Day Three: Happy Time with The Librarian at Cocoa Beach


In the post last week, I shared Day One and Day Two of Happy Time with The Librarian who came for a four-day visit.

Though, exhausted after a full day of activities on Day Two; I woke up at 5:00 a.m. ready to start Day Three of Happy Time. The Librarian and I were going to Cocoa Beach, despite the rain, forecasted to last the entire day.  However, unlike the second day with the two broken umbrellas; we, were prepared with four newly purchased umbrellas — two golf sized and two minis. photo Pre-Beach Happy Time

Take a look at Hubby’s Photo, one would think he was going to Cocoa Beach.  But, Hubby dislikes sand, being in the rain, and should the rain stop — he really, really does not enjoy being in the sun. So, he only agreed to join us breakfast.

I am going to breakfast and afterwards Cocoa Beach.  Hubby chose the right attire, but he is just joining us for breakfast.
Seasoned Sistah2 and Hubby


Hubby and The Librarian
Hubby and The Librarian

We had breakfast at one of my favorite restaurants located in Winter Park, Florida  a short drive from where we live.

Starting the Day with Breakfast
Starting the Day with Breakfast

This beautiful sculpture was on display in the park across the street from the restaurant.  Since this was the first time I had seen an alphabet sculpture, I wanted to know more.   So, I went to GOOGLE IMAGES and keyed-in “alphabet sculptures around the world.” I did not count the number of sculptures created in different sizes, shapes, and materials.

Alphabet Sculpture
Alphabet Sculpture – Winter Park, Florida

Cocoa-Beach Happy Time

Breakfast over.  Hubby back home.  We are off to Cocoa Beach which is about 60 miles from my home.  We arrived.  It was still raining.  But we, along with a few other brave hearts, were at the beach.  Let the day begin.

Our First Stop – Passerby Offered to Take a Photo


A Quick Few Steps in the Water Enough for Me


The Librarian Looking Out Over the Ocean Ready to Dip Her Feet In


The Cocoa Beach Pier


The Librarian wondering, “Where’s the lifeguard?”
Heading for the Mai Tiki Bar at End of Pier
Pelican Perched on Pier
Crane Perched on Pier


Our Time at the Beach Coming to an End

But one, last stop before we go.

Guess which drink belongs to? (a) The Librarian (b) Seasoned Sistah2  Will let you know in next week’s post
Homeward Bound – Still Raining

Happy Time: A Friend Visits

photoSince moving to Florida, our two daughters and grandchildren visit for a week during their spring break in May every year.  For the first time in four years, they couldn’t come.  My youngest daughter had just been released from the hospital.  And, her doctor didn’t want her to travel for a while.   Though disappointed, I was happy my eldest daughter decided to stay in Wisconsin to support and spend the spring break with her sister and the grands.


The daughters didn’t come, as planned.  Yet, I had a great spring break, filled with an abundance of happiness and joy.

Thanks to The Librarian who has been a great friend for more than fifteen years.  Needing a break from Wisconsin’s cold weather, she accepted my invitation to visit.  And, I needed someone other than Hubby to spend quality time with.  Now, I love the time spent with Hubby.  However, I enjoy doing some things that he dislikes and prefers not to do.  Although, I did give him the option to join us on any of our planned outings over the next three days.  He chose not to commit.

The First Day – Happy Time on the Lanai

The Librarian and I spent the evening on the lanai relaxing, catching up, and enjoying the stillness of a quiet space.


The Second Day – Happy Time at Harry P. Leu Gardens

Though it was raining, we decided to follow the planned agenda — a visit to the Harry P. Leu Gardens. First, I had to pick up the rental car.   I showed up promptly at 9:00 a.m., the rental car company’s opening time, with my driver’s license and credit card.  I couldn’t rent the car.  Because, I didn’t bring a lease, utility bill, or cable bill to show proof of residency.  Yet, The Librarian, who lives in Wisconsin could rent the car using only her credit card and driver’s license.  She lives two thousand miles away, I live twenty minutes away.  It didn’t make sense then.  It doesn’t make sense now.  But, she rented the car, that I could neither rent nor drive, and we were off to start our day.


Before heading out to Harry P. Leu Gardens, we stopped to pick up a few groceries.  Of course, we added several bottles of wine for the evening serenity times on the lanai.  Shopping went quickly.  Found all the groceries, but we couldn’t find the rental car.  We searched aisle after aisle of the parking lot, with no luck.  Finally, a man approached us saying he had noticed when we arrived.  He took us to the car and we took a photo of the license plate so we wouldn’t lose it again.  This was a laughable moment.

Unloaded the groceries at the house and set the GPS to take us where we needed to go.  I have lived in this city for more than four years.  However, if I venture outside of my very limited driving range, I needed a GPS.  The Librarian had never used one; and, I only knew how to use the one in our car.  So, the setup wasn’t that easy for us.  But, we did it.

At last, we were off to Harry P Leu Gardens in pouring rain. After driving for more than a half hour, we noticed we were getting farther away from the city.  Having visited the Leu Gardens’ website, we knew it was close to the downtown area.  So, we pulled over at a gas station and reset the GPS.  There was a lot of laughter after discovering, we were going in the wrong direction.

About forty-five minutes later, we arrived at Happy P. Leu Gardens and it was still raining heavily.  We had been smart enough to bring two umbrellas from home.  When we opened them, they were both broken and virtually useless. But, that didn’t stop us.

At s soon as we entered the Hospitality Building, a very nice receptionist told us the Gardens were closed due to rain.  And, to our surprise, there wasn’t an indoor garden as we had expected.

We did spend time browsing around in the Gift Shop; and, I bought two flags for the front yard. I have to decide which to hang first.

photo 1

photo 2I

We, also, toured the Art Gallery and took photos of the art on display.



The tour, for us, ended on the rear screened-in porch, which overlooks a beautiful lake surrounded by trees.  We relaxed in rocking chairs and enjoyed the scenic view.


We didn’t get to tour the Harry P. Leu Gardens, but it was wonderful to spend quality, face-to-face time with a kind and loving friend.  I am Grateful to The Librarian for this happy and fun-filled day — mishaps and all.

In the next post, I will write about and share photos on our Third Day – Happy Time at Cocoa Beach.

Want ot Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease? Move!


woman walking outdoors sports

For women over 30, physical inactivity may be the single greatest contributor to heart disease risk.

The Evidence: Researchers followed 32,154 Australian women in three age groups: those born between 1973-78, 1946-51, and 1921-26. They the applied a math formula called population attributable risk (P.A.R.) that indicates the percentage reduction in diseases that would be achieved in a given population if exposure to a specific risk were eliminated.

The importance of the most common risk factors for heart disease – smoking, high blood pressure, physical activity, and excess weight – varies with age.

  • For the population under 30, smoking is the greatest contributor to heart disease.In fact, stopping smoking would reduce the risk of heart disease in this group twice as effectively as reducing high body mass index.
  • For women in their 70s, being physically active would lower the P.A.R. almost three times as much as stopping smoking, and…

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May 14: Mental Health Blog Day


Thanks to Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer for the invite to write a post on  Mental Health Blog Day.  

But, I needed more information on the subject.   And, of course, I immediately went to GOOGLE.

What I Know Now and Didn’t Not Know Before

There is a clear difference between mental health and mental illness.  According to a report in 2011 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Mental Health is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
  • Mental Illness is defined as collectively all diagnosable mental disorders or health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.

The report further states “that only 17% of U.S. adults are considered to be in a state of optimal mental health.”  

Could I Be Among the 17% with Optimal Mental Health?

I am not sure.  But, I am following a path which I hope will eventually lead to Optimal Mental Health by way of:

  • Healthy Eating “recent evidence suggests that good nutrition is essential for our mental health and that a number of mental health conditions may be influenced by dietary factors.  (Mental Health Foundation)
  • Reading “a growing number of therapists are recommending something surprising for depressed and anxious patients.  Read a book.  This treatment is called bibliotherapy.  (Reading Your Way to Health, Wall Street Journal, July 23,2007)
  • Exercise “Depression symptoms often improves with exercise.  When you have anxiety or depression, exercise often seems like the last thing you want to do.  But once you get motivated, exercise can make a big difference.”  (Mayo Clinic)
  • Meditation “Making meditation a part of your life can lead to lower levels of stress and anxiety and a greater level of personal connectedness.”  (National Alliance on Mental Health)
  • Quality Sleep Habits “Getting a good night’s sleep is important for maintaining our mental and physical health.  Sleep allows the brain to take in new information and strengthen our memories. The quality of your sleep can have a significant impact on your mood, energy level and ability  to concentrate.  It can affect your work, cause relationship problems and make it difficult to complete simple tasks.  Sleep can also affect our mental wellbeing, immune system, and other health-related issues.  It is crucial to our health that we learn to sleep well.” (Mental Health Foundation & Sleepio)
  • Massages “Physiological, psychological, environmental and genetic factors also have a profound effect on the development of ones mental health.  Repressed trauma, chronic stress, physical illness, childhood and hereditary issues may cause poor mental health.  Massage therapy has been used for centuries to help individuals overcome some of these problems. (Massage for Your Health)

I have incorporated all of the above; and, I have no doubt that in doing so I have improved the overall quality of my life.

Physically, I still have health issues:  Breast Cancer Survivor, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Sleep Apnea, and Peripheral Neuropathy/Lower Extremity.

But, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally I am in a good place. 

Thanks for the Liebster Award

liebster_award   This is my first blogging award; and, I send a heartfelt “THANK YOU” to Karuna over at  Living, Learning and Letting Go for including me on her list of nominees.   Here are the rules for those who are nominated and want to participate in the Liebster Award process:

  • Post the award on your blog
  • Thank the blogger who presented the award to you and link back to their blog
  • Share 11 things about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you by the person that nominated you
  • Nominate 11 blogger who have less than 200 followers
  • Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer
  • Notify your nominees by posting your nomination on their blog.

Eleven things about me

  1. I am a breast cancer survivor.
  2. I love my outdoor container garden.
  3. I have over 300 healthy eating cookbooks; but, I never cook from a recipe.
  4. I wake up every morning at 5:00 a.m. to meditate and to read inspiring words.
  5. I am moving toward a plant-based diet.
  6. My favorite dessert is Lemon Meringue Pie.
  7. I was embarrassed to enter the university as a freshman in 1969 because of my age (27) as well as being married with three children. But, I went anyway and graduated within four years.
  8. At 10-years-old, I could type 65 word per minute on a manual typewriter.
  9. I married my childhood sweetheart.
  10. I lived in Germany for two years.
  11. I love this season of my life and never imagined retirement and age (71) would open up so many new opportunities for me to explore.  Blogging is one!!!

My answers to Kaurona’s eleven questions.

  1. I live in Florida, after retiring and relocating from Wisconsin four years ago.
  2. I speak only English.   But, as a college student, to satisfy my foreign language requirements, I spent four semesters studying Swahili as well as one summer session of Xhosa.
  3. I love to read and it is difficult to name just one favorite book.  This last year I have read and re-read  “What are You Hungry For,” by Depaak Chopra.  Why?  To change my eating habits.
  4. The food I would never eat is liver.  I have never tasted liver; and, I even avoid looking at it in the meat counter.
  5. The reason I like blogging is the ability to communicate and interact with diverse people from around the world.
  6. I fear swimming.  I love sitting poolside.  I love to practice Aqua Zumba and Water Exercises in the pool.   I don’t trust floaters; and I would have a panic attack if I felt my feet could not touch the pool floor.  But, I would love to swim as a form of exercise.
  7. Words of Wisdom to myself, “there are times, Yvonne, when you just have to be STILL.”
  8. In my spare time, I Read.  I love to read books on my IPad and Kindle.  I also listen to audio books before retiring as well as when I am exercising at the YMCA.
  9. I am proud that I now see the importance of accepting and acknowledging ME as well shedding the guilt of loving ME.
  10. I am a former worrier.  I no longer stress about what I did in the past or what may happen in the future.
  11. I am most joyful when I am in the presence of my Hubby, Children and Grandchildren — those times when we gather as a family.

My eleven fantabulous nominees are:

  1. Soul My Deep
  2. Tinker Chimes
  3. The Big Scary C Word
  4. I Have Breast Cancer Blog
  5. One Wig Stand
  6. I’m Just Sayin Damn
  7. Tammy Carmona
  8. Phenomenal Housewives
  9. Furious Curious Cancer Survivor
  10. Bumpy Boobs
  11. Living Life with RA and FMS

Eleven questions for my nominees:

  1. What was your favorite food as a child?
  2. How many siblings do you have?
  3. If you win a million dollars what would you do with the money?
  4. Were you named after anyone?
  5. What is on your mouse pad?
  6. Would you rather visit Hawaii or Alaska, and why?
  7. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
  8. What is your most treasured memory?
  9. What is your most terrible memory?
  10. Do you have a nickname?
  11. Are you a morning or night person?

The Truth I Live By

I am happy to reblog this enlightening, uplifting, and inspiring post from Living, Learning and Leting Go.

Living, Learning and Letting Go

In looking back over the posts I’ve written since I started my blog, I found that the most popular one was my first, Living in Gratitude.  As I pondered writing some kind of  followup to that post, it occurred to me that today is the perfect day for me to share something my youngest brother wrote before he died of cancer at the age of 39. It is a piece that has meant so much to me.

The Truth I Live By

(William John Smith 1953-1992)

 Everything makes sense. This can be paraphrased many different ways, although many attempts are less accurate. One of Voltaire’s characters stated, “All is for the best, in the best of all possible worlds. This is unnecessarily optimistic. My phrasing doesn’t imply that everything that happens to us is good either in the short or the long term. Everyone experiences moments or long periods…

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Mother’s Day – Expressing Gratitude and Thankfulness


I received this floral arrangement yesterday, a Mother’s Day Gift from our three children.    One of the downsides of retirement in Florida is not enjoying this special day with them.  Four years ago, we moved 2,000 miles away from our offsprings.  While we miss them, each year the “separation anxiety” lessens.

This Mother’s Day, I express gratitude and thankfulness to God for blessing  me with three wonderful children, five grandchildren and, of course, the greatest Hubby.  

Given my recent posts, believe it or not, this one isn’t about me.  This is about three mothers; and, each played different roles in different seasons of my life.

Unconditional Love – Happy Mother’s Day MAMA

Onetha Burks

Mama you blessed me with unconditional love from the day I was born until your death in 1967.  Though, I wish you had stayed with me longer, I am grateful for our years together.  You left, but I kept the memories and these memories will always keep me connected to you. “As is the mother, so is her daughter.” (Ezekiel 16:4)

Maternal Tenderness – Happy Mother’s Day CARRIE

My mother Carrie Lee Childress

I was only 25-years-old when MAMA died.  While no one will ever replace her, I will be forever grateful for the gift of Maternal Tenderness from my mother-in-law .  She helped to fill the “mother void” in my life until her death in 1980.  She will always have a special place in my heart. And, I cherish the many memories of our times together.

Led By Examples – Happy Mothers Day Shirley


This is a photo taken on June 25, 1988, at my eldest daughter’s wedding ceremony.  Realizing, my sister-in-law would not live to attend her own daughter’s wedding, we invited her to share the mother’s role with me.  Having survived breast cancer for more than five years, she was undergoing treatment due to a recurrence two years earlier.  Six months after the wedding, she died in our spare bedroom.  So grateful God gifted us with the opportunity to serve as caregivers during the last months of her life.

I was “Led by Examples” of this beautiful woman from the age of 17 when I married her brother through middle-aged.  Though only four years my senior, she was my mentor, advisor and counselor.

On March 8, 2008, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I relied upon examples of her strength and courage as she battled this condition to carry me through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and life after breast cancer.

My ability to deal with a health condition for which there is no cure is because I was “Led by Examples” of a brave Breast Cancer Warrior, a sister-in-law, who fought to survive, but lost the battle.

I honor these three mothers who are no longer with me on this Mother’s Day.


I also honor my two daughters for being outstanding mothers to three of my grandchildren.  I am ever so grateful for their unconditional love, nurturing, and support.  

dr thomasking

Pamela Thomas-King, M.D.


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