Twenty~one Days ….

Twenty one days to create a new habit? Better nutrition? More positive mindset?

I’m heading to our Home AWAVE from Home for 21 (plus) days! I’m wishing I were already there!! The truth is I can’t just blink and be there, I have to pack, make the necessary preparations on the home front, AND spend the nine~ish hours in the car to get there!!

I have to do the work in order to get where I want to be!

I’m anticipating a great few weeks with family! Relaxing, playing games, watching my husband and son enjoy some golf time! (Let’s not forget some retail therapy! lol!)

What’s In Store: 21 Days

Plus, I have Twenty~one days to create something new!! What do I want to create? A calm, peaceful, fun environment for my family? YES! However, I can only create that environment if that is what I fill myself with! As Dr. Wayne Dyer would suggest…I can’t give away oranges if all I have are lemons!

We create with our consciousness. What we think about, pay attention to, focus on, and choose to believe…whatever goes on in our mind, is what becomes our reality.

Anthon St. Maarten

In twenty~one days, I hope I create more of what I want to see in the world, more Of what I want to be for the world!

You don’t have to be going on a vacation, you don’t need to travel any further that your own heart to begin creating a new habit, a new mindset! What will you create in Twenty~one days?

What’s In Store: 21 Days Be~YOU~ti~FUL

I ‘did a thing’ ….

When I tell you what the ‘thing’ is you might think it’s ‘no big deal’, but for me it is noteworthy!

I closed our family grocery store in 2013. (No news there!) Since that time, I had not walked through the doors of the dollar store that now leases the building I used to own!

What’s in Store: McArthur SuperValu

I could not make myself walk through those doors after the building was sold. Why? Who knows…maybe I was just holding on to the pain of closing it and didn’t think myself worthy of healing!

I didn’t really preplan for more than a couple hours, but I decided I was going in! As I walked through the store, of course my mind was flooded by the 28 years of memories the building held! I could picture everything as it used to be and the people and relationships that were shared in that place for so many years!

Let go of the past, but keep the lessons it taught you.

Chiara Gizzi

The good news is, I did not fall apart… I didn’t even cry (at least not on the outside)! McArthur SuperValu will always be part of me. I learned so much from my experiences there. I built friendships that will last a lifetime. I will say again….I did not fall apart! As a matter of fact, I walked a little taller when I left! I had a release of the weight I carried for all these years!

How many times do we pick up the baggage we have sat down….over and over again. We punish ourselves more than anyone else ever could!! We, as humans, are so hard on ourselves! It’s really time for me, and maybe you, to stop!

(For the record, I did not walk into that store alone! In the literal sense, my husband Steve was with me! In another sense, God was and is with me, always! Of course, Tom (my late husband) was whispering in my ear saying, ‘Im glad you took the leap! Every little thing is fine!’

If you find yourself in any kind of similar situation, let go of the past! Mine holds so much good that I will forever cherish, so I will keep of all that’s good and all the lessons that came from it, and let go of the rest!!

The past cannot be changed, only the lessons learned and memories made carry forward! So cheers to creating the best today possible!

Life shrinks or expands in proportion with one’s courage.”

Anaïs Nin

Be courageous…do a thing…no matter how big or small it may seem…do some thing…any thing is better than nothing! Afterward, you may find your smile is a little brighter, you weigh a little less and you walk a little taller!

A State of Gratitude!

I was driving to a dental appointment this morning, exciting I know! The sun was shining and it was a beautiful drive to Gallipolis, Ohio!

As I drove, I made a conscious decision to spend that hour in a state of gratitude! I mean gratitude for EVERYTHING big and small in my life, for HaPpY times and hard times! It was quality time!

Gratitude goes beyond the ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.

Henri Nouwen

Expressing gratitude is not new to me. I’ve had seasons of writing down three things I’m grateful for in the morning and three before bedtime. I’ve kept a journal, done guided meditations…It is a discipline, a choice to recognize what’s good rather than focusing on the frustrations. Instead of thinking of all the traffic that is slowing you down, be grateful you have transportation for the journey!

What’s In Store: maps

It’s summertime and maybe you are planning to travel!? May I recommend that wherever you’re headed, make sure you spend some time in the State of Gratitude! It will be well worth your time!

Some Days are Diamonds…

I was listening to this John Denver song yesterday (Some Days are Diamonds), as we were traveling to Columbus to celebrate another trip around the sun with family! My mind drifted as my birthdays have always brought mixed emotions, beginning with the loss of my dad just before my 16th birthday! What was supposed to be ‘sweet’ became sorrow. A day to shine like diamonds had been carved in stone.

This is not a ‘woe is me’ post.. nor is it a ‘wow is me’ post. It’s a post that shows that not every day shines…but we have the ability to shine EVERY day!

What’s In Store: Mj & Steve

I am so grateful to friends and family who make life great and are always with me to celebrate the journey, even on the hard days!!

What’s In Store: Light in the darkness with Steve and Kathi !

I try to maintain positivity on social media, as in life, because Lord knows we all need more of it…but I would also argue that there is far more good to SEE ….when that is what we look for! I don’t ALWAYS feel like it, but one thing I have learned is that we are what we fill our hearts and minds with! The more good and uplifting thoughts I fill myself with, the more goodness I exude… more ‘good’ comes from me!

I am old but I am forever young at heart. We are always the same age inside. Know that you are the perfect age. Each year is special and precious, you can only live it once. Do not regret growing older, it’s a privilege denied to many!

Richard Gere

I’m grateful to celebrate another year! I’m grateful for another day to fill myself with good thoughts and positive energy, and hopefully, in some small way…. Share it with you!

Each year, each day, each minute…each one is precious! Turn those days of stone into diamonds and SHINE ON!


Even with all the craziness this country is facing, I believe I am blessed to be living in the USA! I thank all those that have served in our military! Those who paid the ultimate price for freedom and all those currently serving!

What’s In Store: Memorial Day

I honor the memory of my dad-Harry Franklin Harrel- who was a WWII veteran of the U.S. Army and a recipient of the Purple Heart.

My family no longer has his Purple Heart medal. It was destroyed in a house fire years ago. I remember holding it my hands, though, and knowing my dad paid a huge price to earn it. I think of him today. Not only because of his service to our country, but because he passed away 43 years ago. He is forever remembered, loved and missed.

What’s In Store: Mj and Steve in Nashville, Tennessee

I, like many, also remember others that I’ve loved and that have passed away! My husband, mother, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends! It’s a time of remembering!

If you’re fortunate to spend time with friends and family this weekend, I hope that you pause a moment to remember why you can! Spend a few minutes in a state of gratitude….

“No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.”

General Douglas MacArthur

Five years and I’m taking a break!

Steve and I are celebrating our five-year wedding anniversary this week! We are headed off to Vegas! Woohoo!!

What’s In Store: First trip to Vegas

This is a picture we snapped on the first trip we took to Vegas together!

Today …I’m enjoying some self care with a ‘mini spa’ day! Toes and fingers are looking good…the hair is getting curled up in just a few!

What’s In Store: Wedding DaY

We will be reflecting on all the joys and blessings of sharing the journey of life TOGETHER!

Because of you, I laugh a little harder, cry a little less, and smile a lot more.


I’m going to step away from social media for the next few days and enjoy this break with my hubby!

What’s in Store: wedding cannoli

Rest assured we will be finding a cannoli somewhere along the way! This picture is from our wedding day! We stepped away from tradition…and had cannoli instead of cake!!

Thank you for reading! I look forward to sharing more with you…next week!…go forth and ‘take a break!’

Take my Hand!

Steve and I will be celebrating our Five~year wedding anniversary next week! It has gone by so quickly! Rest assured that those years have not all been a bed of roses…but they’ve still been WonDerFUL! Sometimes we are both stubborn and communication is a struggle.

One recent Saturday morning, we were having such a struggle. We were not communicating clearly, each of us self-interpreting the other’s intent! (I’m sure you’ve been there!)

We had previously planned to go for a hike at Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve in the Hocking Hills of Southeastern Ohio! I was starting to doubt this would happen, but it did!

What’s in Store: Conkles Hollow, Upper Trail

We walked the upper trail! We began the hike in solidarity…on paths filled with shadows, cliffs and tree roots…and I might add, mostly uphill! It was pretty quiet as we were each making our way!

I couldn’t help but think of ‘relationship’ with every step! ‘I can do this by myself!’ Or ‘I don’t need any help!,’ were my early thoughts!

How many times in life do we have thoughts like this? With our spouse, significant other, children, friends…how about with God? (I don’t need help…I can do this by myself!)

I can only speak for myself and tell you that it’s too often! I think I have to carry everything…be the strong one!

I could go on and on! My point is, that before that walk was over we were taking each other’s hand. The offering and accepting of help! The willingness to let go of our EGOS! (I love the Wayne Dyer acronym of EGO: Edge God Out!)

What’s In Store: Conkles Hollow

We are on this journey together! Through the shadows and sunshine, the smooth path and the rough!

Sometimes the longest journey we make is the sixteen inches from our heads to our hearts

Elian Avela

If you are wrapped up in your head…make the journey to your heart! Take the hand of your spouse, your children, your friend, your God!

Reach out…take my hand! Let love shine through the shadows! …I’m looking forward to many more HaPpY anniversaries to come…and grateful for relationship!

A Time to Remember…

May 9, 2007. 5:30 p.m. Fourteen years ago today I lost my husband. I still can’t believe that time has passed so quickly and slowly all at once.

I think of Tom often and feel his presence all around, I see him in the faces of each of his children and in the smile of our grandchildren…especially, Preston Thomas.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened”

Dr. Seuss

I am so thankful for the time we shared. One should never suppose that because someone continues to live life and find renewed happiness …that grief is not present. Though the memory of this date makes me feel sadness, I know that Tom will always be part of me and part of my life. I choose to celebrate his memory by doing just what he wanted for me…. Celebrate the gift of life by living! I will cherish the memories… And embrace the gifts of life, love and happiness that God has blessed me with… Always and forever!

The Circle Never Ends…!

This post is about friendship! I have a small circle of close friends…gal pals! Several of us travel together a few times a year. We call ourselves the Cheery Os, because we are always HaPpy to be together…and we all hail from Ohio! Although, the original group of Cheery Os has gone in many directions, they all have a home in the circle. A safe place…unending love. We’ve even added some new faces along the way!

What’s In Store: Mj and Debbie

When I first moved to McArhur, Debbie was my first ‘new’ best friend! Trust me when I say, we have been through thick and thin together. We’ve both lost husbands and she has been by my side for two weddings, just to name a few! Good, bad, happy, sad….we are still walking through life …together! FOREVER Soul Sister/Friends! (P.S.-she’s also the Honey Nut to our Cheery Os!)

What’s in Store: Mj and Kathi

This is my soul sister, Kathi! Kathi is one of the original four, Cheery Os! She is ALWAYS there in thought and deed! Our shirts in this picture say, ‘Apparently, We’re trouble when we’re together…Who knew!’ Haha…we have shared a lot of laughter and tears…but I can’t imagine life without Kathi walking with me!

Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there!

Christy Evans

There are other friends in this amazing ‘circle’. (I didn’t post their pictures in this blog, because I haven’t asked their permission!) I, also, have many lifelong friends that are treasured! This quote reflects those that I don’t see or talk to often! You are all ‘my stars’…and I will always be here for you! I know you are shining brightly in a new circle…but we will always be connected. The circle never ends!

I hope that those of you reading this have a circle! Small or large…have some people you can share the ups and downs with!

What’s In Store : friendship

…and never be afraid to let someone new jump in! It will bring a smile to them and to you~PURE JOY! Keep ‘making memories!’

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.


May…It’s a lot!

The month of May is an emotional one for me! It is filled with celebration and grief!

What’s in Store: Emily

I celebrate my youngest daughter’s birthday on May 6th! This year she will turn the age I was when I gave birth to her! Time has flown by! She’s a beautiful woman now with an amazing family of her own! It’s a celebration!

What’s in Store: Tom

May also marks the anniversary of my husband, Tom’s passing. May 9th. Forever stamped with great loss…but also great joy for all the years we shared!

What’s in Store: Family

This is a picture of one of those joyous memories! A family cruise …a time of making memories to last a lifetime!

What’s in Store: My mom and I

I know the feeling my Mom is having in the moment this picture was taken…joy! I know, because I’ve shared this feeling with the birth of my children!

May is the month of celebrating mothers! My mom gained her wings in 2000, but I’m so grateful God chose her to be my Mom! (May is also the month she was born!)

Again, celebrations and grief! I choose to focus on the celebration!

I’m happy to be a mother myself…I have three beautiful daughters that I gave birth to; plus, two sons and a daughter gifted to me through marriage! It’s a celebration! (P.S.~The grandchildren are the absolute best gift! 💝)

What’s in Store: Steve & Mj

This picture depicts the ‘Marry month of May!’ Steve and I are fast approaching our fifth wedding anniversary! The 21st. A gift of love after loss! A celebration and reminder that joy comes in the morning!

…weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5

The month of May ends with Memorial Day. A time of remembrance, a time of appreciation for those who served our country and have passed on! (My dad was a WWII veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart. He passed away just before my 16th birthday) For me, it’s a time to remember all those who have gone before us! I spend some time taking flowers to the cemetery and sprucing up the gravesites a bit. A labor of love given for a lifetime of love received!

What’s in Store: Tulips

As the unofficial start to summer begins, I encourage you to look up! See the blessings beyond the grief! Be thankful for ALL the moments. Even the sad times teach us to recognize the joyous ones! The joys are BIG! They are PRESENT! You only have to SEE them! May..I know…it’s a LOT!