What A Difference A Frappe Makes

The last few times I’ve visited my mother I’ve noticed she has been a little off. I haven’t seen her laugh or even smile in weeks. When I asked her what’s wrong she just says “it’s boring here, we just do the same old things day after day”. I reminded her that the care center offers outings such as going to the casino, movies, out to lunch, Wal-Mart etc. and told her she has the option to participate in all those activities if she wants. I told her she has money in her account at the care center just for that purpose but she says she doesn’t want to do any of those things. I reminded her that she used to like to go to Wal-Mart and told her even if she didn’t want to buy anything, she could go to the McDonald’s that’s in the Wal-Mart and get something to drink or an ice cream.. I told her it really isn’t what you do as much as it is just getting out and seeing something different…still mom didn’t seem very enthused about any of the suggestions I made.

So, I decided a little prompting might help change her mind and I came up with what turned out to be the perfect plan.

Today, on my way to visit my mother, I stopped at the McDonald’s and bought her a caramel frappe! My mother was in the activity room sitting at a table by herself just staring at the TV. I went up behind her, hugged her and handed her the frappe. She wanted to know what it was and I told her to just try it and let me know what she thought…she took a big sip and I snapped her picture….


What a difference…. she actually smiled…if I knew a frappe could make her smile…I would have been bringing her one every time I visit…:)

I asked mom if I could post her picture on my blog and she was so happy she said I could put it anywhere I wanted… She told me that the frappe is one of the best treats she ever had. I told her she could get that at the McDonald’s that’s in the Wal-Mart the next time the care center takes the group out on the field trip…she smiled again, and said she was going to make sure to put her name on the list to go to Wal-Mart with the group… then I smiled and thought to myself… what a difference a frappe makes:)

Stay Tuned!

Reconnecting With Family

I had the pleasure of spending time this past week with my cousin, Matt, who lives back east, but was in Phoenix on a business trip. Matt is my mother’s nephew from her side of the family and I haven’t seen him for several years. Matt stayed in Scottsdale, which is on the other end of town from my house, but he made the trek to my house on Sunday for a great BBQ with my daughter, Shantel, my brother, Danny, our long time friends, Holly and Chuck, and myself. My husband, Bill, was supposed to be there as well, but he was called out-of-town to Pennsylvania on a business trip at the last-minute and spent the week there .

It was really nice to spend time visiting with Matt and getting caught up on the family news from my mother’s side of the family. We don’t see relatives from that side of the family much anymore. Seems like when my dad died all the visitors who came out to visit over the years just don’t anymore. I wonder why that is?

I love entertaining family and friends so I was very excited to have Matt make the effort to come to my house while he was in Phoenix. We spent hours and hours just talking and reconnecting our lives.. Then, later in the week, Matt said he wanted to go see my mother at the care center where she lives. So Matt came back to my house and we surprised mom with a visit from Matt. At first mom thought Matt was my husband, Bill, but once I told her it was her nephew, Matt, she quickly remembered him and they had a nice long visit. When Matt finally had to leave to go back home, I told him if he ever gets a chance to come back to Phoenix or the surrounding areas, he is always welcome at my house and we would be more than happy to show him, and his girlfriend, around our beautiful state. Matt said he would do that and I hope he does. Thanks Matt for reconnecting with me.

When my husband, Bill, finally got home at the end of the week, our daughter, Shantel, asked if we could go bowling together. We thought that would be a perfect way to “reconnect” as a family after Bill being away from home all week. So today, Saturday, off we went to the bowling alley. We got our bowling shoes on and picked out our bowling balls…


First up was Shantel. I walked her out to the point where the ball leaves your hand and lined her up…


Then, when she was ready, she “let her rip”…:)


Then it was my turn. I’ve only bowled a very few times in my life but I’ve watched people bowl and noticed you are supposed to look very intent at the pins just prior to taking aim…I guess that helps:)


Once I was sure those pins were not going to go anywhere unless I hit them with the ball…I gave it my best shot and guess what…YEP I got a STRIKE!!! Go me!!!


Then it was Bill’s turn.P1010817 and a good way to see how well his knees were going to hold up since he had them both replaced…he didn’t get a strike like me on his first THREE shots…(yep that’s right folks I got three strikes in a row…but who’s counting right…) but Bill did go on to win all the games in the end…so all is well that ends well…

We all decided none of us were going to win any trophies (although Bill said he has in his past lives…) and we didn’t even care that when our shots were done and we didn’t do so well there was a little cartoon showing on a TV screen just above our lane and all the little bowling pins in the cartoon were laughing at us…!!!


No, all we cared about was we were all together and we had a BLAST!!!

After our bowling games were over we went out for a fabulous lunch together and talked and laughed about how much fun we had and how good it feels to reconnect as a family…

Stay Tuned!

Splish Or Splash

Which are you?

On Thursday my daughter, Shantel, wanted to go swimming. She asked me what the temperature of the pool water was and I told her it was 76 degrees. She said a friend of hers told her 75 degrees is the perfect temperature to swim because the body will adjust quickly to that temperature. So, we got our bathing suits on, lathered up with sunscreen, grabbed our towels and off we went to “go swimming”, well sort of…

Now, I’ve always been an all or nothing sort of gal, especially when it come to getting into the pool. I just jump right in and get it over with right from the get-go…so I consider myself a splash for sure.

Shantel, on the other hand, just can’t bring herself to make the full splash commitment. No, she would rather drag out the slow, cold, torture inch by agonizing inch as if she is trying to decide if she really wants to do it at all. She will get her feet wet, one at a time, until she is sure she can tolerate standing on the first step.


Now, I’m already in the water coaxing her to just jump right in all at once and telling her if she does she will start getting warm… but, no, she decides she should take handfuls of water and rub it on her to see how cold it really is.


I’m starting to do water exercise making waves and telling her that I’ve already warmed up. I continue to try to encourage her to just take the big plunge but she still isn’t sure…


OMG, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to drag this out…If I did that it would make me not want to ever go swimming at all.

So I keep telling her over and over to just dip your body down under the water, and start moving around, and you will realize after the first little shock that you will start to adjust to the water and it will be fine…

Finally, after much to-do and a lot of encouragement…Shantel finally went from splish to splash and we both had a fun-filled time in our backyard pool.


So Splish or Splash…which are you?

Stay Tuned?

My Friend, Bradley

I did a blog post about Bradley a while back. Bradley lives at the Skilled Nursing Care Center where my mother lives. He is 57 years old and just an experience of pure joy to be around. He is always smiling, happy, and eager to engage in conversation with anyone willing to listen to him. Bradley suffered a stroke, and shared with me that he has MS as well. He is strapped into his power chair to keep him upright, and his legs are bound with a strap to keep them from falling off the sides of the chair. But he never lets any of his many ailments stop him from sharing his joy of keeping his dreams alive and well.

This past Wednesday, while I was visiting with my mother in the activity room of the Care Center, Bradley came riding up in his battery-powered wheelchair with a big, bright, grin on his face. When he saw my mother and I, he asked if he could join us at “our table”. Of course we welcomed him to sit with us and as he settled his chair in next to us I asked him how he’s been doing. That’s all it takes to be entertained for hours by Bradley… he loves to talk, and he especially loves to tell you all about the latest “big thing” that he’s involved in. In the past, Bradley’s told me all about how he is going back to school, on-line, to get another degree to go along with his engineering degree, so he will know exactly what he is doing when he moves to Texas to hire a crew to help him buy up fixer-up houses, remodel them and flip them for profit… He also has big expectations of buying a real, full size gyro helicopter, so he can fly anywhere he needs to be without having to use commercial airlines and such.

On this visit Bradley told my mother and I that he started a new diet. He said he is just getting too big and since he can’t get out and run or even walk, he asked his doctor if he could start taking green coffee extract capsules for weight loss. Apparently his doctor agreed but told him they would need to monitor his heart, blood pressure, etc. more often to make sure his body tolerates it well, and he would need to limit his coffee drinking to no more than one cup per day. I asked Bradley if he had already started taking the green coffee capsules and he said yes. I asked him if they make him nervous or shaky or do they give him heart palpitations…Bradley looked at me with his beautiful boyish grin and said “well I’ve got MS anyway so I shake all the time, but because I also had a stroke, most of the time I don’t know it… so I really can’t tell any difference. Then he winked, and we all laughed! What a character that Bradley is. I so admire his happy spirit and the joy he always brings to those around him. I look forward to our next visit and hearing all about his next “big thing”.

Stay Tuned!

It’s The Little Things

That really do mean so much. Like getting a call, text, or email from someone just to let you know they love you, are thinking about you, and miss you…that always makes my day…ALWAYS!

Or, like this very special Mother’s Day Card I received from my nephew, Tom, and his lovely wife, Emily.


I was so surprised when I found this in the mail yesterday. The front of the card says “Moms put the “her” in hero, and the inside says “Happy Mother’s day to a mom who’s good for the world! How beautiful is that? Of course, I cried when I read it. Tom is the son of my late brother, Tom Jr. He looks so much like my late brother, and has so many of his same mannerisms, that sometimes I feel like I’m visiting with my brother as well when I visit with Tom. I am so very happy that we remain so close.

You might remember, Tom and his family, from a post I dedicated to them this past Christmas when they stayed a few days at our house. What a lovely family. They live in Texas so I don’t get to see them near as often as I would like, but we do stay in contact often.

Tom told me it was harder than he thought it would be to find a Mother’s Day card for me. I am just so touched that they took the time and effort to do that for me. It made my day and reminded me how much little acts of love and kindness really do mean. Like getting a card  in the mail…snail mail…with a hand written note inside it that is meant just for you…where you can actually hold it and place it on a shelf to read over and over… I love you and your family so very much Tom, and want you to know you are never far from my thoughts. Thank you for being you. 🙂

I treasure each and every little thing in my life, but what means the most to me are the people in my life who love and support me always. I am twice blessed because those same people in my life that I love so much also do unexpected things from time to time to let me know they love and miss me, or they thought about me while they were away… A very special friend of mine brings me some little gift from her travels throughout the world…, like the candle in the photo above. I don’t expect her to do that, but when she does…it is such a treat to hear all about her trips and what the item she bought is all about…and I display them all proudly in my home. 🙂

Another special friend of mine called and wanted to get together for my birthday last month. When she arrived she gave me this very special Lazy Susan. How beautiful is that? This was very unexpected and of course brought me to tears as well…I have this displayed proudly on my dining room table and will treasure it always.


I don’t know what I’ve ever done to have such wonderful, loving, caring family and friends in my life…all I know is I am truly blessed and I truly love and treasure each and every one of them to the moon and back and MORE!

Stay Tuned!

A Tribute To Shantel

My entire blog is dedicated to you, Shantel,  my beautiful daughter, as a way to document our lives, memories, and the absolute unconditional love Papa, and I share as a family with you. I strive to document for you not only the good and fun times we’ve had and continue to have as a family, but also the bad, and even the ugly times we’ve been through. I want you to be able to look back on this blog and recall the advice I’ve given you over the years, the things I’ve taught you, and the things I’ve learned from you. I want you to know how I, as a woman, mother, and person, have succeeded and where I failed. I want you to know what I’ve been through in my life that shaped my life and helped me become the woman, mother, and person I am today and who I am still becoming. I want you to know what I believe in, what I stand for,  and what I will never tolerate in my life. Even though you know me well, and know we have a healthy, happy, home life full of love and acceptance…because you are blind, I can’t leave you photo albums to look back on and remember the day-to-day lives we shared…so I try create pictures with my words so you can “see” how our lives played out over the course of time.

Shantel, tomorrow is Mother’s Day, and I want to take this opportunity to tell you how very proud I am to be your mother. I don’t know if I can find the words to express how blessed I feel to have been given the opportunity to be your mother. From the very moment I saw you being born into this world, and every moment that came after, I knew you were destined for greatness. As my little girl you held my hand, now, as a young woman, you hold my heart.

Growing up blind, I watched you struggle in daily life, school, and with friendships, but I never saw you fail. You are the strongest person I’ve ever known. You are my hero. Now that you are grown, and in college, you’ve set your goals high and work hard to achieve each and every one of them. You never take the easy way out and I admire you tenacity and determination. You have a heart of pure gold and a very forgiving spirit. I’ve always known you were a very old soul and that has and will continue to serve you well.

Shantel, I believe we are all works in process always continuing to grow and evolve into who we will finally have been…that said, if I evolve into half the woman you already are, my beautiful daughter…,I will have left this world a better place.

I love you to the moon and back,


Stay Tuned!

You Really Can’t Fix STUPID

When my daughter, Shantel, was diagnosed with cancer in both eyes at two years old she had to have her right eye removed immediately. No time to think about it, no other options available etc…the right eye had to be removed to keep the cancer from advancing into her brain. Then, after four and a half months of chemotherapy trying to save her left eye failed, my husband, Bill, and I had to make the decision to have her left eye removed as well, leaving her blind for life to save her life. It was the most heart wrenching, soul piercing, agonizing thing I had ever experienced in my life at the time. But we did what at we had to do to save our beautiful, precious, baby’s life, and we never looked back on that decision.

Fast forward nineteen years and our beautiful daughter is college and one of her classes is philosophy. This is a very controversial class because the instructor engages the students in topics designed to make them think not only outside the box…but outside their comfort zone. The class was given a final project, basically like their final exam, which was to interview at least two people, Shantel interviewed six, and ask them to answer the question “how do  you know God exists”. Shantel said she picked people of different faiths, and one, a friend of hers, who says he is an atheist.

As Shantel was interviewing two of her peers, she said other people in the cafeteria overheard the conversations and jumped in uninvited, giving their opinions to the question asked. One of the students Shantel was interviewing said she knows God exists because she feels his presence and he healed her body. When she said that, a guy who was one of the people in the room that just offered his opinion uninvited…said he believes God heals people too if they have enough faith and pray hard enough…At that point Shantel said to him “so I’m blind are you saying I don’t have enough faith or didn’t pray hard enough…” he said ” yes”. Then Shantel told him she lost her sight at two years old so how could she have prayed hard enough or displayed her faith…This idiot actually told Shantel “well whoever was caring for you didn’t have enough faith or didn’t pray hard enough so in other words God was testing you and you and your family failed the test so God made you blind.”

All I can say is there really are a lot of bible toting idiots out there and I hope I never meet this S.O.B.! How dare him say that to Shantel. I don’t have any problem with people believing whatever they believe. I have friends, and family members, who don’t believe in God and that is their choice… But, I do have an issue with anyone putting their believes on me or my family uninvited. I believe in God and Jesus Christ in my personal Lord and Savior. But, the God I know doesn’t strike you blind because you failed a test or didn’t pray hard enough. My God doesn’t have a hand in the giving us diseases in this life. But, I know my God gave me the strength I needed to get through all we went through to save Shantel’s life and beyond. If that man believes God made my daughter blind because we failed a test etc…I don’t want to know him or his God, because like I said…You Really Can’t Fix STUPID!!!

Stay Tuned

Looking For Cotton Fields And Found Nirvana

I have been on a mission for the past few weeks. One of my BFF’s, and also my Frissy, wants to do a project that requires cotton balls…like real cotton that still has the husk attached…and since there are no cotton fields in “her” beautiful New York City, she asked me to see if I could find some real cotton that might be growing in one of the many fields that we are supposed to have here in “my” beautiful Chandler Arizona…If I were to find a cotton field of course I would ask permission to get a stock or two of cotton and send them to my frissy. Sounds like an easy enough request right? Well…not so much…I have looked high and low for a cotton field. I’ve been all the way out to the Queen Creek area and the San Tan Mountain Reserve which is about 40 miles from my house and found nothing…not a cotton field in sight. I do have a plan (B) because I always have a plan (B) for everything because I’m pretty much a planner at heart and old habits are hard to break…but I wasn’t ready to give up on my first plan of finding a real cotton field…

So today I decided I would try again to find a real cotton field. After I got home from taking my daughter, Shantel, to school, I grabbed my camera, a banana, water, and hopped on my bike. It’s very windy here today, VERY windy…and I thought wow…this is GREAT FUN ridding my bike with the wind to my back…it was like I was sailing but on land. I mean I was going really fast and it was almost effortless…

I saw horses grazing in a field…


I saw lama’s grazing in a yard…who knew we had lama’s right here in my own neighborhood? How cool is that?


I saw chicken’s pecking in the grass…


I even saw big fish swimming in the canal.. look closely at the upper left corner and you will see his tail…not everyone wanted to have their picture taken:)


I saw a mama duck with her babies…too cute!


I passed alfalfa fields…


and fields that were dead…


And when I stopped to have my banana and water, I watched cute guys running with their puppies on a string…


But I didn’t find one cotton field 😦 not one 😦 Sorry frissy, but I won’t give up just yet…

I was having so much FUN riding fast in the wind…that I just kept ridding and ridding for miles and miles…then I did finally start to get a little tired so I decided I better go back home…all I can say is WOW!!! It’s really hard ridding against that same high winds that pushed me forward so fast…REALLY hard! I mean I had that bike in the lowest gear it has and I felt like I was sucking the pavement…I thought about getting off and walking and pushing my bike back home but I was too embarrassed to let all the other people out running and ridding their bikes see me pushing mine…I thought about leaving my bike locked to a tree and walking home to get my car and coming back to get the bike…but I don’t think they allow private vehicles on the bike trails…so I just kept going very slowly…VERY slowly…until I final made it home…

Exhausted, I decided I needed to treat myself to something relaxing and soothing….so what’s a girl to do but go for a mani/pedi at my favorite nail/spa…and that’s where I found NIRVANA!

Stay Tuned!

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