Twelve Miles

Hi Friends!

Twelve miles!

Twelve joyous, little miles!

I’m feeling so very blessed!

For the past twenty-five years, visits with my parents meant: a taxi ride, airport security lines, a 3.5 hour flight, and a Super Shuttle ride to their lovely desert home. We traveled 1,800 miles each way to visit them and they traveled 1,800 miles each way to visit us. There were always so many happy “Welcome” hugs… and so many teary-eyed “Take Good Care of Each Other” hugs…

Just two weeks ago, we helped our parents begin the next chapter

of their amazing love story!

Best of all, they are now living just twelve miles away!!

My parents chose a lovely apartment in a brand new Senior Living Community. This new, easier lifestyle offers three chef-prepared meals each day, lots of activities, housekeeping services, transportation, and a very kind, caring staff always willing to lend a hand.

Their new community offers convenience, with several dining rooms, a small library, fitness center, movie theater, hair salon, and several activity rooms. When the warm weather arrives, there are beautiful outdoor spaces to gather, as well.

As their needs change, my parents will be able to move through a full spectrum of care ~ Independent Living, Assisted Living, Transitional Memory Care, and Full Memory Care.

The entire community is filled with inviting gathering spaces that encourage neighbors to leave their apartments and make healthy, happy connections with one another. Everyone is brand new and making friends together! It’s so nice to hear new friends laughing, making connections, and networking with one another. 🙂

Thankfully, everything went smoothly on Moving Day. After the movers left, our family began slowly unpacking boxes together, meeting the new neighbors, and gradually learning our way around the community. This is a time of huge transition for our parents and all of the new residents.

I have been spending lots of time with my parents each day and have watched them slowly embrace their new lifestyle. The other day, as I looked around the dining room, I noticed daughters sitting with their parents at every table. 🙂 We are a ‘sisterhood’ of caregivers! It has been very nice getting to know the other daughters, too.

Change can be extremely hard!!

Throughout this challenging time of change,

over the past two years,

I have been very intentional about counting my blessings out loud.

My Self-Care Journal helped to document

this very difficult cross-country journey


My monthly ‘Gratitude’ and ‘Reasons to Be Proud’ pages

are filled with the people and moments

that have become a special part of our family’s story.

So grateful for…

My husband’s love and support every step of the way!

My parents’ strength as they endured our very long, unbelievably cold and snowy winter. Their first Midwest winter in 25 years was extremely hard on them!

The special memories we made together during their stay at our home! We proved that love grows best in small houses. Life was really cozy here in our tiny bungalow!

Patience… as repeated construction and staffing delays postponed my parents’ move-in day from: the end of December, to early January, mid-January, early February, to mid-March!! We just kept looking forward to the promise of a new, easier lifestyle that I made to my parents when we left warm, sunny Arizona back in early December.

Hugs… lots of hugs!


So very grateful for…

Excellent medical care when my dad suffered a heart attack at our home in early February. The paramedics arrived in just two minutes. The doctors, nurses, and hospitalist that helped my dad during his hospital stay were amazing!

My mom’s bravery during this frightening emergency! My mom and I stayed at the hospital day and night with my dad throughout his stay. My brothers and my husband were there with us every day.

The kindness of a dear friend who came to the hospital with cozy blankets, pillows, slippers, and a curling iron 🙂 to make those many overnight stays easier for my mom and I.

The concern of friends and family who called, offered prayers, sent flowers, offered to bring us meals, and sent emails and cards during my dad’s lengthy recovery at home. Your kindness will always be cherished by our family!

My parents’ Arizona friends who called and sent cards of encouragement.

Hugs… so very healing!


So grateful for…

My parents’ positive attitude as we planned for our mid-March move-in day! Moving is always very stressful, but we all kept making plans and counting down the days together.

So much help from my brothers and my husband throughout Moving week! We each offered our strengths: muscle power, assembling furniture, technology support, and detailed planning. Teamwork made everything easier!

New friends and neighbors!

The friendly, helpful staff at my parents’ new Senior Living Community.

YOU, dear blog friends! Thank you so much for continuing to visit our little blog throughout the quiet months. It truly warmed my heart to see visitors, from near and far, reading older posts each day. What a joy to hear from you, too! Skype chats and FaceTime chats added delight to my days! Our friendships continue to grow stronger and deeper. My heart is full! ♥♥

New beginnings!  During April, I look forward to writing more often, visiting with friends again, time in the garden, and adding a bit more creative playtime to my days.

Look for the small joys

tucked into the corners

of each day!


Warmest hugs for stopping to visit today!







Tidying Up

Hi Friends!

Are you feeling organized?  Hard as I try, I just never really feel organized! So many interests, ideas, plans, and dreams… All of these interests require supplies, books, and of course, places to hold them until the moment inspiration strikes!

I’ve always heard that creative people are rarely tidy.  Yet that can’t possibly be true!  Some of the most talented, creative artists and paper crafters that inspire me are truly organized. Over the past year, I have admired their thoughtful, creative spaces, and  have discovered so many helpful organization tips as I set up a paper crafting Studio of my own.

I listened closely whenever these talented, creative people, with names like Jennifer, Wilna, and Stacy, talked about their favorite things, home projects, and big transformations throughout their homes. These three, highly creative people all mentioned the very same book…

The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up

(The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing)

by Marie Kondo


A tiny book with a powerful message!

I knew that it was a ‘must read’ for me! Just the thought of being organized makes me so happy. I always enjoy reading books that promise to help with organization. Yet those books just sit on my bookshelf. Although interesting to read, they didn’t speak to my heart or inspire action.

This time it was different! I couldn’t wait to open the cover to discover the magic for myself! During late spring, as I eagerly read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it clearly spoke to my heart! I could now understand why all of those other books on organization hadn’t helped me to feel organized. The powerful message that this tiny book carries has inspired me to action!

Have you read it?  Have you tried it at your house?

Author, Marie Kondo, an organization expert based in Tokyo, takes readers step-by-step through her highly successful ‘KonMari’ Method’ of decluttering. Her organizing method becomes a celebration, a one-time life event. Ms. Kondo assures us that if we follow her method completely, we won’t ever have to do it again!

With detailed guidance, Ms. Kondo helps us to determine which items in our homes ‘spark joy.’ Working slowly, category-by-category, the ‘KonMari Method’ gives us permission to let go of things that no longer spark joy in our lives. Handling items one-by-one (each piece of clothing, each book, each gift received over the years,…), KonMari teaches us how to show respect to each item and then release it. (Take a peek at the steps KonMari leads us through here in the Table of Contents and excerpts from the book.)

The ‘KonMari’ Tidying Up process can take three to six months to complete. I’m definitely ready to downsize my things in our home, eliminating those that no longer ‘spark joy’ in my life.  I’m really looking forward to the whole process!

As I read the book and contemplated the powerful, step-by-step KonMari method, there was only one part that troubled me. As a scrapbooker, I don’t think I will follow her recommendations for disposing of photos. My photo albums tell the stories of my life and truly ‘spark joy’ and happy memories each time I open them. I am so inspired to create new scrapbooks that highlight the relationships and connections in my life! (I take my inspiration from talented scrapbooking ‘rock stars’ instead.) So, although I will reread KonMari’s chapter as I celebrate Tidying Up, I am certain that I will hold onto the photos that I treasure. For they truly ‘spark joy’ and document the story of my life!

All year long, I have been focused on the word present. It’s my ‘One Little Word’  for this year. The ‘KonMari’ method will definitely keep me in the present as I determine which items in our house ‘spark joy’ for me today

Although I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in late May and was very excited to jump right into the Tidying Up process, I knew that summer time wouldn’t be best for me. It was time to enjoy sunny days in the garden, lovely visits with family, fun gatherings with friends, and relaxing hours reading on the front porch. So, I’ve set my date to begin Tidying Up for early September, right after Labor Day weekend. It seems like the perfect time! New learning, new beginnings, and new spaces opening up in our cozy, little bungalow!

I have shared my enthusiasm over this tiny gem of a book with three nearby friends. They are all looking forward to Tidying Up at their homes, too! It will be so nice to share our successes as we follow the ‘KonMari’ method together! If you have been dreaming of the relaxed, happy freedom of an organized, decluttered home, …

Join us for the Tidying Up celebration!!

It would be fun to share our successes and help one another through the hardest parts of the Tidying Up process right here on our blog. Everyone’s invited!!  All you have to do is read the book (and stock up on large trash bags!)  Instagrammers have been showing about 30-40 large bags per person of things that no longer ‘spark joy.’

Although it isn’t necessary, I highly recommend reading the whole book through before beginning your own Tidying Up celebration. It’s very helpful to understand the big picture of the ‘KonMari Method’ before we actually begin the step-by-step process.

My enthusiasm for Tidying Up has remained very strong all summer long. In fact, it is working already! On several recent antiquing outings, I resisted bringing home many things that could have been ‘at home’ here. As I held each item, I stopped to ask myself, “Will this really spark joy in my life?”  Only two small, vintage items met the ‘KonMari’ test! It reassures me that Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up process will most certainly work for me! I can already feel it working…

I’m curious to know if you have already read this #1 New York Times Bestseller? It has been a bestseller in Japan, Germany, and the UK, as well. Time Magazine recently named Marie Kondo as one of the ‘Top 100 Influential People.’

If you have already celebrated the Tidying Up process at your house, we would love to hear your thoughts, successes, and the challenges along the way. Let’s share the celebration! It’s always more fun with friends!  If there is interest here on the blog, we can chat about it as we are Tidying Up. Our little group of three who live nearby with definitely be sharing… and celebrating together!

I’m so grateful that you stopped to visit today!

Wishing you happy August days!

Sunny wishes!

♡ Dawn