59 Candles, 59 Things – part fifty & end of this series

As I finish up the final two entries in this series, I’d like to thank those of you who’ve followed along. Your interest and comments on 59 Candles, 59 Things has been so appreciated and it’s made me happy to share it with you.  It’s reminded me that there are many things to be grateful for every day and that life provides moments large and small that offer happiness.  

Fifty eighth thing: The next thing that makes me happy will come as no surprise – retirement!  A few months ago, I passed the two year mark of my retirement and it has gone fast.  I knew I’d enjoy it but never would have expected to have accomplished so many things that I’d wanted to do nor would I have guessed how busy I would be.  The biggest bonus is getting to hang out with Spence every day.  That time together is a gift and something I longed for when I was working full-time. I’ve picked up new hobbies, traveled, read tons of books, tended my garden and cooked my way through these last two years. There is still much more to come (God willing) and I look forward to embracing every moment and smelling all the roses!


Fifty ninth thing: For the final entry in this series, I’m choosing to be happy about getting older – and here’s 10 reasons why:

  1. I’ve recently marked my 60th birthday and 60 is the new 50!
  2. I have everything I need (and more)
  3. I’m pretty darn healthy and am taking steps to be healthier.
  4. I’m happily married.
  5. I can and do travel frequently.
  6. I’m able to garden vigorously.
  7. I still dance – mostly in the kitchen.
  8. I have many interests and hobbies that I’m exploring.
  9. I can snuggle with the cats in my pj’s till noon if I want.
  10. My alarm clock rarely is set.

Okay, I’m sure you were expecting something more profound in that list or for the final post for this series.  But truly, getting older does make me happy.  I’m wiser now but still feel like a kid most days.  Yeah, there are aches and pains, surgical scars and a pacemaker that I’ve picked up along the way but I’m still here.

Still here, even if I’m a bit crispy.

Thank you for following this series, I’ve had a blast blogging about these things that make me happy! 



59 Candles, 59 Things – part forty nine

Fifty seventh thing:  Today I celebrate my 60th birthday and that makes me happy.

There are still two posts remaining in this series started one year ago on my 59th birthday.  I’m enjoying my second week in Aruba with Spence, back at our beloved Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort.  This is my view this morning.

And these two visitors stopped by to sing Happy Birthday!


We’re off to enjoy a fabulous breakfast, a walk on the beach and a lazy day lounging and reading as they bring us cold adult beverages.

And while I don’t feel any older as I start this new decade, I do feel lucky to have made it and am very happy indeed.

59 Candles, 59 Things – part forty eight



Fifty sixth thing:  As I near the final few posts in this series, I want to reflect the blessings in my life.

Waking up after a restful night’s sleep, having tea while snuggling with Tipper and Biscotti are little moments of peace and joy each morning.


Seeing my weight loss on the scale (thank you Weight Watchers) is gratifying and until the last few months, wouldn’t have merited a mention.

Being married to Spence, having shared more than 25 years together is such a gift. I’m grateful for our travels and the home we’ve made, filled with years of happy times.

I’m grateful for my garden and perhaps more so for my ability to handle the amount of physical commitment to stay on top of it.

I’m lucky to have the love of a family that I’m close to and proud of and friends that have enriched my life beyond measure.


I’m blessed with good health and enjoying every minute of retirement, getting to fully explore many interests and experiences with enthusiasm.



I feel lucky to acknowledge each day how much good surrounds me and to be aware of the gift that is this moment.



59 Candles, 59 Things – part forty seven

Spence, me and my Mom

Fifty fifth thing: It seems fitting that today’s Post in this series featuring 59 Things that make me happy should include……my Mom.  After all, today is Mother’s Day and my Mom makes me happy!
In 1956, I was born on Mother’s Day (falling on the 12th that year) so this day bears special significance.

As a baby, she sang songs while rocking me.  After my sister was born, she would read us wonderful children’s stories while sitting on the hall floor between our bedrooms. She taught us card games and made delicious meals.  I have vivid memories of coming home after school to the aroma of fried chicken or cookies baking.

As I grew, she encouraged me to stand up straight and “own” my tallness. “Miss Americas are all tall” she pointed out.  She began teaching me to cook launching my passion for it at a young age.  Our family recipes are among my favorites and still make me nostalgic.

The lessons she taught my sister and I about honesty, friendship, kindness and being trustworthy became integral parts of us.  She truly taught by example, my first strong female role model.

As an adult, she remained Mom (of course) but also became a best friend.  Always supportive of my independence, forgiving my missteps, she encouraged me and was my sounding board. Plus she’s fun to hang out with to this day and my friends adore her.

Last year, I spent several weeks with her as she packed up her home in Florida and we drove back to Michigan, where she now resides only a few miles away from my sister and I.  (This was chronicled in my “Moving Mom” series).  It was an amazing experience to share that time together, something I’m grateful to have done for her – and myself.

To meet my Mom, you’d be struck be her enthusiasm, energy and positivity. She is vibrant, fun and loved by all lucky enough to know her. And her beautiful smile can light up a room.

So on this Mother’s Day, I pay tribute to the best Mom ever.  I love her dearly and am beyond grateful to be her daughter.

59 Candles, 59 Things – part forty six

Fifty fourth thing: Being tall makes me happy and deserves a spot in my 59 Things series.

It wasn’t always so. I was the tallest girl from kindergarten through my high school graduation. My friends were short and boys were not getting their growth spurts.  I was very shy and preferred to fly under the radar rather than draw attention to myself. Unfortunately, I was less than graceful and frequently tripped over my feet while entering a room or falling up or downstairs in a tangle of awkward too-long legs.

As an adult I grew into my just-over-six-foot-tall frame and came to appreciate it.  I got asked to model clothes for local fashion events (including discounts as a result). I could always find my friends in a crowd, easily reaching the top shelves in stores and kitchen cupboards, even the ones above my fridge. Yes, it was hard to find pants that fit my 36 inch inseam but I also found I could wear most of my wardrobe with a 25 pound weight fluctuation, something my shorter pals envied.

The main reason being tall makes me happy is that in accepting my height as a part of me that can’t be changed, I embraced my tallness early on as a unique part of what makes me who I am.

If I had a nickel for eveytime I’ve been asked this….let’s just say I could have retired sooner…


And now for a little tall-girl humor because it’s both funny and true!

59 Candles, 59 Things – part forty five

Fifty third thing:  This entry in the “59 Candles, 59 Things series features my love of photography.

I’ve never taken lessons. In recent years, my Nikon remains at home in favor of my iphone  camera for still and video photography. Capturing special moments while Spence and I travel, my beautiful blooming garden, our adorable Tipper and Biscotti as well as photographing food I’ve prepared or ordered out is fun for me.  The easy editing tools allow me to enhance my best shots, create lasting memories and gather content for my blog.  For me, photography is fun and it makes me happy.

Here are a few of my personal favorite photos:

This series, “59 Candles, 59 Things” was started almost one year ago to celebrate my 59th birthday and highlight some of the many things that make me happy.  For more, look under categories for “59 Things”.  I hope you’ll enjoy the series and think about what makes you happy too!

59 Candles, 59 Things – part forty four

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Fifty second thing: Living my entire life in Michigan has assured that I’ve always experienced the change of seasons. My favorites are Spring and Fall as they provide the most dramatic and profound shifts each year.  As we are enjoying Spring in Michigan right now, I had to feature it as one of the “59 Things” that make me happy.

In recent weeks, we’ve enjoyed temps near 80 and serious lows, including a freeze warning last night. We’ve had cool spring rains (and hail) at night, providing moisture for green grass and flowers.

My community has numerous flowering crab and cherry trees, “tulip trees” and rhododendron blooming now, while other trees are bursting forth with leaves overnight.  It’s thrilling to see everything come back to life after looking gray, dead and dreary for months.

Anxious to garden, I’ve purchased large pots of pansies for my front porch and deck.  I cleaned out numerous flower beds, then mulched (31 bags of pine bark mini-nuggets).  Tulips, daffodils, lily of the valley, peonies, poppies and hostas are all emerging so quickly that if you sit still and watch, you’ll see them growing.

Today I purchased jalapeno, green bell pepper, sweet red and yellow pepper plants.  For my herb garden, I purchased: rosemary, cilantro, lemon thyme, flat leaf parsley, sweet basil, French cooking thyme and bush basil (aka Greek Basil).  For now, they’ll remain in my sunny kitchen window…..soon to join a recently planted rosemary plant and the returning perrenial chives, garlic chives and chocolate mint in my herb bed.  I didn’t find sage today at the nursery but I’ll do so in the coming weeks.

Everything is coming back to life.  With mild longer days and the promise of Michigan’s beauty returning after the winter, Spring once again, makes me grateful and very happy.

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2016 Herb Garden….and so it begins!

For more of the “59 Candles, 59 Things” series click on categories, then “59 Things”. I started this series nearly a year ago on my 59th birthday to share 59 things that make me happy, we’re now approaching the final stretch.  What makes you happy?


59 Candles, 59 Things – part forty three

Fifty first thing: For my next happy thing, I’m celebrating the joy of being on a beach, warm sand between my toes.

This love of being at the beach brings back many happy memories of vacations from my childhood through my adult life. The feeling of sunshine on my skin, the sound of waves as they break on shore and a sense of having no responsibility other than to relax.

As I dream of my next imminent trip to the beach, I wanted to share these beach images.

Images courtesy of Pinterest

59 Candles, 59 Things – part forty two

Fiftieth thing: My inspiration for the next thing that makes me happy doesn’t cost a thing.  It’s energizing, refreshing and the day I’ve waited months for.

Fresh air through open windows, ah yes!

Is there anything more heavenly than that first day after a long winter and cold spring when you can safely open windows and get a cross breeze throughout your home?

Last weekend I was driving in snow and freezing rain on treacherous roads.  Spring seemed to have tenatively checked in and then retreated. It was sad as we’d had a couple of gorgeous days; the typical Michigan tease.

This morning I awoke to a gorgeous sunny day, checked my iphone for the outdoor temperature and started throwing open windows and doors.  Just glorious. It makes me ridiculously happy!

This fresh air montage is courtesy of Pinterest:


And this image made me think of how happy I am that Spring is upon us…..

If I were a cat…however I’m not a cat and must instead work in the garden today.  

For more “59 Candles, 59 Things” click on Categories, then “59 Things”.

59 Candles, 59 Things – part forty one

Forty-ninth thing – The next thing that makes me happy is seeing someone I love following their passion and finding success.

I’ve mentioned my lifelong BFF many times on this blog.  She is one of the most nuturing, compassionate beings to walk the earth.  A wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, friend, lover of animals, she is a gifted writer as well.

“Happy to Be Me” is a children’s book featuring charming photography by the talented, Lauryn Goodvich.  Imagine a book impacting children to embrace the positive with each new day, understanding that happiness is a choice. Her positive, glass half-full perspective is evident in each carefully chosen word.

Since it’s publication, Karen and Lauryn have been traveling to schools, reading the book to students and fielding questions including their interest in writing and how the book came to be. Tomorrow is her book release open house and I couldn’t be more proud.

For those who follow me, you know I’ve chosen to not feature ads nor do product endorsements in exchange for samples (no judgements, just a choice).  That said, I’m recommending this book to any parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend who wants a special gift for a child that is destined to become a favorite. Why? Because it makes me happy!

My personal copy!

This book can be purchased on Amazon by following this link:



There are plans for a second book in development……