They’re people you wouldn’t expect. Friends. Family. Coworkers.
But you may not recognize them right away. It may take time.
Toxic people make it a point to do everything they can to control your life. Criticism, implied or veiled threats, constantly telling you you’re stupid, worthless, unlovable, etc.; that he/she is the only one willing to put up with you.
Toxic people don’t want you to escape their circle. Because they like the control. They do everything they can to isolate you, prevent your friends or family from interacting with you. Because they know if you tell others what’s going on in your life, they’ll try to convince you to escape….even offer to help.
When a toxic person can no longer control you they will try and control how other people see you. They will spread rumors, lies, and talk behind your back to paint you as a terrible person; as someone who has lost all control of reality. They’ll be a friend to your face, of course, but only because they want you to believe they’re the only one who cares about you.
The sooner you realize what’s going on the sooner you can escape that person’s grips.
They can lie to your friends. They can lie to your family. They can undermine you at work. But once you realize what’s going on you have to stand up for yourself, and make other people see the truth. Most importantly, don’t let that toxic person intimidate you.
Because in reality, a toxic person doesn’t always do well when confronted with the truth. And the more the truth is thrown at them, the easier it becomes to penetrate that toxic persona and show it for what it is. Because after awhile all the lies that they’ve said come back at them, because there are contradictions that can’t be explained.
Toxic people can’t handle the truth being thrown back at them. Because it crumbles the wall of lies they’ve built around themselves and they’re unable to build it back up. Suddenly they’re not in control anymore.
Several years ago I wrote this blog for my mom’s birthday, several years after she had passed away to her heavenly life. This year I have updated it, because I know in my heart that even though a lot of what I originally wrote is still true, there are a couple of important changes, which you’ll have to read to the end to discover.
Today would have been my mother’s 110th birthday! Where has the time gone? No of course she isn’t with us anymore, and hasn’t been for some 16 years. But that doesn’t mean we can’t remember her on her birthday.
We always wish for “just one more” of those special times with our loved ones after they’re gone. It’s our own human nature, because we don’t want to let them go. There won’t be any more of those special celebrations here on earth, but in my heart I’ve been imagining what her birthday today might be like in her heavenly home, where she’s been for quite some time now.
And in my dreams (even a bit last night) I’ve imagined what my mother’s heavenly birthday might be like.
First of all, my mother didn’t like birthdays, at least not her own. She didn’t want to be reminded of her age. And if she were reading this blog, she’s probably already upset with me for telling – again! Sure, she enjoyed other people’s birthdays, but she never wanted to have any type of party or celebration for her own. But in heaven, I’m fairly sure that’s all changed now.
Her birthday is the anniversary of her arrival here on earth. Now that’s she back in her heavenly home, the aging process she disliked so much is no more. No more old age. Although we have no idea what our heavenly bodies will look like, we know they will be perfect, free of wrinkles and infirmities, restored to our own perfect beautiful self, just as the Lord sees us.
I imagine her now as she appeared in her engagement photo, a beautiful young woman, full of happiness! Looking ahead to a wonderful life with the man she loved.
I imagine her waking up on this birthday morning in a beautiful room, full of flowers, butterflies and hummingbirds darting all around. There are heavenly birds joining in chorus with some of the angels, singing her a special birthday song meant only for her ears. I imagine her smiling happily at this special greeting!
My father is there, too, restored as a young man, who takes her hand and leads her to the special celebration that’s been planned in her honor.
There’s a beautiful table set out on her porch which overlooks a sea of flowers. Not only the roses my mother so loved much here on earth, but flowers we can’t imagine, grown only in heavenly gardens, their colors painted from heavenly rainbows by the Lord’s own hand. Their scent is amazing, and drifts by as a special heavenly perfume, created for her on her special day. A few of the deer she so enjoyed watching in her back yard wander aimlessly through the flowers, waiting for the right moment to wander up on the porch to visit with her.
The pets she’d had here on earth are there as well, little dogs playing with each other, barking happily as they see her walk in, ready to jump in her arms and wish her a happy birthday! I see her face light up as she greets each one by name and gives them a special hug and a heavenly dog treat which they scamper off with to enjoy.
Her family and friends are there as well; her own mom and dad, as well as her brothers and sister, some of her best friends from earth, all delighted to celebrate with her! Plus other relatives I never met, but know one day I’ll get to know.
There are other young adults there as well that I don’t recognize, but I know they are the children she miscarried, now spending eternity with their parents. My brothers and sisters that I won’t meet until that day in the future when I join them.
I see young children around her as well, hugging and kissing her, bringing her flowers and presents, and I hear them calling her “Grandmom.” Obviously, all the babies I miscarried, living in their heavenly home and being watched over by the grandmother who adores them and loves them just as much as she loved and adored the only child I was able to give birth to.
No birthday celebration would be complete without birthday cake and presents. And her cake is a heavenly three-tiered masterpiece, a concoction of sugary flowers and butterflies that no pastry chef here on earth could even begin to duplicate. I can only imagine the taste as it’s served on crystal plates, for all in attendance to enjoy.
And the presents…what kind of presents could you possibly get in heaven, since you already have everything you could ever want? So there aren’t that many, but the ones there are so special. Beautifully wrapped in iridescent paper, which changes color from time to time, and tied with the most intricate and amazing bows like nothing we could ever tie here on earth. The gifts slowly unwrap themselves as they’re placed in her hands, to reveal a few specially selected gifts designed just for her. Another jewel for her heavenly crown. More colorful embroidery thread for her needlework.
But the most precious gift is a photo frame, decorated with pink hearts and pearls, which contains a picture of her great grandchildren…her namesake Rachel, as well as her little sister Ryleigh This is certainly not like an earthly photo frame, since it allows her to watch little Rachel and Ryleigh as they grow up, through all of their stages of life. What more appropriate gift for her! And on this birthday there are also pictures of the next grandchild in that frame, a little boy named Ryan, who looks just like his daddy. Just think, Mom, you’re getting to actually see what he will look like before he even arrives!
I’ve never seen my mother so happy. So beautiful. And so at peace with her life. But heaven is a place of total joy, total peace, and eternal joy. Of course she’s happy.
So Mom, Happy Birthday! I know you are enjoying an amazing celebration! And you deserve it!
Several weeks ago a few of the girl flamingos came to me with a problem. Or really a question. One of their friends, a flamingo named Fiona, had just gotten engaged, and they wanted to give her a bridal shower.
Not just any bridal shower though, but one she’d remember for years. A very special, and of course, very pink event. And since they remembered the wedding I’d helped them with a few years ago for another friend, they figured it would be much easier if my friend Karen from Main Stream Events and I helped plan and coordinate it.
How do you say “no” to a group of flamingos when they’re looking at you with those big flamingo eyes and ruffling their bright pink feathers?
Knowing Karen would happily agree to help, I told them to get a guest list together, give us a couple of dates and a few of their ideas and we’d take care of it.
Of course, they already had all that ready for us, and after thanking me several times, they flapped their wings in excitement and headed out to buy shower gifts for their friend while Karen and I set to work!
The first thing we did was to select shower invitations. We presented the girls with several styles to choose from. With so many opinions it took a while, but they finally selected their favorite and Karen sent the order to the printer.
We even found a special flamingo bridal shower stamp to use for mailing the invitations! How awesome was that!
Next on the list: decorations. They had to be feminine, pink of course, with a hint of gaudiness that flamingos just love! And we gave them a lot of ideas to choose from! So many, in fact, they wanted to use them all and use every room on the first floor of our house (where else?) for the party!
“Only if you flamingos clean up afterwards”, we said. And they agreed. Fortunately.
And no bridal shower is complete without a few games, and we ordered some really nice ones to use! (With Karen and I volunteering to host the games so we wouldn’t have to play.)
Next came ideas for the food. Flamingos love their shrimp, as we all know, so of course their favorite shrimp dishes were included, along with some colorful charcuterie boards.
And of course, no flamingo party event is complete without cocktails, including of course, pink champagne to toast the bride-to-be.
Flamingos also love fancy desserts, and this event absolutely has to have an array of beautiful yet delicious cakes and cookies, of which the leftovers, if there were any, would be boxed up in treat boxes for shower gifts for the attendees as they left. Karen and I actually saved a few of them in the kitchen just in case there weren’t enough left to fill up the leftover boxes!
We gave them a choice of cookies and cakes to choose from, and although they wanted them all, we insisted they pick only two cakes and four trays of cookies! Which do you think they chose?
And of course, all the gifts were wrapped in pink! Fiona had a wonderful time opening everything, and wondering how she’d get them all home!
And just before the party ended, Fiona handed out these cute little message in a bottle gifts to her “flock” to ask them to be in her wedding. Perfect ending to the shower! We also made sure everyone signed the guest book as well as getting a special treat box to take home filled with leftover goodies from the shower.
Yes, it was a lively party, and the perfect bridal shower. Every flamingo had a great time, and they cleaned up as promised, (while drinking more pink champagne of course!) and we sent them all home in a limo. After all, you can’t let flamingos drive after they’ve had a bit too much to drink!
Photo Sources: 1st Row: SE paper designs; Card Hunter; Kristen Smith via Etsy; PaperandInkDesigns; Pumpkin Design Cards – 2nd Row: minted.com – 3rd Row: Eve’s Crafts; Jessmy via Emmaline Bdide; Kaxixix; Pioneer Woman; Soiree Love- 4th Row: LooseyGoosey; Big Dot Of Happiness – 5th Row: source unknown- 6th Row: source unknown; Little Creek Creativity via Emmaline Bride – 7th Row: source unknnown via Etsy; Kazana via Emmaline Bride; Hooray Days; Sweet by Natalie; Lucansandme creations; CookieCutterBaking – 8th Row: ; pexels.com- 9th Row: KseniyaaRevia-Need My Flock; Twisted Velvet; Amazon – 10th Row: hqlimo,com
A very unusual near-end-of-summer is taking place in our area. August, once a hot and steamy month that allows me to jump in the pool after work for a relaxing time of floating in the warm water with a good book and a glass of chilled wine, has decided to turn the heat down by about ten degrees during the day, and a bit more as the afternoon goes on.
No. I’m not ready. Not at all.
I’m meant for sun, flip flops, swimsuits, sundresses, cool summer drinks, and nights as well as afternoons swimming in the pool after work, with our flamingo inflatables keeping us company.
Lately all I seem to see on my Facebook feed are posts about how happy people are that it’s getting cooler already. How they’re welcoming all the fall treats: pumpkin spice everything, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin muffins, etc. They’re talking about having bonfires and roaring fireplaces.
Now I like fall. But I like it when it’s time for fall to arrive. This is August. It’s summer! It’s still time for pool parties, not bonfires, at least not yet. The other morning it was 66 degrees! In August! It should have been at least 80! I’m not ready to give up my summer!
I know summer in other parts of the country is taking a huge toll with droughts, fires, and problems with not having adequate electricity to run the air conditioning. That’s not what I’m discussing. I just don’t want summer to go away yet!
It just seems that Mother Nature is having an identity crisis, or maybe going thru the change of life. Will somebody please give her some medication?
I’m just not ready for summer to end. Who’s with me here?
Amazing to discover I’ve been blogging now for years, since 2013. Nine years. That’s a long time!
What started out as a hobby to talk about my crafts (which were basically wine cork creations and diaper cakes) has now grown into a personal blog in which I talk about not only my crafts (which have now expanded into jewelry making), but all kinds of other topics ranging from stories from my childhood as well as now, family memories, personal stories, some political commentary, family recipes, life and relationship tips, as well as whimsical stories about those pesky flamingos my husband and are so fascinated with!
I even started a series called “Matters of the Heart” about my husband’s journey through his many heart issues, which has now grown to 31 installments, to not only tell his story but to bring attention to the problems of heart disease and how it can be controlled. After three aortic heart valve replacements in some 38 years, as well as his other heart procedures many of you have never heard of, I think we can both expound on that topic and give advice to others who may be going through similar experiences.
I’ve always enjoyed writing, and even published a memoir about my mother and dealing with the grief following her death. I didn’t write it to make money any more than I blog to make money. For me, writing is cathartic as well as relaxing, and if someone enjoys reading what I publish, and it maybe helps them through something they’re dealing with, then I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to do.
Blogging isn’t difficult, in fact, a lot of times when I begin to write, I really don’t know how the blog is going to end until it’s finished. Writing takes off like that, you see, if you really enjoy it.
I have more plans to blog more of my favorite recipes, and about one of my favorite hobbies, which not surprisingly, is reading. I’m planning to do some short book reviews about some of my favorite books and authors, that is, if I can take enough time from my reading to put them together. I promise to try, though!
A number of my blogs use pictures, especially the flamingo ones. My media library in my WordPress site had so many images that I was getting to the point I couldn’t control them all, so I finally decided to invest in a plug-in that allows me to organize them into categories, and sub-categories, and even (horrors!) sub-sub-categories.
For a blogger who’s been at it as long as I have, I really needed to get my site under better control, and I must say although it’s time consuming, it’s a good thing. I think. And finding I have almost 3,000 images in my library, many being duplicates, makes it a daunting task. But all this organizing and reviewing all those images is already getting me inspired to write some more flamingo stories, so watch out!
My blog has also changed names several times. In the beginning I had three different ones that I was writing for, but it became way too much to handle, especially working full time, so now they’re all combined into this one that I re-named “Just Living Life” which is really what I’m doing. Living my life and enjoying what I do.
Feel free to scroll through any time you wish, or as often as you wish. You can also sign up to follow my blog and you’ll be emailed a copy of each one when it’s posted. I do not keep a mailing list nor do I sell or give my followers’ email addresses out. I get enough unsolicited e-mails each day, as I’m sure you do as well. I’m not going to contribute to filling your in-box with things you don’t want.
So when you get a few spare minutes browse through some of my blog topics and see what you think. Feel free to comment on them as well. I know as I’ve been doing my media categorization project I’ve come across quite a few I’d forgotten about, and most likely will be republished from time to time with some updates.
And if you get inspired and find the desire to start writing, then go for it! I warn you though, it can become addictive!
Another night of restlessness. Sleep is a precious commodity that I’m having trouble acquiring.
Like too many people, recently I’ve started having problems sleeping at night. It’s not a problem going to sleep. That happens usually about 20 minutes or so after my getting in bed and starting to read, even though the book I’m usually reading is really good. and I’m really enjoying it.
No, my problem is STAYING asleep through the night. And I know I’m not alone. Unfortunately. By 2:30, or usually 3:00, my eyes open and I’m awake. Then it’s trying to go back to sleep, usually tossing and turning for the next several hours until my husband gets up at 5:00 and takes the dogs out. Then by 6:00 I’m just falling back to sleep when my alarm goes off.
Who else has this problem?
It’s not fun, is it?
And if one more person asks me why I can’t sleep, including my husband, I think I will literally scream. If I knew why, I’d be able to sleep!!! Right?
As I said earlier, reading in bed usually helps me go to sleep. Even though the so-called experts say you shouldn’t use your electronic devices right before trying to sleep, to me that doesn’t do anything. My kindle doesn’t prevent me from falling asleep and sometimes I wake in the night to discover I didn’t even put it down before I fell asleep.
Melatonin works for a night, maybe two. And then it gives me nightmares. Which wake me up. So no more of that! And I don’t want to take Rx meds.
Soft music or some type of white noise…doesn’t help.
I still wake up around 3:00 am. And toss and turn until I start to fall asleep when it’s time to get up.
I’ve tried the proverbial counting sheep, but those darn sheep don’t cooperate. They sometimes run around and mess up the counting so I have to start over. Or they start baa-Ing loudly until they wake up the cows who start mooing; the horses who start whinnying; and then the chickens, which wake up the rooster who starts crowing. By then I’m done!
And after three or four nights of this, I’m totally exhausted early in the evening, so tired that I’m asleep by 9 PM. And sometimes then I actually sleep til 5:30 or 6, which is a good night!
Yes, I’m sure stuck in a pattern…a bad sleep cycle that I can’t seem to break out of.
It’s amazing how infants seem to sleep so much. Two or three hours at a time; wake up to eat, and then back to sleep. It seems the first year of their life they’re sleeping more than they’re awake.
Are they unknowingly preparing for their later years when they’re lucky to get five hours of sleep per night? Saving up a storehouse of precious sleep to be called up when it just won’t happen?
Then there are cats. As kittens, they play all the time, chasing balls, rays of sunlight, and just running around everywhere until they pass out and sleep for hours. As they get older they sleep more. Anywhere they want. As my favorite cartoon cat Garfield likes to say, cats sleep 23 hours a day and it’s really not enough!
Can I just have something in between?
So this blog is actually about me asking for help. I’m looking for answers and suggestions. Anything that can help me get a good night’s sleep!
It’s only fair that I begin my book discussions that I’ve been promising for awhile with one of my favorite authors. I have many favorites, but this one is certainly in the top five!
The “In Death” series began in 1995, written under the pen name of J.D. Robb, who is actually Nora Roberts, a popular romance novelist.
Why did she decide to write under a different name? I have no idea, but I can only assume she wanted to differentiate this series from her popular romance genre. Makes sense to me.
And she certainly did! Avid reader that I am, I had no idea when I picked up the first book of the series, “Naked in Death,” that it was written by one of the authors I’d just started reading and thoroughly enjoying.
Her series so far has a collection of 54 published books, with #55, “Desperation in Death” due out in September, and #56 due out in the spring of 2023.
And yes, that book will be in my hands on the publication date. Or should I say, in my Kindle, thanks to Amazon and my ability to pre-order it so that it downloads as soon as it’s available.
For those of you who haven’t heard of or read this series, where have you been hiding?! You’re missing a fabulous reading experience that will take you on adventures you could never dream up yourself!
And a note to my husband: No, you don’t want to wait for the movie because I don’t think that’s coming, and even if it were, in my opinion there’s no way the characters could adequately be portrayed. The nuances of reading about them, how they think, what they’re feeling, just can’t be portrayed in a movie.
For those of you who don’t know about this great crime series, let me give you an abbreviated background.
The series is set in a futuristic New York City, mid-21st century. There are some amazing new inventions and vehicles described for not only police work, but for everyday household use. And there are also the “off planet” travels that are described as if they’re really no big deal. What an imagination Nora has!
The main character, Eve Dallas, is a homicide detective with amazing crime soling skills in her job. Each victim becomes special to her, and as she says, they become hers, and it’s her job to give them justice. Which of course she does, but not always without a few scrapes and bruises along the way.
Even the origin of her name has a story, which I won’t go into here (you’ll have to read it), but I will say that her childhood history is what has shaped her life to become a fiercely devoted woman, not only to her job, but to her colorful coworkers and friends, whose individual stories are just as exciting and well developed as Eve’s, and each book reveals more of the characters’ individual personalities. And for someone [Eve] who never expected to be close to anyone, that says so much!
Of course there’s a love interest, and from a totally unexpected meeting. It’s not every day that a “murder cop”, as she calls herself, is somewhat attracted to the main suspect in an important case.
But then Roarke, a handsome Irish former street thief from Dublin turned mega billionaire New York tycoon, isn’t your usual murder suspect.
And Eve Dallas isn’t your typical homicide detective.
Neither is her sidekick, the alter-ego opposite of Eve. A “free ager” earth mother type, Delia Peabody is the perfect opposite to Eve, and together they’re an unstoppable team!
And Roarke, well he’s just the (delicious) icing on the cake, and the most perfect sounding man imaginable. Trust me, once you start this series, you’ll see what I mean!
There are so many more colorful characters in the series, and I can almost guarantee you’ll not only regard them as new friends, but people you’d like to go on vacations with as well as have them living in your neighborhood!
If you’re not already hooked on the series, start reading! I can guarantee you won’t be sorry. The books don’t necessarily have to be read in order, but I would suggest reading “Naked in Death” first because that introduction to this cast of characters is really important. And you don’t want to miss a single sentence about Roarke!
And now, I think I’ll go grab that book and re-read it myself!
Every good gardener knows that after several years there are places in our garden that need ripping out and replaced or replanted. Some need dead portions pruned back to encourage new growth and some need to be pulled out and replaced altogether with a totally new and more hardy, loyal species.
Sometimes we get tired of the way our garden is growing and developing. The flowers and plants just don’t seem to be responding to our loving care and nurturing the way used to, and we realize they may need a change as much as we do.
Several years ago I wrote a post called “My Garden of Friends” which described six special friends I had at the time. I re-read it a few weeks ago, and decided it was time to update that particular post, with the changes that have since taken place in my life, or shall I refer to it once again as my garden?
My orange day lily is no longer there, nor is my purple tulip. They’ve gone their own way, not together, but certainly no longer in my garden. And most likely never to be re-planted here. Obviously, they were not the long blooming perennials that once promised to be faithful spots of color to always brighten my day.
My once beautiful pink rose has now withered away, the blossoms no longer the smiling faces I used to see on an almost daily basis. And no matter how hard I try, that rose just won’t bloom for me as she once did. Oh, the bush itself is still there, but now contributes nothing of the beauty it once was. This fall it’s being pulled out entirely to make room for more faithful flowers.
My gardenia has since decided to leave my garden in search of more favorable soil, where she can (hopefully in her mind, at least) be the most popular flower among all the others. May she find what she needs in that new garden.
My lily of the valley is still blooming regularly, although from afar, and sending me her delicate bells of laughter and joy when I need them the most. She brings me joy every time I hear from her, and especially the not-often-enough times we can actually be together.
My sunflower, however, continues to grow and bloom, with a vibrant sturdiness that makes her a flower that can always bring me love and support, no matter how I’m feeling. I do the same for her, because I am also planted in her garden. We share a special bond that onlly continues to grow.
So like the good gardener I try to be, I’ve now almost totally re-designed my garden with an abundance of new flowers and some flowering bushes and trees.
I now have bright blue hydrangeas, sturdy, beautiful, and faithful. Flowering bushes that produce large blossoms which remain bright for months, and come back faithfully each spring. Always there, always welcome.
There are now dozens of colorful yellow day lilies, who brighten both our front and back yards. Loyal flowers who withstand whatever comes against them, and keep on blooming.
And there’s a delicate mimosa tree, whose delicate pink blossoms shoot into bloom almost overnight, so it seems. It’s an old-fashioned yet sturdy and dependable blooming tree that has withstood the test of time and is always a source of beauty and friendship. What started from a small sapling is now a 10-15 foot spectacular tree, still delicate looking, but always faithful.
Then there are the camellia bushes, scattered through the yard, blooming at various times of the year with delicate yet bright blooms even withstanding the winter snow. And I can always count on them being there.
Yes, my garden has now been re-designed, not necessarily all by my own hand, but by the hands of other flowers who felt the need for change and a different growth pattern, or for a new space altogether.
And I must say, I like the look of my new garden, although I’m sure it will change again, it probably not as drastic. But it’s peaceful, and easy to maintain.
We’ve all heard the saying “when God closes one door He opens another.”
I believe it.
However, it has to be the right door. Not just any random door that comes your way.
We’ve all had it happen. A door closes, either suddenly or over time. We try to re-open it. We pull and pull on that doorknob to no avail. Then we think maybe we need to push instead.
So we push and push. We bang our hands and even our shoulders against it, knowing that if we try long and hard enough, it’s going to open.
We get discouraged and stop trying and begin to walk away. Then someone else comes up to that same door and easily pushes it open. They walk through it and before you can get there to follow them in, it closes again!
Why? Why didn’t it open for you, and why did it open for them?
Did you ever stop to think that maybe it wasn’t your door?
Sometimes we think we know exactly what our next steps in life are supposed to be. We’re sure of it. Do sure that we work to make it happen. We work so hard sometimes that we lose sight of the fact that maybe we’re working TOO hard to make something happen.
And working too hard probably means it’s not supposed to be happening that way.
We’re all impatient at times, some of us more than others. We see other people getting the things we so desperately want, and wonder when it’ll be our turn?
Their doors opened. Why didn’t ours?
Very simple. It’s not our turn yet. Our door hasn’t appeared because what’s behind it isn’t ready yet. It’s not time, as much as we want it to be.
Timing is everything as we’ve heard so often. It’s just not always our timing.
That door will be ready for you to open and it’ll be easy to open. No key needed. And when you step through it, you’ll know it’s yours, and you’ll know the wait was worth it!