisters could not get here for the wake and funeral because she lived in Florida and they routed her plane back and wouldn't let them leave. My sister who lived in Tennessee at the time barely made it; she drove.

It was a very difficult time on many levels.

Well this post is longer than I thought it would be. I tend to ramble sometimes when I am feeling like this. Thank goodness I don't feel like this very often.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Zucchini bread

Sorry, I am not a food photographer
I just made zucchini bread. 
I used Paula Deen's recipe and I must have done something wrong. It actually tastes too good! Oooey and gooey and OH SO GOOD!
If I might say so myself. 
It doesn't taste like any Zucchini bread that I have eaten before. In fact - next time I will use MUCH less sugar and a little more zucchini and maybe apples and carrots. 
The bread has a crunchy outer layer and very moist on the inside. Unfortunately, I have diabetes so this will not be added to my recipe book because it just can't go in there.  It tastes too good! 
I was going to use my Grandmothers recipe but changed my mind at the last minute. I have had this one for awhile now but someone else always made us bread so I never had a chance to use it. I am including the recipe for you so you can try it too.  Let me know what you think!!


  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Alternately, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I wonder....

I have often thought about what I would do if I were given the opportunity to start over.  Do you ever wonder that?

It's not that I am unhappy with my life, I just wonder what it would be like if I had been a photographer or something that required a bit more imagination and creativity. I see the creativity of people online and I am in awe of what they can do with "everyday" things.  For example, how they can take a pretty flower and make it look like a natural wonder, or capture images of children whose faces tell their story with just one glance. I have always wished I could be that photographer!

I love taking photos - I even surprise myself by taking good pictures once in a while. But for the most part, I would never win any contests or qualify to enter an art show by any stretch of the word. But what could I have done with the same pictures if I had taken photography classes and found employment with ~ say ~ Life magazine or some really great publication. Where would my assignments have taken me?

Along the same thought ~ what would life have been like if I had become a pediatrician?  Or a midwife? I've always been interested in delivering babies and watching the awesome first moments of a life without having all the pain.

Or perhaps I could have been a writer, traveling all over the world researching for my books.  That would have been fun!  I always wondered how writers, who were Mom's did that and still made it to PTA meetings, sporting events, and parent/teacher conferences. Who helped their kids with their homework?  They must have found a way to do both and my hats off to them!

I like traveling so perhaps I should have been a flight attendant or travel agent ~ I'd have access to travel opportunities at a greatly reduced cost.

As I reflect on what I should be doing now, entering the "last stage" of my career, I have been contemplating using my interests to pursue new career opportunities. I go from one extreme to another. Here are just a few ideas I have had in the last 18 months ~
  1. Preschool teacher ~ But just because I love kids and enjoy my granddaughter ~ does that mean I would make a great full time preschool teacher or enjoy doing it every day? 
  2. Health Coach ~ I would easily have earned my certification by now if I had started my classes as soon as I was laid off, but something held me back.  Could it have been because I was burned out by trying to convince people why it is important and how to make better choices?  I did that for several years for families with children showing signs of behavior disorders and mental illness.  I didn't choose that career, it fell into my lap so to speak.  Thinking really hard about that ~ I decided I would never have chosen that profession so why was I considering it now?  Because people told me I was good at what I did and I didn't think I could do anything else.
  3. Executive Assistant ~ I am good at helping people but I am not very good at organizing them or myself, and staying that way.  I scratched this idea immediately.
  4. Health food store clerk ~ which quickly morphed into owning my own health food store ~ Now this I would have enjoyed, but do people really go to health food stores any more when most items can now be bought at the local grocer stores or through a health care provider?  I didn't think it would be successful.
  5. Life coach ~ See # 2 for why I crossed this one off my list
  6. Professional Grandma ~ I had almost written my business plan.  I know there are children who do not have grandparents, or have grandparents who live far away, or sadder yet, do not have active grandparents in their lives for a variety of reasons.  I thought about doing a "traveling Gaga" business and go to where I was most needed.  Sort of a twist on Mary Poppins. Then my son had an idea of a drop in center for busy parents who's babysitters are sick, or they just want to do grocery shopping without little "beggars" or work part-time irregular hours and can't find consistent childcare (which was my son's experience).  I am still thinking seriously about that one.  I know there is a need in our area.
  7. Grant Writer ~ I am developing marketing materials, getting them in front of people. 
  8. Writer ~ so many people have wanted to see me write a book, whether it was a self help book or just a collection of stories.  So I started a blog, started writing stories, and sharing experiences. 
I like this idea the best.  I can blend all my interests into one place. As I become more skilled in other areas ~ like photography ~ I can share them here. Eventually I will share more "personal" reflections about what I learned as a Mom in a household plagued with disorders and addiction.  But for now, I am researching how to make money doing what I love to do best. Share stories.

If I am lucky enough to travel someday ~ I can blog about it. But for now, I can write about where I want to go and where I have already been. And that leads me to the purpose of this blog post.

Every week I am going to write about something wonderful. Whether it is a photo I have seen, a place I have been, a quote, a story, an idea, or a recently discovered blog I think others should know about.

I will call it "Wonderful Wednesdays".

Canon T3i 18.0MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm IS Lens - Digital (Google Affiliate Ad)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hot, muggy, still summer

Everyone is complaining (including me) that summer is coming to an end, but today's weather in northern Illinois doesn't convince me! It is very humid and sticky.  There are signs that fall however, is right around the corner.

Too many zucchini's

We raise zucchini in our garden and we grow them so well that we run out of ways to cook them.  You can only eat so much of it before you get tired of it.  I put it in soups and salads, bake zucchini bread, fry it, saute it, and eat it raw.  I even "juiced" it once (minus the skin) and put it in a smoothy for my granddaughter.  She loved it!  I was encouraged. I even created a board on Pinterest to hold zucchini recipes


I find myself looking at the mums being sold everywhere now. I have needed to scale back on purchasing flowers because I am still unemployed on "Sabbatical" and trying to promote my new website to find clients. Yes, I guess this would be considered a shameless plug.

But back to mums - I have managed to keep 1/4 of my spring plants almost alive but the drought killed off most.  I salvaged 3/4 of the edible plants however, and nothing kills zucchini in my garden - so I guess I did OK with my first attempt at being in control of the household garden, after taking several years off. My husband and son planted, somewhat weeded, and grew lots of zucchini, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, beans, peas, kohlrabi's broccoli, peppers, radishes and onions for several years. This year, since I was home from the beginning of "gardening season" I started and followed through - including regular weeding - and have determined that they had a better crop, but my garden looked neater.

Hmmmmm........not sure that is such a good thing.  So again - back to mums.

I love the dark red mums so I think I will get 4 plants this year. To put in the front yard. And that ends the discussion on mums.

Christmas and Halloween and Thanksgiving pins

I mentioned in an earlier post that I am addicted to Pinterest.  Over the weekend I think I spent about 15-20 hours on that site. Really! One pin leads to another - on Sunday I found a Christmas pin that led me to a Christmas blog on Wonderful! I am linking you to it so you can find it easier.
Mistletoe and Glogg actually plays music! You can follow the little snowflake and click on the words Mistletoe and Glogg and it leads you to several pictures - you just need to check it out.  Of course it inspired me to start yet another blog so I can write stories. Mostly about Christmas but about other topics as well. It will be fun!

I also found many crafts, which I think I can actually make by myself!  I am not crafty enough to have a craft blog - thank goodness because I have started enough blogs for awhile - but I do enjoy making things for gifts or to keep for myself. I am in the process of taking an inventory of what I will need to purchase to stock my Santa's workshop for this year.  I am also searching for ways to incorporate Hanukkah into the holiday as my daughter-in-law and granddaughter are Jewish and we are celebrating both in our home now.

If you have ideas to share about how to blend both holidays - please share them with me!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

It's really September already?

I can't believe the summer has passed so quickly. I feel like it just started.  Even the brutally hot 90+ days seem like a quick blip and they lasted quite a long time.  I guess I am just not ready for it to end yet.  I also think that it is another reminder that when I am busy, time passes too quickly.

While I am still officially on sabbatical, I did pick up a couple of quick jobs that distracted me from completing my goals set last spring. I am happy to report though that I am learning a lot about blogging, SEO - Search Engine Optimization, and how to set up and maintain weblogs.  I am very impressed with so many of the blogs I have found along the way.  I am also learning how to get my writing "noticed" by others which could potentially lead to contracts and other methods of getting paid.

I believe I have seen the last of my grant reviewing days for this year, and I mentioned in a previous blog that I have taken myself off of the job search boards, keeping a select couple so I still have the potential to find a job with benefits.  In the meantime, I am focusing on writing and promoting the skills I have developed over time writing and reviewing grants.

I also made this decision because I truly believe that my path is in God's hands. He only gives us as much as we can handle.  Apparently He has been listening to me lately! I spent so many years struggling to balance full time work with challenging issues with my sons, which included several arrests, drug over doses, a suicide attempt, and ultimately placements in drug rehab or prison. It was hard to know my son was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, hauled off in handcuffs, driven through a small town in a police car, and had his name in the paper several times, all while working in the public eye, needing to give a speech about where to go and how to find help for a child with mental illness. But I did it for several years.  And it wore me down.

I recently learned that my Dad has liver cancer. After spending several months de-cluttering, cleaning, remodeling, reading, and reflecting on my own life choices, I am now faced with helping my parents do the same.  Only this time it includes trips to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, radiation, chemotherapy, and helping them reconnect with and establish new relationships with "lost" children. I am also going to need mental energy to deal with relationships I have let go for good reasons, and be there to support my brothers who were much closer to my father than I was. I developed a blog to update everyone on his progress, never realizing that I would be able to put my new skills to the test for my own parents so soon.

Yes, it is going to be a challenging few months but as my son and his wife - who lost her father in his late 30's of a sudden heart attack - has pointed out, at least we have been blessed with this time and opportunity, whatever the end result may be.