Have you been following me on this “Unexpected Wonder” blog and wondered why I’ve been MIA for so long? Well, if you haven’t heard the news, I’m alive and well and blogging at “Traveling with Purpose” for the last few years.
I would be thrilled if you’d come over and check out what I’m doing. If you’d like to stay in touch you can sign up for my email newsletter here. I only send emails every few weeks so I promise not to clog your inbox with too much stuff.
Of course, I’m on social media too. You can find links for those accounts there as well.
Big Changes This Year
We’ve had some big changes recently! My husband retired, we moved from Virginia back to Arizona and we took a few detours on the way back out west. We were excited to finally take a road trip without the restriction of having to get back to work on a specific date.
We traveled for more than two months and covered over 8500 miles from the East Coast to the West. We had a chance to visit our kids in other states and even stopped to see a few other friends and family. We covered 15 states and stopped in 7 National Parks, plus so much more. We spent time in Fayetteville, Nashville, Santa Fe, Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, Portland, and dozens of other stops. The map above doesn’t show all of our stops and is only the first half of the trip!
Plans for New Projects, Adventures, and Writing
We’re getting settled in our new place in Arizona, and there’s so much to share about our new/old home state, AND I have tons of adventures that I can’t wait to tell you about from our road trip. That will all start after the holidays in the new year, so you won’t want to miss it. Plus I’m going to be working on a few other projects next year that I could use your input on…like hopefully more in-depth travel resources for you.
So, please come see me at Traveling with Purpose and see what all the excitement is about. I can’t wait to see you there. Thank you!!
My daughter, Amy has hosted this project in the past, with her friend Kam and although I’m going to be pretty busy in March, I thought I could squeeze in some time to do this for at least some of the days.
I’m not setting expectations to create journals or scrapbook pages or even create a book or anything, but I THINK I can at least write a list a few days each week. You see, I’m not even committing to doing it every day. I’ll just take it one day at a time and see how it goes.
I created the image above from the prompt: “Home is where…”
I’m already behind, but hoping/planning to do be able to get creative and share some of them.
Today I’ll be celebrating my 40th wedding anniversary with my very best friend!
Here are a few pictures that I dug up from our wedding day. Our wedding colors were mint and forest green which went well with the massive Christmas tree at the front of the church. It was the 70’s and we weren’t fancy folks, so no ties for the guys and that lovely wide lapel suit coat for my sweetheart. I couldn’t find a dress simple enough in the stores, so I had this one made for $70. I made the veil myself for a few bucks and I still love the simplicity of it all.We both love Christmas, so we thought getting married in December was a great idea. We were on a tight budget and paid for our own wedding (mostly). Since the wedding was so close to Christmas we asked our families not to get us any Christmas presents. The cool thing was that we went on a 2 week honeymoon and got back just in time to open all of our wedding presents on Christmas morning. What a fun morning that was! Sitting as a married couple for the first time in our little one bedroom furnished apartment near 7th Street and Camelback Rd., reading every card with reminders of love and commitment from our friends and family. Then opening all those precious wedding gifts from the people we loved! There couldn’t have been a better way to start our lives together.
It’s crazy to think that we’ve been together for all these years! We’ve changed and grown and learned so much about ourselves and each other. Even though any relationship that last this long has it’s ups and downs, I’m so blessed that this guy has been there beside me through it all.
These are just a few things that I’m thankful for:
Thankful that he’s been such a wonderful partner and provider in our family. Practical, strong, steady and careful with our lives and resources
So blessed that he’s always been there to love and care for our children. I’ve never had any doubt that he was 100% committed to them.
Thankful that we’ve learned to appreciate each other’s interests and strengths and realize that even though God created us very differently, He designed us to compliment each other perfectly.
Grateful that we’ve learned to love, forgive and protect each other’s weaknesses.
I love that he’s a life-long learner and constantly listening, watching, reading and analyzing everything. I’m continually amazed at all the information that’s stored in his brain. It’s such a joy to see that the same love of learning has been passed on to our kids.
Thankful that he’s been there to listen, comfort, and hold me through so many sorrows, losses and painful times.
Blessed that he lets me dream big dreams and encourages my creativity and adventurous spirit.
Most of all, I’m so blessed to know that as long as the Lord allows we’ll get to walk this earth together discovering new things, laughing, crying, and enjoying each other’s company. Thank you God, for placing him in my life.
I’m so thankful that we still have connections to all the people in this picture. What a blessing to have known (and loved) them all for so long!
Thank you Lord for a wonderful day to remember your goodness!
If you’re looking for my recipe for “Perfect Turkey Every Time” I’ve updated the post and you’ll find it here.
I’m in the process of moving all my most popular content to my main website at Traveling with Purpose. That’s where I share about living a purposeful life at home and when I’m traveling.
If you haven’t tried it before, trust me on this one. This turkey recipe is delicious. Never dry! The white meat melts in your mouth. It’s a SLOW roasting method, and once it’s in the oven, you can forget it for hours, until you’re ready to eat.
You’ll still see all the comments below for folks who’ve tried the recipe.
Have fun and let me know how your dinner turns out.
If you missed the beginning of this list you can find it here.
I’m realizing that this list could go on for days, so we’ll see what happens. I hope you enjoy learning about what a wonderful mother and person my mom was.
11. Saturday was usually Mom’s shopping day. She didn’t learn to drive until she was in her 50’s, so when we were young she depended on Dad to take her to the A & P grocery store on the weekends. Can you imagine only being able to go to the store once a week with 8 hungry mouths to feed? She did a great job of stocking up to make things last for the week, but I remember drinking powdered milk at times either because she couldn’t afford to buy more or she couldn’t get to the grocery store. I’m guessing her weekly trips were also a time of solitude that she looked forward to, but sometimes she’d allow one of us to go with her. Those were precious times when she let us help her choose food for the week and maybe even get a treat.
12. Mom would sometimes bring home delicious fresh rye bread, deli meats and cheeses on shopping day. They never lasted much more than a day because they were favorites for the whole family. That’s where I discovered my love for a good deli meal. We had Munster, Colby, Cheddar, Longhorn, Swiss and American cheese with fresh sliced Ham, Turkey, Roast beef, Braunschweiger and more. In the summer sometimes we’d add giant slices of Beefsteak Tomatoes and fresh lettuce from my grandmother’s garden. Mmmm!
13. As the family grew, Mom and Dad gave up their bedroom so that all of us kids could have one. They converted the living room to a sleeping area at night and added a sliding door for privacy. They kept their clothes in my oldest sister’s room. I imagine that was quite a sacrifice since they had no place to get away until we were all asleep in bed.
14. She often planned a once a year summer day trip as the sole adult with all of us kids to the northern Ohio amusement park, Cedar Point. We’d get up early in the morning and walk a block or so to the highway to catch the bus heading for Sandusky, then ride a ferry boat from Sandusky across the bay to the park. We spent the whole magical day riding thrill rides, seeing musical variety shows, and traversing the skies on the overhead sky ride. She always packed a substantial lunch for us, then later in the day she’d buy those famous Momma Berardi’s homemade French Fries and salt water taffy to hold us over. We’d stay as long as possible to squeeze out every drop of fun until either my dad came after work to pick us up or we caught the last bus for home.
15. Mom let us choose what kind of cake we wanted for our birthday and I often requested freshly baked Angel Food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. I can taste it now!
16. In August of each year she took each of us separately on a school clothes shopping trip – I recall riding that morning bus in the other direction this time – to the Midway Mall in Elyria – just Mom and I, eating lunch at the restaurant in the mall and buying new shoes and clothes for the upcoming school year. This was probably my favorite day of the year. Not because I was shopping, but because I got to have my mom all to myself for an entire day!
17. A limited budget and endless creativity brought forth unique homemade Halloween costumes for us each year. I wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those unimaginative store-bought ones.
18. Halloween parties at the Vermilion-on-the-Lake (VOL) Clubhouse were organized by her. She dressed as a witch and made witches’ brew using dry ice. I remember dunking for apples, fishing for prizes with a clothes pin on a string, costume contests and so much more.
19. There was a Christmas play one year, written by my sister, Sharon and produced by Mom at the VOL Clubhouse with the neighborhood kids. The stage background was painted by Wayne Crozier, complete with his signature mouse hiding in the scene.
20. Each year she creatively decorated our 5 foot silver aluminum Christmas tree with matching colored glass balls. Since there would inevitably be breakage in the process of unpacking and packing the delicate glass, the following year she’d buy a set of a different color, then the 3rd year she’d use a combination of the previous years. The tree was often perched on top of a table up and out of the way of little hands and active pets. You can see a sliver of the tree in the background below. I remember spending what seemed like hours sitting in the living room gazing at the ever changing tree with the colored light wheel casting shadows on the walls and ceiling. It was mesmerizing!
Looking over these memories I can see so many things that I learned from my mother. How to use my creativity in decorating, sewing, having fun. How to shop wisely, how to plan ahead for special activities, the importance of saving where needed, but splurging once in a while…so many lessons that I still use today. I’m so thankful for her giving and teaching spirit. What a gift it was!
There’s a bit more to come, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading!
Does this bring to mind some things that you’re most thankful for about your mother?
Less than a month ago, my precious mother passed away. She had a long, healthy and independent life, having celebrated her 91st birthday in January. Of course, that doesn’t take away any of the sadness of having her gone. Even though our personalities were quite different, we had many things in common…talents, interests, love of travel, etc. In honor of her on Mother’s Day, I thought I’d take some time to remember some of the things that I cherish most about our 50 plus years together. She was an amazing woman and a true friend and encourager to me, while still being my mom.
Let me start by saying that Mom’s primary love language was gift giving. Even though she was constantly on a limited budget, her favorite thing to do was find reasons to buy us special treats and take us special places.
She was always quick to offer a cool washcloth on my forehead when I had a fever
Hot tea with lemon to drink when I had a sore throat
Campbell’s Cream of Tomato soup with oyster crackers always hit the spot when I had a cold
I always loved staying home from school and watching TV, reading books and coloring in my cozy spot on the coach when I was ill. Partially because it gave me a chance to have 1-on-1 time with Mom when all the other siblings were at school, but also because she always made me feel so loved and cared for.
For many years, Mom made it a point to buy each of us an entirely new outfit for Easter Sunday. For the girls it wasn’t just a new dress, but matching socks, shoes, purse, gloves and even a hat! This special day of getting all decked out to attend church and then attend big family potlucks and Easter egg hunts was so much fun! It was even more special because we only got new clothes a few times a year.
Easter morning was also filled with sweets and treats of all kinds. Another chance for Mom to show us how much she loved us and how she wanted to spoil us. I’m sure her sparse childhood during the Great Depression motivated her to try to make up for it in our young lives.
She was also our biggest helper with school projects. Mostly she would brainstorm with me about supplies and ideas, then was my cheerleader rather than hands-on helper, so I could work through it and have success on my own merits. I’m so thankful that she didn’t feel the need to do most of it herself. What’s the point in that?
The aroma of big pots of spaghetti, slumgullion or one of my favorites, Pot roast on Sundays wafting through the house welcomed us home! I learned to cook from her without using recipes. Now I’m not intimidated if I don’t have all the exact ingredients for a new dish. I just see what’s in the cupboards and improvise something similar. Thanks Mom.
Occasionally Mom made Liver and onions, which I hated. She always made me eat a few tiny bites, which I reluctantly gagged down with huge gulps of milk. She said it was good for me, but it always tasted like I was eating a vitamin pill for dinner. Ugh! Guess what dish she taught me how to make first? Maybe she thought if I cooked it I’d eat it more. Oh well.