Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye to 2017...

As I get ready to leave 2017 behind, I have to admit I'm ready to move into the New Year. This one has been a bit rough, though there have been many blessings along the way. I didn't accomplish all of my goals, but I did spend more time with my family, which is a great trade off.

I'm not making a list of resolutions, instead I resolve to continue pushing toward my long term goals, pursuing dreams, and allowing myself setbacks without guilt. A favorite saying in our home this year was, "It is what it is..." For me, this means accepting what comes my way, refusing to let life frustrate me when things don't happen as I'd wanted, and moving forward with hope.

Wishing you a brilliant and blessed 2018! Happy New Year!

Sail on...

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

What a Month...

Between me messing up my knee, one son having health issues and injury, our other son and husband working long hours, it's been one heck of a month. This is the first year we did not have a Christmas tree, sent very few cards, and I only bought a couple gifts and went in on another. I have a little shelf above my fireplace where I hung four hand crafted ornaments I bought from a cousin. I set out one Santa and one snowman. I strung red ribbon in the entryway to hang the Christmas cards we received, which were many, because my husband is a letter carrier who is well loved by the people on his route. We did have a few outside lights, but my dozens of ornaments and knickknacks never even got out of their boxes.

These are the ornaments! Aren't they wonderful?
By all accounts, Christmas could have been called a huge fail. The funny thing is, we enjoyed it as much, or even more than, many past Christmases. It was simple, quiet, and relaxing. We enjoyed each other's company. There were games, a few favorite movies, reading, and conversation. It was a lovely Christmas.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Stories, Dreams, and Memories...

I'm reading a book by the late Anne Carol George called This One and Magic Life. It's described as a novel of a southern family. It's a definite departure from her Southern Sisters Mysteries. It's much more serious but is infused with the kind of humor which comes from being part of a large, complicated family. About midway through, this paragraph stood out to me:

"Lord knows, there are enough memories.
 Live this long and they run out of your ears, disappear. 
And the ones still in your head you can't trust... 
Well, it's all dreams anyway. And dreams don't make a grain of sense. 
And sometimes I don't know if I'm beginning or ending. 
Or if any of us are. And that's all right."  
~ Naomi Cates, This One and Magic Life by Anne Carroll George

Memories. Fleeting and mysterious and sometimes disturbing, but integral for a story teller. Figuring out how to draw them in and place them in a perfectly wrapped package so people can see the picture you are trying to show them, that is the trick. It's a skill which requires intuition or training. Usually both. It's what I want to figure out how to do. It's exactly what Anne Carol George was able to do with her story, drawing me into the world of this family, compelling me to follow their journey to the end of the book. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Gratitude Lists...

Here is another post I started a few days ago...

All month, friends have been posting their daily gratitude lists. I didn't feel like it. Not because I'm not thankful, but because it felt redundant to me. Of course I'm thankful for my husband, my sons, my home, my life, and it probably does bear repeating and voicing at least once a year, so I can't really explain my hesitance. Maybe I just like bucking the trend. Perhaps I have a streak of stubbornness which resists conforming. Perhaps.

I am thankful for many seemingly unimportant things. I was just reading, Gratitude is Saving Me, by Nanea Hoffman. I follow her Sweatpants and Coffee page on Facebook. It's uplifting. In this article, she writes about what she is grateful for.

"I've always loved walking the beach and looking for smooth bits of glass and interesting shells amid the decaying seaweed and washed-up trash. This is like that. I still do it, almost every day. I comb through the dreck of my day and pick out the shiny bits. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's not." ~Nanea Hoffman

My list of little, somewhat weird, things I am grateful, my "shiny bits" goes something like this:

  • It's looking in the Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart box, finding it empty, then discovering the one I'd wrapped back up and tucked up on top of the bread box a couple days before, because eating two seemed overindulgent. (Just happened this morning. Joy!)
  • The feel of a leaf or pine needles on a tree.
  • Discovering a long, forgotten letter inside a favorite book.
  • Re-watching The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and remembering what being a child was like, the happy parts. Which also brings back memories of when my boys were little and their world was filled with imagination and wonder.
  • Rocks, all kinds. Big, small, rough, smooth. 
  • Ribbon, lace, buttons. Pretty little treasures.
  • Board games and board game pieces, like the Monopoly race car, dog, and thimble. The Clue wrench and knife, and remembering how my Barbie really loved the candlestick! Chess pieces! Checkers! Dominoes! Dice! Scrabble!
  • The feel and smell of books.
  • Bookmarks.
  • Coffee, with a touch of half and half, on a cold morning.
  • The way the sunlight peeks in through the blinds.
  • Opening boxes of stored autumn and Christmas decorations.
  • The sound of rain.
  • The first snowfall.
These are just a few of my little delights. May you each find the little joys to be grateful for on otherwise average days.

© 30Nov2017 ajjahner

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

On Writing, Failing, and Pressing On...

I originally wrote the following on November 3rd. I thought I'd published it, but found it among my drafts this morning, so here it is... While reading posts on Facebook this week, I noticed a cousin had posted about writing her book. I started to write a comment in response to her about her plans, but found I was making it all about me and my writing. Funny how that happens. 

Instead, I decided to share some thoughts about my writing here. I started my first book when my oldest son was a toddler, with my mom cheering me on. I got stuck and never finished it. Maybe it's an unfinished jewel or maybe it's just nonsense. Next, I started the second book idea. Then the third. I decided instead to write a series of short stories, some from my imagination and some from my memories. I wrote those. I wrote some poetry. I started yet another book. You see where this is going... Yep, no where. 

I think a combination of factors plays into my failure as a writer. I'm hyper critical of my own writing. I lack motivation and discipline. I get distracted by everything and by nothing at all. Anyway, after reading her post, I felt inspired to revisit some of my abandoned projects. I decided to start by taking a look at my most recent book. It took almost an hour to find it on my computer. I'd given it a ridiculous name. While looking for it, I found some of those short stories and decided to polish a couple of them up.

Time has a way of giving a new perspective. I found I still loved some of the stories. They just needed some tweaks here and there, which I did a bit of. Everything holding me back can be worked on and overcome. It's just a matter of making up my mind to do it. A new day, a new start, and a renewed inspiration for an old love... writing.
© 29Nov2017 ajjahner

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Birthday and A Retreat...

Today I celebrated another birthday. This one caught me by surprise. It was emotional, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's just the realization time is rushing by, and I haven't achieved many of my life goals. Perhaps I was just missing the big birthday gatherings of my younger days. Whatever it was, I felt the need to take some alone time, to retreat for a while. I turned off the computer and phones. I sat for a long while, meditating and remembering, then chose a movie I'd been wanting to watch, made myself cozy on the sofa with pillows and blanket, and settled in to watch. It was so nice. Some days you just need a brief escape from the world.

When my husband got off work, he picked up Chinese food for us. We watched a show we both enjoyed. He gave me my birthday gifts and then baked a gooseberry pie, one of my favorites, while I watched Project Runway. He even put up with my commentary on the fashions! It was a lovely day!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween...

Halloween is upon us, and October is nearing it's close. It's been a busy month for me, working on little projects, catching up on some reading, putting away summer clothing and pulling out warmer things for autumn.

We've had such a beautiful week. Cold nights and cool days. My perfect choice for weather! The fall colors have been amazing this year! Varied and bright!

On Facebook I participated in a 7 day photo challenge. You post the following challenge, adding the day as you go.

     Day ___ of 7 days,
     Seven black and white photos of your life.
     No photos of people. No explanations.
     Challenge someone different each day.
     I challenge: ____________________

I don't often participate in FB games and challenges, but this seemed like a fun one! I tried to choose pictures representing different moments, memories, or other aspects of my life. Here are the seven photos I chose.

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 4:

Day 5:

Day 6:

Day 7:

This challenge made me think a little bit about who I am and how people may see me or not see me. If you've read my blog, you already know I love books, writing, movies, music, art, and family, as well as being a spiritual person. I hope this gives you an interesting look at some other aspects of who I am, even without the descriptions of each photo.

Well, it's time to get on with my day. Though I'm not a fan of all the scary Halloween stuff, I do love costumes, candy, little children knocking at my door, and Charlie Brown! Look for the fun, and have a Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Peace in the Storm...

It seems like every time I turn on the TV, there's more unsettling news. Social media isn't much better. I went on Facebook this evening, looking for a fun break. Instead I read some things which broke my heart. I also read some things which lifted my soul. Isn't that the way of life? The road is not without twists and turns, but there is beauty to be found all along the journey. Sometimes we have to make the effort to look for it, but it is there, like the little bird singing in the middle of a storm. Chaos may be all around us, but peace dwells in the heart and soul. May God grant you peace in your storm, whatever that may be.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Happiness, How to get it...

Right now, I'm watching the Today Show. It's a segment on happiness. The number one happiest city in America is Boulder, Colorado, but Dan Buettner, the author of The Blue Zones of Happiness, says you don't have to move to Colorado, anyone can be happier. Here are some of the ways he suggests, as a result of what he's learned while traveling the world with National Geographic:
  1. Get a dog, petting a dog affects those hormones which fight stress. (I don't currently have a dog or cat, but agree with this one.)
  2. Have a front porch rather than a back porch. It leads to more human contact. The happiest people are socializing 5 or 6 hours a day (Hmmm... something to consider.)
  3. Have at least three close friends. People you can call and count on through good and bad times. (Done!)
  4. Have good light. Open a curtain. Having a window looking out at nature makes people more happy. (Though I love a cityscape as well)
  5. Get religion. Studies show people around the world who have some kind of religion tend to be happier than non-religious people. (Since I've believed in God from childhood, I don't know the other side of this. I do know that religion brings you in contact with other humans and shared activities. I also know I feel more at peace because of my faith, which is part of me whether I'm in a church building, at home, or anywhere else.
  6. Get married. Stay married. Studies show people are happier with a partner than without. (Unless you're in a miserable marriage, with no hope of reconciliation. I know many would say "stick it out no matter what" but I've seen the dark side of that. I also know single people who are not only happy, but thrive as single individuals, so I think this one is up for debate.) 
  7. Volunteer. Being generous raises your happiness level. (Something my grandparents and my mom taught me by example. Giving really is it's own reward!)
He also says money can bring you happiness, to a point. If you have enough to feel secure. It's not about having lots of things, it's about knowing you have enough to provide for yourself and your loved ones.

Wishing you more happiness in your life!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Rested and Ready to Decorate...

The past few weeks had been rather stressful, so I took a short, self-imposed break from social media. I spent more time reading books and magazines, and indulged in watching several movies. Some time was also spent browsing Pinterest images and a couple of decorating blogs. I haven't "put my Autumn on" yet, but here's a blogger who is always on top of the seasonal changes.

Hmmmm... Blogger won't let me load the link for you to click directly there, but you can copy and paste:

Bargain Decorating with Laurie can also be found on Facebook. I love looking at all the treasures she decorates with! Enjoy the eye candy! Maybe it will inspire you. I'm heading to the garage for my box of Autumn decor!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Hard Times...

I've been absent more than I'd planned. Life has tossed some hard things my way recently. I'm taking time to rest, recharge, and find my center again. I never started this blog to be all joy and brightness, but with so much sad in the outside world, it's hard to find words to share here. I will try. I'm taking a break from Facebook, phones, and even visits with friends. Do you ever lose track of who you are? I certainly have. As I find pieces of me, I'll come back and post. It may be every day or so, or every month or so. Whatever feels best. I hope you won't stop checking in with me.

This song is what I needed today. Maybe it will speak to your heart as it did mine.

Love and blessings to each of you who happen to pass this way!

Friday, September 8, 2017


I turn on the TV, and the news seems to keep getting worse. I'm not talking just about politics, I'm talking hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes. I was just watching a news story about a tiny town called Rose City, Texas, another small city devastated by the hurricane and the flooding. Most of the families have lost everything. A mom speaking, who just took a change of clothes for her children when they evacuated, and came back to a home destroyed, all but their memories washed away. One gentleman who had nothing salvageable except for a few items and his treasured American flag. A young couple trying to dry out their wedding photos, mold already forming on walls and furnishings. It's heartbreaking, but most are happy just to have survived the storm. It's what we all do, survive the storms of life, whether they are physical, emotional, or spiritual. We move forward, with hope, thankful to have made it through.

Friday, September 1, 2017

An Enjoyable Visit...

My little sis came over yesterday morning for a visit. She brought me a stack of LP's, everything from Mitch Miller and South Pacific to early Sting albums. The Mitch Miller Show was one of my favorites as a child. You could sing along to all the songs, just by following the bouncing ball. I'm listening to it now. It makes me smile. Happy memories!

We chatted about everything from the books we're writing, and procrastinating on finishing, to music, family, vintage treasures, and creative projects. I'd saved a huge box of old, extremely worn denim jeans. I was going to make a jeans quilt or two, but in all honesty, I was never going to make a quilt, that box had been in my garage for several years, so I sent them off with sis, because I know she'll get that project done for me. We found another box of fabric scraps I'd saved. There were things from my grandma's sewing projects, my sister's, as well as mine. I'm talking lime green polyester scraps among others equally wild. Yes, I made myself a lime green pants suit. It was the 70's, what can I say? It looked something like the one on the right. I had one in chocolate brown as well.

There were a couple things still in the original packaging, including a Unique Polyester Chocolate Invisible Zipper! The date of manufacture? 1969! There was also Penney's Bias Tape and a FABuckle you could cover with your choice of fabric.

In another box were vintage powder containers, Ovation and Charlie were grandma's and a pink Skinny Dip which was mine. The Skinny Dip still had the puff and some powder, and it smelled like Junior High! At least before gym class! The Ovation still had a strong scent and it felt like grandma was right in the room.

The power scent has over us is fascinating. One hint of a favorite smell, roses, rain, gingerbread, freshly ironed cotton, perfumes, powders, and we are transported to another time and place. I've used other vintage boxes to hold buttons, etc., but these needed a new home, so they went with sis.

A little alabaster lighthouse went home with her too. I should have snapped a photo. It was one my mother had, and we both remembered walking our fingers up the path to the lighthouse door. The carved out steps were so small, it was hard to imagine our fingers were ever that tiny. I know my sis will treasure it as much as I have, so it was easy to let it go. Here's a stock photo of a similar lighthouse.

It was a lovely day, filled with a bit of serious conversation, but mostly a lot of laughter and reminiscing. A reminder of how important it is to make time for the people I love.

© 01Sep2017 ajjahner

Friday, August 25, 2017


I've been without a car for the past two weeks, though why it matters I really can't say, I rarely leave the house anymore. I've been sitting here reflecting on conversations I've had on the telephone, and how thankful I am for that simple convenience. Today, I was able to talk to one of my best friends, my kindred spirit, Carol. She recently lost her mother. I haven't been able to get to a shop and find an appropriate card. The sympathy cards in my supply just didn't express what was in my heart, which was overflowing with sadness and love for her and her family. I lost my mom over 16 years ago, and I miss her just as much today as I did that first week. I just shed fewer tears now, though occasionally the tears still come.

Beautiful angel image, courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

We talked about moms, and loss, and the things you want to do as well as need to do, along with some general chitchat. I mentally reached for just the right comforting words to say, but they didn't come. Mind blank. Frozen. Hopefully the love came through.

Some I also talked to this week: my other best friend, DeAnn; my Uncle Burt; my dear friend Marjie, who was also my grandma's best friend; Aunt Beth, technically my husband's aunt, but totally adopted by me; my cousin, Elverta; my husband, phoning from the eclipse party in the mountains that I had to miss. There may have been others I'm not remembering right now, but it was a busy week on the phone.

Conversation is my favorite way of connecting with people. I do love social media like Facebook, I enjoy blogging and visiting the blogs of friends, email is also good, but better than all of these is conversation. Ideally, it would be done face to face, over a cup of coffee and perhaps a decadent dessert, but the telephone is the next best thing. It takes away from the isolation I've allowed my health to place me in. If you do nothing else this week, make time for your loved ones and your friends in whatever way you can, message, phone call, or visit. We benefit from interaction with others. It reminds us we are all in this world together. Let's make it a beautiful place to be.

© 25Aug2017 ajjahner

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Faith, Family, Friends...

Yesterday afternoon and evening, I was able to spend time with my cousin, Ramona. She recently lost her husband, and it's been a rough time for her. She came by my house and suggested we go visit her mom. Just driving through her old neighborhood, where I'd spent many happy childhood days, was emotional and wonderful. My mom lived across the street from them, for several years. Her house is still there, still the same color. The only real change was, the rose arbor that went over the front gate was no longer there.

As we walked around to the back of Mary Ellen's home, to go in through the back door, I glanced up at the little window of the garage apartment. We lived there, when I was very young. I remember looking out that window, seeing my cousins playing in the yard below. This was when I first really got to know my cousins, five girls, what fun we had!

Walking through the house, memories kept washing over me. We had a lovely visit with Mary Ellen. Even with extreme health issues, her smile and her sense of humor was still strong. She and my mom always kept us laughing with their stories. I miss those times. I'm so thankful for them.

Next, Ramona and I went to one of our favorite Chinese restaurants, Golden Star. It was just as good as I remembered! That place is filled with memories as well. My grandparents took us there often, beginning back in the late 60's. My husband and I, along with our families, shared our wedding day meal there before leaving for our honeymoon.

Ramona and I talked about so many things. There were tears, some from memories and some from the hot mustard, and there was a lot of laughter. We talked about the past. We talked about what her future may now hold. When life changes the plans you had for your retirement years with your husband, you have to begin thinking about what you will now do. One thing I do believe, she will be blessed beyond what she can even see right now, and my cousin is a woman of strong faith and vision. I'm praying and believing it will be better than she can even imagine.

Before we left Golden Star, I heard a hello, and there was another cousin's wife, Dorrine! She was there with a big group of family. After hugs all around, we chatted a couple minutes. Then another friend of Ramona's walked in, and she got to share a few moments with him. As we were leaving, our cousin Mark was just arriving to join the family, so we got to say hello to him as well. I guess we picked the perfect night to eat at Golden Star.

We decided to text one of my best friends, DeAnn. She hadn't been able to join us for dinner, but she was now available to visit, so we headed to her home. What a fun time we had! More laughter, a few more tears. We talked about everything from family, loss, life, church, our homes, and even clothes. DeAnn showed us her new LuLaRoe clothes, purchased from the lovely Jenn Schram, and even offered to let me try on a couple of her new shirts. Such fun! We took photos of her in one of her new outfits, which led to some laughs because neither Ramona or I were very adept at using the smart phone for photos.

After Ramona dropped me off at my house, and I sat in my family room going over the events of the evening, I felt so blessed. Having family and friends to travel through this life's journey is what it's all about. We can share our sorrows and our joys with each other. We are reminded we don't have to walk it alone. We have our faith, our family, and our friends to make our journey a little bit easier, and a lot less lonely, and that is a blessing.

Thursday, July 13, 2017


In my last post, I mentioned a book I was reading. The name of the book is Gatekeepers, Let's Talk About Teaching by Tammy McMorrow. I've known Tammy since she was born, and I'm excited to be able to share her first book with you! You may also enjoy visiting her blog, Forever in First.

Although the intended readership for this book would be teachers and educators, it's a book which may also give parents great ideas for helping their children develop a love for learning and for reading. It made me wish all children had a teacher with such a heart for their students.

I enjoyed the entire book, but the two final chapters, Listen to your Heart and Surrounded by Greatness had a powerful impact. I had tears in my eyes as I read them. The author is a teacher with high standards, along with love and positive expectations for her students.

I highly recommend this book for any of the teachers and parents in your lives!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Staycation, the Budget Version...

Our week of "Staycation, the Budget Version" is quickly coming to a close. We slept in a bit today, then Paul headed out in the heat for a car show. He took one of those neck scarves you soak in water and said it kept him very cool. Enough to enjoy a couple hours of classic cars before heading home to the air conditioned house.

While he was gone, I cruised the internet, listened to some programs I'd recorded, and read for a while. I'd caught up on my laundry and ran the dishwasher last night. It was nice to have that out of the way

This is what I'm reading! It's a wonderful book for teachers, parents,
or anyone else in the business of working with or educating children. 
This afternoon, with our outdoor thermometer reading 107, we ditched the idea of cooking indoors or out, and splurged on an Idaho Pizza delivery. Delicious! Then Paul and I enjoyed two movies, for the second time this week, which we rarely do anymore. We watched Tom Hanks in Inferno, which was filled with action and intrigue. Continuing on the intrigue theme, Paul selected Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. It's one of our favorites and it had been a long while since we'd seen it. The classics definitely hold up over time, and it was as great as we'd remembered!

Classic Hitchcock, a great movie!
It's been so nice having him on vacation this week! He got to attend a couple of his favorite car shows, even though his Chevy is out of commission. He did a few projects around the house and in the garden, and we mulled over ideas to improve our front patio and flower bed. We also spent time talking about life, our thoughts about the future, and reminiscing. Sometimes life gets so busy, we forget to enjoy the simple moments. Conversation, relaxation, laughter, and just enjoying each other's company. It's all part of the glue keeping us connected and enhancing our lives together.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Holiday and Anniversary...

We had a quiet Fourth of July this year. One son had to work, so we quickly threw together a lunch of hot dogs, potato salad, and baked beans, and shared a meal before he had to leave. Our day was spent relaxing. We read, chatted, watched a Netflix rental called Get Low, with Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek. When it got dark, we wandered outside to watch a few fireworks being set off around the neighborhood.

We had decided not to do anniversary gifts, since we had to replace our large front room window and get the 52 Chevy repaired again, among other unexpected things. Paul decided to surprise me anyway! He got me a few of my favorite things, three books and a movie. Other girls need diamonds and bling, but give me good films and books any day! The movie, Holy Matrimony, was a fun choice for an anniversary. It stars one of our favorites, Monty Woolley, and an actress we weren't as familiar with, Gracie Fields. I need to see what other films she was in, as I really enjoyed her performance.

Books and a movie from my wish list and a beautiful card!
We decided to have dinner at home. French Dip sandwiches and a simple dessert of sliced pound cake layered with a filling of cream cheese blended with strawberry jam, topped with fresh crushed strawberries. Simple and delicious! While we ate, we watched another favorite movie, North by Northwest. It's a Hitchcock film starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and James Mason. A perfect way to spend our day together!

I'm feeling very grateful for my husband, my sons, and the life we share together! Loved and blessed are my words for today! 

Wishing you love and blessings in your life.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Barn Red, and Other Stuff...

I've been thinking about my mom's barn red houses, the color she painted most of the homes she lived in, even her double wide mobile home. The memories were triggered by watching a House Hunters International set in Europe, and seeing the red house in the Jesse Stone movies. I love a barn red house!

Love the red against all that snow.

This is the back of mom's last home and her three beloved dogs.

Mom even had the garage painted barn red!
Over the weekend, I went through a couple more storage boxes. Found cameras which belonged to my father-in-law along with history books and a few photos. It's odd how picking up one item will evoke so many memories.

There's not much else to share today. Our front window is scheduled to be replaced tomorrow. It cracked from top to bottom during the coldest part of winter, but thankfully it was just the inner pane. The temperatures will be in the 80's tomorrow, while they have our front room wide open. Not looking forward to that, but it is what it is. I need to shift some boxes of photos and negatives from that room for safe keeping. Looks like it's going to be a long night. So, until another day, wishing you joy and peace!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Forgotten Treasures...

Yesterday, I spent the day going through a couple of large boxes,  "picture frames, etc" is what they were marked with. In one box, I found 8X10 photos of myself as a baby, my grandparents, my dad, a wedding photo and more. In the other box were my dad's obituary, death certificate, honorable discharge from the army, funeral book, his stories and poems, and the stories and poems of a cousin. There was also political memorabilia from the Reagan and Bush years, including a sympathy certificate signed by President Bush. My grandpa Mike's obituary was also there, along with photocopies of old pictures. Mom was very big on photocopying.

My dad...
The timing of rediscovering all of this, just before Father's Day, added to the emotion. I had a good cry, then I turned on House Hunters International and started prepping the final ingredients for the Chicken Enchilada Casserole, I'd started earlier in the crock pot. The chicken had to cook in the sauce for 4 hours before adding the tortillas, olives, and cheese. Everyone was happy to have a hot meal, but we all agreed it would have been better without the olives or maybe a different brand. I love olives, but they were very strong.

Speaking of forgotten treasures, I ran across this old photo. It shows some of my favorite things. The picture was taken years ago, but I still have most of these. Seeing them showcased like this somehow made me appreciate them more.

Books and other lovely treasures!
Well, I suppose it's time to think about dinner. I'm not too excited about leftover enchiladas. I guess I can pick out the olives like my 5 year old self would have done. Haha!

If you still have your father, hug him great big! If he's gone, like mine is, take a moment to revisit the happy memories.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My Favorite Kind of Day...

Today is a perfect day for me, sunny but cool! I'm loving it! I know the summer heat is coming soon, but until then I am reveling in this gorgeous weather!

Due to the heavy rains this spring, our gooseberries and rhubarb have gone crazy. More than we really need, but a nice addition to the freezer. Autumn will be rich with pie!

I made an impulse purchase earlier today. I've discovered the comfort of LulaRoe clothing. My favorite is the Carly dress, but today I bought the Perfect T to give it a try. This is the one I chose.

It looks roomy, which I love, and the greens and blues are so pretty! I think it will be cute with slacks or jeans. It might even work with a denim skirt I have.

Over the weekend, I began a Jesse Stone mystery marathon, which I'd recorded from Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. I enjoy the stories, but I think I'm more in love with the red house he lives in and the beautiful scenery of Nova Scotia, where it is filmed.

Over the years, I've saved some images for possible art projects. I've been going through them for inspiration. Here are some from The Graphics Fairy.

Old fashioned floral bouquet

Deer edited with a pink/red hue

This image was labeled Shakespeare
Just imagine what you could create using these images. Everything from greeting cards to pillow covers.

Well, it's time to get off this computer and get started on a project I have waiting for me.
Until next time...

Sunday, June 11, 2017

What Will This Day Bring...

I had a long, mostly sleepless night, though I did catch a few after 3am, so the alarm had no effect when it went off early this morning. I'm now enjoying my cereal, OJ, and coffee, with Hallmark Movies & Mysteries providing ambient noise in the background. Wondering what this day will bring. A nap, for sure.

The past couple weeks have been unusually stressful. My husband was recovering from a surgery, a friend passed away from cancer much too soon, I had to miss the wedding of a young cousin, and on it went.

Yesterday, we had another duck incident. A mama duck who had nested, unknown to us, in our overgrown front garden, was hit and killed, along with three of her ducklings, in the street by our home. We rounded up the remaining five terrified ducklings, and my husband carefully transported them to a wild bird refuge about 15 miles away which is at least a 30 minute drive, mostly through city streets. About 20 minutes, after he left, my son told me he'd seen another one, but it got away into the heavy vines. I didn't dare try to step in to look without risking stepping on the tiny thing, so we went back inside. Before long I heard it calling for it's mother. Over the next hour, I'd listen for it, go out to look, and spot it briefly before it disappeared again into the greenery. Finally, success! I placed it into a box with a small bowl of water. The bird lady had advised us not to feed ducklings, but to make sure they had water, and bring them out as soon as we could. My dear husband loaded it into his car and headed out for the long drive for the second time, two hours in the car to spare the lives of 6 orphaned ducklings. Next spring, I'm posting a No Vacancy sign in our yard! This neighborhood is no longer a safe nesting place like it was when we moved here years ago.

Cuddling together

"I've got  my eye on you"

The straggler, safe at last.

The refuge is called the Ruth Melichar Bird Center. Here is a link, if you are interested in learning what they do and perhaps donating to help them in their efforts:

Here is a photo of the center. Most of the birds scattered when my husband approached, but these two were intent on their waterhole. They are cared for and about 70% are later released back into a wild habitat.

It was an unsettling, but exciting weekend. I believe it's now time for an afternoon nap, or maybe another Hallmark mystery. 

Monday, May 22, 2017


I've lost my focus for this blog. I haven't attempted an art project in a long while. I rarely write, and I'm not currently in any writing groups. Photography went by the wayside as I'm just not that good at it. There isn't much going on in my life and family which I can share online. I've been spending all my time on Facebook or marathoning Netflix and Acorn TV programs. I just don't have any direction.

What I need to do is reexamine my priorities. How much do I really want to write or create? Should I take this blog in a completely new direction? Or just retire it and move on, like many of my blogger friends have done? I've got some thinking to do. If anyone is still reading this little blog, I'd love to hear your feedback.

Friday, May 5, 2017

A Work in Progress...

This is a piece of fiction. Something to build on, perhaps. I hope you enjoy reading it. Thoughts and comments are all welcome!

The night was warm, breezy. The date had gone ok, but something was hanging in the air between us. Him, the definition of cool and detached. Hard to read, but always fascinating. Me, a basket of twisting emotions much of the time. I'd loved him forever, knowing he did not love me back.

Silence. A quick squeeze of my hand.
"It's been nice, but... I think we need to step back, take a break."
"Ok," I agree, lying, "I was feeling the same way."
"Well, goodbye then. Don't call me, I'll call you." Swing and hit!
Rapid return. "Fine, but don't count on an answer if you do call." Score!
I saw it in his face. Confusion. This person who had loved him since she was 16 had just punched back. Granted, it was a light punch, but a hit nevertheless.
I turned, with a wave, and walked toward the house.
"Take care." He called as he got into his truck, and a few minutes later, I heard him drive away.

It was over, and I was not devastated. Infatuation extinguished in one simple moment. It felt right. I knew I was going to be all right.

© 5May2017 ajjahner

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Poetry Month... Fail...

I pretty much failed at poetry month. Such high aspirations of sharing favorite poems, and writing more original ones. What have I been doing? Not a whole lot, I have to admit. It's shocking to look at the calendar and realize you have no idea what you've been doing with your life.

Setting some achievable goals is what I need to do. Here are some to consider:

  • Write a certain number of words each week. 
  • Knock off some winter weight I added to my already overly ample figure.
  • Find exercise to strengthen muscles and some for relaxation, like Yoga.
  • Spend more time reading and less on television.
  • Find things that lighten the heart and laugh more!
  • Dust off my piano and see if my fingers can still pick out a tune.
  • Learn something new. 
If I'm honest, just typing the list makes me tired. Haha! I'll let you know how I do with any of it.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Working on Poems...

My commitment to writing, poetry and otherwise, has been neglected terribly in recent months. Here we are in the second week of poetry month, and I have nothing new to offer. I decided to be spontaneous, write whatever popped into my head this morning, and share some rough works in progress. So here goes...

Work in progress #1:

ice cream
tied to childhood
memories keen, bright
sitting with mom
hot summer days
cold dripping down over
fingers and chin
melty goodness
melty hearts

Work in progress #2:

There's nothing like a puppy
warm, snuggly being
liquid, loving eyes
completely devoted

There's nothing like a puppy
but there's a kitten
a purring therapist for
petting your problems away
through soft fur
until a sudden attack
on fingers
shooting you back to
reality, then paw reaches out
lightly tapping, is it love
or just temporary consolation
until the next aberration

Work in progress #3:

I hear the ducks calling to each other
feuding over females, or seeds
I hear the morning doves cooing
comforting sounds, through the reeds
I hear the chickadee, the robin, the sparrow
voices raised in song, so many species
I hear the traffic sounds, cars and trucks
just inches from nature, progress speeds

Updated 10Apr2018:

I hear the ducks sound off loudly
feuding over females or seeds
I hear the mourning doves call
comforting sounds through morning breeze
I hear the chickadee, the robin, the sparrow
voices raised in song, harmonizing with ease
I hear the traffic sounds, cars and trucks
inches from nature, progress speeds

© 10Apr2017 ajjahner

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Life, Movies, Tears...

Life has been crazy lately. My husband is still dealing with the legalities and after effects of the car accident, which was not his fault, but they are still making it difficult to settle the hospital bills. A cousin's husband, who is also a friend, is battling cancer. The diagnosis wasn't good, but they have strong faith and a lot of people praying for him. My health has been giving me issues, but I'm pushing back by resting when I need to and taking care of getting myself to see the doctor, which I tend to avoid.

One of my favorite escapes from life's stresses is to put in a good movie. I've been revisiting some childhood favorites. Today it was the 1963 Disney movie, The Incredible Journey. I bought the paperback in 1968, and loved reading it just as much as I loved the movie. This is the version I had.

The following may be a spoiler, if you've never read the book or seen the movie, so you may want to stop reading now...

Even after seeing the movie, and knowing the story so well, it still gets me right in the heart. It's about the journey of Luath, Bodger, and Tao. I love animals, and when old Bodger comes walking out of the woods, the tears just started flowing. I was thinking of all the animals who had been in, and then out, of my life over the years. They become part of the family. I'm not currently a pet owner, but one of these days I'll be making room for another. Right now, I make do by feeding the birds and keeping an eye on the mama duck, who is nesting in my front garden.

Since this is poetry month, here is a link to a favorite of mine. If you don't like to click on links, it is found on YouTube. It's read by the author, Jimmy Stewart, during an appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and it's called A Dog Named Beau... Have your hanky nearby, unless you're made of stone, which I am not. Crying again, but it's worth every tear. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Poetry Month...

The month is slipping away, and I have yet to write one new poem. Instead I've been looking through old pieces, some I still love and others not so much. Here's a favorite. It takes me back to childhood and simpler times. Just click on the link below:

Taking Flight

I hope it took you on a happy little journey!
Blessings and happy memories, my friends!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Marching On to April...

March is nearly over, and I don't know where the time went! Between the car accident, nasty colds, really crazy weather, ducks arriving to nest, etc., the days have flown! In my part of the county, we're getting some pretty nice spring weather now. Flowers are beginning to bloom, and I'm looking forward to warmer breezes and sunshine, barbecuing, ice cream cones, car shows for my husband and yard sales for me.

Every so often, I get a crazy urge to chop all my hair off. It starts feeling heavy, and I imagine how easy it would be to care for, if it were only about an inch long. So, I took the scissors and cut about 4 inches from the length and layered it a bit. It's a bit messy, but it feels so much better. By saving the money a professional haircut would have cost, I was able to buy a really pretty summer sweater. It's a lovely shade of purple. I love purple!

April is National Poetry Month. I hope to participate by sharing a few of my favorite poets and poems, and perhaps to write a couple new ones of my own. Here is a link to a list of ideas: 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Grandpa's Shoes...

I have a very old pair of my grandpa's shoes. I never considered donating them as they are well-worn and out of style, but I keep them because they're beautiful to me.

When I was little, I was fascinated when grandpa would get out his shoe kit. The tins of polish, the brush, the rags. He would remove the shoe strings, clean the shoes, then begin the process of rubbing the polish in. This was always done in small circular motions, using care to cover every bit of the leather. When that was done, the buffing began. He would work over the shoe, with a soft cloth, until the shoe gleamed like new. I remember the smile of satisfaction when he finished. He would talk about the value of caring for your shoes and clothing. A good pair of shoes could last you for many years if they were properly cleaned, polished, and maintained.

In the disposable world we live in, those shoes are a gentle reminder to care for and cherish what we have.

© 10MAR2017 ajj

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Good Day...

It was a productive Saturday for me. I decided to stay off the Internet and limit my phone time to just the one call I had promised to make. As a result, I got some cleaning and laundry done, cleared a mess on my back patio, filled the bird feeder, organized some of my recipes, did a little reading, watched a British mystery program, and even baked a cake.

While sorting through recipes, I had spotted one for my grandma's 7-Up Cake. I didn't have any 7-Up, but I did have Ginger Ale, so I tweaked the recipe using it instead. I added ginger, cinnamon, and a touch of cloves in place of the lemon flavoring, which I also did not have. The family reviews were all thumbs up, so this updated version will be a keeper!

Earlier in the week, my husband was broadsided and his car totaled. Other than a slight whiplash and muscle strain, he is ok. Since the other driver was at fault for running the stop sign, all costs are being covered. PJ stayed home a couple days to recover, but was back delivering mail today! I'm feeling very thankful!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Thoughts on Friendship...

Just some rambling thoughts I had today:

When you spent your life being told to keep things secret
When you finally decide you're tired of being silent
When you've been told to keep your thoughts to yourself
When you decide you have every right to speak your truth
When you try to do it with kindness and without drama
When the drama happens anyway
That is when you find out who your friends really are.

With each passing year, I have learned to treasure my close friendships. Those who stand by in the middle of every storm. Sometimes family doesn't even do that for many, though I happen to have a supportive, loving family.

I'm just appreciating the blessing of good, true friendship.

© 18Feb2017 ajj

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Valentine's Day Plans...

I was just reading a Valentine's post on blog I follow, Airing My Laundry, One Post at a Time. She describes her Valentine's Day, which sounded very much like mine. I don't enjoy going out to celebrate, because I don't want to deal with the crowds. Plus, an evening at home with my guy is always nice.

My favorite gifts are simple, a new book or a movie and chocolate! We usually do Pizza delivery or Chinese takeout for dinner. My husband is also easy to buy for. He collects anything to do with cars, the Cubs, or the Packers, and he loves eBay bucks.

For me, Valentine's Day is about spending time with the person you love. It doesn't need all the bells and whistles to be wonderful. It just needs two people, remembering what brought them together and why they love each other. What more could a person want?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Winter Continues...

This has certainly been a cold, snowy winter for us. I'll admit I'm having dreams of springtime and warm, sunny days, but I'm still making it a point to look for the joys each day brings. When you're my age, you don't want to wish your days away. Every moment is precious.

I've been rediscovering my love of reading over the past few months. My most recent reads were The Little Bookstore at Big Stone Gap, Autumn from the Heart of the Home, Sleeping at the Starlite Motel, A Cry from the Dust, and Bird by Bird. I'm currently going between two books, Pushing Up Daisies and The Girl on the Train. I love a good mystery, but I also enjoy stories that explore the personalities and lives of all kinds of people.

It's well after midnight and my alarm is set for 6 AM, so it's time to close for tonight. Wishing you all peaceful dreams!

Thursday, January 5, 2017


We're definitely having winter here in Idaho. Highest snow depth since 1985, which was 13 inches. It's not nearly what many places get, but my husband measured 16 inches deep last night, after some melting during the day. We've had to shovel multiple times in a day. A good workout, but so exhausting in these cold temperatures.  It's 10 degrees right now. Brrrrr!

The snow does look beautiful and was falling in giant, pretty flakes yesterday. I worked my way out to the bird feeder, which I forgot to get a picture of, but here is a photo of the path I created.

PJ's car is definitely tucked in until the spring thaw. He didn't even attempt to dig Old Blue out for the New Year's Day car show. Numbers were down due to weather, but he still saw some beautiful classic cars.

Our outside lights are still up, until things thaw a bit, so I turned them on again last night. So pretty! I'm sure some in the neighborhood are tired of them, but I would enjoy them year round, if I could get away with it. My little tree is also still up. I got a very late start, just two days before Christmas, and it's decorated only with lights, a string of silver beads, and the angel. What can I say? I just didn't pull Christmas off very well this year. No cards went out. Only a couple small gifts for husband and sons. Very little baking. It was a quiet, simple Christmas. I must admit, I really enjoyed it!

New Year's eve was spent with friends, sharing new stories and old memories, playing Dominoes, and eating too much, of course! It was a wonderful way to greet the New Year!

No resolutions to speak off, though I will try to write more consistently than I did in 2016. I've decided making firm resolutions has had no positive results, just a nagging guilt when I realize how many I broke. This is going to be a year of taking one day at a time, doing the best I can at whatever I'm attempting at that moment, and cherishing every moment spent with family and friends. With that, I wish each of you a beautiful, blessed New Year!

© 05JAN2017 ajj