fresh perspective

Have you ever looked at something for so long that you are no longer able to see it in a fresh, new light? I have. One of my friends recently commented on a wall hanging that I had posted on a community swap page. I couldn’t figure out why it was garnering so much attention.  I mean it was a distressed piece of wood with three large crystal knobs screwed into it.  I guess the three decorative panels between the knobs were attractive. Let’s get back to my friend. I still remember the first thing she did when she came over to pick it up. She flipped it over and said, “Great. I’ll pop these panels out and put family photos in their place.”  Genius. Why didn’t I think of that? And oh by the way, sorry for the drive over here but maybe I’ll just keep it!

Unfortunately, some of my relationships have not gone unscathed from a similar scene. You know what I’m talking about. Take for example a friend that you’ve hung out with for God knows how many years and she’s a good friend and all, but nothing spectacular jumps out at you when you are around her.  Then someone new joins the group and she is just amazed at how funny your friend is and she can’t get enough of her stories. Really?

Sometimes I just have to take a small step back or not even take a step. Standing still and breathing in simple nuances works too.

It’s funny how a fresh perspective can pop up from the most unassuming places. Sometimes, it’s been staring me in the face all along.

The 3 R’s of the Early 80’s

Oh my gosh, you guys, my husband and I have been cleaning closets, organizing and painting in an attempt to update our home that we bought in 1997. I know that is not that long ago to some of you, but before we purchased this house the longest Todd, the kids and I had lived in a place was five years. Well, we brought a lot of STUFF when we moved to this house and then we piled on another 18 years of CRUFF…I know it’s not lady like to say crap, but stuff does not paint an accurate picture of what we’ve been sorting.

Apparently, the three R’s of the early 80’s were Rock, Roll, and Ruffles. If I find one more mauve colored pillow with more ruffles than pillow, I may puke. Why did I love that color SO much? If you need a visual, I found this one.

lace, mauve, and rufles

Okay, to be clear the picture above is NOT a room from any house that we lived in, but my daughter did have a lovely Pepto-Bismol colored bedroom when we lived outside of Dallas, TX when she was like 5 years old. In case you are wondering, yes; I thought it was a great idea.

We’ve also dusted off a few album covers…I think the cool term these days is “vinyl’s”.  Who didn’t love Pink Floyd, Van Halen, and Def Lepperd?  Who am I kidding, in my stack I found Chicago, Olivia Newton-John, Hall and Oates, REO Speedwagon and wait for it…Jon tight pants Bon Jovi.  Could that guy wear leather or what?

Finally, I leave you with this from the walls of my home, my sister’s home, my friend’s home, and my neighbor’s home…

80's geese

Who doesn’t love geese?

Double Nickel

A woman’s skin tells volumes about her life’s story.  Genetics, experiences, stress, and how she handles the whole thing called life is legible for all to see. Skin, much like an artist’s canvas, stretches from the uppermost crown on her head to the tips of her longest toes. When young, her skin is taut, elastic, even pliable. As she ages, her skin thins out…almost disappears in places and then it decides to hang out around its favorite joints.

My skin has been staring back at me lately. I don’t care for its tone. Yes. I have brown spots and spider veins. Fine lines border the outermost corners of my eyes. Creases have taken up residence in the center of my forehead. It’s hard to distinguish freckles from moles from brown spots from “what are those spots?”. If all of the dots were connected on the surface of my body, you’d discover that my 55th birthday is right around the corner.

I don’t apologize for said spots, nor from the divots of scary spots that were removed by my scolding dermatologist. Yes. I know better now, and with that knowledge I lather up regularly. But my freckles, creases…okay call them wrinkles if you must, brown spots, and spider veins tell a story of a life well lived. It’s my story and you can’t have it.

I wouldn’t change my zinc on the nose and kick the can until sundown childhood for the world. What about Cancun with my husband of ten years to celebrate our anniversary? So what if Todd didn’t get the sunscreen applied evenly on my backside and I looked like a candy striper for a month. Those are good memories, people and my skin has recorded each and every event.

Be gentle on the woman in your life as she ages. Trust me; today and every day she is putting her best face forward.



I have loved seeing all of the photos shared by my friends of their children and grandchildren in an outfit specifically selected for their first day of a new school year. As for me, the years of waking up early to prepare my children for a new year of learning and life has passed me by. Together, we have checked off every milestone from birth to college graduation, and believe me when I say…each and every precious step has been well documented.

Maybe it’s because I still remember the excitement of starting a new school year from being a child, or perhaps my memories are more recent from raising two children of my own and working years upon years in public schools, but the birth of a new school year continues to evoke excitement, motivation, and hope in every cell of my body for the best of what a day has to offer.

While my steps are now recorded by a black device clasped around my wrist and a bottle of water filled to the brim, I join with you in celebrating another great school year.

The best is yet to come!



Where Does a Girl Hang Her Purse?

The brain is a fascinating mechanism, isn’t it?  It keeps us on high alert when a dangerous situation is possible or imminent and it allows our bodies to function on cruise control when our minds are, you know, preoccupied.

Let me share a recent example of the latter.  I work for a pediatric home health company and because of a cancellation, I found myself in a grocery store between clients.  I decided it would be wise to stop in the restroom before shopping.  It wasn’t until I was washing my hands, that I realized I was standing in very close proximity to a man who was doing the same.  In my shock, I blurted, “Oh my gaud, am I in the men’s restroom?”   My revelation startled him and he quickly made an about-face to double-check that urinals were indeed hanging on the wall.  Thankfully, he had a sense of humor and we awkwardly joked as we made our way out of the men’s restroom.

I was too stunned to even be embarrassed.  No lie.  The only thing that seemed amiss was the back of the door to the stall was missing the hook to hang my purse.  Irritating.  Secondly, the shoes peering out at me from the adjacent stall were, how do I put this, not my style.  Frankly, I remember thinking, “I wouldn’t be caught dead in those things.”

Yes, in my state of auto pilot, I marched right by the urinals, used the toilet, and passed by the same urinals to wash my hands.

“Don’t take yourself too seriously.  You’ll never get out alive.” ~Bugs Bunny



Today is such a great day
to do something
and yet, I sit here
just me and idle time
thinking of what-if’s
with pure joy
and contentment.
Is that because
the best I can do
is dream about
what’s beyond
the treetops and
feathered clouds?
Well, maybe it is so.
All is right when
time stands still,
even for a moment.
I can breathe

Hippie Hollow Has to Wait

I was so excited for this past Wednesday morning to arrive.  I had an early morning appointment with my dermatologist to remove stitches from my rear end.  Yes, in my much earlier years…late teens and early twenties…I liked to frequent the tanning beds. As a result, I had a place on my bum that I had to have biopsied.  Biopsy came back, and while it wasn’t cancer it was a moderately atypical mole so more tissue had to be surgically removed.  Two weeks later, my stitches were finally extracted.  I felt liberated. I didn’t have to worry about yanking out my sutures because I was too active.  It is summer after all. So, after dinner I climbed onto our hot tub which is attached to our underground pool.  I’m the one who likes to brush the sides of it to keep it clean, and it had been somewhat neglected.

Next thing I knew, my body was in full splat position onto the not too soft pool decking below.  Of course my bum made contact at the exact spot where the stitches had just been removed early that morning.  I was bleeding and in pain.  I went into the house to assess the damage and I discovered the wound was split wide open again.  I called for my husband to get a second opinion.  Since it was late in the evening, urgent care seemed to be our best option.  Long story short, my bum had to be stitched up again in the same exact spot where sutures had just been removed a few short hours prior.

So what does Hippie Hollow have to do with all of this?  It’s a clothing optional park on Lake Travis just outside of Austin, Texas.  People come from all over the country to “hang out” there.  I don’t want to give the wrong impression.  I’m a pretty modest gal. Even in my youth, I wasn’t one to sunbathe in the nude.  But for you locals, the title caught your attention, didn’t it?

While I won’t be gracing the banks of Hippie Hollow, for the next two weeks I am back to limited exercise and limited activities until the sutures are removed.  I’m not sure what is going on with me right now, but I appear to be an accident or embarrassing moment waiting to happen.

Happy Summer.  I hope you get to “hang out” at all of your favorite spots.


in our hearts forever


The signs appeared months ago; the ones that remind you your dog is not going to live forever.  Our dog started sleeping more than he was awake and when he was awake, he was just there.  He lacked motor control of his back legs.  At first it was subtle…his back paws slid on the wood floor when they used to have complete traction.  Occasionally he would miss a step when climbing stairs.  Sometimes he tripped or hobbled.  My husband and I commented about the changes we witnessed, but he was getting older we told ourselves.  He was still excited to see us and lick our face and smell our shoes and patrol the perimeter of our backyard and lay in the sun.  That is until last week.

My husband took him on a walk on Saturday.  Over brunch on Sunday, he hinted that something seemed different.  I brushed it off.  Meanwhile, our dog became disinterested in eating and he didn’t see an imminent threat of evil doers to our property.  The dog that barked non stop for 15 years, was silent.   To be honest, he wasn’t interested in anything.   Mid week, my husband left on a work trip.

Each day his symptoms progressed.  He still wasn’t eating and he was losing control of his back legs.  By late Thursday, he needed to be carried to where he wanted to go in the house or outside.  He wanted to be by my side.  We had some good talks, he and I. I leaned down so I could whisper in his ear and he nuzzled in that space…you know the crevice between your neck and shoulder…yea that place.  He just stayed there for the longest time.   I told him I would understand if he went to sleep and didn’t wake up.  I told him I would be okay, but he kept waking up and trying to be alive.

I didn’t realize how much all of this weighed on me until Thursday I found myself in a men’s restroom at an area grocery store.  I walked right by the urinals, used the toilet, walked back by the urinals, and it wasn’t until I was washing my hands that I realized I was standing by a man.  Thankfully, he was a nice guy and just laughed it off.  I knew I needed to make a tough decision, but my heart was trying so hard to protect me.

Thursday night, our dog had a horrible night.  He was sick to his stomach and he coughed all night.  Neither one of us slept.  I knew I had to put him to sleep.  The next morning I made the call.  Our youngest child, a son, accompanied me.  Together, we comforted our little doggy of 15 years and 8 months until he fell asleep and didn’t wake up.

Although we knew it was the right thing to do.  Although he hated going to the vet and that day he didn’t even really protest. Although the whole process was incredibly peaceful; our hearts were broken.  Our loyal, little doggy…the only pet our family of four shared while we all lived under the same roof, was gone.  Forever.

I had to share.  I had to write.  Love comes to us in many forms and from many places, but only a dog gives it so freely and without exception.



The Gift

She asked me if she could hang on to my gift, my daughter that is, and give it to me in person. I planned to visit a few short days after Mother’s Day and it only made sense. Unfortunately, the trip never happened. Days turning into weeks of rain and flooding, thunderstorms and tornadoes, kept me from making the 450 mile drive, by myself, to visit her.

But today it came in the mail. I recognized her handwriting and I couldn’t wait to peel the package open. I eyed the card first, and as is always the case, I read it before looking any further. Thoughtful and tender were the words daintily scripted against a pale pink backdrop.


The gift was even more personal…a copy of a wedding publication with two stories penned by none other than my daughter. Her first story is about a lovely woman whom she had interviewed…a photographer originally from the Texas Hill Country.


Gift number two was an original limited print by the photographer. Only fifty copies are in circulation and mine was the first printed. It is titled “Wim” and it was shot in her parents front yard in Wimberley, Texas. Yes; the same Wimberley, Texas in the news in recent days…flood and storm ravaged, Wimberley. Timely. My daughter’s soft touch weaves throughout the printed words. I’m quite certain she was meant to share the story.

Her second article brings to life the intimacy shared between husband and wife. She and her husband will be married five short years this coming June. The story was beautiful and well written.  The thoughts and incidents she shared on the pages that followed were classy and timeless…much like the young woman she has become.


Though unique and earning a spot in an untouched place in my heart, I’m unable to honestly say that it is the best gift I have ever received.  Each and every gift that has been born in one of my children’s minds and passed from their hands to mine is a priceless treasure.


I am able to tell you that moments like this make me happy to be a woman, and one who answers when called, Mother.

copyright, Becky Willinger, 5.29.15

Congratulations. I’m your mom.

Mother’s day is a celebration of life. Life passed on from one generation to the next.  I am one…a mom, and I am lucky enough to still have my mom alive and in my life.

Do you ever wonder what exactly you passed on to your own children from your childhood? I do.  Mine are grown and out of the house and despite all the things I did wrong when they were under my care, I hope they know that:

Each day is a gift.
They can always start over tomorrow.
Laughter is contagious.
Mistakes are stepping-stones to success.
We need each other.
Kindness goes a long way.
Even though they have another home, mine is theirs forever and always.
I love them unconditionally. I. Love. Them.
I believe in their gifts and talents.
Our world needs them.
I’m always a phone call away.
I pray for them each and every day.
They might as well embrace the family tree…there is no escaping it.
Without a doubt, children make the world a better place.

Dedicated with love, to my mom and yours.