Thursday, April 18, 2019

My year of Grief

As we grow older, it's common to experience loss of a loved one or close friend.  Everyone's life and loss is different, because we are obviously individuals, but some of the other factors that lead us through the grief process are, the relationship with the person, how we are raised, our culture and even our experiences with life, can shape our grief journey.  I am not an expert by any means.  I am not a counselor.  I'm still in my grief journey, but the thought of helping someone else, is why I am writing about this tough subject.  Here is my story..........

My Mother had me late in life, at 43.  I have four older siblings.  I was 10 days old at my oldest sister, Nancy's wedding.  Talk about a wedding crasher! ha!  By the time I, myself had gotten married, I had lost Aunts and Uncles, but they all lived so far away, that it was....well, different.  My first real encounter with grief came when I lost my Mother.  I was 25 years old and she had a short battle with cancer.  I lived 10 hours away and had a 1 year old and a 3 year old, as did my siblings, so our family depended on our sister, Diane, to care for our mother, and she did.  I remember visiting my Mom, right before she went into the hospital for the last time. She was frail and dependent on others, which I'm sure was torture for her, as she was a strong Christian woman, who only depended on the Lord and was there to care for everyone else.  She passed in February 1990.  I believe that my mind has shut out a lot of the grief that I experienced.  I remember the visitation, the funeral and our long drive back home in Iowa.  I had to get back into my normal life, because of our two young children, so I didn't take the time to make sure that I had properly grieved for my Mother.  I hadn't experienced a loss like this, so I handled my grief by pushing it down, which is never a good way of dealing with things. 

Three years later, my Dad passed away.  I remember being at the hospital, entering the room, just has he took his first breath.  I remember my brothers being there with me at the hospital.  My two sisters lived away, like me at time.  I remember the visitation and funeral and crying a lot.  This time, I had 3 children to keep my mind occupied, and it made getting back to normal life, somewhat easier.  Once again, I pushed my grief down, to make it more manageable. I don't mean to make it sound like loosing both of my parents by the time I was 28 wasn't a big deal.  It was a huge deal, which made me draw closer to my 4 older siblings, especially my sister, Diane.

Within a few years of loosing my parents, both of my husband's parents passed.  They were both wonderful people, who I miss terribly.  They were very present in my children's lives and the only grandparents that they remember.  I realize now that I pushed some more of my own grief away, to being strong for my husband and children.

In April 2014, my oldest brother, Ron, passed away.  I was not as close to Ron, as my other siblings, mainly because, he went to Vietnam when I was a little child and then was stationed in Hawaii for some time afterward.  He didn't live at home and had his own life to live and didn't exactly have the patience for a bratty little sister, but I knew that he loved me and I loved him.  I think he was the one sibling that actually saw me as an adult later in life and not little Debbie, like my other siblings seemed to see.  I know they all meant well, trying to protect me, but Ron didn't treat me that way.  I was an adult with kids and he was too.  He had a long battle with liver cancer and boy, it was a battle to the death.  He wasn't willing to give up.  I tried to travel to visit him when I could, but honestly, it was so hard to see my big brother deteriorate and become weak, because he was anything but weak throughout his life.  He was one of the most honest and strong men that I have known, you always knew where you stood with Ron.  I grieved loosing him harder than my parents, because I didn't have the distraction of little kids to take care of this time.  I went to a Rollings Stones concert, not too long after Ron passed.  He loved the Stones and when they played his favorite song, Jumpin' Jack Flash, I cried tears of joy because I could feel him near. To this day, if a Rolling Stones song comes on the radio, I always say, "Hi, Ron.  Love you!"



Owning my bakery, was something that my sister, Diane, encouraged me to do.  At that time, she had owned her own cake decorating business for about 30 years.  We literally spoke everyday on the phone, chatting about cake projects that we were working on, me asking questions on how to do certain things, exchanging stories about crazy customer calls.  She was something special.  She was my closest sibling. We were 11 years apart, so she looked after me like a mom, and after our Mother passed, she became that second Mom to me, and a grandparent figure to my children.  They called her Aunt Didi and she has special nicknames for each of them.  They adored her and she them.  Even though her 3 kids were older than mine, there was a lot of time spent together and the kids were all close.  She was my best friend, the person that I could tell anything to without judgment and if I had a problem, she was there for me.  She listened, gave great advice and prayed for me and my family on a regular basis.  So, when she passed on April 20th, 2018, it literally wrecked my world. I have never felt grief, like this before.  It gutted me.  With both of my parents and my brother, we had time to say goodbye, to see what diseases like cancer and heart disease can do to a loved one, but with Diane, no one was able to say goodbye, as she died peacefully in her sleep.  It was such a shock, that maybe it contributes as to why this grief is so hard to get through.  I think it's mainly because she was such a huge part of my life, she helped raise me, and was a consistently IN my life.


My family was worried about me, as I laid in bed, not being able to function for day after day.  My daughters urged me to find a counselor or someone to talk to.  Diane had been my constant person, the person that I turned to when something bad happened, and she was one of the first people I called when something good or exciting happened.  I was there for her too, although I think I leaned more on my big sister than she did on me, but I knew with every fiber of my being, that she loved me.

I contacted a friend on Facebook, that had done some work with a grief counseling.  She gave me the number to contact Lost and Found, our local grief center.  I signed up for a support group and began going twice a month and I'm still going.  The whole reason for this blog post is to share some of the things that I have learned during my grief journey and my acceptance of my "new normal."  Every one's grief journey is different.  We may loose the same person, but our path is not the same.  My brother-in-law and my nieces and nephew lost Diane too, but each person had a different relationship with her; spouse, mother, sister.  It's not fair to compare our loss to anyone else's loss.  Seeking a support group was the best thing that I could have done.  In my group, no one judges me for the anger that I'm still dealing with, and they understand the sleepless nights, the new annoyances with trying to figure out my new normal. They listen, share their own story, and sometimes our group facilitator has us do exercises to focus on our grief journey and to dig deeper into why we feel the way we do, and of course how to cope. The people in my group know, how my heart is breaking into a million little pieces, how tough it is to find my way in this "new normal" way of life without Diane.  They just get it. If you are going through grief, I encourage you to find a group, either in person or online to be a part of.

Grieving takes time. Grief can be lonely.  It's often compared to ocean waves, sometimes the waves will knock you off your feet and you'll feel as though you are drowning and you can't imagine what life will be like without your loved one.  Other times, you can see the wave starting and you can give in, knowing all along that it will eventually pass.  Those are the times, you lean into the pain and allow it to wash over you,  knowing that if you just ride the wave, you'll have a little hope that the next one won't be so bad.  Sometimes, grief tries to rob us of our hope, but eventually you figure out that even though you only took one step forward and two steps back, the one step still counts and they add up.  I found hope in a closer relationship with my niece and her family.  They live in the same town as me, so they are my connection to Diane.

Saturday is a year since we lost Diane. Friday, is the last time that I spoke to her.  I think of her every single day and I miss her terribly.  I feel her presence around me, when a Led Zeppelin (Diane's favorite group) song comes onto the radio, when I see a beautiful sunset, or see a four leaf clover, because she was obsessed with finding them.  I often say hello, and sometimes, I cry.  My heart still aches and I get a pit in my stomach at times.  It will get easier and less tears will fall as the years go by, but right now I'm still grieving.  I still need my group to listen, although, I spend a lot of my time crying and that's ok. No one has ever made me feel pressured to share.  Sometimes it's just nice to listen and comfort someone else, to take a break from your grief for a minute or two. 

I know this has been a lengthy blog post, but if you are experiencing grief, I hope that you find encouragement that it will get better and that asking for help, either from family or a support group setting is alright.  No one's journey is like yours, your person was special to you because of the relationship you had with them.  Be kind to yourself and find help to get you used to your new normal.  

I wasn't sure about writing this as a blog post to share, but so many of the women that know in person and friends online, are going through their own grief journey and I know that Diane would want me to use my situation to help others.  She was like that, like our Mom, always taking care of others. 







Thursday, May 17, 2018

Dinner for Two


A gourmet meal doesn't have to be hard or even time consuming.  I wanted to make a special dinner for my husband, Darryl and myself, but didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing and cleaning up.  I had purchased a 3 pack of Ahi Tuna steaks that were just chillin' in the freezer, so I knew that would be the perfect protein to build on.  I went to go old Pinterest, to look for a seared Ahi tuna recipe and I found one posted by grilllovers.org.  I posted the a link and the my version of the recipe below.

Our sides included an Asian Salad, thanks to a delicious bag mix that I picked up from Aldi.  It was a cabbage, romaine mix that included the dressing, almond slices and crunchy cracker bits.  Talk about an easy side salad.  The other side that I made was my version of Shanghai Cucumbers.  We tried this simple dish at P.F. Changs a few years ago, and I've included my version of the recipe below too.



SPICY SWEET SAVORY SEARED AHI TUNA

Ingredients:
2lbs Ahi Tuna steaks
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp - 1/4 cup wasabi powder (I used about 1 tsp - because neither of us like a lot of spice)
Sesame Seeds
Teriyaki Sauce
YumYum Sauce (Terry Ho's brand)

Instructions:
1.  Combine soy sauce, honey and wasabi powder.  Marinade the tuna steaks for 1 hour.
2.  After marinade, coat the tuna in sesame seeds.  Sear steaks on a very hot grill (or skillet) for only 
     about 40 seconds per side.  Remove and wrap in aluminum foil for 5 minutes.
3.  Slice thin and serve with a drizzle with teriyaki sauce and YumYum sauce.  




SHANGHAI CUCUMBERS

Ingredients:
1-2 Cucumbers
Soy sauce
Sesame seeds

Instructions:
1.  Peel slice cucumbers semi-thin
2.  Pour soy sauce over cucumbers (the amount depends on your taste)
3.  Add sesame seeds and stir
4.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.



As you can see these recipes are super easy and not time consuming at all.  It was delicious and my husband was pleasantly surprised.  Let me know if you try the recipes and how you liked them, or if you put your own spin on it.  I'm always looking for great ideas for easy and tasty dinners.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Spring Shoes



Shoes!  I'm your typical girl who is mad about shoes!  I have more pairs that I care to admit to, and I may have handed my shoe obsession down to my youngest daughter, but it's comforting to know that no matter what size I wear for clothing, I can always fit into a new pair of shoes.  I've picked up a few new pairs in the last couple of weeks and I'm thrilled because they were all great deals! 

The first pair, is by Sam Edelman.  I had my eye on these beautiful mules last summer, but wasn't sure I wanted to spend the money for a higher heel that what I was used to wearing.  Some of my favorite bloggers rocked this same shoe, and I agree with their take, that the block heel makes it easier to walk in.  Honestly, who doesn't like bows on their toes?  I chose a nude color, as it would be versatile to wear with a dress, capri jeans or a skirt.  Other colors include, gray, multi-color, and blue striped. I found them at Nordstrom Rack for a great price, which made my price per wear, a better deal.
Nordstrom Rack Bows Slides

I found these pink velvet slides at Target.  Their new line, A New Day, has some of the cutest shoe styles.  I love the soft crushed velvet texture and the jewels add a nice touch.  They are true to size and were a steal at only $22.99.  I was able to purchase them online and pick up at my local Target store, which made it so easy.  They will be adorable with some capri jeans and a lacy white shirt. 
Target Pink Velvet Slides



I have been wanting a pair of leopard print mules since last fall, but every time I was ready to take the plunge and buy a pair, the store would be out of my size, or had faux fir trim inside, or were a wonky leopard color.  I finally found a pair of Steve Madden mules on sale at Dillards and they had my size!  Jackpot!!  They also run true to size and are so comfortable.  I often wear them with jeans, or capris and a cute top or sweater.  
Dillards Leopard Print Mules


I can't wait for excuses to wear my new shoes.  What are your newest shoe finds?  What are you looking forward to about spring?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Make up for over 50





Have you noticed that the Makeup industry has really changed over the past 8-10 years and I feel like I have been so out of the loop.  For 8 years I ran my own bakery, so I wore little to no makeup on a daily basis, so I had a lot of catching up to do in the makeup department.   I believe in the saying, "What comes around, goes around."  Today's makeup trends definitely reflect aspects of years past, that we grew up with.  A couple of examples would be, the 70's cat eye look, making liquid eye liner the rage, and the 80's was all about bold colors and extremes.  While those styles are still considered dramatic, the industry as a whole has embraced the whatever floats your boat mentality.  If you like bold and dramatic, then go for it.  If you like natural, there are amazing products to help you achieve that youthful, dewy glow.  The thing that amazes me about make up options today, is all of the sparkles and glitter.  Seeing some of the adds or You Tube videos with so much glitter on the eyes, almost make my eye water, just seeing it!  Ha!

If you type in Makeup Over 50, you will find several videos/tutorials to watch and it can be a little overwhelming.  There are videos on eye makeup, contouring, highlighting, etc.  Most of what I found focused on the eyes, because let's face it ladies, the skin around our eyes change as we get older.  It definitely thins out and even thought I don't like this word to describe what happens, it does describe it fairly well....crepey.  I have noticed that the skin around my eyes have gotten drier, so finding a good moisturizer for that area in particular is so important.

When watching videos on You Tube you have to watch with a grain of salt.  Some of the videos give the feeling that they are showing the ONLY way for older women should do their makeup.  I watched one video that stated that mature women should never wear anything shimmery, sparkly or glittery, that we older women should leave that to the teenagers and 20 somethings.  While the glitter trend is not for me personally, I don't feel that there are hard and fast rules for aging women.  If you want to rock the glitter and that makes you feel comfortable in your own skin, then go for it.  I also watched some very informative videos on how to accentuate your eyes with shimmer shadows, so that you can feel trendy, but not step too far our of your comfort zone.  I noticed that a few of the videos were younger girls doing the make up on the models, so their train of thought might be what they would want their own mother's to wear, so they may be a bit biased of what a "mom" or "grandma" should look like.  So, while you may be able to learn a new technique, keep in mind, that you want to be you.

The videos that I enjoyed and got the most useful information from, were other fifty-somethings doing their make up on camera.  I tend to open videos that look interesting and look pleasing to the eye, because that is ultimately what I'm after, right?  The desire to be more pleasing to the eye.....my eyes.  I have to give it up these ladies for going on camera (You Tube) with not a stitch of make up on, for millions to see and match over and over again.  I will link a few of the videos that I enjoyed below.

My message for this post is to just be yourself.  We are fortunate enough to live in a time when we don't have to conform to what society thinks we should do. Our younger, more insecure days are behind us.  Our 50's and older can be the best times of our lives.  Be who you are, own it and enjoy it.  We can take life, fashion and make up a little less seriously and dabble in new products, styles and enjoy all that this industry has to offer.  So glam it up, or glam in down, whatever suites your mood, or style.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS2JOPKWVHs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6itu_Utb_uw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M59J0bzqfSs

Any and all of the videos by Dominique Sachse are highly recommended.  They are very professionally done because she is a news anchor in Houston Texas, but she does a great job with make up and hair tutorials.
https://www.youtube.com/user/dominiquesachsetv

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Signature Scent





Have you ever smelled a fragrance that immediately transported your mind back in time?  My mother used a select few colognes, but her favorite was L'aimant by Coty.  I remember holding and smelling the beautiful bottle when I was little.  My older sister still has the last bottle that our Mom had when she passed away.  A few years ago, I remember being out shopping and caught a whiff of a woman's cologne and it instantly made me think of my mother, she even had beautiful white hair like my mom. It was kind of freaky and comforting at the same time.

Fragrance is such a personal thing to each woman.  Back in the 70's, I remember begging my mother to buy me some Love's Baby Soft.  Do you remember that scent?  Pair it with some Bubble Gum Lip Smackers and you'll be back in the 70's in your mind. 

In the 80's it seemed that everyone was wearing Ralph Lauren.  Polo cologne for the gents and Lauren for the ladies.  One of my first purchases, when I received my first paycheck, was a bottle of Lauren.  Once I met Darryl, I had to buy him a bottle of Polo.  It was the 80's and not only did we have matchy-matchy colognes, but of course we had matching airbrushed t-shirts too!  lol 
I recently walked into an elevator that was filled with the scent of Polo and my mind went right back to working at Goldies department store before Darryl and I got married.  Of course, I was snapped right back into present time, by wondering if they still make that.  haha

My signature scent in the 90's was Calvin Klein's Escape, and that was the only thing that I wore.  My mom had passed and I wanted my kids to remember my favorite scent, like I did about my mom.  Calvin Klein went on to introduce other scents like, Eternity, Obsession and CK One, but it my mind, nothing compared to Escape.  It eventually got harder and harder to find this cologne, other than online or occasionally at TJMaxx or Marshalls.  I'm sure if any of my three kiddos caught a whiff of someone wearing that, they would have similar memories of me, like I did of my own mother.

Somewhere in the 2000's, I decided that I needed to mix things up in scent department.  Some of my favorites are DKNY Be Delicious, Marchesa Parfum D'Extase, Tory Burch, Hernri Bendel Suite 712, Tocca Simone, but my top 3 favs are Pop by Stella McCartney, Black Opium by Opium and Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel.  I mean, who doesn't love Chanel....anything, right?

Do you have a "signature" scent or do you like to mix it up?  I would love to hear about your favorites.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fall Dress & Suede Booties


Fall in the Ozarks means that one day it's 99 degrees out and so humid that you can barely breath and the next day it's 70 degrees and rainy.  You can only imagine how full my closet is right now, as I've pulled out my fall necessities but need to keep my summer attire available for those sweltering days.  It can be so frustrating, but hey,  I can drown my sorrows in a Pumpkin Spice beverage, right? ha!

My favorite style trend this fall is bell sleeves.  Hello 70's style! The tassels are a summer trend that looks like it's sticking around for fall.  The lightweight fabric, makes this a great transition piece for the fall and for winter, you can pair it with a cute pair of leggings, or some over the knee boots and a faux fur vest.  How cute would that be?  I love the muted navy, green and red colors in this dress.  It just screams fall.  You could easily pair it with some nude heals, dark brown boots, or even some cute ballet style slippers.  I could go on and on; this dress is fantastic.

The suede booties I choose for this look are Dolce Vita. I picked up this amazing buy last year at Nordstroms while in Chicago visiting my son.  The 3' wedge heel is comfortable but keeps you looking stylish. Taupe is neutral and can go with just about any outfit.  Comfort is just as important as style, and fortunately, these booties are both.

To me, fall is all about hot drinks, cozy sweaters, and pumpkin anything.  It's my favorite season, for sure. In the Ozarks, we are all about the Fall Festivals and craft shows. I love strolling around, with a hot cocoa, hand in hand with the hubs, checking out the newest artists in the area.  What are your favorite things about fall?



Cheers,
Deb

Shop this look:


Photos by Brittney Lumos 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Transitioning to Fall


It's that crazy time of the year again, when all the fall fashion is on display at every store and online, but it's still 90 plus degrees outside.  If you are at all like me, you are tired of your summer clothes, but know that you'll have a heat stroke if you wear your fall clothing items.  The day that I did this quick, and I mean QUICK, photo shoot, it was in the mid-90's, but I wanted to showcase how you can take something like black jeans, and pair it with an off the shoulder top to slowly transition into a fall look.  Add a cute pair of peep-toe booties and you're ready for a night on the town or an air conditioned mall trip!

This black and white blouse has three quarter length sleeves, but is lightweight and a bit off shoulder.  I bought this in April and i haven't quit wearing it all summer.  Who knew being sexy could also be so comfortable?!

The Black Jeggings from Torrid are honestly, some of the best jeggings I've ever owned! Naturally, I had to get the grey ones too. 


I love a good cross body bag, and this Kate Spade purse is a perfect addition to this outfit.  It has a zipper pouch the full length of the purse; which is great to keep important items, like money, cards, etc.  I absolutely love taking this purse on trips because it's compact, adorable and holds my iPhone 6 Plus (which we all know can be a challenge with small bags).

Peep-toe Booties are so cute and really bring the whole outfit together.  With close to a 3in mid-heel, these shoes were a fantastic buy. I've worn them to Bar-B-Ques and fancy date nights with my husband. If I had a dollar every time someone asked me where I got these shoes, I'd buy a pair for all of my girlfriends.


Shop the look here:
Off the Shoulder Blouse

Black Jeans

Peep-toe Booties

Sunglasses

Cross Body Bag