7 Things I Was Reminded Of In 2019

Today is the first day of 2020.

I’m sitting here thinking about the entire past year. So much happened everywhere it seems. I’ve heard several news broadcasters say things are happening so fast that it’s hard to keep up to date on news stories. I certainly seems like that.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

2019 had its ups and downs; a challenging year. I had new territories to conquer.  Maybe it wasn’t as hard as it felt, but either way I was reminded of a few things along the way.

  1. Listen carefully when loved ones speak.

You know how the more familiar you are with something, the less you need to focus on it. I mean, the things you do, see, interact with on a regular basis require less attention to maintain. If you can walk, how much attention do you give to where exactly you place your feet and how your toes feel when they touch the ground? You just walk. If you are a typist, how much time do you spend analyzing each letter on the keyboard? You just know where they are, so your fingers just follow the words in your mind and fly across the keys.

I thought about this with my loved ones. It is so easy to become totally emotionally deaf when the people you are closest to attempt to tell you how they feel about something. Why? Because you assume you know them, you already know what they like, who they are, etc. I’ve learned that with the ones closest I must read between their words and emotional expressions. I must listen to not only their words, but also pay attention to the emotions behind the words. Sometimes words alone don’t tell the whole story. I learned this the hard way, early this year. I almost sabotaged a friendship by totally missing some cues. This friend tried to express her feelings in the best way she could…but I was clueless. Good news, we are still friends, but I admit I worked hard to restore it to some degree of normalcy because it was a friendship worth fighting for. I can easily see though how so many friendships end in despondency.

LESSON REMINDED: Not everyone is able to express themselves in a way that is palatable for me. If the relationship is worth keeping, I must step outside my comfort zone, or press a situation to barrel down to the core so the friendship can be salvaged and rebuilt.

  1. Loneliness is part of life, embrace it as much as you can.
person in black hoodie sitting on train bench
Photo by Steven Arenas on Pexels.com

Aloneness is a wonderful thing. Everyone should take moments out of life to be alone, sit, reflect, pray, regroup, or whatever. It is vital to understand yourself as much as you can first. That gap between who people perceive you to be and who your really are can trip you up. I’m not talking about that here. I’m talking about loneliness. I would guess, loneliness is a major factor in much of the depression and even despair seen in our culture.

People need people. You know now dogs are pack creatures, well, I think people are like that as well. You may not need to have someone else in your face day in and day out but at some point, you need the physical and emotional touch of others. Sadly, this is becoming more difficult to achieve in our society it seems. In our ‘selfie’ world, reaching out beyond oneself usually entails a backward facing camera on the end of a stick.

I spend a lot of time alone. It doesn’t bother me most of the time but there are times when I need to find my friends, I need the comfort of hugs from people who love me, and I need to know that they are accessible.

This year I thought about loneliness a lot. I was thinking about the people I know and was taken back by the number of them who are single people living alone. It made me sad. Not that these people are sad about their situations, it just made me sad that in our culture, this is becoming more of a norm. We promote an independent nature in our culture, but it looks like it has consequences.

 LESSON REMINDED: It only takes a couple seconds to send a text or email to someone to let them know you are thinking of them, and that you don’t want anything from them. You just wanted them to know they were on your mind. It is amazing how much this small act can redirect and brighten a person’s day. I have a very special sister friend, who calls me regularly. Most times its only to say, …”I didn’t want anything, just wanted to hear your voice.”. I hope you have people in your life like that. If not, message me.

  1. You see your parents aging but their Golden Years still sneaks up on you.

If you are a middle-aged person and are blessed to still have parents who are alive, then they are probably in their 70s, 80s or even 90s. As a kid, you enjoy your parents as young people; vibrant, working, living life. Then one day, you look up at you see two people

photo of elderly man walking on pavement
Photo by Immortal shots on Pexels.com

who step more gingerly, move more slowly, and think less clearly; they’ve become ‘old’. But wait! This can’t be MY parents, they are …. Yes, they have reached that season in life.

I saw it coming to. I was still not prepared. But a string of physical ailments, calendars filled with doctor’s appointment, Medicare literature filling their mailbox, knee pains, technology battles, and hospital stays reality set in and I realized they were elderly. I was literally slowly taking over things and becoming the person in charge. I never had children, so I was not used to being in charge of any one but myself. WAKE UP CALL!

LESSON REMINDED: As overwhelming and tiring as it can be sometimes, I don’t mind it at all. I told my parents I will do all I can for them as they age. They did all they knew to do for me as their child. It’s an honor for me, plus I know it pleases God and they are his children too.

  1. Old age is scary.

I have always had an affinity for senior citizens. I like to listen to their stories about the times in which they grew up, their perspective and wisdom in situation, their knowledge from experience, all of it. There is so much to be learned. Unfortunately, we all know that older folks are not revered as they should be in our society.

I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with some terrific older people. Some were young when I met them and over the years, I’ve watched them age and others I met after they were well into their senior-hood.

In conversations with them I learned of some of their fears. One told me he doesn’t like to go out much anymore because he cannot defend himself anymore. Another told me he worries about being alone after years of living with a spouse. And, another said she fears losing her mind – dementia.

When you are young, you don’t think of these things much at all. You just go about your day doing your thing with no fear of not being about to fight, or run away, or not being able to remember common things. As I listened, yeah, old age seems scary.

I’ve had several opportunities to visit senior homes this year. I like to think that some of these older folks feel much better in a community of people in which they can interact. I don’t know; maybe it’s less scary to be scared with someone else.

LESSON REMINDED: Go visit a senior citizen as often as you can. If the senior citizen is a family or friend go twice as often as you can. Your presence is worth worth more than anything else you could bring.

  1. The moment of death is easy, but the process will certainly kill you.

Somehow, growing up, I escaped having to attend many funerals. I only remember going to one when I was about 10 for a Great-Aunt, then another Great-Aunt when I was in my 20’s. Then over the next few years I would hear of deaths of more distant family and people who were not that close to me in my life but didn’t attend most of the funerals.

But then, starting around early 2016,well into my adulthood, it seemed every few weeks, I’d hear of people who were nearer to my heart getting sick and passing away. I mean, numbers nearing 20! It sort of knocked me for a loop. I have attended more funerals in the past 2 years the I have in all my life. The last being just a couple weeks ago.

flowers marguerites destroyed dead

I’ve thought about death a lot lately. Not to be morbid, I’ve had friends die in numerous ways these past 3 years. It’s hard to both watch the process of dying and hard to suffer the sudden loss of a quick unexpected death.

It seems the moment between the last breath in this life and the first breath of the next life is the actual death. Short and easy. But I’ve witnessed how getting to that last breath can be long, painful, sad, stressful, scary, and everything else you can imagine.

LESSON REMINDED: I can only think of this poem when I recall the friends and family who have passed away.

 Only One Life
By C.T. Studd

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. 

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. 

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. 


  1. It’s OK to let some friends drift away.

Remember when you were a kid and the most important thing in life was who your friends were … or weren’t. Those gatherings on the playgrounds could make or break your social status in the entire playground (and lunchroom) hierarchy.

a man rowing a small boat with a sail
Photo by Md Towhidul Islam on Pexels.com

I used to tell myself one of the best things about being an adult is that you don’t have to be friends with everyone. I thoroughly enjoy choosing friends. Fortunately, I make friends easily, but unfortunately, I had to learn that many of the people I meet and befriend are not meant to be in my life always; or not even for a long time. I have friends from when I was a teen-ager and I have friends I just met last month. These friendships are all at different stages and have different roles in my life.

Recently, I thought of a friend I had years ago; we had the best times together. I thought of looking her up on Facebook to see if she was still around the area. Then I stopped myself. At the time we hung out we were at the same place in life. Now, some years later, I’m sure our lives are different, and lots has changed. I decided to leave this on to God who is the best orchestrator and path-crosser if it’s meant to be. Letting a friendship go is not always a bad thing, sometimes, it’s a growing thing.

Friendships are worth the investment. You just have to determine which ones are worth your time and effort. I have friendships now that exist only because I keep them going. I’m OK with that because it helps me rank the friendship. Remember, I said, some different friends have different roles. Don’t get your feelings hurt when your ‘friend’ doesn’t invest the same time you put in. Take this as information for use in keeping your own world in perspective. Plus, just face it, you are probably on the fringes of a lot of your friend’s radar, and that’s OK.  Life is busy and hard and unless you are a key person, you are probably more likely not a friend, but ‘someone they know’. You’ve got all the Facebook ‘friends’ that you don’t even know! Not to sound cynical but I’ve learned the hard way…friendship is relative.

LESSON REMINDED: Sometimes it’s best to NOT rekindle old, dried-up forgotten friendships. Just remember the purpose they had at the time and enjoyment of the friendship, keep the good memories in your heart, then let it be. I say this because people and times change. When you were friends in the past it was time for that friendship, if it fizzled, then its time was up. If it’s meant to be, they will find you on Facebook. 😉

  1. Find things to look forward to.  

I’m one of these people who kind of thrives on change. I get bored easily, so I need things to change in my life on occasion. It doesn’t have to be anything major like moving, or a new job or anything like in the past but now as I get older, I like to just try new things. I’ve discovered some great things about myself in my quest for change. Five years ago, I discovered I have a knack for drawing portraits (www.facebook.com/portraitartbyjan). I always liked art but lacked skill. I guess it needed all my life to percolate. Haha. I still want to learn a new instrument, try ballroom dancing, and taking a cross country road trip.

white car traveling near trees during daytime

Change is good. It is needed. You learn the most about yourself when you are put in a position to change, you learn even more about yourself when you are forced to change. Frederick Douglas has a great a quote …

Inaction is followed by stagnation. Stagnation is followed by pestilence and
pestilence is followed by death.”

I’ve decided that I want to purchase a small RV and travel. With a remote job, this is quite possible. I have spent a year studying YouTube videos on van-types, solar panels, types of toilets, camping options, etc. It has been so much fun learning about it all. The other day I thought, … ‘this may never happen, but I am having a blast learning about it.’ More importantly, it gives me something to look forward to in life. We all need something to look forward to in life. That something if often tied to your purpose.

LESSON REMINDED: The opposite of moving forward and changing is not moving backwards, but stagnating. Life is in movement and growth, not always in body, but in mind, heart, and spirit.


May you have a blessed, prosperous, ever growing year of
peace, love, and joy in Jesus!

photo of fireworks
Photo by Anna-Louise on Pexels.com

Much Love to you, Jan!


Winter Prep: Maple Mama Update

We are finally getting some Fall-like temps here in my part of the country! Yay! No more mowing lawns, planting flowers, or watching my Japanese Maples grow.  They have done so well. I’m quite surprised actually by how much they grew!! Some were tall and lean others were short and wide.


Such a difference from this past April….



I needed to find out what to do with them over the winter months.  It typically doesn’t get too cold here but a couple of days or so it might dip into the 30s. I learned that the main goal of getting them through the winter is to make sure the roots do not freeze.  Some sites said to just put them into the ground. Given the rocky yard I have, plus the fact that I have 25+ of them, that is not an option.

However, I ran across a site where a guy just left them above ground in pots and packed mulch around them.  So I did that.

I tucked them in a corner of the house and put mulch around them.  Hopefully, they will be protected from some of the winds, they will get the morning and afternoon sun, and the mulch will keep the roots from freezing.  I think I need to add a bit more mulch this weekend.

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I’m going to be so ecstatic if they survive the winter and come back.  I anticipate the leaves will fall  but I’m going to be eagerly awaiting to see if next April I see brand new little leaves.

Anyway… say a little Japanese Maple Tree prayer if you think of it. 🙂




55 Candles


Today was one of those milestone moments.  Two words kept coming to mind throughout the day:  ‘passages’ and ‘seasons’.  Different words but similar in that they both represent change.

photo of person walking near orange leafed trees
Photo by KIM DAE JEUNG on Pexels.com

I’m old enough now to be more aware of ‘being old’ and what that really means; not that I feel I’m old and creaky but I have friends who I met when they were around my age or older but now they are 70s and 80s; some are doing really well, but others are using walkers, canes, wheelchairs, sporting new knees, in assisted living, having memory issues, etc. I recently moved my own father into an assisted living facility.  That whole process has struck a place in my heart that had been untouched until now. Having never married, no children, no nieces and nephews, I realized, in a stark reality kind of way, that my parents are my immediate ‘family’ and to see them move into the next stage of life, likely the final stage, is somewhat alarming and frankly a bit frightening.  It has made me look at my own life in a different, more tangible, way I suppose. I remember when they were my age; and it wasn’t that long ago.


I looked out my window the other day and saw the tiny black kitten that has chosen my yard as a respite just sitting on the corner.  I stood there watching it wondering what it would do.  It did nothing. It sat there for the longest time.  I understood.  Sometimes, you just have to stop and in the middle of all the madness and wait until clarity comes… then move on and handle the situations.

Kitty on Corner


I didn’t really have 55 candles;  I need to conserve my breath😉.   I have, however, been seriously thinking about how I want the next season of my life to play out if I have a choice.

At the end of last year, I thought I’d be deeply entrenched in working on a PhD in 2019. It didn’t work out like that, and I glad.  This year has turned out to be very difficult; no way could I have been in an academic program, but I’ve been thinking about life, and the future a lot.

Sitting in front of a TV every evening after working all day is NOT on the agenda. Traveling the country, seeing new things, meeting new people, blogging, art, IS on the agenda. Planning for this new adventure, whether is happens or not, simply gives me something to look forward to. Pouring through endless YouTube videos  has been like a RV-ing , road-tripping education. I’ve learned so much.


There are so many things I like about my life right now; I have a great job and one of the best boss’ ever, I have a great hobby as an artist, I have terrific friends, a wonderful church I attend.  Life is good…and life is also very challenging at times.  I have a lot of responsibilities, but I don’t mind it so much.  I make the decisions I need to make, as I need to make them, and move on, through sleepless nights, laughter, tears and all.  Thankfully, I’m good at decision making.

Not really much else to say here; just pondering on the gift of life, and how quickly it slowly rolls by, and how a lot of it is affected by the decisions we make and also how much of it happens in spite of us.  We have to be ready for it all. That’s just life.

My prayer for this time and forward is that God helps me to age gracefully, not hating old age, not complaining about it, not wishing it was other than what is, just living each day as it shows itself; full of gray hair, groaning flesh, and hopefully with His unlimited grace.

Peace and love to you😘 … I’m headed off to find senior discounts. 😜

Blue Skies Smiling at Me, Nothing But Blue Skies Do I See

Blue Skies, Smiling at Me, Nothing But Blue Skies, Do I see. Well, not really. Do you know that song?

It’s been three months since my last post. That was unintentional.  Back in April I was moving along with lots of goals, challenges, intentions, motives, duties, requirements, etc.. … then, BAM! I was suddenly overwhelmed. No one noticed.  I didn’t even notice at first.

Life happens. Sometimes smoothly and uneventful, and sometimes like a boulder racing down a mountainside stopping only after it has run over you and slammed onto a street or some other obstacle below.  I woke up one day feeling like a boulder had crushed my soul.  I was doing too much. I am pretty good and managing multiple things; have always done it without much issue, either by choice or necessity. But suddenly, I was overwhelmed by my own life and circumstances.

The first thing to fall apart was my eating habits.  After 2+ years of being healthy, I found food to be a visiting friend again. :(. Yep, gained some poundage. 😦  I woke up in the morning only looking forward to crawling back into bed that night. I did the things I had to do to with little excitement.  Some disappointments rolled into my world.  I thought I was getting depressed, but decided I was overloaded and tired; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

One of the biggest things I took away from this time is that ….. everyone else is overloaded and tired too. Everyone else is managing a boatload of issues as well. OK, not everyone, but I bet you needn’t look far to find someone in your world who is suffering from loss, death of a loved one, illness, children issues, aging parents, financial issues, relationship/friendship issues, etc. Lots going on in the world. Not to mention things that are happening politically, economically, and socially in the world.

I had to slow down for a few weeks. Be alone. I primarily got up in the morning, worked at my job, and slept. Thank God for friends… but there really is some truth to the saying, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone.”

Anyway, in the midst of those low slow days I would go outside at lunch time and sit on my back patio and just look at the blue sky, the beautiful trees, different kinds of birds, and jumbo bumblebees hanging around the Rose of Sharon. I notices that after lunch I must felt better. Being outside in the sunshine, thinking about nothing,  just sitting and breathing refreshed my heart and soul.


….. I even got a chance to photograph visiting bunnies too.


During this time, I realized I needed to do something that was out of the ordinary for my world. Fortunately, I discovered a ‘thing’ that has brought a happy distraction to my life. As a younger woman, I used to wonder why some older women I knew spent so much time in their yards and gardens.  Why???

I know now.

I discovered that digging in the dirt a bit each day and planting things was a ‘happy’ thing for me.  So, I planted.  I bought a manual tiller and started tilling areas of my lawn and planted Microclover in the lawn.  I planted 2 Moon Flowers plants a friend gave me.


I planted a container flower arrangement for the first time in my life.  I loved how it turned out. Pretty good for a newbie.20190727_154325274_ios.jpg

Right before this time, I planted 25 or so Japanese Maple tree seedlings that I pulled from my yard this Spring. Tending to these babies was, and is, a wonderful daily distraction for a few moments each day. Here is a picture of the babies.  I’ll do another post on this later.  (See April 7, 2019 post)

Japanese Maple seedlings
Japanese Maple seedlings. The two trees on the bottom are the parents of these little ones.:)

All that to say, I’m feeling much better and  back on track, finally.  I am eating healthily again (…going to do another post on this process later… doing some changes to better maintain hopefully). I’m sleeping more soundly, and I am dealing better with life issues overall.

Thank God for life!🌺


How do you regroup when you become overwhelmed?

Do you have a garden to ‘play’ in?


Love you guys! 😘

Peace and Love to you.


Japanese Maple Mama

I can’t believe it. I started growing a bunch of Japanese Maple seedlings that I pulled from my yard a few months ago. [See April 7, 2019 post].  I had high hopes for them but hadn’t a clue what I was doing.

Well, they started in 16-ounce cups, I lost about 3 of them but more than 25 survived to the next level, which was them being moved to 1-gallon nursery pots. There is now way I would have ever imagined loving this process so much.  These little trees have become so much fun to take care of.  Watching them grow and change daily is amazing. I cannot keep 25 trees so I plan to adopt them out when they are ready. If this is a success, who knows…. I might be in the Japanese Maple tree selling business. :).

There were some that I thought would surely die.  They were soooo tiny. I placed them in groups of 3 within the 1-gallon pot. However, a couple weeks later, they were thriving and growing, so I moved them to their own pot. It’s amazing to me. I wouldn’t consider myself as having a ‘green thumb’.  Matter of fact, I had a little talk with all the things growing in my yard when I moved into this house informing them that they will need to become as self-sufficient as possible because I could be of little help to them. They must have heard me because they are doing A-OK for the moment.

I have given these little trees a LOT of attention though, not that they needed it, but I was just interested and curious.

OK, don’t laugh but I decided to name them all so I could tell them apart.  Seriously, they start to look alike after a while.. lol.


Don’t laugh but here ya go.


I named them!!!!  lol.

I mostly gave them names that mean ‘strong, victorious, leader, shelter, glorious, beautiful, etc.  They need to live up to their name.  Some of the names were suggestions from friends…. Marla (lol), Ruby, Leif, Maple. 🙂

Aren’t they beautiful??  I think I’ll start an Instagram Page for them. I’ll let you know so you can follow their journey towards adoption.

Peace and love to you!