If we listed in longhand the number of sweet things in life, our lists would be never-ending. We’d write constantly, the pen would never get a rest, the amount of paper we’d need would be extensive, and our hand would begin to scream from exhaustion. Well, I haven’t been writing forever, and you know I’m typing this post, but here are a few sweet things that come to mind, and I hope we never take our lists for granted… Swimming in a sparkling lake that soothes the body from scorching heat and sweat of the day, reading a book you can’t put down – a real page-turner that interrupts chores, walking beneath a cerulean sky, hiking on a mountain top hearing birds practicing their choral selection sitting high in the tall trees and those sky-scraping trees shading your path, listening to the joyful giggles of children, observing in awe a star-filled night, touching soft, tiny feet of a baby who smiles back at you, witnessing your children’s triumphs, knowing someone gets you, that first fall into love, whispers of a warm, summer breeze, viewing graceful butterflies in flight, new vivid blooms in springtime, unexpected acts of kindness, answered prayers, writing down those thoughts, a hummingbird flitting about, melodies that comfort the heart and mind, and melodies that get you on your feet and make you wanna dance, a creamy chocolate indulgence, and a tender, slow kiss on the lips…truly the icing on the cake.
Lauren Scott (c) ❤️ My son made this carrot cake, my favorite dessert of all, and believe me, it was divine! Carrot cake is also the topic of a fun and sentimental story in my book, More than Coffee.
The kids are adults, living on their own. It’s just hubby and me at home.
Yes, I still make lunches. I have mastered “the sandwich.”
From turkey to tuna to egg salad or chicken, to this new veggie delight.
Suddenly, I’m standing in the kitchen, my kids are little, small shoe sizes by the door, Lego on the floor in his room, barbies scattered in hers, the days in the nineties when peanut butter and jelly ruled.
I should tally all the peanut butter jars, jelly flavors or jam, if you prefer, and slices of bread that were consumed back then.
The hustle and bustle of early hours on school-day mornings, kids tossing a coin for the shower.
Hair dryer working overtime with her long thick mane. He and I, donning various hats for our roles as cab driver, cook, teacher, counselor, hugger, father, mother.
I shake my head, smiling, in the presenton a workday. I reach for an apple.
Tomorrow, we buy!
Lauren Scott (c) 2022 Photo: Pixabay Some fun for a Saturday smile.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Robbie Cheadle, a wonderful poet and author of children’s books, paranormal historical, and supernatural fantasy. She is also a prolific baker of delicious cakes that she includes in her books and blog posts.I thoroughly enjoyed her poetry book, Behind Closed Doors.
Behind Closed Doors by Robbie Cheadle is a collection of various style poems such as freeform, tanka, haiku, and limerick. Robbie touches on many aspects of life evoking a myriad of emotions. She writes beautifully with strong convictions about marriage, motherhood, dreams, her struggles of working in the corporate world, living in lockdown during the pandemic, and about social issues she finds distressing. Whether her words speak of joy or anguish, they are fiercely passionate.
I personally connected to “Contrasting Colors” because of my strong marriage and relationship with my husband. Robbie creates a lovely metaphorical comparison between her and her husband, showing just how much they complement each other. I really liked the format of this poem. In “He Walks Away” her words paint the picture of her son who is no longer the little boy whose mom’s kisses cured all pain, but a young man who she will need to let go for him to find his way in the world. As an empty nester, my heart felt her bittersweet emotions.
Environmentally, I was drawn to “I saw a fish a-swimming” and “If the polar icecaps doth melt.” Robbie emphasizes the tragic effects of global warming not only on the planet, but on living creatures. She writes with concern and compassion, and some poems are written as twisted limericks bearing nothing but the truth. My stomach felt just as twisted after reading these powerful reminders. But even in trying times, Robbie includes, “Can you see the butterflies?” This poem offers delightful imagery, imploring the reader to dash outside in that very moment to embrace nature’s beauty.
I highly recommend Behind Closed Doors for fans who revel in finding themselves relating to the messages or scenarios, therefore sinking into the deeper meanings.
Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Robbie’s book. Simply click on “Buy on Amazon” below the image. You can also visit Robbie at her blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
This holiday season is different for my husband and I, a bit quieter around the house because we became empty nesters several months ago. And I admit that with Christmas just around the corner, the quiet is a bit thunderous. I remember past holidays when our son and daughter were little; we’d keep the magic going and would look forward to witnessing their wonder of the season each day up until the morning when we watched them with delight open their gifts. They knew that just the night before, Santa had come down the chimney with the hefty pack of presents on his back.
Holiday baking is a tradition that I carried into my family from memories of my sisters and I baking with Mom. She was beautiful and festive, wearing her Christmas apron as she taught us how to make sugar cookies and her German Christmas Stollen – a delicious recipe that I’ve made only once in my life but will attempt again when I have the required energy in both mind and body. The recipe is complicated, involving yeast and bread rising and everything that I know very little about, hence, the need to muster up that energy! Baking with my young children was a time when their excitement and giggles bounced off the walls as they helped make sugar cookies in different shapes: bells, boots, Christmas trees, angels, stockings, candy canes, holly leaves, and more. Licking the beaters was a must, and no one ever got sick. Their tiny little hands had so much fun with the cookie dough as if they were creating with playdough. Christmas carols played in the background adding merriment to the mix.
I must have inherited my love of dressing festively for the holidays because when our children were little, I loved painting on t-shirts and sweatshirts for family and friends. I was no artist, but my daughter and son were thrilled to wear their white “Merry Christmas” sweatshirts with candy canes and Santa’s “Ho, Ho, Ho!” The grandparents wore their Santa Claus sweatshirts with pride, and they looked cute! My husband and I still wear ours and that paint has never peeled off, even after thirty years! Having fun was the main objective!
But this past Saturday a new tradition began when just the two of us drove to our most patronized grocery store to look for a live Christmas tree. He’s an Arborist and an avid tree hugger, so as long as the prepping of the tree – fitting it onto the stand and keeping it watered – doesn’t become physically challenging, a living tree will be our preference. For the first time, we brought home a beautiful Grand Fir. My husband prepped the tree outside, trimming the bottom branches, making sure the flush cut was level with the base of the tree, then drilling holes around the center hole to allow water to be soaked up. Inside the house, I rearranged furniture, vacuumed, and pulled the red festive tree skirt from the closet, prepping the perfect spot by the large window in the living room. When the tree was set up, I poured sugar water into the base and waited a half hour to ensure no water was seeping through.
Tony Bennett sang Christmas carols in the background while we strung the lights around the fragrant tree. As we picked up each ornament, precious memories flooded our minds. Most ornaments were handmade by our children as they were growing up, and many have photos of them from kindergarten, first, and second grades. Oh, the memories! Now our beautiful Grand Fir stands tall by the window adorned in red, green, and white lights, adding magic to the room. The tree topper is our very own precious angel that our daughter made when she was a little girl. She used a toilet paper roll. Hilarious, but clever, and so special that this angel will never be replaced.
I realized early that day, I didn’t feel the same excitement to put up the tree as I’ve felt in years past. But we had a great time, perusing the trees on the lot, then getting both tree and house ready. Feeling reminiscent of those years when our children were little invoked gratitude for the blessed Christmases we’ve had when we all lived together, or at least, when one child was home while the other was away at university. So, even though we missed the presence of our adult kids during this tradition, I’m grateful for my husband to share another holiday season with. Perspective is key: this is the next chapter for each of us, and it’s all good. Most importantly, we are healthy and safe.
Everyone has their own struggles and sorrow from various life events; some are just a matter of going along with the progression of natural changes like becoming empty nesters, and some events are so tragic that joy drifts far, far away. Hopefully, though, joy can be found wherever our hearts and minds may be this holiday season, even if only in tiny, fragile fragments.
And speaking of memories, if you’re looking for a holiday gift for family or friends, my memoir, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose, is available on Amazon:
“More than Coffee is a heartwarming collection of memories and anecdotes in which the author reflects on her early life, her marriage, her love for family and friends, and her appreciation for the great outdoors. In poetry and prose she writes poignantly (and often humorously) of love, loss, sadness and joy, and I found myself relating to each section. The overall feeling I had after reading More than Coffee was one of optimism and upliftment. A wonderful book!“
I believe there is some meaningful discovery for each reader, or at least, this is my wish.
Sending you all hugs of joy during this holiday season. Lauren ❤️🎄
The calendar showed October 4th, 2012. She and I sat in the sterile office surrounded by semi-gloss light blue walls, our hearts thumping, hands like ice. We waited for the man who wore a white coat to join us, hoping he would provide gentle answers to appease our questions.
The matter was serious, but when I first saw his face, I thought of Santa, stark white hair and fluffy beard, red, rosy cheeks good for pinching. The only thing missing was the apple red hat, and though he would bear dreadful news, his smile was welcoming, as if the three of us were meeting for a stroll in the park on a lovely spring afternoon.
It was amazing how a tiny scope could be guided through the mouth and throat then down the esophagus. CT scans, lab work, MRIs, and a needle too long to discuss occupied her hours for over 1,000 days. Still, we craved clarity. Our world was hazy like thick fog a driver would endure crossing the Golden Gate Bridge during summer in the wee hours of the morning. And we waited – a necessary evil that all people grapple with too often to count the times on their hands.
Then on that autumn day came words we would have liked to have hurled back to Santa. We had hoped for gentle. Instead… “All tests point to this auto immune disease, and there is no cause or cure,” he told us with a touch of remorse. The future would necessitate a transplant. It was not cancer, but this finding should not be shunned. She was twenty years old, like a sunflower of friendliness and optimism. He added, “Just live your life.”
I felt her physical pain rip through each atrium and ventricle – my most excruciating moments of being a parent. But her strength embraced and consoled me, her mother, of all things. Life pulled us through each season.
The calendar now presents the year 2021: She is a lovely, young woman – a wedding band adorns her left ring finger, and geography has changed along with a new insurance card. She meets with another man who wears a similar white coat. X-rays and jabs repeat. “All of your tests are normal,” he affirms. All is normal. Words we had hoped to hear from this new expert. “I don’t see a reason to keep you in the same box,” he confirms.
This is amazing news! But abdominal stabs and pruritus from the past were as tangible as a twisted knife to the gut. How can we negate that agony? What is the deeper meaning? Should we get the champagne flutes out, give them a quick wash? Has this nightmare finally ended? She chooses to live in the here and now. Life continues to draw us forward to witness each sunrise and sunset, although we are still waiting to exhale.
Built with tender hands and love for his daughter, she happily rocked through childhood. Then with tiny fingers wrapped around books, they rocked like her – smiles spreading across their soft cheeks. Adorable animals enhanced the white finish – charm never to be erased. As memories of her father flooded her mind like a scrapbook of Polaroids, Grandma watched her grandchildren with a full heart, for that special rocker embraced new generations with the gentlest rhythm of love.
Since the empty nester phase has arrived, my husband and I have been flipping through old photo albums. Remember those? Not a folder on a computer, but good old albums where memories come alive on each page.We ran across this article I wrote in the year 2000 that was published in our local newspaper.Talk about memories!
“San Anselmo Memorial Park: Where the fun never sets!“
It’s a beautiful summer day in the low 80s. My husband is at work and I’m the designated recreation director for our son and daughter. There aren’t any play dates scheduled today, so what would be a fun way to entertain them?
I’m a stay-at-home mom and have met many people since we moved to San Anselmo, mainly through school and extracurricular activities. One of the most popular pastimes for parents and their children is going to the park. I have never seen so many beautiful parks to choose from.
Memorial Park is the hot spot in this quaint little town. Although the equipment was old when we first visited, it was a great destination for our children to expel their energy. Then, about a year later, I heard talk of a possible renovation, making it more desirable for children to play.
Talk soon turned into a dream come true. With the help of community volunteers and hired architects, Memorial Park was remodeled in one week! I knew if I didn’t volunteer to help, I’d feel guilty for a long time. This park and our children had already established a close bond and would be seeing a lot more of each other.
So, I volunteered to get my hands dirty and to participate in the camaraderie. Hammering, painting, lifting, cleaning, whatever it took, the work got done. The newly improved Memorial Park is even more magical than before. I haven’t visited once when it wasn’t filled with happy, giggly children creating their own adventures, whether in the mystical castles, climbing on the long-neck dinosaur, or building sandcastles in the big sand box.
Now, instead of wondering how I will entertain our son and daughter, I choose the best time to leave for the park. Usually, our children meet up with friends they’ve already made, which adds more dimension to the fun. While they’re playing, I share in adult conversation with other parents, flip through a magazine, continue where I left off in a good book, or simply enjoy the relaxation on a splendid summer day.What better music to our ears than the giggles of our happy children!
I truly appreciate the many volunteers and their working hands who conceived the renovation, thought it doable, making it reality!
Lauren Scott (c) 2000
I don’t have photos of the park during that time because I probably didn’t carry my camera on me. My bag was most likely filled with lots of water and snacks. And those were the days before smart phones existed where a simple tap, tap, tap could create 1000 photos in 5 seconds.
So, the photos I’m sharing are from the current website, along with the picture of my children that was included with the article. Now they’re 29 and 26! How is this even possible?!
Are you about to embark on the same life chapter of becoming empty nesters…or, perhaps, do my memories evoke special memories of your own? If you’re inclined to share, I’d love to read.
And thank you for joining me on this day at the park!
~Lauren ❤️💙💜 All park photos: Memorial Park website
My husband and I have never been fond of flying. Not that we haven’t flown, we have, but if driving is feasible, we’d rather hop in our car, turn the key or press the button, and accelerate.
The year was 2019 when we visited our daughter and son-in-law for the first time after they moved to Tennessee. It’s tough living so far from them now. Visiting takes more thought – sitting in an airplane for almost five hours or driving across country are the best options. Since flying will bring us to them swiftly, flying it is!
“Mom, if you and Dad take a red-eye, you’ll fly at night and won’t waste a day of traveling,” my daughter suggested.
“That sounds like a good plan,” I replied, not giving it much thought. So, Matt and I booked our red-eye flight. On the night of our departure when we clambered our way through security, we were surprised at how crowded the San Francisco Airport was at 11pm. We were definite red-eye rookies. We had time to kill, so relaxing over a glass of wine sounded nice. I realized Matt was more talk when it came to jumpy nerves about flying. Once we survived the winding lines of security, the juggle of wallets and cell phones while tightly gripping our luggage, any jumpy nerves he experienced lied down to rest. He enjoyed the airport experience – the buzz of people in masses coming and going from who knows where and heading to who knows where.
My nerves, however, were as jumpy as kids in a bounce house, and I had high hopes for that Chardonnay. Our flight was boarding, so we joined the other passengers in walking through the boarding bridge. The rows on the plane comprised of three seats on each side. Our seats were near the wings. After sliding my carry-on into the compartment above, I slid into the middle seat with Matt to my right on the aisle. In a few minutes, a young woman wearing a black jacket with the hood pulled over her head climbed over us to find her window seat on my left.
I silently kept telling myself that all will be fine. Get comfortable, breathe in, breathe out. The jet began to roll down the runway and Matt took my hand to calm me. Takeoff was as smooth as silk. Once we were flying in the air and seatbelts unbuckled, I exhaled, assuming I was fine. But where I blundered involved my breathing. Did you know you can breathe incorrectly?
“Honey, I feel like I’m going to pass out,” I whispered to Matt.
“What?” He said with panic in his voice. After all, by this time, the clock read midnight and the jet soared over 30,000 feet in the air. No emergency exit provided an escape. This was not a Disneyland ride.
“Honey! My hands and feet are contorting and going numb. I’m going to pass out! PLEASE FIND HELP!” I pleaded through the light-headedness.
The Eagle Scout in my husband shined as he hurriedly walked to where the flight attendants were comfortably sitting. He couldn’t believe this was happening at thousands of feet in the air trapped in a silver cylinder! I’m sure this event wasn’t a first for the flight attendant. The woman was compassionate and, in a firm, loud voice for all passengers to hear, she asked if a doctor was on board, and gratefully, a doctor was on board!
When Matt returned to my side, two flight attendants and that doctor accompanied him. My hands resembled pretzels and my head lolled back on the head rest. I couldn’t feel my feet. I remember the male doctor’s soothing voice, instructing me to again breathe in and out s-l-o-w-l-y. I was given a few sips of 7-up to help raise my blood sugar level. In a matter of minutes, I began to feel human again…hands relaxed to normal position, I could wiggle my toes, and the dizziness in my head subsided.
“Lauren, it looks like you hyperventilated. You didn’t have a panic attack, but it’s important to stay calm and breathe slowly,” the kind doctor said to me. When I exhibited no more symptoms, the doctor and flight attendants returned to their seats and stations. By the way, the young woman sitting on my left kept to herself during my entire calamity – white earbuds plugged in for entertainment and the hood still covering her head.
When the excitement ended, embarrassment washed over me like a tsunami. I wanted to slide down my seat in flexible fashion like Gumby. Instead, my head held high, I analyzed what had just occurred. My analysis was clear as drinking water. It wasn’t so much the flying; it was flying at night that terrified me. But the only way to realize this is to sit in an airplane as it soars through the inky darkness. This nugget of knowledge noted.
No more red-eyes for me and a Big Thank You to doctors on board! From now on, my flights will ascend into the big blue with the golden sun as my beacon. I now know how not to breathe! And a day of airport hopping will never be a waste when our children wait for our arrival on the other side of the itinerary.
Lauren Scott (c) 2021 ❤️ Airplane photo courtesy of Google
Stepping inside Grandma’s house, their eyes zero in on the white candy dish, elegantly painted in pink and pale green flowers. Grandma gives them her approving nod, so their young hands lift the lid where inside they find magic – gumdrops in red, orange, yellow, green, purple, white, and pink. With each bite and new flavor bursting, they give her big smiles. The candy dish is only one way Grandma shows her love.
(Mom passed away in 2012, but this is one lovely memory of her and our children. My sisters and I can’t seem to find a photo of that candy dish, but I found the one above on the web – a close likeness.)
This past week has felt 21-days long! Last Sunday, our son moved out of the house embarking on a road trip across country. He left the nest not for college or his internship, but for his independence. The pandemic had delayed his original plans, but they are delayed no more. So, my hubby and I officially hold the title of empty nesters. Excitement swirls in this new chapter for all of us, but while he blazed through state lines heading east, I worried. My hubby worried. We busied ourselves doing things around the house, and of course, going to work, trying to focus on the job. Some of you may recall that I briefly wrote about this in my post from April 17th. Now it’s as real as ever.
While we are proud of him, we miss his presence – the conversations, the laughter, the hugs. We know Copper, our dog, misses his “brother” too, that his canine perception senses the change. The quiet in the house is also LOUD. So, this past week has been an adjustment.
But now that he has reached his finish line and holds the keys to his new apartment in his hands, WE ARE HAPPY! We wish that his chosen path could have been on the west side of the USA. But, he now lives closer to his sister who also lives on that side of the country, which makes us HAPPY! We are eager to make new memories in his home just as we’ve done with our daughter and son-in-law.
I have shed many tears during this exciting, bittersweet week. They fell out of joy for our son and the new adventures awaiting on the horizon. They gushed out of worry as he accelerated on those highways; I thought of other reckless drivers out there. And I have never felt such an affinity for my cell phone before as I anticipated his text messages to ping each evening, letting us know he is safe. It was in those momentswhen tears flowed out of relief.And if you’re wondering, my hubby shed a few, too.
So, this post is all about FINDING YOUR HAPPY!
Wherever it may be, it’s out there, loud and clear!!!!
And don’t let it go!
“Reasons for feeling Happy float around us every day, but it’s up to us to capture them and relish in the joy.”
Lauren Scott 🥰❤️
(When I think of happiness, flowers also come to mind. The California Poppies are gorgeous and abundant around here, but I don’t have a good photo to share. So, of course, I visited Google, where I also found the Happy Face. The Daisies are from our garden.) 😍