Weekend Coffee Share | Simple Pleasures

Weekend Coffee ShareIf we were having coffee I’d ask how you define “simple pleasures” in your life today.

Since my mom died almost two years ago, I started feeding the birds. It was something she always did. I also started doing it as a way to entertain the new cat that adopted me while Mom was in declining health.

We have ceiling to floor windows in the den that look out at a small side yard. There are large arbor vitae trees that provide a home to many birds. I placed several feeders, as well as a bird bath in this area.

I then put a cat tree near those windows and enjoyed many happy hours watching Miss Kitty stalk and “attack” our feathered friends from inside the glass. Even the squirrels would climb up onto the feeders and taunt our poor feline! I’m not sure who was more entertained, the cat or myself.


I lost my mom first and then my kitty. I gave the pet items to my son who has two cats of his own, but the bird feeders remained; a constant reminder of what I’d lost.

I considered getting rid of them because watching those little feathered creatures was painful at first. But, I slowly realized that they came to depend on me. Kind’ve like my Mom and Kitty did. 

Sure, my furry friends managed without my help before and could again. But, winter was coming, a season when freezing temps and snow make food and water scarce here in the northeast.

The menagerie of wildlife isn’t limited to just birds, but also includes rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, opossums, raccoons, and the occasional skunk. Knowing that my efforts improve their quality of life makes me feel really good inside.

 There was no way I could let them down and it was a win-win for all of us. So, I continue my ritual of going out every morning to fill the feeders and put out fresh water. I also offer up a variety of fruits, vegetables, and peanuts. As the weather turned cold I even invested in a heated birdbath to prevent the water from freezing.

There was a time when I good-naturedly laughed at my Mom’s concern for the outdoor critters. It was during my busiest years, working and raising a family, and I couldn’t imagine devoting any of my precious time and energy to the wildlife; there just wasn’t enough of either.

But, times have changed.

Cardinal on bird feeder in winter

With the kids grown, my parents gone, and a semi-retired lifestyle, I now have the time. And I consider my caretaking of the backyard animals one of my simple pleasures. I get a tremendous amount of joy looking out the window and seeing them feasting on the goodies I put out. 

I have lots of simple pleasures these days: the occasional bubble bath, good books, walks in the park, playing photographer, writing, lunch dates with friends, and so much more. 

And, of course, spending time with my family. We don’t even have to be doing anything special; just hanging out is best. No deadlines, no expectations, no dress code. Just being comfortable in who we are and making memories. 

Time seems to be the common denominator. We spend so much of our lives working and hurrying to the next thing that we don’t really have time for simple pleasures. It’s all we can do to manage the basics. 

I’m proud of all that I accomplished so far. It took a lot of hard work to raise the wonderful family that I have. It wasn’t easy getting the college degree as an adult. There were heartaches and tears along the way, but that’s life.

And, as with most things in life, there are trade offs. Apparently, the tradeoff for gray hair and creaky knees is time spent doing the things we want to do versus what we have to do.

At this stage of the game, I think it’s well worth it.

What about you?





Blog and penWelcome to Following Seas, a blog about living more fully in the present by understanding ourselves better and learning from the past. 

We’ve all made poor choices that cost us time, energy, and missed opportunities. That’s part of the human condition. Often these mistakes are the result of destructive patterns developed over time from the harmful messages we received from others.

To overcome a negative mindset we must take control and live with intention. We have to practice compassion and forgiveness for ourselves and others. It begins with thoughtful self-examination and setting goals for positive change.

Having experienced a few life-changing events in my 50+ years and learning some valuable lessons, I’ll focus on the subjects of self and how to live life with more intention.

Therefore, I’ll write about self-reflection, mindfulness, and other ways to achieve personal growth.  I’ll share my experiences and I invite you to share yours.

I want Following Seas to become a source of inspiration and information about our shared humanity. We have the power to change and grow and, in doing this, we really can navigate our best life! 

 I began blogging in 2015 to keep my writing ability strong, as well as to reflect on life and current events.

I also got interested in photography and enjoy posting pictures and participating in the various challenges. 

I grew up in western Pennsylvania, worked, and raised a family there. My greatest accomplishment is my three children, all responsible adults leading successful lives.

My second greatest accomplishment was earning a college degree at 52 years old. This enabled me to check off Item #1 on my Bucket List.

The next goal is to turn my writing hobby into income with a freelance career. And who knows…maybe a real live book someday, complete with my own photos! 🙂



Happy places

Wooden walkway leading to the beach & oceanWhy the beach theme for my blog?

Because it’s my happy place. We all have one that serve as a refuge from life’s chaos. It’s where I go to escape, quiet my mind, and rejuvenate.

Unfortunately, the ones closest to me aren’t the sand and shell type that we associate with the word “beach.” They’re the dirt and rock type that line freshwater rivers and lakes.  As if that’s not sad enough, the local beaches are currently buried in dirty snow and ice.

I live too far from the coast and don’t get to my happy place nearly enough.

So, the escape must be to my blog, of which has been sorely neglected since I published my first post a couple of months ago. Two deaths in the family and preparations for a trip to Washington D.C. have derailed my commitment to regular writing sessions. One of the hardest parts of writing (and dieting, exercising, etc.) is doing it on a regular basis. Why is it so hard to find time to do the things that are good for us?

However, I’m going to focus on the positives: I’ve kept up with it all, met the deadlines, and filed my taxes. I’m now sitting at the computer to write, so I’m feeling hopeful once again!

Before I sat down to create the blog, I knew it would have a beach theme. I had been contemplating a name, because I believe that’s a very important aspect. When I visited the library as a youngster, I would meander up and down the shelves searching for a title that piqued my interest. I do the same thing when I’m perusing the WordPress blogs. Of course, I search for topics of interest, but then narrow down the choices by titles; interesting titles.

I first heard the term following sea in the Crosby, Stills & Nash song “Southern Cross.” In boating, a following sea refers to a wave direction that matches the heading of the boat. For example, if the waves are heading in the same direction as the sailor, then the water is “following” the sailor’s boat (courtesy of Wikipedia.) This makes sailing much smoother and is one half of the expression “fair winds and following seas.”

This is often used in toasts and to commemorate a new voyage, among other things. I liked the analogy between how the circumstances and people who make up one’s life, can often help create either calm or rough waters. Life is a voyage, full of choices that either encourage or discourage a following sea.

I also wanted to follow-up the title with a tagline; something to complement the purpose of the blog. In keeping with the ocean theme I settled on “Navigating Your Best Life.” I’m a middle-aged woman, divorced, newly graduated and facing choices about how I want to spend the rest of my life.

I want to share my experiences and write about things that other folks my age are dealing with: aging parents, career changes, relocation, menopause, relationships, and a host of other issues. Maybe I can offer something that will be helpful or resonate with someone else. At least I can purge all my emotions and thoughts on paper or, in this case, a computer monitor!

Everyone desires a happy life, whatever that means to each of us. But, it takes a lot of work and sacrifice, not to mention all the things that impact us, both positively AND negatively. It’s not linear and involves careful navigation in every decision we make.


Lastly, I chose my own photos for the blog. For me it’s a visual analogy. Like the changes in our daily lives, the rise and fall of the tides bring daily changes to the beach. The seashells, unique in their differences, signify the people in our lives. Various types of objects and debris wash ashore each day, some beautiful and others not so much.

All of these components set the tone for my blog and make it a place I enjoy coming back to again and again, just like I enjoy returning to the beach!