A Sea of Starlings – Wings & Wintry Musings

A Sea of Starlings – Wings & Wintry Musings

When all the leaves have fallen

And the deep cold sets in,

And the wings of a thousands starlings

Sound like the trees rustling in the wind.

When they stand perched on the bare branches;

And at a glance they appear to be leaves.

Until they take flight as one –

Creating pictures on the breeze.

When the light grows shorter

And the night is ever long,

And arrows of migrating geese

Join the morning dove’s song.

When the darting red cardinal stands out so strikingly among all the gray,

Foraging through twigs and snow

Determined with surviving the fray.

When the butterflies have vanished

Fluttering off to chase the sun,

And the smell of the blossoms that once nourished them are all too suddenly gone.

And the comfort of the warm summer breeze,

Has been replaced by crackling fires and warm teas.

As the earth sets in for her long sleep,

I’ll take a cue from my feathered friends-

To sustain the cold, dark months

until the winter’s end.

With songs of warm memories and promises to be; A time to reflect and rest,

Laborings of love and comfort and prayers of blessings for our nest.

Until the earth awakens once again

And new life returns,

And she can carry on the melody

Of the song that belongs to her.



Some words to reflect on by Kevin James.

I didn’t “create” these flowers obviously, but when the world gets too dark or life gets too heavy and hard to understand, I find my retreat outside; Seeking solice and finding peace in the beauty that this world has to offer. I take pictures that I hope capture that essence. I spent some time in the garden this morning – Watching my daughter play and just reflecting – Just pondering why the world can’t pause and find peace in these simple beauties all around us. Why it’s always a battle. Why so many insist on destroying what little time we have in this life by destroying theirs and the lives of so many around them.

I lived in Dayton for many years. I know people who frequent the Oregon and even work at Ned’s. But it just goes to show: This can happen anywhere. At any moment. And innocent lives can be lost as a result. You. Me. Our children.

My heart is heavy from these hate-fueled actions. These acts that happen far too frequently. Why can’t we all just be. Just live and enjoy this single life we have here right now?! I have questions and many possible answers, but none that I fully believe will work. We own guns. And we have everyday stresses and traumas from what life has dished out. But I could never imagine using one to commit such a heinous act. I also know more gun control won’t get the guns out of the hands of the ones that do the most damage.

So I’m not here to argue and spread more anger or hate around this already horrific situation. Instead I’ll just take Kevin’s advice and create. I’ll create this space for me and mine and share the light and appreciation for these simple things. These every day miracles and beauties. And I’ll hope that this light can help in snuffing out the dark; Can commemorate those who can no longer create. And I will continue to strive to BE better in hopes that we can SEE better one day. Because I know no matter what the best solution may be, it starts here with each of us; And we can only achieve that when we put aside our hate and see with eyes that understand that our time is limited and hearts that want to live in peace and enjoy what little time we have here. 💙

Where The Flowers Grow


Take me where the flowers grow.

Where the birds retreat and the wild things go.

Where melodies echo from the trees.

And you can smell sunshine on the breeze.

Take me where things grow unruly; And the butterflies fly free.

Where for a moment there’s no work to do and it’s just you and me.

Where time slows and the gentle wind blows.

Take me where the flowers grow.

(Sunday musings by me)

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!


For nine months I grew and nurtured my baby inside my body and for 18 months my body continued to nurture her. Our bodies are amazing things!

Breastfeeding can be hard. Adriana had a slight tongue tie at first that we had to work around and was a snacker on top of that. So by the time she would get a good latch, she very seldom would deplete one side before falling asleep. Fortunately within two hours she’d be ready again so I only had to suffer a case of engorgement once (and once was enough – holy pain & fever!).

But once she got that latch down, those first few months getting up with her and sitting in my chair in the darkest of night with just the soft sounds of the dogs snoring (and the loud ones of daddy) and her humming were magical – even in spite of the lack of sleep. (Later co-sleeping made the multiple overnight feedings much easier).

When I think back to this time (and how little sleep I got, or how many tops I leaked through if I forgot a breast pad, and even that wicked engorgement), this photo of us is the magic I remember.

Her and I embraced in a dimly lit room with the moon and stars pouring into the window as close as a mother and daughter can be after giving birth.

Looking down and seeing my little Tulip peacefully nursing, making her sweet little sounds, and holding on to me as my body continued to do one of the many amazing things it was designed to do (and that I never knew it would get the chance to).

Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding – Motherhood has by far been my most amazing experience in this life.

Kudos to all of the moms out there – the breast, bottle, and formula feeders; The cloth or disposable diaperers; The crib or co-sleepers. There sure is a lot of controversy over our many preferred methods to motherhood and this post is certainly not designed to favor or ridicule any one else’s. Motherhood is magical!

Now excuse me while I go cry over the fact that my suckling little Tulip just lost her first tooth and is getting too big too fast. But at least she still likes to snuggle with her mama. 💗

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!



Mother & Child by Stephanie Rader, The Write Side of Life

Only Love


When times get tough, blame runs rampant. It’s easier for people to simply blame somebody else then it is to acknowledge the problem in its entirety, simply because the problem in its entirety is too overwhelming for our souls to absorb. One person isn’t our problem. One political party is not our problem. The hatred that lies in each of us is the problem. It’s the same hatred that pulled the trigger (in all shootings) as it is in the people blaming a completely different person for the act. And hatred is our undoing. 

I pray and I meditate on the goodness that still exists and FOR the goodness to prevail. I pray and I give – money, goods, blood, love. And it hurts my heart when people tell me that that’s not enough. That I apparently need to be going out and hating somebody in order “to be doing something about it”. How does that make sense?!

Evil has existed since long before we were here and unfortunately it will continue to do so long after we’re gone. But hatred only brings out the worst in people. When situations are already so difficult, what good could that do? So I choose love. I will always choose love.

And just for the record, I am a gun owner. I have a conceal carry license (though I rarely do), but I also do support more responsible rules for gun ownership. So do more than 75% of Republicans actually (for those who are just wanting to blame them). I know and love people with very short fuses and mental illness and understand that mental breakdowns are possible in everyone of us. I already have so many fears about the possibilities. The last thing I want to consider is a weapon in the hands of somebody going through that. The trouble is that not all mental illness is detectable. That is why getting something uniform and concrete established is impossible. Because no situation is uniform. No person is the same. Just like this latest shooter. No signs at all. He just broke. He broke and his bad decision lead to the unnecessary deaths and injuries of so many in the blink of an eye.

But what is uniform is that these mental breaks are fueled by hate. By loss. By wicked, competitive, power-hungry, money-hungry and shallow, unimportant desires that drive so many…and all trace back to HATE. Because they lack a true sense of love and the spiritual depth and self-confidence to handle misfortune, rejection, loss, the success of others, hatred against their hate, or just life. (I mean, can you imagine, being enraged with hate because someone hates your hatred of something else)?! What are we becoming here??

So when hate is all around, we need to love more. It is not “inaction” to refuse to spread hate. It is the strongest of wills to choose love in times where hate is the easier option.


So don’t you dare ridicule me when I say I am sending heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When I am harnessing all the power of positivity I can muster in such a dark time. Because it would be way easier to spread hate right now, but then the evil will have won. It’s ok to feel deeply. Just don’t let it make you hate. Be passionate and spread love instead.

Prayers for all the Las Vegas victims and their families. Prayers for Tom Petty’s family and loved ones. Prayers for all the horrible things going on right now. And prayers that we finally start to realize that this hatred is going to consume us all if we don’t stop and let love rule us instead.

Foolproof DIY Valentine’s Treats You Should Try


DIY Valentine's Day Treats You've Got To Try

Tested right in my kitchen so you don’t have to worry about any of those embarrassing Pinterest fails, these DIY Valentine’s Day treats are pretty fool-proof and are fun, easy, and made with basic supplies that you probably already have in your kitchen.  From bacon bouquets for the hubbies to sweetheart barks for the kiddos, these sweet family treats not only make great gifts but are fun to make together. Because making holiday memories shouldn’t be stressful, it should be fun!

Pin it for future Valentine’s Days, Sweetest Days, Anniversaries or any other holidays. These DIY’s can easily be altered to use any other holiday color or candy so Easter, Halloween, Christmas, etc. are just as easy!

Bacon Bouquet

DIY Bacon Bouquet

I started making these for my husband a few years ago and it’s still a favorite gift for him for Valentine’s Day. They’re super simple too!

  • Start with a pack of your favorite type of bacon.
  • Roll up each slice and secure the bottoms with toothpicks in a criss-cross so they will stand up while cooking (I put the fattier side on the bottom so you get a good red tone on the flower top.

Bacon Roses - How To

  • Line each bacon roll on a baking rack (This will keep them from being too soggy if they sit in their own grease while cooking).

Bacon Rosettes - How To

  • Bake per package instructions for your particular type of bacon. (Mine is 400-degrees for 20-30 minutes)
  • Let them cool and then skewer each rosette with wooden skewers through the center of each “rose”. You can also use toothpicks, or actual flower stems (which you can get from any florist).
  • Add in a few leafy greens like kale, fresh dill, celery tops, etc to give it a more realistic look
  • Arrange them in a vase or wrap in tissue paper & tada! You did it! And the hubby is going to LOVE it!

You can also add some dipping sauces to the gift. Some of my favorites are pepper jellies, barbecue sauces or maple syrup.

Sweetheart Bark

DIY Sweetheart Bark

This is a fun treat to make with the kids’ help and also a great idea of something they can give to their teachers or classmates. This is another one of those DIY’s that you can change to accommodate the occasion. You can change up the type of candies used to whatever colors or flavors you like and recreate this recipe on other holidays like Halloween, Christmas, or any other day of the year.

  • Start with 2 packages of candy melts or almond bark. (Almond Bark is usually available in Chocolate or Vanilla flavor and you may be able to get melting candy chips in an assortment of colors at any given time of the year).
  • Then fill several small dishes with your favorite Valentine’s Day candies – Sweethearts, Pink pearls, sprinkles, pretzels, dried fruits, etc. Whatever you like.
  • Melt each color individually according to package directions.
  • Pour each color of the melted candy onto a parchment covered cookie sheet alternating the areas you pour each color. (You don’t have to follow any sort of pattern you just want it the colors to be able to be mixed together. Spread it so it’s an even layer.
  • Using a butter knife, slide it around from color to color to create a swirling pattern in candy.
  • While the bark is still melted, sprinkle it with all of your favorite candies, spell out names, letters, words. Basically do whatever you like.
  • Let it set (you can speed up the process by refrigerating it too).
  • Once it’s completely hardened, break it into pieces. Think palm-sized or smaller.

Toss a few pieces into a gift baggie and tie it off with a nice Valentine’s colored ribbon and a message tag and you’ve got some sweet treats ready to gift!

Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Rolls

DIY Heart Shaped Cinnamon Rolls

What’s better than a warm cinnamon roll topped with ooey gooey icing? A heart-shaped one. These were one of my favorites this year. Not just because they pair perfectly with my morning cup of coffee but because these heart-shaped cinnamon rolls are super easy to make and you don’t even have to start them from scratch. These are a treat you can easily make the morning of so you don’t even have to get up hours earlier than usual to do it.

  • Start with a roll of Cinnamon Rolls. You can use any you like really as long as they’re actually rolls because we’re going to need to unroll them. (I used these Pillsbury Grands Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls when I’ve made them):
  • DIY Heart Cinnamon Rolls - Pillsbury Grands
  • Preheat your oven to 350-degrees
  • Pop open the can and separate each roll from the log
  • Carefully unwind each roll into a long strip
  • Coil the ends in towards the center and then pinch the bottom into a point. Like this:

DIY Cinnamon Roll Hearts

  • Any chunks of cinnamon that come off can be added back into the new nooks and crannies.
  • Arrange on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake 13-15 minutes until golden brown.
  • Let cool 5 minutes then move to a cooling rack and ice them

You can use the icing that’s included with the rolls or you can mix it with some of those pink candy melts I mentioned in the previous DIY and add Valentine’s Day sprinkles to give them an even more lovey-dovey look. Either way, they’re delish.

Individual Valentine’s Day Candies

DIY Valentine Candies

Another super simple DIY you could try this year are your own chocolates and candies or suckers in love-themed shapes.

  • Just purchase a candy mold online or at your grocery/craft store and use the candy melts similar to the bark recipe above. I like these silicone heart molds and these heart shaped lollipop molds. (And with 28 heart molds you can knock out a whole class worth of treats in one step!)
  • After melting the candy, fill each mold with it and let it set up. (If you’re doing suckers you’ll want to add your sucker sticks to the molds before filling them – I used these lollipop sticks that were only $1.75 for 25!)
  • You could also insert nuts or fruits into them after pouring them into the molds to give them a little extra something-something.
  • Once it’s completed hardened, remove them from the mold and add to your favorite candy dish or package them up into gift baggies with a nice ribbon and card.

Valentine Candy Covered Pretzel Rods

DIY Valentine's Day Pretzels

Here’s another great idea that’s fun for the kids to help with and perfect for classroom Valentine’s Day snacks! These were a hit for my daughter’s teachers this year and class snack.

  • Buy Candy melts/chocolate in your choice of colors/flavors & Your choice of pretzels. (We used rods and classic minis for their heart shape).
  • Melt in microwave-safe bowl according to package instructions
  • Dip one side of a large pretzel rod into the melted candy (or half of a heart-shaped pretzel – whichever kind you’re using).
  • Roll the candy-dipped end of the pretzel in nuts, sprinkles, candies, etc – whatever you choose.
  • Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet so they can dry and harden
  • Once hardened you can add them to a decorated mason jar or individual gift baggies with a cute ribbon or card to make a perfect gift. Or just place them on a tray or bowl and set them out for party style serving.

Be sure to let me know how these turned out for you if you decide to give any of these ideas a try! You can follow along on Facebook for more great ideas at Happy Wife Happy Life








Democracy. Regardless of your political affiliation, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or race, we are all together in making this country great. It starts with us…Not our politicians…Not our president. Us.

Donald Trump is not going to “make American great again”. We are. We are the ones to create our successes. And we are the ones who create our failures. So we owe it to one another to do whatever is possible and whatever is necessary for the sake of our country and our people. Whatever happens with our government, whoever sits on office as president, we owe it to one another to continue to be respectful and kind and to strive to live together in peace and to be the best people and country we can be. And to raise our children to be the same way.

One quote that I liked from the speech though was, “When you open your heart to patriotism there is no room for prejudice”.

So regardless of whether you are celebrating or commiserating today, I just want to remind you all that, red or blue (or purple or black), we’re Americans…and more importantly, human beings. So let’s all just continue to do whatever we can to make our country great and to coexist in this one lifetime we have right now.



It’s been a stressful week. Busy shopping week means busy work week with my writing job. (And the work schedule is not very conducive to Adri’s school schedule anyway). Then peak-order season with the gift shop (Which I’m definitely not complaining about…I just wish I’d have had more time to add some new items to the shop before now). And with a million other things to do around the house, to say I’m frazzled would be putting it mildly. Time always goes so fast and there’s never enough of it to do what you want.

Today was Adri’s Thanksgiving “feast” at school. And even though she was late (because of a mixup over when I should bring her since it wasn’t one of her regular school days), she made it – and with her pineapple contribution in tow. So there’s that at least.

But after having to go back home and work more before going back to the school for the feast, I had barely enough time to put myself together and definitely not enough time to shower first. I broke a bra and broke a nail in my haste…And I was still a few minutes late.

She didn’t mind though. She was excited to see me and have me try the fruit salad and buttered rolls they made this morning. (And it was yummy).

After eating and playing for a bit I had hope return thinking I could salvage some of the plans after all. The morning may have been a disaster but we could still make her teachers a nice, crafty, thank-you gift tonight to give them tomorrow at school…Until I was reminded when we were leaving that Adri doesn’t have school again until next week.

Defeated, I sighed when we got into the car to leave school and head to the grocery and said, “I’m sorry, monkey. I wish I could’ve been there for your whole day at school again like Halloween and that we weren’t always so rushed, but Mommy is just a bit of a mess lately”. Without hesitation she replied, “It’s okay mommy. We all have messes sometimes. I love you and your da best mommy”.

I could’ve broke down, but God knows if I did right now it might not stop. Sometimes I’m not really sure what I’m doing; Feeling pulled in a million directions and I think I’m doing everything wrong. But it’s little reassurances like that that tell me I must be doing something right.

I may have plenty of other things in mind that I want to do, but sometimes there’s just not enough time. And I have to remember that that’s ok. That my house work may get a little behind (or a lot) when I’m working two jobs and momming. And that sometimes our dinner won’t be completely homemade…or even semi-homemade for that matter. And that’s ok.

The important thing is that we are laughing together in our slightly (or extremely) messy house. That we are together enjoying our homemade, semi-homemade or not-at-all-homemade dinners together, that we’re always there for her when she needs us, and that her daddy and I love her bigger than the sky. Through grief, through chaos, through it all. That’s what it’s all about.

…And just to keep me from being too wishy-washy all day, she was a total ass in the grocery store afterward, So I guess it’s also about balance. 😜

But I am so thankful for the blessings in life (even the ones that don’t always seem like blessings at first). I appreciate the crazy, busy weeks. And I am so grateful for my family and for the love of this sweet little girl who, even at under the age of 4, understands that life can get chaotic, but it’s okay. As long as we have each other, it’s okay. And when we focus on that, it’s more than okay. It’s great. Chaotic, messy, busy, hopeful, fun, full of love, running-late, great. And if we can’t get all of that greatness to fit into one day, we’ll be hopeful, grateful, and blessed to be given tomorrow to give it another shot.

So in case I don’t get a chance to say it later this week when things are even more chaotic:  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope your blessings are more than you can count…But I hope you’ll take a minute to stop and try to count them anyway.


❤ #grateful #thankful #blessed ❤

Thankful Grateful Blessed



Lest We Forget


I haven’t been able to watch the news much this week because it’s a little heartbreaking watching people act out in such a way – from both sides. And today all I can think is what it feels like to be a Veteran seeing these images of burning flags by your own people. What a shame.

While this country is torn and seemingly losing it’s f%@#ing minds, burning flags and terrorizing people and towns, let’s stop and remember what that flag actually stands for…What today actually stands for. It’s meaning goes way beyond who our president is (or isn’t). It is every one of us and all the lives risked (and lost) protecting it.

So before you go supporting any type of violent action against any other human or against that flag, think long and hard about the freedoms you have because of it and those that serve and protect it;

Before you go posting about fleeing this country all because of an election;

Before you go pretending that you and your views are any more important than anyone else’s in this country;

Before you go a moment further being ungrateful for all you have because you are too focused on what you don’t have,

Stop and remember all of those who died and who risk their lives every day protecting our freedoms;

Protecting our rights to protest;

Protecting our rights to vote and be heard;

Protecting us.



We may not all agree on anything when it comes to politics. We may not agree on the need for war at all. But without these brave men and women fighting these wars, you wouldn’t even be able to protest. So I think we should at least all be able to agree that a tremendous thank you is in order (and an “I’m sorry” wouldn’t hurt either).

This month being the month of gratitude and this day being a day of remembrance, let me just say that I am thankful for my hard-working “uneducated white male” husband, my raging lesbian sister, and my many other friends and family who come from so many different (some completely opposite) walks of life and political and religious beliefs but are some of the best people in this world because they remind me every day that in this “land of the free”, even at our ugliest, we can still coexist and love one another despite our differences. I wish the rest of the country could do the same.

And last but certainly not least, I am extremely grateful to all of our veterans past and present and everyone of our servicemen and women for the work they do protecting our freedoms…Even if we use them to act like “spoiled brats” or “deplorables” sometimes. 😉

Thank you.

Thank you to all of our brave men and women serving this country. I am sorry that we act so despicable sometimes and make you feel that we don’t value what you do for us. We owe you everything….Or at least so much more.







Into The Forest 


Into the forest I go; to lose my mind and find my soul

I’ve got lots of favorite quotes about nature but when my mind and heart are heavy I wander around the garden or stare at the sky for a while and am always reminded of this one. It’s so fitting. Sometimes you just need to escape your thoughts and worries and just vibe with the planet to try to gain peace and clarity.

My mind is full of worry this week and there are so many I know going through difficult times right now too. So many prayer requests recently and so many more unspoken.

But I believe there is power in numbers. So whatever you believe in, could you just take a minute to send out some positive thoughts and energy? If some float my way too I sure won’t complain, but right now I just hope they can help bring healing, comfort and peace to those I know who need it.

And to that end I leave you with another loved quote –

The wound is the place where the light enters you”.

I hope whatever pain and difficulties you are facing now bring you to peace and happiness tomorrow. And may you be a beacon to someone else in their time of need.