Wait! What just happened?! I blinked and we went from this...

to this...

And yes, she does know that the gloves go on her hands, I believe she was trying to make a statement here. Not quite sure what that statement was...none the less, it is starting to get cold. 

Then today...

Our first real snow fall of the season. Yay! Booo! Hisss! 

I have mixed emotions obviously. It is quite beautiful, I actually enjoy a good snowfall, I like that part. 

Everything is white, quite, still, it's calming. 

It's the, what's ahead of us part, I don't like...

The barren trees and frigid temps for the next several months. 


Although, I guess for now I will shut up, quit complaining, count my blessings and just enjoy it. 

It does make for some great pictures...

Actually, it really was the perfect day...and the best part...I got to spend it with this guy... 

23 years ago today I married my best friend, my soul mate...my husband and today we celebrated that love during our first snowfall of the season. 

Sigh... I'm blessed. 

Now I have to go help this little nugget get out of those wet clothes. You know it's tradition to make a snowman out of the first snowfall of the season.

Doesn't he resemble Olaf? 
Warm hugs to everyone! 


To me, autumn is a wondrous season. It is a time of transition, a time of change and a time to renew myself spiritually.

The beauty that comes with this season is just breathtaking. To watch as the trees transition from green, to yellow, oranges, reds...   

It's a lot like our life isn't it? We  live in cycles, ever changing, one completely different than the last or the next. 

I find myself getting lost in the colors of the season, the idea of change, the new chapters in my life yet to come and all of the possibilities that surround me. 

I thank God for all that He has given me, and my family, and for giving us such a beautiful season to live. 

However, it can be a bit overwhelming at times. It's hard to focus in on just one thing that I want to change, to do, to accomplish...

There are so many things I have yet to do, that I want to do, where do I start? It can be hard to take that first step.

Seasons change so quickly, just as life moves us forward so quickly. 

But if we never take that first step, if we never explore the possibilities or take a chance and venture down an unfamiliar path now and then, we may never know the wonderful things He has in store for us around the bend. 

Don't let life pass you by. Open your eyes to the season that surrounds you now. Take time to dream about your life and think of ways to make your wishes and your dreams come true. Step out in faith and take a chance on an unfamiliar path. 

I enjoy soul searching, evaluating my life and realizing that I have so much more to offer, to accomplish, to achieve. 

Setting it all in motion, taking that first step, looking at what you have to do to get there...that is the hardest part. 

But you can do it! Believe in yourself, trust in God, and have faith in Him and in YOU. There is no obstacle you cannot overcome. He will never lead you down a path that doesn't give you strength, or skills or wisdom to conquer what's ahead; and it is never to late to start something new.  

After all, we are the authors of our own lives. 

Find what inspires you. Overcome your "writers block" those obstacles that are slowing you down. Surround yourself with people that will encourage you and help you write those new chapters in your life. Don't be afraid to separate yourself from the people that pull you down. 

Do those things that make your heart sing, your soul breathe and your spirit feel alive. It is a time to write a few new chapters in your life!

Find your inspiration!

"If life gives you lemons...make lemonade."

"Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and move on."

"The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence."

"Don't wish your life away."

These were all things my Mom used to say to me and I'm sure at some point you have heard them as well. Yet, it wasn't until I was older that I realized just how true they were.

From a very young age we start...

"I wish I was 10, then I could reach the top of the swing set."

"I wish I was 16, then I could drive."

"I wish I was 21, then I could drink (legally)."

"I wish I had what they have."

"I wish I was...."

Well, now...I wish I was younger, but that ain't happening!

My Mom said it over and over again... "Terri, don't wish your life away. It goes by quickly enough, just enjoy being a kid."

Yeah, Yeah, whatever right? I'm going to live forever, and at 10, 16, 21...40 something is like ancient. It will be like a long time before I am in my 40's, those people are so old...

Well, I guess call me old, because I am there now, 40 something (no need to divulge the exact age). I find myself wondering were all the time went. I have so much more that I want to do, that I haven't done, and that I want to see...it all went by so quickly.

One day I am a kid wishing I was 16 and the next I am sitting on a park bench with my husband, watching our youngest run around the playground from the swings to the monkey bars...pretending to be the next American Ninja Warrior; discussing things like:

"I wish we had that much energy."

"Yeah, well I'm not sure I could still do the monkey bars."

"How did this extra weight get there?"

"It's funny, the things we used to want and think were important just don't matter anymore."

"I want to cringe every time someone calls me Sir/Mam."

"Kids look at us like we are old. Dang it, we aren't old!"

"How old we will be when she graduates?"


Needless to say, my my wish list has changed...a lot, and I am starting to be very much aware of my age. I don't feel like I am 40 something, but my body keeps telling me differently. I have a new ache, pain or something it seems like on an ongoing basis. Not to mention this lovely little gift called menopause. I know I didn't wish for that one! That's another whole blog post for sure!

Ouch! The reality has really set in. And while my husband and I might have laughed about it at the time, those words my Mom said over and over again to me when I was a kid, hit me like a brick. Where did all the years go? I'm 40 something! How the heck? That was too fast!

I haven't done everything I said I was going to do, I haven't finished all of my projects, I haven't seen all fifty states, I haven't....

While my husband and I may not feel 40 something...and most of the time we don't act it either, the plain hard fact is...we are.

We can't change it and we can't do anything about the "should of's", the "I wish we would of's" or the "I wish we could of's" because we can't change the past.

None of us know how long we will be here on this precious planet we call Earth. So all we can do is move forward embracing what we have today. Because, today is indeed the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. (Deep huh?)

I guess my point of this blog post is that we all need to remember that life is what we make of it, at any age. You have the ability to do whatever you set your mind to, it's never too late to start something new and don't let anyone tell you differently.

You need take what you are given and make the most of it, always moving forward. You can't look back, you can't change the past, and you may never have what the other person has. And, quite frankly, so what!

Look at what is in front of you, be thankful for the gift of "today", because today is indeed a gift. Thank God every morning and again every night.

No matter your current situation, good or bad, think of what you do have as a blessing and an opportunity; to learn, to grow, to change your outlook,  Don't wish your life away...embrace it.

Tomorrow isn't promised and yesterday is gone.

When ever you look at a field of dandelions,
you can either see a hundred weeds or
a hundred wishes.

I can't do anything about how old I am, what I have or haven't done in my life, but I can choose, God willing, to make the next 40 something years the best years yet. And with my husband by my side, no matter our successes or failures, I know they will be good ones.

So what if I do not accomplish every task on my to do list, or that the two car garage just might never be able to fit a single car, or that my house isn't decorated like someone else's. I've come to realize that just as long as the things I do complete have meaning, then those are the important tasks in my life.

Maybe something as simple as making it to the school carnival with our daughter, or going for a long walk with my husband or paying for the person behind me in line. Just as long as the things I do and the lives I touch mean something.

When it is all said and done, He will not ask you how much money you made during your lifetime, what your house looked like or how expensive your clothes were; but He will ask you what lives you touched along the way.

I'm not sure what all is in store for me in my life, but I do know that the path we think we are supposed to be on might not always be the path we were meant for. I've learned things in my life, sometimes the hard way, not always the first time and sometimes I failed miserably.

I have learned to listen to my heart, to my spirit and to those that have walked this path before. I have learned that while we might fight the aging process, with age comes wisdom.

I no longer wish my life away, but I do look at that field of dandelions as a beautiful gift and a field of possibilities, for all of us, just waiting to happen.

Don't wish your life away...but also don't stop wishing. A wish is just simply a dream or a goal in our life. As long as it is a meaningful or worthy goal, there is no reason you can't have your wish come true.

So many great things in our world started out as "I wish..."

Believe in yourself.

"A dream is a wish that your heart makes when you're fast asleep." Walt Disney (Cinderella)

I wish...

Forever in Our Hearts.

"Do you remember where you were that day?" I believe most everyone can recall exactly where they were when they heard the devastating news on September 11, 2001.

How can one forget a day of such traumatic turmoil in America? Thousands of lives were lost and thousands more were forever changed by that days events.

Our country was hit with the unthinkable and we were left in a state of shock, disbelief and of course great sadness. Our entire country wept. It was as if we were all watching this happen in another country, because something like this could never happen in our own country. A false sense of safety, that I for one, do not take for granted anymore. Thirteen years later and we can all still feel the pain and yes...anger.

If you knew when you woke up that it could be your last day, would you do things differently?

Live everyday as if it was your last. Love deeply, speak with kindness, start your day with the end in mind. Start your day seeing yourself finishing what you want to start, in other words, go for your dreams, fulfill your wish, live your life! Don't wait for the tomorrow that may not come. Step out in faith now.

Never miss a  moment to say I love you, never go to bed angry and never miss an opportunity for a hug. Because the unnerving truth is that it could be your last opportunity. We don't want to live in fear but we need to remember the world we live in...tsunamis, earth quakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, kidnappings, unspeakable crimes, accidents and terrorism...

My heart, my thoughts and my prayers go out to all of those families and friends that were and continue to be affected by the events of 9-11.

As we remember, we come together.

God bless.

This photo was taken when we were living in N.Y. - It's grainy and old, taken back when there were only film cameras to work with. However, I prefer it over the skyline now. 9-11 Never Forget.

If money wasn't an object...
If you knew you could not fail...
If you had support...
If you could do what you always dreamed about...

If you had one wish...what would it be?

Sometimes the hardest part is realizing your dream. It certainly sounds simple enough right?

Yet, for some of us, it takes a long time to figure out what our dream really is. We get caught up in the working world living out someone else's dream. We get hung up on the "Oh my gosh I don't have enough money to do what I always wanted to do." You might have people telling you, "That's never going to work." Perhaps you don't know where to start or maybe you just haven't figured out what your dream is. All you know, is that you are not living out your dream at this moment.

It's OK, you just haven't had your "Ah ha" moment yet.

For me it happened during a fundraising conference at the non profit I was working for at the time. The coordinator of the conference started things off by asking us to stand up, tell everyone your name, how long you had been with the organization, your title and if you weren't fundraising, what would you be doing.

I mean nano seconds after she finished her sentence I heard myself saying to myself..."writing".

I loved my job, right? I mean, I was good at it, they promoted me, I exceed my goal they set for me...yet the first thought in my head wasn't fundraising, it was writing. Hmmm

I sat patiently as one by one each person stood up and did as she had asked. The funny thing is, that by the time it got around to me, and I was one of the last ones to go, I had realized something. Not a single person said "Oh I am doing what I always dreamed I would be doing." not one. How sad I thought.

And then it was my turn. "Hi my name is Terri, I have been here for...blah, blah, blah...if I wasn't fundraising I would be...writing." 

I sat back down and it felt as if someone had deflated my balloon. Wow, it hit me hard, I am NOT doing what I always dreamed I would be doing. Crap! I guess finally saying it out loud was my "Ah ha" moment.

I wasn't sure how or when, but I told myself that I was going to do what I had always dreamed about doing. I was going to write!

I guess this is where I am supposed to tell you that I went off and did just that. Well, not quite. I stayed there for a few more years, then felt called to go to another non profit, stayed there a few years. Then my father's cancer came back with a vengeance. While taking care of my dad during his final months it was then that I realized I needed to make my dream into a reality. Life is precious and too unbelievably short to not do what you love.

So here I am...writing. A blog.

Is it the same dream I had envisioned during my "Ah ha" moment? Well, if I'm honest with myself, not quite. I pictured myself sitting in a bookstore signing the hot new best seller I had just written. Yea, not really me I guess. No formal training, I just love to write, poems, thoughts, stories, whatever strikes me at the time. However, am I enjoying myself? Yes, I truly am.

Am I now living my dream? I've realized that your dream can come in many different ways. It doesn't always have to be this big grandiose adventure. We all can't be famous or live a life of luxury. I enjoy helping other people. So during my day job I do just that. I help people, small non profits, people that have their own dream. Maybe I am giving them fundraising tips, setting up marketing plans or maybe I am just giving them the encouragement they need to move forward, one step closer to making their dreams into a reality.

So while my dream is to write..and I am, I also want to help people along the way...and I am. I don't need to be a famous author in order to say that I am living my dream. I am living a life that I am in control of and doing what I love. We all still have responsibilities and life tasks that need to be done. But if you can find a balance to do those and live your dream, then in my book (figuratively speaking of course) that is living your dream.

Don't let the world tell you that you can't, don't let money or experience get in your way, don't let negativity overcome you. Find that person that lifts you up. Maybe it's your husband, your kids, your friend or an article you've read, some inspirational quote...Hold on to that and make your dream into a reality.

If your dream is to write...start writing.
If your dream is to help others...start volunteering.
If your dream is to climb a mountain...start training.
If your dream is to travel the world and take pictures...do it!

No matter what your dream is, the only one keeping you from moving in that direction is you. Believe in yourself, make a commitment to yourself and don't dwell on the past. Look forward, change the way you have been thinking and don't let anyone tell you that your dream isn't possible. If you believe in it, then it is possible. Remember, it might not happen over night or in the way you had it pictured in your mind. However, steps, no matter how tiny, are steps in the direction of your dream.

Realize your dream.

If you had one wish...what would it be?

Perhaps I will see you in the bookstore one day. ;)

Side note: Please visit www.cathyflewthecoop.com a friend of mine and a great example of someone overcoming a life changing obstacle, realizing her dream and turning it into a reality. I truly hope she writes a book one day, she has quite a story to tell.

"Every single day, do something that makes your heart sing." -Marcia Wieder

I was going through the aisles looking for stationary to put into a care package for my daughter who is away at school.  For those of you who know me, yes, it has been less than a week, but I am missing her already and just wanted to send her some love from home. 

So I thought I would get some stationary for her to write home with. And yes, it could happen!

As I was breezing the aisle this one kind of jumped out at me. I guess it was one of those simple things that just makes you stop and think for a minute. I stood in the aisle reading the quote over and over and grinning. "Yes!" Then I quickly looked around realizing I just said that out loud. I put the stationary in my cart and headed to the checkout. Talking to myself the whole way. 

It was a simple statement, but so true.I mean, we only get one chance at this life right? Well then, we need to make the most of it...

Dance in the rain if it makes you happy. Dance even if it's not one of your best talents.

Sing as if you are the hottest pop star on the charts, even if you can't carry a tune and the person driving next to you keeps staring.

Don't worry about what you look like all the time, if you like that oversize t-shirt, wear it! Your husband married you not your clothes.

Don't wait for tomorrow to do what you have always wanted to do, tomorrow isn't promised.

Believe in yourself, because you are worth it.

Live everyday to it's fullest...Laugh out loud...Love deeply.

Spend time doing what makes you happy, what makes you smile, what makes your heart sing.

Yea, I know, I got all of that from a quote on a piece of stationary? Well, I did. I guess it was an "Ahha" moment for me.

And you know what, if your little girl wants to get in the horses water trough and play on a hot day...why not! Watching the joy on her face made my heart sing. (The horses thought we lost it though!)

  So go out and make your heart sing today! 

I have to admit, I had a lot of fun with this graduation party. My daughter wanted a simple party with a University of Arkansas theme. I think it turned out to be a great party, not too much, nothing over the top, just enough.

To get it all started we picked a date and sent out invites...

We sent out invitations to the graduation ceremony along with the invite to the graduation party. The graduation invites to the ceremony came from the school (standard) but we had a wonderful photographer Cindy Lee Photography take Samantha's senior portraits. She did an amazing job! Be sure to check out her website. Then we used those in the invite we created on Shutterfly and it came out great! We were very pleased.
Since we had already decided we wanted this theme before she even graduated from her high school, we planned ahead and picked up some of the decorations on our college orientation weekend down in Arkansas at a local Party City in Fayetteville.

University of Arkansas cup cooler, pin, face decals, balloons...

University of Arkansas Mints and super cool
bandannas that we used as a table decoration
We used this University of Arkansas bucket
to hold her graduation cards. Something tells me
that it will hold something completely different
in the near future. 

University of Arkansas cups, plates, napkins,
and buckets and serving plates to match
Once we had the majority of our decorations, we just needed to pick up a few other items locally and start thinking about food, tables/chairs and our set up of the party. I have a great little house, but the layout is just not conducive to a nice flowing party, soooo we had to think about setting up outside as well. 

We rented a few long tables and folding chairs locally from Weinhardt Party Rentals and it really worked out perfectly. We set the tables outside, some under a tent that we already had. Covered them with red linens and a few simple decorations and viola! 

We made sure a few tables made it under the
tent for shade during the party. 
We added red tulle to a few of the chairs 

I found these cute little jars on clearance at
Michaels, purchased white daisies to
place in the jars, added red food coloring to
 the water and tied red tulle to the handle.
We placed balloons on each table.

We placed several bottles of bubble on each table...

And finished the table off with a bit of confetti.
I wanted to have a table area dedicated to Samantha's choice in schools, so we set up a University of Arkansas display inside.

I wanted to do a banner with pictures of Samantha so we cut out Red and White
card stock and glued pictures of her at Prom, Lacrosse pics, family and senior pics
to them and hung them from the fire place mantle above the table. I laid a white table
cloth over a card table, added the bandannas, bucket and mints that I
previously picked up at Party City...

I had my two favorite senior pics from her session with Cindy Lee Photography
blown up and put them in frames on either side of the table.

Samantha wanted a "memory jar" where guests
could write their favorite memory or advice for her and
place it in the jar. I was later instructed that I would not be able
to read them all...hmmmm, that worries me a bit.  I took a simple
mason jar I picked up at Michaels added a graduation tassel,
some glittery tulle and a note with instructions for guests.

I placed a card stock pad of paper for guests to
write on and several pens on the table.

We also had the two framed pictures made into
wallets for guests to take with them.
The final touch for the table was the chalk board on the floor...

My first attempt at a Razorback Hog...
OK artist I am not, but if I do say so myself....not a bad attempt.
 For food we decided that I would make some and have some catered. We went with pulled pork...of course. No disrespect meant to the hog!

We ordered several pounds of pulled pork and spoon bread (a wonderful
combination of creamed corn/corn bread...yum!) from a local restaurant called
PM BBQ and  it was a big hit! I made several trays of texas potatoes and bbq beans.

Sorry blurry

I made little signs letting guests know which sauce
was sweet and which was spicy.

I made large veggie and fruit platters that I refilled during the party.

Found these adorable mason jar drink dispensers at Walmart and used one for
unsweet tea and the other for our home made "adult" beverage that we named
"Razor back Punch". I'd give you the recipe but it wasn't that memorable. ;)
Samantha didn't want a cake like I had done for our son when he graduated (we had his picture blown up and put it on the cake) instead she wanted cupcakes and a cookie cake. They both turned out to be a big hit. Although I could have had two cookie cakes, even the adults liked that as well. 

Cupcakes and cookie cake were from Walmart's bakery. Walmart and Sam's Club really do
a great job with cakes, cupcakes...

All in all, it really was a great party. We had an open house, guests came and went all day long. With having the food inside and most of the tables outside, it worked out well for my floor plan. There was a breeze all day so we got lucky there. I was glad that it was an open house though, almost 60 people would have been too much all at once. 

When we had decided to place the table in the front room, part of our thinking was that when guests arrived or left we could snap a picture of them with Samantha as they paused to look at the table or leave their note for her.

At the end of the day once everyone left, Samantha sat down and opened her cards...

She gave her sister a big hug after reading her card, she had tears in her eyes. Partly from what her little sister wrote in her card and partly because of the realization that she was indeed going away to school. 
Tessa is really going to miss her big sister. And Samantha...
will miss her little sister just as much. Such an emotional day,
but in a very good way. 
Samantha kept pausing to say thank you for a great party. I told her "we" did a great job. 

High five! Gosh I look like a dork in this picture! haha
It's been a great senior year, and this was the perfect way to put a bow on it all.

(partial) Family picture

I had to include this one (it's from her graduation day)
her brother Sean couldn't get off of work (new job) for her grad party
but he was certainly there in spirit!
After all the hoopla and after we cleaned up a bit, Samantha retreated to her room to read her memory jar notes. Remember, I wasn't allowed to read them all. ;) When I went up and checked on her she was sitting on her bed crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said she had just read my note. I told her I cried writing it as well, gave her a hug and sat with her for a few minutes. 

Gosh I am going to miss her!

I could fill a million of these jars with wonderful memories of my kids!