Fresh Starts

With the New Year well underway I wonder how many people have decided they need a fresh start. Perhaps you are looking for a fresh start with your physical health. That seems to be a big priority at this time of year.

My husband always laughs at the fact that prior to the holidays the ads everywhere; are all about food. They show Christmas cookies that can be made. There are recipes for new side dishes at Thanksgiving and lots of ideas for beverages for the New Year celebrations.

After the holidays are done; all the ads seem to be for gym memberships, weight loss plans, exercise equipment and on and on. I must confess my mind was running along those lines this year.

After all the celebrations, my clothes were feeling a bit snug. I am too tight to buy new clothes for my “fatter” stage. I started pondering on the fact that perhaps I should move a bit more.

There was a simple challenge put out by Young Living for it’s members. They call it #NewMeIn90.  The idea is to intentionally move 30 minutes a day. They want you to make small workable changes that will leave you, not just in better health, but feeling better about life in general.

As I was thinking on this concept a friend, Kim, put out a challenge and a link to a 30 day journey into yoga. She did this on Facebook. I quizzed her by asking if this was something an out of shape (very out of shape) older fat woman could do. (I figured I had best start out the year being honest!) She assured me it was doable.

This week I set out to give it a whirl as I figured it would benefit my balance, flexibility and strength. I am happy to report it was going well…..till I hit Day 6. Day 6 is titled, Ignite.

Adriene, the yoga gal (who shall now be named YG) told us we were going to ignite the fire in our belly. I mumbled under my breath that the last 5 days had already been doing that, as I was starting to discover my long lost core. (I had previously not been sure I even had one anymore.)

Day 6 did not go well. After three, crunch- leg and head lifting type things (that started a roaring bonfire in my belly) I gave up that move. She ended that session with smushing up into a small ball with her knees tucked under her and her forehead on the ground.

I am here to tell you, that last pose was another move that didn’t quite work out properly. When you have extra mass around your middle it gets in the way of smushing and doing the deep breathing that YG kept reminding us to do.

Plans are to finish that 30 day challenge. It might not be done gracefully, but I have Kim holding me accountable and that makes me keep going.

It is good to have someone to hold a person accountable. Maybe that should be my goal this year. Be accountable. Do what I say. Finish what I start. Do what I can with what I am given and realize giving your best is good enough.

Perhaps the fresh start the New Year gives us is not just about getting into better physical shape. Perhaps, it is about persevering…..taking the next step….doing the next pose and keeping on even when life is hard.

Maybe YG is right….maybe just taking the time to breathe in and breathe out and being still is a great goal. Maybe it gives us the time to hear that still small voice. Maybe it gives us the space to really see what our Creator has laid out before us. Just maybe, it gives us the peace we need to embrace the gifts we have been given….whatever they might be.

Let us take this fresh start and receive it with joy.  Let’s relish the gift of life and delight in the steps along the way. Let’s take our cue from children….they don’t worry about tomorrow….they just live in the space that is now and enjoy that time.

When you dance,
your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.
It’s to enjoy each step along the way.
-Wayne Dyer





It is already December 13 and the tree is finally up and it actually is totally decorated…..except for the candy canes that will get put on at the last minute. For some reason Christmas decorating at our home seems to take a while to wind up and get started.

I am thinking it is because I kind of hate to take down the fall decorations and give in to the fact that it is the winter season. But…..the day arrived and my husband retrieved the totes that held the tree and all that is needed to make our house festive and lit for the holiday.

As I took the strands of lights out of the freezer bags I had stored them in; my husband started laughing. He thought my balls of light strands resembled something from the movie Christmas Vacation. Since he was right on that thought, I let him share in the joy of untangling those strands of lights.20191211_165750125099464.jpg

My Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas holiday seem to tangle all through each other and this year has been no exception. As I was making Christmas cookies I was also finishing up baking out my pumpkins from the garden.

I can probably justify the pumpkin baking as I do make a pumpkin pie for dessert for Christmas dinner. We have some die-hard pumpkin pie lovers at our house that day.

There is something wonderful about the tangling of seasons and holidays. It seems to reflect the tangling of life and the tangling of days. At least my days and my life sometimes resemble that strand of lights that come out of the bag as a ball.

It takes patience to unsnarl that strand of lights. It takes a gentle touch and a sense of calm. There is a lot to be learned when untangling strands of Christmas lights. Things like handling life with patience.  Treating others with a gentle touch.  Remaining calm when faced with situations that look impossible to straighten out.

Let’s take time this holiday season to deal gently with those around us… never know what they are dealing with or how snarled their life is. Let’s be patient and calm when the world seems to be going to fast and seems cruel…..let’s untangle those strands and let our lights shine.


I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a man
by the way he handles these three things:
a rainy holiday,
lost luggage,
and tangled Christmas tree lights.
~Anonymous 52-year-old,
quoted in H. Jackson Brown, Jr.,
Live and Learn and Pass It On, 1991





Remembering On The 4th of July

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For as long as our children can remember we, as a family, have spent our fourth of July holiday at Lake Okoboji with my side of the family.

The day is spent laughing, swimming, going to Arnold’s Park, getting a boat ride, watching fireworks and of course eating. It is a day to catch up with what siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins and friends have going on in their lives.

As I was mowing lawn the other day I had plenty of time to think about this day. It occurred to me that there was very little time during that day of celebration that I actually spend any time remembering the reason we can have this holiday.

I was remembering, as I was mowing, that the 4th was our nation’s birthday.  I was also thinking about what it took to birth this nation. It took the dream of dedicated people, commitment that sometimes ended in death, courage in the face of great hardships, and the vision of our forefathers of what this nation could be. It took the life blood of those who have gone before and put their lives where their commitment was.

As a country we have not always done it “right” but we have always tried and been willing to back up our beliefs with our lives.

I would like to take this time to salute those who serve and have served in our military. I salute those who came home from that time of service and went on to live their lives.  I also salute those who came home to a family that was filled with sorrow at having to lay them to rest.

I am especially remembering my cousin and his family who gave that full measure in the life of their son, grandson, and nephew; Julian.

dignified transfer of Julian Scholten



I only ever met Julian one time at a family reunion several years ago. I don’t remember even speaking to him that weekend. Looking back he did not strike me as a hero……but I am finding that true heroes seldom are obvious at first glance.

True heroes do have that same commitment, dedication, courage and determination that our forefathers had when this country was birthed in hard work and bloodshed.  The determination that all men are created equal, that the constitution drafted back then is still relevant today and that our bill of rights, our freedoms and our way of life are something worth fighting for and even worth dying for. The belief that people and values matter.

On this day, this birthday of our country, I want to remember all of those men and women who have served and the families they leave behind.  I am in awe of your devotion to this country and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Freedom is never free.
~Author Unknown



The U.S. Military is us.
There is no truer representation of a country than the people
that it sends into the field to fight for it.
The people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat are our kids,
and our job is to support them,
because they’re protecting us.
Tom Clancy

Read more at:

Prepping For The 4th


Fireworks over the Lake



In a few more days it will be time to celebrate the birthday of our nation.  People are starting to get on the road and travel to different destinations to enjoy the holiday. My side of the family usually gathers and enjoys a day at the lake together. According to the weather man we should have great weather on Monday to spend time sitting by a lake.

Today we are having a wonderful break from our normal hot muggy summer days.  The temperature is in the 70’s  and it seems like a great time to do some baking to restock the freezer and also to do some preparing for the upcoming holiday celebration.

When our family gets together for this particular holiday we typically all bring our own burgers and buns and a side dish to share; plus some snacks for the afternoon.  There are just certain things that have become standard for the day.

The side dish that I bring to share for the evening meal has turned into one that has become a 4th of July tradition.  I am now required to make the taco salad.  My husband really dislikes taco salad and I sometimes wonder what would happen if I brought a different salad?  Would I be barred from the festivities? Hmmm I don’t think that I will test that one out.

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Taco Salad Fixings


The recipe that I use comes from an old cookbook I received as a bridal shower gift from my sisters many, many, (did I say many?) years ago. My original cookbook has long since lost the back cover along with the entire last section of recipes.  The pages are dog-eared and worn. Some pages even stick together from having ingredients spilled on them. It is a book well-lived and well-loved.

MS Cookbook.JPG

I love this cookbook so much that last year I asked a friend, who runs tag sales, to keep her eyes open for another one that would be in good shape. (This cookbook is long out of print). I was so excited when she found one for me!

I will hang on to my original one though; as there are lots of memories and notations on those stained, well-used pages. I like to think I am like this cookbook….a little worn but well-lived and well-loved!


For those of you who want to try making the taco salad I have included the recipe:

Taco Salad
1 Large head lettuce (torn)
1# Ground beef
1 Can dark red kidney beans (drained)
8 oz. Shredded cheddar cheese
4 Red tomatoes (diced)
1 Large onion (diced)
1 Bag Dorito Nacho Chips
1 Pkg. taco seasoning
1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
1 Tablespoon Taco Sauce
8 – 10 oz. Thousand Island Dressing
1/3 cup sugar
Brown the ground beef.
Add taco seasoning (reserve 1 tablespoon for dressing)
In large bowl layer ingredients – lettuce, cheese, ground beef etc.
Cover and refrigerate.
At serving time toss salad with dressing and crushed nacho chips.

Here is hoping you all have a blessed weekend and enjoy your 4th of July holiday! I also wonder what do you and your families do to celebrate the holiday?

Food is our common ground,
a universal experience.

 James Beard quotes