A Flamingo Fly In

Around our house you never know who’ll drop by, or should I say fly in?  

And a couple of weekends ago was certainly no exception. 

Imagine our surprise when we woke up one morning to find two new little flamingos in the pool. Being watched over by our large mama flamingo. We didn’t even know she was expecting little ones! And then, just imagine our surprise that night when we came outside to find the new flamingos all lit up, glowing in the dark, while Mama watched over them!  

Even more surprising, when we got up the next morning, there were more little flamingos in the pool, huddled around Mama and the other little ones! They all looked just as happy as can be, and we were delighted to have them join their friends and family in Flamingo Cove!  

And they quickly made themselves at home, perching on our pool fountain, resting in the lounge chairs, lining up on the diving board to practice their flamingo flips, you know, all the things flamingos love to do!  

But what they really enjoyed was perching themselves around our outdoor bar and taking turns playing bartender! They were really waiting for Ben to come out and make drinks for them, but he was a little too slow! So what’s a flamingo to do but take control of things!?   He was also too slow bringing out the shrimp, and a couple of them had to explain to him that shrimp were extremely important, especially with their margaritas!  

And what they really, really liked was when I made them each a necklace with their name on it! Since flamingos all look alike, at least to us, we knew we had to find a way to tell them apart, so last weekend we presented them with their own special necklaces for Felicia, Frankie, Foxy, Freckles, Freddy, and Fabian. They loved them!  

It’s much easier to talk to them now when they come up to us while we’re floating in the pool, because we can call them by name. They really like that. And we’ve had some really good conversations with them, too. Seriously. You wouldn’t believe the things flamingos are able to discuss!  

Yes, you just never know who’ll be dropping by, and sometimes when you least expect it!    If you have a pool, and live in our neighborhood, watch out, because they’re telling all their friends this is a great area to move to! You never know who you’ll find swimming around one of these mornings.   

So be sure to keep a big bag of frozen shrimp in your freezer!  

(And if you want your very own lighted flamingos, be sure to check them out on Amazon.)

What Have You Been Doing Lately?

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written anything in my blog. Don’t worry, I’m not discontinuing it. But I just took a few weeks off from writing and decided to take time some extra time for myself.

Plus, in all honesty, I hadn’t had an inspirational idea in a while that I felt compelled to write about. Which is OK, isn’t it?

What have I been up to? Well, actually a lot of things. Fun things. Relaxing in the pool in my float with a glass of wine and a good book (on my Kindle of course). I love those restful couple hours in the afternoon after a day at work. It’s my quiet time. My time to just be me and do what I want to do. It’s great. Especially when I discover a new author that I haven’t read before, and decide to binge read a bunch of her series. It’s so fun finding new friends in those beach series, and so sad when the series ends. It’s like your friends moved away and left you! And didn’t tell you where they were going!

I’ve also been making my jewelry. In fact, the last several weeks I’ve been making a lot of beachy bracelets. Most of them are stackables made with alphabet beads spelling out some of my favorite beach things, like salt water taffy, flip flops, mermaids, etc. It’s a fun and actually a bit of an addicting project. And they’re really fun to wear! Now it’s time to make some for our daughter and our granddaughters. They love them as well. And no, I’m not making any for our grandson.

Plus I’ve decided to try my hand at sketching and painting again. I say try, because it’s something I tried out several years ago. I didn’t do bad with it, but this time I’ve decided, what the heck. It’s time to get serious about it this time. I want to learn to draw and paint….what do you think? Flamingos, of course! Flamingos doing fun things that the flamingos in my stories do.  I haven’t quite gotten ready to share the sketches yet, but I will as I get a bit better with my ideas.

Summer is my favorite time of year, and it really doesn’t last long enough. So I try to soak in every minute of it while I can.

So what have you been up to recently? Tell us about the fun things you’ve been doing. And if you haven’t done anything fun yet this summer, there’s still time! What’s stopping you!?

If They Wanted to…They Would

I read this the other day as someone’s Facebook post, and did it ever hit home.  

Six little words with such a powerful message.   

Read it again. I’ll wait.  

If they wanted to, they would.   

So why do you wonder why someone tells you they’re going to call in a few days or weeks, and then wonder why they didn’t.   

It’s real simple. If they wanted to, they would. But they didn’t want to, so they just said what sounded good at the time, with no meaning behind it. No intention of doing anything. And they never bothered.  

It wasn’t important to them. If they’d planned on calling, they would have. They didn’t want to.  

So they didn’t.  

Someone keeps saying, yes, we really do need to all get together soon. Let’s make plans. I’ll call you soon.  

If they really wanted to, they would. You think you should call? Why bother when they said they would. And they obviously don’t want to.  

They really didn’t care that much, so they didn’t. Obviously other things came up that were much more important to them, or they really didn’t mean it in the first place.  

Don’t bother asking yourself why someone isn’t following through with a promise. You already know the answer.  

If they really wanted to, they would.

Looking Back to 1776 from 2023

It’s the 4th of July. Known also to most of us in this country as Independence Day. 

And no, I’m not talking about the 1996 movie in which aliens invaded the earth to destroy it. Although sometimes I do wonder if we have some aliens here already masquerading as politicians, but that’s a debate for another time.

Today for most people in our country is a day off. A day we use to celebrate with cook outs, beach or pool or other backyard parties, flying the American flag if we have one, and then ending the day either setting off fireworks or crowding into parks and other areas to watch firework displays put on by whichever city or town we live in.

Sometimes we even remember why we celebrate this day. 

But I don’t think enough of us, and I’ll include myself, really stop to think why we recognize this day as being important in the history of our nation. Because we’ve known nothing but freedom in this country for our entire lives. We don’t stop to think about how hard fought that freedom really was.

Our nation was founded on a concept of freedom from tyranny, from another country that wanted to make those who came to these shores to begin a new life continue to live their lives under that country’s rule. 

And after a while, the colonists decided they’d had enough, and it was time to separate and form a new country. And they did. They risked their lives to start this country, to set in motion their dreams for a better life for their families and future generations. And they succeeded.

Now here we are today, some 247 long and challenging years later. 

And I wonder what the men who started that revolution, who dared to defy a then-mighty country who controlled those 13 little colonies…I wonder just what they’d have to say about our country today.

I dare say they wouldn’t begin to recognize what we’ve become. A nation united now becoming more and more strongly divided between two political parties. Between two sets of ideas for what this country should be, each side with basically no respect for the other. And sadly now, a nation beginning to see an erosion of many of our basic rights and freedoms for certain people, women especially, in a growing number of states. And it’s most likely not going to end there,

In the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Most likely they’d say our government has become too powerful; too over-reaching into our daily lives, and trying to control too much of what we do and how we do it. There are too many laws, both federal and state, which attempt to restrict the freedoms they fought so hard for.

And definitely too many politicians running the governments who are only out for themselves instead of the people who voted them into office. Too many egos saying what people want to hear, getting into elected office, and then going along with whoever can help them make the most money and get re-elected.

I think the founding fathers would be appalled. And I wonder if they wouldn’t try to maybe start another revolution of some sort to get us back on the right track?

Don’t get me wrong. I love my country. It’s not perfect, but it’s so much better than most of the others. Many other countries have nowhere near the freedoms we have, and if their citizens dare to assert their rights to individual freedom they are many times arrested and thrown into jail…or worse.

We’re allowed to speak our minds when we don’t like what’s happening; many other countries don’t have that luxury. But we don’t have the right to riot, burn businesses, and use guns to kill those who disagree. Which is now happening far too often. And we don’t have the right to go to a crowded club, musical event, or other celebration, or to a school where the future generation of Americans are trying to learn, and shoot them randomly. While politicians sit back and do nothing because we have “freedom” to have guns.

What would the founding fathers think of us now? They didn’t envision people owning assault weapons and other firearms in order to go shoot other people. They envisioned law abiding citizens having weapons to defend themselves from tyranny and attacks; not to attack others just because they have the weapons to do it. They didn’t envision career politicians running this great land. They wanted everyday people to make those decisions. And that’s not happening now.

Today let’s take a bit of time to reflect on what this day means, and what we can help do to get back to some of the basic ideas this country was founded on. 

I don’t know exactly how, but if all of us actually start to take the time to think about it, maybe we can accomplish something…at least for our children and grandchildren and all of the other future generations.

Thank about it. And have a safe and happy Independence Day!

Relationships Require Compromise

Each person must bend a little in order to make it work. If one gives more than the other that’s not balanced. 

Because one person is taking advantage of the other. You may think you’re simply making your partner happy by doing everything he/she wants to do.

But what about yourself? 

Don’t you deserve to be happy in your relationship? Don’t you deserve do do things you want to do sometimes?

Why would you let your partner make all the decisions and you just go along with them because you think you should?

Don’t you want to have any say in your relationship, your life? Or do you think your partner will get mad or upset if you disagree about something?

That’s not a healthy relationship. That’s selfish and one sided. And the only person happy in the relationship won’t be you.

Am I right?

So why are you not compromising? Or are you too afraid your partner will leave you if you don’t agree with him/her all or almost all of the time?

That’s not a healthy relationship. And you know it. A relationship is a partnership, not a dictatorship.

A healthy and successful relationship is made up of compromises. 

And if yours isn’t, if your partner doesn’t see it that way, maybe it’s time to rethink your relationship. 

You can suggest changes, compromises, but if your partner refuses, then maybe it’s time for YOU to make a change.

Before it’s too late.

National Pink Flamingo Day

Of all people, you’d think I’d know it was today. National Pink Flamingo Day! How could I forget!?

Now I know why the flamingos were all looking at me today like I’d forgotten something. They even asked me what we were having special for dinner tonight! Really?? They usually fend for themselves, so why would they ask me such a question?

And then I saw it on Facebook, of all places! National Pink Flamingo Day.

Oh my gosh, did I ever screw up! I should’ve bought several pounds of shrimp, along with several bottles of wine or margarita mix, so they would be able to properly celebrate!

I should’ve had a special flamingo cake made for them, or at least some special flamingo cookies.

Maybe some specialty drinks….or lots of specialty drinks.

And decorations, of course! After all it’s a special day.

But since it’s been raining here all week, it would’ve been a really soggy celebration, and it wouldn’t be near as much fun without being able to go in the pool and swim, enjoy cocktails at the outside bar, and of course steam all the shrimp on the grill so they could have a royal feast!

Yes, I admit I am a bad flamingo keeper. And Ben is a bad Leader of the Flock, because he forgot as well.

So, to make it up to them, I promised that the first sunny and warm weekend we have, we will have a real celebration. With shrimp, and drinks, and decorations, and even some pink flamingo leis for them to wear around their necks!

So now we really need to get ready for this event. Even though we don’t know when it’ll be. With the way the weather’s been going, it’s hard to say. But one thing we’re sure of, it will be an event to remember!

So to our flamingos, and to all the flamingo fans around the world, Happy Pink Flamingo Day!

Any Man Can Be a Father 2023

Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.

We’ve all heard this so many times. But did you ever stop to think about it? This was a difficult piece to write but one I feel needs to be written. Because this is happening far too often.

I was blessed with a wonderful dad. I just didn’t have enough time with him to get to know him the way I should have. You see, my father died before I was even nine years old. Yes, he left me, and I struggled for years with those feelings of loss and abandonment.

But my father wouldn’t have left me, if it had been up to him. He wasn’t given a choice. He died from a disease that perhaps today’s technology could have prevented, or at least diagnosed earlier.

Our daughter is also blessed with a husband who is a great daddy to their children. He adores his two girls, and they’re his princesses.

But when his son was born in December, we saw him as an even more devoted dad to his little boy. A little boy born five weeks early, he was our special Christmas gift, and the moment he came into the world, he became an even more devoted dad. He now had three children to love and care for. Along with his two princesses, he now had a young prince to care for as well, a baby that was long awaited, and one that immediately took over the hearts of his sisters as well as mom and dad, and also his grandparents.

Our son in law is a very proud dad who helps our daughter care for their children and is enjoying every moment of being a dad, even when the kids don’t always behave as they should He wouldn’t change his family for anything in this world.

Unfortunately not all of today’s modern fathers are like that. Many fathers decide that they aren’t ready for the 24/7 responsibilities of fatherhood. It’s easier to let the mothers do the parenting. Far too many take off and leave not only their wives but their kids behind, and stay almost totally out of their children’s lives, unless it suits their schedule to actually see them or talk to them.

They ignore child support orders, because after all, why should they give their ex-wife money? Never mind that she needs the money to help support his children. He has new responsibilities now, and those children aren’t a priority any more. Someone else can handle them. Children are a gift from God. How in the world can someone throw them away, ignore them?

There are more of these fathers today than we want to think about. Single moms are raising their children as best they can, with little or no help from the father who helped create them. They have to be both mother AND father to them. And speaking as a child who was raised in that environment, even though my circumstances were far different, I can honestly say it is a far more difficult task than anyone should ever have to do.

And it’s not fair to the children. They are missing out on so much. So are their fathers. But their fathers make that choice; the children don’t.

I’m not speaking about the fathers who are kept from their children by ex-wives and ex-girlfriends because of various reasons that may or may not have any merit; that’s a totally different topic for a different day. I’m referring to the fathers who decide not to be involved in their children’s lives for their own personal, and yes, selfish, reasons. Who have disappointed their children in so many ways, and yes, those children will have to deal with those feelings of abandonment for years, well into adulthood.

Those fathers most likely don’t think about how that little girl dreams of her elusive father coming by to pick her up, take her somewhere; or just sit with her, talk with her, hug her, and show her that, yes, he actually does love her. They don’t think about the times they promise to come get their children, and then forget about them. They don’t think about that little boy sitting by the door patiently waiting for a knock that doesn’t come, who then goes to bed and cries himself to sleep, as his mother tries to make excuses for someone she knows doesn’t deserve him.

Then there are the children who, instead of admitting to themselves that their fathers don’t want, them any more, fantasize that their fathers are somewhere far away, maybe in the CIA as a spy, off fighting bad guys and can’t get back to them. Maybe they’re somewhere seriously wounded, or very ill, or have amnesia and don’t remember anything. Surely they wouldn’t purposely abandon them.

What a sad, sad state of affairs.

And I’m not referring to the fathers who stay in their children’s lives after a divorce or breakup; who maintain a relationship with them, attending school functions, dance recitals, and soccer games. Who call their kids regularly, and take them out for dinner and ice cream. They’re still dads to their kids. They know their children are more important than their own lives, or the fact that he and their mother couldn’t make it together.

Are you seeing the difference here?

It’s a sad commentary on today’s life to think about how many children there are whose fathers don’t care enough about them to try and stay in their lives. Who refuse to pay child support, or pay it grudgingly and think that’s the only obligation they have. Who show up once in a while and then wonder why their child doesn’t want to have very much to do with them.

Where did the sense of honor, the sense of responsibility, and yes, the sense of loving someone (someone you helped create) more than your very own life disappear to?

As you’re reading this, if you’re in a situation in which you don’t have custody of your children, ask yourself…are you a father or a DAD? There’s a huge difference. And chances are, if you’ve read this to the end, you’re definitely a DAD!

Happy Father’s Day!

Life Is a Puzzle

You can put it together or take it apart many different ways. 

In fact, you never know what pieces are going to fit where. You may try to make them fit in a certain place, but try as you may, they just don’t seem to work.

But the all of a sudden, you find a different piece, one similar to the others, but with just a slight variation. And suddenly it fits perfectly in place.

And then all the other pieces you’ve been struggling to put together seem to just naturally fall into place.

It may not look like what you’d originally intended, but the more you look at it, the better it seems to fit.

That’s how life is. We think we know where all the pieces are going to go but,  somehow they just don’t always seem to fit just right. No matter what we do. No matter where we try to place them.

Until that one day, suddenly it all comes together, and although it doesn’t look like what you’d expected, it’s actually perfect.

And doesn’t that make you feel good?!

I’ll Remember Graduation Day

There’s an old song called “Graduation Day.” It was sung by the Four Freshmen in 1956. The Beach Boys did a cover version of it in 1964.

“There’s a time for joy, a time for tears. A time we’ll treasure through the years. We’ll remember always Graduation Day.”

I remember it well, having grown up in the 60’s era of those really great meaningful songs. I graduated from high school in 1968, and have fond memories of that senior year.

We thought we were all going to make a difference in the world. We were going to really show the world what we could do. We were invincible.

Many of us went on to college. Some to trade schools. Some joined the military. There were weddings and babies. Established couples grew apart and went separate ways. Established friendships faded and were replaced with new people.

That was life. But there was one thing that stayed in our minds and our hearts and that was the feeling of a well knit and established community. Of people who cared about us.

It was a time of peace and happiness, even while the Viet Nam war raged on.

Some of us moved away and some of us stayed near our hometown. But we always had memories of each other, growing up and becoming adults. Those high school memories were and still are precious to us, and we continue to get together for high school reunions which is a great time for us all to catch up and discuss our lives then and now.

But today is sadly different. 

Just last night there was a mass shooting after a high school graduation in Richmond, VA, just a few hours from where we live. Seven people shot and two so far have died. Many others were injured and at least one person is still fighting for their life.

Talk about remembering your graduation day….and not in the way any of the graduates had planned.

For those graduates, there will be no happy memories. Only fear and sadness. Lives just beginning were cut down. And suddenly graduation meant entering a world of hate and violence; where one moment your entire future is ahead of you, and in an instant,  friends you’ve known for years are fighting for their lives. The happy pictures that were being taken of graduates and their families when the shooting began became photos of a scene of horror.

What is happening in our country these days is beyond my comprehension. I do not understand any of this. It is a sickness that has infested far too many events in our lives, to the point that none of us feel totally safe at any event, be it graduation, a birthday party, a wedding, a concert, or a church service. 

And the list continues to grow every day.

What is it going to take to end the gun violence in our country? How many more lives will be lost before we say enough is enough!?

It’s time to take a stand and make our voices louder than the sounds of bullets flying through the air.

Please, for our future generations’ sakes, so they will have a future, let’s do something before it’s too late.

But The Shoe Is My size

So why shouldn’t I wear it? It fits nicely. Perfectly, in fact.

But where has that shoe been? Whose feet has it been on?

Lots of people have your shoe size. And they’ve traveled a lot of places in those shoes. Some places good, some not so good.

And why do you think they traded in those shoes for another pair? Maybe because the longer they wore them, the more those shoes started hurting their feet. Pinching. Blistering their heels. Cramping their toes.

Or maybe they realized those shoes had no style. Wearing them really wasn’t fashionable. They just made them look like everyone else. So why continue on in shoes that hurt their feet when they could try something else that would make them feel better?

I don’t know if it helped or not. I just know those shoes are sitting there, in your size, and waiting for a new home.

How do you think they’ll make you feel wearing them? Like their previous owner did? Happy at first, but then realizing what you went through wearing them wasn’t worth it. You wanted to be like everybody else but then you realized the shoes didn’t make a difference.

It was what was inside you. What you wanted to be. Someone who stands out in the crowd, and isn’t merely a part of it.

And wearing someone else’s shoes who you admired doesn’t make you that person. And would you really want to be them? And lose yourself in the process?

This time pick a new pair of shoes. In your size. Ones that have never been worn. 

And see what adventures you’ll make together!

There’s One Thing You’ll Always Be Perfect At

Being yourself.

Because you’re one of a kind.

No one else is like you. Nor could there ever be another you.

You were especially made to be you. Not a likeness of anyone else. Well, maybe you have some traits from both of your parents, but you’re not exactly like either of them. 

You’re your own person.

Even if you happen to be an identical twin, there are still a few things that make you different from your twin sister or brother.

So why constantly try to model yourself after someone else? Why try to be what or who someone else is, when it’s never going to happen? 

You’ll always be you. That’s who you were created to be. 

You are you. So enjoy it. Be proud of yourself for who you are.

Because there will never be another you.

A Memorial Day for the Fallen – 2023

Today is Memorial Day. A day set aside to honor those who have given their lives for this country. In countless wars and overseas conflicts. Brave men and women who gave their all.

They gave their lives to protect our freedoms. They went where our country sent them, and did what they needed to do. 

Did they question their reasons for going? I’m sure many did. But they went. Some returned and some didn’t. Today we honor those that didn’t return.

But I cannot help but ask us all to add another couple of categories of our citizens to remember and pay our respects to on this Memorial Day. Citizens who left home one day as usual and never returned.

Let’s remember the hundreds of first responders, police and firefighters as well as EMT’s who have also given their lives to save others. Oh, I know right now the police are under attack again for not doing what they’re supposed to do. It’s become a o popular sport in this country, unfortunately. And there will always be those officers who are in the wrong, but the majority are good people, who’ve dedicated themselves to such service, and those of them who’ve given their lives in the line of duty should be honored as well. It’s a job I wouldn’t want to do, and I am thankful for each and every one of them that have chosen to do it.

And we need to continue to support those who gave so much, and even today are still trying to readjust to a world that isn’t the same as when they left to serve; a world that sometimes tends to forget them, or ignore them; a world that sometimes has trouble remembering all they went through, and how hard it is to re-adjust to a life that has certainly changed them, emotionally as well as sometimes physical.

And I want us to also remember another group of people…innocent people who’ve been senselessly murdered by cowardly people with guns, out to spread their hatred and violence for whatever twisted and deranged parts of their minds that were urging them forward.

Innocent children. Worshippers in their chosen houses of God. Innocent shoppers in malls and grocery stores. Innocent concert goers who were enjoying a night of music. 

They unwillingly gave their lives because someone they didn’t even know decided they didn’t deserve to live.

And we continue on with our lives, thankful it wasn’t us.  

But such violence touches all of us in some way. It forever changes a part of us, and sometimes we don’t even realize it.

The awfulness of so much violence in this country will eventually be forgotten by the majority of the country, but never by the families and communities which have been devastated by the tragedy. Just like the families of our servicemen and women who were lost in combat, they will NEVER forget. Not a day will go by without a memory sneaking into their mind, and those memories are all they have left. They can’t call to say hello. They can’t visit with them or invite them to dinner. They can only look at their pictures and relive their memories.

Today as most of us gather together with friends and family for picnics and parties, or go out to grab up the best Memorial Day sales, let’s take the time to remember those families who are grieving over their loved ones who will never attend such events again.

Remember the fallen, because they deserve never, ever to be forgotten. And remember the families who will also never forget.