My Best Life

July 2022 makes it almost a year since my last post. What a year of blessings it’s been.

La dolce vita in Italy
Double celebration on Thanksgiving 2021

After the Covid isolation, we were able to enjoy a visit from my parents who traveled in from Portugal for an extended eight-week visit. My brother’s fiancée also arrived from UK and we gathered everyone together on Thanksgiving to celebrate the holiday as well as a belated 50th anniversary for my parents. Such a good day.

Our oldest son is off to a great start in his young adult life, with a lovely young lady in his life, a great job in his field and an apartment in NYC with skyline views I’m somewhat jealous of. Our younger son just graduated from college. As he pursues a position in his preferred field of IT in a law enforcement environment, he continues to work where he’s been during his college years, a company that outfits first responder vehicles with after-market tech. He also volunteers as an EMT and is serving in the rank of Captain for our local fire department.

Very proud of both my young men. Years ago, I saved a quote from Jacqueline Kennedy – “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much”. The quote resonated with me deeply, as I am one of those women who chose to stay at home to raise my kids rather than work outside the home. Many reasons factored into this decision and prolonged the at-home situation to the point that I never did go back to work. I remember thinking at the time that I saved the quote “please God don’t let me bungle this”…because if I did bungle it, then what could I point to as my life’s success? No career and messed up kids would be a major fail. By the grace of God, and my imperfect but well-meaning efforts (and those of my husband), my boys have turned out well. Thank you Jesus, Mother Mary, and all the angels and saints to whom I’ve directed countless prayers through the years.

This year also brought me the joy of fun little things. I was due to replace my beloved Hyundai Santa Fe, which served me ever so well for 13 years of mom chauffeuring, errand-running and day trips and girls’ getaways. My older son planted a seed of considering an electric car and it took root. I had in mind to get myself a daily driver that doubled as a “fun car”. Unlike my hubby, and many men, who have a daily driver in addition to their fun car. So after a fair amount of research I chose the Mustang Mach-E. And boy oh boy is that car FUN!! Hard to explain exactly. I don’t think another electric car would be as fun. It’s a Mach-E thing, if you know it, you know it. And if not, just trust me.

Her name is Luna
Love my mega screen

Another fun thing was my first ever trip to the Mediterranean. It was an invite from my sister-in-law to join her on a cruise. Not being the biggest fan of cruises, I was taken by the idea of it hitting 3 countries and 2 islands. Sounded like a great way to see a lot, and it was. I loved it. Only downside is that you don’t get a lot of time to really explore to your heart’s content. That’s just the way it goes with a cruise, but we made awesome memories. I crossed off one bucket list item – Cinque Terre on the coast of Italy. Very similar to Amalfi, but more remote. The Five Villages (translation of Cinque Terre) are perched along the sea cliffs in the Tuscany region. There are no cars. Access is by boat or train only. I fully intend to return one day and really explore its charming winding, narrow alleys and enjoy the beaches.

Amalfi
Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre
Rome

My Etsy shop has enjoyed a fair amount of success. The throw blankets in particular have been my hot item. The orders came in faster than I would’ve ever thought leading up to Christmas. At one point Etsy labeled my shop “Popular Now”. Wow!! Then after a short slow period things picked up for me again despite the weather getting warmer. That was a surprise! I was actually whipping up blankets right up to the end of June when I put the shop into “vacation mode”, since, well, I was going away on vacation. And Etsy chose that time to grant me “Star Seller” status. Unfortunately, the shop was mostly closed for the month, but it was nice to be recognized anyway.

A blanket in progress
A blanket ready to ship

I’ve found my special niche at the Outreach Connection Food Pantry where I usually spend at least one day a week. Surprisingly, I’m pretty much the only volunteer who speaks Spanish. So, I’m in decently high demand as we get a fair amount of Spanish speaking families. Getting them registered and set up witb us, orienting and sharing information on our programs and other resources is difficult for the other team members. It puts my linguistic skills to work and makes me feel valued while putting them at ease as well.

Fresh produce at our pantry

So there we have it, the past year’s highlights in review. It feels like I’m living my best life right now. Kids raised, solid marriage, good health, a satisfying side hustle hobby, and the fulfillment of helping out at the most awesome food pantry in my part of NJ. Life is good.

My simple happy life

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