Good Things End

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personal-headshots_midlife-haircut“All good things must come to an end,” so the saying goes. This week I said good-bye to yet another thing of my past.

Growing up this city girl, along with my family, drove to the mountains of North Carolina one week in the summer. That week changed our lives forever.

On that trip, the vacation crew included not only my parents and I, but my aunt and uncle, their youngest daughter and her husband and daughter and their friends, a husband and wife and their two children. We rented a huge house which they called a cabin with rooms for everyone, including a loft overlooking the living room where I slept.

Funny story about that loft. When I slept on it, night after night, I awoke with stories. Sometimes I would hear things and no one believed me. Well, after we left the cabin to go home, the rest of the family stayed on as an extended vacation. Wouldn’t you know it? A bat flew down from the high ceiling, probably from the loft, and swooshed right over my three year old cousin’s head. All I could say was, “I told you so!”

Another thing about that house, there were hidden rooms. It was one of the homes still in existence with the Trail of Tears. We learned a lot about our Cherokee heritage going to the North Carolina Mountains. Even on a couple of trips, we had excursions to Cherokee, North Carolina, where we learned about the five tribes, what the earlier Indians ate, and how we could do research to prove a sixteenth and be registered. My Mom and cousin, Joe Bear, and his mom actually took that even further and researched our family in the Atlanta Archives with no luck in furnishing the necessary paperwork proving a sixteenth. Oh well.

Back to my story….

The mountains welcomed all of us with their beauty in hikes and fishing and just plain family time in and around the cabin. Little did we know that those mountains would welcome us to what became a tradition of family time up and around a little country town known as Burnsville, North Carolina.

I don’t know how much time past before we went up again. At this time, my aunt and uncle had bought a smaller house, also known by them as a cabin. My cousin, the older of my uncle and aunt’s children whose specialty is interior design, planned and helped to renovate the little home to what it is now. Originally the kitchen was in the back of the house and the front was a living room and bedroom. They rearranged the home in order to walk into a living room. At the back right is a bedroom and bath. From the living room to the left of the home is the kitchen. And then to the back of the kitchen is another bedroom and bath. My uncle built a beautiful wrap-around porch. And on it sits several welcoming rocking chairs.

Now when my parents and I went up for an earlier visit, we went around my birthday in November. Originally from Florida, I was determined to see snow. Space was limited in the house that trip, so my parents and I stayed at a bed and breakfast, without the breakfast, in town. Wouldn’t you know it? It did snow that trip. Dad fell on the bed and breakfast’s deck, verifying to me that I had seen a snowflake. Later that day we went to another of their pieces of property and posed in the snow. That was a good day.

But when summer came, back in the little cabin that my aunt and uncle purchased, there were plenty of gifts that this little piece of heaven offered. A creek running across the front of the house with its melody always calming its visitors from the world they left behind and soothing them into sleep. That is one of my favorite parts of the cabin and I will surely miss it.

And with that creek and being nestled within the mountain, there is an unbelievable breeze that blows. One of the best things to do in the morning is put on a pair of jeans and along with a cup of coffee, sit and rock on the porch as nature is waking. You’ll see all types of birds. My uncle has feeders on the rickety bridge that takes you from the main road to his front yard. And hanging off the overhang of the roof, over the porch, you’ll find hummingbird feeders. Last year there must have been about 10 hummingbirds at one time. There weren’t many on this trip, but “I’ll remember when…”.

Another thing about that house. It’s not alone on the property. There is a spring house that still keeps groceries cold, an old building that has been transformed into a playhouse for the kids and a barn. Oh and my uncle has planted a beautiful garden with squash, cucumbers and the like. He also has some apple trees.

But though you’re set a ways from the world, there is a walking trail to the next house. And when people drive by, they lift a single finger in a manner to say hello from the steering well.

This is a place where you don’t watch a lot of television. You’re cell phone won’t work but in spots on the way to town. But it is a place where you can get back to your roots.

I took one of my younger cousins up for a weekend, a couple of years ago. What I found on that trip was several people have shared in the love of this place. My cousin explained that growing up, while visiting her granny and pops, they played in the creek and picked up what to me looked like sea glass, but from a creek. They spent long hours in the playhouse in their make believe world.

I, on the other hand, would travel with my parents and was usually the only child to visit at those times. We spent our times touring local places like the shops in Burnsville, having lunch and wine and shopping in Little Switzerland, fishing at trout ponds, watching Dad and my uncle fly fish in the creek, going to the Biltmore House, visiting wineries, visiting Cherokee, Tweetsie Railroad and dinner at Daniel Boone Inn or Burnsville’s own New Wray Inn.

We have two different lives, but yet some great cherished memories. My Dad even had a chance to sleep peacefully along this property for years as we buried his ashes by the spring house. It was a beautiful day with a memorial and butterflies released. Years later, I was engaged in that same spot.

But with time moving on, my aunt and uncle aging, they have made a decision to sell this little piece of heaven. And in “My Midlife,” I’ve lived a thousand stories here and have many memories to take forward as “All good things must come to an end,” but my stories and memories of this little place in Burnsville will surely live.


Selling the Past, Buying the Future

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personal-headshots_midlife-haircutWhile speaking to a friend last weekend, he announced that he was “Selling the past; buying the future.” What a great writing point, both figuratively and literally.

As you probably know, like him, I’ve also gone through a divorce. Though I’ve transformed back into my own self, I continue growing in other ways. For instance, like transforming from an “us” to a “me.” But it takes selling your past to buy a future.

I remember the horrible steps from here to there that I cautiously walked through to find the comfort I now call myself. I remember pawning off, or selling what “we” had collected in our marriage in order to both downsize and release to go forward on my own. I remember literally selling things on Craig’s List and through friends.  And all of these steps were to reclaim myself on my own to buy my future.

But thinking about selling my past; buying my future, didn’t just happen after my divorce. Looking at “My Midlife,” I’ve gone through steps of selling my past, buying my future several times. Figuratively, I’ve had to make moves from destinations and relationships that allowed me to grow and become who I am.

My first move was from my family home and community college to a university three hours away. Literally the first time away from home at that distance by myself. What can I say, my family went to fun places so I stuck with them on vacations. Anyway, I digress. At that point, I did a lot less of selling my past, but did plenty of buying for my future. I almost horded all I could – my things, memories, friends and dreams. Moving away I wasn’t ready to say good bye to my past or friendships and family that helped me on my life journey.

But, with the passing of my dad, I horded even more – his memories, important things that reminded me of him, his favorite this and that. It wasn’t until way after my divorce that I inherited a home from a family friend did I really start selling my past, buying my future. Actually, my mom was able to do most of it. As she was selling the family home and moving to my other home, she sold what she could and only took what was necessary. Those items I just had to have – the fish my dad caught in Jamaica, the dollhouse he built and mom’s china she wanted to pass onto me – came to me in my new North Carolina home.

But there is a figurative essence of selling my past, buying my future, that I see in “My Midlife.” I now find that I’m selling or getting rid of things in my life that are no longer. Not out of desire, but out of moving seasons. Those friends who no longer take an interest or cause more work to hold onto have now been lost. Favorite places, no longer here due to my relocation or there season has taken its run. With these losses, we are forced to buy into our future.

In different playing fields, I see friends now in mini-vans and staying home for family night versus clubbing on Fridays and Saturdays. Vacations are now, not only in groups, but have kids or dogs included so the families can unite.

We sell some of the old stuff to make room for the new stuff, hence, buying into our future. You know, we buy homes, moving from apartments, to put down roots. We buy the ring to make a promise for ever more. Seasons change. Life happens. We move on, but not before “Selling the past, buying the future.”




Last Look…

personal-headshots_midlife-haircutTake a look at my article, “Getting Dirty,” with “Circa” magazine before it’s gone:
My new article will hit news stands July 1!!!

Great Creative and Talented People on “My Midlife” Journey

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personal-headshots_midlife-haircutI remember in high school, a boyfriend once told me that I always knew of great things to do out and about around town. Well, in “My Midlife,” I still keep up with the fun events around me. And those fun events introduce me to great creative and talented people. These people make up part of “My Midlife” journey.

In September 2015, I met just one of those great creative and talented people, Diva of DIY, Leeanne Lee. Soon after starting my business, I went to the Downtown Raleigh Home Show, where I met Lee. Meeting her, I felt like I met family.

She shared before and after slides of some of her great works such as “How to Update Your Tired Patio Furniture” and an “Easy DIY Tire Ottoman,” as found on her website She also showed a really cute dog bed nightstand. All seem like great projects that she made look so easy.

After watching her presentation and walking the trade show, speaking with those in and around the booths, she took time out for me. We chatted about her lake house, my business and how to start blogging. Her insightfulness gave me courage.

Though I haven’t sold an article about her, I have been following her progress. Earlier this year, Leeanne Lee auditioned for Home & Family on the Hallmark Channel. She was the “fifteenth finalist competing for the title of Home and Family DIY Star,” according to host Cristina Ferrare.

Like always, she showed courage, poise and an expert view of repurposing and upcycling. What is repurposing and upcycling, you ask? Repurposing is taking an object and making it into something with another purpose. And upcycling is taking an object and making it better.

Lee began at an early age working with objects to either repurpose or upcycle as a need. Raised by a single father, she saw items for her home, such as a dining table. Prior to the table her and her father used a weight bench which turned into their dining table at mealtimes.

Meeting Lee in person introduced me to a bubbly, down-to-earth personality who is gifted by creativity. By day, Lee is a contractor for her self-made company, Rekindled Spaces.

In her down time, she enjoys going to yard sales and searching out items that she can give a second life to, such as the examples she presented.

One great resource she mentioned over and over was the Habitat for Humanity Restore. A great place for great finds. Donated new and gently used items are less expensive. And the funds, from purchases, assist local communities through Habitat for Humanity.

In a world of Pinterest, it was great to meet a real-life great creative and talented person on “My Midlife” journey. Keep your eyes out and see who you meet out and about around town. But in the meantime, check out Diva of DIY, Leeanne Lee’s links for your own DIY projects at:



Security, Simplicity in Pillows

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personal-headshots_midlife-haircutWhile making my bed, I’m reminded of remarks my mom has said while visiting. She usually makes comments as to the several pillows I put out on my bed. But what she doesn’t realize is those have been a security blanket since I was a wee biddy.

When Dad would tuck me in at night, he would set my radio to a jazz station and make sure I had Woodstock and my koala bear. And he would set me up with a pillow under my head and one to the left and one to the right.

Now I think that the three pillows were set up as guard so I wouldn’t fall out of bed. I don’t fully remember being in my home crib. I don’t remember transitioning from the home crib to a bed. But I do remember my bed being close to the wall on one side and a crib-like set of bars on the other. Later, the bar were removed and the three security pillows insured their place.

Now why do I think about these pillows and Mom’s comment? Well, making my bed tonight, I’m reminded what a hard week it’s been — the world news, personal life and just life in general. I think about the struggles I’ve dealt with and the security I’ve found in the simplicity of pillows.

No matter how crazy and down I was feeling in my divorce, those pillows were just one of many things that saved me. They comforted me and made me feel hugged and secure, even just for the night. They prepared me to carry on the next day and the next offering me rest and relaxation, rejuvenation, and a renew.

I make my bed again tonight, looking forward to rest amongst the pillows. Feeling secure, I’m assured to have dreams for a better tomorrow from my security blankets from when I was a wee biddy. Thankful for small pleasures such as the simplicity of pillows.


Father’s Day Memories

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personal-headshots_midlife-haircutAs I wrote on “My Midlife” blog about my mom when it was Mother’s Day, I now bring you some of my own “Father’s Day Memories.” These happenings were not necessarily on Father’s Day. But for some of us, who have lost our fathers, this day is a day to remember and cherish our special times and the main men in our lives. Praying that some of my stories remind you of your dad this week. And may you enjoy my memories.

Sunday afternoons, growing up, were not spent at church with my family. But many Sundays, I spent in our home studio, a room in the back of our house. Dad worked on projects on his drawing board. And I worked on projects on mine.

I don’t remember when I received my drawing board, but I know that the mini-Dad version was built by him. And it was always there. We each used chalk, paint, crayons, etc. working on making the next big piece of art while listening to Roger Whittaker. Whittaker, resembling my Dad’s facial features, was easy listening music that still reminds me of Dad every time I hear him.

Another memory, Dad had a bass boat and one either Father’s Day or Mother’s Day, we went out to Lake Okeechobee. I remember Dad complaining because Mom and I couldn’t stop talking. He said that we were scaring the fish away. Needless to say, Mom finally caught a fish. Wouldn’t you know it, it was a lady fish. And she squeezed it a little too much. So while unhooking it and throwing it back, he left us with an unwanted gift.

On another fishing trip, I remember visiting Naples, on the western coast of Florida. We would always stay at the same hotel. We would visit Tin City, where we would visit stores and eat escargot and French onion soup at dinner.

I also remember on those trips to Naples, getting up at the crack of dawn and eating Burger King® croissan’which® for breakfast while fishing off the pier with sand fleas that we found at the beach. I also remember, one time, Dad had to befriend a pelican that I had caught. Yes, while casting out my line, I hooked a pelican. He did quite well letting Dad get the hook out.

And talk about nature. One winter, Dad brought in an iguana from our tree outside. The nights had been cold and some iguanas had froze and fallen out of the trees. So as a preventative measure, Dad brought one in and placed it into a smaller bird cage. We had several birds, in other cages, at the time. So that little iguana felt right at home with their chirping and returned to his world the next day.

As I write this blog in “My Midlife,” I’m reminded of such precious memories. One of which was a trip to Mexico. Dad, Mom and I, as a family traveled to various areas of Mexico several times in my life. We visited Taxco, Merida, Mexico City and Acapulco.

One specific trip, Dad and I climbed a volcano. I remember Mom telling us she would wait for us at the bottom. We walked, in what seemed forever. Dad carried bananas and pastries in his jacket. We never made it to the top, where there was snow, but it was an adventure I will never forget.

That’s just it. As I write about “My Midlife” journey, I realized that having my parents, Dad specifically in this blog, is a journey of this life. I’ve been through adventures and will carry memories until the end of my life.

I wish Dad’s leaving was just for a day. But I know I will see him again at another time in another place. Things I miss around him? His smell, seeing him in his noted Levis blue jeans, 100% cotton blue shirt, a cigar or pipe in his mouth. I miss the smell of cherry pipes. I miss the conversations we had and those I wish I could catch up with him about. But I’m so very thankful that I have “Father’s Day Memories” to cherish. And I pray you do as well.


Remaining Authentic in a World that Encourages Fakeness

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personal-headshots_midlife-haircutWhen a friend of mine brought me the topic of “Remaining Authentic in a World that Encourages Fakeness,” I instantly thought about the “fake” things I do to keep my youth alive in “My Midlife.” Granted, some of these “fake” things are more of an influence to myself, making me feel better about my looks versus trying to keep up with my youth. But I’m still guilty. I color my hair, love acrylic nails (though I just had them removed) and wear make-up.

The world through advertisements, industries and people in our culture show glimpses of what a perfect man or woman should look like. For a woman, I think about an hour glass figure with a good–size, but well-proportioned butt. I think long hair, beautiful smile, and a plump chest. For the guys – tall, medium build with plump muscles, especially in the chest, legs and arms – but not too muscular. Guys today have a bit of facial hair, just enough to need a shave. They can get away with any type of haircut, but many have tattoos in just the right places. Are these the bodies they are born into? I think not.

Much of it is tied to the attraction of someone as a mate. But what about the person? No, I mean the real person? I’m talking, get under their skin, into their heart soul of the person.

In a fast-paced, highly technical, deadline driven society, are we really seeing people? Are we seeing past the fake items that make up “our” (yes, I’m including myself here) bodies and looking at people’s hearts and souls?

Though actions can help us to decipher what type of people are around us like their attitudes, how they treat others, what they do for a living and in their personal time. But people are redundant. Many do what feels good. What are they really like? How are they authentic?

According to, the definition of authentic is: “not false or copied; genuine; real.” Another definition, “…reliable; trustworthy.”

Now I’m not against tattoos, however I don’t have one. Why? I pride myself on being “unique” (rhymes with Monique – ha!). No seriously, I think some of them are really awesome pieces of art. However, though growing up I hated being picked on for being different. In “My Midlife” I take pride in being different. Hence, in that way I am authentic.

But that’s still surface. What about in the heart and soul and how we deal with life? Being a friend in the worst circumstances, staying close when we could run, is authentic. Seeing things through to the end, even when a better offer comes along is authentic.

I see many people running towards the next big thing in our world today. I see people climbing over people or befriending them to see what they can get for themselves. It’s sad, but that seems to be the given trend.

And what about when you ask someone, “How are you?” A lot of times their answer is, “Fine.” When are people going to get real and answer how they’re really feeling? When are people going to stop giving the answers they want others to hear and break down the walls to let people in?

While on the topic, I’ve seen many people say one thing and do the total opposite. When are people going to stand by their beliefs? It’s a lie only to their selves, but they are influencing others around them.

Now I’m not saying everyone is like that. And we always have a chance to change. But once we become “authentic,” can we stay authentic versus going with the flow of society? How do we “Remain(ing) Authentic in a World that Encourages Fakeness?”

For me – it’s the choices I make. It is a choice in the way I portray myself so that others see me in a specific way. For some, it is continuous work on such traits. You’ve heard, “birds of a feather flock together.” Look at who you spend most of your time with. Are they a good influence? And are you influencing them in positive ways?

What are you taking in? I mean through conversations and media. Are you using things your taking in, in positive ways?

Bottom line is, it is a choice you can make to be authentic to others. Fakeness is not just skin deep, but real deep. It’s a heart and soul matter. You can encourage the world as much or as little as the world encourages you. We’re halfway in life, folks. Make it the best midlife you can by Remaining Authentic in a World That Encourages Fakeness.”

Thanks Kate Stewart for a great writing topic.


Sweet Life Moments

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personal-headshots_midlife-haircutAs life gets hectic, especially in “My Midlife,” I’m reminded of sweet life moments to keep me grounded.

Ever felt the wind of birds flying overhead, almost touching your head as they fly by? How about being with a loved one in their last moments and watching then go from this life to the next? Ever watch life through a baby’s or puppy’s eyes? Everything is awesome and new. These are some of my most cherished sweet life moments.

Oh, I have seen a lot of big moments in life. But I like to cherish some of the little ones. I remember going to concerts in the park with my Mom. I don’t know who was playing or what we were eating, but I do remember just sitting on a blanket amongst others listening to the jazz and feeling the evening breeze.

I remember the surprise I felt, along with my parents, when I graduated from eighth grade. A teacher called my name, not only to receive an American Legion Award, but also the Most Religious Award. Both were a shock. For one thing, before middle school, I didn’t attend any church service regularly. And I wasn’t even Catholic.

And then there was the time I saw Kenny Rogers in concert with Mom. I was probably about five years old or so. It was my first concert and I was so excited, dressed in my velvet blue skirt and matching vest. This elderly lady did all she could to keep calm sitting by a wiggly kid like me. Kenny then threw out tambourines to the crowd. He kept on singing while everyone, lucky enough to get one, played. Finally he said that he had one left and was going to throw it to a special little girl. It was me and I was ecstatic. Everyone in the whole auditorium cheered. And to this day I have a tambourine signed by Kenny Rogers.

But the sweet life moments are the ones without expectations, most of the time quiet and seem like a snapshot in life. I’ve had a few that I file back into my memory. Like the last day I saw my Dad as I drove down our street back to college. I caught him in my rearview, him making a memory of me making a memory of him.

Every time I snuggle with my bird and just rub her head while she makes purring comfortable sounds. I love when I whisper to her and seeing her response in the way she puts down her guard to allow me to rub her feathers.

I remember the first time I saw one of my girlfriends get married. I cried uncontrollably. I was losing a best friend, as she was gaining a new one with a husband. She was leaving “us” behind to go with “them.” It was a sign of letting go and moving on, but never forgetting where we’d been.

The morning I ironed my blouse, preparing for court. I remembered Dad’s voice, “I want you to go to court because one day I won’t be here to walk you through it.” From a car accident at 21 years old to a divorce on my own with him gone. His words were sweet life moments stuck in time.

I’m passionate to keep these sweet life moments special. I don’t talk about them much. They’re hidden away and close to my heart.



“I Don’t Know What I’d Do”

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personal-headshots_midlife-haircutI was recently reminded by a friend that she missed picking up the phone and calling her parents. I told her of my experience. One of my cousins told me, after my dad passed, that you can just speak and they’ll hear you. I did a lot of healing that night. I spoke to my dad, yelled at him for leaving and praised him for the man he was..

My friend then responded about the void of no response. I explained my responses were in seeing his car or a penny on the ground.
This conversation triggered more to me. I remember our conversations, while Dad would tuck me into bed or fighting my latest cause as to why I couldn’t do something like everyone else. He would always explain, “I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to you.”
Just the opposite happened. The day came when my Dad passed and I didn’t know what I was going to do. And more, I was the one who had one of the ultimate voices to remove him from machines.
Everyday since then has gotten a bit easier. Every time I see myself in the mirror, I see Dad’s eyes looking back.
In the way I confront life, struggles and challenges, I see Dad. When Mom and I argue, it’s Dad’s personality that comes through.
Need something fixed? Dad’s resourcefulness comes to the rescue.
My Dad is here. My Dad is in me everyday. He hasn’t left. And I’m so thankful he hasn’t because “I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to (you) him.”

What I’ve Gained

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personal-headshots_midlife-haircutIn “My Midlife” I’ve gained a lot. I’ve finally gained the confidence to speak my mind, with grace. I learned how to share my feelings with people, and to be honest with them.

I’ve gotten to a place in my life where I reach out to the people I want in my life and walk past the ones I’ve outgrown. And I’m okay.

I’ve come to a place in my life where I don’t have to be best friends with every person. But I know that every person deserves kindness, respect and decency.

I’ve learned patience, yet trusting when to speak and speaking kindly, knowing that true friendships are fragile.

I’ve learned that true love can come from a friendship that has rooted a long time before a romance blossomed.

I’m reminded that, as someone once said, “Love is a choice,” so are your battles. In “My Midlife,” I’ve learned to pick both carefully.

I’ve learned that drama is overrated. And when I smell it, I turn the other way. When I smell it on me, I wash it away by changing my focus.

I’ve learned that words can be deadly and speaking them harshly to others can make you sick. Loving words can be positive for everyone.

In a non-inclusive world, it is better to include everyone than to leave one out. Being a “Mean girl” isn’t worth it.

I’ve learned no one is perfect, so why should I be. I owe it to myself to be the best that I’m capable of, even when no one is looking. No one has to see what I do, but I have to live with what I do.

What is not accomplished today will definitely happen tomorrow. My tomorrow will be on my watch, not others.

Learning this list is not useful for just “My Midlife,” but has been useful for all my whole life. Please share.





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