Thursday, May 30, 2013


Someone asked me a few weeks ago what my blog is about.  I answered with something like "what I do on weekends, and my occasional blunt rants about how people should live their lives".  I love blogging, but I don't like to talk about it., 'sweird.  I know sometimes it gets boring, but every once in a while I will slam dunk a post and know that lots of people are thinking about the way they live day to day.  My post on Loss (found here) was a big hit, for example.  And apparently my post yesterday did the same.  I received a message from an old friend from my hometown.

I am going to share it because it almost brought me to tears (more on that later) and it just made me feel good:

Hi Natalie, 
I know this email comes out of nowhere, but I wanted to tell you that I love your blog. I have been doing a lot of revaluation of my life (regarding the people who are in it, the ones who are gone and the ones who are no longer part of my life) and I just want to say that you are a wonderful young lady. Seeing you as the "little one" my brother picked on to what you have grown up to be, you are an inspiration. I truly love reading about your take on life and I just wanted to say thank you for writing your blog. 
That made my week.  I like to think my blunt ideas sometimes do some good.  My life isn't perfect by any means, but I am really making an effort to LIVE well.  I want the people around me to enjoy my company and I want others to live happy, too.  I'll try to help you get there.

A good friend has been going through a lot of crap over the last 6 months/year.  I am the friend that always listens and tries to cheer her up.  She sometimes comes to me for my blunt advice, which I dole out at appropriate intervals :)  After some health and life changes, she has come back into her own.  It is so fantastic to have her back.  Well and good.  The real her.  We help each other through a lot, and I know that she will be there the next time I fall off the wagon.  

One thing I shared with her this week (stolen from another friend's FB status) was "Surround yourself only with those who make you feel better."  Please, stop wasting time with "friends" and family who suck the life out of you.  You don't owe anyone anything, and there are no obligations in life.  I never feel obligated to someone, especially if they don't understand how a real relationship works.  Everything goes two way, my friends.  

I have really become a believer of "energy".  I can feel the energy in a room and will often leave or re-position myself based on the people's energy.  I don't want your negativity near me!  I'm not one of those crazies, but I only want positive people near me.  And I am CHOOSING to keep people out of my life because of that.  

Live your life for you.  

Back to the reason I teared up about the message I got above...  The brother she refers to is no longer with us.  I think about him way too often and miss him so much.  It has been seven years already and I will never forget my mom holding me to my bed because I was crying and so distraught.  He was like a brother to me, and the song played at his funeral still makes me cry.  I would give up a lot of things to have his positive, loving energy back in my life.  He always had a gigantic smile on his face and gave the best hugs!  These are the types of people I want in my life, and I won't let negative people take up their space.

I want to live life for him, for others, for those who don't get the choice to.  

Let's get living, people!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Being a Grandparent

Grandparents.  I recently have come to love mine even more than I always have.  I don't quite know what prompted it, but I will share a few examples below.  They are so important to me and I am absolutely terrified of losing any of them any time soon.

I am so lucky that my grandparents lived 5 miles in either direction growing up.  I spent days, weekends, and I'm sure even weeks with my grandmas.  Cleaning, listening to Frank Sinatra and Patsy Cline, shopping, gardening, watching movies, napping, and being spoiled.  I sent my paternal grandmother a Mother's Day card thanking her for raising 10 wonderful kids who have made my life great.  My mom and her mom were here for Mother's day, and I gave them each a card, bringing them both to tears, telling my grandma that even though sometimes her kids are brats (more on that later), she is amazing and did a fantastic job raising them.

My paternal grandma is currently in a rehabilitation home doing physical therapy after she fell.  In the last year, she suffered several strokes, sold her home, and moved into town in an assisted living facility.  This has been a lot of changes, and she takes them in stride, with a smile.  Mind you, she's been doing everything on her own since my grandpa Wendell (miss you gpa) passed away in 1999.  This is the same grandma that graduated from Bethel, worked as a nurse, and raised 10 kids in a blended family.  She is AMAZING.  Not to mention the cutest shorty ever.  Here she is below at our wedding with me and her oldest son Gary.  Presh.  I just love her (both of them actually).  So lucky that she is a fighter, independent, and still sassy.  I love you, Gramma B.

This past weekend (Memorial Day), Mike and I went to my maternal grandparent's cabin near Cushing, MN.  We figured it out that we hadn't been there in 5 years, since our first summer together.  Wow, we've come a long way!  It was just my grandparents and us.  When was the last time you spent a weekend alone with your grandparents?  It was fantastic.  You could tell they loved having us there.  We got to go to the Lion's Club pancake breakfast, catch a few sunnies off the dock, grill steak, and just chat.  Mike also got to learn cribbage from the master, my grandpa.  That was interesting!  Needless to say, we had a great time chumming with them.

Me and Grandma on Mother's Day
The one thing that scared me...they talked about having a lot of friends and classmates pass away in the last few months.  I can't imagine life without my grandparents...or one without the other.  Which brings me to my last point:


In the past few years, an aunt and cousins have basically dropped off the face of the planet when it comes to our family.  *If they are reading and would like to talk to me about bringing it up, please do, I would love to hear the reasoning.*  My grandparents do not get to see their grandkids or first great-grandchild - for no apparent reason.  They live less than 30 minutes away.  They don't come to holidays.  My grandma put Christmas presents on their doorstep.  My aunt is a PASTOR!  Practice what you preach, sistah.  She comes to town to see other people, and drives right past my grandparent's (her parent's) house.  Do you know what it's like to have to comfort your crying grandmother because her own child cares more about someone else in town?  Given my last impromptu encounter with my cousin, they are under some sort of orders to not communicate with my grandparents.  They are the only grandparents the kids have living.  PLEASE tell me why you would disconnect yourself from the precious grandparents you have?!  (End rant. I've been holding that in for months.)

I just don't get it.  I love my grandparents.  No person could tell me not to.  Grow up.

Take the time to send your grandparents a card or shoot them a call.  You never know how much it will mean to them.  We don't know how much longer we get to keep them, show the love!