Let’s Leave This World Better Than We Found It

The division in this country is alarming. There is so much hate spewing from people, it is frightening.


I believe social media is the main source of it.

People can be on a laptop, Ipad, cell phone, any tablet for that matter, and just type words that most would never have the nerve to say publicly.

If you aren’t on Facebook, twitter or any of the many other social media sights, you may be unaware, and maybe you are the luckies of people. There are days I scroll through my Facebook and have to keep on scrolling by so many posts. I have a twitter account, but I never use it. Social media can overload a person.

I have a degree in journalism. No, I am not bragging. I am going to make a point. A journalist, a good one anyway, is to report both sides of a story. A journalist is not to report one side, the side they agree with, to the public. They are to report the entire story, both sides, to the public. A good journalist will do so, allowing the public to form their own thoughts and opinions on the story. But, it should be a fact-based story, leaving the reader or those watching the news, to have the knowledge needed to have their opinions. Not the nonsense we see today.

Today, journalists (reporters) air clips of a political event, not sharing the entire video, for people to see. They are also guilty of reporting their own opinions. No, not saying them. Rather, they use their own agenda, their view on the subject, to report a story. I guess they need to go back to Journalism 101.

I rarely watch the news any longer. Facebook keeps me informed, and not always in a good way. So, I do what a real journalist would do. I research. I look at both sides of an issue. I then make my own decision on the matter. I strongly encourage everyone to do the same thing.

To say I am concerned about politics is an understatement. I am well beyond concerned. I am fearful of what the future may hold, not for me, but for many future generations.

I am a grandmother. A very proud grandmother. I would give my life for my grandkids. I believe any grandparent would. But, that is just my belief. I know positively how I feel. We are going to be blessed in June with another grandchild. We are excited beyond words. I am a vocal person because I have a goal, to leave this world a better place than I found it.

I hope more people rather than less have the same goal. We have to work together, come together, pray together, to achieve this goal. I have always prayed. I believe in the power of prayer. I won’t say what I privately pray for. But I will tell you that I have been praying every single night for this country, for the safety of our citizens, for people to come together for the greater good.

Hate never achieves anything. Love is boundless.

God Bless.


Hobbies are Good Therapy

In the hectic world we live in, it is nice to have time away from all of the stress. Time to unwind, relax and enjoy some peace and quiet.

Before I begin my day, I spend time crocheting. I enjoy a cup of coffee, sitting in the love seat recliner with a crochet hook and a skein of yarn, working on whatever project I have chosen. Right now, I am making baby blankets. I just finished one yesterday and began another one today.

One is for our daughter’s best friend Ashley. She is like a second daughter to us. Her and Whitney spent a lot of time together growing up, and they still do. The second one is for our daughter Whitney. It is great that they are expecting babies together! Ashley is due in May. This is her first baby. Whitney is due in June. This is her third baby! I have made the other two baby blankets too!

I love crocheting baby blankets for family and friends. I know how precious a homemade gift is. I have the afghan my Grandma Sundquist crocheted for me for graduation hanging on a quilt rack. It is absolutely beautiful! I cherish it. I feel as though I am following in her footsteps. I wish I would have learned to sew like her!

I believe having a hobby soothes the soul. I find crocheting very calming. I call it therapy. I concentrate on the project at hand, leaving my worries behind.

I have also been experimenting with chalk paint. I painted a couple of mason jars and filled them with flowers. I also have glittered a couple of mason jars and decorated them for Christmas, putting lights inside them. Pinterest is amazing.

Another new venture I have taken on is playing the keyboard/piano I bought recently. I have mentioned this before, crocheting too, but they are passions of mine! I have bought a beginners book and began playing some simple songs. Fortunately, I can read music, so notes are not a problem. It is a challenge to learn the fingering on it though! After all, I played the clarinet, not a piano! But, I love it. I try to make time every day to play and practice! Nothing is achieved without trying!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day. Keep your eyes on the weather. The end of the weeks sounds ugly. I keep hoping the forecast changes! But, after all, is Nebraska. We can handle it!


Move on!

When you do all you can, when you have exasperated yourself reaching out to those that are “family” and nothing good comes of it. What do you do???

Move on. People love you or they don’t. They want to be a part of your life, or they don’t. It isn’t hard to figure out. It is, however, so hard to understand.

When you have spent all of your life with your loved ones, enjoying holidays together, laughing and loving, how do you understand complete silence? Simple, you don’t.

Normal people don’t walk away from you. Normal people don’t turn their backs and walk away especially for a silly reason. Not all families have normal members.

Such is my life.

I have learned to adapt. I have moved on, the best I can. It isn’t easy. When you have gone through the loss of a parent, dad, and a nephew, Derek, life is never the same.

I could sing dad’s praises all day and night. He was by far the best dad. I think we all believe our dad’s rock the world. I know I felt that way, and I still do.

That aside, life changes in death. I know I have never been the same. How could I? But, I moved on. Dad would want me to. But now, I am without my mother and my siblings. I have been since July of 2015. I never thought that would happen. How do you turn your back on your sister and your daughter? Apparently, it is pretty easy.

But, as they say, life goes on. I say my prayers. I know how blessed I am. I have a husband, Jeff, that makes my life complete. He is truly the love of my life and I never forget that. We spend every moment we have together. Life is short, as Jeff and I are both aware. He lost his brother, Ken,  in February of 2015 and his nephew Kyle in December of 2011. I also lost a nephew, Derek, in 2006. Jeff and I talk about our lost loved ones, sharing memories of them. It used to make us cry, now we laugh at some of the memories. I laugh especially at all of dad’s sayings. He had so many of them! We laugh and cry at the same time, remembering all of them.

What will the future hold? We often talk about that. Who knows? I don’t worry about it. Life is what it is. I can’t change it. We both live one day at a time. If something were to happen to a family member of mine, I would be there in a shot. No matter how they feel about me, I still love them. I wouldn’t be anywhere else but with them if needed.

So, hold your loved ones near. Say your prayers. Never lose hope. God is always there.

Good night and God Bless.

Enjoy the Beauty of the Season and Surround Yourself with Those Who Really Care

I am sitting in our living room, enjoying all of the Christmas lights. Yes, we still have our Christmas tree up! I don’t take it down until the end of January. The beauty of the season doesn’t need taken down the minute Christmas is over. Beauty should be enjoyed as long as possible.

I get up early every day, enjoy a cup of coffee and look at the Christmas tree. This year, we decorated it with blue lights and silver, blue and white decorations. It is breathtaking. Jeff and I both adore the color blue. I also crochet early in the morning while all is still quiet outside. I have a light that goes around my neck so I can see to crochet and yet don’t have to turn on the lights in the house. I saw this light advertised and wondered if it would really be as good as they said. I checked the reviews and they were all good. I just put it on my neck, like a necklace, but it is open in the front. There is a light on each end that has 3 different light settings. It is amazing! I can also read in bed with it and not bother Jeff!

The Christmas tree isn’t the only Christmas decor I enjoy. I have many snow globes Whitney has bought me for Christmas every year. I didn’t get a new one yet this year, it is running late! I will get it later this month. I am so excited! I saw the picture of it and it’s beautiful!

I also put lights on the fireplace, and have other lighted decorations. I love the lights and sounds of the season! I have many Christmas houses too! Our house is full, and that is fine because it is full of joy and beauty!

I hope everyone enjoyed Christmas and the New Year! We didn’t get to be with all of our loved ones, but that is life. When people don’t welcome me or even ask how I am, then I don’t want to be with them either. Jeff and I have made our own decisions and know that being with those who really want to be with us are the only people we want around. That isn’t hard to figure out.

Enjoy the beautiful January weather we are having. What a blessing it is!

God Bless all of you. May God surround you with those that truly love and care about you!


Write the Best Book for 2019!

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

I used to. Then I found myself never keeping them. The problem is, I would make resolutions that were nearly impossible, or not desirable, to keep.

I would make the same one as everyone else, lose weight. I would exercise more, doing really well, and then I would just stop. So I stopped making weight loss a resolution. And then I discovered why resolutions don’t work, at least for me. I would make resolutions I hated! In order to have a successful resolution, you have to be committed to it. Just like anything in life, if you want it, you will make it happen. Until then, it won’t happen.

Such is weight loss. I won’t have to make that resolution this year, because I finally wanted it to happen and am committed to it! I have been determined to get “back to me” since the end of May. I have, as of today, lost 27 pounds and 10 ounces. No, I don’t take anything to lost weight. I believe in the old fashioned way, losing it on my own. I gained it on my own.

I have downsized portions at meals. After a period of time, I noticed I didn’t want to eat more, I was full. I think my body adjusted to my eating habits. If you eat a lot, your body wants a lot. But if you eat less, your body wants less. I increased the amount of vegetables I eat a day. I love veggies! In the summer when we have our garden in full swing, I am in heaven! I have fresh veggies at my fingertips! I eat them all day! I have also increased the amount of protein I eat. Protein is very good for you and it is filling as well. I love hard boiled eggs and there are 5 grams of protein in each egg. I eat them almost daily. My favorite meats are chicken and salmon, which are very good when dieting too! We never fry anything. Eating fried foods is so unhealthy for people. We grill all summer long and in the winter we bake or use the air fryer. We also eat homemade soups in the winter. I make my own broth to add to soups, using our homegrown herbs. Canned broth is so full of sodium! I will never buy that again. I have also learned to make creamed soups. I don’t do it as often as I should, but I am working on it. I am already looking forward to summer and the garden! Thankfully, we still have many frozen veggies from the garden still in the freezer. Green beans are my favorite! My weakness is not sweets. I have never been one to eat sweets. I like chips, crackers, anything salty. I just pointed out how bad that is for people. So, I quit eating them. I only have a cheat day when we take the boat out fishing. We take snacks along. Chips and crackers seem to just jump in the fishing bag I pack! Other than that, I never eat them. You can’t eat the chips and expect to lose weight. Menopause has not been my friend. I have struggled for years now, not sleeping all night and that seemed to lead to more eating. I finally have a handle on it and I feel so much better.

I also exercise. But, I don’t kill myself doing it. Losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise. I focus a lot on the 80%. I do pushups, weights and squats. I also enjoy yoga. I don’t pay for exercise, I look up videos on youtube. I also love to walk all summer long! Here it is the last day of 2018 and it is not exactly walking weather. That is what I have a treadmill for. I have to say, I don’t really enjoy the treadmill. It is very boring. 30 minutes seem to last forever!

I have about 10 pounds to go and I will be back to the girl I used to know. I knew if I didn’t lose the weight now, it wasn’t likely to happen. I am not getting any younger. The older you are, the harder it is to lose weight.

But, I was determined. I have grandkids to play with. I love running and playing with Peeps and Rowen! Losing weight has made it so much easier, and I am much more agile. We are expecting another grandchild in June! Nene and Papa are so excited! Nene plans to keep on dieting and playing with the grandkids! I don’t want to be on the floor playing and I can’t get up!

No, I don’t make resolutions. I believe in living life one day at a time, enjoying every minute, doing what is right for me. If I want to change something about me, I will. And I have. The rest of my life has been a huge blessing. I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter, a terrific son-in-law and of course, the grandkids Peeps and Rowen, whom we adore! They are the light of our lives!

I saw this somewhere today and fell in love with it! My goal for 2019 and every year after.

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one. 

Happy New Year everyone. Stay safe and warm tonight!

Get a Flu Shot!

I am sorry I haven’t written in a while. The holidays have kept us very busy, but that isn’t the only reason I haven’t been in touch, we have had some kind of awful flu!

Last Thursday started like any day in the Gilliland house. We got up and went to work. Unfortunately, that was the only normal part of the day.

While I was at work at Golden Oaks, I began to get a headache. Within minutes, the average headache was throbbing so badly, I wondered if I was having a migraine. I have never had a migraine before, so I wasn’t sure. I also began coughing a lot. Coughing isn’t unusual for a cold, so I thought maybe I was catching one. I took ibuprofen for the headache. It did help dull the pain, but it did not go away entirely.

I made it through the day and went home. I spoke with a couple of friends on the phone, worked around the house, took Shiloh, our rat terrier, out to play a bit and heated up leftover hamburger soup for supper. In this time, I noticed I was feeling worse. I had chills and body aches setting in.

I changed into my winter pajamas, slippers, my favorite fuzzy socks and a bathrobe. I curled up under my electric blanket on the recliner. I just couldn’t get warm.

Jeff walked in the door from work and said he had a sore throat! He was also chilled, but had been outside so he thought that was why until he couldn’t get warm. I am sure if anyone had walked into our house, they would have roasted! We had the heat turned up pretty high!

Our conditions only deteriorated as the next couple of days passed. Neither one of us could work Friday. We were either in bed or in our love seat recliners. We both had very bad coughs. I thought I was going to cough up a lung. My stomach and back muscles hurt badly from coughing so hard. I finally managed to cough up some phlegm. Jeff couldn’t do the same. It really didn’t seem to matter though, I kept coughing. Mucinex didn’t even help our coughs. That made me worry because it usually does help. I was terrified of contracting bronchitis again. I had bronchitis almost 5 years ago. I vividly remember how much that hurt! I didn’t want that back.

I did have diarrhea a few times one day, but luckily that didn’t last. We both hurt so bad all over, we could barely get up to use the bathroom or get something to drink. We stayed hydrated though. That is so important. We drank juice, water, 7 up or coke and ate grapes, oranges and soup. I have to say, soup didn’t seem to taste good. I ate a little and couldn’t finish it. Jeff never even tried it.

Jeff was doing a little better by Saturday morning, but he still hurt all over. He could get around better than me though. I was down yet. I coughed a lot less though, which was a huge relief. By this time, coughing brought tears to my eyes. My nose starting running though and wouldn’t stop! I went through two boxes in 24 hours! My nose is still raw.

Finally, this morning, we both felt much better. We still don’t have much of an appetite. I have avoided the recliner and the bed today. I just couldn’t handle laying down in bed or laying back in the recliner anymore. I have been sitting up today on the kitchen bar stools trying to get strength back too. I was sure I would have bed sores if I laid around another day. After a while, I just couldn’t get comfortable no matter if I laid on my back or my side.

I don’t remember ever being sick this long unless I had strep throat or bronchitis. I am not sure what we had. It wasn’t just the flu or a cold, it was a mix and it was very painful. Influenza A is going around right now. Maybe that is what we had. I looked it up and we had the symptoms, but we didn’t go to the doctor to be tested, so I can’t say we had it.

We didn’t get the flu shot. We won’t make that mistake again. We aren’t getting any younger. I never want to feel this badly again. So, from here forward, we will be getting a flu shot every year. I hope everyone gets a flu shot. I don’t know if it would have prevented us from catching this strain or not, but it maybe would have prevented it from being as severe.

I hear of those that die from the flu every year. A young boy from Beatrice recently passed away from the flu. God bless him. I have been keeping his family in my prayers.

When I hear of people dying from the flu, I never think it could be me. Until I was as sick as I was. No, I wasn’t go to die, or at least I didn’t think so. I wasn’t having breathing problems, thankfully. But, I did worry. Our symptoms were different every day. At one point yesterday, I was so miserable, I nearly went to the hospital. I have to be bad to consider that. But, thankfully, within a few hours, I began to improve so much! This morning when I woke up, I felt great! I still had a runny nose and a bit of a headache, but that was all.

We didn’t do anything today but rest. I didn’t want us to do much for fear of a relapse.

Please get a flu shot. Encourage your family and friends to do so too.

Life is too precious not to!


Thankful for the Music in my Life

I have been musically inclined since I was in grade school. I played the clarinet from the 5th grade all through high school. I still have my clarinet. Every once in a while, I get it out and play the school song! I have it memorized. I wonder how many times I played it in high school? Countless times.

When I was young, I had an organ. I don’t remember where it came from, but I loved it. I would play many songs on it. My favorite was Silent Night. A perfect song for this time of year. And, it wasn’t hard to learn!

It was a very small organ. The keys were numbered. I had a book full of songs, with the notes also numbered. I was so glad I could read music. I know what a whole note is, quarter note, eighth note and what a rest is, and how many counts the to rest. Whether it is 4 or 2, and so on.

I have missed playing music! I am a bit rusty after all of these years. But, I can still read music. I learned from two of the best band directors ever! I began playing the clarinet when I lived in Tekamah. I was in the 5th grade and began taking clarinet lessons from Joe Chapman, the band director at Tekamah-Herman school. I continued playing there through my freshman year of high school. We moved to Oakland in August of 1978. I was leery about playing in the band at the Oakland-Craig school. I was used to a large band, of over 90 band members. When I came to Oakland, there were maybe 30 band members. I almost quit. I am thankful every day that I didn’t quit. Bryan Johnson was the band director. He turned a small band program into one of the best around! My senior year, district music contest was in Tekamah. Contest is the bands from the same district each playing in front of a group of judges, hopefully getting the highest honor, a superior rating. It is also small groups competing for the same honor. I was in a small group. There were three clarinet players, me included, and one saxophone player. I had not competed in a small group before. To say I was nervous is an understatement. We began playing the piece we had practiced for endless hours when my worst fear happened. A pad underneath one of my keys on the clarinet fell out! I had to stop us. When a pad falls out, the clarinet won’t play one single note! Mr. Johnson fixed it. I asked if we could start over and the judge said no. We had to start where I stopped us, which was about 12 measures into the song. We nailed it after that, but I was sure we wouldn’t get a superior rating and it would be because of me! When I walked out the door, who did I run into? Mr. Chapman! He had been standing outside the door, listening to us! He told me I did the right thing and we would get the superior. He was sure of it. He also told me Mr. Johnson is a great band director and Oakland was lucky to have him! We did get a superior and so did the band, for the first time ever in Oakland-Craig’s history! I cried that day. I was so happy. It was a day I have never forgotten and never will.

Mr. Johnson passed away six years ago and Mr. Chapman passed away recently. I was blessed to have known them. And blessed that they guided me throughout my band years. I will cherish my memories of them always.

I have wanted an electric keyboard/piano for years. I think of my organ all the time, and I missed it so much that I had to have one. I wanted to learn again. I want to keep the music in my life, not just listening to a radio, but playing it through my fingers! So, I bought myself one for Christmas. I ordered a book to help me learn more. I also have spend a lot of time on youtube learning songs. The first song I wanted to learn was Amazing Grace. Then I played Jingle Bells and Silent Night for the Christmas season, and Silent Night in memory of my organ that also sent me on this journey. I have a lot to learn. I will never by no means be a pianist. I am doing this for me. Music has always been important to me. I want to continue playing and learning. I may get my clarinet out again soon!

You are never too old to learn!

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

My Grandma Sundquist’s Christmas Cup

I have certain possessions of other family members that have passed on that I treasure dearly. They don’t have a dollar value, but they do have a memory value. Memories don’t have a price tag. They are priceless.

When my Grandma Sundquist passed away, I was blessed to receive a few items that belonged to her. The one I enjoy this time of year is a coffee cup.

What is so special about a coffee cup? First of all, it was my grandma’s. Secondly, it is a Christmas cup. I enjoy drinking coffee during the Christmas season from her cup. That may sound silly to you. But, I can picture her drinking coffee from this cup. I can’t say that I remember that. I don’t. I wish I did. So, I use my imagination. I have such wonderful memories of her! And, yes, she enjoyed coffee or hot tea in the mornings. I am not a hot tea fan, but I love coffee! I am enjoying a cup at this moment from grandma’s cup.

This morning, while drinking coffee, I have been taking a trip down memory lane. Grandma would hang a stocking for each of her grandkids on the hand rail of the stairs. I love stocking gifts. Jeff and I still put something in each other’s stocking! But, the stocking at grandma’s was so special, because it came from grandma! I also remember getting pajamas from grandma. I don’t know if kids today consider pajamas much of a gift, but I did. I actually looked forward to getting new pajamas!

I hope all of you are making memories this year, and reminiscing of the years gone by. I find myself reflecting back to all the Christmases I have been blessed to have, and all of the people I shared them with. Especially those that are gone now. The love shared and the memories made with them are precious. I believe that is how we keep them alive, in our hearts, minds and our soul. Never to be lost, always to be cherished.

I wish all of you the Merriest of Christmases! Hug your loved ones and make the best of memories! God bless all of you!

My grandma’s coffee cup. Photo credit/Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

Rules to Live By

7 Rules of Life

  1. Make peace with your past so it won’t disturb your present.
  2. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  3. Time heals almost everything. Give it time.
  4. No one is in charge of your happiness, except you.
  5. Don’t compare your life to others and don’t judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  6. Stop thinking too much. It’s alright not to know the answers. They will come to you when you least expect it.
  7. You don’t own all the problems in the world

Busy, busy, busy!

4 days and counting! Is everyone done shopping for Christmas?

I am not! I have one person to buy a gift for, Jeff.

Every year, we go through this. I ask and ask him what he wants for Christmas, and every year, he says he doesn’t know. I was going to get him a coat. But, not now. Whitney and Tri gave Jeff a gift card to Cabelas specifically for a coat. I am back to square one, which is no where.

We are going shopping. Anybody that knows me is aware of how much I detest shopping, especially at Christmas time. I am an Amazon girl! But, it is too late for that! So, shopping it is. I am sure the crowds will be unreal! It seems like every time I go shopping, everyone else knows I am coming, so they all pack into the stores I am going to!

I also have to buy yarn, so look out Hobby Lobby! I am coming! I have two baby blankets to crochet! I am so excited. Our daughter, Whitney, is pregnant. Her and Tri are expecting their third child June! Whitney’s best friend, Ashley, a second daughter to us, is expecting a baby in May! She is having a boy, so I know the color of yarn I am buying to make his blanket. Whitney and Tri aren’t finding out what they are having. Since they already have a girl and a boy, they don’t want to know. They have all they need for this baby, boy or girl, so they want to be surprised this time. So, I am buying some neutral colored yarn for this blanket. I already have the pattern picked out. I am going to use the same pattern for both of them. I need to get started right away! I see many, many hours of crocheting in my future. I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am up early every morning, crocheting something! I enjoy the peaceful time of the early morning, relaxing and crocheting before beginning the day. I am excited for both of our girls! These two babies are sure to be friends for a lifetime!

I actually think I will enjoy this shopping trip! And, no matter now much or little fun it is, I am spending it with my husband. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Plus, we are going out to eat. Not fast food! Not a fan of that stuff. But a romantic date night out! So, shopping stress will be worth every minute!

Have a great weekend. There are only two weekends left in 2018. Enjoy them. Have a Merry Christmas. Make precious memories!

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