Friday Faves Edition 57


It’s Friday!!

Can I get a woohoo?!

Friday Faves.

I’m just going to jump right in with my Friday Faves.

My week has felt somewhat discombobulated because of the weather. Winter said “hey, did you forget about me?” and showed back up.

In last week’s Friday Faves, I mentioned that the snow was rolling our way. It did roll our way, just at a slower than expected pace.

Dress Shopping.

I have a work party to attend with the hubby this Saturday. I needed something to wear so last Saturday I brought him along to help me pick out a dress.

Clothing Peeves.

Dress shopping and I don’t get along real well. Even though my bust and waist measurements correspond in a ratio that is standard, dress makers don’t seem to think that is the case. Because of this, the hubby sat in the chair outside the dressing room, I came out to show him the dress and then sent him on an errand to grab the next size up because the chest compression created an unacceptable sight. He dutifully obliged and the next size up would look like a paper sack.

If Only.

In an ideal world, I would plan ahead and have a seamstress who could customize the dress to fit perfectly. However, we were a week out from the party. I thought I might find a green dress since the party is being held on St. Patrick’s Day. But, ultimately, I found 2 dresses (neither with green) that fit without tugging or sagging and opted for the periwinkle one that is pictured.

I’m only offering a sneak peek because I’m hoping to have somebody snap some pics before the party and share those next week.



On Sunday, it was still too cold for me to take my exercise outdoors. I popped over to the gym and did a 30 minute walk/run on the treadmill. I know for a fact that all my steps aren’t getting tracked because my Fitbit is a little too big, but I keep going until it hits that 10,000 mark. I like to use Snapchat filters for many of my Instagram stories.


The snow finally rolled in during the wee hours of Monday morning. The school had already called off. It wasn’t near as much as they expected us to get and by the afternoon was starting a slow melt.


Monday was also my brother’s birthday. He is my only sibling and is still down in Florida. I wrote about his birth a few years ago. You can find that post here


That still meant there would be icy areas so Tuesday was a 2 hour delay for the teens. We had the boys park their cars in such a way that the hubby could get to work since he didn’t get to sleep in like the rest of us.

He left for work…and we slept.


The photo was taken while it was still snowing on Monday, but there was still some snow on the cars on Tuesday. Big Mr. needed to go by the bank before school so he cleaned off the remaining snow and proceeded to attempt to leave. However, the snow that had melted the day before and then drained into the shadows under the car had turned to ice and his car slid partially across the driveway. It did not careen off the side which is a hill covered in trees, but it would be impossible to get my Jeep past if we couldn’t get it moved.

Problem Solver.

Luckily, the hubby had picked up some salt to be prepared for the snowmageddon we were supposedly getting. I was out frantically spreading salt to get his car moved and then spreading more salt around Mr. D’s car so that he’d be able to get to school. We got it all cleared out before it was time for me to drive Miss Sunshine to school. If Big Mr. hadn’t needed to leave an hour early, everyone would have been late!


Big Mr. has been accepted to both of the Universities to which he applied. We aren’t making the announcement yet because he hasn’t formally accepted, but he’s pretty confident about where he is heading!

Back on Track.

I even managed to put together the post about hiking the star trail. Even better, I made it to my hair appointment that afternoon. The roots are all gone!


I was going to say that I wondered where Wednesday went…and then I remembered. The hubby was having a colleague come by our house on Thursday to ride to a meeting. There was a possibility they might come inside. I’m a Virgo…I’m a perfectionist… I cleaned all day…and in the end, they didn’t come inside.

But hey, at least all remnants of dog hair have been removed, the laundry is semi-caught up, and I’ve meticulously cleaned the half bath on the main floor!

No wonder for Wordless Wednesday I was dreaming of having my toes in the sand.

Pi Day.

And I did have some warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top in celebration of Pi Day.


Middle School soccer season has started. The first two games had been cancelled due to snow, so yesterday was Miss Sunshine’s first game.


I still haven’t bought a zoom lens for my Sony, so I took my old Nikon. I don’t know if I’ve just become spoiled, but I was unhappy with many of the pictures. Also, strangely, even though I shoot on the sports setting so that the shutter speed is quick enough, many photos were not in focus. I don’t remember this happening when I’ve used this camera in the past.


It was nice to catch up with some of the ladies that I know from soccer. Many of my days involve little verbal interaction with anyone other than the hubby and teens.

Season Opener.

Their first game was an away game. It was cold and windy, but they won!

Miss Sunshine had a few shots on goal. Unfortunately, I didn’t love the photos. I think this second one is funny because they are closing ranks on her. Not too worry though, just outside of the shot is her teammate who she crosses to.

Blue Ridge Parkway.

To get to this specific away game, taking the Blue Ridge Parkway is more relaxing than driving through the city. However, the sign said it was closed. Once at the game, I learned that it was only if you were heading in the opposite direction. I opted to drive home down the Blue Ridge Parkway. I decided to record part of the drive to put on my Instagram story.


Amazingly, I captured a deer running across the road in front of me. I came to a stop because there is almost never one deer. Sure enough, one turned around and ran back to where he came from. I felt bad…the two friends or family members getting separated. I hope the other one waited.

It’ll still be on my story until about 6:00 EST tonight. I may end up adding it to the highlights of my Instagram story though.


How’s that March Challenge coming along? I’m still hanging in there! I accomplished it last night, but I have some rotator cuff issues and can feel my right shoulder beginning to cry.

I am doing forearm planks, but I may end up shifting back and forth between hands and forearms over the course of some coming days. That doesn’t take any pressure off of my shoulder, but movement helps with perseverance.

I feel like there is a fine line that I will be walking. I leave for Aruba in two weeks and am not willing to tear up my shoulder before I go. Right now, I am still fine, but I will be monitoring it closely.

Thursday Doors.

After taking off last week to post about International Women’s Day, I was back with some more Thursday Door this week. These from Hôtel de Ville (the city hall) in Paris.

St. Patrick’s Day.

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? If so, what do you do to celebrate?

As mentioned, we have a party to attend. There is a festival and parade downtown, but I don’t know yet if we will head down there for it.

Sometimes I go back and tweak older posts since I understand a little more about SEO now (very little more). The most recent on that I tweaked was my Are You Irish? post where I talked about my DNA testing. I’ve also learned a little more about photography since then and changed the original photoquote that I had in the post to a background that I liked better. The words are the same and you’ll find that photoquote at the end of today’s post.


I wanted to pick a “new to me” song by an Irish singer. Rosie Carney is originally from Hampshire, UK, but moved to Ireland when she was 10. She shares her story on her website about her struggles with mental health in an attempt to help break the stigma associated with it. I applaud that and have chosen to share her music this week (plus…her voice is very lovely).

I hope that you all have beautiful weekend and awesome week ahead.

Smile and say hello to a stranger. It mind be the only kind word they’ve heard all day.


Let your light shine!




Hotel de Ville


Paris is a city of beauty and wonder. As I strolled about the city, I constantly found new things which caught my gaze because of their splendor.

Hôtel de Ville.

I love the architecture found in Paris and the Hôtel de Ville was quite spectacular. It is located in the 4th arrondissement on place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville. It is the City Hall and houses the city’s local administration.


It has been the headquarters for the municipality since 1357.

The original building was a mansion called maison aux piliers “House of Pillars”. In 1533, King Francis I decided the city should have a city hall worthy of Paris. After that, the House of Pillars was torn down and the new building, which was completed in 1628, was erected.

During the Franco-Prussian War, the building played a key role in events. One of which was that the Paris Commune chose the Hôtel de Ville as its headquarters. As the anti-Commune approached the building, the Communards set fire to the Hôtel de Ville destroying almost all extant public records from the French Revolutionary period and leaving just the shell of the building.


The Reconstruction lasted from 1873 to 1892. The interior was rebuilt inside the shell. The architectural style is neo-renaissance.

According the the Paris Visitors Bureau, it is possible to set a reservation for a guided tour.


Ceremonial Doors.

Not only did the building catch my eye, but the ceremonial doors are quite spectacular. When I saw them, I knew that I needed to capture them for all the Thursday Doors fans.

I don’t read French, but I can tell that the inscription on the doors is referencing September 4, 1870, the day when the Third Republic was proclaimed.


This history from Versailles sheds some light on the turmoil surrounding those times. The Third Republic would be definitively established in January 1875. The establishment would come down to a single deciding vote, and three amendments later, the 1875 constitution would remain in force until 1940.

We took a day trip out to Versailles. You can find my posts from the visit to the Palace here and here. We also made sure to visit the Queen’s Hamlet.


The statues along the building are magnificent. There were around 230 sculptors who were commissioned to produce 338 individual figures of famous Parisians, along with other sculptures.

From left to right, the best that I can read are: H. Estienne, P de Viole, F. Miron, and M. Lallier.

Snapseed 10.jpg

Clock Tower.

While I didn’t have the best lens for the job, I did want to give you a closer view of the clock tower. You can also see some more of the many statues.


The Hôtel de Ville is a very grand and extensive building. However, I didn’t want to leave you without a view of the facade.  In the distance, you can see the bronze sculptures which were flanking the gates where I stood to take the photos. The sculptures are titled Art by Laurent Marqueste and Science by Jules Blanchard.

Paris Square.

The square is the the oldest in Paris. This area was the principal port of Paris for centuries. From 1310 to 1832, it was Paris’s principal place of execution.

Sometimes it’s hard to fathom all of the history that took place in one location.

Today, the area is teeming with vibrant locals and tourists, all strolling along admiring the beauty of Paris.


Let your light shine!



Hiking Mill Mountain Star Trail


Hiking is one of my favorite ways to spend time outdoors and in nature. As most of you know, the cold and I don’t get along very well. Due to that fact, I use every sunny opportunity to get outdoors in the winter.

Mill Mountain Star Trail.

In my Friday Faves post a few week ago, I mentioned that the hubby and I had hiked the Mill Mountain Star Trail here in Roanoke. That time, I didn’t bring along my camera, but as I shared last Friday we once again took advantage of a sunny day and went on the hike again. This time, I brought the camera.

Mill Mountain Park.

Mill Mountain Park spans 568 acres. Along with all of the amenities located within the park, there are also multi-use trails.  Mountain Bikers can use all the trails except the Watchtower Trail and the Star Trail. Hikers may use any of the trails.


As I mentioned before, we choose to park in the car parking lot at 1208 Riverland Road. You can also park at the Mill Mountain Star and access the trail from the top.

We prefer to access it from this point because the ascent is on the front side of the hike. Also, once you reach the summit, there are benches and bathrooms. I prefer that in the middle of the hike vs. on the front or back end of the hike.

The parking lot is not very large and can fill quickly.

As you can see from the view in the opposite direction of the trail, Roanoke has a history as an Industrial Town. In fact, that segment is still in operation as an Industrial Center.

Star Trail / Woodthrush Connector.

From the parking lot, you begin the hike on a gravel path known as the Star Trail/ Woodthrush Connector.

You then reach the intersection where the two separate and we followed the Star Trail.

Star Trail.

The Star Trail is marked by a yellow blaze. It is hiker only, considered more difficult, and is 1.38 miles long (one way).

On our second hike, the green was beginning to sprout a little more. I suspect that as we move into spring, the trail will begin to look like an enchanted forest.

Fishburn Parkway.

The Star Trail crosses Fishburn Parkway.

Beware of cars and bicyclists as you cross the road. I’m pretty sure the bicyclists coming downhill are traveling much faster than any car. The cars heading uphill have a blind corner if they aren’t prepared for the fact that there is a pedestrian crossing ahead.

It’s really not a scary as it sounds! Just use common sense when crossing.

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

To get to the other side!

Okay, I had no real segway. I just wanted to show you that after you ascend the stairs, the hike climbs upward.

Some people cut off the first part of the hike by parking in the visible pull off area on Fishburn. However, there is only room for two cars.


Star Trail / Monument Trail.

After some more hiking, you come to the intersection of the Star Trail and Monument Trail.

Monument Trail uses a white blaze, it is multi-use, is considered more difficult, and is 1.55 miles long. I have not hiked this trail yet.

We continue along the Star Trail until we reach the summit. According to the trail run project, the ascent of the trail is 631 feet.

If you recall when I hiked Dragon’s Tooth, the elevation change was 1500 feet, so I had no problem with the elevation change.

I had dusted off my Fitbit for my March Challenge and it claimed that I climbed about 65 flights of stairs. My iPhone was in the backpack that the hubby was toting and it claimed 30 flights of stairs.

Whatever the case, your legs will get a nice workout.


Many of you know that my posts are always photo heavy. I love taking photos. I also love research and know the amount of photos an average viewer will look at before they begin scrolling past (hint: it’s 5).

However, I know that you aren’t average and I feel like using more photos is the best way to walk you through the journey. BUT…if you feel differently, by all means let me know because as much as I hate culling my photographs… I can.

I captured many scenes that I considered to be treasures along the Star Trail. I’ve culled all but the photo of the Converse tossed over the power line at the summit of the trail. If in the future, I create a photo series of the treasures, I will come back an link it in this post.

Mill Mountain Star.

One of the highlights at the top of the Star Trail…is the actual Mill Mountain Star. I shared details about the Star when I gave you a photo tour of Roanoke.

The Summit.

There is an overlook at the Roanoke Star which gives you views of downtown Roanoke.

There are also bathrooms and a parking lot located here. A short walk around the park brings you to another overlook, a playground, Mill Mountain Zoo, another parking lot, and picnic tables.

The day that we hiked the Star Trail, many people were taking advantage of the sunshine.

There were children scrambling around the playground, squealing with delight. There were a couple of kids kicking a soccer ball back and forth. Dogs on leashes sniffed the ground.

There was a couple having lunch at the picnic table located on the overlook. There were crowds at the Star overlook, looking down into the city along with a group of college students asking somebody to take their photo in front of the Star.

All of us looking for a reprieve from the cabin fever that winter can bring.

Mill Mountain Star Trail sign in Roanoke, Virginia

The Way Back Home.

After taking in the beauty of the day, we began our descent.

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.- John Muir

Let your light shine!




wpc: story

Friday Faves Edition 56


Who’s excited that it’s Friday?! I think that I am, but the snowstorm heading our way is threatening to make for a cabin fever weekend…and dare I say…create issues next week.

Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t dump as much as the possible forecast! This girl has a hair appointment and her roots are looking CRA-ZY! I pushed out my appointment longer than normal because I have a work party to attend with the hubby on St. Patrick’s Day. Which reminds me…I haven’t found an outfit for that.

BUT…I’m getting ahead of myself.

Friday Faves.

I’m rounding up the Friday Faves for the week. I had a jam packed week with appointments for teens and dogs, but I still found some downtime and some lighthearted moments.

Star Trail.

In Edition 54 of Friday Faves, I shared that the hubby  and I hiked the Star Trail here in Roanoke. We had another sunny day over the weekend and decided to hike it again.

This time I brought along my camera. I’m still sifting through the photos to decide if I will make a separate post about it. While I find the trail to still be nice in the winter, I’m not sure that translates in my photographs. However, some of the smaller bushes were sprouting green that had not been there in the two weeks prior! I’m hoping this snowstorm doesn’t crush their spirits.

Protein Powder.

I mentioned before that I was looking for a new protein powder. I didn’t want rice protein because I felt like I was having a slight allergy to something in it. The blend that I picked up had stevia. I don’t like the taste of stevia.

The hubby and I went to Target for the exciting task of finding replacement shoelaces for his work shoes. Now. Now. Don’t be jealous of my glamorous life. I decided to pop over to the protein powder section to see if they had anything different. I perused the shelves and saw ones that I had seen elsewhere.

Then I looked to the top shelf and what should catch my… NO STEVIA… right on the front. It appears that they are using monk fruit extract in that “sweetener” place. I’ve only made two smoothies so far, but have had no reactions and no strange taste, so I may have found a keeper.

Fashion Magazine.

I told you that I found many moments of lightheartedness and humor, so that was what I chose to focus on over the ups and downs of the week. A bunch of people were posting these on Facebook, so I thought I’d play with it. I sat there and put about 10 photos through, mostly because I wanted to see if it ever change the makeup color. The lipstick…yes, the eyeshadow… no.

Now if only a makeup artist would come do my makeup every day.

I should add…for free…because that service isn’t in my budget.


I am still counting down the days to Aruba.

Three weeks!

When Miss Sunshine and I went shopping, she found a bathing suit at Hollister. She also found one she liked at Target, but they were out of her size. We decided to order it. Of course, I added some pieces for me! I had already rounded up the bottoms and so I ordered two tops. I mentioned that this line at Target, Sun & Shore, sells tops according to bra size. As is the case in almost all clothing, one of the tops didn’t run true to size so sadly it had to be returned.

But the one in the photo fits. I also have a standard J. Crew triangle top that I shared in this post last summer. I was hoping that I would have one top that used hooks instead of ties, but it is what it is.

I don’t always link things, but you can find the above top here. The bottoms can be found here.

If you were curious about the bathing suit in last week’s post, you can find that here. The bottoms are the same as above, just a different print.



On Monday, I shared the lessons that I learned from the Reading Challenge.

Everyone had a lot of great comments.

This is the text exchange with the hubby on Tuesday. It’s hilarious to read in whole, but it was even funnier as it was happening. He had an early meeting that day, so he leaves as I’m stumbling for my first cup of coffee and the teens aren’t out of bed yet. This is the first I’ve heard from him other than a short phone exchange right before he gets to the office.

I’ve just sat down to check my emails when this text comes in. I know he’s just come out of his meeting, so I’m literally trying to wrap my mind around what he’s talking about. Notice the word “read” isn’t in there, so there’s not even that context clue. I’m wondering if this text is really for me. I’m sure the phone has changed the word, but I thought maybe he meant something else to a coworker or is having a text exchange with our sons.


It’s for me.

And then it makes sense. So thank you Jonathan for that comment.

What ensued next was hilarity. Because then Julie over at Empty Nest Adventures comments on Jonathan’s comment that she had actually written about her recent adventure with Moby Dick. I pop over to check it out, and I’m dying in another round of laughter. If your curious, you can find her post here.


If all of that was a little too juvenile of humor for you, I offer the space I go to when I’m in the mood for silliness. I don’t use Snapchat, but I do enjoy their filters. Sometimes, I save them and share them on my Instagram Stories.


Speaking of Instagram Stories, I’ve recently tried to become more active on them. Yesterday, I was in a chatty mood and was in front of the camera for a change. I think it was about releasing the inner tension that being vulnerable in yesterday’s post caused.

While I am very honest, I am also reserved about parts of my story. I know it was a longer than normal read (and I cut out parts because I knew it was so long), so thank you for taking the time to read it.


On a lighter note, if you missed my Wordless Wednesday post, it’s sure to bring a smile…or a “wolf-ish” grin.


If you’re wondering how March’s 30 day challenge is going, I’ve managed to accomplish my goals each day so far. Today’s  plank will be 90 seconds! I’m still doing some pacing to get 10,000 steps on standard days. However, on the day of our hike, my fitbit called me an overachiever because I was well over. I’ll take the compliment because it’s an effort on the other days!

If you’ve been joining in on either part of the challenge, let me know how it’s going for you.


This week I tried to make a concentrated effort to find a “”new to me” song to share. The one recommended on YouTube struck my eye because it was from a soundtrack to a movie called 2:22. I hadn’t heard of the movie. Have you seen it?

Why it struck me was because 222 is meaningful to me. I know some people aren’t into numerology, or synchronicity, or whatever, but that number (as well as others) shows up quite a bit throughout my days.

It is also Big Mr.’s birthday. I was 22 when he was born on 2 – 22 – 2000, which was also a “Tue”sday. And on 2-22, in the year 2022, he will turn 22.

So, all that to say, the name struck my eye.

The song is by Vancouver Sleep Clinic who originates out of Brisbane, Australia.


I hope that you all have a beautiful weekend! Spread your bright-shining smile. It’s one of the most contagious things out there.

ee Cummings quote To be nobody but yourself in a world that's doing its best, night and day, to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle which any human can fight; and never stop fighting.

Let your light shine!



Why I Celebrate International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day.

I often talk about my beliefs of the equal rights for women. I keep it no secret that while I have chosen what many consider a “traditional” role for a woman (stay-at-home mom, household manager, chauffeur…take your pick of the many of things I do), it is exactly that…A CHOICE.

A choice that I realize is a privilege.

And a choice, at varying moments over the years, with which I have struggled.

Why I Celebrate.

The question becomes… why do I celebrate?

I have spoken on reasons why this day is important to me. You can find my thoughts in 2017 hereand in 2016 here.

But perhaps to fully understand why I celebrate International Women’s Day, my own background may help, lest you think I only speak from a place of current privilege.

My background.

Many of you know that I just finished reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I found that I could relate in so many ways even though there were plenty of ways in which I couldn’t.

I recognized my dad in her father. Not in the erratic, alcoholic side of Rex Walls. My parents drink once a year, if that. It was the genius and nonconformist side of Rex. It was also his belief in his daughter.

My dad once told me that in the world there are leaders and that there are followers and that I was a leader

…and I believed him.

My parents never once told me that there was something that I couldn’t achieve.

I don’t know if I had lofty expectations.

Surely, I didn’t dream that someday I’d be sitting, in the middle of an optical illusion, on a bridge in Paris, with my own daughter.

I just did what I was good at…doing well in school.


I never assumed that I wouldn’t go to college. It felt like a given that I would. And so I did. I graduated high school in 1994, I was sixteen and the thought of heading away seemed overwhelming. I decided that I would attend community college and maybe by the time  I finished I’d know what I wanted to be when I grew up.



I was the first person in my immediate family to attend college. Actually, I was the first to graduate high school in a traditional manner. I graduated sixth in my class and since the local community college awarded a full tuition scholarship for 60 credit hours to the highest academics in the school…and everyone else ranking above me was heading off somewhere else…I received the award.

In the past, I mentioned that I also received a scholarship from a local Women’s Club, which I used to pay for my books. I was also awarded enough financial aid, that it took care of all my other costs.

Due to the fact that I am extremely uncomfortable with new situations, I never met with an academic advisor. I just moved through the list of requirements for an Associates of the Arts degree.



I remember wanting to quit college. I remember telling my dad that I wanted to quit. And he told me “just quit then”. Now I’m sure most of you are thinking this is bad advice. However, my dad knew me, and he knew that I didn’t give up once I set my mind to something. Through tears, I told him that I couldn’t quit. He told me that I could and that the reality was that I didn’t WANT to quit.

He was right.

I was on the Dean’s List and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa (not the first time I was asked because…again…uncomfortable).

After checking off boxes, I finished up in the fall of 1995, after a year and half, and put in for graduation for my A.A. I was barely 18.

Take Your Daughter To Work.

The spring before that graduation, my aunt had taken me with her for Take Your Daughter To Work Day. She worked for a Dermatologist. I spent the day there and I loved it. He had a transition happening, so he hired me part time on a temporary basis. I mostly worked the front desk, but I did get to be an assistant in a hair transplant surgery!


First Real Job.

I had always loved math and science, but then I knew that I loved the medical field. The temporary basis came to an end. I didn’t know what I wanted to study. Plus, I still wasn’t prepared to leave home so I got a job at the hospital, working in a Rehab unit. I was fascinated by the Physical Therapists and talked with them about the schooling. Dissecting cadavers and the burn unit made me nervous. I know now that I would have been able to handle things, but hindsight is 20/20.

Back to College.

I decided I would become a Pharmacist. So I got a part-time job (along with maintaining my full-time job) at a 24 hour pharmacy and worked two 10 hour shifts over the weekend as a pharmacy tech. Then, I put in my notice at the hospital and re-enrolled at the community college in 1997.

However, what I didn’t know and hadn’t been told, was that once you put in for graduation at the community college, you aren’t eligible for financial aid at the community college level any longer. A person in my life at the time helped me scrape together the money for that semester, but I had to withdraw from Biology because of the schedule and I needed to get another job to pay for life. I finished out my Chemistry and Trigonometry classes, but by the end had decided I was not going to become a Pharmacist.

I did not like the automation of the medicine.I would have loved it back in mortar and pestle days. As it was my favorite part was learning how to read the meniscus.


The second part-time job I got during that semester in college turned into a full-time job. It was at a MRI facility. I thought about going back to school to be a MRI tech, but then life happened along. I switched jobs. Met my husband. Came back to that job when the day shift opened. Then I had my first child in 2000.

You might think that I easily went into being a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t. I wanted to be one, but I’d also never had a point in life where I wasn’t earning my own money. I’d been working since I was 14. When my son was 6 or 7 months old, I took a job in the nursery at the local YMCA because I could bring him with me.

Stay At Home Mom.

And then I got pregnant with my second son. I had complications in the beginning of my first pregnancy. Pains that made them check to make sure it wasn’t ectopic. It obviously wasn’t, but I was told to take it easy to avoid a miscarriage. When the pains started with the second pregnancy, the doctor advocated that I even avoid carrying around the oldest too much. He was 9 months old, so complete avoidance wasn’t going to happen. Since I couldn’t pick up any kids in the nursery and the diaper changes of other people’s kids were doing a number on my morning sickness, I resigned.

We would add our youngest, Miss Sunshine, in 2003. I sometimes thought about going back to school, but I also loved being home with my children. In 2010, the nearby community college changed to a state college and added some Bachelor’s programs.

Back to School.

That was how we found ourselves moving over to Stuart, Florida. I had many reasons for wanting to go back to school. But if I’m honest, one of them was because I wanted my children to realize that I was intelligent. It may seem silly, but that means something to me. It was my one claim to success in my formative years. I also wanted them to know that different choices are always possible. I enrolled for the Bachelor of Biology with a concentration on Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (I don’t know if that’s still offered), but even with 68 credit hours, I still was missing some lower level classes. So after 13+ years of being out of college, I took Chemistry and Statistics. When I aced them, I felt a real sense of pride.

At the time my dream was to go to work for some of the local biomedical facilities. They were touting the Treasure Coast as the Research Coast. If you don’t know…I love research. However, I came to realize that it’s mostly interns in many of those places. I thought I’d supplement the Biology degree with a way to actually earn income. Even though I wanted to work in a medical laboratory, the pay for that degree isn’t that well. I started considering a Physician’s Assistant or Nurse Practitioner, so I thought I’d get a nursing degree. After taking Anatomy and Physiology I & II, Nutrition, and some Psychology based classes, I changed my mind. I believe nursing is a calling…and I have not been called. About that time, life changed. We moved to Virginia. I wasn’t about to pay out of state tuition.

After a year, I sent for my transcript papers. Where they still sit in the filing cabinet. Unopened. I decided not to return to school because I found other passions and we also have three teenagers to put through college. Sometimes I worry that people think less of me because of my educational background.

I have learned to live with that.


I don’t know exactly how many credit hours I have. Probably over 90. I think less than 100.

I’m not sure because I haven’t broken the seal.

They sit there…waiting…in case I change my mind.

Being a Woman.

That is one of the reasons I celebrate International Women’s Day.

Because nowhere in that story was the decision not mine. Nothing about being a woman changed my options.

It is because of the way paved by other women that I had the freedom to make each of those choices. There wasn’t any choice which was prevented by the mere fact that I am a woman.

I’m sure there are many out there who would have made different choices. And that is okay.

Isn’t it wonderful to have that option?

Not everyone does.

Which is why women will keep fighting to be seen as equal.

Having a Daughter.

I also celebrate because I have a daughter. I often use her as a muse in my photography. Whether its captured unbeknownst to her as in the shots of her in Paris or when she willingly helps me create my vision like in the canal shot in Amsterdam, I am always in awe of her.

Miss Sunshine has dreams and visions and goals.

She heartily pursues them without any regard to her gender.

She is even stronger than I consider myself to be.

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Most of my regular readers know that Miss Sunshine plays soccer. She has played since the age of seven. We went through a hard transition when she was 13 and the U.S. Youth Soccer changed the age guidelines. She went from being the oldest on the team to being one of the youngest.

The transition also made her miss the first year that the field transitions from being 8v8 to 11v11. She found herself moved from a forward to a defender and she worked hard to learn the role. I live the behind the scenes. I know all the dynamics of the shift. But she did what she does, she persevered.

I love this shot of her during warm-ups. They were playing one of their league competitors and decided to put on war paint.

It reminds me of the quote:

Fate whispers to the warrior, “you cannot withstand the storm”

The warrior whispers back, “I am the storm”. -unknown

Self Assured.

I have taught my daughter that if she finds a glass ceiling, she should break it.

She should pursue her dreams with no regard to the naysayers.

I have spoken in the past about the fact that at this time she wants to be an Engineer. She’s 14 and that may change many times before she decides on a path. It may even change many times while on a path.

There is great freedom in that reality.

Locally we have some part-time specialty high schools. She has applied to two and while she is waiting to hear from one, she has been accepted into the Engineering Based one.

Part of application process was to come up with an invention that could be patented and describe the materials, cost, building process, and usage.

While I’m not sharing her invention…I have to say…I love how her mind works.

So today I celebrate all those women before me who fought and all those women who continue to fight to be acknowledged as equals.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Let your light shine!


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