Living Little with Growing Kids


You know this cliché… “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Folks, listen up. It’s very true.  Where does the time go?

It seems like not too long ago, my daughters were infants, then they became toddlers, and now they are little people with attitudes and opinions of their own. I have one going into second grade, and the other going into third grade. Time has flown by.

Our summer days have been crazy fun. I’ve got to keep them involved and entertained, you know? The whole… “I’m bored” syndrome drives me up the wall. We are doing summer reading through our local library, in camp, in choir, going swimming, and exploring parks. And, this is only a partial list, I’m not including the countless other activities.

It’s go, go, go, go, go…

MY MOTTO: Let’s take advantage of the beautiful day. Don’t waste the day! Too much to do; so little time.

But, with all the running around, I’m getting tired and my girls are getting very cranky.

People tell me how great it is now, since the kids aren’t in diapers, or on a feeding schedule.

“At least you’re not stuck inside on a nice day,” they say with a smile.

I nod in agreement, but inside I just want to lie down and take a nap, and have them nap too.

I miss those “scheduled days”.  The quietness and stillness of the house when everything stops.

Now, I get laughed at if I try and force them to nap.

“Mom, we don’t nap anymore. That’s for babies!” they say with hands on their hips, while yawning and squabbling with each other.

My girls want to stay up late, and fight me, so I let them. Until, they are so irritable and can’t fall asleep because they are sooooo over-tired and wake me up. So, now I can’t sleep. It’s a vicious cycle.

I know that as they grow older, my life with the kids will be busier. Gosh, and for one single moment I close my eyes and reminisce when they were just babies with rigid feeding and sleeping schedules.

It was hard then. More care and handling. These days, they talk back and are paying close attention to me and my handling of life.

It makes me a little nervous to have that kind of scrutiny; I’m not just their comforter, I am their teacher, and that takes a lot more energy.  Tons of energy. The questions never stop.

So, maybe I need to take the slowdown of the “living little” and incorporate that into the “big busy days” and see what happens?

Surely, like every other mom out there I want my children to have a fruitful summer before school starts, rather than a rushed summer of events.






NOTE TO SELF: “Time to take your own advice,” I say with a smile.

#streamofconscience, #talktoself, #raisinggirls, #summerfunwithkids, #livinglittleinbigsummerexperiences


The Very Next Thing…

Have you ever wanted to alter, reverse, or change an uncomfortable situation that you happen to be in?

Come on, can I hear a…Ah yeah!!!

Good. Me too. Plenty of times. It’s like a video reel of regret that plays continuously over and over in your head.

This last time was over the top. And, I’ll be honest, I’ve been having nightmares of would of, could of, and should of… only to awake in a drenched sweat and a thankful heart.

What appeared to be an innocent maneuver of fun had turned into a life threatening event. Vacationing in the warm water beaches of Florida, I had an opportunity to try Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) surfing. For those who don’t know what SUP is, here is a brief description:

“The fastest growing water sport in the world, stand up paddle boarding came from humble beginnings back in 2004 when it first touched down on U.S. shores. It’s now overtaking nearly every body of water in the world. You can do it in oceans, lakes, rivers, and bays – even a swimming pool if you so desire. It’s a great full body core workout, and it’s a whole new way to experience the water in the outdoors.”

I’ve never paddle surfed before. How hard could it be?

It was a free fifteen-minute trial. You see, three young twenty-something year-olds had just come back from paddle surfing, raving about their experience. The rental supervisor was waiting for them on the beach so that they could return the boards, when my husband struck up a conversation with the man. He graciously offered us a trial while he put the other boards back onto his truck.

My husband knowing I liked all things water-related, offered for me to try the paddle board. The man encouraged me as well.

“Yes, yes. You will like it. It’s easy,” he said.

No need for any arm twisting, I was eager to try it. The supervisor then demonstrated how to hold the paddle: one hand on top of the lever, and the other hand on the shaft. I wasn’t comfortable standing, so he suggested I kneel.

That day, the water was higher than the previous days we had on the beach. The breeze was pushing out toward the sea, and the waves were soft and airy as they splashed upon the sand.

I Velcro-strapped the paddle board leash to my ankle and hopped on the board. At that moment, there weren’t many people in the water, and I paddled smoothly away from land.

My husband snapped a few pictures as I glided out. My intention was to go out a bit, and then turn around. I’m a decent swimmer, but when the water is deep, I don’t like it much.

I looked back and saw I was still close to shore. My daughters were waving at me. Yes, I felt like a cool mom—Wonder Woman.

As the waves carried me out, I became overtaken by the beauty of the deep green color of the water. Soon, I was moving a little faster, and realized the “No Swimming” pole was coming up quick. I turned back and saw I had gone farther than I had anticipated. So, I began paddling to turn the board around.

It became obvious to me after a few seconds that I might be paddling the wrong way—I couldn’t remember what the man had told me. Soon, the pole was inches from me, I quickly jabbed the pole with my paddle to push-off of it and swing around, instead the board bumped right past it.

I glanced over my shoulder and saw my husband, getting tinier and tinier and so I waved in panic for him. Oh Jesus, could he see me?

“Help,” I screamed.

But, I was too far away for anyone to really hear me.

I began to panic and so I paddled and paddled, but it was useless, I was being pulled out farther and farther into the deeper waters. Crap. I don’t like deep water! The paddle felt suddenly heavy. My heart was beating rapidly.

Got to breathe…Got to breathe…My kids! I got to get back to my girls. I have to try again.

And so, I plunged the paddle into the water and started paddling again. I have to do it right this time. Come on, damn it, come on…

It was eerily quiet out on the water. I couldn’t see my kids on the sand. Where did they go? Are they still safe? Shit!

I was all alone. Having two, beautiful, active daughters, I’m never by myself, and I’ve often craved “my alone” time. Well, I was getting it now, and suddenly I didn’t want to be alone anymore. I wanted my husband and daughters…I wanted my crazy, chaotic life back.

I needed help. And I needed help fast. I was insanely scared, and I started praying to God to save me somehow. Oh Lord, what have done? I’m so sorry. Sorry for how I’ve been toward my girls and my husband. Please, please, help me.

My help came via my husband— running into the water and swimming toward me. But gosh, he was so far away. How long would it take for him to reach me? Would he reach me at all?

Seeing him, gave me encouragement, and so I fought with the paddle, and I was able to rotate the board and head toward my husband and land.

We moved slowly toward each other in a breathless attempt to get closer and closer. And, when he reached me, exhausted, I jumped into the water, momentarily sinking but then frantically coming up for air and grabbing onto the board. Together, we gradually swam with the board toward shore.

The scary/sad part of this whole experience was that with at least twenty or so people in our surrounding area where we had our towels and umbrella, not one other person came into the water and helped.

I repeat…NOT ONE. NOT ONE DAMN PERSON. Even the rental supervisor wasn’t near the water. He was off loading the boards.

Maybe we didn’t look like we needed help, but I personally would have thought it odd to see someone floating on a paddle board going farther out, while another person swimming hastily toward them. Doesn’t that seem out of sorts to you?

Both of my daughters were thankfully safe. They stayed put under the umbrella, but they had been screaming hysterically. They had gotten frightened and thought my husband and I would never come back. Who could blame them? Seeing their father swim out to sea toward their mother who was drifting in deep water.

We tried remaining calm as best as we can as we swam back. When we got back on land; beat beyond belief, I tried smiling as best as I could and reassured the girls that all was okay.

“No big deal. Momma just paddled way too far. Papa is our hero and brought Momma back. See, we are all fine.”

But, inside my gut, I was shaking uncontrollably—wondering what could have become of me if my husband hadn’t come out?

We spent the rest of the day and evening talking to our children about the situation, keeping it light, but stressing the importance of “water” safety and for them to consider retaking swimming lessons again.

Lesson Learned—straight out of the mouths of babes: “Momma, don’t’ try something if aren’t sure how to do it, even if it was free.”

And, they were right. I let them down. I had panicked and that was what had gotten me in trouble. Had I laid on my stomach and paddled with my arms in the water instead of the stupid paddle, maybe it might have been easier to turn around and come to shore. Maybe I should have hopped off as soon as I knew I had gone too far, and just swam back? Maybe if…Maybe if…Maybe if…Too many “maybe ifs” to account for.

I was lucky my husband had come; I hadn’t even considered the threat of sharks (that’s another story altogether).

I praise God, for this second chance of life. I really, really do. This chance to make it right to the Lord, somehow in the …Very Next Thing…

What is it that He wants from me in my very next thing?

Now it’s your turn: What is God asking you to do in your very next thing?

NOTE: This blog was inspired by Casting Crowns:The Very Next Thing”.  Click here for video.

#verynextthing, #castingcrowns, #standuppaddleboardsurfing, #paddleboardsurfing, #amwriting, #writing, #secondchanceatlife, #thankfulheart, #gratefulheart.


SUP – Stand Up Paddle Boards (scroll down)

To Audio, or Not to Audio: That is the Question – Courtesy of Hometown Reads

I recently had the opportunity to be a guest blogger for Hometown Reads. “… a community dedicated to serving local authors across the country, by helping them connect with readers in their hometown through what we call the Read Local movement. Their site is the first of its kind to organize authors by local community, a design that is intended to facilitate both networking for authors and exposure/connection to more readers…”

“A version of this post originally ran on the Hometown Authors site on June 13th, 2017.”

Please check out the blog courtesy of Hometown Reads on whether creating audiobooks is for you at:

For more info, go to Hometown Reads.

For authors, go to: Hometown Authors.


The Empty Nest – Hope in Front of Me

“The Chronicles of Esther and Mel – The Last Chapter.”

To catch up on the previous chronicles go to:

Part I: The Nature of Life

Part II: Don’t Mess with Momma

For the past month, Esther, my “mother-to-be” duck has been my writing muse – becoming a friend and confidant, bizarre as it may seem.

From the moment I found out that she had moved in on our property, I made it a point to check on her and talk with her. I prayed for her safety daily from squirrels, raccoons, and coyotes. I lent Esther my ear when she wanted to vent and I was there to comfort a nervous, first-time mother.

I knew our time was short. And, when all three of her ducklings hatched on Mother’s Day, minus the one egg that rolled down the grassy hill and died, I never expected what happened next…

The very next morning, Esther was gone. The only things left in her nest were empty, cracked egg shells and feathers. I was stunned. Certainly, I thought she might have stayed a few more days, or even given me a heads up that she would leave. But, Esther didn’t.

It was all a surprise and I was saddened. I had gotten used to her for the last thirty days, seeing her sitting on her nest of eggs. Even my daughters were happy she was there at our home.

The day Esther left, I stood over her empty nest, puzzled at the quick disappearance. I was reminded of a scripture passage in Luke 24:1-12 the day after Jesus was crucified on the cross. Early the next morning, Mary, the mother of James, Mary Magdalene, and other women went to the tomb to bring spices and oils so they could anoint Jesus’ body. However, when they got there, the tomb was empty and Jesus’ body was gone.

The scripture goes on to tell us that the women were “greatly perplexed“. I can only imaging their shock, disappointment, and fear of what might have happened to Jesus’ body.

Now, it may seem silly that I am comparing Jesus’ empty tomb scripture to Esther’s departure, but as I stood there, my sadness began to lift. Instead, I became filled with hope. Hope that this courageous duck mom would know where to take her babies, and give those little ducklings life skills to thrive in a very dangerous world.

In light of the recent terrorist attack in Manchester, England, the fatal assault on the Coptic Christians in Egypt, and remembering our Veterans this Memorial Day Weekend, my heart bleeds in constant worry of what kind of tomorrow we have to look forward to with so much violence.

And then, I read one of the most important lines of the scripture, verse 8: “And they remembered His words.” The Lord’s promise for us.

I certainly don’t have control over the worldly things that happen each and every day, but I have control over how I spend my day. Doing good, serving others, and keeping my eyes fixed on the things above. Praying regularly for continued salvation for myself and the rest of the world, so that we can have…

A better place…A peaceful place…For our children.

Today’s blog has been inspired by the song: “Hope in Front of Me“ by Christian Artist, Danny Gokey. See the YouTube video here.

Where ever you are my dear Esther, I hope you and your little ducklings are safe too.

Until next time…

#MissyouEsther #DannyGokey #HopeinFrontofMe #TheEmptyNest #amwriting #PrayforOurNation #PrayforOurWorld #MemorialDay #Aducklife


Holy Bible” New King James Version (NKJV). Scripture: Luke24:1-12.

Don’t Mess with Momma

The Chronicles of Esther and Mel.”


Esther sighting. Taking a stroll the day before Mother’s Day.

On this glorious Mother’s Day, one little duckling hatched.


We had a scare. Esther was gone. Several of her feathers were strewn all over the red mulch, and one of our solar lamps was cracked in half. It looked like there had been a brawl of some sort. The worst of it; a broken piece of egg shell lay near the nest.

There was more. I followed the trail of shell pieces on my lawn. At the bottom of the hill, the remains of a cracked-open duckling egg.

I ran to it and bent to inspect it. There inside, I saw matted black feathers and a little yellow beak peeking out. There was no movement and I knew it was long dead. I stood up and turned my head, it was a gruesome sight, too gruesome for pictures.

I walked back up and peered over the nest. It looked like the other eggs were still there, and they appeared intact.

Phew. Thank God! But, where was Esther?

I prayed she was okay. The problem now was who would take care of the rest of the eggs if Esther was not around?

My daughters came home from school and I had to tell them the news.

My older one bawled her eyes out. “Esther’s babies will die! She won’t have a Mother’s Day.”

My younger daughter had a different perspective. “What did the baby duck look like? Was the egg bloody? Can I see the egg, Momma?”

On and on, the girls went. Each with their own analysis of what might have happened.

What if a coyote had gotten her and her egg? What if she was hurt? And, where the hell was Mel? He’s the protector.

I spent the remaining afternoon trying to distract my girls from thoughts of Esther. Truly, I was just as sad. She chose our house to create her nest, and she didn’t mind us walking by and peeking at her. It was cool to visit with her too.

Gosh, it was just the other day I had witnessed a lesson in love.

It had rained for days and finally the sun came out. I was inside with the windows open when I heard a lot of quacking. I came rushing out to check on her.

Hey, what’s the matter?”

She quacked. “Mel is supposed to be here and he’s not.”

“He’ll come, don’t worry.”

Esther huffed. “He probably went ponding.”


I crouched down beside her. “What’s ‘ponding’?”

Esther kicked up her webbed feet. “Seriously?”

I nodded. “Yes, seriously. I have no idea what ‘ponding’ is.”

She proceeded to tell me that it was male-duck game played on a pond where the ducks have to balance wet leaves on their beaks without dropping them, and then paddle to a make-shift basket in the water. The first duck with the most leaves in a basket wins.

I started laughing. Strangely, it reminded me of golf because most male-humans play the game.

Esther snorted. “It’s not funny. He’s supposed watch the eggs while I go and do my business, and he’s still not here.”

I was about to say…maybe he had good reason, maybe he was running behind…maybe he forgot…maybe…when suddenly, we see Mel fly through air and land a few feet away. He strode up all dapper and manly.

Esther began quacking loudly and pacing. It startled Mel and he hurried over.

“Where have you been? You’re late!” She blurted.

Mel puffed out his chest. “Ponding, like I told you.”

She shouted back. “You did not!”

“Yes, I did.”

“Did not!”

Mel looked at me as if noticing me for the first time. I happen to be standing between them when the shouting match began. Aware of the awkwardness, I quickly got out of the way. It’s not good getting in the middle of couple fights.

Mel snuggled up against Esther’s neck. She seemed to relax. “I’m sorry for making you upset,” he whispered. “But, I did tell you, yesterday.”

Esther put her head down. “You’re right. I just remembered. You did tell me. My mind has been fogged lately. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. Me too. You’ve got a lot on your mind.” Mel then nudged her away. “Get going. I’ve got the eggs.”

“Are you…”

“Yes, now go.”

Esther quacked and flapped her wings and away she went.

I gave Mel a thumbs up. “Good hubby.”

I momentarily closed my eyes and wished Esther would come back. This was her home.

“Momma, Momma, I’m hungry. Can I have a snack?”

And, just like that, I was back to reality.

Later that evening, after dinner, I decided to go for a walk. It was almost eight, but still light out. I strolled around our block. I couldn’t get the vision of the little cracked duckling egg out of my mind.

Just as I approached our house, I thought to look at Esther’s nest again. As I approached, I saw Esther making her way towards me.

Oh, my Goodness! I marched up to her.

“Esther, Esther, you’re back! Are you okay?” She looked alright.

The duck ignored me and went to her nest where she was squatting to get comfortable.

I waited until she was settled.

“I’ve been worried about you. Where have you been?”

Esther lifted her head toward me. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“But, but, you little egg? You feathers?”

“Leave me alone. I’m really tired.”

I nodded and took it as my queue to leave. “Okay, okay, I understand. We can talk another time.” I didn’t want to mess with this Momma. She gave me the look, you know…

I turned and left. A pain had been lifted from my heart. Esther was back. She’s okay. The girls will be relieved. And, it will be a wonderful Mother’s Day, after all.

As to what happened to her? I don’t know. Whatever it was, it had to be.


The Nature of Life

“The Chronicles of Esther and Mel.”

Today, I met my new neighbor. It was by accident. Hidden behind a bush and sitting on top of red mulch, I noticed a female duck. I must have startled her as I strode past because her feathers fluffed up and she squawked, or quacked. I couldn’t tell the difference, for I too, was taken by surprise, and jumped back.

We acknowledged each other and politely said our hellos. I proceeded to tip-toe on by, when she called after me to come back and sit with her awhile.

I hesitated. This is weird. What if she bites me? But, then I obliged and sat down about a foot away, on one of the retaining wall’s stone pavers. Didn’t want to crowd her.

It was windy and warm out, so I brushed aside the bangs from my eyes. I could smell the White Callery Pear Blossoms, and rain. It would rain later.

At first we just sat there, gazing at one another. We were strangers of course, and trying to figure out what to talk about.

It was awkward, but not really. I turned my attention to my feet. I adjusted the toe strap of the right flip-flop and then began to scrutinize the pink color on my toe nails, when she spoke.

“Thank you for joining me. I haven’t had an opportunity for any ‘grown-up’ conversation, in well…quite some time. You see, I’m expecting the hatching of five little ducklings, soon.” She chuckled. “It kind of gets lonely out here, if you know what I mean.”

I smiled. “Well, congratulations are definitely in order. This is exciting news.”

She ruffled her feathers. “I appreciate it. Oh, I’m Esther, by the way.”

“I’m Chiara.”

I looked around my property, having strolled around it often, and wondered. “How long have you been here?”

“A few weeks.”

“Hmm…Never seen you before. You camouflage pretty good.”

Esther quaked. “Ah…that’s my job.”

We talked some more. She was originally from Ohio, but her “duck” husband, Mel, was born in Chicago. They met down south and together, migrated back here in December. They married, and well, the rest is history.

I told her about my daughters, but Esther already knew about them; having seen the girls running around the backyard.

She shook her head in disgust. “Your children are loud and rambunctious.”

I apologized, embarrassed for my wild little kids. Esther quacked again, admitting she was only kidding.

We became quiet again, and I went back to studying my toes. Gosh, I have to get my toes done soon.

Esther spoke up. “Ah…silence is golden.”

I snorted. “Get your rest because it won’t be quiet for long.”

She sighed. “You’re right.”

“In fact,” I continued, “do all the sleeping now because once those little ducklings are out, forget about ever sleeping.”

Esther quacked. “I remember the good ol’ days of freedom.”

“Yeah,” I agreed. Freedom, huh? It’s so long ago. But then I gestured with my hand. “It’s all worth it. Bringing life into the world.”

“I’m scared,” she revealed.

I shrugged. “I understand. I’m scared every single day too. There are no guarantees in life. You do your best in protecting, and loving and feeding your children. The rest is up to God.”

Esther turned away. I could tell she was emotional.

She looked back at me. “I’m sorry. My hormones are out of whack.”

I laughed. A duck having hormone issues. “Having ducklings will do that to you.”

We giggled.

I then wondered about something else. “Do you get up? Walk around? You know, stretch, and go to the bathroom?”

Esther fluffed her feathers. “Are you kidding? Of course. My butt feels like a rock after sitting here all day long, not to mention my legs are so stiff.”

I nodded. “That’s good. What about the eggs? Are they okay being left alone?”

She stretched her neck. “Mel comes and guards the nest while I go and do my personal affairs, if you know what I mean?”

I grinned. Yes, private time is important.

Silence fell upon us again, and I was getting antsy. My own butt was hurting from sitting on the retaining wall.

Esther yawned. “Well, if you’ll excuse me, it’ time for a nap.”

Got it. So, I stood up.

She quaked. “I liked our conversation.”

I waved. “Me too.”

“Hope to see you soon. Please, stop by again.”

I said my goodbye, and strutted away.

The conversation left my heart filled. Filled in such a way one feels after having enjoyed the company of someone else. Content. Did I really just talk to a duck?

I realized fiction or not, one point was true. We were different, very different. Esther was a duck, an animal, and I was a human. However, we held a common bond—motherhood.

In the daily grind of managing a home, nourishing the young, handling of the homework duty, and being a referee, comes the rewards of nurturing life and sharing wisdom with the ones you love.

Raising children is one of the hardest duties of a woman’s life. Sometimes, we too, need a good conversation with another being.

That evening, I peeked out my window and saw Mel standing guard. Esther had gone out to do her duties.

I snickered. “Good Mel. Take care of your bride, buddy.”

And, that’s the nature of life.

#motherhood #raisingkids #momconversation #momsdayout #natureoflife #amwriting #readlocal

Call Me – The Telephone

Just off of I-65, about forty miles from downtown Indianapolis is an ordinary McDonalds. There, I was greeted by this pay phone. Remember these? Immediately, two songs from my childhood pop in my head.

“867-5309/Jenny” By Tommy Tutone.

“Call Me” By Skyy.

Yes, I’m dating myself here, but that’s okay. You see, ironically enough, both songs were from 1981. The early 80s was an era where disco was slowly fading, hard rock still dominated the music scene, and electronic dance and funk were coming on, as well as a new kind of music, soft rock. Go figure.

And, I got to tell you, the wonderful mix of music was very influential to my coming of age. Ah, the good ol’ days…Okay, back to task…

So, let’s fast forward to McDonalds. I’m humming the tunes. Each taking their turn in my brain, while I’m standing in line to order a medium coffee and oatmeal to go. Finally, with the bag of my paid purchases in hand, I pass by this dinosaur of a communication machine again.

Pushing the songs in the background of my mind, I got to thinking. Today, we are living in such a fast world where technical companies are at war on who can make the fastest, sleekest phone with all the gadgets from tracking your steps, food intake, and mood modeling, all at your fingertips, 24/7.

In my youth, one had to drive, walk, or ride a bike to find a pay phone. They were usually at gas stations or grocery stores. If you look back at some of the television shows/movies of the 1980’s, you’ll notice that secret conversations were often held at pay phones, rendezvous happened near the pay phones, and arrests and burglary heists were made at those spots.

These days, I just have to pull out my cell phone out of my purse, and I can make a call, read a book, and track the happenings of the world, with just a few clicks.

Are we better off as a result of this great technology? Are we more connected to family and friends? Are we more available to those in need? The biggest question currently rocking in my brain (ha, did you get that, “rocking”) is: are we more sincere in the time we give of ourselves to others?

The pay phone reminds me of the lack of relationship-building we’ve lost due to things being instantaneously available. People at that time made an effort to call someone. They spent the $0. 25 cents or more to talk and hear someone’s voice, and really listen. They had to physically get to the pay phone, maybe grab a snack or buy food on the way in or way out of the establishment, and usually their mood would change as a result of a good or bad conversation.

We can’t go back, but maybe the next time you see a pay phone, let it be your reminder to connect with others in a way of sincerity and compassion for the human race because that’s all we got left.

#payphone #connecting #callme #8675309 #the80s #Onehitwonders #stayconnected #besincere #payphoneversuscellphone


Love is the Ultimate Law of Life

I found this tag attached to my Ginger tea bag. I spent a little time and stared at each word:








In the U.S. and all over the rest of the world, countries, states, cities, towns, and communities, all have laws. Laws are what keep our world and society working seamlessly in a crazy, sort of pattern. Laws protect you. Laws make sure there is some consistency and process. Laws have rules that must be followed and adhered to.

But, what if there were no laws? What if there were no rules? How would everything run?

My first thought goes to enforcing the law of speed limits. Just imagine there were no speed limits on a regular road? Some would drive over the speed limit and others below. Would you risk crossing the street where cars don’t have to yield to pedestrians, or even stop at Stop lights? Not me!

What if there weren’t any laws to how your meat and poultry were regulated? Or, even your fruits and vegetables? I’d be very fearful on what I eat, that is for sure.

Well, this one statement of love, got me thinking about the “law of love”. defines Love as:

  1. A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
  2. A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
  3. Sexual passion or desire.
  4. A person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
  5. (Used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?
  6. A love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
  7. Sexual intercourse; copulation.

Numbers 1, 3, and 4 resonate to me the most. I believe these statements insinuate that love is granted freely, love is bequeathed toward a person/human, love is tender and love is rough.

Laws don’t generally have “feelings” associated with them. Laws are factual in nature and are usually in some kind of systematic order.

Love has no order and no facts. It is given and it is received, love is felt and love is spoken, love is joyful and but it can also be hurtful.

What if we had another law? To love one another regardless of color, creed, or religion, but rather done by an act of civility to flourish our human prosperity? What if, we made… “Love the ultimate law of life?

How would our world be then?

“Mom and Pop” Bookstores – Rare Gems

I almost passed it up driving south on Oak toward downtown Bartlett. Turning back, I pulled onto a blacktop drive and parked in front of the Bartlett Coin Shop.

The Booklady’s Book Attic was situated on the corner of a house which was also occupied by a women’s fashion boutique, Little Shop on Oak.

At the entrance, I hesitated a bit before turning the knob. You see, I’m a sucker for bookstores and even though I couldn’t resist going in, there was this exciting apprehension surging through my body of discovering the unknown behind the steel-framed door.

When I pulled open the door, a long, brown staircase greeted me. To the right, stood a black rolling cart with numerous books, all organized by height. A colorful sign announced that the books were $1.00 each. On my left, there was a bronze stand with three rows of books. These were the free copies.




I placed my booted shoe on the first step. It creaked as I began my ascent up the stairs. The walls were painted an egg-shell white, and brightly colored sticky notes of testimonials and customer signatures, provided a warm accent in the vestibule.

At the first landing, hand-crafted fishing signs hung from the wall. And, when I reached the top floor, a small, dark brown and beige-topped wooden desk stood in front of crowded shelves of books, toy figurines, and store advertisements.

The surroundings felt familiar and homey to me. Having worked at a Barnes and Noble bookstore, the smell of wood, leather, and cardboard boxes filled my senses. A radio played light rock music in the background.

My heart began to beat with excitement. This was my territory. Books, books, and books.

A memory suddenly materialized in my mind. It was the summer of 2002, and my husband and I had taken a long weekend vacation to San Francisco. While exploring Fisherman’s Wharf, we ended up walking onto Columbus Ave. to experience the many Italian restaurants and sit “al fresco” for a double-shot of espresso. Dizzy from people-watching, we continued our trek further up Columbus where we happened to stumble upon a bookstore called City Lights Booksellers & Publishers.

Strolling into the retailer, it was as if I had been transported to another time period—a very different time. This bookstore has been a literary meeting place since 1953. City Lights is a landmark general bookstore, internationally known for its expert selection of books and for its commitment to free intellectual inquiry.

I later researched City Lights. It was founded by poet/author, Laurence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin (who left two years later). Mr. Ferlinghetti is the author of many works, including, poetry, translations, fiction, theatre, art criticism, and film narration, but his most famous written work was “A Coney Island of the Mind”—a collection of poetry published in 1958.

City Lights also became a famous hangout for many authors but especially Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs who frequented the establishment and started what became the “Beat Generation”. City Lights has also been named as one of the top ten independent bookstores in America.

The floors were worn and uneven, the air was dusty and I must have sneezed at least twenty times, but the place was filled with the most eccentric/eclectic books I have ever thumbed through. I shivered with pleasure.

Ah yes, when I close my eyes, I can still picture the dust particles dancing in the air.

But, I digress. Back at the Booklady’s Book Attic, my eyes glanced about, taking in this little book store in what resembled an oversized attic, hence the name.




There was so much to see, I didn’t know where to look first. And, I have to admit, I was the experiencing the same exhilaration of City Lights—beating heart and sweaty palms, and mind you, I hadn’t even browsed any of the books.

The cluttered hallway beckoned me. There were stacks of books: books on the floor, books in boxes, and books in different color bags.

The Proprietor, Ms. Pam, enthusiastically greeted me. We got to chatting. I told her about my published books. Pam is also a great supporter of all local writers. Thank you, Pam!



Here we are pictured together…

She’s been at this location for about two years. Previously, this space was formerly occupied by accountants, contractors, a flooring business, and meeting room rentals. However, prior to the various businesses, this property has had some history of its own. According to Pam and a little investigating on my own (watch out Magnum P.I.), this “house” currently located at 138 S. Oak was once referred to as Block 2, lot 9-10.

Thanks to the Bartlett History Museum, here’s an abbreviated rundown of some its history…

  • In 1874, the very first owners, Mr. and Mrs. John Carr bought the property and they build a home. This property was part of the original 40 acres that established Bartlett in 1873. Sometime later, Mr. Carr builds another home on the same lot. So, the house that stands there today is not the original one that the Carrs first built.
  • The Carrs eventually move to Aurora.
  • Lots 9-10 change ownership back and forth from 1883 to 1893.
  • In 1893, the Carrs sell the lots 9-10 to Mr. Louis Stumpf for $1,800.
  • In 1918, Mr. Stumpf sells his lot to Mr. August Schick for $3,600.
  • In 1921, Mr. Schick sells lots 9-10 to Mr. Fred Brandt. No info on how much it was sold for. And, because house numbers didn’t exist at that time, it is still unclear if lots 9-10 is 138 S. Oak, where the bookstore and boutique are currently located.
  • According to a 1930 census, it showed the Brandts are living elsewhere.
  • In June of 1977, the property was zoned for commercial and since then, has been home to many businesses.

Caption: Here’s a picture of the Stumpf family. Historical information and image provided by the Bartlett History Museum, Bartlett, IL. To learn more about Bartlett history visit, go to:



But, now it is Pam’s book haven. She is a connoisseur of novel genres who is putting her imprint on her own history and preserving a dying brick and mortar business of bookselling.

The floor creaks; it’s pretty tight—watch for the angled/sloping ceilings. There are secret doors, and maybe even some ghosts lurking around—ask Pam about “Mr. Poe”.

Above all else, there are books for all ages with shelves overflowing with stories that defy time. So many classics; new and old, and forgotten books, to peruse and enjoy. This place is for the book enthusiast….

Just read what some of the patrons have said about the Booklady’s Book Attic from her Facebook page (see link below under References).

The testimonials themselves speak volumes as to the care that Ms. Pam has taken for every author’s written word.

This store is everything I would want and more! Great service, awesome selection, great prices, and Pam gives back and helps others. I will always support someone with a heart like hers!

I finally stopped in at the BookLady’s Book Attic after driving past it everyday on my way to work. What an amazing shop!! A great selection of books that should appeal to everyone! I was particularly impressed by the large and interesting collection of children’s and young adult books. Pam is super friendly and was really great to talk to. I can’t wait to visit again!

Truly a charming and must-see little shop in downtown Bartlett. There are a wide variety of books in all genres and for all-ages available, all in perfect shape and at rock-bottom prices. The owner is probably one of the most friendly people you will ever meet.

This place is amazing!! I feel in love from the moment I walked in, I was in book heaven!!!  Pam is super friendly and so easy to approach. My girls loved getting all their new books and can’t wait to go back.”

I hope you get to visit this place. If so, tell Pam I sent you.

Booklady’s Book Attic

138 S. Oak Ave.

Bartlett, IL.


Until next time…

Be well. Be safe. Be happy.


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