Tuesday, November 21, 2017

30 days of Gratitude 2017 week 3

Day 15 Thankful for my parents.  Thankful for the gifts they have given me that are measurable and immeasurable.  Thankful for their love, support and the security and comfort of knowing they are only a few houses away.
Day 16 Thankful for adventures in life that make life an adventure.
Day 17 Thankful for my health and the health of my family.  Something we all take for granted. Thankful for people in the medical profession.
Day 18 Thankful for Music.
Day 19 Thankful for my husband and kids that can take care of the house, do laundry and cook when I'm not feeling well.
Day 20 Thankful for a friend that shares the load.  It's so nice to not have to do the morning drop off this year.
Day 21 Thankful for hope.  Hope that everything lasts only for a season and change will come to those who wait.

Monday, November 20, 2017

7 Days of Black and white photos of your life

The latest Facebook craze, 7 Days of Black and white photos of your life.  No humans.  No explanations. Nominate someone new everyday.  This was as much fun doing as it was to see everyone else's photos.  Sometimes the photos did make you wonder...

Friday, November 17, 2017

Disappointment, Setback, Comeback and Change

Early this week my son said, "I know you are disappointed in me. I'm the disappointment child." I told him then that it was not true.  I said no, "I'm the disappointment child. I believe that you can do great things."

Disappointed, I'm NOT disappointed in you.  I'm disappointed in the choices that we ALL continue to make.  It's like we're stuck in the same day, the same week, the same month and the same year.  And we keep making the same mistakes over and over again, never learning from them and never making REAL change.  Why is it that some people have motivation, discipline and drive and can succeed at whatever they try? Why is it that some people continue to fail while others succeed?  I really wish I new the answer.  How do we get out of the rut we are stuck in?  What are we afraid of?  I wrote before about how when we were younger we were ready for adventures and we tried new things.  We picked up and moved where there were better opportunities.  There are things that I love and things that I don't about the position we are in right now.  It takes a lot to confront your demons.  Everyone has them.  Mine are self worth, food and laziness.  That was very hard to say.  I might seem to have it all together but I don't.  I struggle everyday.  I constantly feel that I am being judged by others.  I want to loose weight and get healthy but I never do.  I start out strong and then get lazy and give up.  When the going gets tough, I give up.  I really want to make change but I guess I don't know how to successfully do it, since I haven't been successful at it yet.  I've been reading all of the inspriational quotes on the Oola Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/OolaLife/ . I decided to type them into a document, print it and hang it up around the house as a reminder.  Hopefully this will work.
They say, believe that there is a comeback for every setback and a new beginning for every ending.  I'm looking for that comeback and new beginning. I will keep the faith and have hope that God will help me to make change.

This morning I spilled all out on my son.  It was like I had this awakening.  I told him, he's ready, and we are ready, it's time for him to FLY.  Time for him to use those wings that we gave him and take the challenge to make change.  I believe in him.  Just like I believe in my girls.  I know they are capable of doing great things.  They just have to try.  I said that when my husband and I were younger we were ready for adventure and we moved and took opportunities that would make things better for our family.  Now it feels like we are a bit stuck and told him NOT to get stuck like us.  GO, spread your wings and FLY.  Don't wait to get your associates degree to transfer, apply now and go. You are ready for the challenge.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

30 days of Gratitude 2017 week 2

Day 9 Thankful for heat, comfy sweaters, scarves and jackets on cold days to keep us warm.
Day 10 Thankful for a morning that we can sleep in and catch up on a little sleep.
Day 11 Thankful for our Veterans, for all they have done to defend our great country.  Thankful for our freedom.  God Bless America.
Day 12 Thankful for Sunday mornings and my church family.
Day 13 Thankful for my children, even on days when they don't get along, there are more days that they do.  I love seeing when they help each other, laugh and hear them singing from the other room.
Day 14 Thankful for magical moments discovering and learning with my girls and Girl Scouts.  I learn new things right along with them. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

30 days of Gratitude 2017 week 1

On the first day of November I started posting on my Facebook page something that I'm thankful for every day.  I have noticed that some of my friends are also starting to do it.  I didn't make it a challenge and tag my friends in it, I just did it my self. I love that some of my friends have started and I especially love that gratitude can be contagious.  Here are Days 1-8, I will add the rest weekly.

Day 1 I'm thankful for my life.
Day 2 I'm thankful for my faith.
Day 3 I'm thankful for my family.
Day 4 I'm thankful for my friends.
Day 5 I'm thankful that I said yes to being a Girl Scout Leader 10 years ago and for the friendships and opportunities my girls and I have had because of Girl Scouts.
Day 6 Thankful for creativity.
Day 7 Thankful for the opportunity to vote.
Day 8 thankful for the roof over my head and the walls that keep my family warm and safe in all kinds of weather.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Back by Popular Demand

It seems that my old post from 7 years ago is my #1 post, Thankful for a camping weekend with Emily.  Back then I didn't attach directions to it as the DIY thing wasn't as popular as it is now.  Thanks to easypreschoolblogspot for sharing my link on her blog. So it's back by popular demand and I'm making a new post of it on my new blog oneleadersguidetoscoutingblogspot.  The new post has the supply list and directions to make the Corn Cob Bottle Lantern Craft.  You can also check out my board on Pinterest One Leaders Guide to Scouting.

Have fun making it then sit back and enjoy the simple beauty of it.

Poetry I wrote in College

When I went to Cazenovia College I took a poetry class and entered these poems in the college creative magazine, Images in 1990.  I found my copy of it the recently.  The words I wrote ring true for college students still, 27 years later.  I was my son's age now when I wrote these poems, so long ago, I hope he hears them. 

The hurry and the noise of the students in the quad,
Sometimes makes me feel very odd.
Wondering if it's only me?
Feeling so lonely and so free.
Away from the parents and the rules,
Alone, in a strange place, nothing to hold you down.
All you have left of your past life,
is memories.
Most of the friends are gone.
Now, who do you talk to when you feel all along?
Find a friend, we all feel the same.
It's college and it's your future.
It's no longer a game.

~Laura Leah Luffman

What makes me feel the way I do?
I want to feel happy, but instead, I feel blue.
Friendships come and friendships go,
But why do they have to hurt so?
I saw you here just last night,
How can things change so much, right before my very sight?
You know I care,
Even though I don't know why I dare.
As soon as I feel your presences in the room,
my heart begins to skip a beat.
Because it's always such a treat.
To see you every once in a while make me feel so grand.
I think we should dance to the beat of the band.
Please don't let another part of me leave.
It makes life so hard to believe.
I'll miss you and think of you all the time,
I need some reason for me to rhyme.

~Laura Leah Luffman

Growing up-
Now that I'm grown up and live almost on my own,
It's hard to come home to the parents and the rules.
I've been gone for only a few months,
but already I feel like a guest in my own bed.
No place to feel comfortable to lay my head.
Once you graduate from high school and go to college
You're not watched over as carefully.
You can come and go when you want.
Not worrying if you'll get caught.
Now it's time for responsibilities,
You've got to learn to survive.
Just think of it as learning to drive.
Pray that you won't crash and burn.
Work for the top.
Grow inch by inch from the bottom.
Grow up strong and proud,
Voice your feelings very loud.

~Laura Leah Luffman

Monday, October 30, 2017


For some people change is exciting for others it can cause anxiety.  Some people try very hard to avoid change. Most of us can't avoid change.  Children are always changing and growing, every day.  As parents, that's what we want them to do, as difficult as it may be.  They aren't little forever, the minutes turn into hours, the hours turn into days, the days turn into months, and the months turn into years.  As hard as you may want to try there is no way to slow it down. One day you are bringing home your baby from the hospital, before you know it you are bringing them to their first day of school, and then almost in an instant, they are off to college. That's why I have always kept this saying in my mind.

Cleaning and scrubbing
Can wait till tomorrow...
For babies grow up
We've learned to our sorrow...
So quiet down cobwebs...
Dust go to sleep...
I'm rocking my baby
And babies don't keep!!
--by Unknown Author

Lately, there have been life moments that remind me of this, more and more.  We have been looking at colleges for my oldest to transfer to next year.  It has been great having him home for the start of his college career, going to community college.  Last year we weren't ready for him to go away to college and neither was he.  He is one of those people that really doesn't like change. Now he is ready to move out and have his independence, but I can see the uncertainty in his eyes.  As many times as we tell him we have all been in your shoes, it's not helping yet.  Do you remember, when you were either graduating high school or in college and thinking, what am I doing?  Some people have it all figured out and some people struggle, thinking that you have to have it all figured out right then. But you don't.   You can change your major in college.  You can even change your career later down the road.  My husband got his degree in geography and has a very successful career in technology.  Dreams can change and you just have to roll with it.

I wish there were some kind of magic words to help, like bandages and kisses on boo-boos used to make it all better, unfortunately, there is not.  You need to find a way to work through change.  Find someone you can talk to about it or find another way to work through it, for me it's writing.  When I was in college I wrote poetry and now I write on here.  What works for me might not work for someone else.  Find your own path.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My House

Home is where the heart is. A house is just a house until you fill it with love and then it becomes a home.  My house is a home.   My house is the home that Arne built,  my Grandpa Arne Louison, in 1938.  It's the house that Arne and Margaret filled with children, 5 boys and 1 girl (my mom).   He built it with love for his wife and growing family with blood and sweat.  He dug a hole and built it from the ground up.  My house is a Sears and Robuck Kit house, ordered from a catalog and then picked up at the train station.   The paint colors have changed over the years but the structure is still the same, it is strong because of the foundation he dug nearly 80 years ago.  

"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches."  Proverbs 24:3-4

My Grandpa died in 1975 when I was just 4 years old.  But I have so many wonderful memories of him.  My Granny lived at home until 2003, when my husband and I and our 2 children at that time bought the house.  Over the years we have continued to fill the house with love and had another child in 2006.  Until now we have only changed paint colors, updated the bathroom, put in a new kitchen counter and sink, and replaced the roof.  We are now talking about doing some more cosmetic things and finally ripping up the kitchen floor that was done in the 1970's, that's what got me thinking about the house that Arne built.  I'm very lucky to have the blueprints.  

My home is the house that Arne built.

My Grandpa, Arne Louison
The blueprints

My grandpa had the slope of the roof changed for winters in the North East. 
As the family grew he put on two additions, a dormer upstairs to a lot for a bathroom and
a breakfast nook to make the kitchen bigger with an enclosed back porch.

Label that was on one of the windows we restored.

The front with our beautiful Red Maple.
 The back with the beautiful Sugar Maple.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Should Girls be allowed to join the Boy Scouts?

Should Girls be allowed to join the Boy Scouts? This week the Boy Scouts of America announced that they are opening up membership to girls.  This announcement has caused much controversy between Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of America.  Instead of being proactive many are reactive to this announcement.  There are so many opinions on this and people are writing about it and reporting on it.  After reading and listening to a lot of the reports on this I'm still very torn.  I know that Boy Scouts of America did not go into this lightly.  Watch this video of the Chief Scout Executive at a National Council Town Hall Meeting. They have done a lot of research on this, and I hear what they are saying, I still believe that they did this wrong. Top 6 Things you need to know about girls joining Boy Scouts. 

This has been a heated conversation in my house and in my circles of friends and family.  I have a son and 2 daughters, all of them are in Scouts.  My son is an Eagle Scout and my daughters are Girl Scouts.  As a supporter of both organizations and a parent of a Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, I don't believe that girls should be able to join Boy Scouts.  I do believe that girls can do the same things that boys do, but I don't believe that means they should become Boy Scouts.  I think that Girl Scouts of America should be listening and creating more challenging things for girls to do.  Girl Scouts has been introducing new badges, keep them coming.  I believe that there are some things that need to remain same and unaltered by societal changes. Here is another video link from Fox News. There are many reasons why girls and boys should have their own organizations. I believe that single-gender organizations create a safe comfortable environment for both girls and boys.  Boy Scouts opening up membership should not be a sexist issue as some are making it out to be.

Girls are a distraction for boys as boys are a distraction for girls, not just when they become teenagers but even as younger children.  Their maturity levels are different.  When talking to men who were Boy Scouts as children and young men who never made it to Eagle, their reason why is "girls and cars."
Puberty is another reason why girls and boys need their own groups.  When a girl is starting her period she doesn't want to be around boys camping in tents with no running water for the weekend.  It's bad enough being uncomfortable about getting your period with other girls who are going through it also.  And boys don't want to be grossed out by that either.  It's a fact that girls and boys develop differently.  It is just as important for both boys and girls to feel like they can do anything without the help of the other sex as it is for them to be able to work together.

The Mission and Vision of the Boy Scouts of America 2017, are to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.  The Boy Scouts of America will prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law. The Boy Scout Motto is "Be prepared."  The Mission and Vision of the Girl Scouts of America to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.  The Girl Scout Motto is "Be prepared."  As you can see both organizations want to teach boys and girls to be prepared for what lies ahead of them and to succeed in life by giving them the tools to help guide them.

Above all, we need to remember that our founders Robert Baden-Powell and Juliette Gordon Low were friends.  Baden-Powell started the Boy Scouts around 1907 in England and his sister and wife followed soon after with Girl Guides.  Boy Scouts of America was founded February 8, 1910.  After seeing how great the scouting movement was in England, Juliette stared a group of Girl Guides in Scotland in 1911.   The following year Juliette brought it home to the girls of Savannah Georgia and started the first Girl Guide Troop on March 12, 1912.  The name changed to Girl Scouts in 1915.   I don't know when or why the rivalry between the two organizations began but I think it's time that it ended.   Both organizations have things that they struggle with and things that are successful.  I think we should work together to better both organizations.  We can both learn from each other.

The question still remains, Should Girls be allowed to join the Boy Scouts? I still say no, even after everything I have seen and heard. I think that both organizations could benefit from each other if we joined forces and became friends, not enemies.

(If you read both of my blog you will see this on both.  I know not everyone reads both of my posts but I want to share this with both.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Keep Moving On

We need to stop dwelling on the past. We must move on.  You will never move forward if you keep looking in the past, you must focus on whats in ahead of you.  We've all made mistakes in the past in one way or another. In order for changes to happen, we need to move on.  Don't get stuck in the mud staring at your mistakes day after day.  Address the problem, set a goal and move on.  Set a date to check on your progress.  You shouldn't weigh yourself every day.  Everyone fluctuates daily.  You will only see the benefits of your actions after you have been doing your action steps for at least 3 months.  The Oola Guru talked about this in his Money Monday talk for finance but you can use that for any part of your life.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Reality and a 80's Musical Flashback

Why is it so hard to face reality?  I mean I know what's real and what's not, but sometimes all of the chaos of life makes you lose your sense of reality.  You keep telling yourself that everything is ok and you start to believe it yourself.  When the fact of the matter is that you aren't ok.  Things aren't going the way you imagined they would be at your age.  Is this what they call a midlife crisis?  I think by definition I might be having a midlife crisis, I have a strong desire for change in my life. I just don't know how to do it.  Like I know but I can't seem to make the changes necessary for big change to happen.  And so I keep searching for an answer.  I feel a song coming on, "Here I Go Again," by Whitesnake.  I'm not going to stop believing that change is possible and it happens one step at a time.  "Don't Stop Believing," by Journey

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Time For a Make Over

It's time for a make over.  I've been feeling like I need to do something different with my hair, but the truth is I just go back and forth between two hair styles.  Now I'm thinking of giving my blog a make over too.  My husband has never like my background.  He has always said it was too busy.  I wonder if people think that when they look at it?  I wonder what people think when they look at me?  In my eyes the first thing people probably is fat.  Before they even talk to me, that's what I think they see.  Then it's probably my boobs and then my hair.  I wonder if people see my background before my content, like I think they see my fat before they see me.   My red hair has always been my identity.  But one day last year when I was subbing I told a girl that my hair used to be the same color as hers, she said that my hair wasn't red.  My red has dulled looks more brown and I have lots of grey now.  The part of me that used to shine, is fading.  Most people would just go and get their hair dyed but I can't do that.  That is the one thing that has always driven me crazy...when people would ask me what number hair dye I use.  I would always say with pride, " it's natural, you can't get this out of a bottle."  The most I have ever done is get high-lights. But it's time for something new, so all I'm left with is a hair cut.  I'm going to a new hairdresser on Monday so wish me luck.  Maybe she will come up with some thing new for me. 

For now it's onto playing around with the layout of my blog and maybe giving it a little make-over.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Recently I made the decision along with the help of my husband to stop working.  For the first time in a long time I am keeping up with the laundry and doing the breakfast dishes before lunch.  But for some reason the thought of me staying home is hard for people to comprehend.  Why do people feel the need to validate the choices I make?  I don't need their validation.  I am perfectly capable of making my own life choices.

A good friend reminded me the other day that, there comes a time when you need to take care of yourself.  Well my time is now.  And that's what I'm doing.  I'm taking care of me.  Not having laundry pilled up and dirty dishes in the sink all the time is much less stressful, and that's just a small thing.  Having time to think, reflect and write, that's a little bigger thing.  Feeling like I'm NOT running in circles and out of control, that's HUGE!  Sleeping better is another HUGE thing!

I've always said that we lived in a simpler time life would be less stressful.  Well that's exactly what I'm trying to do, simplify my life. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Things I Say

Everyone has there own things that they always say, here are some of the things I say...

"I love you.
Have a good day, get all your work done.
Listen and do it the first time.
Follow the golden rule in actions and in words.
Do your best."
I would say that every day when I brought my children to elementary school, then I would kiss them and send them on their way.  The best thing about that is when we were in a hurry and running late my youngest would remind me to say it.  So I knew she had listened for all those years.  It's hard to believe I'm not saying it any more, they aren't little.  This is the time in 15 years that I'm not bringing anyone to school.  

"Doubt means Don't."
If you are in a situation that you don't think is good don't be there.  If you think it's not a good idea then it probably isn't.  

"Wallet, badge, keys, phone.  Drive careful,  have a good day, I love you, bye."
 Every morning I get up with my husband and make his coffee and lunch while he makes and eats his breakfast.  Then I say the same thing as I kiss him goodbye every morning.  

"Time to get up.  Put your feet on the floor and get out of bed."
I call this up the stairs to my girls every morning to wake them up.  I changed the wake up call to this after hearing the camp counselors say it one summer to the girls.  I liked it and it stuck.  Before I used to say. "Wake-y, Wake-y, Eggs and Bacon"

"Wise I like, wise guys I don't."
I always used to say this when my son was fooling around and talking back when he was little. When he was in 5th grade he wrote me a poem for Mother's Day and included that statement in it.  I had it mounted on a plaque and it still hangs in my kitchen today.

"It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt."
An all time classic parent and teacher saying, that I have said many times.

"Rock-a-bye and good night, go to sleep (Alex, Emily or Amy)
Close your eyes fall asleep, go to dreamland.
Close your eyes and fall asleep and tomorrow will come.
And we'll play and have fun until the day is done."
This is the lullaby I sang to my each of my babies every night as I put them to bed.

"Do your best and let God do the rest."
This is something my dad always said to me and I continue to say it to my children.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

"I am supposed to be here. So are you."

I was scrolling through Facebook when I happened upon the Wheler Conference 2017 live feed from Cazenovia College, Dr. Greene was speaking and I thought, "I remember him, let's see what he's talking about."  He was starting to introduce Jennifer Hartwell, M.Ed.  I am so glad that I stopped to listen. Her story resonated with me, it was similar to my story of acceptance to Cazenovia College.  A perfect song to listen to while you read this is, Madisa "Overcomer."

I was too have felt many times that I am not supposed to be where ever I am at that time because I was being judged on my aptitude.  I was one of those students who struggled thru high school. I was always just an average student, but my grades in my art classes brought up my GPA.  I remember my uncle saying to me, "don't be surprised if you don't get accepted to college."  Well luckily I didn't let that stop me from applying to Cazenovia College.  I was accepted to Cazenovia with a list of conditions and was more that happy to follow those, as Caz was my #1 choice but also the only college I applied to.  Cazenovia College was the only college I wanted to go to.  Thankfully God agreed with the Admissions Department and I was accepted.  I graduated from Cazenovia College in 1991 and then transferred to SUNY Cortland.  I don't have as clear memories of being accepted there and I don't even know why I applied there.  I graduated from SUNY Cortland in 1993.  My grades in academic classes were never the best, but my major classes in Art were what carried me through.  I believe I graduated with a 2.2 GPA.  It was my talent that got me through, my gift that was all part of  God's plan for me.  I do think that part of his plan was to feel struggle, so that I could feel true accomplishment.

Since happening upon Jennifer Hartwell's presentation I have replayed it so that I could take better notes to share her message more clearly and accurately.  Her words were exactly what I needed.  I am so glad that she shared your story and her life lessons.  I am going to have my son watch the presentation later as he too has had his own struggles his first semester of college.  A lot of us have been in those shoes, failing but not able to admit it to your parents.  Sometimes a person needs to hit rock bottom in order to lift themselves back up and learn from their mistakes.  Not all cases are the same but when you have that moment you know.  The thing that is so hard for kids to understand is that we have all been there.  It's important too keep our communication about school open and keep us up to date on grades with your kids. Remind your kids that you can always change your path.   Many of us didn't know back then what we wanted to do, and many of us changed our majors 1 or more times. My husband got a degree in geology and has a successful career in computers.  Computers have always been a compassion of his.  He is self taught and continues learning in the ever changing world of computers and technology.

I went to college hoping to be an art teacher.  I was a studio art major on a waiting list to go to SUNY Buffalo for the Art Ed program.  But by the time I graduated from SUNY Cortland I just wanted to be done with school and get a job.  I was lucky and got a job managing the local Frame & Art Shop with benefits.  I did that for a few years until I got married and moved to Rhode Island.  Deep down I always knew that the career I wanted didn't have a degree program, but I needed a back up plan.  I always knew that I wanted to be a full time, stay at home wife and mother.  Ever since my children started school I was involved and volunteering in school and scouts. I did become a substitute teacher and I was the Art teacher at a local Catholic School the last year it was open. For the past 15 years I have been taking care of everyone else, saying yes to almost everyone's requests.  The word no didn't come out of my mouth very often when I was asked to help someone.  In June my youngest graduated from elementary school and moved up to middle school.  I don't know what it is but when you get to middle school the schools don't ask for volunteers as much.  So I decided focus more on Girl Scouts this year.

Service to others has always been part of me.  So when Jennifer shared her secrets for a "Service Driven Life" they resonated with me so much that I want to share them with you.  These life lessons are things that I have tried to focus on personally and in my role as a Girl Scout Leader.  These life lessons are things that my parents taught me, based on basic morals and principals.  Be nice to others, think before you speak, believe in yourself and others, and you can do it.  My father always says, "Do your best and let God do the rest."  "With God all things are possible."

A Service Driven Life Lessons 
from the 2017 Wheler Family Conference on World Affairs on Service
by Jennifer Hartwell, M. Ed.
1. A little fear Means you're probably about to do something important.
2. What you say to others is as important as what you do for others.
3. Your ability to serve others is only as deep as your willingness to believe in them.
4. It is possible to be both positive and realistic.

When you are struggling in your personal, academic or professional life it's important to take a step back and get a new perspective on thing.  If you have goals and dreams but don't seem to be getting closer because you are stuck, ask yourself "What do I need to know in order to accomplish this?"  In a world focused on "Selfies" its hard to remember that we are all part of a bigger community.  Where do you fit into your community?  Who is in your community?  Reach out you have a network of supports that can help you get through your struggles, they have probably been there before. 

More amazing quotes I took from Jennifer's presentation.
"A service driven life makes you realize that it's through kindness that we make real change."
"My GPA does not reflect my aptitude."
"In life building a career is like building a house, and your education is your front door." (from one of her favorite professors)
"I am supposed to be here.  So are you."

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

21 years

I have been married to an amazing man for 21 years.  Some days that is really hard to believe.  Is it really possible that we are old enough to be married for that long?  The answer is in the pictures.  Look at those 2 kids!  So excited for what was about to happen.  Ready for adventure.  Now look at the 2 grey haired adults.  The people with 3 children, a house and 3 cars.  Life has really been an adventure for the past 21 years.  We've had joy, and pain, laughter and rain.  And thru it all we have each other and our faith.  Faith, Hope and Love are the keys to our marriage.  So many times you people will ask what't the secret of your happy marriage?  How did you get so lucky to find each other?  Luck had nothing to do with it, it was fate.  It was our destiny.  It was our faith.  God had a plan for us and it was to be together.  

I met Ken when I was 5 and he was 6.  I don't remember the exact meeting I just remember our families always being friends.  Our mothers used to have coffee together with other moms in the neighborhood and our brothers were the same age so they were friends.  We went to the same elementary school, middle school, high school and even the same church.  I remember sitting behind his family in church and thinking he was so CUTE.  But back then apparently he was playing it cool and not giving me the time of day.  Until one day when we were at his house after going caroling with our church youth group and he showed me a program he created on his computer.  Little did I know that was a big deal, I just thought he was a geek at that time.  

Fast forward 20 years from when we first met, we met again.  This time I was 24 and he was 25.  It was shortly after I returned home from graduating from college my mother suggested that maybe if I volunteered I might find someone nice.  The first night I volunteered setting up at the Festival of Trees I ran into his mother.  Who basically set us up.  She said to me, "so what does a 24 year old do in Amsterdam on the weekends?"  And I said, "this is it."  She then said I should call Kenny.  My mother was there and she said, "no he should call her."  And he did.  Only I wasn't home.  My father took the message, which we still laugh at today, because my father has a tendency to lower his voice when he answers the phone, which made Ken a little nervous.  So when he asked who was calling he stated his whole name.   The next night when I called him back we talked for over and hour.  I remember talking about everything and feeling at that moment that it was it.  He was the one for me.  I can't explain it exactly but it's true what they say, when you meet the right person you just know.  Six weeks after we started going out he proposed to me.  Most people thought it was crazy. But both of our parents were the same way.  My parents and his parents got engaged a month after they started dating.  Ken's parents have been married for over 50 years and my parents have been married for 47 years. 

Last year we renewed our vows on the beach when we were camping for our 20th Anniversary.  This year I gave him this artwork that I made for him.  Ken is my compass, he guides me and leads me thru this adventure we are on.  My love for him is true North.  Our family is also the compass that guides both of us.  He is my compass and my anchor.  Faith, hope and love are the keys to our marriage.  We have his love & this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  Hebrews 6:19

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


About 15 years ago I moved back home to Amsterdam, NY.  People say you can't go home again but I disagree with that.  You can go home.  When my husband and I got married we lived in his childhood home for the first year.  Then an opportunity came for him to take a job in Rhode Island.  We jumped at the opportunity, thinking of the adventure and creating a new life.  Thinking "the grass was greener on the other side."  About a year and a half later we had our first child.  Having a child made me miss my parents and family.  I didn't want our son to only have weekend grandparents.  I wanted him to know them like I knew mine.  Well soon my husband had another job opportunity to move us to Massachusetts.  Another chance for a new adventure, we were young so we jumped at the chance.  Soon we had another child and were starting to out grow our 2 bedroom apartment.  We started looking for a house to buy, but always compared the neighborhoods to the one we both grew up in back in Amsterdam.  At that same time my grandmother wasn't doing well and was being moved into a nursing home.  Her house that my grandfather built was going to be put on the market to be sold.  When I found this out I made the suggestion to my husband that we move back home and buy Granny's house.  To my amazement he said yes.  He didn't even stop to think about it.  So we came home, ready for a new adventure once again.  It's been about 15 years and I wouldn't change a thing.  Amsterdam might not be a booming metropolis, with sparkling new buildings.  Amsterdam is home.  Just like the saying, "home is where your heart is."  My heart is in Amsterdam, NY and so are my feet.  Home is where family and friends are.  It's where you plant your roots.  I always say I am giving my children "Roots and Wings."  Roots to grow from and wings to fly.   I can only hope that my children will fly off on adventures someday and maybe live in a town far away.  But know that our door is always open and they can come home.

(We are teaching our children that they need to be able to take care of themselves someday.  That you don't have to go to college but you have to be able to support yourself with steady income and health insurance, which are not easy to get if you don't have a college degree and a good job.  It is not our job to support them forever but to help them while they grow.  So although the door is always open, it's for temporary stay once they graduate.  If they decide to live in other states that will be great it will give us places to travel to.  If they stay in Amsterdam, that will be great too.)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Keep the Faith and keep moving on.

In today's crazy world you really have to have faith.  Faith in God to watch over you, guide you and protect you. Like my dad always said to me growing up, "Let go and Let God."  He also said, "Do your best and let God do the rest."  In order to be able to do both of those things you have to believe and have FAITH.  Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. 

Yesterday at church Pastor reminded us in his sermon that faith sees the invisible and believes the impossible.  With all of the tragic events caused by weather and by humans in the news these days we really truly need to have faith that with God we will make it through the hard times.  I was taught that instead of seeing impossible, think I'm Possible. 

Hebrews 11:1-3 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Luke 17: 5-6  The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea, " and it will obey you.

Keep the Faith and keep moving on.

Friday, September 29, 2017

A Rainbow

The beauty and wonder of a rainbow.
A rainbow is a beautiful expression of God's love for us.

Genesis 9:12-13

And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth."

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What are you going to do now?

Lately the question everyone is asking me is, "What are you going to do now?"
My answer continues to be, "I'm going to take care of me."  How I envision taking care of me isn't exactly the way it's going. That vision is so much easier said than done.  But I have been doing little things every day, like my silly shower workout and my stability ball exercises.  The weather is so crazy for September it's just too hot to go for a walk.

Truthfully though to answer the question.  I am doing the things that I didn't have time to do during the day when I was subbing.  I am washing breakfast dishes before lunch. I am doing laundry before it piles up. I am doing the checkbook and paying bills.  I am staying home most of the day and not feeling like I need to go some place.  I am writing.  I am playing piano.  And do you know what...I am loving it.  I am so much more less stressed.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The roles we play

What are your roles in life? Are some more important than others?  How do your roles define who you are?  My roles in order of how they happened are daughter, sister, friend, wife and mother.  For me the order they go in are wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.  But I have many roles that define me.  I am a child of God, a niece, an aunt, Eagle Scout Mom, Girl Scout leader, neighbor, American citizen and host mother.  I used to also be a den leader, substitute teacher,  PTA board president, vice president and secretary over the years.  When my husband and my sister threw me a surprise 40th birthday party a few years ago, my sister made me this collage.  She made me feel very valued for of the roles that define me.  My blog profile I define myself as "Happy to BE an artsy wife and mother, sister, daughter and friend."  I think that by giving up subbing and PTA I have become happier.  I am really enjoying my time at home, not running around trying to make everyone else happy but making me happy.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Time To Push the Reset Button Again

Time To Push the Reset Button Again

I was doing so good and then I had to prepare for the Girl Scout Trip to Beach Jam at Morey's Piers and I got sucked in to other things and away from my daily day 1 habits I was trying to do.  So today I'm starting over again, I'm pushing the reset button.

I have to be honest, for the last 2 weeks, the week leading up and the week after the trip, I was off.  I actually didn't get too off in my eating but I did stop my little exercise routine.  As silly as my little routine is I noticed a difference this past week so I'm starting over today.  Ever since sleeping on the ground my body has been aching.  My husband says I need to stretch.  I tried and it was very PAINFUL.  So this morning I tried a heating pad and it seems to have loosened up my pain hopefully enough to now do the stretches and my silly exercises.

I listened to my motivational song just now and it made me think of this picture that I took a few years ago while camping at Caroga Lake State Park.  The sun was coming up and peaking through the trees and the morning fog.  I call it "God's Eyelashes" because he's always looking down on us and the sun rays make me think of heaven.  This is one of my favorite photos.  If you haven't watched the music video for Mathew West, "Day One" here's the link.

Every morning
Every morning
Sun's coming up
The beginning has begun
It's day one of the rest of my life. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

My new blog "One Leaders Guide to Scouting"

For years my husband had been telling me I should find a way to share what I do as a Girl Scout Leader.  Finally last week I decided to start another blog.  Its called "One Leaders Guide to Scouting."  I will be sharing my scouting experiences and ideas, Girl Scout, Cub Scout and Boy Scout.  As a parent of both girls and boys and being involved in both organizations I felt that I couldn't just say Girl Scout even though my days in Boy Scouts have ended since my son is an Eagle Scout now.  I am always drawing on my knowledge and experiences from Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts when I am doing things for Girl Scouts.  I believe that's how it should be.  Robert Baden-Powell and Juliette Gordon Low were friends and shared ideas, that's how Girl Scouts was started here in the United States.  I hope that people will find my other blog useful.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

My children, my world, watching them grow

My children, my world, watching them grow and then someday watching them walk away. I have always lived by two sayings as a mother...

The 1st is:
Give your children roots and wings.  Roots to grow from and wings to fly.

& the 2nd is:

Cleaning and scrubbing
Can wait till tomorrow...
For babies grow up
We've learned to our sorrow...
So quiet down cobwebs...
Dust go to sleep...
I'm rocking my baby
And babies don't keep!!
--by Unknown Author

I was given this saying framed when I had my first child. I have treasured it.  Even though the frame broke I put it on my bulletin board and it has moved with me 3 times.  

My children are growing up. Sometimes it doesn't seem possible. How can I have an almost 19 year old son, an almost 16 year old daughter and a almost 12 year old daughter.  My babies aren't babies anymore.

We can only hope that we are giving them all that they need to succeed in today's world.  When I say that I don't mean the newest phone and the hottest style clothes.  We are teaching our children the value of money.  If they want something more expensive than what we are willing to spend then they need to pay at least half.  Hopefully we have shown them how to have a successful marriage and that its not at 50/50 relationship, it's 100/100.  We have taught them to believe in a greater power and have faith in God.  We tell them to always do their best in everything they do and with faith and prayer God will do the rest.  They know how to cook, do laundry, and sew a button, not because of FACS class in middle school but because we showed them how.  It's all part of being in a family, everyone has to help each other out.  You might not like each other all the time but you love each other.  You aren't going to live together forever but your siblings are your siblings and you don't know how long is forever.  It always amazes me how my girls can be fighting one minute and then helping each other the next.  An amazing thing to see was this summer at the ocean in Rhode Island the girls jumping waves together and even holding each others hand for the big waves.  I love just watching them.  It also shows how much my son has grown into a man when he is standing next to my husband, his father.  I can't believe he's taller than both of us.  My babies are really growing up.

My hope for my children as they continue to grow is that they are healthy, happy, have love and keep their faith. I pray,

"May the Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; May the Lord lift His countenance upon you, and give you peace."  Numbers 6:24-26

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Life is an adventure, enjoy the ride

Life is an adventure, enjoy the ride.  Take chances and try new things.  This past weekend I did just that.  I took my daughters and other girls from their Girl Scout Troop to Beach Jam at Morey's Piers for the first time.  I have to say it I was nervous the week coming up to the trip.  Morey's Piers is in Wildwood, NJ a 6 hour drive from here.  We slept on the beach in tents. Which is fine as I am a camper, but I took a lot less than usual as I knew we would have far to carry our supplies.  Normally I sleep on an air mattress when I camp but this time I used a bed roll or camp pad.  UGH - needless to say I didn't sleep well.  This body of mine is not made for sleeping on the ground.  I can get past the sleeping arrangements as it was only for 2 nights, I went there for my girls, not for me.  Nothing makes me happier than when my girls are happy.

I will admit there were moments of unhappiness on the trip.  Everyone was sore and tired.  And I will speak only for myself saying that my anxiety goes on over load around amusement parks.  My younger daughter isn't afraid of anything and I am a worrier.  So at one point I went a little crazy in public and that is not me at all.  So even though it is my right to get mad I was embarrassed since it happened in public.  But all is good now.

So many great parts to the weekend.  My favorites are when I went shopping with my daughters and had lunch just the 3 of us.  When our troop won the Saturday Stake out Flag contest.  AWESOME!
When my older daughter searched for a sweatshirt she had seen and wanted that says, "My lifeguard walks on water. Matthew 14:22-32".  She is proud of her faith not afraid to show it.  That made me so proud.  My last favorite moment was when my youngest got her hermit crabs to bring home.  She had the biggest smile.  Which made all the soreness and tiredness worth it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Full Circle Moments

 "Sometimes life brings you full circle to a place you have been before just to show you how much you have grown." - unknown

This is one of my favorite photo collages.  It shows my little boy as a Tiger Cub saluting the flag as it is lowered at the Elks Lodge 101 Flag Day Ceremony.  No one told him to salute he just did it.  Then as a Life Scout he was in charge of the flag folding and passing the old flag to the Jr. ROTC. In the blink of an eye my little boy has grown into a man, who will forever be an Eagle Scout. 

I am so glad that our family took the road less traveled and became a scouting family.  My husband was Den Leader and Cub Master.  My son worked up the ranks from Tiger to Eagle Scout. My girls have both been in Girl Scouts from the start of Daisies.  My older daughter is now a Senior Girl Scout and my younger daughter is now a Cadette Girl Scout.  I started as a Den Mother in Cub Scouts and then became a Girl Scout Leader of 2 troops.  I have been a GS Leader for 10 years.  

come full circle

Monday, September 18, 2017

They say a picture speaks a thousand words.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. In this case it speaks more than a thousand. This picture is one of my favorite pictures from my childhood.  It speaks to me of love, family, safety and security.  Small town family visits the BIG city.  It looks like such a cold day, but it warms my heart when I look at it.  I am wearing my favorite coat.  It was a London Fog, I think we got it at Macy's, which was a big deal.  When we were kids we usually shopped at KMart, Nichols or BigN, discount department stores.  But I remember getting that blue London Fog with a red scarf.  I had matching mittens and a beret.  I don't know what it was about it but it made me feel so special when I would wear it.  I also remember feeling like my Uncle Robert was larger than life.  I was so little then and he was so tall.  I think he was 6'3" tall.

Uncle Robert lived in Greenwich Village in New York City.  I remember when he would come home to Amsterdam to visit, I would be impatiently waiting for him to arrive.  As soon as I would see his rental car pull into my Granny's driveway I would run out the door and up the street yelling his name with so much love and excitement to see him.  Some times he would bring his dogs, Amos and Andy.  He always said that Andy looked like the dog Sandy in "Annie."  Funny I was always a little afraid of Andy and thought Amos was the nicer dog.

I have so many fun memories of my Uncle Robert, like when he bought me my roller skates.  They had orange wheels.  The best part about roller skating was that Uncle Robert had roller skated too, which made him even taller.  His skates looked like sneakers with wheels.  I can remember roller skating in circles in front of my house with my brother, sister, a friend or 2 and Uncle Robert.  He was the coolest Uncle!

My Uncle Robert died when he was just 34.  He would have been 65 this year.  September 17, 2017 marks the 31st anniversary of his death.  He died 2 weeks after his 34th birthday.  He loved singing and dancing.  He loved his family with all of his heart, especially his mother, my Granny. I found these pictures of him and Granny and his picture for his auditions, turned it into a postcard. Back then video cameras were a new thing and he would always film us on his visits home.  He would interview Granny, us kids, sing and dance with us in the living room or outside.  I am so glad we have those tapes now. 


I was 15 when my Uncle Robert died.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with.  The grief was unbearable at times, that some people couldn't understand.  To this day I get a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart when I think of him.  He died too young.

In high school he was in the drama club, and was in many of the school productions.  After he graduated from high school he joined a touring theater group and traveled the country.  He was Tom, in "No No Nanette," with Andrea Walters.  I can still here him singing the song "Tea for Two" in my granny's kitchen. I remember him taking me to see Andrea in a play at Pasadena Playhouse.   The month before he died he took my brother and I to California.  I still can't believe my parents let him take my brother and I across the country.  I remember being so nervous before we left and I was crying.  It was my first time on a plane.  I am so grateful to have the memories we made on that trip.  

When he died he was working the the promo department at NBC in New York City. I had red hair like "Annie" so he taught me all the songs from "Annie."   In 1979, I went on my first trip to NYC by train with my Granny to stay with Uncle Robert.  I remember being scared in the big city but he took my hand and I all my nerves went away.  He was larger than life.  On that trip to NYC he took me to see "Annie" on Broadway, and to the circus at Madison Square Garden. 

When you have a traumatic experience you either block out the memories or you remember every detail.  I remember the day he died.  It was a Wednesday.  His friend Jeff called our house because no one was answering my Granny's phone.  I just remember my mom screaming NO.  I'm not sure if she told me he died or if I over heard the conversation because she was so upset.  I was in shock. While my mom was on the phone we could see my Uncle James get home and I ran up the street to get him.  I never ran so fast.  I really couldn't believe it was true.  I don't think anyone could.  I remember being at the wake and thinking he was going to sit up.  How was it true?  He was always a funny guy, joking around, was this a joke?  I wanted it to be a joke.  I remember going to my Granny's house after the funeral and wanting to watch the videos he had made so I could see him.  When I put it in it was on him singing, "It's Alright to Cry," from Free To Be You and Me.  It was so weird and so right at the same time.

This has been something I have wanted to write for a long time.  I know that it's all over the place but so are my thoughts and feeling when I remember him.  

I believe in heaven and I know I will see him again someday.  I still feel his love everyday. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.

I just want to say thanks to all of my friends.  I am so grateful for all of you.  I am so blessed to have all of you and all of your support, thru the ups and downs of the journey called life.  There is no special reason for this post accept to let you know I appreciate you ALL.  I have different circles of friends and some don't even know each other.  That's ok.  That's what I'm trying to teach my daughters and Girl Scouts.  It's ok to have different friends that aren't friends with each other.  Love you ALL.  Don't wait to tell you friends how much you appreciate them.

"A sweet friendship refreshes the soul." Proverbs 27:9

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Love is All Around

How many of you would notice these hearts as you walked or drove by? Just a reminder to always keep your eyes open. I might not have been posting for the past 6 years but I have continued taking pictures of the hearts I see in around me, in rocks, shells, bark, holes in tires, my children's hands, tree stumps, the sky, leaves, and even a hole in the sidewalk.  See the beauty it it all, see the love and remember his love today and everyday. 

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Love is ALL Around ~ Heart Photos by Me ~ Laura Brittain