Say no, guilt-free


In two weeks, two dear friends have told me no. It’s gratifying to have special people in my life who realize the importance of taking care of themselves, even if it means having to turn me down. Sometimes it seems there are not any new ideas. It’s just some ideas get recycled to meet new needs or new situations. The idea that we should not feel guilty when we say no, isn’t new. Yet, why do so many of us (myself included), feel badly when we have to decline?  It can be downright difficult to say no.

Both of my no-saying friends, were quick to give explanations for their denial of my request. I hope I was quick enough to let them know they didn’t need to explain. I think I even told one friend that if I was in front of her, I might have slapped her for feeling like she had to give me her rationale. (You know I’d never slap anyone!!)

In reality, I felt so proud both times, pleased that these confidants were able to say no! What a skill to have. Our time is so important. Whether we are doing something we love, reading, napping, cooking, cleaning, gardening, taking care of family, it is all important. It all matters. Can you do it, say no, without guilt? Or, does it wear on you all day?

I know, I know. We have heard this before, and maybe today you needed to be reminded that it’s just fine to decline an invitation or say no to a request, without a lengthy explanation, guilt-free. Take care of you!

Slainte! Susan

What is for you

What is for you proverb

I love quotes. Though we can be inundated with them on social media, still, I enjoy them and often they speak directly to my heart. Since my holiday in Ireland, I have been  fascinated with Irish proverbs.

What is for you will not pass you by…yes, I believe this! Even when it’s meant to be, sometimes I still have to remind myself effort on my part is still required.

I can look back at so many events that didn’t work out how I wanted, and as I follow the story through in reflection, I realize it wasn’t for me.  But, gosh, at the time the let down can be incredibly tough.

My latest venture is to be an author of a school for middle-schoolers, to help them navigate through the tough part of of being a tween.  Fingers crossed that being an author is “for me” as the Irish proverb says. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.  Anybody know how to get more hours in one day? Anybody know a publisher?

Slainte! Susan

Optional Reading******************************************************

I took this picture last summer while on the Island of Inishmore in the Republic of Ireland. When I look back on some of the best days of my life, this day is right at the top. It was like stepping back in time. The houses have thatched roofs, few cars are on the island, and stone walls are everywhere.  When we tried to rent bikes with a credit card we were told Euros only-of which we didn’t have enough. A kind man with his family asked the bike guy to add our rental fees onto his. We rode around the island hugging the Irish Sea. The sun was out, the sky was clear, and truly I felt like it was a dream! A perfect day, though we failed to follow the directions given, we ended up on a road, less traveled, and we were exactly where we needed to be!

Tread Softly


We are well into another year! Surely you have goals, aspirations, and dreams for the next 11ish months. Consider the wise words from an Irish poet, W.B. Yeats.

I have spread my dreams under your feet tread softly because you tread on my dreams. 

Hang on tightly to your supporters- those people who celebrate your tomorrows, hopes, dreams, and ideas as wild as they may seem!

A few of my personal aspirations for the year: Continue my one marathon-a-year streak, pursue writing classes for myself (finally for me, not my students!), spend more time reading and less time on social media (even Pinterest), visit a new country (or two or three), worry less, and be me!

Interestingly enough, people in my life have had something negative to say about each of these. Marathons are bad for your knees….don’t people die? Watching TV is easier than reading…Pinterest is educational…Why spend hard earned money traveling abroad?

When such remarks are made, I remember to cherish the many supporters in my life who encourage even my smallest plans!  Remembering Yeats helps too!

Cheers to you and whatever wild ideas you have for 2016. May you fill your days with those who support you vigorously!

Slainte!  Susan


Optional Reading!

It was one of those memorable days…While on the Emerald Isle, one of my dear travel partners was fascinated by old grave sites. We visited at a few. She had specifically mentioned finding Yeats’ gravesite. We truly stumbled upon the road sign for his grave. Because we were not watching for the sign, our driver had to make quite a sudden turn as to not miss the exit. Driving on the opposite side of the road didn’t help with any suddenness related to the wee car!  We meandered through the grounds and through an old church (most churches are old here). We learned of his above mentioned poem and other tidbits of information on our self-guided tour. Admittedly, I knew little about Yeats prior to the almost missed turn into his burial site. After we left, we found our way to our resting place for the night-Foxford, a quaint fishing village. The B&B hosts could not have been more hospitable during our stay. After fine meal, we relaxed in their parlor, and enjoyed freshly French pressed coffee and just made banana bread. We researched Yeats and shared our new found information with one another. I have this quote in my nest (aka office), and it takes me back to one of the highlights of our Irish holiday! Our brief stay in Foxford is a cherished memory, and I’m so pleased Yeats was a part of it!

A Letter of Gratitude

Who deserves a thank you from you? Someone who currently impacts your life…or someone from long ago?

I had many educators who made a positive impact on me, though none more than my high school English teacher, Susan Lawrence-Rich. I could go on and on about what I learned from her, oh so many years ago. Suffice it to say, she fostered my love of language and writing-two of my passions, even today.

After continuous encouragement from a dear friend, I finally, after almost 30 years, penned a letter to Mrs. Rich.  Putting my thoughts to paper was such a joy, and I was surprised by how much I had to share with her.

Yesterday’s trip to the  mailbox led me to a delightful discovery! I received correspondence from Mrs. Rich to thank me for my letter, impeccably timed as she nears retirement.

Just wondering if there’s anybody who deserves a letter of gratitude from you? Why are you waiting?




While not my own idea, I’m intrigued. I saw this idea on the internet. Originally created for parents to use with kids for Christmas, there’s value for adults too. I have pondered my own responses for several days.

Even if you don’t put pen to paper, consider your personal responses.

Something you want. Something you need. Something to wear. Something to read. 

For now, subject to change, here are my responses.

Want: less sadness in our community (wanted to say the world but that’s asking a lot)

Need: balance

Read: The list is sooo long. Better too long than too short!

Wear: More handknitted warmth from Ireland. Why didn’t I buy another sweater? scarf? hat?

I would love to hear your thoughts! Enjoy Christmas with those you love!

Slainte! Susan


Letters to Me

A stroll through the book store can be restorative for me. On this particular Friday night, it was a much needed “getaway.” Do you get excited when you spot books you’ve already read? Silly, huh? It makes me feel successful in some small way. “I’ve read this one, that one…” I can almost always remember where I was when I was reading a book, especially if I was on a vacation! Then I meet all the books I want to read, and know I will never live long enough.  It reminds me of a topic I wrote about recently–being bored. With so many unread books, how does one become bored?

During this time of the year, the book store is filled with even more gifty items then usual. I stumbled upon “Letters to My Future Self.” The cover promises: Write Now. Read Later. Treasure Forever. See website here.

paper capsule

There are ten prompts: These are my roots…Where I want to go…All the things I’d like to try someday…This is what I live for…It was an extraordinary day…I promise to myself…There’s no place like home…A pep talk for the future me…This is a letter about my love…I never want to forget this…And, two blank pages for topics of your own choice.

The gist – write yourself a letter. It’s “from the old me” written”to my future self.” The writer indicates the date sealed and the date to be opened.

Since I purchased this item, my mind has churned out letter upon letter. I’ve also pondered responses I may have written to myself 10 years ago, 20, even 30!  I have yet to actually write anything down, but I promise to get busy on this.

Even if you don’t put pen to paper, or hands to a keyboard (I intend to handwrite my letters), did any of the prompts make you want to craft  your own letters? I can’t decide where to begin though “It was an extraordinary day” is calling out to me.

We have much to be thankful for, today and everyday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Slainte! Susan

In other news…

The coloring crazy continues. When I walked into the bookstore, there were hundreds of coloring books on clearance. My first thought was it’s over.  But, as I continued my tour, new coloring books with new themes have emerged, and they are laced throughout numerous aisles now. Once confined to only one small section in the store.  I also saw monthly calendars where you color the scene for each month along with daily desk calendars, something new to color daily. This is far from over!

Finally, how do you feel about a color app? It doesn’t have the same appeal  or satisfaction for me. Maybe on a long plane ride, it would help break up the monotony. There are several free apps out there.






Lessons from Making Soup

Whether you believe that it takes 21 days to build a habit or not, my soup making has reached day 21. No! I have not made soup for 21 days, but I have made a homemade pot of it, for 3 weeks, and that IS 21 days.I tried to research the 21 days to a habit, and of course the research is overwhelming. Never mind the research.

The cool weather and rainy day seems like the perfect time to enjoy the delightful aromas that drift throughout the house when soup is simmering on the stove. But, this isn’t really about soup concoctions. It’s about “life concoctions.” I’m not a cook. That has been established. But, now that I’m temporarily enjoying the process of soup making, I’m learning I can substitute this for that–broth when it calls for water, more oregano when I don’t have thyme, chicken breast not ground beef, table salt when I forgot sea salt, and dried basil when I couldn’t find fresh. (Real chefs are probably cringing here!)

At any rate, as I’m mixing up today’s soup (to be served Tuesday night after my running workout), a thought, and I suppose it’s a well-worn one, came to mind.  Life is kind much like my attempts at cooking. The “recipe” rarely goes as planned. The “ingredients” were unexpected.  I may have “under or overcooked” it. And, in the end-it was just fine. Some times the “recipes” turn out better than others. Rarely do we have to discard the entire meal, we work with what we have.  We file those recipes that went well–these are keepers. We delete those we don’t care to try again.

I do believe I learn from every experience. I file it away in my memory, always thinking of what I might refine for next time, just like my recent soup making escapades.

Add a little of this and that. Remove some of that. Keep doing this.  And, always with kindly and gently!

Slainte!  Susan

P.S.  Today’s recipe Pasta Fagiloli. Click here for the recipe.  I didn’t have all the spices. I used extra of what I had, doubled the meat using ground turkey instead of ground beef. It’s already delicious. Imagine what a delightful dinner this will be in a couple days.

Last week’s soup was super too.  Hearty Vegetable soup. Click here for the recipe.  I added lots of chicken breast.

Finally, this really is NOT a cooking blog.  Though it’s fun to discover a new recipe every now and again all while I’m embracing the lessons I’m learning along the way!